My dad has always been a bit of a "different" sort of guy. Not like a bad different, just different. For starters, my dad has a really off sense of humor. Not just finding certain things that others wouldn't think are hilarious funny, but wicked humor and an ability to lie with a straight face. So, in honor of my father's wicked humor, I'm turning the tables and outting the guy. Here's to Dad.
I have always been absolutely terrified of snakes. I don't know if it's the lack of legs, the way they slither, or what, but they freak me out. My dad thinks this is hilarious.
When I was a child, there were a pair of chicken snakes that lived in the feed room at the barn. Everyone liked them because they kept the mice away. I hated them because they were huge and scary and liked to curl up by the door so they fell out when I opened it. On my feet! The way the feed room was set up, it was like a little shed that you just had enough space to step into (or lean if you are a scaredy-cat like me) to scoop out horse and cow feed. Since I would lean in, Dad thought it was a great opportunity to get me back for doing absolutely nothing to him, other than being a good little child. (Yeah, right.) So, Dad found a little stick, dipped the tip of it in water, and sneaked up behind me. He's surprisingly quiet for a man with a limp. He then ran the stick up the back of my bare leg while hissing like a snake. I jumped ten feet. He laughed. I cried. And then the trick was added to his bag of "Be Mean to Daughter" jokes and gags.
In addition to the stick-snake trick, Dad thought it was really fun to point at the very non-serpent garden house in the taller grass and shout "Watch out for the snake!" just to see me run. In fact, he still does this.
Jeff Foxworthy has a bit about finding a couch on the side of the road and using it in your house next to your spool and road cone. That kind of character is my dad. He's not really a redneck, he just has a use for everything. This is the man who will cut across four lanes of traffic (in Houston), stop the truck on the shoulder (of an overpass), and instruct for one of us kids to run and pick up that perfectly good 2x4.
"Why do you need it?" Whoever was unlucky enough to say "not it" last would ask.
"I don't know! You can always find a use for a perfectly good 2x4!" was the usual answer.
It's not just pieces of lumber, either. There is a (singular) piece of St. Augustine grass in the front yard that Dad picked up on the road.
For some reason, after a horse show, we came home with a long, thin piece of steel tied to the outside of the trailer. Why did he need it? Nobody knows. Where is it now? Nobody knows that either. The general consensus is that it most likely disappeared into what is known as "Dad's Box."
Dad's Box is an old cargo box used for shipping goods on ships and trains and such. Why does Dad have one? To store all the crap he picks up on the side of the road, obviously.
When I was in elementary school, Dad had a ponytail. That part isn't so bad, right? Well, the top of Dad's head is completely void of hair. So, not only was my dad bald, he also had a ponytail. Sure, it was only a couple inches long, but that was enough.
Dad grew the ponytail solely because he thought it would embarrass us kids. And it did. Oh boy, did it ever. He was known as the old farmer with the ponytail. Then there was the day he was feeling exceptionally cruel. He went with us to the grocery store with his hair done in pigtails. Braided pigtails. Dad start your engines, let the embarrassment commence!
It wasn't until I was in junior high that he finally cut it off. Thank God it hasn't come back.
All in all, I love my dad. He's the man who told me he pushed me off my pony when I was a child so I'd learn to fall (and I believed him!), the man who taught me to drive, and the man who took the blame when I crashed the van into the barn. He can still say it is my fault, but Mom reamed him over it. Thanks, for everything Dad!