Monday, December 2, 2013

It's the darndest things.

Last week was a supremely chaotic mix of relaxation, turkey, cold weather, lots of family time, and fun. It was also a week interlaced with grief over the passing of my beloved Dad. He's been gone for 7 years now.

Growing up, we my Mom had a very strict rule of no Christmas music or decorations until after Thanksgiving.

I'm a grown up now, an adult living in my own home. I only cringe a little bit thinking what a disappointment I must be to my Mom, playing my Christmas music way before her rule would allow.

Jubilant melodies tickled my ears as I was scrubbing toilets and wiping layers of dust away from the furniture.

I've long let go of my country music roots. But every once in a while, they creep back in and I can't help but enjoy the twang of my yesteryears.

The piano only had to play a few notes over the speakers before I recognized the song. Soon enough, the harmonic twangy voices of Alabama were taking me back to a different time and place.

They sang of a Tender Tennessee Christmas, but all I could picture was a gangly 9-year old me in hand-me-down Rockie jeans, black boots and my best western button up. My brunette hair fixed for a special time out with my sister and the most loving Dad. I should have been daydreaming about snow and Christmas trees and everything that glitzes in the lights. But my mind recalled picture after picture of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and the night my Dad took us to see Alabama there.

I have a lot of great memories of my Dad, who time after time showed his love for us in the most humble ways. I still have a hard time remembering to get my oil changed, or to even glance at my tires. Dad spoiled me in the worst kind of way and always, always, always took care of those things for us girls. I still miss his famously disgusting hamburger noodle casserole dish. Sometimes.

But one of my favorite memories of my Dad is the night he took my sister and I to see Alabama. We had walked around the Rodeo, saw lots of the side-show type things, went through the shopping area, and finally arrived in our seats. After watching the main Rodeo events, it was time for Alabama to play.  It was only after a few songs that I got a pretty bad fever. I decided I was well enough to stick it out for the rest of the show, but I was desperate for a pickle. (Don't ask. There's this weird thing in my family where all of us kids LOVE pickles.) My Dad, being ever so loving, went to the concession stand,  and stood in line only to find out that they don't sell pickles. But the HLSR had multiple kinds of concession stands. So, in my little mind, there could have been a small chance that maybe one of the other concessions stands sold them. My Dad only let out his trademark "sigh" and strict instructions for us to stay put before he went to search for a pickle for me.

He was gone for what seemed like hours, something I still feel slightly guilty about. Never found my pickle, but left me with a pretty great memory to mull over after all these years.

Dad and me on my wedding day. My Dad had a tough exterior, but was a big 'ol softy on the inside. 

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