“My Da”

(March 16, 2018)


my da was short,

thick, and brutal when called out:

my brothers* saw not


  • (At a Navy appreciation barbecue picnic at a downtown lakefront Sanford spot I saw him and another man – this one much taller, leaner and well-lubricated by the fumes I sniffed it was not Dad’s beer – standing atop a long picnic table…there were celebrants at either end, but none nearby. Reading dad’s lips I found: “You put that ‘piece’ away before I shove it up your ass and then pull the trigger.” The man shrugged, turned away and walked on.  Then dad saw me watching with moon-eyes and came up, scrubbed my short mom-cut hair and said out loud but softly enough only I heard: “This does not get reported.”  Sorry, pop. Just did. Told mom years ago.  She just lifted a half-shrug and canted quickly her head to the left as if to say: why am I unsurprised – at him…and you.” My older brother at last confided how he handled dad, when in his cups a lager-order of Bully, especially when trying to educate his eldest in the fine art of small engine maintenance and repair, buffeting the points missed with a softly swung forearm, after I had recounted the time Dad and I, bot somewhat lubricated, came to a contretemps outside mom’s kitchen window.  “I ducked under his roundhouse, grabbed the left wrist with one hand and locked it to his belt-loops and over-hooked the free arm into a chickenwing in my go-behind move” which was how I often began my tussles with 13-year-old 5-10 and 180-pound sibling the year I weighed a stone-holding 120 pounds and maybe saw the world from five-foot -2 if I jumped.  Glenn unhid a slow grin.  “I just backed into him and pushed him into mom’s azaleas.  He couldn’t get around me.”  Storm? Never saw him firey with anyone – but me – and mostly he’d use that special laugh and no one could remain mad at him when he did that. When that grappling move – usually followed with a forward ankle trip and a nice face-plant takedown – though with older burderbrother usually I’d skip the preliminaries, drop to a seat and spin out a leg-whip aimed at an ankle: to get his attention.  We had some memorable donnybrooks and, apparently, the neighborhood noticed our penchant for fighting tooth-n-nail with each other but rarely if ever (you had to swing first!) anyone else.  If we broke a brother fighting we had to do his chores – or his paying jobs and give him the money – until he was fixed: Mom’s rule.  Don’t know if dad ever knew – but those two were master co-conspirators in keeping their monsters in check.)

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