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Pavlov’s Dog

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Dec-6-2002

My father is an eccentric man, which is why I have a bit of a soft spot for that breed. I am not eccentric. I’m a housewife with three kids. I change diapers for a living. I am about as close to a walking, breathing stereotype as one can get.

But not Daddy. He collects strange bicycles, for example. He is often seen in the small, southern town that he lives in biking to the Post Office on one of his odd bikes. His favorite is one that he propels with his hands, rather then his feet. He has a flag on that bike, a copy of the Bedford Flag ( and that, Diana, is why I know about the Bedford Flag). He shaves his head bald and often has some sort of beard. Two years ago, he went to the local Mall and had his ear pierced. He is fond of hats and has a large collection of them. He is always traveling.

I myself never noticed that he often wears odd clothing, ethnic things that he has picked up during his travels. Then one day one of the kids asked me why he dressed so oddly. Well, I said, that’s just Grandpa. I say that to them rather often : ‘ Well, that’s just Grandpa ‘.

He is perfectly charming, a man whom everyone adores and wants to be friends with. Since the day that I was born, I have adored him. I have always been ‘Daddy’s Girl’, the little Princess. During gin filled nights since that endless day that Mom died, I have come to know everything about his life. He has told me all, perhaps in an attempt to shock the love that I have for him away. But he has failed. Even though there was once a time that I wished that I didn’t care so much for him, I couldn’t stop. Just couldn’t.

Last Summer the testing stopped. Finally. In a way, that was frightening, but that is another story. I am going to see him again tonight. I know that we will have a wonderful time, any place that includes him is a special place. I know that he loves me above all people. And yet I sit here, terrified. Paralyzed almost.

For you see, once, in those dark days after Mom died, he became angry at me. I still don’t know why and he claims now that he was not angry, but my brother recalls that anger too, directed towards me. After the funeral , he ran back to the far away country that he worked in at the time, a country that required special permission to enter. He did not give me his phone number or his address. He told me that I could always reach him through Bucky, if anything important came up.

For a long time, it may have been as long as three years, I heard of the things that my brother and Bucky did with him, once and a while I would see him, but that anger was always there. And then one day, as mysteriously as it came, it left. It has been gone for years, maybe as long as 15 years, but every time I am going to see him, I am terrified that it may have returned.

  1. kane Said,

    Sue, your father sounds like wonderful man, and the love you have for him is beautiful. I don’t know why he showed anger towards you, but my guess would be that he took the loss of your mother deeply, and his hurt turned to anger. Perhaps when he looked at you, he couldn’t help but see your mother’s beauty, and it took time for him to realize that you are your own person. I hope your visit with him is a good one.

  2. sue Said,

    Hi Kane- of course, we are having a wonderful time. I can be such a classsic ninny, even at this age !


  3. Kiril Said,

    A hug for you {{{ SUE }}} from a stranger, just because….

  4. sue Said,

    Oh Kiril , you aren’t a stranger : everytime I get on that fool bike, I think of you and know that you could figure out the balance problem-

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