GARTH BROOKS…”explained” my Dad..
My father never expressed much interest in music.. at least not to me..
As his daughter growing up in the 80s…
Now granted… I started to consider my parents somewhat human after I turned 28..
1990… my father showed up with tickets to the KALAMAZOO COUNTY FAIR..
I looked at the names.. “GARTH WHAT?”…
I could tell from the look on my father’s face… this was the reason..
My dad used to sing “strange diddies” to me as a kid about “Hound Dogs” and
“Mrs. Robinson”.. but that was “then”…. nothing really past age 7..
Now… my father .. was a “Country Music” fan… Sigh..
I wanted to be a good sport.. even though I was way too “cool” for it..
so I went … wearing my “BonJovi” faux snakeskin pants and my recently
Added “Pat Benetar” black pixie with heavy eyeliner..
We gathered in front of the main band stand .. I settled back .. ready to roll my eyes and mentally make fun of the TWANG..
This pudgy man in a black hat.. guitar…belt buckle…
“LETS GET THIS OVER WITH..”, I smirked inside , smiled a bit at my dad..
“Uncool” as he was…
THIS MAN DID NOT JUST SING… HE PERFORMED…
He was animated, resonating, telling antidotes… hanging from the
Rafters … cheering .. running around the stage like .. well.. BonJovi..
HE WAS A FREAKING FORCE OF NATURE..
“I GOT FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES…”. He had the crowd swaying.. my dad was swaying ..holy crap..
My dad had zero friends in “low places”.. so I thought ..
But see….I didn’t know… I didn’t think…he was my “dad”..
My dad who was in Germany for 4 years .. guarding the Berlin Wall..
Who took me to see “The Graduate” when I was a toddler because he wanted to go and couldn’t find a sitter..
My dad who started smoking at age 14, wore black pants and shoes with a Cubano heel…
My dad..who no doubt had “fun”.. youth …women before my mom… too many beers..
My dad.. who was a man… HUH?
Yep.. I looked at him… I. saw the “GARTH” in him..
My dad was a pudgy man who would have worn a black cowboy hat..if he could .. he wanted to loudly proclaim his hopes.. fears… live his dreams..
My dad wanted to SING again …
And so he did … with his family grown and out … my dad became a country music fan … extremely…
Garth SANG.. George Strait.. Johnny Cash came back..
My dad opened up…
He told me “things” that as his daughter.. I wanted to roll my eyes to heaven and leave the room…
He told me things about his youthful indiscretions..
“Elvis”..jukeboxes.. arguing with his father about farm chores, and Sunday church services .. he had “opinions”, he broke curfew.. he hung out with “Friends in LOW places”..he fought with everyone for his independence..
Like me… MY DAD… WAS “ME” before I was Me…
I AM HIM..
My “gift” of being able to walk up to anyone .. anywhere.. starting a conversation .. with curiosity and compassion… THAT IS MY DAD’S
He was a “tempered” kind of bold.. he had responsibilities.. he had a family..
( although he and my mom didn’t marry until he was 30..that should have been my first clue.. he was a whole lot of what I never considered )
He reinvented himself as “MIKE”…(given name .. MAYNARD)
Mike took up cooking.. Mike again had “FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES”.. Mike was witty, and interesting ..even to his daughter..
And when “MIKE” told me a certain song by VINCE GILL summed up his relationship with my mom… I teared up…
LOOK AT US…
Look at us
After all these years together
Look at us
After all that we’ve been through
Look at us
Still leaning on each other
If you wanna see how true love should be
Then just look at us
Those days are over… both have passed on…I rarely hear from siblings ..
(I was the “different” sheep then…I am the same now..)
What I have is knowing that because of GARTH.. I got to meet my “Real” dad.. not just the parent.. but the man..
I am his daughter.. in all ways that matter…
( I am adopted.. that is its own “story”…)
Watching Garth .. Sing the song of my people …
(Amazing Grace .. a standard in my WASP home.. any given Sunday),
It was a wonderful reminder to me …
My dad … is around … he is smiling…he is having some random conversations with others who need random conversation..
Just like me.. as I sit on the subway .. striking up a chat…
“I GOT FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES .. WHERE THE WHISKEY FLOWS ..
AND THE BEER CHASES MY BLUES AWAY…”
And Dad…”I WILL BE OK…”