Do you believe in fairy tales?

I mean the true concept of the creation of the story and the story teller. The story teller themselves need experience in order to tell the story or is the imagination so grande it can spin a tale that one might feel it was for them?

Can ones experiences written just right,  insight change in the very darkness the idea was drawn from?

I guess this would depend on the reader.

An endless gaze of eyes of all shapes and colors. Hosted by culture, experience and geography. Each one intricately different and yet still so much the same. Some looking to the hero for answers and others to the villain with empathy for their cause. Some of our heroes are even the bad guys as we change cultures and the elite elevated to gods.

As a child the stories my dad told were not your average fairy tales. He had a silver tongue that would turn bar fights and flantering, into battles and distressed damsels. An eviction notice into survival camping and scams into plans. My dad was my fairy tale, he was unique and sweetened any situation with words. Most of all he kept the bad away regardless of how close the devil was. Our journeys took us to so many places that schools out numbered fingers on my hand and the word “step mom” had more faces than i can remember.

This was my life and the only thing I ever knew. Painted by an artist who’s brush stroke gave courage and pride.Took our hardships and pain and made them drinking songs and bragging rights. He was and still is the hero of my story no matter how complicated of a man he could be the dad he was protected me from his demons.

The dark isn’t safe.

It was when he was gone that danger would close in. When people would transform into the very creatures that terrify us in the dark. You see the stories that I was told are the same stories that took him away. When Robin Hood became the thief and the Sheriff was just in his conquest. For thieves the law isn’t the only fear, it’s your comrades and most trusted.

My earliest memory of the darkness was just a taste. My father had gone to prison, what would be a cycle to come. His wife whom I’d like to call my mom was left with my brother and I. She was the safest I felt away from my dad in all my life. As a child I wouldn’t know this but writing with experience, she is the model of the word mom and not all would treat me like she did.

As the father I am now I look back with admiration for some, being left alone with kids and all the debts and responsibilities. Life in the shadows creates debts to scary figures, with rules of collection that are not kid friendly. I remember the pounding at the door as she yelled to the men on the other side. Watching her move frantically and making phone calls as the men kept trying to get in.  Words blur and in all the commotion I’m in the basement clenched by my mom until the noises subsided.

Later in life I would learn she called a bigger darkness that came first in line on debts, the reason why the noises stopped.

Better days.

I’m not clear on the circumstances but I do know two things happened before I was back with my dad. She took us far from the dangers and my time spent with her are some of my best childhood memories. She also gave me a gift in life, a brother.

There where many in between places before our next stop.

Regardless of the shadows my dad made it fun.

He came from a generation where single dads did not get assistance. Although his choices as a man might be considered faulty, his moments as a dad where remarkable. His life choices are also the link to the women in this blog I called mom.

We went from townhouse block to apartments and from towns to towns. Like bandits we’d even hide out at family. Bedtime stories in grandpa’s basement or fire tales at our cousins. From city life to farm but the three of us where unstoppable.

On the farm was more about bonding brothers, we went everywhere together. Snow forts to egg fights, even showering in the rain.We’d helped our dad strip cars down. At eight years old I could drive a car well enough to drive my dad home on a bender. Some days after school when no one was home my brother and I would take the cars for a spin. It’s amazing what two brothers could do with the ability of not needing a key.

The stop.

The freedom in which my brother and I lived was due to the man not the dad. Through those journeys he brought home a stripper. Wild and crazy with hardcore crashes. She let us break all the rules and was left with us most the time. Her life was a party and that didn’t matter whether we where around or not. The first song i remember was a David Wilcox song. “Life for me is a river boat fantasy,  watching the sun go down. Cocaine kisses and moonshine misses , that’s the life for me”.

She would throw bottles and run through the house naked chasing our dad with knives. She didn’t scare me, it was more a fear for my dad than of my safety.

When I say she let us break all the rules, that’s because so did she. Late nights while my dad was boosting cars she would tell his secrets. She told us of our older brother and that my mother was someone different. She took away the fantasies of his stories.

She also called all our moms when my father went back to prison. This defining moment has caused me more pain in life than I have the words to write. As an adult I understand but as a child i didn’t just loose my dad, I lost my brothers.

My dad had his demons, but my mom showed me hers.

I met my mom at the age of nine turning ten.  It took me the better part of a year before I’d even entertain the thought of uttering the word mom. She was small and quiet like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with beer bottles instead of beakers.

There is no right way for me to write about her. No gift my dad may have bestowed on me to sweeten the experience with fantasy. She brought fear for the first time in my life. The fear for my life and more so the fear for hers. This small woman had a tenancy of hearing things wrong and attacking the biggest guy at the bar. She was like a caged animal at five foot four and if she believed it watch out!

Our second home was the bar which had a grill to allow that family friendly atmosphere. Lifers sitting at the counter and patio for sunny days. We’d switch between them according to whether or not we’d been kicked out or not.

This was my life: from working on the cars my dad stole to bouncing for an alcoholic.

Not all was bad with her as Dr. Jekyll would show remorse and guilt. The words “sorry it wont happen again”. Sometimes it would last and we would play mother and son. At these times I would learn the best of her. She would smile and try to act like she was ready to have a son. I say this as an adult as living with a child and without are very different things and that is a lot to get used to. She introduced me to family and through those family members a life time of memories.

The sins of the father.

After time I studied her, started to understand the triggers. How much alcohol and pills before the bear would came out. If I should come home at night or stay at a friends. If she got too drunk it got bad, but if she saw me as my dad it got worse. Mrs. Hyde would come out swinging and I’d be paying for her memories of my dad. I am my father’s son and because of this during her black outs, I felt what darkness really was.

You changed me and I am stronger now. I understand who you are and I forgive you.

I’ve learnt as a single dad what its like to earn, struggle and where to draw the line. Everyone of you taught me and from that I understand

” Think like a parent, not a MAN/WOMAN”

The complexities of the person can interfere with the training of the next generation.

I left the man I was to be the dad I am. Creating real memories that form good lives.

The moral of this story is……..

Kids remember everything!

I do, and I just turned 40!


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