Monday, June 19, 2006

Silly Dad games

I remember well sitting on the bed with my brothers while my dad read his favorite poem in a deep, scary, dad voice. Every once in a while, when you least expected it -- and just when it really did get scary -- he would GROWL! We would jump and then break up in giggles. He had perfect timing.

The poem was just one of Dad's games. There were also Toe Cleaning (which made my mother cringe and made us laugh like crazy) and Trap.

Trap was a game that required the trapee (which was ALWAYS us kids) to recite perfectly (and it had to be perfect) a string of Korean and Japanese curses. Of course, we never knew (and still don't) what the words mean. Then, and only then, would your five-year-old hand be freed from the dreaded hand trap.

Neebee sheebee da pogedah deska, Daddy!

The Cremation of Sam McGee

There are strange things done 'neath the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold.
The arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold.
The northern lights have seen queer sights
But the queerest they ever did see,
Was that night on the marge of Lake LeBarge
When I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tenessee
Where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the south to roam
'round the poles, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold
Seemed to hold him like a spell,
Though he'd often say in his homely way
That he'd sooner live in Hell.

I can still say those first two verses by heart. You can read the rest here.

I've come to greater understanding and appreciation for my dad now that he's gone and I don't think it's worthwhile to recount what happened to him in the end or speak of the demons that haunted him. Dad gave us a lot.


Blogger white trash republican said...

What fun!
It's nice we can remember our Dad's in the proper way. I grow so weary of all these poor baby stories of what schmucks their fathers were. We are so lucky!

3:04 PM  
Blogger Fish said...

That is synchronicity. I was just talking about the cremation of Sam McGee the other day. I hadn't read that poem since high school fifty years ago. Thanks for the memories.

12:34 AM  

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