Wednesday, December 03, 2014

40 Seconds of a Life

*This entry was chosen as a Best of Holidailies!  Thank you!  

My Dad was drafted into the US Army during the Korean War.  He never really talked about it and it is one of the things I wished I would have asked more about.  I can't imagine being a young high school graduate and getting shipped off into the unknown whether you liked it or not.  I know that he was stationed in New Mexico and took a trip to see the Grand Canyon.  I have blurry black and white pictures of him standing in front of it.  My Dad was partially blind in one eye, so he was assigned to shuffle paper, as he put it.  I remember him telling me that they yelled at him and told him yes he could (!!) when he told them he couldn't see the eye chart during the physical.  My Dad worked on a typewriter in the office and filed papers.  He ranked corporal when he was discharged, and I only know that because we had to find his papers in order to have a military funeral for him.

The only real memory he shared with me was the marching songs. The one I remember the most went through my head on early mornings.   Countless times I'd hear those lyrics roll thought my head as I sleepily brushed my teeth and got ready for school, and into adulthood, work.  For years, I only remembered the first few lines:

Oh how I hate to get up in the morning
Oh how I'd love to remain in bed

Then there was something about murdering the bugler and getting the other pup and spending the rest of my life in bed!!  If there was ever a song that summed up my Dad's character, this was it.  It was so obviously corny, yet it was deadpan funny.  His jokes and stories were just as bad, but so bad his straight-faced delivery made them laughable.  You couldn't help but chuckle along with him, even if you had heard it a hundred times before.

When we were visiting at my Dad's house one day, I asked him about that song.  From then on, he started singing it to my kids.  Valerie would often ask him, "Poppi, sing that wake up song!!"  He'd chuckle, and of course he did.

In 2010, a year before he died, we went on vacation.  It was very, very early in the morning because the kids were up at dawn every day.  We were sitting on the condo's balcony overlooking the beach in Gulf Shores, AL.  I managed to capture this little forty second gem on my phone:

He didn't like me recording him as he wouldn't look my way.  At the end, you catch a glimpse of the real him.  That's the same chuckle and grin he had at the end of every "funny" joke or story he told. When I think of him, that is how I picture him.  Big goofy grin, squinty bad eye, and  finding a chuckle in everything.  

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  1. What a nice thing to remember! My Pop had his "song set" too - either sad prison songs or risqué Irish ones!

  2. Such wonderful memories!