Sunday, June 17, 2007

My dad, the roamer

My dad used to like to tell this story about going to my grandparents' house in Mitchell County one time when he was younger and newly in love with my mother.

He was the original roamer in our family. He loved to be outside, working in the garden, running for miles and miles, riding the tractor on the farm. And when he visited my mom's house, he went for a walk in the mountains. There weren't a lot of people living around Tipton Hill then. There aren't many now. But people know when there was a new person around. And at 6-feet, 9-inches tall, my dad was hard to miss. So a few days later -- after my dad and mom left -- rumors started circulating around about this man people saw walking up and down the hills. "There's a hippy out there," people said. My grandparents eventually heard about this and, of course, said "Oh, that's just Eddie."

This is funny to me because I know hippies. I live in Asheville, after all, and my father -- who went through confused periods where he made us all watch Jimmy Swaggart crusades on TV and wouldn't let us listen to anything but gospel music -- was NOT a hippy. He was progressive in his own ways: he wore his hair a bit longer; he was remarkably anti-racist; and he was certainly an environmentalist.

Who would think that this man holding my sister is a hippy? And to the right, that's my rumor-squashing grandfather eating jelly beans with me on my grandparents' couch.

These are two of the last pictures I have of Dad, taken the day I graduated from grad school. He couldn't make it because he wasn't feeling well, but he had my sister take these Polaroids of him holding a "Good job, I (heart) U" postcard. That answers the age-old question of where I get my goofy sense of humor.

Happy father's day, Dad! I miss you!


Frances said...

that one in the upper left hand corner? i love his shirt and his sideburns. that's the thing, the hippy term has changed. i mean, now it's an industry. but then, johnny cash was called a hippy. willie nelson. charlie daniels. marvin gaye. like it used to mean them that were slightly different, i mean to be of his generation and to be anti-racist and be an environmentalist (that's one of the first things i learned about you and him, because you had that ribbon on the antenna of your old chevrolet and i asked you about it) is a hugely "different" thing. nowadays it means wearing $100 gauze skirts and there are hippies in places like aspen. those aren't hippies, those are doodads. not that i'm calling your dad a hippy, but i do love that the folks around tipton hill thought so. these pictures are awesome. his i heart you sign, dang, it kills me. happy father's day, angie. this is from frances.

Angie said...

Right again!
xoxo back to you, my friend.

Anonymous said...

That shirt, those sideburns! He was a solid man, huh?
I also love you sharing jelly beans with your gramps.
I love thinking of the story of your dad mowing the lawn in his speedo! Solid!

I heart angie 2.