Tuesday, November 11, 2008

for whom the cell phone ringeth

Sometimes I try to remember what it was like before the days of 24/7 communication via cell and internet. My memory doesn't have to stretch very far back because both of these luxuries are things that I couldn't afford until a few years ago. My daddy, the ultimate cattleman and farmer who could never stand to waste daylight is spending his twilight years in a recliner with a cellphone in his pocket so he won't have to get up and disturb his marathon viewing of old cowboy shows. I have to give him this....he tries to help Mama in the kitchen for the first time ever, serving as her eyes as they work together to prepare their meals. When she tells him to cut the bananas in half twice for frozen salad, she never knows that he only made one slice lengthwise because she can't see what he's doing. It's all good, because the taste is the same.

Daddy's current state of mind can best be described as a mellowing and softening that comes with the return of long lost childlike behavior, and I must say that I adore it in the man who struck fear in my heart for many years. Oh, he never hit me or did anything mean like that. I learned much later on in life that his anger and frustration at the world came from growing up poor as a sharecropper's only son with three sisters tormenting him from sun up to sun down in the fields. All I ever wanted was to settle into his lap and fall asleep but he was too tired from working two jobs to support three kids and a wife. By day he was officially an agent of the plant pest control division of the USDA, tracking the evil Japanese beetle with colored pins stuck on a map of the southeast. The bulk of his time away from government work was spent raising cattle and managing the farm on which we lived. Some of us are still here to tell the story.

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