Dad, being the old school man’s man type that so many of us grew up with had a policy of NEVER using curse words in front of women, especially not HIS daughters. Well, one day after we were all grown, my father used a curse word in front of my sister Jeanne. Jeanne went absolutely white in shock and queried my dad about cursing in front of her. Dad just looked at her and in his smart aleck way remarked “Well, Hell, I learned it from Julie”.
I do like to curse, not excessively and I can control it and usually do when around children and/or other appropriate times. Jeanne, having young children at the time felt compelled to slap me with that label. I long knew my dad’s sense of humor and appreciated his sarcasm. Another thing that I knew, because my little brothers spilled the beans, was that my dad cursed in front of the boys and his buddies. Jeanne was unaware of this. I found the entire thing amusing and even felt a little pride in knowing that Dad was aware that he could make that remark about me and not insult me. Dad was cool. He was so much cooler than many realized. He would always give me the cutest grin when he would throw out a dry witted comment. I’ll always remember that grin, just like a little boy getting away with something his mamma had forbidden.
I don’t take credit for teaching my father to curse, but I do take credit in teaching him to say “I love you”. Those were difficult words for him to say. I don’t question why because I know that some folks have more trouble sharing their feelings than others.
When Dad (the telephone company employee for 38 years) finally learned how to dial a phone and began calling his children (I was in my mid 20’s by then), I learned that he was not a “Goodbye” person. Dad always hung up while I was in the middle of saying goodbye to him. It made me laughâ€¦â€¦still does. But, I finally figured out a way to sneak in the “I love you Dad” before he hung up. He still hung up, but he heard me. Years later, after he was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure and had had a few mini strokes, I was on the phone with him one day and as we got ready to hang up, I told him “I love you Dad”, and low and behold, he responded with “Same”. That made my day! That was the closest thing to “I love you” that I had ever heard out of him. I continued with my expressions of love for him with each conversation we had, then one day out of the blue, he responded, as clear and assured of himself as if he had been saying it forever, “I love you too”. That was cool! Most all of our conversations after that ended that way and I am so happy to know that he began to express his love for his other children in the same way. So, although cursing became comfortable for him with his adult female children, telling them of his love for them did as well.