It's a big event when he makes his annual pot of stew. The counter is covered with pounds of chicken, pork, beef, cans of corn, beans, tomatoes, bags of potatoes, bottles of catsup, hot sauce, cloves of garlic, shakers of pepper, salt, curry powder, sage, sweet hazel, and a pinch of tobacco here and there. He stirs the big pot for hours, and we go in shifts watching it. When it's finally done, he dumps it into boxes and boxes of Ball jars. Then he stores it in the dark corner of the basement, grins, and says, "It's gonna be a long, hard winter, girls. But we sure won't go hungry."
My father lives well with those around him, but he holds back for no one. If he wants to spit, he spits. If he wants to bake or make tons of stew, he does. And if he wants to dance, he dances no matter where he is. He is hardly a misfit, but he is a remnant for a past era. He reminds the rest of us that a man can still be free of outside pressures. When I tell him to stop spitting on things, he fusses and ends the argument by ignoring me. When my mother tells him to stop swearing, he stops, but only until she leaves the room. He loves his family and protects what is his, but he remains unaffected by his surroundings.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Oh, And There's This
While I'm on the subject, here is one more thing about my father. Last night I found a character sketch I had written about him for a college assignment in 1982. Even the paper it was typed on looks old--and yes, I said "typed." I had a big, noisy Royal electric. Here is an excerpt from the sketch--I find it interesting because now 25 years later and years after my father has died, I still describe him in the same terms:
at 8:00 AM