Friday, November 11, 2011

Dear Old Dad

When I was growing up, my dad's temper in the car was a big time joke between my sister and I.  We'd sit in the back seat and cringe when anyone dared cut my dad off or drift out of their lane.  He would say things like, "Come on, you idiot!  It's easy, just step on the gas feed!"  Or, "What's this joker think he's doing?!"  He would pound the steering wheel and snort.  We'd dissolve into silent giggles stopping only when he glanced in the rear view.  But, the best thing he said when he had road rage was, "GOD BLESS AMERICA!"

It took me awhile to figure out why he was saying this.  As a small child I figured it was the patriotic equivalent to when people say, "Thank you, Jesus!" because they found the right type of peanut butter at the grocery store.  I thought he was just yelling out his love for our country because drivers were idiots and jokers.  But, he was saying "God Bless America," to keep from saying "God Dammit," in front of his two little daughters.

By the time I figured this out, it was too late.  I had a clear image in my mind of my dad as a patriotic dude who loved our country so much he yelled about it as he drove.  Later, I learned he'd been in the army.  This fact made me feel extremely proud when we learned about Veteran's Day in Elementary School.  I felt a repeat of that swell of pride a few years ago when my dad stood up with all the other vets at Sea World, of all places.

He doesn't really talk about his years in the service.  I take it that it was not happy times.  I'll never know what it did to him.  (He joined when he was right out of high school.)  All I know is that I'm proud of my father and grateful to him for his bravery and duty.

Happy Veterans Day and, GOD BLESS AMERICA!