Paying Homage To The Troll

When my father was alive, I talked to him almost every day. I still do–only now it doesn’t involve a telephone or takeout burgers, and he doesn’t talk back. Most of the time now, it’s some sort of inside joke that we had, or something I’ve observed that entertains me in a way only he would understand. Sometimes, it’s like a confession. If I’m really upset, I’ll stand outside in the dark and talk to the air–and imagining what he’d say back to me somehow makes me feel better.

On that note, some Dad-isms:

1) “Yabba-dabba-doo!” Every summer when I was a kid, my father would take me to Provincetown, where he and my mother met, and where later in life he told me he’d spent his best youthful years. The road into town was peppered with little beach shacks, which he loved. Each time we’d cross into Provincetown and see the cottages, my dad would throw his arm out the window of the car (the old blue Impala when I was really young, then the Jeep Comanche pickup) and he’d yell as loud as he could, “Yabba-dabba-doo!” His eyes would twinkle and his grin would widen, and then we’d both yell it again, just to make sure we were heard.

2) “Pay the troll.” Although it wasn’t necessarily the healthy thing to do, my dad usually bought me a package of candy when we went to the grocery store. He had a sweet tooth, and he indulged mine, too. Often he’d pretend he wasn’t going to get me anything, but he usually would anyway, and once we got into the car and I ripped open the package (usually Skittles), he’d thrust out his big, calloused hand and say, “Pay the troll!” Reluctantly, I always shared. Occasionally I thought I was being clever, and I gave Dad the flavors I didn’t like–the purple and black Necco wafers, the green Skittles–but he was onto me, and always called me out. “Oh, give me a couple good ones, for Chrissake,” he’d say.

3) “I’m gonna give you flying lessons!” When I was being mischeivous, but not downright badly behaved, my father would scold me gently, laughing, “If you don’t cut that out, I’m gonna give you flying lessons… off the end of my foot!” And when I’d protest, he’d say, “To the moon!” and he’d swing his foot like he was kicking something heavy, an unruly towheaded child, perhaps.

4) “OUT!” Usually this one was directed at the cat, when she was in a place she wasn’t supposed to be, but sometimes it was directed at me, if I was in his way. With a big grin, he’d say loudly, “Out!” and shoo either me or the cat away dramatically; I’ve noticed this tendency in myself recently, as the bar gets more crowded with staff, and I’ve been careful to explain that I’m not angry, just channeling Dad.

So Dad, I miss you. And it’s comforting to hear your voice come out of my mouth sometimes. It makes me laugh, in a way only you would understand.

~ by saltgirlspeaks on 9 July, 2009.

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