We’re coming up on the anniversary of my father’s death. I can’t believe he’s been gone four years. It seems like I just saw him and yet it feels like forever. I was writing Gabriel’s Bride when Daddy died. That’s why I dedicated the book to him.
But I prefer to remember good times. Like the time I dropped the homemade ice cream (which hadn’t set up yet) in front of the open side-by-side freezer. He helped me “clean it up” with the towel my stepmother had used as a cape when she cut his hair earlier. The freezer was full of splattered, re-freezing ice cream and hair trimmings. What a mess!
And I love all the things we did together. He used to let me help him reload shotgun shells. I thought I was so big! And all the times he would give me a dime to buy a NuGrape, then tell me he needed to try it–to make sure it was good enough for me, he would say. He would guzzle the entire bottle. Time and again. Once I got teary eyed, he would actually let me have it. He was quite a character!
This week I ran across a blog post I wrote just after he died. And I wanted to share it. One of my favorite memories for sure. And perhaps Jeff Foxworthy could add it to his You Might Be a Redneck bit in his stand-up. But for now, I’ll call it You Might Be Country If…
Funny story. Some of you may know that my father passed away recently. (This is not the funny part. Just bear with me.) You may also know that I was raised in the *country* and my daddy was a big hunter. He didn’t want a funeral service (he’s just that kind of ‘Simple Man’) but we knew that we would need to do something for us to help us accept that he was gone. The decision was made to cremate his body and spread his remains at his two favorite hunting sites. (Still not funny, I know; I’m getting there.) So my family and a few close friends got together to take his ashes into the woods.
While there my sister was stung by a bee. I’ve been told my entire life the best thing to do for a bee sting is to place tobacco on it to draw out the poison. Now at this redneck service there was–of course–chewing tobacco. Remarkably enough, no one in the group actually had it in their mouth, so they wet it with a beer. Yeah, no one had water, but there was beer. My sister was having trouble keeping the tobacco in place on her hand. So someone kindly offered to secure it–with duct tape! Yes, folks, they duct taped beer-saturated chewing tobacco to my sister’s hand during what was essentially our father’s funeral. I have only one thing to say: Dad would have been so proud!
I used to say that Foxworthy could use my father as inspiration for You Might Be a Redneck. But if you have a recliner in your deer stand, you must be a redneck, and my daddy surely did. But if no one believed it before his memorial service, they definitely knew it was true after!
But being country ain’t so bad. I mean, it isn’t. We certainly have lots to laugh about! Even when times are sad. I miss my dad, but I remember the good times, every chance I get!
And if you ever wonder why I write books about ordinary, small town people with everyday problems and real relationships, well, now you know. It’s what I know. And
Thanks for reading!
And don’t forget to leave a comment. Tell me, are you country or city? At the end of the month, I’m giving away an autographed book to one lucky commenter.