I've noticed a disturbing trend in a few blogs lately. People posting childhood photos of themselves dressed up in ballet attire. Well, since I'm all for disturbing trends, I thought I'd post one of me dressed up for a performance. I'm not certain how old I was, but I think I was probably around six, maybe. I had been taking tap and ballet that year and we had a big Christmas pagent at the community auditorium. This was an annual event with dance studios from all over the San Francisco Bay Area participating. Each studio performed a number; unfortunately I can't remember what ours was, but I do recall it was a tap dance. And, by the way, I really hated that hat/bonnet/frou-frou thingy on top of my head. I remember being pretty excited about the costume, which arrived first, but then that thing on my head arrived and I was a little embarrassed about having to wear it.
Dancing wasn't really my thing, although I did give it a second shot a few years later. Still wasn't my thing. As you can see, I didn't have the tall, willowy body and grace of a ballerina and preferred tap, but they always made us do both. My dad laughingly said I had two left feet, and he was right.
And since today is Father's Day, what would a blog entry be without memories of dear old dad? About the time I was the age I am in the photo, my dad had a job driving a large pickup truck--I have a vague idea it was something to do with construction since my uncle was a contractor, and I remember going with my dad to visit a job my uncle was working on. I loved going to work with my dad. This was before the days of seatbelts, and I would stand on the seat next to him, with my arm around his neck, driving off to wherever he had to go. It was rare that I got to go with him, but sometimes I cried and cried, and he was a soft touch, so away we'd go.
Not too long after that, my dad got a job as a clerk in a liquor store and pretty much stayed in that job until he retired. My brother and I went to work with him occasionally on weekends and during the summer and helped stock the candy and chip shelves or just sat in the back room or in the cooler reading comic books and magazines. My dad had a wonderful sense of humor and his customers loved him, so it was a fun place to be. Usually we "worked" in the mornings and early afternoons, so we didn't see the rougher customers.
The liquor store was located in an area that was heavily Hispanic, which definitely had its advantages. Every Christmas, he would come home with a couple bags of homemade tamales, and at around this time of the year, he'd "smuggle" home packs of illegal firecrackers brought up from Mexico. With a twinkle in his eyes and a mischevious grin, he'd surreptitiously show my brother and me that his pockets contained a couple packages of fire crackers and, sometimes, a few cherry bombs. Inevitably, at some point, he'd go out in the back yard and light off a string of firecrackers which would cause my mom, obliviously doing chores inside the house, to jump, scream, laugh, and yell at him. Great fun!
We used to live in a house that had a gravel driveway leading from the street all the way to a detached garage in the back of the house. On one memorable occasion, he lit a cherry bomb in the driveway, and when it blew, so did the gravel, peppering the bumper of my mom's car that was parked about ten feet away. Oops! He cursed a bit, swore me to secrecy, and laid off the explosives for a few days, but that didn't last very long. After that, he knew better than to light cherry bombs in the driveway, but he sure had some fun blowing buckets into the air with M-80s!
Happy Father's Day, Dad, wherever you are, and happy Father's Day to all the other dads out there!