My dad recently came to town, and I feel compelled to share.
My dad is called Big Hands. You can see why –
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Actually, our friend Neil named my dad Big Hands. Neil met him about nine years ago when Brad and I were in grad school at Utah State. We had taken my dad down to southern Utah for a trip and oddly enough, we ran into Neil and his parents down at Zion National Park. We took my dad down there since it is always fun to see a stubborn Oklahoman try to scale some red rock. We happened upon Neil and his parents as we were eating at Mexican place called The Bit and Spur. We all sat down, shot the breeze, and had some drinks. Later on, Neil commented that he had been a little worried my dad would crush him with his manly big hands handshake. Or that my dad wouldn’t be able to manage his tiny margarita glass.
And thus Neil christened him Big Hands.
The worst thing you can do to Big Hands is to give him a project like, oh, threading a needle. Or putting together a child’s toy with lots of small parts. Or asking him to pick up something tiny off the floor. These things get him really worked up. Those big sausage fingers just don’t work that way.
Yes, he can still zip his own coat.
My dad had to special order his wedding ring. It is a size 13.75 or something insanely big like that. Sloan could wear it as a choker. Here is what it looks like on my finger.
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Speaking of getting worked up, there are only two times in my life when I have been scared of Big Hands. The first was when he gave me permission to have a bachelorette party at his house when he was out of town. I was a senior in college. All was good until we watched the video of the male stripper and Big Hands realized that PIPER HAD NOT CLOSED THE CURTAINS TO THE FRONT WINDOWS. OH MY LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, I AM A CITY COUNCILOR AND WHAT IF THE NEIGHBORS SAW THAT LITTLE TWINK DANCING AROUND AND I WILL BE THE SHAMED REPUBLICAN ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE NEWSPAPER???
The other time was when we got into some heated argument about the war in Iraq and George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein while we were playing poker and drinking beer with my aunt and grandmother. This has become a little vague, but I do remember the sudden fighting at the table being surprising, as well as being more surprised when my aunt threw all the cards at Big Hands as we stomped upstairs to leave the game. Note to self: do not talk about certain topics with certain Republicans.
In both instances, I was afraid that Big Hands was going to wrap those beefy digits around my neck and squeeze VERY HARD.
Other than that, he has been a pretty easygoing father. See?
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There are many things I love about my dad, but here are a few that currently stand out:
1. It is so easy to please my dad. Every dinner I make for him he oohs and ahhs and tell me it was the best thing he’s ever eaten. Even if it is second-rate Chinese take-out or boiled squirrel.
2. He loves to wear warm-up pants during the day. This helps alert you when he’s approaching by the swish-swish sound of nylon rubbing together.
3. Since he has had grandchildren, Big Hands no longer awkwardly holds babies and hollers, “WHOOP WHOOP!!” in their faces, which usually made them scream. Now he lays on the floor and tries to play army or dolls or whatever. Legos are a little more difficult, but he tries. It is very cute.
4. Big Hands is not afraid to make faces for the camera. I am nothing like my father.
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5. Big Hands loves a good laugh or a practical joke. On this visit, I took him skiing. As we came off the mountain, he commented that my stepmom will be waiting by the phone to hear that he survivied, because Big Hands had knee surgery last year and a heart attack five years ago. So, we called my stepmom and told her we were at the hospital with Big Hands because he had to show off on his skis and he hurt his bad knee again. She started really believing the story when I told her that as the ski patrol were strapping Big Hands into the tobaggan he started to freak out and yelled at me to get him a Xanax out of his coat pocket. I told her I had to put two Xanax in his mouth for him and shove some snow in there to wash them down. She believed this because Big Hands has a huge issue with being confined, and she knew that to strap him on any kind of board is like trying to contain a cornered bobcat. The story gets even better when I hand Big Hands the cell phone and he puts on his sad voice and tells her that as the people were taking him in to get an x-ray of his knee that he got an erection. I hear her screech over the cell phone, “YOU GOT A WHAAAAAT?!?” Big Hands and I laughed hysterically all night about this.
6. Big Hands likes his coffee and his food HOT. I completely agree with him on this crucial point. Life is too short to waste your time on tepid coffee and cold food.
7. One of the things I love best about Big Hands is that I gave birth to a boy who looks just like him and who is named for him. Sometimes I look at my boy and see my dad. I love this. I love this for Big Hands because this is the only genetically produced boy in his life, a life which is a lot of times surrounded with lots of girls and estrogen and shopping. Even though he loves his girls, Big Hands is definitely not very girly.
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xoxo 🙂 🙂