Dad, in a characteristically playful mood, horsing around with champagne corks at a birthday party (at about age 80)
On Father’s Day, as spring gives way to summer in the Northern Hemisphere (and a heat wave here in California), we can all appreciate the pleasure of a nice, cool shower. I have a little twist on cool showers, though, and it goes back to when I was a boy.
It all began when I was pretty young – I’d guess around 8 or so. For some reason, my dad and I were showering together one weekend morning, and at some point, when he asked me to pass him the soap, I noticed an accumulation of water in the bottom of the soap dish. So I did what most small boys would do – I tossed it at him. The water was chilly, of course, and I got a gratifyingly startled reaction. That was the birth of the game.
After that, whenever one of us would get in the shower, we’d always keep an eye open for the other guy, whose objective was to enter the room unobtrusively – preferably when the fellow in the shower was shampooing his hair, eyes closed – run a little tap water into a glass and toss it over the shower curtain.
It never failed to get a shout and a laugh.
It didn’t take long before my dad and I would take the precaution of turning the lock on the bathroom doorknob to keep the other one out.
But then Dad made the mistake of showing me how to use a screwdriver to open the lock from outside the door.
The game resumed.
The next step in the escalating contest was to tape the lock into the closed position, so it couldn’t be opened from outside. This pretty well ended the game.
Until one fine weekend morning when my dad was enjoying a nice warm shower and I was determined to startle him.
By this time, I was a teen with a little practical knowledge of my own. I grabbed a screwdriver and hammer and removed the pins from the hinges of the bathroom door. Voila! I was at the sink faucet in a flash, filled a glass with cold water and tossed it in.
“How the hell did you get in here?!” Dad yelled. I laughed so hard I could barely breathe.
The game ended then and there.
With the door rehung on its hinges, it was then my turn in the shower. I felt safe in the knowledge that Dad wouldn’t pull a copycat on me just after I’d surprised him.
I was right. But I’d sold this inventive guy short. He had a better plan. He was heading for the water heater, intending to shut the hot water valve while I was covered with suds.
But Mom stopped him.
Three cheers for that protective maternal instinct!
So on this Father’s Day, I’m happy for the many wonderful memories of Dad. But I also want to say, “Thanks, Mom!”