Pursuing the poetical, paradoxical, metaphorical, lyrical, artistical, majestical, and mystical.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tears in My Cornbread

Dad was cruel to animals. He was consistently and constantly critical. He never praised anyone because we never measured up. He wasn't a faithful husband. He turned his back on his creator. His hard fist punched in soft faces. Guns were pointed. Animals and humans felt his hands or ropes choking their necks. Horses starved in order to teach them a lesson. Anger ran a cold current, surprising us each time. There are ways to prepare for hurricanes and earthquakes, but not rage.

But none of these things happened to me. I was only an unwilling witness, sometimes screaming hysterically, most times silently watching the anger sucking us all under. A little girl can feel guilty for being relieved to have such anger bypass her.

Late last night I couldn't sleep. The kitchen is where I found cold cornbread leftovers. Crumbling a piece in a bowl with sugar and warm milk, I slowly spooned it into my hungry heart through my lips. Tears started to leak, along with milk dribbling from my contorted mouth. Crying and eating aren't compatible.

I never did like soggy old cornbread mush, but dad did. He shared it willingly, without knowing that being with him was the only part I relished.

He was more than that first paragraph. Much more. Last night proves the good memories never go away.

I miss my daddy.

16 comments:

Anne said...

Now I have tears too..... Thank you Kathleen.

Anonymous said...

He only learned from example watching how his Father treated his animals. but I remember the softer kinder side of your Dad when he picked up a hitchhiker one night and gave him his coat as he dropped him off again to continue his journey. if the man had needed shoes he would gladly have obliged. Yes, he loved cornbread and milk, unsweetened though. Glad you shed a tear for him. He loved you lots. Mom

S. Etole said...

Your words ... a tear-mixed creation.

Maureen said...

I hope one day we can share a hug in person.

Craig said...

Thank you Love for remembering the Good. The older I get the more I realize I'm a minority,loved and appreciated by a loving tender father, from a child until this day. Thank you dad for living a tender hearted loving ,caring life. I think it's catchy.

Valerie Kamikubo said...

I too, had a father who sometimes raged. Thankfully, he also left me with beautiful memories, like calling me outside one night to show me Saturn through an 8" reflective telescope that he built himself. I will forever hold on to this and other positive memories that I have and be grateful. Thanks for sharing this, Kathleen... blessings to you.

Laura said...

I telephoned my dad yesterday to tell him Merry Christmas and I was glad I did. Though it would have been easier and not even unusual not to. I am hopeful that the good memories I will keep about him are still yet to come. Life is sometimes all mixed up and backwards that way.

I'm grateful for my apron too, and thinking of you today. Much love, Kathleen.

Jennifer @ GettingDownWithJesus.com said...

Kathleen ...

Reaching through the screen to sit with you a while here, to put a hand on your shoulder. Thank you for unzipping your heart like this. I don't know what else to say. Just thanks ...

shrinkingthecamel.com said...

The mess of family love... Heart wrenching and beautiful, Kathleen.

Kelly Sauer said...

Oh. Oh now I know why you are so gentle...

Cheryl said...

Seeing this just now, and remembering so much of my own father. Some stories that sound too harsh to "write out loud" but similar to your first paragraph. And also remembering dancing with my daddy. And how he loved cornbread and buttermilk, with onions and salt and pepper.

Very grateful. For this post. And a for a Father who gives beauty for ashes.

Blessings this day and throughout the new year!

David Rupert said...

We don't always understand how they express things. Sometimes it's muted and confused. You saw through to his heart.

I miss my dad too -- a man of few words, but love somewhere deep down

nance marie said...

this touches areas in many hearts.
parents, good memories over bad ones, the not so easy part of Love, eating for comfort (i do this), and being able to be open to the understanding of everyone's human baggage...especially the adults in our life when we were children.

rage is a hard one to contain...i have been up against that one...and there is only one who can walk through that with us.

Janet Beckwith Macy said...

Beautifully written.

Thanks for sharing this.

jodiq said...

Messy people are endearing, in a way. Maybe it's because they are known, even in their pain and sin. Bless you for your post. May you know comfort because...

Matthew Kreider said...

Love shares crumbs and tears. Thank you, so much, for sharing these ...