Dad Musings

Two things prompted this blog:

  1. It’s Father’s Day.
  2. My friend used the word “perseverate” in a sentence.

When my non-writer friends casually pepper words like perseverate into a conversation, it makes me appreciate them just that much more.

It also infuriates me to no end given that I had nary an idea what the hell that word meant.

(I actually had to stop and look it up in a dictionary. And, no, I’m not going to tell you the definition. Go look it up your damn self. It will be good for you.)

My friend and I were discussing the nuances of our respective fathers. Mine, turns out, was idyllic—and I didn’t even know it. She, meanwhile, was trying hard to forgive and forget some of her dad’s past transgressions. “I refuse to perseverate on them,” she announced.

Long after we switched topics, I kept coming back to all the quirky things that made R.L. Mackie so special. I started a mental list in my head right then and there. I kept adding to it throughout the week.

Now, without further ado—here’s a laundry list of things that kept coming top of mind. (Yes, it’s random. Yes, that’s how my mind works. No, I did not get that from my father. He was a hyper-analytical engineer. Also, perseveration can be fun.)

7) My dad took an insane amount of pride in his yard. We’re talking borderline OCD, people. After Mom passed away, Dad could easily spend from sun up to sun down meticulously working on his immaculately manicured lawn. It was—hands down—the greenest, lushest lawn in the neighborhood. Dandelions knew better than to even attempt sprouting in his yard. They would be snatched from the earth the instant they broke ground. One year a pesky mole wreaked havoc in the backyard. The amount of money he spent to destroy that varmint was unfathomable. At one point there were two exterminators on our property—at the same time.

6) Dad only swore in mixed company. Unless my dad was hanging around drinking and smoking cigars with his cronies, I never heard him use a swear word. Not once, not ever. I often meant to ask him about that, but never got around to it. Maybe it was to be deferential around my mom? Although I doubt it. The Bevinator freely and liberally cussed. She would use the word asshole as a verb, noun, adjective, and prepositional phrase.

5) When my prim, proper, and perpetually devoted Grandma Mack passed away, my father sob-heaved. A guttural, shaking cry. At that exact instant, it wholly reinforced the unconditional love and affection my dad had for his mom. (Not that there was ever any doubt, of course.) I also vowed to step up my game as a dutiful son. As gamechangers go, it was the gamerchangeriest. Years later, I found out my Grandma Mack still plays double duty as my closest, dearest guardian angel. Seems very on brand for her.

4) He was a telemarketer’s dream. My dad loved calling and ordering stuff he saw on TV, especially if they threw in extra, complimentary stuff in the last :15 seconds of the ad. “Act now and we’ll double your order—FOR FREE!” was a call to arms. He couldn’t get his credit card out fast enough. At one point, I made him start doling out My Pillows to every person that walked in his door. Instead of passing out candy, Dad would pass out new, plastic-wrapped pillows.

3) He despised nicknames. His name is Robert. Oh sure, the family can call him Bobby—but that was the only semi-acceptable term of endearment he’ll allow. When I coined Mom’s nickname of “The Bevinator,” he wholly embraced it. Later, when I started calling him “Captain Bobvious,” he forbid me to ever use that term again. I don’t think he’s ever forbidden me to do anything. Robert got real. And then shit got real.

2) Tell no one, but my dad was a big-hearted softie. On the day I turned 21, my dad handed me a shoebox with yellow-tinged wrapping paper. Inside was a handwritten letter Dad had penned to me mere minutes after I was born—on hospital stationary, no less. I framed that letter earlier this year in his honor—along with a copy of The Des Moines Register from the day I was born, my baby shoes, and a 50-year-old “It’s a Boy!” cigar also found in said shoebox. Read more here.

1) His gentile spirit knew no bounds. Anytime people would say, “Your dad would be rolling over in his grave if …” I would always stop them cold. One of my Dad’s best qualities was his quiet, gracious nature. I can count on one hand the number of times he got mad. He was quick to forgive and quietly pensive. He once told me because he was a statistical engineer, his whole life was rooted in analytics. “Once I became a dad, I became him a sentimental sap,” he said.

And that, my friends, is the note I’m ending this blog on. Feel free to perseverate on it. Just don’t forget to go out of your way and tell your dad how special he is. This blog could have gone on infinitely longer, but as Dad always told me, “Don’t be gaudy. Less is more.” Wise man, my dad.

One thought on “Dad Musings

  1. I’ve always loved your writings and musings. Thank you for sharing, M2. I’ll no longer prevenerate on this matter.

    Love, Peace & Chicken Grease,


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