I always loved the Merle Haggard song Daddy Frank; for me, it struck a balance between tragic and funny, my Dad's name happened to be Frank and it drove my mother half crazy when I'd sing along at top volume.
Although Dad wasn't blind like the Daddy Frank in the song, this might have been called into question if you ever caught sight of some of the hand cut Christmas trees he dragged out of the woods and into our childhoods.
It seemed like he'd be gone most of the day, trudging through the snow sometimes with one or two of us boys but always with the determination he was going to bring home a Christmas tree we could be proud of. He'd scout out wonderfully tall and noble fir trees, size them up carefully, choose one and fell it with confidence.
Once it was down where he could look at it, he'd hack some more off, proclaim that you couldn't find a nicer tree than that anywhere and the long walk home could begin. Up the tree would go against the outside of the house to allow it to release whatever it had picked up on the slide home and then Mom would poke her head out -- Oh Frank, are you blind? This is terrible. What? There's not a thing wrong with that tree at all! (at all would be run together and sound more like a-tall). How could you be gone that long and come home with this? Was it the only tree you could find? We'd all take sides on the debate as the tree got smooshed (technical term) through the door and up the stairs.
If he'd been there one year, Charlie Brown would have said oh shit and walked away. Even Dad knew he was going to have to put a plan into motion to hide the fact that the tree he'd brought home was practically see through for a lack of branches. He began boring holes in the trunk with his trusty hand drill and then whittled the ends from some of the cast off lower branches and planted them into the holes to fill in the many spaces.
From there, twine was wound round and round the branches and trunk until these new hires had no choice but to stay put. Even my mother had to admit, he'd made it look almost like it had grown that way by the end of it.
A few more yards of string and some nails and it was secured to the wall and we were in business. He was quite proud of his handiwork and once the angel was on top of the tree and lit, not much else mattered. The decorations and too many icicles went on and we all marvelled.
Reader's Diary #1909: Sandra Cisneros: Eleven
12 hours ago