My dad hated cats. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely accurate. My dad loved his golden retrievers so much that perhaps the cats just suffered from being undogly. (Ungodly is a word…so undogly must be, right?) Anyway this one time we went to someone’s house, and their cat was pestering (as cats do) the one person in the house that least appreciated its attention: my dad. So when the host wasn’t looking he just reached over his shoulder and flicked the offending animal in the nose. And killed it. It fell dead behind the couch, and legend has it, he never told them what happened. I say legend, because my dad was inordinately proud of that story, so maybe it was a tall tale. But then again, probably not.
Family stories. They are the glue that holds us together. Once when I was pretty small we stopped in a Nevada casino for dinner. While my dad checked on a table, my mom looked at us little kids and said, I have this one quarter in my purse, and I’m going to put it in a slot machine, just so I can say I did it. We don’t even have to tell Daddy. Well, by the time my dad came back, there were so many quarters pouring out of the machine that employees were catching them in bowl after bowl, like rainwater coming from a big leak in the ceiling. I thought it pretty much rocked, but my mom was mortified.
I had my moments as well. When I was a new mother living in a cute little apartment in Irvine, DK and I shared a car, so during the day when he was at work, the stroller was transportation. I pushed Josh in the stroller to the grocery store, and since he was one year old (and because I was a bad mother) he knew what candy was, so I went through the one check-out aisle that did not stock candy. All was well until I got home, lifted up the blanket and found that my sweet little baby had filled the stroller with about twenty packs of cigarettes.
That same baby became a 16-year-old with a crisp new driver’s learning permit. And on the first night that he used it, he had a fender-bender. Well, that may be something of an understatement. He hit the gas instead of the brake in Albertson’s parking lot, and with the Suburban, actually went over a parking median and a tree to hit a Mercedes so hard that it flew backward and hit yet another Mercedes and a Toyota pickup. He still says it was the worst day of his life. That is probably because he is only 23. There will be plenty more to choose from. That night we learned that it is possible to destroy multiple vehicles and full-grown trees, without even getting a dent in a Suburban. The owner of the Mercedes that we completely totaled put his arm around Josh, and told him that in a few years he would tell his kids about it and laugh.
Come to think of it, we probably didn’t laugh about any of these experiences when they happened. Only later. I have to admit, that gives me hope. We’ll probably laugh about this later…
Disclaimer: The fact that my one-year-old had a taste for sugar was not entirely my fault, either, as my mother-in-law introduced him to cheesecake before he had even tasted rice cereal.