2017-06-21 / Editorials

Don Lively

Ooh la la!

The words left my lips involuntarily.

My new bride had walked into the room as I was still getting ready to go out to dinner. She'd finished dressing and was putting the finishing touches on her hair, and she looked fantastic, hotter than a two dollar pistol.

That's when I heard Daddy's words come out of my mouth.

Ooh la la!

Every boy child who has sprung from Daddy and Mama's lineage knows exactly what it means when that time honored French phrase enters the vocabulary. It means that the woman of the house, who is always prettier than a basketful of speckled puppies, is, at that moment, looking even more spectacular than normal.

Yes, I know, we talked about Daddy last week. That's what happens when Father's Day lands dead center between publication days and I have more to say about him.

You'll forgive me.

It's still Father's Day as I write my weekly scribblings. The preacher's sermon to the dads is still fresh in my mind. It wasn't the kind of Father's Day sermon that I'm used to. You know the kind. The one that occurs just a few weeks after the love fest sermon that happens on Mother's Day. The once a year, mid June discourse that causes most of the dads to walk out of the church house feeling like they've been spiritually whooped.

I didn't feel that today.

It was still a serious message, not a lot of fluff, but, the point of it was, we daddies sometimes set ourselves up for failure. If we fathers will rely on the Father, our lives, and the lives of our children, automatically have a better shot at success.

My father, the one I still call Daddy, many years after his passing, is never far from my mind.

This afternoon I picked up a knife to slice a tomato. Not just any knife, mind you. It's a twelve incher with a very sharp point and an equally sharp edge. I found it in Daddy's barn several years ago. The wooden handle had long since disintegrated and the metal was pretty rusty. Still, I never gave one second's thought to throwing it away. I remembered seeing Daddy's rough and ruddy farmer's hands wielding the very same knife, making his famous catfish chowder. No way could I ever part with it. It lived in my tool shed for a few years until I sent it to my friend, Bruce, a master craftsman with edged weapons and tools. He refurbished and re-blued the metal and attached a gorgeous handle.

The knife will see light duty the rest of its life and when I join Daddy in Paradise, it will go to my son.

A few years ago, when my kids were still small and still belonged to me, sort of, we were at The Pond. I took them down to one of the springs and showed them how to build a fluttermill. For those of y'all not educated in the ways of the woods, a flutter-mill is a simple little device made from limbs and bark. All you do is take two forked sticks, jam them into the edge of a stream with the forks sticking up. Take another stick, split it, and slide pieces of bark into the splits. Lay the stick and bark across the forked sticks at the level where the water hits the bark causing the contraption to turn round and round with the current. You have created a flutter-mill, and, until the streams rises, a form of perpetual motion.

Here's the thing, a flutter-mill has no real purpose.

Except to give Daddies something really cool to teach their kids.

Any of my three could build a flutter-mill, all because, many years ago, Daddy taught me.

I also know how to make a flying whirligig (at least that's what Daddy called it) out of an old, empty thread spool and a couple of popsicle sticks.

I can shoot green chinaberries out of a hollow limb off of the same chinaberry tree.

I can take a squirrel's tail (Does anybody still hunt squirrels?) long after the squirrel had departed this life, and, pulling on the exposed tendons, make the tail jerk and shake like it's still alive.

I can gently pinch off the tip of a honeysuckle blossom and squeeze out a tiny drop of sweet tasting necter.

None of those things will affect the course of human history one iota, but, because Daddy taught them to me, they are golden.

See you later, Daddy.

Don Lively is a freelance writer and author of two books of Southern Humor, Howlin' At The Dixie Moon, and, South O' Yonder. He lives in Shell Bluff. Email Don at Livelycolo@aol.com.

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