Why You Got To Be So Rude?

There is a fairly new pop song that the radio stations play endlessly right now.  It’s called Rude, and it’s about a young man who goes to ask his girlfriend’s father for her hand in marriage.

It starts like this:

Saturday morning jumped out of bed
And put on my best suit
Got in my car and raced like a jet
All the way to you
Knocked on your door with heart in my hand
To ask you a question
‘Cause I know that you’re an old-fashioned man, yeah

Can I have your daughter for the rest of my life?
Say yes, say yes ’cause I need to know

In the music video, the father shakes his head and apparently says, “Nah, you ain’t marrying my daughter.”

You say I’ll never get your blessing ’til the day I die
Tough luck, my friend, but the answer is ‘No’

The young man then asks the dad, Why you got to be so rude?

Every time I hear that song, it takes me back to a similar conversation with Lisa’s father.  I’m not sure if it’s still an expectation in other parts of the country to ask a girl’s father for her hand in marriage, but in the south, it is.  At least in my circles.

So, I, being raised in a respectable family, knew what I had to do when I made the decision to take the plunge.  I called my father-in-law to be ,who I didn’t know very well, and asked him to go to lunch.  I admit I was a bit frightened.  It was a really awkward situation.  I was sitting there with a dude I didn’t really know, basically asking if I could defrock his daughter, spend Christmas with him, and go on his family vacations for the rest of his life.  All over a burger and fries.

I didn’t even know what to call this person.  He hadn’t told me I could marry his daughter yet so “dad” would have been presumptuous.  And, it seemed a bit formal to call my likely father-in-law Mr. Katsopolis – I’d likely see him in his underwear before the year was over.  But David or Dave was out of the question.  He was my elder, more than two decades my senior.

I don’t think I addressed him by name that day.  In fact, I don’t think I addressed him by name until there were grandchildren, at which time he became Pops, a comfortable name for all.

After small talk, he isn’t much of a small talker, and some awkward silence, I finally popped the question letting him know that I was planning to pop the question.

“Ahh, I think I’m gonna ask Lisa to marry me.  You OK with that?”  There was no going back now…

I was pretty sure he liked me but she was young, 23, and I was five years her senior.  I knew there was a possibility that he would beg me off for a while.  Surprisingly his response was rapid:

“Son, you don’t know what a burden you’re taking off of me.”

I gulped.  Were there things about my future wife that I didn’t yet know?  Did she have multiple personalities?  Financial baggage?  Perhaps an anger disorder?  Why was he so relieved?

As my mind raced working to figure out what I’d missed, Mr. Katsopolis gazed into nowhere, and as if his brain and mouth were one, his thoughts became audible:  “Her sister is going to be harder to place.”

If believe he picked up the check and bounced out of the restaurant as if he had just sold me a car without an engine.

I’m not sure how I’ll respond when some serious suitor comes to call for one of my girls, and I’ll have to admit I’ve wondered which of my daughters will be the most “difficult to place.”

Will I play hard to get with the fellas, or jump at the first offer?  DJ recently taped me singing my own version of Rude.  

I hope it doesn’t come to this!

Sunday Post 173: Becoming a Real Father

The second week of DJ’s life, I defined my role as a father.

I came home from work at around 6 pm. The house seemed empty but I knew Lisa was home. Her car was there, and she really hadn’t been out much since the birth.

I made my way to the second floor of the house and found my wife vigorously rocking the new kid. DJ was tightly bound in the blanket we’d received from the hospital. She was crying with all of her itty bitty might.

“Why’s she crying?” It was an innocent question.

“I don’t know,” my wife snarled. She’s been like this since you left at 7:30 AM. She stressed the AM.

I thought I knew how to respond, “I’ll take over. I’ll put her to bed.”

That wasn’t what she was looking for.

As both bodies swayed back and forth, a deep voice boomed from my wife’s body, “I am her mother. I will make her sleep.”

Her look frightened me. The thought, she might kill our child tonight, ran through my brain.

