Today would have been my father's 86th birthday, if he hadn't died in 2002 from various ailments related to alcoholism. I wrote briefly about his death right after I started blogging in 2008.
Ironically, it would also have been my step-mother's birthday (the GOOD one, before he married the green witch from The Wizard of Oz), but she died in 1998. I have fonder memories of her than I do of my father. Anytime someone commented on the fact that they had the same birthday, my father would say, "Yeah, and it's funny, we've got the same anniversary too!" He was a scream like that. My step-mother had never married before, and she was 39 when she and my father married. She said she had waited for just the right one. I never could understand what she saw in him.
My parents divorced when I was very young, and the few memories I do have of my father aren't pleasant ones. Like the time he took my brother and me to Six Flags Over Georgia. I had no idea why my brother and I were left on our own so much and why our father kept going back to the car. Until he passed out, they put him on a golf cart, he came to and jumped off and ran, they caught him and strapped him down, and the day was pretty much downhill from there.
I don't remember much about my parents living together, but I have one very clear memory as they prepared to separate. I remember one morning that my father made up HIS side of the bed and left the other side unmade. That's just the kind of person he was.
When Mom remarried, my father sent her new husband (who was no prize either, as it turned out) a sympathy card. And signed it with his real name.
The summer I was eight years old, my father convinced me to come live with him and go to school in the county where he lived. He showed me his pillow and told me those were tear stains from crying over his children every night. He also promised me a pony, so I agreed to live with him. I changed my mind before school started, but I did stay the whole summer with him. During the day I had to stay with his older sister, the aunt who frightened me to death. She had no children of her own, and she was the meanest thing I had ever known. Someone told me the story when I was very young that she would have had a baby, but when it came time to be born, it was too big. They said the doctor told her husband to choose between saving the baby and saving her. I always thought they made a poor choice. Yes, I know how wrong that is, but she was MEAN! And I was only eight years old.
When I got married the first time, with the walk down the aisle and the hundred-pound bouquet and candles and everything, I felt obligated to include my real father, since my step-father (the good one) had died when I was a senior in high school. At the conclusion of the ceremony, when the pastor introduced us to the congregation as a couple, my father said just loud enough for EVERYONE to hear, "You've played hell now!" I never did know which one of us he was talking to.
When Sweet Girl graduated from high school, my father and WWW (Wicked Witch of the West) came to the ceremony. Because Sweet Girl's last name starts with a "B", she was one of the first names called. As soon as her name was read, my father and WWW squeezed past everyone else in the row and left. I guess that could be considered a good thing.
When I was about three years old, my father took me to someone's house where a mama dog had recently had puppies. He told me, "It's okay, you can pet her." She snapped at me, and he kicked that dog so hard she went spinning across the carport floor. Even at that young age, I was appalled that he had treated an animal that way. I still have the tiniest of scars under my eye where that dog bit me. Oddly enough, it wasn't the dog I resented. She was only doing what her instincts told her to do. It was the adult who behaved like a moron.
If Doris had lived, my father would never have started drinking again, and it's possible he might have lived this long as well. I miss Doris.