Stuff My Dad Did

A living memory of odd things.

When I was three years old there was a fundraiser at the church, and Dad was in a skit wearing one of Mom's dresses (dark blue with small white polka dots.) He got a big laugh.

Chuck 2013/02/24

One sibling adds:

Daddy also dyed our glasses of milk purple. I can't remember what color the mashed potatoes wound up one night. Green?

Once, Mother was called to a neighbor's apartment just as we sat down to eat. Daddy took her full plate, put it onto a shelf and closed the cabinet. He made the universal signal with his forefinger up to his lips and we all nodded. When Mother returned, we remained entirely silent as all four of us pointed frantically to the cabinet before she even noticed her plate was gone. Sometimes he'd just hide it in his lap.

The preacher came for Sunday dinner in Mobile (Theodore, really). Near the end of the meal, Mother gasped that he didn't have anything to drink. He said, "Well, Frank always says when I eat here, "If you don't see it, don't ask for it because we don't have it.'" Mother made sure that's the last time Daddy used that line.

In an entirely unviolent home, Daddy would say, "Be good or I'll have to slap your brother." I found out decades later that some people grew up in such violent homes that my even telling that tidbit was traumatizing.

One of his one-liners was: Did you hear about the two maggots who made love in dead Ernest? He enjoyed puns and I think he actually enjoyed hearing us groan. And he would convolute a sentence to my older brother, if necessary, to make it end with, "... up, Chuck."


One of my first memories, as a toddler, was one night that Mom made a big fuss when she put the margarine on the dinner table and discovered that Dad had used food coloring to dye the margarine blue. Much later I learned the backstory. It seems that in those days federal rules did not allow the margarine sold in stores to be dyed yellow, based on pressure from the dairy industry. So it came home a sickly whitish color, with a little packet of yellow food coloring inside the box. You had to dye your own margarine. As Mom was preparing dinner she asked Dad to dye the margarine, and he did. She didn't say to dye it yellow.

Many years later I learned that our dinner guest that evening was a person known as a "preacher".

Chuck 2013/02/21


I would love to tell Dad about the time that I remodeled a morgue to make it handicapped accessible.

Chuck 2013/02/21