I want to become a very old man. Make it to 100, do a comedy bit, then croak. I see no point in living past 100. It seems to me that if I do that, I’ll just be showing off.
Today marks the day of my father’s birth. November 10th, 1920. Every time I begin to wonder what it would have been like living in that era, I picture my kids and grandkids wondering what it must have been like growing up in the 60’s and it freaks me out. Then I let it go.
Jack Mabbott was a truck driver. It defined him. There were many angles to him, and he only told stories from his past that were funny. How he took his mother’s car and raced it in a stock car race, unaware that my grandmother caught wind (weird phrase) of what he was up to, and was in the grandstands to watch. He said he won, but my grandmother took the prize money. She was very cool.
There was another time that he and a friend went fishing. This was in Montana, where he was raised, and the fishing was great. They saw the game warden coming, and my father’s friend dropped his fishing pole and ran as fast as he could, with the ranger right behind him.
Finally, my father’s friend stopped running. The game warden said “I finally got one of you!” My father’s friend asked what the game warden got him for. “Fishing without a license” he replied. My father’s friend said “Oh, I have my license.” The game warden asked him, “Well, why did you run?” my father’s friend said, “Jack didn’t have one.” My father was safely at home by then.
I loved it when he told stories like that. It was fun, which was rare. He was also mean, abusive and an alcoholic. I try not to remember him like that, because the last couple of years of his life, he was different. He could still be mean, but not to us.
He didn’t like kids, and that meant the grandkids, as well. He never took the time to get to know them. Any of them, and there were a bunch of them, who would have liked to get to know their grandfather. That’s a shame, because they are terrific people.
I got to spend a lot of time with him during the last two years of his life and discovered that he was horribly abused as a boy. I also learned who he was when he was no longer drinking alcohol. I gained a whole new perspective on him, and I loved it. I cherish those times.
Yes, Jack Mabbott was a strange duck, and some things that he did have contributed to the disability that I have today, but I loved him, just the same.
So, happy birthday, Dad. I wish I could take you out to dinner.
See you tomorrow.
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See you tomorrow! Jerry