My dad was such a character, I would love to have known him at the age he would have been now. If he had lived he would have been 94 in August.
He was one of those people that you knew right away if he liked you or not, because if he was pleasant and talked to you in a normal way he didn’t like you, but if he teased you until you were about to scream he really liked you.
The gas station he owned in Macksville was the place the men gathered for coffee and gossip every morning and afternoon. Dad teased one older farmer that came to the filling station for coffee constantly. When he opened the door to come in Dad would be on his case; calling him names and cussing at him.
The farmer would always wave and laugh at Dad and the other guys, get his coffee, set down and the gossip would continue. One morning when the farmer opened the door, Dad said, “Well good morning Mr. Smith (I don’t know his name) how are you today? Come in and have some coffee.”
Mr. Smith stopped half way into the room, with his hand still on the door handle and looked at all the men one at a time, and then at Dad. He stood frozen for a few seconds then backed out, quietly shutting the door. The room erupted in laughter as Mr. Smith drove off the drive.
15 minutes later Mr. Smith drove back onto the drive. He sat in his truck for awhile trying to decide if he should try again and finally got up the nerve to join the group.
When he opened the door and cautiously stuck his head in and looked around the room my Dad let him have it, cussing at him and calling him unholy names. Mr. Smith wiped a hand across his brow, came in and shut the door, poured a cup of coffee and sat down.
Dad and the group of men were trying not to laugh while he got his coffee. When Mr. Smith finally spoke, he said with a chuckle, “Man, I thought you were mad at me the first time I came to the door, you have never been that nice to me.” The room erupted in laughter again.
My mother always taught us that we should never take anything that was not ours, but my dad taught me to steal. He collected pens that had advertising on them and I was the only one that would pick them up for him. But he claimed it was not stealing, the pens were there to be taken.
Mom wouldn’t even stand at a check out counter with me when I started to look at a pen because every time I found one that I thought he didn’t have I would just put it in my purse.
Dad said the reason people put their business name on pens was so people would take them and it was cheap advertising because every time they used it they saw the name. When he passed away he had a mounted collection of 3000 pens.
You already know about my Dad’s ritual with the coffee and all the stirring, but he had a few other dinner table quirks that bear mentioning. I am not sure how he ever ate a meal that was still warm by the time he finished all his little tasks before he took his first bite.
After the coffee ritual, he’d put a tablespoon of peanut butter on his plate and add some white Karo syrup and stir it up. Once it was stirred to his satisfaction it was spread on a slice of bread. The bread was always left open and flat and he held it with two fingers on one corner.
Next he sliced the radishes into slices and they were laid out in a precise pattern on the table and each slice was sprinkled with salt.
His food had to be placed on the plate so nothing touched and if there was gravy or the vegetable had some liquid he would place his spoon under the other side of the plate so it would stay with the vegetable and not touch the other food.
When mom fixed hot dogs, he rarely ate them on a bun but just preferred to eat them as they were, well sorta. He would slice them into small bites and then dunk them in mustard that was on the side of the plate.
When he finished eating he always left the ends of the hot dog lying on the plate along with the pointed corner of the bread that his fingers had touched. Mom even tried cutting off the ends of the hot dog one time before serving them and he still left the end pieces on the plate. Mom just looked at me and shook her head.
After supper, which was always at 6:00 sharp, he would go immediately to his recliner to read the paper, and beside the recliner was a bowl of black licorice. He ate that all the time he was reading the paper. At 7:30 every evening he had a huge bowl of popcorn with lots of butter, and then at 9:00 he ate a bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup.
When we went on vacation my dad loved to eat at a Pancake house and he always ordered the deluxe waffle breakfast. It came with fresh strawberries on top of two waffles and so much whipped cream you couldn’t even see the waffles or strawberries. Then Dad would add 3-4 pats of butter on top of that and some syrup. Makes my teeth hurt just to think of eating that, but he loved it.
With all Daddy’s quirks when it came to food, he should have been huge but at 5’10” he never weighed more than 135 pounds fully dressed and soaking wet. Thank heavens I didn’t inherit any of his eating habits, but I wish I could eat like he did and not gain weight. To contact Sandy: [email protected]