Skip to main content

up the wallis

I posted this a few year's ago on Father's Day, but today my father turns 70 and I figured it was an appropriate repost. 

My father taught me many things. Some on purpose. Some on accident.
How to tie a tie. How to tie a cleat hitch. How to put away a dozen raw oysters. And that you should only eat them in months that have r in them. That black dress socks pulled up to the knee with white slip on Keds is not a good look for anyone. Bellies and bald heads sun burn first. That change adds up. That nothing is free. That life is anything but fair. That Bs aren’t good enough. How to order a beer in at least a half dozen languages. The way to Eldorado. (gaily bedight this gallant knight in sunshine and in shadow.) How to pour a drink. How to throw a cowpatty. (yes, you read that correctly). How to drive a boat. How to properly taste wine, although it involves something called clucking, and I think looks ridiculous. And should never be tried with whiskey. To tip well. To never run out of gas. To play a mean game of ping pong. That strawberries stain. That you get what you pay for. To let your meat rest. When you play poker to be prepared to lose. Real money. That there is always room for dessert. To two step and jitterbug. (well, techinically, I learned this is cotillion class – but my parents did a much better job in the living room) A few choice words. That people can always tell when you do something half ass. To have good insurance, and a decent retirement, and some emergency cash in your wallet. (in case you need to call a cab, or a wrecker or in my case purchase your first tattoo). The difference between port and starboard. The difference between port and merlot. The name of at last a dozen different cheeses. To appreciate new kinds of food, new people and new places. That a 16 year old doesn't need a new car or name brand jeans. (it is probably true at 36 too). Quality is always better than quantity. To bait my own hook. To make friends with important people: like the guy at the gas station, someone at the bank and anyone who can cook. To sing loudly. Even if you are off key. How to get out a decent wine stain. How to properly pull a weed. To shoot a gun. To tell a joke. Especially, slightly off color ones.

He has tried unsuccessfully to teach me how to do the following: Balance a checkbook. Drive. And pick up the living room or keep my car clean. But I assure you it wasn't for lack of trying.

Over the years my dad has had a myriad of hobbies and interests: sailing, gardening, country and western dancing, golf, photography, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, Patsy Cline, tobacco and Robert E Lee. But there have been two constant topics of interest: as long as I can remember. Food. And family. And to me they go together. When I go home it isn’t what do you want to do, but what do you want to eat? And we always eat well. We have seconds. And occasionally thirds and the glasses keep getting refilled. On some occasions before a big family meal he prays first. And it is a long rambly mini sermon. But sometimes he sticks to his traditional toast. I’m not even sure exactly what it means except that it is always fitting. And even though it is no longer my name, I know that it is for me too.
"Up the Wallis"



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

preachers and parades.

Months ago, I sat in a pew and tried to not think about the fact that you could count on one hand the number of white congregants in the room.
And I was one of them.
 I did not want to draw attention to myself, but despite the fact that I have been to church most Sundays of my life, I had no idea what to do. When to sit, stand, pray or the lyrics to any of the songs. The rules here seemed so different than my own church, just a few miles away. Filled with people who mostly looked like me.
 A few elderly African American women were seated next to me and were kind enough to attempt to make me feel welcome and tell me what to do. At some point Eunice, in a bright purple dress, slid her arthritic hand on top of mine, squeezed and tugged me to the front to pray.
 I let her lead me, because I didn’t how else to respond, and because she seemed so genuinely glad that I was there, singing off key next to her.

 It was not lost on me, that my slight discomfort was one of choice and ended just …

The annual REAL Christmas letter

One of my favorite traditions for a decade has been to sit down and try to write a REAL Christmas letter.  Not just the highlights, but a few honest moments as well. It started as a joke with one of my friends, thinking how refreshing it be for people to share more than just their perfect lives that we are used to seeing on Facebook and Instagram. It would be way more truthful and a whole lot more entertaining. Last new year, I had a friend ask me to come up with a word for 2018. I joked that my word was just going to be “done”. I was partly kidding, partly serious. The year ahead seemed daunting rather than full of promise and resolutions.  I had so many things to finish in the upcoming year that I needed to be “done” with: my degree, my job and my thirties. A few weeks later, my friend showed up with one of those string bracelets with the metal word “done” hammered in the middle. I wore it often, especially in those home stretches. Not taking it off until I had my last chapter writte…

game day

“But I don’t want to go to soccer, I’m tired”
says the boy who has been running circles around the living room for the last hour.

“No, I don’t want to wear my jersey”
says the same boy that slept in his uniform just last week.

And so I do what any good mom would do, which is start bribing my kid.
I promise him ring pops or pizza or new toys for having a good attitude, listening to his coach and trying his best.
But those things are not quite enough to make him eagerly lace up his cleats.

Owen actually loves soccer practice.
And is one of the best dribblers on the teams.
And he loves kicking the ball around the living room and in the front yard.
But games days are hell.
Instead of being a proud momma on the sideline snapping pictures
I am usually trying not to cry.
Because Owen has realized that he isn’t really good at it.
That the other kids are bigger and faster and score more goals.

And today his team won. And they haven’t won many games.
And they cheered and lined up eagerly for patches and sna…