#love (Taken with instagram)
True #chicken #love (Taken with instagram)
Nighttime nostalgia. Thank you @a_leelee for sending my old Gameboy to me! #zelda #nintendo #love (Taken with instagram)
It’s love :) #cat #kitten #love (Taken with instagram)
Poptart & little Zooey #kitten #cat #love (Taken with instagram)
It’s been a year since my father passed away and I wanted to reflect for a moment. Usually I put this in my Hey, Dad blog, but I think my Tumblr should have personal content to it. (Not that reblogging things about Patrick Stump isn’t personal! He’s amazing) Which, speaking of Patrick Stump (I can somehow make this relevant), my father used to love Fall Out Boy. The two CDs that he kept in his truck, other than mix CDs, were Blink182’s Enema of the State and Fall Out Boy. I’m not sure which one, I was never able to recover it and at the time I definitely wasn’t listening to Fall Out Boy. He used to tell me all the time how much he loved the vocals from the band. And how unappreciated he thought the band was.
He gave me a mix CD that had them on it. It had Blink, FoB, Coheed and Cambria and Panic! At the Disco on it. At the time, I thought he was trying to be hip and relevant to my younger years. But he really wasn’t at all. When he passed and I was going through his things, I found his Blink182 CD. It had been replaced, it was so love-worn and injured from all his travels. He told me that he used to listen to FoB on his boat where he lived a lot of the time.
My dad liked to tell stories about himself, most of which weren’t entirely true. It’s exhausting to love someone who isn’t honest most of the time. I’m not a wholly honest person, but I make an effort to not tell lies. I’ve done well in the past years to keep things truthful because I had a huge example of what it was like to have someone fill their words with fluff. It was never hateful or cruel - he usually lied about people he knew or things he had done. He mostly lied about what a huge Billy Badass he was. He would tell my sister and I about how he told off people at his job, how he told people to go to hell in stores. But he probably never really did.
One of my favorite stories about my dad wasn’t told by him. It was told my an old woman that lived next door to him in Rush-Henrietta in upstate NY. When my sister and I were little, he took us into the city to get a kitten to keep at his house. In the divorce, my mom kept Mitts - his cat - since us girls were with her most of the time. When we arrived at the old brownstone style house in Rochester, there were several very adorable kittens available. My father told us to pick one.
My heart was set on an orange tabby male who I named Tobby. (I had a weird complex about naming pets with double consonants; Tigger, Yodda, Mitts, Cuddles, Willie, etc.) My sister found an orange runt she named Itty-Bitty who looked a lot like Tobby did. We brought the kittens to my dad and he let us each have one instead of a combined kitten to share. (We really sucked at sharing)
That weekend with my dad was a lot of fun. We worked on the garden and played with the kittens. We got them little collars and litter boxes, bowls to eat and drink out of. My dad was a firm believer that all cats should drink milk from little saucers, so he got some kitten milk from the store to feed them as a treat. We went home that week, knowing we’d see our dad and our kittens in two weeks.
However when we came back, Itty-Bitty had died. My dad said that she was too small to have made it and was dismissive about the entire thing. When I went out for a walk, Maureen was picking through her garden. She was nosy as hell and usually a terrible gossip, so we usually tried to ignore her or kindly avoid her.
“Your father,” she said to me, pointing as she closed the distance between us. Great, she spotted me AND she was going to bitch about my father. Probably about his motorcycle being too loud, or him cooking on the grill late at night. “I saw what he did for that kitten.” Well, now my interest was peeked. I asked her what she had seen, what she was talking about.
Apparently Itty-Bitty had been very ill. He had stood outside with her, talking to Maureen about the kitten (I’m sure that Maureen came up and asked, being a nosy old woman) and if there was anything he could do to help her. She had a fever and wasn’t able to hold her bowels. The vet office wasn’t open and that was before the days of 24-hour anything.
While they were talking, a large semi drove by and honked it’s horn. It startled the kitten my dad had, and she went running into the road. Horrified, my dad chased after the kitten, calling for her and trying to gain on her. Even ill, she was much faster than my father and she ran towards the bridge that went over a river that was at least 20 feet wide. (At the time, they’ve since filled it in completely)
Itty-Bitty was still horrified and she jumped (or fell) from the bridge and fell into the quickly moving water below. My father crossed the bridge before jumping down in after her. He came back a half an hour later holding a very upset kitten. They were both soaked and he went into his home to try and warm her up - but she didn’t make it.
When I asked my dad about it, he was crestfallen. He said he did what he could and didn’t want to talk about it. He was upset that Itty-Bitty hadn’t made it. It was the first time that he didn’t tell me a story about his courage or heroism in the face of danger - be it terrorists or the life of a kitten. I think the story always quietly sat with me because he didn’t tell me about it. A few days later, he explained that Itty-Bitty had jumped off the bridge and he got her, but it wasn’t as spectacular as I remember it in my head when Maureen told me.
Maybe for that moment, my dad had a cape and could plunge into cold running water to save a kitten. This big guy, biker man tattooed and tattered, caring for kittens and offering them milk - that’s the dad that I remember the most.