Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Prelude to the stolen duct tape

I look back now and know why my Father is the quiet, reserved man that he is today. Part of it is genetics and the other part is fear. He grew up with a stoic German Father and somehow ended up with my vivacious Italian Mother and had three daughters by the time he was 25. My Mother unsucessfully tried to beat the stoicism out of him with a frying pan and what was left was deadened with cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

He would come home from his job as a tool maker, unmoved by joy or grief and go through the motions of the evening. Eventually they divorced and us girls moved away and saw our Dad on all of the Holidays and occasions that you see your Dad when your parents are divorced. It wasn't so bad. When you're a kid you go through the motions unknowingly, it's the only way you know.

As teenagers, one by one we moved in with my Dad and his new wife. He loved us but wasn't quite sure what to do with us and examined each of our behavior with fear in his eyes trying to figure out if any of us were like my Mother. I knew right away that if I needed to talk to someone and it was outside of Dad's comfort zone I went to the council of sisters and things were taken care of. Eventually we spoke in code with Dad, "I need to go to the drug store" meant that any one of us needed some kind of product that defined us as girls and he quickly gave us $20 and the car keys. No questions asked. His ignorance usually worked to our benefit. He never asked for change back and anything that ever broke was fixed with duct tape. It's the one thing that man felt passion for. If it was missing, he would run around the house like a crazy person looking through drawers and banging on doors asking if anyone took the duct tape. My Mom should have tried to beat him with that instead of a frying pan, I think she would have been pleased to see a spark in his eye as he wrestled her for the shiny silver roll.

As an adult, I don't own a power drill. I have duct tape. My daughter is only 8 and already knows what a significant role it plays in our life together. She has what looks like a little wart on her toe and I called the Doctors office and asked if they could look at it for me. After explaining what it looked like they said it wasn't necessary and that they would send me a remedy that would get rid of it. It came in the mail this week in the form of a letter and imagine our delight when it said to wash the area well and apply a small piece of duct tape for 6 days.

Before she fell asleep last night we cut out the perfect square of duct tape and put it on her toe. I wish I had an answer for her when she asked me what the special power was in duct tape to fix her foot. I just told her we would have to call Grandpa tomorrow night. He knows everything there is to know about duct tape.

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