Hello again, friends:) Your social media feeds are likely to be wearing on your last nerve, right? Lemme help with that.
It’s that time of year…a combination of ridiculous work hours + the anniversary of my father’s passing in 1998. You’d think after all this time, it would get easier, but I promise you, it does not.
BUT- even though it does not get easier, it gets…well…. different. And it ain’t all bad! Let me explain why I chose the caption above to describe this time of year.
I work for a Cisco partner, and Cisco’s end of year is mid to late July. My job is wonderful. The people I work WITH and FOR are wonderful. However, the time between May 1 and July 31st make ME not so wonderful. Just ask my family and co-workers. I am an insane bitch from hell and am not even afraid to admit it. My team and I work countless hours to make sure we meet our goals, and though we try to meet and succeed them, sometimes we fall short, though not always our fault. My youngest daughter said it best, about 8 years ago around this time. As I held my temples by each of my index fingers, she stood beside me before her bedtime and said “Mommy, I HATE your job.” She hated that I spent so much time after hours working at the kitchen table. I detracted from the time I spent with her, though I tried my very best to only work when she was asleep. She was around 8 then. Now she is 16 and as long as I feed her, she is good with whatever! My job can sometimes be stressful, but it is only these few months that it is this stressful. The PRO’s FAR outweigh the CON’s!
Combine the above-mentioned work deadline-insanity with June 29th, which is the anniversary of my Daddy’s passing. Now you know why they created “emotion-enhancing medications”. Or you realize why I need beer or wine by the case. LOL.
Though this time of year is hard for me work-wise, it is hard for me emotionally. It is not only hard for ME- it is hard for those people that love me. If you truly know me and love me, you know that being Don and Linda’s daughter is quite honestly, one of the things I am most proud of. I love to tell stories about my upbringing. Hence the caption of my blog entry. You KNOW you want to know why I chose this tale, of alllllll the tales, right!?!?!?!?!
In the Wild, Wonderful state of West Virginia, circa 1984-ish, one could get her driver’s permit at the age of 15. You could get your license at 16. I was 14 at the time of this story. No permit. No license. Just my daddy, after way too many Jack +Cokes had happened as we left Tygart Lake in Grafton, WV. I spent every summer there from the age of about 7/8 to the age of 16. To this day, there is NOWHERE I would rather be…..but back to my story…
Daddy let me drive once before (without aforementioned permit/license) from Grafton to our home in Bridgeport. I once drove our very- ugly-2-tone-Chevy-with-the high-beam-lights-on-the floorboard- VAN from Grafton to Bridgeport. It’s about a 20 minute drive on those beautifully famous, wonderfully glorious, West Virginia windy-breathtaking back roads. On this date, would I drive a blue compact Datsun something that my Dad used for business travel.
(This situation is likely where I learned the phrase “It seemed like a good idea at the time!” mantra that I still adapt to seemingly negative every day situations.)
Another phrase I use often is “Welp. There I was. Minding my own business…when all of a sudden….”
Nowadays, yall know it’s either tragic or entertaining if I start a sentence with… “Welp…there I was.””
And yet, there I was! 14 years old in Grafton, when my Daddy says, “Dawn Marie, do you wanna drive home?”
What? Hell-to-the-yes,-Daddy-I-Wanna-Drive-Home! So there I was…minding my own business….when Dad asked me to drive us home.
I was so proud of myself during our windy mountain road trek! I didn’t make any mistakes! We arrived at my Daddy’s office building safely. I asked, while in the parking lot, if I could park the little blue Datsun. Since I did so well on my trek to the office, of course my Dad said I could park the little car.
(Funny how some Jack and Coke can make my driving skills back then seem so flawless!)
Friends…there are memories I will always hold close to my heart, whether they are good or bad.
This would be a bad memory, but makes me giggle myself almost to the point of wetting my pants to this day.
“Dawn Marie, you did great! Yes, you may go ahead and park this vehicle in THAT parking place right THERE.”
And off I went. Only I got a little nervous and confused the brake with the gas.
They must make them backwards in Datsuns as compared to other vehicles.
With one little slight push from my right foot to the brake/gas pedal thingy, I jumped the cement block, then 2 more feet upward to the sidewalk, smack dab into the side of the brick building where my Daddy’s office was. Yes- you read that right. I jumped ALL THE CEMENT THINGS and into the brick side of the office building.
And then I proceeded to CRY. After I realized I jumped ALL THE THINGS, I realized I was in some deep shit. Literally. Little cute Datsun was now facing the brick building. Daddy is no longer Jack and Coke happy. Daddy’s pacing back in fort behind the cute little Datsun car that ain’t really HIS. Daddy is wondering how the hell is he gonna explain this to the property owners?
Enter the phrase: “DAWN MARIE, YOU GOTTA STOP THAT *$^&(*@$ CRYING WHILE I FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET THIS ^&*+%$ CAR OFF THIS BUILDING!”
(there is only ONE day I have ever cried so much, and it was the day he died.)
OH! one benefit of growing up in a small town is that everybody knows everybody! So after his initial four-letter-word-rant, he remembered his buddy owns the building!
Praise Jesus, right? I was praying alright. Praying for Daddy and his friend to get the fire extinguisher that I knocked off the wall from the impact out of the trash can inside the office.
I hoped that the desk drawers that were knocked out of the desk to find their way back to their desks. Praying I didn’t get my sweet Daddy in trouble with Johnny Law.
All that praying must have done some good, because nobody was ever the wiser in this story.
Daddy and his friend repaired the damages. The car turned out to be alright in the grand scheme of things. Daddy may or may not have explained that maybe he got hit in the parking lot somewhere and damn those kids for hitting him…
I don’t know how it all went down, but I do know that I was never so upset! Not because I damaged the car as much as I disappointed my Dad. In the big picture of things now, it is hilariously funny to me and I know it must be to him. And it’s even better to tell this story now, while I find myself super-stressed about my work deadlines.
I miss him all the time. But I miss him most this time of year because it is the time we spent the most together with my mom and sister at the lake. I am getting ready to visit that very lake next week! My life-long BFF has a house on that lake. She lives in that area still. And whether I visit her at her home, her parents’ home, or her lake home, ANYWHERE with her is home. home to me. We have been visiting her and her wonderful family for the last 8-9 years. And each year, we have stories to share, a million laughs, and just a couple of tears, but not the bad kind. Only tears of laughter and joy.
As we gather on the July 4th holiday and celebrate the USA’s Independence- I hope you have a bountiful cookout with friends and family, and that you have your own stories to tell and share. Please, if you know my family well, you know that this holiday is hard because it is also the time that we buried my Daddy in Lubeck, WV. It’s especially hard for my Mom. It’s hard for my sister and me. It’s hard for anyone who knew Don (my Dad). But as hard as it is for us, we have a hundred stories about him that we love to share and remember. You MAY want to think twice after a couple of Jack and Cokes before asking your non-driving-age-daughter to drive you home. I totally recommend you calling a cab for the reasons I shared above.
God bless each and every one of your sweet hearts for reading and letting me share with you just one piece of of my magical childhood.