Last weekend I was 52 years old going on 9.
My parents have not had visits from me all by my lonesome for quite a while. In the 21 years I have been married, I think it’s happened just once before this weekend.
Moms love to spoil their sons.
“Terry, Steve needs new underwear. Take him to Kohl’s with you this morning to buy him some new underwear. Maybe a shirt or two.”
Dad didn’t even flinch. He drools when he gets free access to the credit card. Mom has always controlled the finances, so when she gives him permission to spend, Dad is like a kid in a candy store. Saturday morning it wasn’t my father who was cautioning me, his son, to watch what he spends. It was me, his son, who was saying “now Dad, don’t you think that’s a bit much”.
“Your Mom said to buy you new underwear, and some clothes. Heck, you probably need some pants and shoes too, don’t you? Mom doesn’t let the credit card out of the vault very often. Let’s have some fun.”
This was my Dad speaking. Dad never spent money when I was a boy. He fixed everything, lived on a shoestring, was the perfect example of frugality. I have my Dad to thank for passing that quality down to me. Now I know a little why he was that way. Mom watched the family finances like a hawk. Dad was on a budget. Their willingness to live that way was what kept our family, as far as I knew, afloat financially.
Dad is a shopper. When the wonder of the internet opened its doors to my father, he dove headfirst into the world of EBay and Amazon and every single bargain site he could/can find. Of course, that also means that an object earns its value by how much of a deal it is. My brothers and I still wonder what Dad sees in that multiple pattern flannel shirt he wears constantly, but it was some bargain, I tell you.
He also is relishing opportunities he never had when he was the provider, when Mom was the one who took us boys shopping for our school clothes, when Mom was the cook, when she took care of the house. Now that he is retired and Mom isn’t doing so well with her health, Dad is celebrating all the new recipes he has discovered, the pots and pans and kitchen knives and culinary widgets he is now privy to. Yep. EBay.
“You have one of these knives, Steve?” Dad flashed a large chopping knife in my direction as he prepared the ingredients for a fabulous baked bean recipe he wanted to try on me. I’m the one who was once a restaurant manager, so I am the one he talks cooking with. My two brothers are excellent cooks, but they weren’t BOB EVANS managers. Dad thinks that is cool.
Those beans were fab. Powerful, too.
Dad flashed an evil smile at me at dinner when I asked what he had used to marinate the steaks. I was told it’s is secret recipe, something he will leave to me in his will. The steaks were fab too. Probably added to the power of the beans. Thing is that Dad had been talking about what he was going to make us for dinner on Saturday night as soon as I walked through the door on Friday. He started working on Saturday night’s meal early in the morning, working feverishly as dinner approached, not allowing me near the kitchen even when I guiltily offered to help.
“Nope.” His attention never left the dinner prep. I went back to the easy chair, sat next to Mom and watching the Cardinals whomp the hapless Cubs. Even my shouts and whoops as the game went along did not interrupt his focus.
So I can understand even more why Dad was so happy shopping with me for underwear at Kohl’s, why he really didn’t care so much what I bought, why he kept encouraging me to try on those shoes, consider another shirt, buy the six pack of briefs instead of one or two. This was his chance to spoil his son, the chance when it was his decision to do so.
See that green plaid shirt I am wearing in the picture? Dad helped me pick that out. I got several compliments on it at work today. I need to tell him that.
Pretty cool, eh? It was nice to be a spoiled brat for a few days.