I found a few emails that dad sent me. When I re-read them, they made me laugh a little. They are so typical of him. I'll paste the first one below and then add the other one... Kathy, I thought you would get a kick out of this. A Daughter-Father Talk One time there was a young teenage girl that was about to finish her first year of college. She considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat and her father was a rather staunch Republican. One day she was challenging her father on his beliefs and his opposition to programs like welfare. He stopped her and asked her how she was doing in school… She answered that she had a 4.0 GPA but it was really tough. She had to study all the time, never had time to go out and party and often went sleepless because all of the studying. She didn't have time for a boyfriend and didn't really have many college friends because of all her studying. He then asked how her friend Mary, that was attending the same college, was doing. She replied that she was barely getting by. She had a 2.0 GPA, never studied. Was very popular on campus and was at parties all the time. She often wouldn't show up for classes because she was hung over. He then asked his daughter why she didn't go to the Dean's office and ask why she couldn't take 1.0 off her 4.0 and give it to her friend that only had a 2.0. That way they would both have a 3.0 GPA. The daughter fired back and said "that wouldn't be fair, I worked really hard for mine and my friend has done nothing". The father smiled and said: "Welcome to the Republican Party".
"Big Body, Little Brain"
For my first communion mom bought me a snow globe with a little girl praying. After I opened it, dad asked to see it. The snow globe fell to the floor mid-handoff. Of course I blamed this on dad. I was so mad I wouldn't even talk to him. Mom ended up going back to the store and buying me another because I was so upset. There was glitter all over that carpet until the day they replaced it.
Dad used to cry watching movies all the time. Two that I remember well are Rudy and any old war movie. I remember watching an old war movie with dad and as people started dying, dad started crying. I honestly believed, for much of my childhood, that Grandpa McBride was killed in war because of the way this man sobbed. I would always laugh at him, probably because I was somewhat uncomfortable with the sight of this big man crying, and he would call me a "little wretch" and ask me to get him a handkerchief.
This cannot be a Tom McBride tribute without at least one golf story. As you know, Dad had a very Zen approach to life. This carried over to his golf game. When I was in high school, Dad took Bernie and I golfing a few times with a guy we went to school with and worked with named Mike Wagonner. We usually played a place over in Illinois called Triple Lakes. There was a par 3 there where the tee box was on one hill and the hole was on the next hill. In between was a valley with a lake. Dad's first shot landed in the lake below with the trajectory of a hall of fame curve ball, gathering speed as it fell. As the ball splashed down, my father raised his club to the heavens and hurled it directly at the front of the golf cart Mike and I were sitting in. He was, of course, cursing in the manner he taught us, but Mike, Bernie and I were laughing so hard, we could not hear it. The club bounced off the cart. Dad's second shot cleared the lake. He had hit the ball with such force that it stuck for a moment in the side of the next hill, before rolling gently into the lake below. My father must have had a rare moment of clarity at this point, "I almost killed my first born and his dim-witted, slack-jawed friend with the first throw of my club. I shall throw it the other direction this time." The club flew down the side of the hill end-over-end, bouncing handle-first and clefting in twain before landing in the lake. Mike, Bernie and I were, of course, in enough pain from laughing to require medical attention. Dad, of course, was still cursing. When the noise subsided, Dad turned to me and said with a smile, "Hey Mikey! Let me borrow your 8-iron!"
When I was 17(!!!), I remember coming home around 2 or 3 in the morning. Dad was laying on the couch and I woke him. He was not worried or upset, he just wanted to talk! This may be verbatim... Dad: Igor!! Me: Mmm. Dad: Sit down a minute. I wanna talk to ya. Me: Mmm. Dad: Your smart enough not to take drugs, right? Me: Yeaaaah? Dad: And I think by now you know everything you need to know about sex, right? Me: .............yeaaaah? Dad: OK, I just wanted to make sure. If you ever have any questions, just ask! Me: I'm going to bed. This is the Tom McBride version of the sex talk. Feel free to use it on your children in their late teens
Dad once told me on an election day that he didn't know what was on the ballot so he was just going to vote Republican and No because when you vote Yes on things, taxes go up and when you vote Democrat, taxes go up.
