My dad could have a bit of a temper at times, but in general, he was a pretty calm guy. He raised five daughters without a lot of drama, at least not on his part, although I do remember him chasing one of my sisters around the house, and I mean outside, where she had run to escape, still carrying her plateful of supper.
The only time I recall seeing him embarrassed was once when he and my mom were talking to me about their voting records over the years. I was about 18 years old. He told me that the first time he voted was the last time that Franklin Roosevelt was elected and he had voted for Roosevelt. Then we talked about some other people they had voted for.
All of a sudden my mom piped up, Your dad voted for Nixon. He wouldn't vote for Kennedy because he said Kennedy was too damn Catholic.
I was shocked. My parents were rather ardent Democrats. Although they were Kansans, they despised Republican Bob Dole, rather than being proud of his success.
So I asked my dad, Reeeeeally?
He made faces. He grumbled. He mumbled. He squirmed. You woulda thought he had his drawers full.
And he never answered.
But my mom insisted it was true, and he didn't try to deny it.
I still think it was funny, but I never brought it up again.
There was one other time that he was almost embarrassed, but he managed to squeeze out of it. I was probably 10 or so and I had seen the musical Gypsy on TV -- you know, about the famous stripper, Gypsy Rose Lee.
I guess my mom and I were talking about watching the movie, and my dad suddenly said, I saw Gypsy Rose Lee.
I said, Reeeeeally? What was she like?
I don't remember, he said, quickly and gruffly. And he walked out of the room.
It wasn't until I was older that I realized he wasn't going to tell his little girl what Gypsy Rose Lee was like.
Infinities of love,