July 21, 2011

Onslo's Bash

Picture a disco ball and a plethora of unbuttoned silk shirts with middle aged men's chest hair overpowering your senses. That was at least the mood that had been created with the playlist I made for my dad's 50th birthday party.
A party goer asked, "were you in a 70's-80's dance mood when you put this together?". I answered quite abruptly that it was Onslo's personal choice to play the easy listening sounds of 80's love songs for his big day. They looked at me like I had fabricated my answer but I assured them that Lionel Ritchie was his favorite musician. The party goer walked away perplexed. I recall having to defend my playlist many times before the night was over.
You see my father is a rugged, farmer, John Wayne-loving, greasy, hard-working mechanic who came out of his mother's vaginal canal wearing Wrangler jeans. If he wasn't wearing a cowboy hat he was wearing a trucker style baseball cap that some shop owner had handed over to him out of gratitude for something he had generously done for them. He is the type you would picture a die-hard country music fan and although he does love his classic country music his heart lies with Secret Love.
My mom had discovered his love for Lionel Ritchie driving to their honeymoon destination. "What did I just marry?" I think is the response I've heard over and over again from hearing this story told many times before. It's a story that after 20+ plus years of them being married that I revel in hearing. My dad is the type of guy who is rarely ever serious and conversation on the telephone between him and I leave Tyrone looking at me puzzled and him telling me "how strange" we are. Because of the type of relationship we have it's funny to hear stories about him that seem to be "off" from the way is generally perceived. As a devoted family member it is my duty to keep track of such stories so that they can be told at any given moment when the time calls. It's like fuel for the love we have for one another. He gives me a hard time and I give it right back. My dad and I are not big huggers but we will tell you how big of a fucking idiot you are but only if we truly, deeply care. This doesn't end with us either, the blunt & funny-to-us jokes extend to the rest of my family.
I remember when my dad purchased the Secret Love cassette tapes. I will never forget this time in my life but mostly because they were played on EVERY vacation, camping trip or road trip we took. When The Bodyguard soundtrack came out it was quickly added to the mix and "I Will Always Love You" was belted out by every member in my family as loudly and off-tune as our voices could come up with. It's one of those times you don't want other people to hear or even really want to admit but yet you find yourself doing repeatedly because you can't help yourself. Family traditions are not meant for everyone to understand, ours especially. Other families traditions paled in comparison to ours. We didn't play a lot of board games or go Christmas caroling together but we know every word to almost every 80's love song that was ever made.
Saturday afternoon before the party I sat at their kitchen table burning a few of my dad's compilation CD's onto my computer I played clips of a few and he would tell me whether or not he wanted that song on the playlist or not. I told everyone at the party he picked out every song on the list specifically himself but that wasn't exactly true. I made sure to get his favorites on there but the fillers were my choice.
I think every one of the compilation CD's included "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and anything and everything by Chicago.
{I'm making sure to include links in case any infants are reading this post.}
At one moment when I was sitting by some of the younger crowd I made a joke about how raging the party was. Looking out over the crowd was a bit humorous. Most people just sat in their lawn chairs telling their glory days stories. Besides the music that was playing and the kids that were obnoxiously running around it was pretty mellow. As much as you would expect for a 50th birthday party. I swear to God I better be still listening to young boys with girl voices screaming their lungs out to a double bass and an electric guitar.
My mom had written on all of the invitations to everyone that they needed to bring their best "Wayde Story". (Wayde is my dad's real name if you were wondering) We sat around in a circle while everyone told their story. My dad is quite the character so there were some really good ones told. There were some funny ones and there were some heart-felt ones too.
My grandma and her husband told the story of when my dad drove them around in a horse drawn wagon down Main Street one time for New Years singing the whole time. There was no snow or anyone else cruising around in a wagon, just them.
