Thursday, August 05, 2004

Dad again

My Dad was one of those guys that liked to play with kids. One of his favorite games was to have small children from his biceps. They would always be amazed that one arm could lift their whole body. Piggyback rides, swinging kids around by their arms and legs and spinning us on the carousel at the park at an unsafe velocity.

Whenever there would be a gathering at my grandmother's home I, my sister, step brother, step sister and various cousins would end up trying to take him down. We were all between the ages of five and twelve and he was a laborer so he would destroy us. One or two of us would get held down and tickled until the required "uncle" was cried. Another would get pushed on her butt once and walk away. His brother's daughters would climb on his back and he would pick one off at time and tickle her until each surrendered. My sister, though, would not stop. She would go all berserker on him and just wouldn't stop coming. Eventually he would say to her "If you don't stop one of us is going to get hurt and it ain't going to be me." That would only make her come at him with more ferocity.

My grandmother would say, "Julie, you know you can't win. Stop before you end up crying." Ignoring all warnings Julie would march toward my Dad with fists swinging. Eventually as the play got rougher she would get hurt. Nothing serious. She would fall too hard or he'd pinch her to make her stop. Then she would cry and it would be over.

These battles between my dad and us kids were always strange to me. No adult would step in. All the kids knew that when attacking my dad they were going to end up with a little bump or a bruise and all the parents knew that also. It was kind of like bear cubs or young chimps attacking an older critter just to learn how to fight and take a little pain. Call it kiddie bootcamp.

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