Growing up, all my friends had a father except for me. In the essay “All Over but the Shoutin’ Rick Braggs has the same issue. Sure everyone has a father but not every child knows him personally. I only went and visited my father two time year, if I was lucky. It would only be for a couple days at a time. He was never really a father to me. Even after being with him for a couple days, he was still a complete stranger to me. I always pondered what it would be like to have a father. Everyone in my family never had anything nice to say about him. I never really listened to them because I didn’t want to believe that he was a bad person.Order now
One day I finally got to experience what having a father was like. Ever since I can remember, it has always just been my mom and I. There was never a strong father figure in my life since mine left when I was just three years old. He packed up his bags and left, like my mother and I were nothing. I didn’t know my father, I didn’t know what kind of food he liked, his favorite sports team, his favorite color, or if he ever loved my mom and I. I don’t remember ever making him father’s day gifts or cards in grade school, or feeling the warmth of his arms around me.
I was too young to remember anything about him. To me he was a mere shadow, a fuzzy memory that never seems to fail to creep into the back of my mind. In Braggs essay he says “I thought that the man I would see would be the trim, swaggering, high-toned little rooster of a man who stared back at me from the pages of my mother’s photo album, the young solider clowning around in Korea, the arrow-straight, good looking boy who posed beside my mother back before the fields and mop handle and the rest of it took her looks . I do remember looking through photo albums that my grandma had and seeing my father.
He looked just like a normal guy. I would always wonder about what he looked like but I could only look at the photos of him. In the photos he looked very happy and joyful. I wonder what exactly happened that made him leave. I remember it just like it was yesterday, I was on the same school bus that I’ve always rode since I started school. It was a very hot Friday in the middle of April, so the bus stunk from all the sweaty teenagers. I always sat in the back because that where all the “cool kids sat. My best friend was sick that day so I had to sit by myself.
My bus driver always played the radio loud on Fridays which was my favorite and I always looked forward to it. It was finally my stop so I got off the bus. A gust of warm wind hit my face once I stepped off the last step of the bus. I proceeded to my house where I noticed that my mom’s car was absent . I didn’t think anything of it at the moment, so I picked up the spare key from under the door mat and went inside. An hour passed and my mom still wasn’t home. I was sitting on the couch getting worried when I noticed a white truck pulling into our drive way.
It was going very slow like whoever was driving wasn’t too sure if this was the correct house they were looking for. I didn’t recognize the truck at first but then my uncle (my father’s brother) came walking up to the door. I couldn’t comprehend why he would be at my house. The only time I ever saw him was around the holidays when the whole family got together. He knocked repeatedly on the door so I answered quickly. The words that he said are still stored in the back of mind until this day. I invited him inside and offered him a bottle of water since it was hot outside.
He denied and asked how my day was at school. I answered him but I knew he wasn’t at my house just to ask me how my day was at school. He asked me to take a seat by him. He then proceeded to tell me that my mom had gotten a DWI either that day and was currently in jail. He explained to me that I now had to go live with my father. I was in complete shock, I just froze up and went into my room and packed the things that I needed. While I was packing my clothes, I was very nervous about moving in with my father. On my way to my father’s house I had completely no clue what to think.
Maybe I’ll only have to stay with him for a few days I assumed but it ended up being two years. When I got to his house he was standing outside like he was waiting for a special delivery. He had boots on, blue wrangler’s pants, a red checkered shirt, and a black plain hat that said Harley Davidson on it. When we pulled into the driveway he actually looked happy which stunned me. He grabbed my bag out of the back of the pickup and welcomed me inside. His house smelled really fresh like he just finished cleaning.
He showed me around the house and then showed me to my room. It was painted light brown and had a queen size bed in the corner along with a wooden dresser. The room was very bare and didn’t have any decorations on the walls. Over the next couple days we hung out at the house and caught up. He asked about all kinds of things like he was trying to catch up for all the time that he had been out of my life. In Braggs essay he says “For the next few hours” unless I was mistaken, having never had one before “he tried to be my father.
Between coughing and long pauses when he fought for air to generate his words, he asked me if I liked school, if I had ever gotten any better at math, the one thing that just flat evaded me , I can relate to this because I had the exact same thoughts when my father tried to be a father. At the time, this whole situation just felt like a dream. But as each day passed, I felt more and more comfortable around my father. After a few months I enjoyed living with him. We got along very well and had a lot in common which totally took me by surprised.
After a couple years of living with my father, I could honestly say he was and still is one of my best friends. But when my mom got sober and got a steady job I had the choice to move back in with her. I chose to move back, after making this choice I figured that my father would be mad because I was choosing her over him. He wasn’t anger about my decision he was very understanding about it. While living with my father, he never once said he was sorry for leaving or gave an excuse as to why he left. I didn’t expect this from him, but it would have been nice to hear.
In Braggs essay he states “He never said he was sorry. He never said he wished things had turned out differently. He never acted like he did anything wrong. I can relate to his statement because my father never apologized either. Living with my father for a couple years was a real eye opener to me. I realized the he wasn’t the bad guy that my family had made him out to be. I understand that our father and daughter bond won’t be as strong as the girls that have always had their fathers in their lives, but I am grateful that he is on it now.