Another thought quickly followed, she might also kill me.

Some dads might take charge in a moment like this, demanding that his spouse take a break explaining that perhaps she’d had enough. I, however, slowly backed out of the room, my eyes on her – ready to run if need be.

I went downstairs and put the phone in my hand. I put my thumb on the 9 in the event I needed help.

I then grabbed some peanuts and a beer and turned on the Nightly News.

Sure, I cared. We’d worked too hard over the past ten months not to have the opportunity to try to raise this new addition to our family. Plus, deep down I didn’t really think Lisa would hurt our child.  It was at this point, however, that I decided my wife knew more than I did in the parenting department and that she should be the one to lead in this arena.

I would support as directed, and mow the lawn.

It wasn’t until Lisa died that I found out what I had been missing. Instead of just hanging with my kids, I was thrust into full care provider. And that responsibility changed my life.

No longer is work my number one priority. It’s important to me, very important to me; but my girls come first. Period.  I now know what they’re doing, and I’m driving them all over town. I didn’t know that chauffeuring was the primary key to garnering information. Toss ‘em in the back seat, and they chirp like little birds.

Oh what I was missing. Oh what I have gained. The depth of my connection with my girls is so much more significant than it ever was before. I wonder how many other parents are missing out because they’re consciously choosing to take a back seat.

Take it from me, the front seat is better.

Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful: Click here. And thanks

Daddy Stories

 

It's great to be a dad.

It’s great to be a dad.

Two weeks ago I got an email from the mother of one of the kids on my Y basketball team. The season was over so I was surprised to hear from her. I thought maybe she was going to report that her daughter had been recruited to play in the WNBA, and she was going to credit me for her advancement. That was not the case.

Instead, she asked me if I would coproduce a local show with her the week of Fathers’ Day. When she told me what it was about, I jumped at the chance.

Lisa Ogburn is a documentarian and works to bring communities together through the art of storytelling. In June, the plan is to gather 12 folks to each share a story about fatherhood. The story can be read or just told. It can be about your father or about being a father.

I was telling Michelle about this venture and asked her what her favorite father or grandfather story was. She was quick to recount.

“Do you remember the time we met Aunt Sallie and Uncle Matt in the airport on the way to the Grand Canyon?”

“Yeah.”

“Remember we were waiting on their plane – they weren’t married yet.”

“I remember.”

“And do you remember what Pops said?”

“No. Not really.”

“He said, ‘I wonder where Sallie and Mark are?'”

My father-in-law actually called his daughter’s boyfriend by the wrong name, Mark, not Matt.

That might not seem so odd but they’d been dating quite a while at this point and in fact when they did show up at our gate to take the last leg of our flight out west, Sallie walked up and immediately lifted her ring finger. The night before, “Mark” had asked her to marry him.

Now in some families there might have been some sense that we keep our mouths shut and not share this faux pas with the new kid on the block for fear of instant alienation. However, with Uncle Jesse and me in the mix, keeping quiet was not even considered.

“Sallie, we’re so excited for you and Mark!”

“Mark?”

“Yeah, that’s what Pops told us his name was…”

With big bear hugs we embraced ‘Mark’ and told him how excited we were that he was joining the family. I informed him that Pops had never called me by the wrong name but I was certain there was no hidden meaning in his mistake.

We then proceeded to call him Mark for the duration of the excursion. The name has stuck and on our next whole family vacation, we even gave the other family members aliases just to ease Mark’s pain.

Jesse- Duckie
Danny- Wood
Lisa- Virginia
DJ- Lizzy B.
Stephanie- Pokie
Michelle- Brookie
Nana- Eleanor
Pops- Santa Claus
Aunt Sallie- Shush It (cause she kept telling us to be quiet)

If you have a story that you’d like to submit for for our Fathers’ Day production, or if you might want to attend to hear these tales, visit Liisa Ogburn’s website. The event will be held at Peace College on June 10th. Hope you can join us!

Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful: Click here. And thanks

 

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