When the habitually even-tempered suddenly fly into a passion, that
explosion is apt to be more impressive than the outburst of the most
violent amongst us.
— Margery Allingham, Death of a Ghost, 1934
The first thing I thought of when this quote came across the desk this morning was my dad. I inherited a lot of things from my dad. His height, his tendancy for acne, his dry wit and appreciation for a good cup of coffee, especially on cold mornings here at the Story Factory.
The one thing I did not inherit was his even tempered-ness. The man had \”Patience is a virtue\” written under his high school year book photograph. And no one seemed to disagree. Not something anyone would accuse me of in high school.
I only heard my father curse once in my entire life. And the event was so impressive, I can still remember it clearly. I must have been a sophomore or junior in high school, because the incident happened in our Texas garage. One of the neighbors, Jeff H. (Who, incidently, grew up to become a policeman, scary) was pounding the head of another eighth grade neighbor (can\’t remember his name, he didn\’t grow up to a career in law enforcement) into the cement garage floor. Repeatedly.
I remember the adreneline that flowed as my brother (Yep, I remember his name, and he too is in law enforcement…a pattern?) called my father because of the fight. My father didn\’t run, didn\’t panic, just calmly walked out of the kitchen, holding his coffee cup, and bellowed. \”Get your f***ing asses out of my garage. Now.\”
The two boys froze in action. Jeff stood up and walked across the street to his house, the other boy went in the other direction to his house. Neither spoke a word. No one did. There were three other boys in the garage, and they just stood staring, mouths agape. Dad took a sip of coffee and went back in the house. The neighborhood, once they started talking about it, talked about it for the next fifteen years. We never heard those words come out of my father\’s mouth again.
I\’ve thought about Dad quite a bit as we\’ve been packing up to move out of the house that he helped design and pay for, but never got to live in. Lung Cancer moved faster than the building contractors. But mom fixed things so that the house became more than we could afford even before she passed on. And when I walk through the house, I can still hear her voice complaining about how this or that wasn\’t done right and she would have made sure it was, if only her husband wasn\’t dying at the time. But her daughter, alas, was incompetent and didn\’t take care of her mother very well. Leaving the house is like leaving a bad memory behind in that respect and I feel like a huge whiny parrot is getting surgically removed from my shoulder at closing next week.
I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of
spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend
the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on.
— Beryl Pfizer
I have one huge legal pad of things to do. I\’ve only lost the pad seven times yesterday. I may get through the next seven days yet….