When I would hurt myself and I was crying, he would ask, "Where's the blood?" And if there wasn't any he would say, "Then what are you crying for?"
Dad loved to spend money. He loved to buy cars. Specifically, he loved to negotiate any purchase, especially the purchase of a new vehicle. I watched him walk out on so many dealerships and salespeople. He had no problem telling them to "go to hell." They would always call him the next day, though with a better offer. He had some serious skill in negotiating. :)
I always loved the story that dad used to tell about the goalie he had at Maryville who was an Art Major. He said his defense was so good that she didn't have much to do during the game. So she drew a mural in the dirt. After half when they switched sides, the other team's goalie was kicking the dirt to mess up her artwork when his team moved in a scored!
This is a story that Dad told a couple times: He was walking into a restaurant...I think it was Favazza's. As he walked in, he held the door for a woman who was behind him. As she approached she said, "I can get the door myself". He then explained how the door on this restaurant was big and heavy..."so I just let it go and it pushed her ass back on onto the side walk"...then she had a hell of a time getting it back open...this he explained with a vindictive glee that I have scarcely seen rivaled.
Dad love to argue, but hated to lose. Unfortunately for him, he had many smart children with whom he loved to argue. Any time I had laid out the perfect winning argument dad would inevitably follow with, "Nobody likes a smart kid." or "Nobody likes a cute kid."
Something had happened on the soccer field that Dad didn't like and this conversation followed: Dad: Sh*t! Ref: Watch your language sir. Dad: Excuse me? Ref: Watch your language. Dad: Are you f**king kidding me? Ref: (Red Card)
Mike, Dad, and I built our rooms in the basement (for Mike and I of course). The basement was only about 6'4" clearance in most places, with duct work and one solid I-beam traversing the entire house. After we had studded out the basic floor plan we were well into hanging the plywood to make walls. At some popint Dad turn and hit his forehead square on the I-beam (no contest). Dad took the 2lb hammer that he was holding (his unique tool of choice for subtle work) and threw it right through the plywood wall that we had just finished! I must of had this complete look of horror on my face at the thought of having to replace what we just did. Without skipping a beat Dad looked at me and said," Shut up and put a light switch there!" The electrical box and switch fit perfectly!
Dad always hated the finishing touches of any project. I on the other hand pestered him to no end on doing everything. The phrase, "Quit ditzing and..." would come up quite often in our workings together! We made a pretty good team!
When ever dad thought you were putting too much thought into a situation he would say, "Quit thinking!" he would also sometimes say, "Quit thinking and just do it!" :)
When I was young dad always called me Bubba. To him it was a term of endearment, but I always hated it. I have recently noticed that I always call Ava "My Little Bubba."
"Hey Kath, come here and give me a hug!" :)
Hey! What are you guys doing for dinner? Why don't we order some Steak Out? Steak Out was just his most recent favorite. Ordering food was one of his favotite thins to do.
Dad never missed a cross country or track meet or basketball game. He was my forever ride home from practice, game or meet after school. I could always hear him above the commotion of the crowd and louder than any coach. One day, he cheered so loudly with a bit of fear in his voice. I thought I was about to loose the race. After I crossed the finish line, I turned to see that no one was anywhere near me and there he was in the stands laughing his butt off. My favorite, though, was one day when I didn't run very well at all. I knew I could have done better and I was busy beating myself up on the car ride home. Dad kept trying to cheer me up. "you'll get 'em next time" "you can't win them all" None of that had much effect. What worked, though, was when Dad started singing as loud as he could "I ran like sh*t. I feel like sh*t...." I started singing with him and we were all smiles by the time we got home.
