Day with Daddy

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His voice is kind; welcoming. His hands are big, smooth in the palm but cracked and dry at the fingertips. They have been callused from years of hard work. His back has been hurt three or more times. A handshake and he’s almost immediately your friend. This man is my daddy. I am now eight-teen years old, he is fifty-seven this December.

His hair is always combed back; never messy. He has a mustache, and the rest of his face is always cleanly shaved for work. He has smile wrinkles, from when he used to smile… I don’t get to see him smile very much anymore. His eyes are blue-gray, for life has beaten most of his spirit out of him. The sparkle in his eyes only comes back when we talk about Canada or hunting.

My mind goes back to the best days of my life; when I was three. I would wait on our big brown couch and watch out that big picture window. I would see his red –two toned Chevy pull in. Red was always his favorite color. He is much younger now, he walks in the door with a smile and energy of a two year old doped up on ten pounds of candy. He fixes his plate, I grab the remote and a pillow. He walks in the living room with a plate of a ham sandwich, salt and vinegar chips, a pickle and a glass of pop. He sits down in our blue (un-matching from the couch) chair. I sit on his lap, a pillow on top of me, a plate of food followed. I handed him the remote and we watch our normal episodes of the cartoon Scooby Doo, Johnny Quest and Godzilla. I eat off his plate; he expects none the less. After that, it’s time to play.

He makes me laugh every time I think of this perfect day. We had a red craftsmen tractor. We are in the garage, and I watch as this man gets frustrated.

“Dad?” I ask questionably.
“What?”
“When can I drive the tractor?
“As soon as I get this god-for-saken thing to start!”
“Isn’t just like grandpa’s? His starts right away.”
“Your grandfather babies his things. I just beat on them.”

I chuckle to myself. I take care of my toys and I’m three, why can’t he take care of his? My father gets the thing to start and he backs is out of the garage. He smile in triumph. He pats his lap and tells my to get on. I do as he says and we ride out to our 2.5 acre field left of the house. I steer while he pushes the gas. I am too little to reach he pedals. I love animals and the farm life. I already know I want to do something in that area. I laugh and smile because it’s like I’m almost there. He laughs and smiles because he gets a kick out of me getting a kick out of such a small thing in life.

After that, work has to be done to our large garden. I run bare-foot, before he tills the garden. His face is red. He grits his teeth. He walks slow and wide-footed. I have an ear to ear smile; my feet are dirty and mom will have to clean that soon. Before his last step, we drink out of the hose. Best water I’ve ever drank. He then hooks it up to a sprinkler and lets it go on our lawn. It’s 5:00. Dinner time and settle down time.

I take a bath. My feet are no longer black. I am not a child covered in dirt, but a three year old girl again. I wear his shirt. I am so small is flows down to my ankles. I crawl up in bed with my daddy. He is also clean; no longer sweaty or red. He smells now of Old Spice, and his whiskers are shaved for work tomorrow. We cuddle as we watch the Three Stooges.
“Who’s your favorite?”
I smile. “Curly. He’s the funniest. Who’s your favorite?”
“Curly.”

At eight-teen years old, I still call him daddy. I still do other little things with him every ounce in a while. We will watch a John Wayne movie; he’s the one that got me hooked. We’ll go for a walk out in the woods, or simply play a few games of dominos. A lot has changed since then. He is sad when I walk out the door; he never knows if ill be home tonight or not. When I walk in the door, he is a little happier. He knows my time living at home is limited. I know this too. One thing’s for sure, I’ll always remember that perfect day with daddy.





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