Chapter 4, Father Looked Up To Who Doesn’t Provide
Dad was great at siring kids, womanizing and cooking. He was Chinese, 6 feet
plus tall, of trim and strong build, had a light tan complexion and had a stern
face which easily broke into a sincere smile.
In appearance he looked like a military officer out of uniform. His
voice was resonant as if in command but he had trouble pronouncing “L” sounds ,
While good looking, charming and able to sing he never provided.
Mom was Filipina, 4 feet 9 inches short, strong but of squat stature with
dark complexion. She was good at having kids; putting up with Dad and making
her not enough pay check on pay day meet the next.
It was a mixed marriage of sorts. I had 4 known siblings and was the 2nd oldest, the only girl. My brothers, except the eldest, took after Dad in responsibility but lacked his charm and looks. Some said I was the only one to get these. At 5 feet 7 inches I was between Mom and Dad but like many things, closer to Dad. We lived on the financial edge.
He worked off and on but usually preferred off. What he earned he mostly
spent on himself. He dressed well, his typical attire a suit, starched white
shirt, ironed by Mom, silk tie, wing tip shoes, and a fedora hat, all of brown
shades except the shirt and tie. He had a knack with knots and could knot his
tie many ways but preferred a Windsor or Hanover depending on the occasion and
thickness of the tie material. His tie was carefully selected based on omens he
perceived for the day to give him “luck”. I loved watching him knot his tie.
Once finished dressing he swept his straight black hair back with his left
hand and placed his fedora at a slight right side downward slant before the
mirror. The only wrinkle detracting from his military bearing was a tendency to
clutch his left shoulder now and then and a slight left leg stiffness getting
into the car which I assumed was a sign of early arthritis.
He always dressed up when leaving home. Once satisfied
with his mirror’s reflection he strode to the garage, lit a cigarette from his
Zippo lighter with Chinese dragon character on the way, and drove off, a whiff
of smoke trail drifting from the driver’s window.