Saturday, June 28, 2014

Mailman in shining armor

My father could be a great conversationalist, but he was more often a story teller. A commentator. Sometimes a dictator. Oh sure, a benevolent dictator, but a dictator nonetheless. (I think I inherited that from him and I'm not nearly as unhappy about that as I probably should be, but I digress...)

Some of the things Daddy said were arranged so that you might think you were having a conversation. But you were really being directed.

As I mentioned in Part 3, my father's soft heart shone through, even in some of the dictatorial moments.

He found a shaggy, flea-ridden, puppy behind a dumpster on his rural mail route one hot summer day when I was in high school. He put her in his car, gave her melted ice from his Coke, and drove around the rest of the route with a scroungy little passenger. We already had two dogs. When he came home with her that afternoon, Daddy poured himself a glass of iced tea (sweetened, of course), suggested we I make a pot of fresh coffee, got his newspaper, and settled himself in a lawn chair in the shade of the back yard. There transpired a series of directions to me, each issued with a heavy sigh as he took a break from his newspaper.

What a scraggly little puppy! She got car sick on the way home. You'd better give her some water and let her walk around in the shade to feel a little better before I take her to the shelter. (back to newspaper)
I dutifully gave her a bowl of water and sat with her in the shade.
What an ugly little dog! They've probably already fed the dogs at the shelter. You'd better feed her and give her some more water before I take her to the shelter. No one will want her if she's whining for food. (back to newspaper)
I gave her dog food and fresh water. Spent more time sitting in the shade with her beside my father's lawn chair.
What a dirty ugly little puppy! No one is going to want to adopt a dog that looks like that and smells that bad. She's covered with fleas, too. You'd better give her a bath and brush her before I take her. Maybe that will better her chances of being adopted. You can bring me a cup of coffee when you bring the soap.
I washed her in the back yard with the garden hose. While not much prettier, the flea population took a hit and the pleasing scent of Ivory dish washing liquid did a pretty good job of covering the smell of dirty dog and puppy vomit.
Well, the shelter's closed now. It'll have to wait until tomorrow.
I told my mother the story of the plan, that my father would be taking his foundling to the pound any day - just as soon as his schedule allowed. I wanted her to stop him so we could keep the odd little puppy.
Mom, in a long suffering voice: Lisa, you know your father never had any intention of taking that dog to the shelter, don't you?
The dog was christened Missy, maybe because he called her "little missy" as she followed him around. She adored my father.

He was her mailman in shining armor.

Mine too.

Stay tuned for Part 5, which captures the most important relationship in my father's life.

1 comment:

  1. Love it - And glad you inherited his story telling abilities. You make it where I can see it happening.