So, Sunday I get an e-mail trivia quiz for “Semi-old” people (20/20 for me – useless trivia is one of my strengths). One of the questions was “Pogo, the comic strip character said, “We have met the enemy and …”
If you don’t know the answer, you either a) are not from the south or b) didn’t have a daddy like mine. Daddy didn’t have much time to spend with us girls when we were growing up, but our Sunday afternoon ritual was “the reading of the comics.” He read them aloud to me from as early as I can remember and continued for way longer than was necessary – just because it was a cozy bonding time.
And when I was little, he explained the satirical/political meanings behind “Pogo” and “Li’l Abner” instead of just reading the regular funny ones. (“Li’l Abner” was also big time popular then. One of my dance recitals featured “Daisy Mae”-like costumes – I was 10.)
I adored those creatures from Okefenokee Swamp. But I really adored sitting in the chair with Daddy – and the fact that as soon as we could afford it, he started subscribing to the Democrat as well as the Gazette, just so he could have access to “Blondie,” one of his favorites.
Dagwood cracked him up.
Bonding over comics was especially important because Daddy was a workaholic. When I was a toddler, he was gone to work before I even got up most mornings (I’ve never been a morning person) – but he left me a sip of sweet coffee in the bottom of his cup every day. Mother says I’d cry like my heart were broken if he forgot.
One of my earliest memories, very vague, is of him coming home for lunch when I was 2 – we’d all watch “As the World Turns,” and Daddy called one of the characters “Poor Penny.” Perhaps he was coming home to see his girls. Hmmm….
After he went to work for Pickens & Bond Construction, where the young-gun engineers were worked like indentured servants, the hours got longer. He’d get home in time for dinner and worked virtually every Saturday morning, it seems. And he golfed to let off steam many Saturday afternoons. But Sunday meant church at Park Hill Presbyterian, sometimes lunch at Minuteman (oh, those little deep-dish fruit pies), and the reading of the comics.
We moved to Blackhawk when I was in the later months of my fifth-grade year, yet the ritual continued for a while after that. I’d been reading on my own for a long, long time – it was about the ritual.
Later, when Mother and Daddy forced me to go to the Sunday night youth group at church (which I hated, hated – no offense to my friends there, whom I enjoyed, but church was not my bag), Daddy would pick me up and let me drive home – starting when I was only 12. That became our secret bonding, although Mother surely knew.
It was his way of rewarding me for going to something he knew I didn’t enjoy. Driving was worth it, but barely.
Had to get those memories out, but school work is screaming in the background, so I must stop and switch gears.
But it was nice to take time to reminisce about those pleasant Sundays (even though the Monkees are actually singing their version of a ’60s protest song).