Sunday, February 20, 2011

Honky Tonk Women

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 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.

One day…

What do you think?


  1. Not that this has anything to do with this moving and poignant tribute to your dad, but I had to chuckle.

    Remember when we went on choir tour (I'm having trouble remembering which one, Anaheim I think... Probably wrong.) and you re-wrote the lyrics to Music of the Night from the Phantom of the Opera, but it went something like, "Help me find a woman of the night!" You sang beautifully, which made it all the more funny. Good times.

    And I miss your dad's purple suit. Made my Sundays a little more enjoyable.

  2. I miss your Dad a lot. I think about him frequently. He had a major impact on my life and I'm not sure I would have a testimony of the gospel had he not been part of my life. He would be proud of you and the man you have become. Don't ever forget that.

  3. Thanks Kami, I really appreciate that. Hope all is well for you and your husband and his foot.

    Thomas, I remember that trip to Anaheim. And if my memory serves me correctly, I remember Robert Dana re-writing Disney's Be Our Guest with the lines, "Try Incest, It's the best, put your sister to the test." Hope all is well buddy.

  4. Oh man. I'd forgotten that. Those were the days. Things are good here, hope all is well with you too.