Character Sketch: Marches to the Beat of a Different Drum

Essay by Tiny_ChelleCollege, Undergraduate April 2004

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You can pick him out of a crowd. At Rotary Club meetings, in a room full of men wearing impeccably-tailored suits, my father is the guy in the Hawaiian shirt. For more than twenty years, Dad wore an Army uniform to work. Week-ends and holidays were his only days to make a fashions statement. When he retired, my father ditched the

BDU's and filled his closet with thirty-seven Hawaiian shirts for all occasions: Hawaiian Santa in a pink convertible; Easter Bunny Santa; Beer-Barrel Hawaii... You get the idea. My mother does put her foot down when it comes to church and PTA meeting attire--NO BIKINI BABES! I am no longer embarrassed by Dad's wardrobe. In fact, it is rather helpful at times. He is easy to find, even at the fair.

Dad's wardrobe is not the only thing that sets him apart from other parents. His words of endearment are a little out of the ordinary: Apple Strudel; Wooley Weasel Dick; Skunkball; Skunk Cabbage; and Weed, to name a few.

To show affection, my father tosses us over his shoulder and swats our behinds, then drops us on the floor. If we are bored, he cheerfully suggests that we "go play in traffic!" Don't get alarmed. Mom used to be an Army sergeant, so she is able to keep him under control.

Every father has toys: rifles; motorcycles; boats; tools; lawn equipment; fishing rods... My dad has PEZ dispensers, and heaven help the kid (or foolish adult) who touches them! For nearly twenty-five years, Dad has taken great delight in acquiring PEZ dispensers in every state in the nation and in several foreign countries. Dad's toys are, of course, kept carefully behind glass, except when he thinks we are all asleep. Then, he takes them out to examine...