Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Great White South

My father is about 6'2" and probably weighs around 250 lbs. He's broad and ursine and I've never seen him without a beard. He looks a lot like the older Orson Welles, though his beard isn't that prodigious, and he doesn't sound like him. For those of you who are wondering, Brain of Pinky and the Brain was modeled after Welles in manner and voice. My father sounds and acts more like a diesel engine.

This is an actual but outdated picture of him and this is a sculpture he made of me when I was three years old. My father has been a stay-at-home, self-employed, successful sculptor for all of my living memory. I don't know if any of you have seen the Monty Python skit "Working Class Playwright," but the funny mix of old-fashioned, conservative manliness (minus the sexism and the ignorance...and the swears...and the accent) with art makes me think of him.

There was a magnificent blizzard one March when we still lived in Georgia. We as Georgians were not prepared for it. Nor were the trees, which broke with the weight of the snow and knocked down gutters and powerlines across town. We had no school and no electricity for one week. As far as winter gear goes we had nothing but our light jackets and maybe some hiking boots, so my father layered us in as much clothing as possible and then lovingly wrapped us from our toes to our knees in plastic wrap. We didn't have any sleds, of course, so he grabbed some baking sheets and cardboard boxes.

There was one hill at our neighbor's house that made for good sledding. After we exhausted ourselves with that, we made snowmen. My father's snowman was clearly Joseph Smith, kneeling. Mine might have been a woman, I'm not sure.

When it got dark we went back home. Being without electricity, my father made a pot of beanie-weenies, which he cooked in the fireplace. Then we played cards until we all fell asleep in the living room - the whole family - to keep warm.

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bekki said...
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bekki said...

What a great memory! Thanks for sharing it!

Laurie said...

I like that story. And it's freezing down here too.