Paterfamilias

That’s a snap of my dad. I’m the little red-hooded halfling almost cropped out, just behind him. Nice jean jacket, Dad.


My dad didn’t give me much. What he did give me though is everything. A sense of humor. Learning to laugh at yourself is so important. When you have nothing else, e.g. talent, ability, grace or aptitude; if you have a sense of humor, you can endure all things.

My dad used to say things like, “I work my country ass off!” And, “Give me hell, I’m the devil.” LOL

One day, in a mood of silliness, my dad tied two brightly-colored balloons to his ears. They floated high above his bald head as he walked out of Wal-mart, greeting each new customer, “Thank you for shopping at Wal-mart.” I was humiliated on the outside, but inside, I was screaming, “Yeah, my dad’s a fuggin’ freak and that’s friggin’ awesome! Let your freak flag fly, Daddy!” LOL I wish I had been brave enough to show him my approval. It might have comforted him to know that he wasn’t alone.

My dad was also abusive. Verbally, emotionally and sometimes, very rarely, physically. I forgive him for that. I have forgiven him for a long time. I remember the abuse, but I choose to focus on the positive things; the love he gave, the tenderness he showed, the loyalty he displayed.

Another memory that I will never forget is the day my father showed me the greatest amount of tenderness. I asked if I go could run an errand with him in the old Ford pickup we used around the farm. Typically, he begrudgingly allowed me to tag along, but sometimes not at all. But this day, he was excited to have me.

I hopped up in the cab with him and he laid his giant hand on the well-worn bench seat. “Are you my pardner?” I grabbed his meaty paw and said lovingly, “Yeah, Dad.”

We didn’t say much else. Just smiles and camaraderie.

No other memory of him was as meaningful and sustaining. He’s gone. 27 years he’s been gone. He’s been gone for longer than I had him in my life. But his closeness is nearer than ever before. I hope that he looks down on me with approval, but the truth is, I’m sure he’s too busy enjoying paradise.

I love you, Dad! Happy Father’s Day. Thank you for my sense of humor.


And Happy Father’s Day to the best dad I know, Guy Maggio. You’re an amazing example of love, grace and acceptance. Even if you don’t always know what to say or do, you’re here, you care and whatta sense of humor! You make life more than bearable. You make it exciting. Worth living. Love you. Thank you for being my baby-daddy.

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Party City

Tried this flamingo hat on at Party City the other day. Is this a good look for me? If you can’t wear a bird on your head every once in a while, what’s the point of living?

I remember the day my dad tied two free helium-filled balloons to his ears and walked out of our local department store. I was embarrassed on the outside (because I didn’t understand whether it was funny or not, it was), but learning the internal lesson of standing out for laughter’s sake.

You know, I’m sure someone had a better day because they saw an old, crazy, fat man wearing two balloons on his head. Something to talk about.

Dad was balding, tall and overweight. He wore overalls on most occasions. Typically paired with a short-sleeve western shirt. In a mixed town of country folk and suburbanites, seeing someone in denim overalls at the store was not shocking. What was shocking was seeing a middle-aged man with balloons tied to his balding head and greeting customers in the parking lot.

“Thank you for shopping at Wal-mart! Have a nice day!”

My sister almost cried, threw up or had an anxiety attack at his ridiculous display. I feigned upset, but was cheering on the inside. That took balls.

Dad wanted to become a country singer/guitar player. He infrequently got the steel-string acoustic out and plucked a song or two. He had a good voice, but someone told him, “You got no rhythm.” No one from our family. That would have hurt him deeply and caused years of turmoil. But he definitely wanted to stand out. Be seen. Be creative.

I have always thought that I was a mix of my father and mother. Restrained and refined in some circles, but sometimes, in the right circumstance, not afraid to stand out. I am an actor, creative, designer, artist. I can’t sing, but I have other talents to display. To have a space to shine is, IMO, a required psychological exercise. Anyone who doesn’t have a special thing would feel pretty sad and isolated. Maybe he felt that way sometimes. Unspecial.

I’m thankful for my blog. For acting. For art. It’s kept me sane. Okay, less crazy. 🙂 Art is therapy. So is writing. I worked through much trouble with writing over the last decade. All for free. Thank you, Internets!

Dad would have loved Party City.