Minnie The Mole

Reading is a life-long habit, one of my greatest joys and something I just took for granted until my dad and I happened to be talking one day about how this passion of mine developed.

“I remember when you were just a little tyke,” he laughed. “You’d get up really early in the morning. Ma and I were still asleep. You’d take your pile of books out into the living room and sit there on the couch and ‘read.’ You knew every word, every line in all your books. Ma and I would lay in bed and listen.”

“Then later, when I’d read to you,” he continued, “I’d try to fool you. I’d change a word and you’d get so upset. ‘No daddy,’ you’d say, ‘that’s Billy the Bunny not Bobby the Bunny.’ You never let me get away with anything. So then I’d try something else. I’d skip a page; you were wise to that and you really gave me hell.” Dad loved telling this story and seemed to get a real kick out of our times together.

But as we were talking, I had another memory. When I grew older and more children arrived in our family, privacy, peace and quiet were at a premium. Especially, once I was in junior high and high school, with six kids in the family, it got pretty boisterous. After supper, I couldn’t wait to get the dishes done so I could go up to my room to read. I’m not sure if I just didn’t want to get away from the busy noise of my large family or if I really loved to read that much. Maybe reading started out as a way to hide from things and have some peace.

I have this very strong memory. One evening, just as I was making my escape, just as I was grabbing the doorknob to head upstairs, Dad commented loudly, for all to hear, in a kind of sing-song voice.

“There she goes. Minnie the Mole, up to her hole.”

At first, I didn’t think too much of it. Dad was kind of a teaser who liked to challenge people. But as I grew older and especially once I became an uncertain, gangly teenager, it wore on me. I started to wonder, each time it happened, what’s wrong with me? What’s he really saying? Is this something I shouldn’t be doing? In spite of it all, I continued to go up to my room every chance I could and reading became both an escape and a comfort.

Finally, I went to college and left my crowded home behind. But I always remembered how Dad teased me. Now on this day, as an adult who no longer needed his approval, I had the nerve to ask.

“I remember when you always called me Minnie the Mole up in her hole.” I said it innocently, with a bit of a laugh, not expecting much of a response.

“Yeh, I remember that, too. Kiddo, I was worried about you! You always seemed to want to be by yourself, not with us. I wondered what was wrong. I even asked Ma, ‘do you think Karin is okay?’ She said not to worry but I always wondered about that.”

I was astounded. I thought he was making fun of me when all the time he was worried! Outspoken man that my dad is, why couldn’t he just have asked me that? Why couldn’t he have been direct? Here was my dad, the scary police officer with his uniform, that badge and his gun. But when it comes to telling his daughter how he feels, he’s unable.

As we talked further, I never mentioned what doubts his teasing caused me. I simply said I’d really wanted to read. Instead of hurting his feelings and making him feel worse, I just let it go at that. But I had a different perspective on my dad.

I’m still Minnie the mole. I read every chance I get and love it. Now I know the value of having time to yourself. Maybe I’ve also learned not to jump to conclusions. Had I had the nerve to ask, Dad would have told me what he was thinking and feeling. I wonder in what other ways this could have changed my so often strained relationship with him.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Xavior Osburn
    Dec 04, 2017 @ 12:23:21

    That’s not the,”Minnie th Mole” that I was looking for.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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