Thursday, June 25, 2009

Meet My Dad

(Hi everyone! I'm over here in America the Beautiful having a great time!)
I grew up at BYU, which isn't to say I was actually raised there , but I did spend a good deal of time there as a child. Mom worked at the library and dad at the photo lab.

I remember the smell of the library, which I didn't appreciate as a child, and climbing stairs there. I remember the smell of the photo lab, which I still don't appreciate, and dad letting us into the little circular chamber leading from the lab to the dark room. I remember being scared of being in that small space, in pitch blackness and always being afraid of what might be there when I came into the light, or the darkness of the dark room (I never knew which to expect while turning that curved, sliding door). Maybe that was because of all the weird odors.

We ran around on the grounds of campus. We played hide and seek at the Tree of Life. We hopped from stone to stone of those paving blocks outside the bookstore. I always felt a little irreverent doing that, as I knew they were actually tombstones. We spent good, long minutes drooling over the display of fudge and all the piles and piles of candy in the bookstore. Over and over and over again.

Then we moved away.

On one of our early trips back to visit family in Utah we all knew we'd be going to BYU. In the weeks before the trip we talked about all the things we'd see and do. Once when we were talking about the candy counter my dad heard the anticipation in our voice and felt he should warn us, "Oh, you guys, they don't have any more candy at BYU."

We stared. "They what?" "They don't have any more candy." "You mean like that candy counter? It's gone? Even in the Twilight Zone? Why? Are they trying to keep people from being unhealthy? Is it a new policy, like the no caffeinated drinks thing?"

We were very confused and very disappointed. He kept replying that he didn't know why, he just knew they didn't have any more candy.

I almost didn't even want to visit campus anymore.

But we did. And we went to the bookstore. And. . . THERE WAS THE CANDY, just as it had always been, colorful and tempting as ever. How could this be? Then we ran over thinking maybe it was actually just the Twilight Zone. Candy galore.

When my dad came back from visiting friends in the photo lab we accosted him. "What happened? You said. . .?" etc.

"What?", he wondered with an innocent (read mischievous) expression on his face. "I said they don't have any more candy, right?" We agreed and pointed all around at the mountains of sweet stuff, question marks all over our faces.

"Well, do they have any more? I don't think they do have any more. Probably there isn't any less, either, but I don't think there's any more."

Yeah. That's my dad. Taking advantage of the fact that we couldn't see the space between the any and the more every time he said it. It means a totally different thing when there's a space in there.

I know I'm a few days late, and I won't go on about how much I love my dad (though I do!) but this story is a great example of the many, many things my dad said to us growing up that reeeeeally shaped the way I am today.

Other examples include his response to our (probably constant) complaints that our something or other hurt (if it was our right elbow he'd ask us to give him our left so he could even it out, or so the other wouldn't seem to hurt so much) or that it hurt when we did this (like raised our arm or whatever, to which he replied, "Then don't do that!"). Plus all the times he "ate" an ant that was on my raspberry or a gnat that was in my soup. (I was a little disappointed a few years ago when I mentioned this to him and he told me that he must have been teasing because he would never eat those things on purpose. I WATCHED HIM DO IT! With my very own seven year old eyes which don't miss anything!)

I love my dad.