Back in the early 1950's we had an old Ford coupe. I think it was a 1936 and of course it was black. The car was a death trap. Seatbelts, airbags, power assisted disk brakes, ( this beast had mechanical drum brakes, that when applied the car probably gained speed), padded dashboards and todays important safety features would be in the distant future. Our Mother was driving Tom was in the middle and I sat in the coveted window position. We went around a sharp curve and the passenger door flew open. I was dangling outside of the car I remember seeing the pavement and wheels that I was about to go under and Tom grabbed me by the leg or foot or some extremity and pulled me back in the car to safety. He was 9 and I was 6 and that memory will be forever with me. Thanks Tom. If that wasn't enough When Tom was 16 and I was 13 our Father had assigned us a roofing task. We were installing shingles on the infamous Cedar Hill clubhouse and Tom and I were nailing shingles at the highest corner of the building. We were some 30 feet above the outcropping of rocks thet predominated the area. The pitch of the roof was fairly steep and I started to slide off the roof. I think that would have been a fatal fall. Tom somehow stopped my fall and was able to keep both of us on the roof. I wasn't a lightweight at 13 but Tom was a big strong guy and a person of smaller stature would surely have gone off the roof with me. Thank God for a Big Brother.
I think most of us can remember coming home late at night and trying to be quiet to not wake mom or dad. Many times I would be through the door and pleased to see that dad wasn't asleep on the couch. I would walk quietly to the stairs to head upstairs, and dad would round the corner in his underwear, having not heard me, and give me a frightened, "Oh, god damn!"
Tom was 12 and I was 9 and this was an era when fireworks were readily avaialable in St. Louis County. Tom and I having superior inteligence decided that we would make this upcoming 4th of July a memorable one. Starting in late winter throughout early summer we cleaned out neighbors garages, washed cars, mowed neighbors lawns and collected discarded soda bottles ( they were worth 2 cents apiece). We pooled our collective resources and our treasury swelled to about $65.00. This was more money than many heads of family made in a week of work (gasoline was only 20 cents per gallon). You could purchase anything in the county and many of the items were quite powerful. We had about 4 gross of bottle rockets, 20 3 foot long rockets, 100 4"salutes (large firecracker that approximated about a quarter stick of dynamite), cherry bombs, 100's of firecrackers, 40 roman candles and anything that made great noise and assaulted the skies, we were into aerial attacks. We had amassed about 4 large paper grocery bags of the most powerful weapons that were available, we could have intimidated most super powers. Our weapons of war sat quietly on a linoleum floor in a bedroom that Tom and I shared, they only awaited our command with an ignition source. We were empowered and felt like Generals on the precipice of war. So much for background information. It was a summer evening and Mom, I, Regina and our faithful dog spotty sat on the back porch trying to cool from the typical St. Louis heat (pre-air conditioning days). Tom was in the house and decided it was time to test 1 of the roman candles and delight the spectators that were amassed . He lit the device in the house and decided to surprise us with it. He did surprise us and himself. He had inadvertently ignited one of the paper bags full of foreworks this caused all of the fireworks in the house to come to life. He came running out on the porch with this roman candle shooting flames and his face was ashen. From the house began such a noise and commotion. Our bedroom was visible from the back porch and things were flying throughout the room and some exiting our room. We instinctivly wanted to rescue the house but every time we tried to enter the house a new round of explosions ensued or a series rockets would launch. After what seemed like 10 minutes but was probably only 2 the attack had ceased. We entered the house, the smoke was so thick you could barely see you own hands. Through the smoke we could see that some drapes were burning and we quickly smothered those flames. The walls of our room and ceiling were filled with charred black marks from the aerial attack, we lost most of our covers, sheets and pillowcases and the linoleum where the fireworks had been stored burned in about a four foot circle. The wooden floor beneath it was black and charred from the heat of the near nuclear attack. We were fortunate that no one got hurt and that the house hadn't burned to the ground. Our Mother flashed her German temper, She was not happy. It was about 3 weeks before the smell of spent powder and charred wood, would leave the house.
Tom and I moved from South City to St. Louis County in the early 50's. I was 7 Tom was 10 and on our first day in the new neighborhood the bully of the block, who was abot 14, decided to explain to us his imposing theory of dominance. Tom was not amused. He knocked the kid to the sidewalk and the stunned bully hit his head and there was a fair amount of his blood deposited on the sidewalk. From then on Tom was nicknamed Tank and I became little Tank and the McBride Tanks instantly gained the reputation of being a pair that shouldn't be challenged. After that incident nobody messed with the McBride Tanks.
