In the Slow Lane

Fathers, Veggies and Movies

It's Fresh Veggies Day as well as Fathers Day, which in my case is a logical happening since my father definitely backed my mother when it came to veggies, fresh or otherwise, and pretty much everything else on your plate.  We heard the traditional "starving children of China" bit which of course was nonsense.  Did this strategy spark the eventual national explosion of childhood and otherhood obesity?  Anyhow, we cleaned our plates and if not obese, we are, shall we say, chubby.  


I love movies and I have to thank my dad for that.    I'm not sure if he took me to movie matinees every Saturday, but the pleasure center of my brain thinks so.  The ritual also involved an "all day sucker" which did not last all day, mostly because I bit off chunks of it.  My mom surely sighed in relief with me gone for an afternoon.  I was not a docile child.


When I was  9 or 10, my dad would give me a quarter for Saturday movies and popcorn.  (Our Colorado town was probaby a village, but we didn't call it that. Villages were in England and places like that.  Also we scorned umbrellas.  True it didn't rain much in my town, but umbrellas were kinda strange.  I dislike them to this day.  Give me hooded rain gear.) 


Anyhow, it was safe for a young child to walk to the movies and walk I did.  I loved going out alone,being with my friends at the movie.  And if I couldn't walk, or  ride my bike, I didn't go.  Parental Taxi Service was non-existent.  Yes, we had cars!


I'm looking at an old family photo that an Iowa cousin pulled out of the woodwork.  It's a group picture, three grownups and little old five-year-old me.  It must've been an in-law picture or.  My maternal grandmother's second of five husbands stands far left with hands behind his back.  Not a bad looking geezer, but what a loser!  More of Grandma's husbands later.  Next to him, a smiling in-law aunt  modestly attired in a long sleeved dress that appears to be crushed velvet.  Maybe her wedding dress as she was not long married.  Leaning away from the others a foot or so, stands my father natty in three-piece suit.  I stand in front of him, be-ribboned braids, pale flowered dress with pocket, (I still love pockets) dark socks, white sandals(!)**  My father holds me firmly by each upper arm presumably to stop my wiggling away.  I don't seem to mind.  The same half smirky smile plays on our lips.  His because he didn't much like the inlaws; mine because my eyes see mischief just around the corner.


My father's attiude toward relatives, these and others, sadly left me rather indifferent toward extended family.  A loss happily recovered in my old age.  Perhaps the treasure is sweeter for the delay?  I loved my father, and pity the harshness that kept our splendid family at arms length.  Sorry, Daddy.  They're fine folks!  Yes, yes, I'm eating my veggies. 


** This, no doubt, was my idea as my mother was impeccable in matters of dress.  

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