Who’s Fooling Who?

November 7, 2007

Every once in awhile when I write about one or both of my parents, I receive comments about how wonderful they must have been. It could be because I portray only the positive aspects of their lives as I remember them. In reality, my father passed away when I was 18 years old, so I only really knew them as a couple for a short time, and from a youthful perspective. It’s pretty easy to see the good if that’s what you are looking for. And it works for me. So yes, I guess you could say they were pretty wonderful.

But! Perfect as they were, they had flaws just like the rest of us. Occasionally they would bicker. My dad would push the envelope just a tad too far and my mom would tear it wide open leaving nothing but the tattered paper flying in the wind. Those who remember my mom would agree that she had a bit of a stubborn streak. Just a bit, mind you. After she said her piece, she would immediately administer the Silent Treatment. She was more than good at it. She had it darn well perfected. In fact I would say that she was The Master, bar none.

Initially this bothered me terribly. From the eyes of a child it was down-right mean spirited. After all, he was my dad. And she was my mom. And that was not at all the way we play together nicely. Try as he did, there wasn’t much he could do to bring her around. She remained steadfast.

It didn’t take long for me to pick up on the ritual. My dad would tick her off, she would freeze up like a block of ice, he would test the temperature a couple of times, and then casually saunter out to the car, climb inside and drive off into the sunset. It didn’t bother her at all. She knew he’d come back, and he always did. And by the time he did, she had warmed up to a tolerable level. What was this strange dance that they had perfected so well?

Eventually I learned the rest of the story…

Tucked deep inside the dark recesses of the trunk of my dad’s car was a shiny silver tackle box filled with brightly colored lures, a myriad of hooks, sinkers, and bobbers, and any other implement known to red-blooded fishermen of the day. Along side lay his prize rod and reel.

So I ask you, “Did the itch to fish precipitate the need to bicker?” Or “Was the treatment really a way to obtain some silence?” Inquiring young minds want to know.



10 Responses to “Who’s Fooling Who?”

  1. mjd Says:

    I love your post and the very colorful metaphors, one right after another. “My dad would push the envelope just a tad too far and my mom would tear it wide open leaving nothing but the tattered paper flying in the wind.”…priceless. You really are a wonderful writer.

    Maybe we are fortunate to remember the past and our parents in a positve light. But, of course, they were real people with faults as well as virtues.

    Maybe the answer to your question is a little of both.

  2. coffeypot Says:

    Mine had faults.

    Unfortunately some of my dad’s faults have fallen on me, too. It doesn’t make me like either of them any more now that I understand where they were coming from. It’s just that I see some of them in me. Dammit! I guess it’s true that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I just wish the tree had been on a steep hill.

  3. her indoors Says:

    i agree with mjd this is so beautifully written, wish i could write like this.
    of course we always portray the good, it should be the good memories that outshine the bad, and of course all partnerships have the ups and downs and we all have good and bad in us thats what makes us us.
    sorry you lost your dad at an early age, but it is wonderful that you have these lovely memories of him together with your mum.

  4. corky Says:

    Nice fish! Looks like a Northern Pike, and I love the pic. The silent treatment kills me. I have no patience for it.

  5. dilling Says:

    Ah, well, we all are human, after all. Heheheheh. I think your Dad was a clever man.

  6. Hilary Says:

    I guess it depends on who you ask, but knowing an avid angler rather well, it wouldn’t fully surprise me if the tiff was the means for the getaway.

    I agree with the others.. beautifully written. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. dilling Says:

    Hey, I just got my issue of No Depression magazine in the mail and John Fogerty is the cover story. You should go get yourself a copy…and if you can’t find it anywhere, let me know and I will mail you mine when I am done with it.

  8. Betty Says:

    My mother made noise when she was mad. Slammed doors and cabinets, pots and pans crashing on the stove and counter tops. I would have welcomed some silence. lol

  9. gawilli Says:

    Thanks Mjd – I think it probably was a little of both also. And it appears that in the end, they both were happy.

    Coffeypot – I like to think that I am a little like both of my parents, both good and bad. I can’t pull off the silent treatment though. Not to say I haven’t tried! It’s just that I can’t stay mad that long – an old softy I guess.

    Thanks Her Indoors – I agree that our ups and downs are just like everyone else’s. My mom used to say that for every Jack there is a Jenny – you just have to find the right one. It’s nice how it works out that way. As for my dad, I have lots of wonderful memories of him, but I do wish I would have had the chance to know him as an adult. I think he had a lot to offer. I am glad for the time I did have.

    Corky – That is a Northern Pike! The first time I caught one was terrific up until the point when they made me throw him back because he was under the limit. Dang. It was the biggest fish I had caught – but in the end just a baby.

    Dilling – I think he was a clever man, also. I am glad he let me in on his little secret though. We’ll have to pick up No Depression – thanks for the tip! We had a subscription for the longest time, but just let it lapse.

    Thanks Hilary – I wonder how he kept from showing his glee of being able to fish up until the point where he got past the house!

    Betty – Maybe she should have just sent your dad fishing! I often wondered why my parents just didn’t cut to the chase.

  10. daddy d Says:

    Wonderful story. That is a great question as well. It could have been either way. Probably it was one way at one time and the other way at some other time. However, it is good to keep one’s tools in the car ready to go to work, should the chance come around.

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