Friday, April 28, 2006
My mother and I were talking today and she asked:
"What’s your earliest memory?"
I didn’t even have to think.
I have two. I can never distinguish which happened first.
I thought maybe she could help:
I’m 2 years old.
We’re driving in the truck, like we always did on Sundays.
I’m in my car seat.
I have no idea what was on the tape deck, but typically it was:
Van Morrison, Steely Dan, Allman Brothers
Jethro Tull, the Eagles, Jimmy Buffet
Rolling Stones, Beatles, Led Zepplin
As daddy always says: "A little Led for yo’ head."
We’ve stopped at a local place to get ice cream cones.
Dad’s about to go to the walk up window when he turns to me.
He takes off his cap, places it sideways on my head and says:
"Here toot, keep my hat safe."
The hat is so big on my head that it’s covering my eyes, but I don’t care.
He pinches my cheek and walks away.
A few minutes later, he comes back with ice cream.
The radio is still on and momma, per usual, is slapping my leg with the beat.
Something distracts her; the ice cream, a conversation with my father, whatever.
I took my free hand - covered in ice cream - grabbed her hand, put it back on my knee and said:
"Keep on sappin, momma, keep on sappin."
My mom laughs and says "I remember that. That’s one of my favorite memories of you. Do you remember anything else about that day?"
"There’s a picture somewhere. I think it’s at your house, in that brown leather album I brought you. When we were done eating ice cream, your father took you out of your car seat and stood you up on the truck bench. He told you to do your "setsy" pout, do you remember that? Your cousin Carmen was such a bad influence. So you looked at me, held the hat sideways and did your "setsy" pout while I took a picture."
If I can find the picture, I’m going to post it . . . scratch that, if I can find it AND figure out how to
post a picture.
I’m 2 years old.
We’ve moved from Denver, CO to Erie, PA because GE transferred my dad.
And because my mom’s entire family is there and she misses them.
I’m sandwiched between my dad and my grandfather on the couch.
I’m decked out in a Denver Broncos cheerleading uniform.
Which my mother informs me was the ONLY thing I would wear.
Well, that and a ratty old HUGE Steelers sweatshirt my Uncle Jim had given me.
(See, football addicted from the beginning.)
I’m eating cashews and watching the game with the men in my life.
I remember idolizing my father SO much that EVERYTHING he said, I yelled right after him:
"Oh GOD! What was that??!!" and I echo in an extremely dramatic voice "Yeah, God, what was that?!?!?!"
"You call that a pass??" I yell "That’s not no pass!" - blame that on my cousin Greg, he thought it was funny to teach us double negatives.
"Damnit all to hell!!!" and I yell, at the top of my lungs, "DAMNITALLTOHELL!"
And my mother swoops in from the kitchen to attack.
"Don’t teach her that stuff!"
Daddy’s answer: "Donna, it’s part of football. If she’s going to learn the game, she’s gotta learn to cuss. It’s a fact of life. Leave us alone."
Momma says the football memory happened first.
I have no idea.
I just remember being a daddy’s girl, loving the smell of his dirty old hat and learning to cuss.
Mom: "How can you remember that stuff? I barely remember it."
Me: "I don’t know. I could guess. Probably because those are some of the best moments with daddy."
Mom (tearfully): "You and your daddy, I swear."
See, it’s not just my brother.
It’s my daddy, too.
And my momma.