My father’s greatest hits and misses

Dad was alone in Kyiv. Reported a fever. Said he put on a mask and made sure the neighbor has the spare keys, “In case I croak, my love”

Me: “Dad, NO!”

Dad: “You’re right. I don’t like your aunt much. Maybe the joy of discovering my body should be hers”

***

Me: “Hey dad, what’s up, isn’t it kind of late over there? You OK?”

Dad: “I was just thinking that trying to turn a cow into an intellectual ruins a perfectly good cow”

***

Me: “In terms of my bisexuality—“

Dad: “Oh please, I always knew you liked girls”

Me: “I’m trying to have a serious discussi—“

Dad: “What Cossack doesn’t like them?!”

***

Every once in a while, my dad asks me if Henry Fonda is a woman. Seriously, it’s happened more than once. I keep telling him that he is confusing Henry Fonda with Jane Fonda. The last time I reminded him, he paused, and then pointed out that, “Henry is a much more interesting name for a blonde.”

***

“And this beautiful lady is my daughter. She speaks three languages but no let that scare you! She also know a lot about Putinism, espionage, defenestration… Sorry, disinformation. What catch!”

— My dad, when he was back in the States, and playing matchmaker at my gym. (Remember gyms, guys? Those were the days)

***

Dad, calling me up at the height of the pandemic in Ukraine: “Woke up today and OH MY GOD”

Me: “Oh my God, dad what?! Headache? Fever? Dad?!”

Dad: “My love, I’m telling you, OH MY GOD.”

Me: “Dad what is happening?? What is —”

Dad: “OH MY GOD THE CAT SHAT EVERYWHERE”

***

Me: *trying to enjoy a wonderful day at the DC zoo*

Dad: “So anyway, one of the most interesting Chinese torture methods I’ve ever heard of involves a large bug and some clay”

***

Me, telling my father about taking my child outside to see the flyover over DC: “… And it was so exciting! We loved the planes! The Blue Angels! The Thunderbirds! We had to look up the Thunderbirds because—”

Dad: “Don’t tell me you’re going to start dating pilots.”

Me: “Dad what the—”

Dad: “I AM AN OLD MAN AND YOU HAVE TO SPARE ME THIS NIGHTMARE.”

Me: “What does this have to do with—”

Dad: “You know what? Wait for me to die. WHEN I AM DEAD YOU CAN DATE PILOTS. DUMP ME IN THE GROUND AND RUN OFF WITH THE FIRST AIRMAN YOU SEE. I’LL BE DEAD AND IT WON’T MATTER.”

Me: “Actually, the Navy—”

Dad: “A PILOT IS A PILOT IS A PILOT”

***

Me: “Dad, I can’t”

Dad: “That’s what everyone says”

Me: “But honestly”

Dad: “But honestly? But honestly, you are my daughter.”

We’ve had our differences, but thank you, dad. Thank you always.

***

My father, an old officer, among many other things, been out of a job since the pandemic began. My brother and I have been helping him keep the lights on, but my brother’s work hours have just been cut and I am facing a costly move. Dad’s been trudging to job interviews in his little face mask, but most places won’t hire him because he is just too old. His car’s got issues, so he can’t drive, and his old smartphone just bit the dust. If you appreciate his witticisms, please consider donating a few bucks so we can get his car fixed and his phone replaced. PayPal: nvantonova [at] gmail [dot] com, Venmo: @Natalia-Antonova-1, please mark the donation as “for dad”. Thank you — and stay safe out there.

One thought on “My father’s greatest hits and misses

  1. Your father sounds like a special character. You are lucky to have him even at a distance. Reminds of the sort of conversations I used to have with my father who died five years ago. He was Ukrainian too. Wishing you both all the best in these difficult times.

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