Posts Tagged With: worry

Waffle Induced Worry – Driving with Dad

Hey all! If you’ve been here to the South then you know a couple of things. You know that our winters are short and our summers are humid.  You know that the mosquito is the regional bird of the south. And you also know that there is a Waffle House every 3.5 miles on whatever street you might be traversing at the time. Waffle House is like Coca Cola in the south, it’s a freakin’ institution. Everyone in this area of the world can tell you exactly how they like their hash browns, I prefer scattered, covered, and topped, and even if you don’t like the place everyone has a late night Waffle House story because after hours it’s pretty much the only place open; those bright letters looking like hovering yellow Scrabble tiles bidding you welcome after a late night salsa party or wild night out with friends. Most everyone loves the Waffle House in one way or another, my Dad does, or he did, until they started construction on one less than a mile from my parents’ house. Now he’s not so sure.

If you’ve frequented this blog for a while you know that my Dad worries; in fact, it’s almost like he likes to worry. It’s his own little adrenaline rush of sorts; it gets his blood pumping to fret over something. He can be in the midst of a normal conversation about something normal and then – Boom! – there’s something to worry about! Like the Waffle House.

I had to run Dad across town last week to go get his car from the mechanic. I hadn’t talked to Dad in a couple of days so the 20 minutes in the car would give us boys a chance to chat it up in the car with some light conversation over his favorite jazz station on the radio. Our ride was going great until we passed the brand new still not opened for business Waffle House on the corner of Memorial and Candler Roads in dear ol’ Decatur, GA. I, for one, am excited about the new Waffle House as it is going to be closer than the one that I used to have to frequent on the off chance I had to make a hash brown run so I thought that I could start a little small talk about liking the idea of having a new Waffle House nearby. Bad idea.

Me: The new Waffle House should be open soon, Dad. They’ve already paved the parking lot and finished the inside.

Dad: It’ll be closed in a week.

Me: What? Why do you say that?

Dad: A Waffle House? Here? On this corner? Where do you think knuckleheads will go late at night when they want something to eat? Someone will be shot in a week.

Me: Dad, really? This isn’t a bad neighborhood.

Dad: You’re right, but bad people have cars and hooligans get hungry and Waffle House doesn’t close.

Me: So you think that someone is gonna get shot in a week over a waffle.

Dad: I’m not saying someone is going to get shot over a waffle. I am saying someone will probably get shot while eating one though!

Me: Dad, really?

Dad: They should have opened a mini police precinct in the parking lot.

Me: But Dad, all the other Waffle Houses are open 24 hours too. There haven’t been any shootings there.

Dad: Maybe, but this one is new, you know how people like to mess up new stuff.

Me: So you’re saying that I shouldn’t go there on the off chance I want late night food?

Dad: Nope…I’m just saying you should get it “to-go”.

And it went on and on like this in the car about all the people that would be maimed whilst eating waffles and hash browns and orange juice at the brand new Waffle House up the street. How the kids from the teen club around the way would swarm on the place after they finished staying out long after any teenager should be out in the first place. And, oh, goodness what about Friday nights after the high school football games when people are just hanging out, they don’t want waffles, they’re just in the parking lot with their loud music looking for trouble. And never mind me telling him that I used to do the same thing when I was a teenager after high school football games and it never amounted to anything more than me sitting on the hood of my car with my radio up too loud with my friends because, for goodness sake, all he said in response was that’s because I had parents that raised me right and taught me about consequences so I knew better than to fight with someone over something stupid much less shoot at somebody. And he’s not saying that the streets are full of orphans without parents but that the parents today aren’t as strict with their kids and that’s why they are running the streets putting bullet holes in waffles at 2:30am when they should be at home in the bed and even more than that what about the…

“DADDY! We’re here…”

I made the right turn into the mechanic’s establishment in Hapeville, GA and there sat Dad’s car in the parking lot to the right. He looked over to it and smiled knocked out of his Waffle Induced Violence Diatribe by the thought of a new transmission in his beloved Ford. I put my car in park and asked him if he needed me to stick around for a minute and he waved me away saying that he just needed to pay the mechanic and then he’d be gone. Then he grabbed his walking stick and started his cool stroll across the parking lot around the corner and out of sight. I sat in the car for a minute still dazed and processing all that was prophesied to happen within the first week at the new Waffle House just a mile from my parents’ home and came to the rapid conclusion that I’d better dine there within that first week or end up being a victim in a hail of bullets over hash browns covered in cheese and chili.

