A monkey on a string
My mother never really had much respect for my father. According to her, my father was weak and “not a good spiritual head of the family.” She probably knew that deep down he was not buying the program. Whenever there was a problem in the family his favorite saying was “just go along for the sake of peace.” This is exactly what he was doing. Years later, I really disliked him. Not because he wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness anymore but because he knew it was all bull shit for years and never said a word to us kids about it. Yes, his just “give for the sake of peace” attitude affected me, my kids and their kids. He told me years later that I would have never listened to him anyway and he’s was probably right. However at least he could say he tried to warn us. No, He was more worried about his relationship with my mother than his relationship with us kids. He had turned over the raising of us kids to my mother. He was MIA. We were on our own. It didn’t really matter anyway. When she did die years later, she never really liked my father up to the very end. All those years of him kissing her ass, got him nothing. It reminds me of the saying “You are as much responsible for the evils you commit as the evils you permit.”
In nineteen fifty nine when I was ten years old my mother took me and my sister to Hawaii for the summer. I found out years later that she never told my father before she left. He came home from work one day and we were gone. She did this three or four times while we were growing up. She would just take off and not tell my father where she was going. However she would always come back before school started. I’m not quite sure what this was all about. Maybe she found out about one of his many infelicities. Maybe it was putting him on notice to shape up. I really don’t know the reason for the separations but when we came back he really appreciated her more than ever.
Maybe she was like her grandfather (not the one who sexual abused her) and just had a wandering soul. He would take off for months during the great depression and never tell anyone. Not even his wife. Sometimes he just wouldn’t come home from work. Instead he would hop a freight train out town. One day on one of his rare visits back home, the noon whistle blow. He came home for supper, as was the custom in many small Midwest towns back then. He told his wife “I’m not working for those guys anymore after today, they’re all a bunch of idiots.” After his meal he went back to work digging a well.
My great grandfather didn’t come home that evening and he didn’t hop a freight train out of town either. That afternoon he was at the bottom of a twenty foot well digging out the muck and smoking a cigarette. There was a small gas pump running on the top of the hole that was pumping out the water that was seeping in. One of the guys he was working for, did however turn out to be an idiot, because he accidently kick a can full of gas into the hole. No more freight trains for gramps. He was burned to a crisp. His wondering days were over.