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Stories My Dad Told, Late Night TV

My father was a plumber and an electrical repairman as well as a general do-it-yourself repairman. He taught me many valuable lessons.

Bedtime? NO!

Bedtime? NO!

Moving to California

I am the oldest of four siblings, three girls, and a boy. I was born in California when Dad was still in the Air Force but after he got out, he moved his little family back to his home in Indiana. However, the small rural town he grew up in had few opportunities for jobs. If you didn’t own your own store or gas station, you worked at the shoe factory. My two sisters were born there in Indiana but after a few years, Dad was pretty tired of the shoe factory and wanted something that would ensure advancement. I understand he was pretty tired of shoveling snow as well. My youngest sister was just a year old when he got a call from his father-in-law offering him a partnership in his plumbing business in California. It didn’t take much persuasion for him to jump at the opportunity.

I was about 7 and there was already snow on the ground in Indiana in November but we left that behind us. When we got to California, it wasn’t even cold. As Christmas approached, I wanted to know where the snow was. It was wet but not cold here in California and I was disappointed. I told them all I wanted for Christmas was snow. Everyone laughed at me. They told me it wasn’t going to happen. So I prayed for snow. I figured if Santa Claus couldn’t come through maybe God could.

They tell me that that was the first snow we had here in the valley in 25 years or better. It was only enough to blanket the ground and make things cold. I ran right out and made what turned out to be a mud-man, but I was pretty happy I got my Christmas wish.

When I want to watch a TV show with my parents past my bedtime, my mom always sends me to bed no matter how much I fake being "absorbed" in the program.

— Unknown

Dad's Buick

Dad's Buick

Dad and the Door

My Dad was a big Scott and loved to relax in the evenings in his easy chair with one leg up and one arm over his head. In the little house we lived in when I was growing up, Dad’s easy chair was situated right next to our bedroom door. There was a direct line of sight to the TV from our door if Dad only moved one leg down and the other one up. Mom sat across the little room on the couch and was looking away from the bedroom door toward the TV. This meant that a lot could be accomplished if we had Dad on our side.

I know as a 13-year-old, I felt pretty incensed to be sent to bet at 8 or 8:30 in the evenings with the little kids. In the summer months, the sun was still up. That just wasn’t right to my young mind and it makes sense that I would try to stay up and see the late-night movie or the TV shows that came on after bedtime.

Totem of heads

Totem of heads

Late Night TV

This is a story I wrote for the grandkids using Dad’s voice and infection. If he’d been alive, I was sure this would be a story he would tell.

Lissin ta me when I’ma talkin’ to ya!

When yur momma was a girl, she an her sisters didn’t take kindly ta havin’ an 8 aclock bedtime. Those cookie-crunchers all slept in the same room and would try ta sneek a peek at the TV after momma sent them ta bed. The only thing between them an that TV was me and ma easy chair. Momma would chase them varments off ta bed at 8. And dy-reckly, I’d hear this, “Pssst, pssst… daddy… move your leg so we can see.”

Thar behind me was a totem of three heads in the crack a the door. First time I seen it, I said ta maself, “What in the cat hair is this?” But it tickled me, so, by Gadfree, I moved.

Irregardless, Momma would hear ‘em snickerin’ at the door and WHAM, the door would close on ‘em. Momma put a stop to that like Hogan’s goat. Yessir.

Dad churning ice cream

Dad churning ice cream

When I was a kid, I thought 8:30 was a late bedtime, now I only wish I could go to bed at this kind of time!

— Unknown

Hogan’s Goat

I never knew who Hogan was or what his goat had to do with anything during my childhood, and I suspect dad didn’t either. He always swore by him, though. And it became a saying we came to hear often and love. It was part of Dad’s colorful talk.

I looked it up and apparently, Hogan’s goat is a phrase usually referring to something that is messed up or stinks like a goat. In 1899 there was an extremely popular comic strip called Hogan’s Alley featuring Hogan’s goat. It quickly became a slang term referring to someone who interferes or “butts in”. I don’t think Dad’s frequent references to Hogan’s goat meant anything like that but it just seemed some slang he threw into a conversation.

I don’t know about Gadfree either. I imagine Gadfree just kept Dad from swearing in front of us kids.

Any kid will run any errand for you, if you ask at bedtime.

— Red Skelton

Final Thoughts

Do you have funny sayings or words your dad used to use? I’d love to read about them in the comments below.

