Monday, September 20, 2010

Greetings Don Juan !

I've been looking forward to this day for a couple of weeks. Why ? I'll tell you why. Today marks the 20th anniversary of me da's death. This does not really make me sad. Sure I miss him and his goofball ways, but he is in a good place now and I believe wholeheartedly I'll see him again one day. So today I plan to spend time just remembering him and his uh...musical abilities among his other attributes.

My father loved to sing. Loudly. In the house, in the car, on the bus and most mass. He imagined himself to be Pavarotti with his "swing loooow, sweet chariot" renditions.  We kids cringed in the pews, embarassed AGAIN.  Funny guy my dad. The more we were appalled by what he did, the more he would do it. His voice getting deeper and lower and more dramatic. You would think we'd have caught on but we OShaughnessy kids weren't the brightest peat bricks in the bog.

He also loved to play instruments. OK, one instrument. The Worlds Smallest Record Player. See my demonstration below.

When we whined too much about an unfair deed or physical malady like a splinter in the foot, he'd pull out this special item. By rotating his thumb in a circular fashion over the top of his fist he created the World's Smallest Record Player, and play for us the always dreaded "My heart cries for you" melody. It was his way of saying "Get Over It !" We all knew this song was the precussor to his other world famous rendition of "I'll Give You Something To Cry For" which he would bring forth if he felt we lingered too long in the "Pity Party" phase.

Its not that dad wouldn't allow us to feel sad about something. He had a big heart to go with his big smile, but we weren't often allowed to drag the woe is me stuff out for too long. He would hug us, kiss us and then give us a push, a pat on the bottom and the ever famous "go on now, write when you get work." advice.

Advice. He loved to give advice on life. To his family, his co-workers, the man in the elevator. He'd start off his little lectures with "When one....(fill in the blank) does (fill in the blank) one should (fill in the blank)" Which is why the inner circles of our family would refer to him as Don One or later Don Juan.

The picture above was taken on his wedding day to our mom Thelma Lucille Durham. By the looks on their faces its obvious they liked the cool car they were in. OK, they also seemd to really like each other. Life however, was not always something to smile about. They struggled with money, wild teens, (my little sisters were such HOODLUMS), money ,a chronically ill child, money etc etc..but my dad retained his sense of humor 90% of the time. He was no saint, but he did quite well with the gifts given him doing so much better than the generations before him.

Yeah dad. We all miss you. You and your stinkin' little record player.

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