I remember as a child there was a period of time when he would occassionally enter a room holding his arms over his shoulders body-builder style saying "Quien es Mas Macho?" in some crazy voice that wasn't his own. We would laugh and think he was weird, and probably a couple of us would go grab an arm and hang from it monkey-bars style.
I remember thinking I had the coolest dad on the block, maybe even the whole county, when he came home with a pair of checkered OP board shorts. All the cool kids wore OP, and Hang Ten, and now my dad did too!
And while this may be a mixed memory, I remember my dad screeching in to his parking spot in the front of the house, bringing the little white Fiat to a sudden stop which jerked the whole car into place, and hopping out to chase us all around the yard singing Devo's Whip-It! ( I also remember my mom giving him "the look" when he turned up "Teenage Enema Nurses (in Bondage)"-yes, that's a real song-on the radio when we were all in the car.
One of my favorite memories now was when mom and dad were saving up for mom's dream car...a champagne beige Peugeot station wagon. (Anybody else's mom ever long for a car with a name nobody else could say?) While they were saving the money they needed for the dream car, we drove around in a car they bought for a dollar from a ward member. It was an oxidized blue Ford LTD, complete with peeling white vinyl roof. We called it La Bomba, the Stadium Cruiser, the Battle Tank, etc. But there was a rule involved with riding in this car. No, it didn't have anything to do with seat belts, this was the 70's. Dad would NOT pull away from the curb until every occupant of that car had yelled at the top of their lungs, "Pigs In Spaaaaaaaaace!". Nobody was excused from screaming, not even guests.
I remember the year I was in sixth grade and we had a new principal at school. I don't know the dirty details of why and how my mom earned the nickname "THAT WOMAN" from the PTA, but I knew she owned it and wore it like a badge of honor. At some point "THAT WOMAN" (aka mom) had a meeting with the new school principal. Apparently it didn't go well. Suddenly I see my dad, all 6 ft of him, walking with that posture that meant somebody was in trouble, and it wasn't going to be pretty. He entered the principal's office and there was no point in hanging around. I went back to class. Later, I'll never forget the whispers going around what seemed like the entire school, "Lisa and Melanie's dad beat up Mr. Toth!!!" He didn't. But I think he wanted too. The next year I went on to Jr. High, and my sister and brothers went to a different elementary school. I wonder if I ever knew what the row was about? I don't remember, if I did.
Then there was the year that "Nancy" the girl who was in 7th grade, but rumor had it she was supposed to be in 9th grade, tried to sit on my dad's lap on the school bus on the way to Mountain High for the school ski club trip. That didn't go over very well.
Did anybody else's dad wear out a Social Distortion tape at any point? Mine did.
You know, I think there's alot I don't know about my dad. Peices of his youth that he's carefully tucked away. But what I do know about my dad is that he has always unconditionally loved us. And I love him.