Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Father, The Hero

We are all familiar with the awkward cadence and tedious nature of reading a comic strip aloud to someone. They can't see the illustrations, or from whence the speech bubbles came, and thus, you are forced to not only read the text, but then supplement it with cumbersome commentary ("...and as LuAnn is saying this, she is cuddling their small dog, Puddles. And then she says...") It takes three times as long to read, and often, the punch line is so mired in detail by the time of delivery, you rarely get a chuckle from your audience.

I woke up to this horrendous performance-art this morning, as my father insists on doing this when he finds a comic funny. And now he actually has an excuse, as not one, nor two, but ALL THREE of my grandparents are staying with us for the week due to power outages at their homes. His mother, my grandmother, cannot see because of the progression of her Macular Degeneration, and likes to be read aloud to from generally all sources of material. My Papa gets impatient with her, and doesn't like to, so naturally, my father, The Good Son, will do it.

My dad is loving this weather. Portland has gotten an unheard-of amount of snow and ice, for a week-and-a-half now, which is longer than it ever sticks around. Not only does it remind him of his college days in New Hampshire, and when he worked on the ski patrol at Grand Targhee for a few winters, but increases the likelihood of opportunities to be a hero.

On Saturday, he looked at my mother as the snow began to fall heavily and said, "I need to get out to the property to get the chainsaw."
"What do you need a chainsaw for?" my mother wanted to know.
"In case people need rescuing!" Dad said jubilantly.
"Make sure you swing by the dry-cleaner on the way there to pick up your cape and tights," she said.

This is no new development: it is just the fall-out of a man having chosen the wrong career entirely. A few years ago, after he tried sky-diving for the first time, we were driving to a lunch spot to celebrate his successful jump. We were in two separate cars as Dad had gotten out to the jump site early that morning and we just wanted to see the action.
We were on the winding backroads of rural Oregon, and passed a crowd of people who had gotten out of their cars and were clustered around a man on the ground. We had to pull over while Dad got out of his car to see what was going on, and if he could offer his help.
Not more than five minutes later on the same road, we witnessed a car careen around a turn, and apparently, as Dad was behind us, he saw it flip off the road into someone's front yard. He was the first person at the scene and called the police and calmed the passengers and did his best to administer first-aid.
It was his ideal day, as once he finally got to lunch, he had a beer, too.

Last Christmas, we were visiting my Aunt and Uncle in Dallas, Texas. My uncle works for a government agency, which my dad thinks is "SO. COOL." and offered to take us to a shooting range to try our skills at shooting handguns.
I did okay.
My dad was awesome.

So being snowed-in in the suburbs is not exactly his ideal version of being a hero, but the patience with which he attends to his mother, pacifies Papa (Dad's gotten really good at making Old Fashioneds), and puts up with his mother-in-law is just as admirable as any act in the line of fire.

"How about this one, Mom. The little girl comes into her little brother's room and says.."

And me? I gotta get outta here.
All I want for Christmas is the snow to melt.


  1. Your dad is such a hero! I love these stories! I can't wait until the snow melts either! Sounds like you also have a house full. We got +1 more last night. My aunt has taken her place as mom and I am going to kill her. I wish I was drinking old fashions with your papa.

  2. I wish I could come rescue all of you and bring you to Eastern Oregon where it is okay if it snows!