Dad didn’t change when he grew up, but continued to be the biggest tease in town wherever they lived. He said if he didn’t tease a person or pick on them he didn’t like them. I told my husband the whole time we dated that Dad liked him, because he picked on him all the time, but he never believed it.
Then it took almost a year for him to loosen up with my Dad after we were married. One of Dad’s favorite tricks when someone new was eating with us was to try and stick their thumb in the butter or mashed potatoes. He thought that was hilarious. He tried it on my husband several times till my husband got smart and figured out how to foil his attempt.
When you played games with Dad, you knew ahead of time that you were going to lose no matter what. He loved to play Croquet and Wahoo. In both games you have the chance to knock someone out of play or make them start over. If he had the choice to finish the game and win or knock you out of bounds in croquet, or send you home in Wahoo, that was what he was going to do.
When we played Pitch with my folks, it was always the guys against the gals, and my Mom and I always thought that he had some signals set up with my husband. We could never seem to beat them. Dad could make a 9 bid with only a single card in the suit that he had bid in, and usually it was not a face card. My husband usually had what he needed to take the points. Sound a little fishy?? It did to Mom and me too.
My Dad ran the local filling station in a small town and even though it sat next door to the restaurant, his filling station was the place that all the men came for coffee and to gossip. There was one old farmer that loved to come in there. He loved all the teasing that was aimed at him by my Dad in particular.
The minute the old farmer would open the door and stick his head in, my Dad would start calling him names and cussing at him, and the guy would just laugh, and wave his hand at everyone, then get his coffee and sit down and start talking.
One day he opened the door, and Dad said, “Good morning Mr. Smith, come in and have a cup of coffee”. Mr. Smith didn’t even let go of the door handle, but stood looking around at all the guys with this worried look on his face and then slowly backed out the door, closed it and left. The whole place erupted in laughter.
About an hour later Mr. Smith came back and gingerly opened the door, stuck his head around the edge and looked around at all the guys. They were all doing their best to keep straight faces, when Dad started in on him like he always did.
Mr. Smith just smiled and then laughed while wiping a hand across his brow and said: “Man I thought you were mad at me for something when I was there earlier and that is why I left.” Then he came in and got some coffee, and sat down.
In the first year we were married, we would stop at my parent’s house on the weekends to see them. Every time Dad came home for a meal and we were there, he would tell my husband that he had run into his car when he came into the drive. My husband would laugh and say, yeah, sure you did.
Then one evening Dad had left to go back to the filling station, but he came back into the house almost immediately and said and to my husband, “I just hit your car when I was backing out of the drive.” My husband laughed and said, “Yeah, sure you did.” Then Dad looked at him very strange and said, “No I really did this time.”
Dad’s pickup had a board about 4 inches thick and about 16 inches high and as wide as the bumper, with rubber covering the flat part of it. He used it to push cars with. But this time he had run the edge of it that was unprotected down the side of the car, from the front wheel well to the taillight. He never came in teasing my husband about hitting his car again.
When I was little and spent so much time with my Grandmother Pearl, my Dad worked at the local lumberyard. He found out that Grandmother hated for someone to send her a bill in the mail. She usually paid cash for everything or there was an understanding that everything would be paid off after harvest.
Dad delighted in making up a fake bill and mailing it to her just to get her red headed Irish temper in an uproar. Then he would just sit back and wait. She fell for it each time he sent one, and she would blow up and call the lumberyard and fuss at them until they told her it was not a bill from them.
Then she knew exactly where it had come from, and I would hear her swear to get even with him. Then when he came to pick me up that evening, she would let him have it, and he would just laugh at her, which only made her madder.
Nothing in life was more fun for my Dad than getting someone riled up and sitting back and watching the fireworks. He could really play the innocent, and usually got away with it until he couldn’t stand it any longer and busted up with laughter. Then the jig was up and the mark would swear vengeance. Dad would usually just chuckle and walk away, knowing that it was nearly impossible to get even with my Dad the tease. To email Sandy: firstname.lastname@example.org