Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Writing style

I come from a family of comedians. When we are together, we laugh often, we laugh loud and we tend to garner some attention because we make a bit of a spectacle of ourselves. Funny thing is, we get so much of our sense of humor from the quietest member of our family, my dad.

Tomorrow would have been his 77th birthday. He passed away in 2004 from lung cancer. In honor of him, I would like to share just a few memories of his unique writing style. He didn't really love writing letters, but I loved getting them, because they were never ordinary.

He once sent me a letter at camp from the perspective of a fly.

He sent me a letter making different hash marks on the page to represent each member of the family's shopping style (he had all girls and complained that he should own stock in the mall to get some of his money back).

He sent me a letter complaining about how stupid it is that at the end of a letter on the left hand side people write the word over in parentheses even if it is mid-sentence which is stupid because what fool doesn't know that the letter is to continue on the other side? Some people continue to do this even if they have numbered their pages. Redundant. For the rest of the letter he wrote (over) mid-sentence and continued on the other side. Then he began another sentence and in the middle wrote (over) and finished on the other side and kept going. To read the letter I had to keep flipping the page, finding where he left off and keep going around.

Speaking of going around, he also wrote me a letter that started in the middle of the page and spiraled out so that I really did have to keep turning the paper around and around.

But the letter that wins the comedy prize was the newspaper clipping. I served a mission for my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). We were encouraged not to read our mail until our day off and we didn't read the newspaper, listen to the radio or watch TV so that we could stay focused and not mentally going home every day. For a straight month, every time someone asked me where I was from and I told them they would tell me of some terrible disaster in the area my family lives and say "I hope your family is okay!" They were freaking me out! So I wrote home and asked my parents that if there was some big thing going on anywhere near them would they just send me a quick note telling me that they were okay and not involved, nothing else, and label the outside "Open immediately"? It was just a few weeks later that I got just such a letter with my dad's handwriting on the outside. Inside was a newspaper clipping from the Associated Press that detailed a domestic abuse incident that had occurred in my home town. Apparently, some man became enraged at his wife and killed her by beating her with a frozen squirrel. That's all the article said. Just 2 or 3 sentences. At the bottom, my dad added one sentence of his own. "Your mother and I were not involved. Love, Dad"

Thanks Dad, for making life beautiful, making your love for me abundantly clear, and teaching me how to find the humor in just about every situation.


Lisa Loo said...

I LOVE it! What a treasure he was. I always want to be that clever but can never quite attain it. My husband is not a talker but when he tells something funny we laugh for hours--thanx for sharing

McEwens said...

Your dad was the BEST! I will never forget the Sunday night dinners over there. Love your mom and sisters too!!! You have a great family!!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

What a beautiful and touching post to your father. I think when I ws a teen I did the (over) thing...

wonder woman said...

That's hilarious!! I get letters every now and then from my dad.....they were usually written during priesthood sessions. =D But your dad had (has) a great sense of humor! I remember doing the (over) thing to, and then thinking how dumb it was!

Memories are such a gift.

McKinstry Clan said...

Sherri, talk about beautiful tributes! That was nice! I had know idea that you had a blog. I'm glad I found it!

Montana said...

Oh man I love stories about Baca. I always think of the funny things he did with us! Thanks for sharing that one! -Brittany