I remember my dad swinging my son in Redlands at the park. The swing started to go higher and faster and it must have been too much or too long of a ride for him and he started yelling at my dad, “Enough is enough” over and over again, kicking his legs back and forth to further emphasize his plea. My dad started cracking up and tears came to his eyes as he grabbed the chain and slowed him down to a dead stop.
I suppose I had used the expression or he heard it at home.
My heart was full as I watched my dad push him and laugh so hard when his little grandson scolded him. He adored him. He was his sunshine.
My son was precocious and my dad loved that. He especially reveled when my son would in some way out smart me. He thought my son was clever and had a special, superior scientific brain, like himself. He couldn’t keep his eyes off him and I watched him savor every minute and every move my son made or listen to every word he spoke. It was incredible to him. I went to visit often because I thought my son was pretty awesome too and relished seeing my dad be so content, in awe and full of love for him.
My dad would enlist my son’s help finding snails in the garden and placing them in an empty Chock full of Nuts brand coffee can. They used to take off into the backyard garden and then my son would be entranced by the foamy, bubbling death by salt of the slugs. My dad loved to share anything that was practical like how to take something apart and put it back together but also any violent side of nature. He taught me to hunt and skin rabbits upside down. He took me fishing, hooking worms, reeling in flapping eels and fish and then de-boning them. He wanted to make sure I could survive.
My dad taught his grandson how to continue the tradition of drinking Mate. He patiently explained and held the gourd while my son learned how to sip. He put in extra sugar for him so it wouldn’t taste bitter. He insisted I take a picture. It is one of my favorites.
My son followed my dad around like a puppy dog. He imitated everything he did and that made my dad proud. His mind was quick and his wittiness uncannily like my dad’s. They seemed to understand each other and they spoke a language unknown to outsiders.
I was the son my dad never had. He taught me how to hunt, fish, go clamming and how to build a fire from scratch like a Boy Scout. But when his first and only grandson arrived, his heart burst open, he changed into a softie yet he also wanted to hand down his macho skills to a real male heir.
I know my dad is happily boasting to all who will hear him, somewhere in the after life.