Papa was a Rolling Stone.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
And when he died, all he left us was alone.
That’s really not true, he left a fantastic legacy. He was a Substance Abuse Survivor. He always preached we weren’t victims. He hated people who victimized themselves through their fragilities, through their addictions or through their humanness. He not only told us to be strong, he modeled it. And I love him for that.
My sisters and I had two different Dads, but the same man. While I grew up in Substance Abuse, they grew up in Recovery.
Each one had a good side and a bad side.
Papa was a Rolling Stone.
Ah, yes he was. You never knew from one minute to the next where he might be. In one minute, he would be sitting on the couch watching TV and smoking cigarettes. In the next, he would stand up, grab the car keys and leave out the front door without saying one word. To anyone.
The engine on the car would start and I could hear the crunch of the tires on the gravel as the car backed out onto pavement. Then, the progressively quieting of the engine sound as the car drove away. To Mars?
Would he be back in 3 minutes? 3 hours? Perhaps 3 days? Or the occasional 3 months? We never knew.
The good side of Substance Abuse was when Daddy was drinking was he was my buddy. I could have everything I wanted. I was Daddy’s little girl.
From ever since I can remember, we went out bar hopping and had a fantastic time!
Till the money ran out.
I could play the juke box, drink all the cokes I wanted, eat poor man’s French fries and bar food. I would stand up on the bar and do cheers, dance by myself, dance with my Dad and just hang out with my Dad just so my Mom could get a respite from all the responsibilities of the week.
My sisters grew up in Recovery. The good side, is they didn’t see those late night drag ins, arguments and embarrassments.
The bad side was the AA club became just like the Club. Just like a bar without the booze. Where the members sit around drink coffee, smoke cigarette and tell their story. There’s just no crying in their beer. They cry in their coffee.
Tears just make it Salty…like my friend Caffeine says.
Where did he go? For a fresh pack of smokes down at the corner convenience store off Peach Street? Or to the’ Why Not’ for a few beers? Or across the country to California or Boston?
It was anyone’s guess.
Momma never said a word. That is, until he was gone. Then she said plenty.
I didn’t mind the in and out of the revolving door. When he was there, he was my buddy. My confidant. My very best friend and playmate and ally against Momma’s dogmatic parenting. Not that I fault her for it. She had to be both Mother and Father even when he was present. Which wasn’t much.
And when he was gone, then I got her all to myself. Every only child’s dream.
Our relationship ebbed and flowed over the years. When he became sober I thought it would be more consistent. But it wasn’t really. It wasn’t until I matured to an adult woman that our relationship flourished. Mostly because of the Harley’s we rode together. Riding bikes was our connection.
And after a number of years riding together, Daddy became my riding buddy and I was his. Those 11 years were some of the best as far as Father/Daughter relationships could be. He became such a mentor and friend.
And he was a Dad again.