Fathers Day and my son and i were visiting my hometown of Knoxville in Tennesse. My Dad and Stepmom who do not have much in common with me or my son were difficult to be guests with. My stepmom is a very nervous sweet church lady. My Dad is an ex pastor and an overly aggressive hardsales man on anything he believes in. Slightly oblivious to how he effects others or their perspective. Both are very sweet, smart, and exhauustingly irritating. i adore them and irritate them equally with my opposing views and snarky wicked sense of humor.
A history of bad gifts from my Dad is the background for my secret delight in the day of comedic errors that transpired. As a little girl he mispelled my name on personalized birthday gifts or forgot my day all together. (right after Xmas who can forget that??) As an adult, previous visits when he was a bachlor left me and my son living on cereal and the kindness of strangers willing to take us to a food purchasing venue and he forgot his grandsons birthday. Promised a ride in a boat on the lake but tried to drown us in a leaky tin can with a lawnmotor on it. No amount of confrontation from myself or third parties has changed his behaviour. An apology is always genuine and then five minutes later a new insult or neglect is proferred. I have just made up my mind to love and irritate him unconditionally. And we work at forgiving each other.
Retribution secret glee at this day , which proceeded as follows.................................................................My Dad gave us his instructions for Fathers Day. Apparently not trusting us to make it AWSUM without precisely outlined schedule, menu, and gift demands. I viewed the workload and itinerary. It seems nagging and irritating his family into an early grave was not working fast enough. The trip had some potentially life threatening aspects for my mom who is a petite older lady and myself who am a heavy smoker. We are both in good shape but even my son would have trouble with the outdoor exursion planned to Clingmans dome in the Smoky mountains. A several hour hike up a literally ninety degree angle to a highest point in the mountains peak. Short on air and if we some how survived with a nice cliff he could just push us off. i remember collapsing and being carried up the steep trail as a child and having to trot the whole way down on return because the incline was so steep. Several falls and major to minor injuries from the trip stuck in my head. But i resigned myself to natures torture and good daughter duty along with the rest of my silently resentful family. Fuckin Fathers day, King Dad was really rubbing the peasants hard the wrong way and revolt was imminant. My Stepmom spent the prenight packing all his picnic lunch requests to specific order. The next morning at the crack of dawn my Dad was hitting alarms military style and rushing us headlong into our impending doom with drill sarge glee. This hit my tired frazzled Stepmom the hardest because of her nervous nature and desire to please. My son and i are more grumbly and resistant but we bit it back and made it into his vehicle for our excursion on a beautiful sunny day for misery in Dad realm. The vehicle chosen was my Dads "chick magnet" car. Black Convertable PT cruzer. Tiny back seats and limited storage area had our drive to the mountains stuffed to numbing capacity. The top down ensured no complaints as the wind pummelled us with bugs and air pressure while whipping us with our own hair at eighty miles an hour. My Dad drives like a maniac and thinks its hot and amusing to do dangerous stunts and race around. Add nausea to the picture and a pitchfork on the steering wheel and the image is complete. We arrived at the base of the mountain and the wind was replaced at the snail speed of thirty miles an hour while dodging beheading by low hanging branch protrusions on the slender road and waiting for a misstunt to drive us off the side of the mountain or into the river. Depending on which curve we were winding around. We kissed the ground when the car stopped at our hike location and i scraped my bugfilled hair out of my eyes to light my last smoke before the torturous walk. My Dad was almost skipping with glee and taking pictures of every fake smile we could muster. "Lets go guys," he barked. We reached the entrance to the the trail and my Dads first dissapointment of the day besides our lack of real enthusiasm. The whole mountain was CLOSED. A sign indicated that landslides were being cleared of dangerous debri as well as preventative measures against new treacherous rockslides. Another sign said BEWARE OF BEARS DO NOT APPROACH OR ATTEMPT TO FEED WILDLIFE. i wasnt joking about the danger aspect of our adventure. I said a silent prayer for outranking my Dad on our excursion via massive boulders and park rangers. We piled back in the PT deathtrap to find a new hike with my Dad showing sure signs of gripey with a side of pissy. The next hike was a beginners trail up to a sweet waterfall. I smoked the whole walk up and was satisfied that puffing away my stroll pace up the gentle slope was faster than my Dad could compete with. And it put me out of earshot for complaints or orders. God had a thing or two to say though, as a church group passed and yelled at my Dad to be saved by Jesus. Hilarious, but only.i found it amusing that his pious ego was poked and ironically God was telling him via teens to get a grip on his attitude. The waterfall was a beauty and i started to be really glad we came. Kids were playing in the water and people were doing tourist photos. It was a busy little spot. i enjoyed relaxing and watching people in small groups laughing and talking and splashing around. My son and i were doing our normal wiitty snippy banter and giving each other shit. But Dad was still pouting. Lunchtime was close due to the lengthy search for a new hike location. So in spite of how nice the spot was we didnt stay long. On the way back down the trail my Dad tripped and twisted his ankle. I wasnt happy about his pain and the accident made the walk down very slow. I went into Mom mode and chided him for his choice of sandals instead of sturdier hiking shoes or even tennis shoes, geez. i busted his chops and reminded him how grateful he should be the more dangerous and lengthy hike was unavailable. My Stepmom babied him and coddled him the whole way down. He snubbed me and whined to her milking the attention. But he still drove the car when we got back. So much for his owwie. We had to search for the picnic spot way past the point of sanity. My son pestered my Dad with a, "Knock knock??" "Whos there??" "Starvation" "Starvation who??" "me and you."
He beat the joke so hard my Mom and i were laughing until it hurt because of how true and comical his delivery was. My Dad laughed in spite of himself. i think it made him more irratable too. Even when we found tables he was.picky about seating and chose a spot where the sun was shaded on his side but not on ours. Evil genius is on his resume next to i hate to lose. My mom searched the trunk...."oh noooo," she groaned. I felt the ship hit the proverbial iceburg. Wheres the picnic basket!!??!! An argument ensued regarding who and how and where and why it had been left behind. The finest point was she was not accepting blame for being rush mauled out the door. YAY MOM!! We still had the cooler with drinks, fruit, pimento spread, potato salad, and baked beans. We had no plates, bread, or utensils to eat with and all the chips and cookies and special treats were sitting in the driveway feeding no one but ants. It took my Dad a half hour to buy a five dollar loaf of bread before we could start eating and he refused to buy utensils so we had to use lids as plates and finger spread our food when we finally got to eat. The knock knock joke matured into a running joke. Whos There?? DADS SMOKEY MOUNTAIN BREAKDOWN. i gave my dad his card and he looked at my heartfelt sentiment which ended in i love you and his name miispelled. He never said a word about the purposeful error and the appropriate gift made him smile as he crowed, "how did you know what i wanted??" "ummm detailed instructions, a map to the right store, and the name of the salesman to contact??" i huffed. I was about to be throttled, but fuck it i had food to lure bear support if neccessary. Just try to outrun me and my smoke, in sandals hopalong. HAPPY FATHERS DAY to the princess of "King Pomp@$$ in the land of oblivious. Long live the Dad and grant his subjects patience and humor to support his sturdy reign. Amen.
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