When people see a weeping willow they think of summer days and whispering winds.
I think of my Dad, and the way he would make me go out and grab one of the branches to use on my butt.
It is probably wrong to talk about him since he is no longer here to defend himself but that is what I am thinking about. The way he would beat me for all the offences I made while he was gone for the week.
My Dad was a truck driver with a bit of a rough and tough cowboy exterior. He wore blue jeans, pearl snap button shirts and the ball cap of the week.
He also drank, a lot, and was a mean drunk. I am sure he would wait until he got home on the weekends to really start a tear, as he drove through the week on long hauls.
My mother would then let him know of all the horrible things I did as he was gone.
There was no defense that I could use. The sentence was delivered without testimony.
The switch of the Willow or the Leather of his belt was administered.
I would try to run or hide but it was no use. The welts and marks would remind me through the week how much I hated having him home. My mother probably felt like we deserved it for the torture we put her through during the week.
Looking back I can say I didn’t deserve it.
No one does.
I had a chance to re-connect with my father a few months before he passed away. We never talked about how much I hated him while I was a child. But I could tell he was sorry for everything he put me through.
The pain of being young and having a drunk weekend Father, being in fear, hiding in closets and forts of blankets where I would be safe.
As I saw him in those last months leading up to his death I didn’t see that hard cowboy anymore. He was older and so was I. I wasn’t scared anymore. I only felt sadness for him, because I knew he never wanted that life of a father.
He had gotten married young and had no skills and no opportunities. He had been discharged from the Navy with a disability and no promise of any career. He had a baby on the way and had to support this new family.
He became a truck driver and never stopped.
I try to do everything different as a father then he did. I don’t hit my son, I try to praise him when I can and give him little life lessons along the way.
I want him to know that he can do anything in this world if he tries.
I don’t have a Weeping Willow.