Benny's World

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tribute to My Daddy

My daddy would have been 80 Today. (my affectionate name for my dad)

He's been gone for nearly 16 years. Damn. I've been too busy today to think of him until now.

He was known as "Smitty". And he had a bar named Smitty's Lounge, very much akin to the DUL; it was more about trivia, bulls**t, and whoever could recall what event.

At Smitty's not much at night did anyone talk about national politics. They had troubles of their own, and most of his clients were small business owners, contractors, etc. They worried about local issues. At the time, Dems were in the main house in town, and he supported them, albeit not directly. He was opposed to the war in Vietnam and worried about my brother being called up in a lottery if and when he turned 18. Luckily, the draft ended before my brother's birthday.

My daddy had a very healthy respect for vets, occasionally giving them a drink on the house. Daddy had the best of humor. Sometimes too cutting and hurting one's feelings at home, but he drew people around in his bar with his humor. Did so too with family when times were bad, especially during the numerous times he was in the hospital. I have noticed that sometimes when I'm blue or mad, but can back away for a moment, I can find a way to express myself humor or be with good biting sarcasm.

Daddy was the guy who noticed current events better than most of us in the family. For example, Jimi Hendrix was supposed to come play a concert in my town. Daddy heard on the radio Hendrix died, and it was the same day Hendrix was found dead, a month before the concert was scheduled.

Daddy always reminded me of the guy in the "Total Fruit" (I may have the product name wrong) commercials who said "Would you please pass the jelly?"; luckily, there were no prissy women or men to faint over such expressions in our house. He was a fried eggs, bacon, and biscuits kind of guy. That's why he died young, but I recall a few months before he passed away, he said he admired Malcolm Forbes (who died the same year, but in Feb) because he had on his tombstone, "He Lived" and did. The reason was that Daddy enjoyed my story of witnessing Malcolm Forbes on a Harley (dressed in a tuxedo) with a band of Hell's Angels going through Harvard Sq for fun in 1989, and no one in Cambridge, MA complained very much.

Dad left my momma poor, but no one can fault him for living or say he didn't live somewhat a fun life, despite being afflicted with polio at the age of 15.

Could he dance? You bet: in a swivel chair. He had the beat down. He loved C & W, but some rock and roll too. I mentioned his first observations earlier; here is another one related to rock and roll. He was watching cable the night the first MTV video came on. I thought he was crazy when he said he saw videos of the Rolling Stones on tv. Nope, he was right.

Daddy was not always the best dad. Sometimes his fragile ego got in the way of his life with my mom and affected all of us.

But I loved my daddy, "Smitty". I miss him tonight, and I bet my momma really does. Smitty, here's your Chivas and Water. You also drank B & B with Diet Dr. Pepper in the 70's. It was rank to me and most everyone else, but like one of the characters who died in "Four Weddings and A Funeral" who attempted making his own recipe Duck a la Banana, you were willing to try own combination of new things too.

I tend to take after you--in a fashion.