I've been thinking about my parents lately...not in that grieving the passing sort of way.Just remembering them at different stages of my life.
My mother and father met while my dad was stationed in England after the war,they married there in a bombed out church and came to America.
My mom never lost her north country accent,or her north country ways.She was a 4' 11" red haired ball of fire that you never wanted to back into a corner. She was a nurse in England during the war and the bombings and the battle of Britain...decorated even,with the Winston Churchill medal of ?,I don't remember exactly what it was for,but I know it involved the evacuation of a school play ground after an attack.
These experiences no doubt shaped who my mother was and it in turn effected the way she raised me...self reliant,brave and proud (even though I was technically half english,that was good enough...I was bloody english and I knew it).
My dad was raised on the east coast,his parents died within 3 months of each other when he was 16 (my mom insisted his dad died of a broken heart,to which my dad would roll his eyes and sigh).After this he joined the Navy and then the air force where he remained for 27 years. Captain of the football team,sailor,soldier,lifer,but the most laid back and sensitive man I have ever known.And his primary message to me throughout my life was to do the right thing no matter what the cost.
Back in 1975 we were living in the country that is now the blight they refer to as westlake hills...I was a 14 year old hair farming pot head,as was my neighbor friend who had the great fortune to live in a small airstream like trailer behind his parents house.This was the party pad.And party we did.One night me and my friend and another friend were hanging out in the trailer listening to Neil Youngs "Harvest" and smoking out.The stereo was a fold up phonograph courtesy of the high school library that we just kept checking out until they forgot about it.So,we're jamming to Neil and rolling joints like there's no tomorrow (2 zig-zag wheatstraw papers stuck together,with the execution of the roll flat on the table-neanderthals!),and there's a knock at the door.
I open the door and release a chernobyl sized cloud of pot smoke into the face of my dad and my neighbors dad...busted!
We thought we were done for until we saw the beer bottles they were holding and my dad said something to the effect of "we know you guys are smoking grass in there and want to prove to you it isn't cool,so we're coming in to prove it". (translation: we have a beer buzz and want to take advantage of catching you so we can smoke all your pot and get away with it on the guise of some twisted paradox type 70's psychological "intervention").
Us: "It's on!"
We smoked about a 1/2 an ounce that night-WITH OUR DADS!- Neil played over and over,my dad taught me how to roll a proper "cigarette" with one paper,in the air with my fingers (a feat which gave me tremendous cred with my pot head buddies at school). They dropped wisdom on us about life.It was,at that time,the most amazing thing that had ever happened to me....my dad was COOL.
Then we went home and sat at the kitchen table and ate the whole humpty-dumpty cookie jar full of brownies giggling like school girls.My mom watched us from the hallway and knew what we had been up to...she didn't talk to either of us for days,and when she finally did it was about how I would end up in prison if I stayed to my ways and my dad couldn't prove a point if his life depended on it.
She was wrong.
My mom taught me to be proper...taught me manners,how to behave,how to be strong.
My dad taught me how to be in the world,and the fact that I was smoking weed didn't make me special,he taught me this lesson over and over again about other things besides smoking pot,and in the end he wasn't so much cool,he was human,real...and he was my dad.
I miss them both very much.