Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Moment of Dad..."Objets d'Dad" (forgive me if the spelling is bad)

Today's "Moment of Dad" is all about stuff...in particular, stuff I associate with my dad.

Over the course of Dad's life, he accumulated lots o' stuff. Heck, I have lots o' stuff already and I'm half his age. It's a human thing...some of us cut out the dead wood and some of us hoard it, saying, "Well, I might NEED it someday..."

Dad wasn't a packrat really...but there are some things that I immediately associate with my dad. I already talked about Dad's cigs and the cigarette smoking habit therein, so there's that.

But there's other stuff.

First, there's shoe polish.

Yep...you read it right. From the time I was little, the sight and smell of shoe polish meant "Dad was near". He usually used black Kiwi polish, but later on he also bought Meltonian stuff in various fancy colors for our shoes. But no matter what color, it all smelled the same. It smelled like Dad.

Dad could polish shoes like nobody's business too...those years in the Army and Army Reserve made sure of that. He taught Ruthi and I to polish our own shoes, and I even gave a "how to" speech on shoe polishing in my freshman rhetoric class. I got an "A" because my teacher didn't know how to polish her shoes.

Next, there was a certain dental appliance our family called "flossy sticks".

Basically, they looked like little hacksaws, only instead of a blade there's a taut string of dental floss.

Dad had them all over the house...he had them in the bathroom, on his bedside table, and in the livingroom in a cut-glass bowl next to his chair. He used them all the time, after meals...he'd sit and watch TV while flossing his teeth. I tried them a few times but I couldn't get the hang of 'em. But he was a believer in the power of the "flossy stick".

Other stuff associated with Dad included...

Reading materials
...his choices included: science fiction books, political intrigue books, westerns (Louis L'Amour was one of his fave authors), Guns & Ammo and American Rifleman magazines, the local paper and the Des Moines Register...sometimes National Geographic...maybe a gun manual or two. But they were in close proximity, that's for sure.

Coffee mug
...I don't remember Dad using a personalized mug, but maybe he did. His coffee mug was like another appendage. I remember he'd put off Mom, Ruthi or myself by saying, "I'll do it when I'm done with my cup of coffee." It got to the point where I would peer into the coffee cup and estimate how many swallows he had left, then tell him the number. He wasn't exactly thrilled about this talent of mine.

Hats vs. Caps...The reason I noted this next item the way I did is because while Dad rarely wore hats, he did wear a cap almost all the time. There's a difference.

For a while, it was a camoflage cap from one of his Army Reserve uniforms. He did take it off to sleep at night, but if there was anything Dad wanted to remember, into the cap it went. It became a depository for anything that needed to be mailed, including letters to my foreign and domestic pen-pals. Dad also put his wallet and keys in it before he went to bed.

Gradually, the camo cap became...shall we say...DISGUSTING? He hadn't figured out a good way to wash his cap so it'd keep its' shape, so the camo cap gave way to his precious Black Velvet (as in the liquor) hat. He wore that almost as long as the camo model, but before he passed he alternated the Black Velvet cap with a Guinness cap.

But unless it was a social occasion of some sort, the cap never came off. That was just a rule of the universe...you don't spit in the wind, you don't remove the mask from the Lone Ranger, etc.

So now I put the question to you, fair readers...what objects, when seen by you, make you think of your dad or mom? Put your answers in the comments, please...it should be fun to see what memories come up!