Meet the Lites – Daddy II
Good morning, y’all. It’s so hot here that I swear Satan has gone North for the summer. Of course Mulva’s pastor, the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread is convinced the devil is still here amongst us working his evil. We must remain ever vigilant.
When I left off last night, Daddy was returning from the war. I left out one very important point of historical significance. When Daddy was being transferred from the European theater to the Pacific he stopped by home long enough to impregnate Mom with my sister Charlotte. Daddy left to fight the Japanese and Mom stayed behind to begin her War of the Roses with my sister.
Daddy returned home along with tens of thousands of men all looking for jobs at the same time. As stated before, Daddy’s interests never fell towards manual labor, and even though he was able to make a nice living as a heavy equipment operator, he was always looking for better odds. During this time, Daddy contracted with Mr. A.C. Down to clear the land for TackyToo. Mr. Down was well on his way to becoming the Donald Trump of trailer parks. Sometime after the park was cleared, and the homes started to be drug into place, Daddy made a life decision. The story is told that after a particularly hot summer’s day, and an excruciatingly devastating bout with the hemorrhoids, Daddy climbed down out of the cab of the bulldozer to never return. During this lull in employment he created his greatest work, me.
Daddy could sell, his quick wit, good humor and desire to be well liked made his transition to the insurance business as slick as grass through a goose. He could add a column of three figures as easy as you or I recite our phone numbers. He could tell hundreds of jokes and was, as Mom said, “as funny as Herb Shriner”. Whoever that was. We prospered to the point that they added my little brother Jackson in the early 50’s. We bought a Cadillac, unheard of in our community. Mom bought a boarding house to run as her enterprise. Times were good, right up to when the wheels came off.
Daddy was an insurance man, and a gambler, he was a father of three, and a gambler, he was a Deacon in the church, and a gambler. Whoever Daddy was, part of him was always a gambler. If I view the situation from 50,000 feet, and use the cloudy lens of time, I can see how the War could have shaped someone who wanted the big score without the big effort. Groups of men confined to groups of men, all under high stress, are going to find their ways to deal with the stress. My Daddy’s personality and math skills pointed him to gambling.
Daddy’s willingness to have it all, and lose it all, were proof of his addiction as surely as my belief that I can take just one drink. You know that the only way to stop the pain of the addiction is to quit cold, but until Mom threatened to leave, Daddy didn’t know the pain. Once the pain started, it never stopped. With but a few minor victories over the course of his life, Daddy had peaked at thirty-four. The next forty four years were spent in brief ups and downs on the bottom rung of life.
Well, like they say, “Pain makes you stronger, tears make you braver, heartbreak makes you wiser, and alcohol makes you forget all of that crap.”
It’s late, we’ll plumb the depths of my soul some more tomorrow, right now I need to call my sponsor.