Thursday, October 11, 2007


Although my dad looks a bit like this guy:

Inside of him is this guy:

It was about 5 years ago. I had been the Project Administrator (office-speak for Favorite Monkey Girl) for a major IT project at my company for the last year. As the project itself was nearing close, I was hunting around for my next job role - whether that was with Current Workplace or Another. The going was rocky because positions for individuals with my particular "expertise" were slim at Workplace, and the jobs I'd interviewed for outside the company weren't panning out. Sitting at my desk, I related the latest Tale of Woe to my dad on the phone. I also mentioned that it was my birthday very soon and WAH WAH WAH Life is Hard. After listening quietly, Dad busted out this chestnut: "You've just got to keep a stiff upper lip. Buck up. Cheer up. Things will be fine." We talked for a few more minutes before I begged off, irritated by his seeming lack of concern and empathy. I wanted to kvetch. I wanted to complain. Dad wanted me to buck up and have a stiff upper lip, whatever THAT was.

I was still peeved later that evening when I met up with The Gorgeous Girls of Miniondom (I really will need to fill you in on this sometime - have you ever known someone with Minions? You do now. Because I got me some Minions. Love me some Minions. They are spread across the country now - but still my Peeps, always will be.). I related the story of my dad, and mentioned that he was this stiff-upper-lip-pip-pip-cheerio BRITISH GUY walking around in the guise of an older gentleman with white hair that looks startlingly akin to Boris Yeltsin. The term BRITISH GUY was born to us that night. It's a noun (as in, my dad is a total British Guy); it's a verb (as in, my dad British Guyed me that night on the phone). It's a wonderful thing!

I continued my job search in the weeks to follow. I had some great leads, when I came upon the wild insanity that I should start my own little greeting card-making company instead. I'll never forget that afternoon, knowing I could accept an administrator position with another company (making an equivilant salary) OR I could accept a job with my current employer in a totally different (read: strange) division that had me making significantly less money, but promised to allow me some free time (even 4/10's!). And I wanted to do the later, because I could start my little card business... and what if... So I called my folks to get their opinion. Mom was worried, but supportive. And Dad, British Guy Dad was... INCREDIBLE. SUPER. A ROCK. A ROCK OF GOODNESS AND LIGHT. Later on, when The Minions and I were talking about it, we realized that a British Guy isn't always a bad thing. Sure, they can be cranky. They won't let you complain very much. They remind you that things could be much worse. They don't cater to freak-outs. They tell you to settle down. They dump a heaping portion of Reality on situations when you'd much rather dwell in Your Own Version. But a British Guy also pulls through in a tight spot. They cover you when you're down. They tell you the truth. They stick with you, even when you're in the darkest deepest yuckiest place. WINSTON CHURCHILL WAS A BRITISH GUY. Behold, my father, Winston.

Since then, I speak of Winston often with my buddies and Chip. My dad has no idea that I gave him this name (until now - HI DAD!). But he's the best Winston a girl could have on her side. Winston turned 69 two Sundays ago. It's so weird to see your parents get old. I'm sure they look at themselves and still see the younger version, as do we, their children. I see the Winston that used to drive his Fiat to church, and we'd BEG him to put the top down for the drive home. I see the Winston that pulled my teeth for me when I was too chicken to do it myself. I see the Winston that told us one year that we'd all be getting a block of wood for Christmas - and we did, each of us received a lovingly handmade oak sign with our name carved into the surface. I see the Winston that had me "help" him design a beautiful wall unit for my bedroom. I see the Winston that would get so mad about the barbies I'd strewn around the house, he'd threaten to get The Black Bag (really a black Hefty bag) - and though he did, occasionally, collect items in the bag, I don't remember him once actually throwing anything away. I see the hard-as-nails Winston who melted when my sister & I put a stray black and white kitten on his chest and asked, oh so politely if we could keep her. I see the Winston that cried on my wedding day. I see the Winston that has come through for me in a thousand different ways, in a thousand different situations.

I love you, Dad. Happy belated birthday.


stacie d said...

I see the Winston that whistled in the car on our vacation and you said "Who is that idiot singing?" HAHAHAHA I love your daddy!! Because your daddy was always my 2nd daddy!

The Wife said...


Awww. M'Whimsy! You made me cry! Ahh, the Golden Age of Miniondom.

And we do so love the British Papas...they make up in a crisis what might be wanting in the day to day world of Wah-dom.