Friday, June 13, 2014

My dad...Barney Manning...In a nutshell

And so the anniversary of the day that my dad passed away is quickly approaching. It's strange to me that this year, it happens to be on Father's Day. It's usually a depressing time for me, this year even more so. I realize that I don't have the luxury of calling him to ask random questions regarding a project I'm working on or advice on a potential DIY project, he was like the real life person version of the website called instructables.

My sister asked for me to work on the pamphlet for our dad's service on the way to Pace from Atlanta. Since we tried to book a flight on such short notice, we couldn't get a round trip flight for less than $600 which was just insane. Airlines tout that they have low fares in place and no longer offer bereavement fares due the that fact and have loose rules regarding rebook fees due to bereavement travel...The LOW costs are still insanely priced. Terry was booked up with work and couldn't leave. I had just been laid off from Cargo-Master and had no income other than my unemployment coming in...So I took Greyhound. Before I left Atlanta, I charged my Creative 20 gb mp3 player, this was before I had my iPod. I also charged my laptop battery and hoped that Greyhound had powerports since my battery averaged 20 minutes before it died. I got the colors and layout done before my laptop conked out and Greyhound had no powerports...or decent ventilation from the bathroom. So I had 6 hours with no computer, so I pulled out my composition book and decided to work on topics the pastor could mention during the eulogy. What I'd written, the pastor liked so much that he used it as the entire eulogy rather than putting in his own spin. My copy was lost when I forgot to ask the pastor to return it once he had finished with it. So the fact that it is lost doesn't mean that I've lost my memories of what was said in the service. Four years later, here's the "readers digest" version, plus a few more tidbits thrown in for good measure..

I never had a thought that there would be a day that I wouldn't be able to talk to my dad, until today. When Becki called me and told me what was happening and that daddy was in the ER, my heart sank. Anyone that knew my dad can attest that even if he was ill, he acted as normal as he possibly could and no matter how he felt, he's pop a few aspirin and function like nothing was wrong. We thought of our dad as invincible, like our own superman. He was a man of many talents and put 110% om everything he did.

Daddy was a genius with wood, hammer, nails, a drill and a saw. You give him a magazine with a picture of windchimes in the background, a week later a carbon copy of those chimes were hanging and clanging away on front porchs all over the neighborhood. You wouldn't believe how many random strangers would knock on our door to ask him how much he would charge for a set of chimes or something he'd built outside. For daddy, this was a hobby and not a business. He was also extremely humble when it came to his creations and thought they weren't good enough to be sold as well as he firmly believed that a business created from his hobby would take the fun out of it.

You could always tell when he got bored, you'd find him flipping through magazines such as Ladies Home Journal, Better Homes and Gardens or Southern Living. He was also notorious for finding ideas in catalogs from JC Penny and Sears. He once found photos in a JC Penny catalog featuring furniture made of wooden whisky barrels and within two weeks, my Aunt Beverly had brand new barrel made furniture that looked as if it had been delivered straight from the JC Penny catalog.
Ever resourceful, he's turn trash into treasures...He'd find old shipping pallets, planks from a picket fence and old chains and a week later, we had an amazing porch swing or even a treehouse.

My sister was the only kid on the block with a super charged go-cart thanks to my dad replacing the original engine with one from an industrial lawn edger.

Family outings were a rarity but when we did get out, there was always a memorable experience of some sort. He's occasionally take us to the beach but it was inevitable that it would be on days that jellyfish were swarming the beachs. Fishing trips, were usually excursions spent from sun up to sun down at Hurricane or Bear Lake. There was a day that we weren't getting any bites so we drove to three different lakes and ended up at the first after twenty minutes when we noticed that a water moccasin was sunning itself about five feet from the spot we chose at Karick Lake and it had been there long before we got there.

My dad was set in his ways, the most stubborn man you could meet. He hated shopping malls, if he built a mall it would consist of maybe six stores and two restaurants. I can just imagine Barney's Shopping Center....there would be no "Barney's New York" within it either. Food World, True Value Hardware, K-Mart, Ace Hardware, a nursury and a bait & tackle place would be the stores and Wendy's and Quincy's Steakhouse would be the only food in the mall. He never met a stranger, upon meeting our friends, they were like his friends. He would drive to the store to get cigarettes and come back with a can of Coke for not only myself but my friend.

Sadly, the only thing I would say my dad needed up improve upon with my sister and I was his methods of discipline. He ALWAYS wore a ball cap, my sister and I knew those caps intimately. We dreaded the cap like most kids dread a belt, switch or wooden spoon. The second we acted up, he'd grab the bill and smack us with the hat...If you have a ball cap handy, look at the very top...there is a button like thing in the middle...feel it...imagine that hitting the top of your head at 50 miles an hour.
My dad's bedside manner wasn't exactly the most comforting either. When you wake up in the middle of the night and you're throwing up in the commode he was always there to hand you cold wet washclothes which is awesome and comforting...The commentary of "Goddamnit, get your head out of the toilet...No wonder you're sick" didn't help..."Daddy, I was sick before I put my head in the toilet and I'd rather get toilet water on my lips than get splashed by puke" is what I wanted to say but heaving usually put a damper on the conversation.

There was much more in the eulogy, it was over 20 minutes long, but like I said earlier, this is the abridged edition. Eventually I'll add stories to my blog featuring my dad, he was pretty much a real life cartoon character...What can one expect from someone who's nickname from high school onward was Yogi?

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