I got the same waiter everyday. What an imperious twit he was. This was, apparently, a real classy joint, but this guy took it to a whole other level.
He’d approach the table with a grim, haughty face, one arm held out in front of him, bent at the elbow, a tea towel folded precisely and draped over his forearm. He knew me and boy did I get under his skin- an exaggerated eye roll preceded his approach.
” And what will you be having for lunch this afternoon?”
” A bologna and cheese sandwich without the bread”, I’d shout out.
He’d shudder. ” Disgusting. I shall return shortly with your……sandwich.” And away he’d walk, audibly sighing.
On his return he’d hold my order out away from him, as if it was a dead cat, pinched between his thumb and forefinger. With great and obvious disdain, he’d throw them down onto the table.
” One bologna and cheese sandwich…..without the bread.” Smack went the bologna. Smack went the Kraft cheese slice.
“Daddy!” Giggling fit.
And so it went, day after day in the afternoons before I started school. He enjoyed playing the sanctimonious waiter as much I enjoyed horrifying him with my ‘ low-class’ orders.
My father was different than the other fathers. And twice as fun!
He wove a web of utter silliness. He made-up songs about dog-poop and frog hunting. He made up his own version of the alphabet which consisted of singing it all the normal way until the very end when he’d throw in, “OXNAAAAAAARD.” Don’t ask. Suffice to say, he taught me this version and then sent me innocently to Kindergarten where I insisted to my teacher that there was in fact a twenty-seventh letter called Oxnard. Still a little irritated about that.
He called me Piffle. Jabber jaws, Snerd, Tweeb, Hose-head, and Disgusta-bub also made it into the rotation, among others, but mostly he just called me Piffle. If he actually said “Heather”, my head would snap up. Had the president been shot? Only very serious circumstances warranted the use of my actual name. And serious was not the name of the game with the two of us.
We role-played and sang his made-up songs together. He took me everywhere with him. He tickled me and farted into my tape recorder. He watched my shows with me. Truth is, on the night of The Muppet Show he’d race to plant himself in front of the T.V. before I even got there. When he’d walk out of a room, he’d announce that he knew exactly how many precious Rolos or Doritos were left in the bag and then make a big, hilarious production of counting each one on his return, and feigning exasperation upon finding that I had eaten one or two. I loved it all.
He was sweet. He liked being with me. I knew it and few things feel as good to a child.
Happy Father’s Day ( and Happy Birthday too!)!
Thanks for all the giggles……