Sorry to all who’ve missed me – life’s a bit nuts right now: I was given one class of 6th graders this week – please note, I usually teach 7th grade, so now I’m…err…..inventing a curriculum to use with my 6th graders that is “not-too-different-from-what-the-7th-graders-are-doing-so-that-I-don’t-go-crazy-making-lesson-plans.” Sigh.
My dad is back in the hospital – which also adds to my frenzy. His emphysema is not much worse, but his brain is a bit fuzzed. He’s often confused, and doesn’t remember if he took pills, needs to take them, etc – even though my Mom has them all organized on a schedule and has a great system. So, he’s back in the hospital – primarily to take him off all his meds, and try to get a handle on that.
So – that got me thinking about my Dad. I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite Dad stories……
1973 – 12 years old, Merced, California.
Who would’ve have thought that blowing your nose was dangerous? Got Boogers? Blow!!!! And yet, there I was, thirty minutes later, still trying to get my nose to stop bleeding. After another thirty minutes dragged by, my Mom and Dad decided that it was time to go to the hospital. I made it to the car – but felt very woozy, and the wooziness grew during the twenty minute drive to Castle AFB. I tried to get out of the car, but my legs collapsed from underneath me. My father scooped me up and carried me into the hospital. “Hold on, Missy,” he whispered, “I’ve got you.” I knew I would be fine – ‘cause my Daddy had me.
(postscript for those of ya’ who gotta know: I’d blown a hole in the artery in my nose –and lost over 2 pints of blood. Artery was cauterized (big ouch), and nose was packed with 3,000 miles (slight exxageration) of yellow stinky (no exxageration) gauze.
1979 – Lincoln, Nebraska
If you think being “stuck in Lodi, again” is bad, try Kearney, Nebraska. Sure, fun place to party (for Nebraska), but definitely not a place to stay. But there I was, on a Sunday afternoon with a broken car. And, of course, this was way before the invention of credit cards…..at least in my families existence!
“Missy, what is the car doing?”
“Daddy! That pipe thing in front of the muffler is broken. I took it to a gas station – but they said they can’t do anything until tomorrow! And they said it will cost a couple hundred dollars!!!! Daddy!!! What should I do?”
“Missy, I’m not there. What kind of sound is the car making?”
“Well, it just sounds really loud. Kinda like a muscle car – is it okay to drive? Can I fix it with something? Should I wait ‘til tomorrow?”
“Missy, I’m not there, so I can’t tell you what to do…but take a look at it and see what you think.”
So – under the car I went to take a look. And then I got all MacGyver on it. Uh-huh—that’s Missy MacGyver to you. I pushed that broken pipe as close to the muffler as I could, and took a wire hanger and made a big U-shaped support underneath it. Then I wrapped the whole think in duct tape….just in case. And then….I drove home…..130 miles…….2 hours…….across Nebraska……..and, just to remind you – IN THE DAYS BEFORE CELL PHONES!!!!
I pulled into the driveway – and there was my dad. Waiting. As I got out of the car, he didn’t say a word – he just crawled under the car – and then crawled back out.
“Is that okay, Daddy?”
But he didn’t answer – he just went inside. “Shit!” I thought to myself, “I screwed it up! I knew I shou—“
He was back again, crawling under the car. And crawled back out – with a polaroid of my repair, and a big grin!
“Wait ‘til Darrel (the mechanic) sees this!””Is it okay, Daddy? I didn’t mess it up too bad, did I?”
“Missy, you did good.”
2002 - Fresno, California
“Missy, I’m worried about you.”
“Daddy, I’m okay. A little shocked, but okay.”
“Missy, I can’t believe he left you.”
“Me either, Daddy. Me either.”
“I’ve got you Missy, you’ll be okay.”
“I know, Daddy. I’m just scared. What did I do wrong?”
“Missy, you did good. This is his problem, not yours.”
Thanks Daddy. Thanks for always thinking that I could do anything. Thanks for believing in me, and helping me believe in myself.