My Father vs. All Those Mothers Out There

Husband whispered something solicitous in my slumbering ear when he came to bed last night.

After almost 30 years of marriage, solicitous interest is almost as sexy as the salacious stuff.  Caring enough to offer a favorite ratty old blanket can be as loving as tearing the blankets off, although there’s certainly a place for that, too.

He laughed at me this morning, since I apparently replied, “That information is posted on the bulletin board.”  He said it was my professional voice, carefully and patiently modulated, full of thinly-masked irritation.  He said I seemed to be waiting for a response, so he answered, “OK!  Thank you very much!” whereupon I rolled back over and started snoring again.

It is high time for summer vacation.

This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath, May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet. (2.2.127-8), Juliet
This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
(2.2.127-8), Juliet

So there’s an earnest young couple sitting opposite me — he’s in the high school orchestra, and is wearing a tuxedo today.  She’s got his suit jacket over her slender shoulders.  They both have long hair in ponytails and that Tortured Poet look.  Clearly, they are the first people ever to be in love. They are gazing at each other soulfully.  He has just lifted her hand and kissed the palm tenderly.  And rather noisily, I might add, a little wet for my taste.  But he’s young.  He’ll learn.  His instincts are good.

I was going to give them a Mom Look over my counter, but decided that I might perhaps be feeling over half a century old and a bit jealous.

My father always says that youth is wasted on the young.  I used to roll my eyes at such pronouncements.  I suppose I should let him know that he is Right (again, as always, except when we differ slightly over the politics of gun control or certain tenets of Catholicism or whether or not Rose’s Lime Juice should be refrigerated).  A wise and wondrous man, my father.  He taught me how to replace an electrical outlet and how important it is to treat others with respect and dignity.  He taught me to waltz.  He taught me algebra, when I was flunking out during the “learn at your own pace” DIY education craze of the early ‘70s.  He coached me through a year of algebra in a few short weeks, right before the New York State Board of Regents’ exams (which I then passed respectably).  He managed this despite my resentful scowling lack of cooperation or appreciation.  I approached learning to drive with the same grace, and hear his voice to this day when someone is tailgating me and making me nervous:  “HE is not driving this car, Missy!  YOU are driving this car!”


Thank you, Dad.  I can talk to just about anybody and fix just about anything – you passed along some rather wonderful life skills.

Mr. Bryan Kuegler of Williamson, IL, did not have a father like mine. This in no way excuses him – there are few fathers like mine, but the principles he stands for stand tall even in two-bit towns like Williamson, which boasted 230 people in the 2010 census. So, there in the god-fearing American heartland this last week, Kuegler rushes in to courageously assist a fellow bar patron who has clutched his chest and collapsed to the floor.  Kneeling over the ostensibly dying man, Kuegler sneaks a look around and adroitly swipes the man’s wallet, stuffing it into his own pocket with one hand while motioning over the EMTs with the other.  It’s all captured for posterity on the bar’s surveillance video.  The smooth self-serving heartlessness of it takes my breath away.

Whatever happened to human decency?  I’ve always known that people are no damned good (my seemingly sweet little maternal grandmother had a cross-stitched sampler to that effect in her kitchen, and it’s long been one of my father’s mantras), but most of them at least used to try to fake it.  Is there no shame?

I’m even sounding like my father, now.  Good for me!

Here’s another:  A Canadian woman who killed a teen and injured two others after running them over with her SUV is now suing the dead boy’s family for emotional distress, to the tune of $1.3 million. Ms. Sharlene Simon is, yes, taking Brandon Majewski, the child she killed, and his family, including a brother who consequently committed suicide, to court. She hopes to collect for personal damages due to depression, anxiety, irritability and post-traumatic stress.

My heart bleeds for her.

”The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” says Dick the Butcher in HENRY VI, first performed in March of 1600.  Some say that that line has always been misinterpreted.  They say Shakespeare meant it as a compliment to attorneys and judges, who uphold justice and save civilization.  They say Dick the Butcher backed a rebel who planned to overthrow the king by butchering law and order in the land.

What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet.
What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose
By any other word
would smell as sweet
— except when moldy,
and stored at room temp.

Fie upon that! I say.  The bard knew damned well what he was saying.  Four hundred years later, we still need to kill all the lawyers.

Here’s another:

Mr. Roy Ortiz was miraculously rescued from raging floodwaters in Colorado last September after being trapped in a creek in his overturned car for several hours.  He is now suing the county and his rescuers (yes, the divers who risked their lives on his behalf) for $500,000.  His attorney, Ed Ferszt, says that the rescue took longer than it should have.  “Of course he is thankful because those divers did have a major role to play in saving his life that day,” says Ferszt. “That doesn’t negate the fact that a mistake may have been made.”   Ortiz is also suing two other drivers who hit the washed-out road after he did, pushing his vehicle further into danger.  He apparently has shoulder pain and trouble sleeping.  My heart bleeds for him, too.

How can these worthless GD fools even look at themselves in the mirror?

I grew up thinking that “GD” was a curse unto itself –my father never swears in front of women or children (although Husband has picked up a wondrously colorful colloquial vocabulary from him – I could feel gypped, if I thought about it).   He’ll shout Son of a B! on occasion, when falling off the roof or dropping a refrigerator or building a garage too short for the truck he planned to park in it (“Of course I measured!”).  But no gratuitous public cussing .  He has an unwavering personal code of ethics and honor.

This GD Son of a B of a world needs more of that.

2 thoughts on “My Father vs. All Those Mothers Out There

  1. Denis O'B

    As always, to the point with a bit (maybe more than a bit) of nostalgia tossed in. Your Father never learned that language from Me. Thanks for sharing !
    Regards to your family.

    • Long ago and far away I was a passionate John Denver fan — which planted the “someday I’ll live in Colorado” seed (the plan was to casually run into him on the streets of Aspen, whereupon he would fall madly in love with me, ditch Annie, and write Missy ballads). You were visiting us one day and commended me on my taste, being in a Colorado sort of phase yourself (I’m remembering Coors being smuggled back across the country). Then you showed my father one of my treasured albums. You pointed something out to him, and you both sniggered. I kept asking what was so funny — it was John, wearing his “Be Kind To Animals – Kiss a Beaver” T-shirt. Took me YEARS to understand that, since neither of you explained at the time.

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