There’s a song by Mick Jagger that gets to me. A song about drinking binges and paid-for pleasure on the streets of Memphis and New York City. The song is called “Honky-Tonk Women” and every time that it parades the airwaves, a flood of memories comes rolling back through my mind.
Let me take you back to the time I was introduced to this prostitution ballad. I was 16, and working on the permit hours for my driver’s license. My Dad and I took a trip up to the Idaho border to bond, book hours, and bloat over junk food. In the early moments of our excursion he threw a Rolling Stones CD in, and started jamming out in the passenger seat. Here is the conversation that followed.
Me: This is an interesting song Dad, what’s it about?
Dad: Um…(awkward pause) It’s about uh...love and romance.
Me: Love and romance between a man and his wife?
Dad: Well, a guy and uh… (longer awkward pause) No, more like uh…women who uh…
Me: Women who what Dad?
Dad: Never mind. We’re turning this off. (Extended awkward pause)
I miss those conversations. A lot. It’s been nine years since that happened, and a day doesn’t go by when I wish for more dialogue between the two of us.
I am not a man for dates. Anniversaries, birthdays, annual celebrations are all a jumbled mix in the 3-5% of cognitive understanding that I utilize every day. One date stands out though for me, and has had a cloudy lining around the calendar box each year it comes around.
February 20th 2004, was a day that woke me up to what life really was. A day that in a matter of seven seconds changed everything about who I would be. A day that felt about as good as A-Rod doing batting practice to my kneecaps. I still remember when Chris Davis sat me down and told me that my Dad had put a short-barreled shotgun in his mouth while sitting in the parking lot of a storage unit facility and splattered his life all over the inside of his silver PT Cruiser. Seven years later and this is one day that I will never forget.
I miss him. Everything about him. I miss his on-target scripture references on the spur of the moment. I miss the Ohio State camaraderie that we had while watching Buckeye games. I miss the recounting of his Mormon panty-raid at Ricks College, or the miffed swan dive/belly flop while in competition. I miss his floodgates of tears while telling mission stories, talking to his family, or watching Nike commercials.
I miss his corny jokes. I miss his friendly demeanor. I miss his purple suit. I miss his Rush Limbaugh ties. I miss his testimony. I miss his tenor voice resonating in ward choir. I miss everything about the man. I miss the day that we sat at the top of the Copper Mill restaurant and he told me that I could call him Dad. I miss that man.
This is not a pathetic attempt for sympathy from anyone who is still reading this. This is just a memoir transcribed from all of my memories that come back every time the scar gets re-opened a little bit more every February 20th. I wonder what my life would be like had he not pulled the trigger that day. But there is nothing I can do. Time moves on, it always does, and I will forever thank Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for serenading about the Honky Tonk Women in their lives. And one day I hope that I can introduce my Dad to the Honky Tonk Woman in my life.
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