Have you ever thought that maybe God has a really good sense of humor? When I look at my life, I feel like I’m pretty good at most things as long as I have some time to learn it or tackle it. But then there are those few things that I’m just inherently bad at. They’re pretty random, and it just makes me wonder whether, when making me “in the depths of the earth” and “knitting me together” in my mother’s womb, God thought he would just leave a few screws undone for kicks. Like, once a year my pinky toes try to fall off my body. Yep, they split at the base and go Weeeeee we we all the way home. And then I have this thing with choking. Tonight I was happily chewing my shepherd’s pie when it somehow fell down my throat. Thomas only raised his eyebrows at me as I froze and then choked it back up. If I die young, I’m betting that will be the cause. I’ll be gagging on the floor and Thomas will tell everyone, “Oh, she’s fine. It just went down the wrong pipe.” However, it comforts me to know I’m not the only one who’s got some Divine Kinks thrown in the mix. Cuz my kids ain’t quite right either. We were eating dinner with friends a few weeks ago when the kids got into the dog food. Usually we’re all over what they’re doing, redirecting them to something else. But that night we were in the middle of a serious conversation, so we pretty much shrugged our shoulders and ignored them. Choking and gagging noises grabbed our attention. We looked down and saw all three (dog and two kids) gobbling up food as fast as they could. Like ACTUALLY EATING IT… And they’re all gagging on it as they go. Ginger was choking down the food as fast as she could. Apparently, in our house, we don’t practice hot dog eating contests, only dog food eating contests. (Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure I remember hearing a story that my uncle used to sample all the different dog food brands with his college roommate.) Ginger choked and then Luke copied her. Or maybe he actually was choking from so much food in his mouth because I swiped out 11 pieces! My dad would have said, in a voice that was a mix between Forrest Gump and the guy from Dumb and Dumber, “They just ain’t right.” He would also frequently say to me, “I got a crack in my but-tox.” I KNOW for a FACT that God had a sense of humor when he made my daddy, because he was the king of goofy. Writing this, though, we all sound kind of special, don’t we… It must run in the family!
And now, to honor my one-of-a-kind, hilarious, sweetest man you ever met Daddy, I’m going to share a poem I wrote about him after he died. I posted it on Facebook years ago, and it still describes him so well.
A golfer, a joker, no socks with his loafers.
Tan skin, Harley Davidson.
Leather chaps and an achin back.
Black Gold, Texas Tea, he loved those Beverly Hill Billies.
Rockin chairs for lightning shows. Walkin to the pond with fishin poles.
Silly songs and bear hugs. Black coffee in those circus mugs.
He loved the Bible and peanut butter cookies,
and Hobo, PD, and our cat named Pookie.
He was Blade, TL, a really proud dad.
Losing him made me sad.
But look at this list- I could go on and on!
I was certainly blessed to know Terry Long.
I thought about him earlier today, and I realized that he was unapologetically himself. He was so goofy and endearing, but I remember being embarrassed by him as a kid. My first memory of embarrassment was riding up to school in his beat up old Ford that he had just for fun. I was only in the third grade, but I asked him to stop at the curb as soon as possible. Can you believe that? And when he wore his overalls tucked into his camel boots and a Harley shirt underneath to our high school football games, I begged him to wear something “normal”. I’m ashamed now thinking about it.
Our household just fell in love with the Greatest Showman. We watched it the other night, and we’ve been listening to the soundtrack ever since. The lyrics to one of the songs struck me, and I think this could have been his anthem:
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
Greatest Showman, “This is Me”
Last thought about my dad for this post- despite shining as a unique and confident individual, my dad didn’t outshine others. He always SAW them and made them feel special and loved. I hope I can be like him one day.
Fourth of July, 2006