Other stories were told of my dad's tree trimming style in where he "trims" them down to where they look like totem poles or even just rips them right out with a backhoe, roots and all.
My friend's husband Mark pulled a fast one on us and told a very touching story of a time my dad helped him one weekend on a construction project that he was behind on and when they were all done he asked my dad how much he wanted for his help but all my dad did was hold out his hand shook Mark's and said that he didn't want a single dime. When he started the story Cory, Mark's wife, whispered to me, "Is he going to cry? OMG, I think he's going to cry?" Well, there wasn't a dry eye in that circle after he was finished and when I looked over at Tyrone he was a little misty eyed himself. I was a bit surprised.
My parent's neighbor Vera who has known my dad since he was in diapers told a story about how my dad burned down his family's barn and how karma came back to bite him in the ass when my little brother did the same to our camp trailer. (that's a whole other story)
Tyrone came shortly after and told the story of when he got held hostage in Elko, Nevada selling satellite TV door-to-door and how at the end of that trip their van had broken down. The owner of the company (NAN Star) told them to figure it out. He offered no help to his employees that he sent out there to work for HIM. He left them stranded. Meanwhile me and my family were camping up Spanish Fork canyon. My dad was doing his favorite thing and cooking us all dinner around the tent when I got a call from Tyrone. It was a miracle that I even got the call because my phone had no signal most of the time up there. I hung up the phone from him to tell my family what was going on and that I might needed to leave to go get him. That trip is about 4 hrs.and about 300 miles away. My dad barely hesitated and told me to call Tyrone back and tell him WE were coming to get him. My dad and I left immediately to make the long trip and we picked him and two other guys up and brought them back home. I had no idea he was going to tell that story. I had almost forgotten about it until he brought it up. Tyrone went on to say how much that meant to him and that no one had ever done something like that for him before. I had finally broke at that point and may have shed a few tears myself.
I opted against the emotional story and brought a bit more of the attention back to myself. My story was about when I was much younger and I had gotten my pants wet at my grandma's house and I was complaining about it so my dad made me wear a garbage bag. A garbage bag that he had fashioned with arm holes and everything so that it stayed up on me. Soon after that I guess I hadn't complained enough and was whining (I'm sure I wasn't whining that bad) about wanting a drink of water and, according to him wouldn't shut up about it. So, he tied me to a chair with baling twine and squinted me with the hose. "Are you still thirsty now?" Child abuse at it's finest. Funny thing is that we have pictures of this event. My crazy grandma was standing there, laughing I'm sure, taking pictures while I WAS TIED TO A CHAIR.
There were many other stories told and it turned out to be such a good time.
Before the night had concluded we sat around the fire pit and ate watermelon where the story telling continued with my old childhood friends and their parents whom I've known for most of my life.
It was the perfect party for my old fart dad. I'm so honored to be his daughter. I'm so glad he chose me. I'm so glad he came into my life as non-conventional as it was. It was all meant to be and I wouldn't change a thing.
Love you dad,
*If you haven't entered the giveaway yet it's still open. I am going to leave it open until the end of July and probably announce the winner on August 1st which is a Monday so for my Libra brain it works out perfectly.
**If you hate Sixteen Candles that's fine (we can still be friends) you can fill out the Q&A anyways since that seems to be the popular decision so far. Not complaining; I just really appreciate the feedback.


Kendahl, Stepmom Extraordinaire said...

Your dad is one of the coolest people on this planet. He cracks me up. I have many stories of him teasing me relentlessly, much like an older brother would, throughout my entire childhood. He was ruthless! But I still love him. :)

Jennikunz said...

I love love love your dad! And my boys think he is UBER cool! I got a little teary reading these tender stories. Your dad has a huge heart. I love him! Hope he had a fantstic bday!! NIce job on the par-tay! I love the play list. Rock on Wayde!

Colleen said...

I love this Brandy. It pretty much rocks.

Oh Honestly Erin said...

I think this is my new favorite post of yours. Your dad sounds like such an amazing man. You're lucky to have him!

How did he get the name "Onslo"?

brandy-son Zen master flash said...

Thanks everyone he really is the best guy ever. I do know how lucky I am to have him.