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on July 10, 2021:

I'm glad you like my dad's stories. I will write more as I think of them. He's been gone now 29 years and sometimes I can't remember as much as wish I could. Finding some of the old videos of him from the 60s has helped resurrect my memory. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 12, 2021:

Devika Primić,

Yes, I was very blessed to have such a father in my home. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 12, 2021:

Chitrangada Sharan,

No matter where we are from, we usually have parents and childhood in common. It is always lovely to be reminded of good times in childhood. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 12, 2021:

Rosina S Khan,

I saw your comment. It didn't go astray. I replied but I think my reply when astray,

It must have been wonderful growing up with such an educated man as your father. My father was very closed about his childhood and we had to beg and needle him to get a story out of him. That only made the ones he told all the more precious and memorable. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 12, 2021:

Nithya Venkat,

It was a downer. I felt like such a juvenile to be sent to bed with all the younger children. Especially when I wasn't even tired yet. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 12, 2021:

Ann Carr,

Yes, that makes me a Scot as well. Sir Walter Scott would be a distant cousin (not in my direct line but close). Not a bad name to grow up with. Everyone called my dad Scotty mostly because he hated the name Nelson. Only his grandmother got away with calling him Nelly. He hated it and would fight anyone who tried it. So my brother was little Scotty until dad died and now he's just Scotty. I may have to write another hub just about his name and the many comical things that happened because of it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 10, 2021:

Denise it is a pleasant memory and so filled with great memories. You have had such times with your dad and that is amazing!

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 09, 2021:

Peggy Woods,

You know that's a very old drawing. Something I did right after he passed away 28 years ago. I'm sure if I tackled it now I would do a much better job. I have it in the back of my mind that I should redo all those drawings I made back then to go with dad's stories. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 09, 2021:

Mary Norton,

It was such a joy to hear him talk. I miss it terribly. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on March 07, 2021:

It’s wonderful to read the stories of your father, and the precious memories.

The parents always have a lesson hidden in their conversations. I was reminded of my own father.

This is such a pleasant read. Thank you for sharing.

Rosina S Khan on March 07, 2021:

Denise, I was the first one to comment but since you didn't see it and didn't reply to it, I suppose it got astray. Here it is again:

It is good to see that your Dad shared a lot of stories with you and your siblings. My Dad on the other hand loved to lecture us in our studies for a good number of years and wasn't much of a storyteller. If we heard any story about him, it was through our Mom.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on March 06, 2021:

Being sent to bed so early especially during summer must have been a real downer. It is fun to stay up late and watch TV as kids but rules have to be followed. I enjoyed reading, thank you for sharing this story.

Ann Carr from SW England on March 06, 2021:

Oh, Denise, I'm sorry! I never thought that he was actually a Scot (it was the double 't' that threw me). That's brilliant!

Ann

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 06, 2021:

I enjoy reading those stories about your dad. Your drawing of your dad in the chair and the three kids peeking through the door is cute.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 06, 2021:

The grandkids did that, too, sneak watch. We only found out later when they told us about some incidents in the movie we watched. It must have been fun listening to your Dad telling those stories.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 06, 2021:

Pamela Oglesby,

It is fun to read, isn't it? I have the best time trying to hear his "voice" in my head and then translate that to paper somehow. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 06, 2021:

Bill Holland,

That must have been a thrill. It was a pretty proud moment when finally my parents let me stay up half an hour longer than the others. But I never got to stay up long enough to see Johnny Carson until I married and left home. It's a girl thing, I think. If I'd been a boy, things may have been different. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on March 06, 2021:

Ann Carr,

You know when I did some research about Gadfree, it always came up as Godfrey but my dad didn't pronounce it that way. That adds to the confusion. Also, he was a Scot from Scotland, at least the ancestors were. I've been able to trace them to the 13th century through Sir Beardy Scott who was married to Margaret Campbell a descendant of Sir Robert the Bruce. Anyway, Dad's last name was Scott and he was a big Scot. He was in on the conspiracy and I think it gave him a little tickle to do so. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 06, 2021:

I always enjoy the stories about your father, and the way he talked makes the stories even better. Thanks for sharing them, Denise.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 06, 2021:

I love your father's inflection and speech...classic! Loved the story. Late night television with my dad, early teens, watching Johnny Carson....just him and me, and I felt so mature, you know?

Ann Carr from SW England on March 06, 2021:

Was 'Gadfree' instead of 'Godfrey'? Close enough but not blaspheming?!

Also, what does 'a big Scott' mean? Presumably nothing to do with a 'Scot' from Scotland!

Love these stories and what a conspiratorial Dad, to let you see the tv! Great! You're continuing the story-telling too, which is so good.

Keep these stories coming, Denise! They are so good and the history in them is wonderful.

Ann

Rosina S Khan on March 05, 2021:

It is good to see that your Dad shared a lot of stories with you and your siblings. My Dad on the other hand loved to lecture us in our studies for a good number of years and wasn't much of a storyteller. If we heard any story about him, it was through our Mom.

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