I would say my family growing up was somewhere between Leave it to Beaver and The Griswold’s. Honestly, we were more like the Griswold’s but my daddy, my daddy was Clark Kent. (Seriously, he looked just like Christopher Reeves!)
He would go to this mysterious place every morning in a suit, tie, wing-tipped shoes and these awesome black-rimmed glasses. He would climb in his Ford Granada, wave to us as we waited for the bus and off he would go to make us proud.
I pictured my daddy in meetings all day or sitting at a computer programming or just doing other important stuff like saving the day. I knew he worked in the tall blue building in Dallas and drove that 3-hour commute every day. He would come in from work, kiss my momma who was cooking dinner and then head back to his room to change out of his work clothes. In a few minutes, in would walk “night-time-daddy. We would sit at the table and talk and laugh and watch Wheel of Fortune.
But, every summer, my daddy’s Super Bowl would happen, a trip to my grandparent’s in Oklahoma. I think he actually lived for this trip each year. He would load up the station wagon, make sure all of us were sitting within an arm’s length of him, just in case, and plunk in a homemade cassette of his favorite songs. And then off we would go…5 hours in the car with four children, a wife and a stereo with tunes.
5 hours of tunes people…
We started our trip with Kenny Rogers. (The Gambler and Lucille) Then we would move to Elvis Presley and Marty Robbins (Love me, Blue Moon Turns to Gold, Paralyzed, How’s the World Treating You?, El Paso, Strawberry Roam)
And then, about an hour in, the fun would begin. Everyone knew it was coming. We would all sit up and get ready. Daddy would reach for the volume control, turn it up a bit and the conversation with Momma would end. Everyone cleared their throats, emptied our hands, just in case clapping need to happen, and knew exactly which part we each would sing.
“In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississippi
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans
We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin’
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began to runnin’
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico”
Good ole Johnny Horton would boom through the factory speakers. No one talked, messed with the sibling sitting next to them or asked to stop so we could go to the bathroom.
He made sure of it.
Along with Kenny, Elvis, Johnny, Waylon, and The Statler Brothers.
Happy Father’s Day to the man that taught us about God, the importance of working hard, how to love BIG and a Good Hearted Woman, Randolph Scott, and how to Sink the Bismarck.
I love you Daddy!!