Sunday, June 19, 2005

Allaboshi Ficacious!

 Dad in his replica flight jacket
Phone Call

Well, of course I called my Dad today for Father's Day.  Much of the conversation was about my brother, a continuing source of worry to my Dad, to Ruth (my stepmother), to me and to my Mom when she was alive.  I don't want to tell the whole story here; in fact, I don't think anyone even knows the whole story.  Suffice it to say that Steve hasn't had a job as a computer programmer in years and years, currently works part time at Dillard's, and recently failed a course in nursing school.  Dad plays the tuition, and is understandably concerned.

Besides Steve, we talked about his Father's Day gift that didn't arrive on time (my Dad is very forgiving about such things), my new job, and Dad's opinion that when it comes to education and money and careers, I'm "doing it right."  There was no discussion of health issues (Dad is very healthy for his age), or of the lease at the railroad museum, or of the CPA exam I'm not studying for.   I didn't even mention my tribute to him in this journal this past Thursday.  It would only have embarrassed him.

Another thing we didn't discuss was the past.  There was no reminiscence about my childhood, or World War II.  My Dad likes to look ahead, not back.  A propos of Steve, Dad did mention in passing that he used to be in charge of educating thousands of adults at Syracuse University, "so I know it can be done."  I did it, finally, and Steve graduated on the first try back in 1972.  But Steve's further education isn't going as smoothly.  That was the extent of the reminiscing.

Still, there are things about Dad that I'd like to reminisce about.  Since I don't do it with him very often, you guys get to read about it instead.

Things My Father Told Me

When I was growing up, my Dad had a seemingly endless supply of silly stories, poems and expressions that he would drop into the conversation from time to time, for his own amusement and mine. One of them was an endless loop joke:

It was a dark and stormy night.  The Captain said to the first mate, "Tell us a story." And this is the story that the first mate told.  "It was a dark and stormy night.  The Captain said to the first mate...."

Dad on his birthday in 1986.For the Fourth of July:

I've got a rocket,
In my pocket.
I have no time to stay.
Away she goes!
I burn my toes!
It's Independence Day!"


I asked my mother for fifty cents
To see the elephant jump the fence.
He jumped so high,
He touched the sky,
And he never came back 'til
The Fourth of July."

Except that once I memorized the latter poem, my dad made me laugh by pulling the old switcheroo:

And he never came back 'til
The fourth of August.

There was also a bit about Jo-Jo, the Dog-Faced boy:

He walks!  He talks!  He crawls upon his belly like a reptilian monster!  And for just one thin dime, the tenth part of a dollar, you can see it all on the inside!

As I said, silly stuff.  He also had "Cantelope, I'm married," and "Lettuce have lettuce!" and other wordplay.  But my favorites were the nonsense words.  I don't know whether it's a real word, but a person who behaved stupidly might be called a stupnagel.  Other people had their thingamajigs and their whatchamacallits, but Dad told us to "put the fortescue on the ritaplat," or to pass him the scrangemafortis.  And from time to time, he'd tell us, "Don't be so allaboshi ficacious!"

I asked him about this last one a couple of times in recent years.  Turns out it's part of some longer nonsense that he picked up from his dad or something.  Unfortunately, I haven't managed to memorize the long version, so I can't pass it on.  I don't have a kid to pass it onto anyway.

But if YOU would like to start saying the short version, you have my permission!



sakishler said...

Cool! Thanks for the permission!

ryanagi said...

Yeah...the only funny saying that springs to my mind (from my Dad's lips) is: Fatty Fatty 2 X 4, can't fit through the kitchen door...usually directed at me. :-/

ondinemonet said...

Karen :)

This was lovely. You had me remembering the good times I had with dad...the normal fun. Like his candy bar trick and his love of breaking into a particular song when mom would be nagging at him endlessly..."Mare eat oats and does' eat oats and little lambs eat ivy, a kid will eat ivy too, wouldn't you!" LOL. His favorite defusser. LOL Thank dad in later years pbegan to look forward as well, it helped a lot with his healing.

Always, Carly :)

deabvt said...


gotomaria said...

I can see where some of your literary talent comes from!  Great entry!