Hi guys! Fathers day is fast approaching and regardless of what type of father you had (loving, kind, tough, or maybe even absent) we are going to celebrate this week with a father’s day story and the best chocolate chip banana bread you ever had! You may remember a post my sister and I wrote a few years back trying to explain our very complicated father and even more bizarre childhood. If you missed it click here to read Blueberry Muffins…And Fathers, The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. This year I am going to take a “father” story straight from the pages of my book Eat Pray Get Well and share it with you. A thank you to my sister for this wonderful “father” story. Happy Father’s day!
Dad’s Revenge on the Garbage Men
Our father had it in for the garbage men. Why? Because like everyone else in his mind, they had it out for him. It was an ongoing and often epic battle that would be amusing if my sister and I weren’t put in the middle of it.
Two nights a week our father would search the house, the garage, and our yard for garbage. It was unacceptable to not be able to provide several full, oversized and heavy cans of garbage so that the garbage men would have to “work for their keep”. The rest of the family was forced to batten down the hatches and secure our possessions as the search for garbage became more and more fervent. If he couldn’t find garbage, he would simply make it. Cheerios and Corn Flakes were combined into one box in order to create an empty box for garbage. Shampoos and conditioners, and varying salad dressings etc. were also combined. He would go through our closets and decide if we really needed that extra pair of shoes, or ask himself if he had seen us play with that Frisbee or jump rope in a while. Like I said, batten down the hatches!
Our father would try to hide mowed grass, sticks and general yard debris in the bottom on the garbage cans. When the garbage men caught on to this they started looking for it and would remove those bags of illicit items and leave it at the curb. This made him furious. He also felt that the garbage men didn’t treat his beloved garbage cans with the care and respect they deserved and often found his cans dented and scraped and rolling down the hill.
The animosity between our father and the garbage men would grow to heights that pushed our father into illegal dumping activity and had our neighbors very close to calling child protective services. It sounds more dramatic than it actually was, but it left a lasting impression and memory on us. My sister says she can still feel the stress, frustration, and sheer unfairness of it all; the simple fact that we were blamed for the perceived slights, ineptness and assaults by the garbage men. This went on for most of our childhood and we did our best to adapt and avoid the insanity.
Garbage was put out at the crack of dawn and picked up sometime soon after we left for school. This meant the garbage cans and their precious lids were alone and unprotected all day long until the family came home in late afternoon. Our job was to bring our garbage cans and lids up the driveway and into the garage after school. Most of the time we could retrieve and find the garbage cans and lids that had blown or rolled down the street before he arrived home from work. Most of the time we could punch out the dents in the cans and hide the items that the garbage men didn’t take. Every now and then however, a can or lid was lost or perhaps mistakenly taken by a neighbor. Again, someone had to pay and we were easy targets. One particular evening whenI was twelve and my sister was nine: “It was the dead of winter and by the time I came home from sports, it was already dark and we couldn’t find one of the garbage can lids. Unbeknownst to us, it was frozen under many inches of ice in the run off on our street. We knew it wouldn’t be a good night, and to make matters worse, our mother wasn’t going to be home that particular evening.
Our father came home every night at 7PM. That’s when we would make ourselves scarce! Most evenings upon coming home he was on the hunt to find something to be angry about. Now that I’m an adult, I realize he was angry before he came in the door and finding some indiscretion to rage over was a release for him—but devastating to us. It chipped away at our sense of fairness, our confidence, self-esteem and generally made us frightened and skittish kids. That particular evening our father went on a rant about the missing garbage can lid. He called us useless and stupid for not picking up that lid before it got lost. He mentioned our ingratitude, as it was he who went to work every day so that we could all have these wonderful garbage cans. It was clearly our fault that it was missing. My sister and I went to bed early that night as an avoidance tactic we learned early on.
From our beds we could hear our father going in and out of the house. He was walking up and down the street in the freezing cold looking for the lid. When his flash light caught a glimmer of his beloved lid under the ice, he ran back into the house demanding we get out of bed and go outside to rescue the lid. We were able to put coats on over our pajamas but there was no time for hats and gloves or boots. Out in the dark, with the wind and cold taking our breath away, my sister and I worked with an ice pick and a gardening tool to chip at the rock-hard ice. My father yelled at us as we worked, which caught the attention of a neighbor. At first I could see her in the window trying to see what was happening outside. Then I realized she turned off the light in the house so she could get a better look into the darkness. I remember feeling such humiliation and hoping to God that she wouldn’t come out and confront our father, or worse tell her same-aged children who went to
school with us.
It was many years later that someone from the old block told us that our neighbor had debated calling the police or child protective services that night. In those days most people didn’t get involved and minded their own business; in those days and on that particular block, almost everyone had family issues they were dealing with.
I know our childhood sounded tough, and at times it was, but for all the pain there were positives that shaped us, and for that we are grateful to our father.
Our father had such a strong sense of responsibility and we learned from him or perhaps mimicked him in several areas. We all have a tremendous work ethic. I don’t remember one day my father called in sick to work and my sister and I follow suit. We have learned the value of money. Nothing came for free in our house. Everything had to be earned, worked, and saved for. Our bizarre childhood also gave us a wonderful opportunity to create and sharpen our sense of humor.
No matter what kind of father you may have had remember there is a heavenly father above who takes us in as His own. Psalm 27:10 says “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me”.
Now on to this amazing gluten free and grain free banana bread. It is so moist and delicious I know you will love it. Enjoy and happy fathers day to all of the wonderful dad’s out there!
This week I did a guest post for Stefani over at Natural Paleo Family where I shared this awesome banana bread recipe. Please click here to get the recipe . I didn’t want you to miss out though because this banana bread is amazing. Over the weekend we bought 15 VERY ripe bananas for 99 cents at a farmers market so as I explained over on the NPF, this was good and bad (mostly good) because now I spent the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen making batch after batch of banana bread. I made 5 loaves, and 48 hours later we are down to only two. Yes, it’s that good! Coming up…..I am flying out to Texas next week to go back on Know the Cause with Doug Kaufmann and I’m so excited to talk all things HEALING. I will share that experience with all of you when I get back.