~thanks for reading 🙂

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Categories: Atlanta, Decatur Stories, Family, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Art of Worry

Most people that know me know that my greatest hero is my Dad. We look alike, we sound about the same, have the same mannerisms, we both love naptime in front of the TV in our favorite chair…heck, we were even born on the same day: 32 years and roughly 90 minutes apart. Dad is the perfect example of what a good dude is, always there for my Mother and my older Sisters, was my first soccer coach and my first real buddy. My dad is everything a role model should and ought be. But there is this one thing…

Earlier this morning I was reading a blog here called The Hubby Diaries, a hilarious blog illustrating the ins and outs of a marriage between a very funny woman and what appears to be a very interesting man who skews a bit towards pessimism. Visit her and read it if you get a chance. Anyway, upon reading her blog it reminded me of the one thing that I don’t wish to inherit from my dear old Dad.

My Dad worries. And when I say that he worries I’m not talking about the average everyday “Oh crap, it looks like rain and I don’t think I have my umbrella” type worry but full on “The world is going to swallow us all whole and there’s nothing that anybody can do about it” type worry. Basically my Dad tends to think that every bad thing in the world that can happen will happen directly to him and if not to him to every person that he has ever loved. Now I know that this is innocent; Dad has always loved us very, very hard and, yes, even to the point of worry but as my father has gotten older his ability to worry has reached gargantuan levels.

And it’s all CNN’s fault.

My father has approximately 297,413 channels (okay, I’m exaggerating, but he has a lot) on his sparkling HDTV that we bought him for Father’s Day a few years back. Channels featuring sports (which he loves, I got my love of sports from my Dad), channels featuring Westerns (Dad loves cowboy movies), channels featuring comedy (Dad has an infectious laugh just like me) but of all the channels he always finds his way back to CNN where Anderson Cooper and the rest of the gang give him ample reason to worry about any and everything. Case in point…

The other day I get home and the landscaper guy is working on my lawn (God bless his heart because my yard is a train wreck). He is the same guy who does my parents yard at their house and a family friend, a bit kooky but decent with lawn equipment and a good guy all the same. We exchange the usual pleasantries and then he starts in with:

Him: Your father told me to cut all these trees and bushes down.
Me: What?
Him: Yeah, he wanted me to cut all of these bushes down completely.
Me: Why?
Him: He didn’t say.
Me: Hold off on that, I’ll call him.
So I call dear old Dad on the mobile phone and he answers on the third or fourth ring, with CNN in the background of course. The usual pleasantries exchanged and then I needed to get to the crux of the issue of why he needed to have bushes and trees in another person’s yard eliminated.

Me: The yard guy said you told him to cut down all the bushes in the yard
Him: Yep.
Me: Care to share why?
Him: Not safe to have them there.
Me: Care to share why?

Turns out there was a report about a Mexican gang in Maryland (I’m in Atlanta by the way) who’s initiation was to shoot and kill a Black woman (I’m a Black man by the way) in order to gain entry to the gang. Furthermore those bushes provided the perfect hiding place for anyone willing to do me harm when I come home from work.

My father is not insane, though my mother might occasionally tell me otherwise. He is in his right mind and thought this all the way through. No vegetation at all in the yard is the only way to keep me safe from evildoers. God bless his frightened little heart. We compromised and I told him if it made him feel better I would cut the bushes down a foot or two, but I wasn’t going to go Sahara in the back yard in fear of roving Mexican gangs in Maryland. He tried to pull rank but I managed to stave him off.

When I look in the mirror in the mornings, I see my Dad, when I talk I can hear his voice, when I play pickup soccer games in the park I can still hear him yelling from the sidelines that I’m not aggressive enough, we’re that connected and as I get older I become more and more like him, I guess it’s that whole born on the same day thing. But the day I start to worry at Dad levels is the day I have to say enough is enough. Just as a precaution though, I’m going call Comcast and see if they can delete CNN from my cable package.

~thanks for reading 🙂

Categories: Family, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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