Our Father worked strange shifts and seldom was available for evening meals. Our Mother always wanted to have a meal with the whole family intact and one evening we were all together, Mom got her wish. Tom and I were probably 10 and 7 years old and we were big clumsy kids ( I never did become a dancer ). Each of us had spilled 1 or 2 glasses of milk about half way through the dinner and Tom went to refill his glass for the third time and in so doing dropped a full gallon of milk from a glass bottle that shattered in to many pieces. Most of the milk and most of the broken glass ended up in our Fathers lap. He was a patient man but he had enough of family togetherness. He looked sternly at Mom and hollered Feed those Damn kids before I get Home
I'll never know another man that could use the word "dummy" so well. "Hey you, dummy!" "No, you dummy!" :)
When dad would say, "bring me my briefcase" it meant that he had something. He would say it with a grin on his face and with enthusiasm. It was hard to know if it was for you. Sometimes he wanted you to bring it to him so he could show mom whatever it was he had scored. Just to name a few of the items he would pull out of there: hockey tickets, baseball tickets, baseball hats, "$500 pens" (he he), highlighters, magnets, pocket calendars/planners, hotel items (shampoo, shower caps, etc), nice knives and other heavy metal items from various vendors. I still use a wonderful grilling accessory that he gave me from CeeKay. All kinds of cool stuff. You never knew what it was going to be. Some of those items may even seem silly or small, but they felt pretty big when he pulled them out of his briefcase and gave them to you with a huge smile on his face. :)
I was playing in the alley with some neighborhood kids when I saw him and his parents coming down the street towards our house. Crap. I ran inside and went to mom and dad's bed. For some reason, this was a "safe place" and I thought if I pretended to be asleep they wouldn't wake me up to yell at me. I laid there for what felt like forever, but was probably only a couple of minutes. I can still remember the feeling in my stomach....sick. I was in trouble. Then I heard the classic, "Kathleen Erin" from dad. Crap! I went to the living room and could see him and his parents standing in the doorway. Dad put up his index finger and said, "come here." He placed me in the doorway and said, "is this the daughter that beat up your child?" He shook his head yes as he sobbed... Dad closed the door and gave me a high-five. I was relieved that he understood why I had to put this kid in his place. Too many times he would name-call and steal toys. I had enough, apparently. From that moment, I would forever be his warrior princess. :)
"The penguins are coming!" When dad said this, it meant you were standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open, letting all the cold air out. :)
Any time I said anything that dad thought was a lie, he'd tell me, "Your tongue is black." And a few times I even checked in the mirror.
Lauren Burch used to always call your Dad "Bull" like from Night Court, and she would try to rub him on the head every time she saw him when we were in high school--he LOVED tolerating her! Also, when he came to me for PT 4 or 5 years ago and we would spend the whole hour talking while he exercised--I really enjoyed that time with him! I told him that I had seen a snake in my yard earlier in the year, and he said, don't worry, that snake probably has a girlfriend and soon you'll see many many snakes in your yard. I wanted to move! He shared lots of great stories with me during that time, and much wisdom! The very best was when he would talk about Mrs. McB though--such undeniable love!
Your dad jamming who knows how many of us into the green Comet on Saturday nights after delivering newspapers, and him driving who knows how fast through who knows how many stop lights to get home, laughing the whole time.
Brian's story about the ladder made me think of this... I wanted a crib for my baby dolls. Dad said, "I can do that! Go down in the basement and get me some wood. And get some nails and a hammer from the toolbox." I should have said, no. Dad proceeded to put a couple of pieces of wood together. He hammered a few nails in, and the crib was starting to take shape. I was excited to stuff a towel and there and give my baby doll a real bed. Then, it happened. Dad hit his thumb with the hammer. He was mad! The crib was chucked across the room and broke into pieces. Thanks to PaPa, I later got my crib! :)