Notes From A Walkman Junkie: Never A Dull Moment
The year was 1990 and I was visiting my father in Colorado for a few days. My parents had been divorced for about five years and my siblings and I had been trading off between us going to to visit my dad and him coming to Missouri to see us periodically throughout those years. On this particular occasion we (my brother and father — mostly due to their fondness of weaponry and giant meats) decided to attend the annual Renaissance Festival. We had been wandering around the dusty grounds, surrounded by patrons in costumes and turkey legs the size of our heads (though in all fairness, our heads are relatively tiny), when we passed by a game that caught my dad’s fancy. The activity basically consisted of hurling sharp axes at a target on a large board in the hopes of winning a (big meat) prize.
My father stepped up and picked up one of the shiny axes and chucked it swiftly towards the the board where it stuck just outside of the target. Dad then took a second axe for another go at it — keeping his eye intently on the (protein) prize. This time he flung the axe with even greater force causing it to bounce off of the board and soar back towards the crowd gathered behind him. Within seconds, there was a loud “clang” noise accompanied by gasps and screams. Fortunately, the recipient of the misdirected flying weapon was donning a full-on metal knight’s suit of armor and walked away from the incident unscathed (had he been wearing the Innkeeper’s costume or the deluxe Monk’s Robe, it may have been an entirely different story.) Incidentally, this was not my dad’s first wielding of an axe — he once grabbed an axe from our shed and chased a man who had just flashed my mother in front of our house (though she was not actually aware that she was being flashed at first and squinted with confusion at the pantsless man for a few minutes — she is nearsighted.)
Not all of our visits, however, involved such highly-charged events (deadly axe games.) In general, our time spent together consisted more along the lines of ordering a pizza and watching terribly (wonderfully) gruesome horror flicks. I recall once when my father had come down for a couple of days to see us and we were all hanging out in his hotel room. We had decided to order a pizza and were waiting for our delicious cheesy pie to arrive. The delivery seemed to be taking an incredibly long time and we were all starting to get quite angry-hungry (anger-hunger is one of the most frequently experienced human emotions as keenly pointed out by my brother.) Eventually, my father called up the tardy establishment to complain of our lack of pizza and spoke with the manager who claimed that the delivery guy had searched for our hotel room, but could not find it. After several minutes of my dad explaining exactly where we were located and restating the room number, the manager insisted that there was no room by that number; my father flatly offered, “Then how did I get here?”
I look back very fondly at those times spent with my father and have decided to attach “Just The Way You Are” by Billy Joel because I started to sing this song to my father when we last met — which upon the commencement of my rendition, he promptly spun around and walked away.