Wednesday, June 1, 2011

For Crying Out Loud....

My Dad used that expression a lot, or so it seemed to me.  It usually went like this..."For Crying Out Loud Louise, do the kids have to spill the Kool-Aid every night at the table?"  (We didn't have to, but we did it a lot).  I'm not sure I know the origins of the expression or the correct usage, but my Dad's version  works for me.  I thought of it the other day when I was moved to tears, and wondered what my Dad's reaction to them might have been.....

     It was the Sunday of Memorial Day and my Scouts were participating in a flag ceremony and the reading of the honored war dead.  We were halfway into the names when I tasted something salty on my cheek and realized that I was openly crying.  It was likely the combination of emotions that got to me, my gratitude for the sacrifices made for my freedom, my patriotism swelling inside of me, the pride I felt for the job my Scouts had done that day, and of course the thanks I felt for all of God's blessings, but there was no excuse for it, I was crying.  I used the back of my hand to hide any evidence of it, and got myself under control, but later thought of the many times in my life and events that had and hadn't brought tears.

     I was born, like most kids, crying.  Unlike most kids, however, I kept that particular skill for a lot longer than nature intended.  You don't mind being called a crybaby at 2, but at 12, it's a lot different. 
I seemed to have a lot of trouble dealing with the strong emotions that I felt, without them being accompagnied by my self produced waterworks.  I liked that I was passionate about so many things, but the tears I could have done without. I'm going to give myself a pass on the first 10 years or so, just because my crying instances would be too many to count, and I hope to keep the blog short, but sufficed to say, a lot of things brought me to tears back then.  I cried when my siblings gave me a mean nickname (Scum), and used it incessantly for about a month.  It was "Don't sit near Scum" or "Don't let Scum walk with us" and things to that effect.  Many of them were in on it, but in retrospect I likely deserved my lumps.  Coincidentally my weekly bath time fell right about in the middle of Star Trek, and admittedly I would rush the process a little, less I miss the ending each week.  There is nothing worse than being told to take your bath when Captain Kirk is getting beaten senseless by a Gorn... Well, OK, there are 2 worse things, 1. Coming back after your "bath" to see the Gorn defeated and have no idea of how it happened, and 2. Having to lay down on the living room rug in tight quarters with the kid who skips his bath each week. 

If my siblings had done that to me in today's age, they would have probably been accused of bullying, harassment or hazing, and I would still be a stinky 10 year old,  but I digress, point was,  I cried at being teased.  I cried when I got hurt, I cried when I was angry, I cried when I couldn't communicate effectively what I wanted to say (now I blog), and when I felt the world had dealt me a bad hand.  I cried a lot.  A short disclaimer, I cried 2nd most in the family, I had a sister who put me to shame, in fact so much I am thinking of naming her Teary (pronounced Teery) in the blog, but I haven't fully decided yet.  I was the 2nd biggest crybaby in the family though, but at some point, my brain started to get a handle on the emotions, and I started to cry less.  Those times, I largely remember.

     I cried when I discovered my dog died, or more correctly, my dead dog.  My brother Ace had gotten up  before me, so he actually discovered that the dog died.  I, later on, stumbled on the back porch eating my morning Buckwheats and happened to look into a vacuum cleaner box that was there, and it was then that I discovered my dead dog, lying on her back four feet sticking up, in full rigor.  Now, I can laugh about it, but back then, I cried.  My Dad's cure was to take me to the farm and have me dig the grave for the dog (Incidentally this is two weeks in a row, that I am blogging on dead animals being buried, I really need to get out of this rut). 
Anyone that has ever had to dig a grave for a beloved pet, instantly wishes for a smaller pet (why didn't they buy me a hamster?), it's all relative though, it could have been a Great Dane instead of a beagle type mutt.  Hell, think of that poor girl who owns Clifford the Big Red Dog, that'll be a job when he dies.  I wouldn't even want to pick up that dog's droppings, much less bury him.   On the subject of dying dogs and crying, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that I still cry when I watch Old Yeller.  If there are four sadder words in the English language than "Travis, get the gun", I do not know them. 

     I don't cry a lot at funerals.  I have buried many Aunts and Uncles, my Father, and even a Brother, but I really didn't cry at those times.  In most the cases, I knew they were in a better place, or had lived good lives, so I did not dwell on the passing, but on what they had left.  When my dad died, there were a lot of preparations that had to be made, so I pitched in and helped and put the sadness aside for a while, but you can't always avoid it.  Months later, I passed my Dad's old truck and started to wave to him, and when the realization hit me that it couldn't ever be him again, passing me, I had to pull over to let the emotion pass.

 It wasn't too many years before then, that I caught myself starting to cry in the middle of a salary negotiation and my then-boss started to take pity on me, but I yelled at him that I didn't need his pity, just the money I deserved.  It was the sole time that I recall that crying may have gotten me something, but probably it didn't.  Most times crying just gets you wet. 

     Many years passed before I cried again, and it was at my wedding.  I couldn't believe that this incredible, intelligent, vivacious person would commit herself to me, for life, until the very moment she said the words, "I do".  Those were tears that I do not regret.  I can actually sum up the rest of my tears pretty quickly after that.  I didn't cry at the birth of our kids, but I might have at Kindergarten graduation.  If you are surprised at that, consider that all they had to do for the first one was slide down the birth canal, but the graduation took actual effort. 

See, he's a good dog, why shoot him?
 Every event thereafter, that involved me being proud of my kids likely elicited tears.  First Dates, Singing the National Anthem, Plays and Skits, and even the occasional non-proud moment spent just snuggling on the couch as a family (not watching Old Yeller), Guilty as Charged.  They were good tears though.  Those are the tears left in me, I suppose, relegated for very high emotional events, no more raise wrangling, but  maybe for a Grandhcild or two.  In closing, I'd like to apologize to my family for the histrionics while growing up, and I hope that I've truly gotten better at bathing and not crying but I've really got to get going now, I can just hear my Dad say    " For Crying Out Loud, Willie, stop your nonsense, it's almost 2 am....."


Anonymous said...

Please, please, please never stop drinking. To go from the Gorn to Ole Yeller in the same blog is gin-fueled genius. Keep them coming.

Roberta said...

That must have been a generation thing. I've heard that one...

torcon said...

Bill, as hard it might be to believe - I missed this blog post from you last week BUT my post today has some striking similarities - namely tears and Old Yeller. Regardless, great and funny thoughts as always!