Chicken or Fish?

I’m a byproduct of a broken home – two actually. Having said that, I would not say that it has scarred me emotionally; but would say that it has cemented my sense of humor and my belief in the saying, “what doesn’t kill you, will certainly make you stronger.” My dad is a living example of this.

My parents separated shortly after my eighth birthday. My dad has never spoken of the divorce , but my mother’s reasoning was my dad’s “fishing habits”. I suspect it had more to do with her meeting future husband #2.

Regardless of the true reasons, these “fishing habits” usually lasted a few days away from home and most certainly involved alcohol. He would return home looking like something the cat dragged in and smelling even worse. Oblivious to my mother’s mood, he would insist on showing off his prize catch and sharing his tall tales of fishing greatness.

“Let sleeping dogs lie” is not a phrase listed in my dad’s vocabulary. To put it mildly, my mother was a pit bull and my dad was a Chihuahua that insisted on poking her with a stick with the recount of his fishing excursion. When she wouldn’t acknowledge his fishing greatness, he would begin to taunt her, “You’re just jealous because you know you couldn’t catch a fish as big as the one I did.”

All sizes and types of animals are typically able to sense danger, as are young children, but why is it a grown man lacks one of the basic survival mechanisms – fear and the need for self-preservation? Fearless of my mother’s glare, he continues his fishing rant, saying “I don’t know why you are you so angry. You know what will make you feel better? Cooking me up some of the prize winning fish I caught.”

Well my dad certainly isn’t a dumb man, but with a comment such as that, he shouldn’t have been caught off-guard by what happened next. My mother calmly walked into the kitchen, only to appear with the prized trout that my dad had caught days earlier and which was now in a frozen state – all three feet of it.

My dad, with his backed turned, did not see her approach. With the stealth of a ninja and the precision of a samurai warrior and a swing to rival Babe Ruth, she swung that trout like it was a Louisville Slugger. Catching my dad upside his head and knocking him off his chair and onto the floor, she exclaimed “if this is the fish you are talking about, how would you like it prepared?” This action was met by hoots of laughter. Did I forget to mention that we had visitors? Good times.

After the trout swinging incident, my dad still participated in his fishing excursions, but was wise enough not to bring anything home larger than sardines - the fresh variety, not canned. Even after the divorce, my dad continues to fish, although he now prefers to practice the “catch and release” method.

I’m sure “irreconcilable differences” was the reason cited for the divorce; unless of course there was the option on the divorce forms to select “domestic culinary abuse”.

At my mom's funeral, my dad leaned over and whispered into my ear "I've always loved her, even though she had something against fishing."


K13 said…
Your mom is MY KIND of woman!! I'm not sure how I would have handled your dad's final comment about your mom AT the funeral. Ouch!
Brian Miller said…
i imagine he did still have a soft spot for her...not just in the side of his head. broken homes are tough places, i am glad you made it through.
You know I think it's kind of sweet what he said to you. Maybe it was his way of acknowledging the good times with her and the love they had between them at one point.

Divorce is not an easy thing for anyone to handle. You seem to have survived intact though :)
@K13 - My mom was a strong woman. There are many more tales to be told of their marriage disaster, their ongoing torment of each other and food being tossed.

I was o.k. with his comment, as I know it was his way of dealing with the loss.

@Brian - Funny, they both still had soft spots for each other. After a about 5 years of separation, they became friends again - they just couldn't live with each other.

@SA - It was a very sweet comment - it sums up my dad perfectly.

I'm totally o.k. with the divorce because even though they didn't live together, they spent a lot of time together as they both got older and they would still fight.
webruci said…
I have a dear old friend, can been my father. we always going to fishing together, he never catch big fish. In a weekend he finaly catch a 9.5kg carp! he was delighted. when I take home (I always help to get in the house with a huge staf) his wife is open the dor, he happy show the big carp to his wife. His wife only told a sentence: "Where did you buy this fish?"

I understand your father:-)

Popular posts from this blog

What I Did On My Summer Vacation - An Essay...