My Dad


Patsy and her Dad, Clarence Miller

My Dad could be so much fun when he wanted to be. In the Wintertime, I remember he would tap dance around the potbellied stove out in the kitchen just to entertain us. He also played the harmonica, which he could make it sound like a train and he sang old, old songs like "A Wreck on the Highway, But I Didn't Hear Nobody Pray." I have never heard that song again. I do not even know if it is a song or if he just made it up.

When he wanted to, he could lay beautiful bricks. He built the house in which we kids grew up with its rock flower beds and he also built the grocery store and service station which my Mother paid for. After I grew up and came home for a visit, he showed me the blueprints which he had drawn up for a house someone wanted him to build in Fincastle.

Not long before Dad died, my brother Allen was trying to clean up the place and make it neat. Allen spent money for gallons of white paint making the old hundred year old house look nice. It still has the original tin roof on it today. As soon as Allen went back home to South Carolina, after spending hours of his weekends painting the house white....remember, this old house had never been painted before...Dad got bored one day and he bought red paint and a long ladder and painted two sides of the house "Barn Red".

As he grew older he became quite a character. I usually went to visit him one day every week. By the time I got there, he had a list a mile long of things he wanted me to do for him and places he wanted me to take him. He always kept me busy.

I saw my Dad cry only two times in his life. That was when his Mother past away in 1948 and in 1987 when our Mom pasted away.

Other than that he was always full if mischievousness.

I had heard tales of him and his boyhood friends going out at night to steal chickens. Dad would tell the others to be quiet because he knew which trees had chickens roosting in them. And he would very quietly step up to the tree and place his ear to the tree to listen for the heartbeat of the chicken. After the other boys were busy with their ears stuck to the tree for a long time, Dad would break away laughing all the way and go frog gigging.

Jerry and I went to see him one week before Valentine's Day. We took him to a store and Dad bought three beautiful pairs of bright red bikini panties for women. Also, Dad asked Jerry to help him find some Jr. paper towels. So Jerry went all over the store until he finally found a role of Jr. paper towels. When Jerry showed them to Dad, Dad took the paper towels from Jerry and begin to open them.

Jerry said," Clarence, you cannot open things in the store," but Dad did and he took his measuring tape out of his pocket and after measured them he said, "OK Jerry, that is the one I want."

Jerry asked him how many rolls he wanted. Dad said he wanted two rolls. So Jerry said "Well this is one, I will go back and get another on for you. But Dad said "No, get me two more, I do not want this one, it has been opened" Da! So Dad just put the opened roll of towels down somewhere and sent Jerry for two unopened rolls. After that Jerry said to me. "Honey let's let him shop for himself. I do not want to get arrested."

Just before we left the store I saw two sweet, well-dressed, little white-haired ladies say "Hello" to Dad. So he turned to talk with them and he asked, "What are you two fine ladies looking for today? They replied, "Oh, we are just looking. And without missing a beat Dad said, "Me too, so I guess I will just keep on looking."

Then when we got home Dad took the red bikinis home and Dad brought out three very nice Valentine cards with their envelopes. He stuffed the panties inside and told Jerry to address them. I spoke up and said "I will do that for you, give them to me."

But Dad really wanted Jerry to address them because I was the daughter. Dad said they might recognize my hand writing. So Jerry looked at me like "What do I do?" I told him to address them to the ladies. Jerry addressed all three cards and he was ready to place the return address on the cards so he asked Dad, "Clarence, what is your return address?"

That got Dad's attention and he turned around very quickly and said to Jerry, "Use the same address to forward them and the same address for the return. You don't really think I am going to pay postage to mail those things, do you."

It was then that Jerry said, "Pat, I believe it is time for us to go home, don't you?" I said "I have been ready ever since we entered that store!! Jerry asked," Aren't we going to take him out to eat?" I replied, "No, I would rather shoot him right now."

This only the tip of the iceberg.

More later. You would be surprised what all he could get you in the middle of without even trying.

'til later, Patsy