These are some of the fathers in my life. Not all of them… just he ones I had photos of that I could use. I don’t have one of my dad…
So story time!
My parents were working on our house. They did this the entire 16 years I lived in that house. My mother could not stop redecorating. This particular evening, they were spraying plaster on the ceiling in the dining room. You know that icky popcorn plaster crap.
The dining room opened via wide pocket doors from the living room. The pocket doors no longer opened because they had laid carpet and forgotten to leave a bare spot for the doors to travel. The wide space was perpetually open. This my parents had covered over with several layers of plastic sheeting to keep the plaster in. Watching them through the plastic was like looking at a frosted bathroom window.
My brother and I were messing around while watching The Munsters. My mom had chosen ugly brown striped over stuffed chairs. I was sitting on my knees on the arm of one of these, facing the seat. My brother was sitting in my dad’s leather chair. He tossed a piece of clay at me. I fell forward into the seat of the chair to avoid the clay and bounced backwards, where I over shot and tried to save myself by wind-milling my arms madly.
I lost it. All of the dining room furniture was crowded into the living room. Our big, round antique oak table with the lion’s feet was directly next to me. I twisted to the right as I fell and slammed my head into the table edge. From there I went the opposite way and slammed into the glass door.
My brother’s eyes were huge as I stood on shaky feet. It hurt, but I did not want to cry. He wouldn’t stop staring at me with his big eyes and open mouth.
I yelled at him: “Stop it!”
He lifted a shaking hand and pointed at me then said: “Your
head! There’s blood!”
It was my turn to raise a shaky hand and touch my head. It was warm. It was sticky. I was fine until I looked at my hand. That’s when the high pitched keening began. I was sure it was coming from me, but could not seem to silence it.
Naturally I looked in the direction of the frosty plastic. For a dreadful few moments there was nothing on the other side of the plastic but the chuffing sound of the compressor that was spraying our ceiling with crap. Then the compressor shut down. My keening could be heard on the other side.
I recall now with absolute clarity, my father trying to claw his way through those layers of plastic. It was like some weird animal was trying to get in and I desperately wished it would hurry it up!
Meanwhile my mother, who had the presence of mind to go around the plastic… which meant going out the back door, scaling a six foot fence and running through the side yard, up the steps to the front door. She opened it as the fierce animal tore its way through the plastic at long last and scooped me up.
“Don’t let the blood drip all over the carpet, George!” was mom’s response to the situation. ( Ask crazy4coens, my mom was “scary clean” and you never, never made a mess. Blood was a stain, which was worse than a mess.)
As generally happened when I bled, my offending body part… in this case my face just above my eye… was dangled over the sink and washed clean. My dad examined the wound as I continued to wail, more over fear of drowning at this point. (I hate having water run over my face. Perhaps this is why.) I stopped screaming about the time my dad got a towel wrapped around my head and I could no longer see or feel blood or wetness. I was placed in the chair I’d fallen from and my dad phoned the hospital to let them know we were on our way…again. I ended up with only seven stitches, which was not much considering how much blood there seemed to be, but you know how it is with head wounds.
This is what I recall most about my dad; whenever I was hurt, he was the first one there. As soon as he was there, I knew that while it may continue to hurt, it was going to be okay. I was safe. I could begin to relax and begin to calm down. It has been that way all my life, even as an adult, despite the fact that we do not get along all that great. When I have truly needed him to be there. He has. Thanks dad!