Back in the early 1990s, when my sister Faith and I were at our very most awkward (I fervently hope that is the most awkward I will ever be!!) we displayed our intrinsic hipness by going from calling our Dad "Dad" to calling him "Dude" (keep in mind this was long before the Big Lebowski, although in my opinion, David Brainerd could give The Dude a run for his money in straight up coolness). I remember feeling a bit of excitement whenever I'd yell "I love you Dude!" in a crowd, like I was a secret badass.
Here are the facts:
- My Dad is cooler than yours
- My Dad has the best hair, and had no problem letting us style his tight curls into "Bozo the Clown" (even when we didn't have a clue who Bozo was)
- Even though he hasn't had a mustache since I was a teenager, any time I see a man with a mustache, I immediately feel a bit of fondness toward him because of my Dad's old 'stache
- The same goes for men smoking pipes
- Dad wore flannel shirts before they were cool in the nineties, and still wears them today (actually, they're the exact same shirts, and the elbows have pretty much disintegrated)
I have an amazing relationship with everyone in my family; we're a close bunch, and genuinely like each other (okay, I can only speak for myself, maybe there's an "I hate Jessy" club going on behind my back, but if there is - they're very good actors when we're hanging out).
Some of my best memories are of doing regular old stuff with Dad/Dude. I remember a particular trip to the dump (probably around 1987/1988), and Mom giving the usual warning of not bringing anything home. Sure, I remember it smelling pretty bad at first, but I got used to it - and then I discovered all the treasures! I remember being baffled at what kind of person would throw away perfectly good furniture, books with the covers missing, wood that could be made into something, and more! *I am pretty sure that we did not come home with less than we brought to the dump, but hopefully it was so super cool that Mom didn't mind.
Recently, my daughter asked me "Do you know what my favorite memory is?" I said "No," and she proceeded to reminisce about an awesome day at Dad's cabin a few years ago. We drove up for the day, went for a walk in the woods, and Dad did his usual foraging for chives and other woodsy snacks that I would have walked right past. I cooked up some chicken in the fire pit in his dooryard (this was before he had the chickens in the dooryard, so it wasn't a creepy thing to do), and we created art with our chicken - it was just a super chill, fun day - beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, all of that.
|Three generations of cool|
|Dad showing off his creation, and his information source|
It's memories like hers, and mine of the dump, that make me thankful I didn't grow up wealthy. While I'm sure that folks with plenty of money have plenty of great experiences, I don't know if they are as capable of finding beauty in the little things. Maybe that's way too judgey, I don't know.
The reason for all of my Dude-based-memories is that it's the big guy's birthday today!! He's a whopping sixty-one and seems to be improving with age. Some day, I look forward to hearing my grandchildren talk about their fun times out in the woods with the Dude, too.