I grew up always wanting the fairytale life. The whole rags to riches story. The small town girl who moves away to the city to become some highly accomplished and respected woman. To live happily ever after.
I left home at a very young age. I cringe when I think of my own children leaving at 18 to go off to college and I cannot imagine how my father must have felt letting me go off. But at that time in my life, it was what I needed to do to survive. My dad is a good man and although it saddened him to let me go, he did it because he knew I would have a better future because of it.
I struggled to get where I am today. It was a struggle to finish my schooling because of a lack of financial support. The choice was to quit school for a job that would provide for me or live on a strict budget seeking out help where I could and finish my schooling. I chose schooling. I always knew that to succeed in life, I would need that under my belt.
My dad always made a point to tell me how proud he was of me. He still does. He commends me for the sacrifices I made, and make, to ensure a better life for me and my own family. My dad has taught me a great many things about unconditional love and continues to support me in every aspect of my life.
Not to brag, but I think I have done pretty well.
I am an accomplished woman and I am respected by my peers and colleagues, husband and children, and even by some people I have never met.
I will live happily ever after. That is a choice I make. And together with my husband, it is a reality we will work towards every day.
Today I would like to share with you a memory from home.
He would roll cigarettes, play cribbage and drink coffee.
My dad is a very giving man and so, although it was just the two of us, there were always people staying with us. He had an open door policy to anyone who needed a little help, a stepping stone, while they got back on their feet. And, the coffee was always on for those who just needed to chat.
At the time, my dad’s best friend, Jim, was our guest. Jim smoked cigars, drank hot chocolate and played crib with my dad every night. During the day, the two of them worked at the mines, just like most of the men in town did.
I remember one night I had agreed to play crib with them before bed. It was a small town after all and there really was not anything better to be found for entertainment. I poured dad a coffee and Jim a hot chocolate.
It didn’t take long for them to leave me in their dust. They teased me about being “skunked” yet again. The two of them were pretty good at their trash talk let me tell ya. But I took it with grace.
Jim took a sip of his hot chocolate and then started to…chew. Dad raised one of his bushy eyebrows and peered at him.
“Rach,” Jim said, “not only do you suck at crib, but we need to teach you how to stir.”
“I did stir,” I said without looking up from my cards. I had to focus. I had a good hand, but if I didn’t play my cards right, Jim would win the game before I had a chance to count out and pass that dreaded line.
“Jim,” my dad said, “What are you chewing on?”
I looked up then.
“Chocolate,” Jim said as he spit the chunk into the palm of his hand.
“What type of hot chocolate is that?” my dad asked him.
We all leaned in a little closer to inspect this partially chewed chunk of hot chocolate when Jim dropped it on the table and yelled.
“I don’t think it’s chocolate,” I whispered.
“The hell it’s not,” Jim yelled at me, “You brat. Why would you put that in my cup?”
“Me?” I sat up straight, hand on my chest, insulted that he blamed me.
Dad continued to stare at the ‘chocolate’ now on the table. He poked it to roll it over.
“Hell,” dad bellowed with laughter, “that’s a mighty big fly Jim.”
“No shit,” Jim was angry, “and your daughter put it in my cup.”
“Why would she do that?” The amusement in my dad’s voice obvious.
“Because,” Jim thought for a moment, “because she’s losing.”
I laughed then. I couldn’t help it. “Well, I hadn’t planned on losing when I made you that cup.”
Jim was furious.
Dad patted Jim on the back, “My daughter is pretty talented old man, but I don’t think she snuck that fly into your cup.”
That was the first time I saw a man pout and smile at the same time.
Jim sat that way quietly until it was his turn. At the end of his turn he stared at me hard. “You,” he pointed his finger, “are skunked.”
“At least I didn’t chew on a fly,” I said under my breath.
Before I knew what was happening, Jim had jumped up from his seat and lunged at me. Thankfully my dad was in the way and I ran around the table. Me shrieking, dad laughing, and Jim grunting. I made it to my room safely and they taunted me to come out and play. But, I was happy to be the skunk for the night.
I didn’t plant that fly in Jim’s cup. Karma did!
(c) Rachel Rennie 2015