Bad to the Bone

It’s been a difficult week. This week held the heavenly birthday of both my mother-in-law and my stepfather. Both are missed incredibly. Missing them on their birthdays made me think about another person that I miss incredibly. My father. I miss his spark, his spirit, his vibrance. I’d love to call him up and tell him about how sassy my daughter is. I know he would get a kick out of her.

This week, I had to write a short story for my college writing class and, since he was on my mind, I based it on my father. His was truly a life lived to the fullest. I’m happy with how it turned out, so I thought I’d share on here. Not my usual type of blog post, but why not?

I hope you enjoy!

The shrimp boat cut through the salty, Gulf water. Before I was born, my father was a shrimp boat captain, but now he only shrimped for fun. Watching him haul nets with the wind flinging his salt and pepper hair around his face was like watching Slash play guitar. Thrilling. A man in his element.

This is how I remember him. Sun-kissed and windblown. The taste and smell of sea salt mixed with canned wine.

Tonight, it was all Jack and Coke, my father’s drink of choice. We were at our favorite bar for karaoke night. Bars and my dad were an unpredictable mix. Sometimes they ended in greasy tacos at three in the morning, and sometimes they ended with me dragging him out of the bar before the cops are called. He was a wild card.

Later, I would tell these stories and laugh.

“Remember when dad got so drunk that he fell up the stairs and was convinced the next morning that his bruised cheek was because we beat him up?”

“Remember when dad kept snapping his fingers at the waitress and calling her Ski-Daddy? The manager was so pissed that we had to leave.”

“Remember when dad was singing “Bad to the Bone” for karaoke? He forgot the words in the middle of the song and just started making up his own!”

A crawfish boil with margaritas, my father’s specialty.

“If your lips ain’t burning, it ain’t good!”

That was his moto. The hotter the crawfish, the better – and he was right. He pushed everything to the extreme.

After he was gone, I could never find crawfish or a party with quite the same vibrance. He took that vibrance with him.

I helped my father haul the shrimp nets while my husband snapped a photo. We were leaning over the catch, our matching brown hair tangling in the wind. We were too focused on separating the keepers from the throwbacks to see the snap of the camera.

Later, I would thank my husband for catching that moment. I would look at that photo through tears and relive the day. The sea salt, the wine, the Jack and Coke.

Later, I would hum “Bad to the Bone” and remember a life lived to the fullest.

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