If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

13 December 2006

My father's daughter.

It hits me at the strangest of times, grief over the death of my father, who has been gone for nearly a decade. The triggers are varied ... a joke, a phrase, a long-unused nickname, a song (invariably country/western).

Today, it was by the side of the road.

The telltale loud flapping noise coming from my right rear tire was what made me pull over on the windy hillside road. I said a silent prayer of thanks that it wasn't raining. I groaned in frustration, cars whipping past me on the curve. As I slammed on my emergency brake, I admit that I bit my lip and choked back angry, hot tears. Add this to a list of things, damnit (hit the steering wheel here), that I just didn't need this week.

As I pulled myself together, taking a deep if shaky breath, I cursed under my breath and reminded myself that above all else, I AM my father's daughter.

The father who, when I was fifteen and a half years old, made me stand out in the front driveway of our house and change the tire on the car what felt like twenty times but was probably only three. He taught me how to loosen the lug nuts by putting the weight of my foot (and/or whole body) on the wrench-thingy (technical term), BEFORE jacking the car up (a critical move).

And as I went through the motions today, angrily brushing my hair away from my face, my hands icy cold and filthy in the way only tire grease can get them, I laughed through my tears.

Thanks, Dad. You raised a girl who became a good balance of handy, hearty, and feminine. Who likes to have her toenails painted and doors opened for her, drinks champagne as easily as a beer, and who can change her own flat tire in any roadside condition. Who CAN do it herself, even if she'd rather not. Independent and skilled enough to not be stranded, and yet still soft enough to wish someone was there to help.

My father did not, on the other hand, raise a brilliant linguist, evidenced as I talked in circles to the mechanic at the garage because I didn't know the expression for "flat". But at least by then, my grease monkey hands and I were laughing. Because us girls were also raised with an "I will get through this" outlook on life, and a damn good sense of humor to boot.


Blogger Tina said...

I miss my dad so much...grief does come at the most random of times, doesn't it.
Your post was (yet again!) just what I needed. :-) You are such a rocking babe and I bet your dad is watching proudly.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Viaggiatore said...

Tina: thanks for the good vibes, my rocking babeness and I are blushing a little. You hang in there. Dad probably *is* watching me proudly, as I now sit cursing like a sailor over the fact that I broke EVERY nail on my right hand during this little project. (To use a favorite expression, "Damnit, Jim...!") - V.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey V... I can totally see your Dad doing that (I can actually picture you both on the driveway of 745...) Unfortunately my Dad did NOT teach me that and thus I was unable to change our flat when we broke down in bumblefuck Alabama on the way to spring break in 1992. I miss your Dad, too. In fact I just recently visited Slate Street for the first time and now my friends and I go regularly. Too bad I was a few years late on that visit.

(Couldn't log in but I bet you know who I am...)

7:32 AM  

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