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Daddy Harrison (standard:non fiction, 1193 words)
Author: allyndreiaAdded: Apr 03 2003Views/Reads: 1903/1Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
This is a story I wrote for my tenth grade english class about my father and the link I'd never noticed between us. Giving this story to my father was the only time I've ever seen him cry. I have edited some since tenth grade, but it's still pretty raw

I can see it so clearly.  My tubby six-year-old self, sitting at the
tiny kitchen table with my “mature” nine-year-old sister and my 
terrible two-year-old brother.  “I think it's time for me to shave.” my 
dad would tell us warningly, and the giggles would start.  I remember 
watching his broad back as he turned into his door; down the hallway, 
we could hear the water running.  We would turn to each other with 
‘furtive looks, waiting for what we would hear next.  We heard loud, 
accentuated footsteps and we all would jump out of our chairs.  A deep 
growl was heard from the bathroom and we would scatter.  Then I can see 
vividly in my mind's eye my father thumping out of his room with his 
face covered in shaving cream with a big wad sitting ominously on his 
hand.  He would chase us around the house until he cornered one of use 
and smeared the shaving cream all over our faces with shaving cream.  I 
remember that sometimes I would giggle so hard that it was a struggle 
not to wet my pants.  Then after a while he would disappear back to his 
room and return a clean-cut, mild-mannered Daddy Harrison. 

Daddy Harrison. If there is one guy who's had an effect on my life, it's
him.  He's been my biggest fan ever since my sister and I used to put 
on Christmas plays for the family.  He is always there to give some 
needed (if not solicited) advice. Dad lecture 101: “You're just about 
as happy as you make yourself.” Dad lecture 3022: “ I am the Commanding 
officer in this house.  Your mother is God.”  His rules that are all 
for-you-own-good always make me use my “teenager whine.”  One of the 
solid rules in my house was that I could not date until I was 16.  In 
sixth grade I had my first “boyfriend.”  When I told dad, he sat down 
with me at the table and said in a solemn voice, “Maggie, you can have 
as many boyfriends as you want... all at the same time if you want, but 
you cannot go out alone with them until you turn sixteen.” Suddenly the 
rule didn't seem unfair anymore.  He was just trying to keep me safe, 
not to make me a social outcast. 

I remember when he was teaching me to ride a bike out front of our
little white house.  The bike had a large banana shaped seat with a 
handle on the back.  He would hold on to that handle and teach me how 
to pedal.  If I felt his grasp lighten, I would panic and flail all 
over while he held the bike upright.  He got so frustrated with me and 
at one point almost yelled.  He might have, I don't remember.  What I 
do remember is the fact that he didn't give up on me.  He kept on 
holding on to that back and forth down the street until finally he let 
go, and I rode on my own.  I didn't even realize he'd let go until I 
got to the end of the block.  I couldn't believe I'd actually done it!  
He has always encouraged my love for reading.  When I went through my 
“civil war stage” he bought me Uncle Tom's Cabin.  I have yet to read 
the book all the way through, but he still supported my wish to be 
sophisticated enough to read it. 

Dad has also always let me be the little girl I don't really want to
grow out of.  I'm pretty sure he's the one who gave me my nickname 
Maggie-moo (or Maggie-moo-mee-Maggie-mess for short).  He has also 
known when it's time for me to spread my wings.  Recently, when we were 
driving together, I had gotten in the car and started us going.  We got 
half way out to the middle of nowhere, and I asked him where to go.  He 
sat there silently staring through the windshield as I fumbled around 
and got us a little lost.  He helped me get out of it, but then 
explained to me that I should always know where I was going before I 
started to drive.   I was sure he had buried a life lesson in that 
subtle phrase as well. 

One of my favorite things about my father is the way he smiles when I
run down the stairs and out the door in the morning.  One day I was 
sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast and wiggling my pink 
slippers to Christmas music when my dad walked into the room.  He 
started grinning from ear-to-ear and even laughed a little bit.  “Why 
are you laughing at me?” I whined.  He smiled and replied, “You're just 
so cute.”  I don't know why but I just couldn't be mad at him for that. 

He has always protected our family from large and small things. When I
was a little girl, my strong, heroic father would check in the dark 
abysses in my room for the big bad wolf, who I was sure lurked in every 
corner.  While we were visiting Greece, we rode on a ferry on a gusty 
night, back to our hotel from a little island we had visited.  We 
watched as the men tied the ferry to the dock but the buffeting boat 
tugged furiously at the rope.  Dad shouted in his scariest voice, “Get 
out of the way! Move!”  He then seemed to gather up, our whole family 
in his arms, and pull us to the side.  We rushed off the boat as soon 
as we could and dad explained that the rope used to bind us to the dock 
was stretched too tight.  He said that if there had been the slightest 
fray in the rope it could have snapped and cut anyone who was standing 
in its path (our family) right in half.  It made me realize that the 
“scariness” in his voice wasn't anger, it was that he had been afraid 
for us all. 

All in all, Dad is what my grandmother would call a character.  He has,
in my lifetime, gone from being a clean-cut, rule-enforcing marine to a 
ponytail-wearing “house-mom.”  He is always there to take care of the 
family and make us all laugh.  Don't get me wrong! He made everyone 
laugh, even as a marine.  Just because he's a “house mom” doesn't mean 
he isn't still pretty strict, but finally I am realizing that none of 
the rules are here to hurt me.  They are his ways of protecting me.  
Dad is the only person I know who could put up with my whining and our 
sibling rivalry.   On top of it all, he has managed to fill us all with 
a real sense of family.  We all love each other, and we aren't ashamed 
to show it.  I think much of that is due to my father's actions.  If, 
right now, my dad was in the room, I think I would run over to him and 
give him a big hug and a “Thanks, Dad.”  Thank you for making me the 
pretty good kid I am today. 


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