dad’s Oldsmobile at nautilus teachings

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my dad drove
a orange oldsmobile “boat”
for a car
when i was young.
as a matter a fact i believe
he had it before i was born
and he did not get rid of it
until i was 14…
he always drove,
as my mother used to say,
“like a bat out of hell…”
fast and jerky…
my dad believes in hanging on to stuff
wearing it out
running it ragged
til it dies!!!
he takes very good care of
anything he purchases…
he would even have the same
shorts from the 70’s if
someone who loved him
had not made sure
he kept in style!
he also loves to wear
any type of hat…
i don’t know if it is to
keep his comb-over from flying
all over the place
to keep his head warm
or if he’s just a hat guy…
when i was young he wore
a black derby
and smoked huge cigars!
they were so big his lips
stayed parted when he
wasn’t inhaling
this gave the effect of a
crooked smile
almost like he had weed
in his cigar and not tobacco!
in the winter
mom made him switch to the pipe
because it smelled like cherries
and since the house was closed up
i guess it was better than
those nasty cigars…
dad always looked like frosty the snowman
when he had his top hat on
and pipe hanging out of his mouth.

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my mother would always have
a cigarette burning in the front room
in an ashtray, her drink beside it
while she ran around the house
doing all sorts of things
i would sit in the chair next
to her stuff
and watch her run room to room
occasionally stopping
to have a drag
and take a sip,
then, BOOM
she was off…
so many times
the cigarette just kept burning
and this long snake looking ash
would be sitting there
attached to it-
my two brothers would
pop in once in a while
take a hit
and a sip too
then giggle and run away-
i was just the introverted
observer…
this was the 60’s
everybody smoked
drank
went to church
played and listened to sports
worked hard
had two jobs
and family meant everything…
flash forward to now.
we are all grown up
mom is in heaven
dad remarried
we all have kids
grandkids
and dad,
well,
dad still drives like
“a bat out of hell…”
and he is 87.
i love my dad-
no matter what
has transpired in my life-
he was never mean to me
he just was never there for me…

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anyway,
two days ago i am cruising down A1A south
in cocoa beach
when this huge dark green
rusty oldsmobile whizzes by me fast
i glance over
and damn if it isn’t
an old man with a derby on
and a huge cigar perched
between his lips
driving like,
“a bat out of hell…”
i begin laughing
and continue giggling as i drive.
when i approach the red light-
there HE is.
he glances over at me
his lips are parted
he looks half stoned
window cracked open…
i wave and smile
when
WOOSH!
he takes off again,
like “a bat out of hell…”
i am still giggling at this memory
because since this day
i cannot get the images of my childhood
out of my head
of my dad in his
orange oldsmobile
derby hat on
cigar upon his lips…
those were the days
i can never ever get back
but boy
do i sure hold them close
because through all the madness
and craziness of my growing up
it’s nice to have cracks of light
burst open every now and then
assuring me
life really wasn’t that bad…

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