Happy Father’s Day!
Jessica Davey-Quantick explains why her dad is awesome Discuss this article
It’s Father’s Day this month, and once again I’m not there for the annual cake-for-breakfast-followed-by-presents celebrations. My mom says this might not be a problem, as to quote her ‘you and your dad are weird.’
This may be true. When I was last home, I was finally pinned down to go through the boxes of detritus I’d left behind over various moves. It’s like an archeological dig, particularly when I hit the layers from junior high and high school. Deep in the bowels of forgotten birthday cards and random sparkly things (apparently as a child I was a crow), I came across the beginning of an essay. Entitled ‘The moral benefits of the effects of delayed gratification’, it’s written on pink, teddy bear stationary. And I’d miss spelt ‘gratification’. What can I say—I was 11 at the time. This would be my father’s weirdo way of punishing me. He assigned me homework.
My parents, being the stalwart hippies that they are, never grounded us, and had figured out by that age that sending us to our rooms wasn’t working, as mostly that’s where we wanted to be. Their weapon of choice, long lectures and reasoned discussion, was failing them. In fact, these would eventually lead my brother, their third and final child, to crack and demand they ground him, beat him, anything, just don’t talk to him!
My dad seemed to find this a challenge. By the time I was 14 he’d graduated from the essays to following me to my room to instruct me on how to slam a door properly, or else would just mock me, imitating my foot-stamping teenaged fury until I laughed.
Yup, pretty weird.
My mom should have seen this coming though: we were weird from the start. My dad worked a lot when I was growing up, and some of my earliest memories are of him click clacking down the hall in his shiny tasseled shoes, on his way to work before the sun was even quite up.
But my best memories of my dad from when I was small were Sunday mornings, sitting in my PJs and watching old John Wayne movies on PBS. Sure, I saw the classics: True Grit, The Quiet Man, Rio Bravo, Rooster Cogburn. But we also saw North to Alaska, Donovan’s Reef, and that one where he went to Japan. There’s something strange about a six-year-old girl’s favourite movie being The Cowboys, and it having more to do with the swaggering star than the pretty ponies.
But I think that had more to do with for me, my dad basically being John Wayne. Eventually, PBS started playing blocks of Coronation Street instead of old westerns. But when I went to university, occasionally a package would arrive, baring a VHS of some forgotten Western starring the Duke. To play on the TV in my dormroom, which also arrived in the mail. And I’d call my dad and we’d talk about whatever I was reading, why Plato was a tool and why Nietzche really needed to lighten up and get a job, and how I was hypothetically a grownup and so he couldn’t tell me what to do with my life any more (which he still tells me on a semi-regular basis, before reminding me to ‘trust my cape’).
So, next time I’m home, while I may have missed Father’s Day, I might dust off our copy of The Train Robbers and see if my dad wants to do Duke impressions with me (which in his case mostly looks like Nathan Lane in The Birdcage). Which will then make me shoot whatever I’m eating straight out my nose (yes, eating. It’s a talent), and we’ll both laugh in exactly the same way till we can’t breathe. Like I said, we’re weird.
Jessica Davey-Quantick is the Editor of Time Out Doha, and after this column is either in trouble or The Good Daughter.
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