She was a young girl, just 17. A bright, pretty farm girl from Saskatchewan. She thought she had it all figured out and was ready for life experiences. Period. Everyone else thought that she was just young, Stubborn, and naïve. She had left home at early age to venture out and grab life by the horns.
It was when she moved to British Columbia and was visiting a friend in the hospital that she met him. He was lean, tattooed and had a sly smile. She almost didn’t notice that he was shackled and guarded. What was it about the bad boy persona that intrigued her? And how on earth would she know that her not yet conceived daughter would follow in her footsteps?
She spent time talking to him while the guards looked on. He explained that he was getting surgery on his hand. He had been cut in a fight in jail and they needed to repair tendons and muscle. He couldn’t have a bum hand, he was a mechanic and a musician.
He let her know how to contact him and when he was getting out. They kept in touch for months and got to know each other quite well…I’m not even sure she ever knew why he was in. If she had asked she would know it was drug related. I’m not sure it would’ve changed anything. He was kind, cute and intelligent. He, was my father…he just didn’t know it yet.
They were married at a decent age, mid-20s. I was not conceived until mom was almost 30. She had told me that they tried for me for a long time but I was not yet meant to be.
I remember a few things about my childhood with them together, but not many. I do remember that it was a pretty tumultuous relationship by the time I had come around and that by the 80s he was deeply embedded in the drug scene and was using quite heavily.
The things that I remember seemed innocent at the time, but now looking back I understand that I didn’t have a normal childhood. I remember the “tomato plants” growing under lights by the row in the basement. We weren’t supposed to go into those rooms but my brother and I thought it was funny and always did. We didn’t know better. (They weren’t really tomato plants)
I also remember the time that he left us at the corner store with a wad of cash so that he could run out to the country quickly to pick up, what we didn’t know at the time, was a load of drugs. I remember him coming back and laughing about the fact that there was a bullet hole in the trunk.
I also vividly remember that on occasion he would arrive to pick us up a new-to-him vehicle and we would be in awe of how he could start the vehicle by putting his finger in the ignition switch…yep…hot wired.
He was not the best husband. Not the most appropriate father, but I remember him as my Dad. The man that could do anything. The man that played gags, took me fishing, played me songs on his guitar. He was the man that, at the time, had my heart and adoration.
He died tragically when I was 11. Overdose. We don’t know if it was accidental or self-inflicted, but when he was found inside, he had his house boarded up and weapons in his reach.
I still miss him everyday…
It’s true what they say, you know…we are the product of our families. Of our parents. I don’t blame my love tragedies on my childhood, please don’t get me wrong. I do know now though, how I see the chaos that has been my life as normal or “not that crazy”. I see how I am able to catch glimpses of good in even the strangest of places…