Sunday, June 16, 2013

Memories of Dad

What would Father's Day be without spending a minute to remember my Dad.

He gestured me over. Henry wore the white shirt and gray pants he always wore to work at the factory. When he wore the same thing on his off day, it meant he had something serious to do. Today it was fixing some power tool. My father didn't often ask for my help, and when forced to do so, he always seemed to develop indigestion.

"Goddammit, come over here and help me," he grumbled.

Goddammit was his nickname for me. I approached warily.

"I have to solder these two wires together. I need you to hold. Can you do that? Can you hold them? Can you? Can you hold these wires?"

I showed him I could.

He pulled the trigger on the soldering gun and when it warmed sufficiently, he melted a bit of solder. The burning liquid metal plopped onto my fingertips and I did what should have been expected, I cried out in pain and spun away. 

"Goddammit, just hold it!" he shouted.

"You hold it!You burned me."

"It's just solder. Get over here and quit fooling around."

I gathered my dignity and returned to the task. He hadn't meant to drop a bit of super-heated solder on my tender flesh. I steeled myself and looked away as he once more warmed the soldering gun. And once again molten solder splattered me.

"What the hell?" I asked. I jerked my hand away and stuck the burned spot into my mouth. It tasted metallic.

"Why do you have to be a baby?" Dad demanded.

"I don't know," I said. "Hey, you want to work on the car later? I can lay in the driveway while you run over me a few times."

"Get over here and hold this."

"You hold it and I'll work the gun," I said.

"This isn't a toy," Dad countered. He brandished the soldering gun so I could see its power. "You could hurt yourself."

And being the youngest child, which meant the brains had been used up on my older siblings, I gritted my teeth and once more gripped the wires. I wasn't going to flinch this time. No show of emotion. Nothing. Let him splatter away,  I would stoically bear the pain.



"Are you freaking kidding me?"

"Goddammit. Okay go get the first aid kit."

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