RaisingDad: Four Stories

And one strict old coot


My father was one strict old coot. My brothers and I had it tough growing up, but our sisters had it worse.

When my older sister was going on her first date, my father waCeFour Ssn't about to let her stay out until all hours of the morning. When the boy came by to pick her up, my father made it clear that he wanted her back home before twelve, "and I'll be waiting to make sure that she is.”

The kid was respectful. He recognized a potential kick in the behind when he saw one, but as soon as they were outside he asked my sister, "What happens at midnight? You turn into a pumpkin?"

"No," my sister told him, "but you better have me home before twelve because you don't want to find out what my father turns into."


My elderly, pre-Alzheimer's father's memory is not so great. Neither is mine, for that matter, but that's neither here nor there.

Back when I trusted his driving but he didn’t trust mine, we were on a road trip to visit family in another town and we couldn't find the street we were looking for. Today, I could tap the address into my phone and let it do all the work, but I’m sure he wouldn’t trust that either. 

We stopped at a convenience store so my father could see a man about a horse, if you get my drift. On our way out my father asked the clerk. "By any chance do you know where such and such street is?"

The clerk did.

"You want me to write it down?" I asked, trying to be helpful.

"I'll remember," my father sniffed indignantly.

We jumped back into the car and immediately got turned around. It wasn't my father's fault. The streets were convoluted. We didn’t find the street we were looking for, but we did find the convenience store again. My father pulled into the parking lot, just to the side of the door where he couldn't be seen.

He told me, "Go inside and get directions."

As I opened the door and started to get out, he stopped me.

"And don't forget to write it down," he said.


My granddaughter is eight now, but when the pandemic was in full swing she said something that gave me a chuckle.

She's not a picky eater, but she won't eat what she doesn't like. She WILL, however, give something a try. When I was a kid, if I didn’t like something I would just drown it in ketchup.

"What's that?" my granddaughter asked.

I was eating and she didn't recognize the food.

"Liver," I told her. "You want some?"

"Sure," she said, so I cut her a small piece.

By the look of disgust on her face, I could see she didn't like it.

"Ugh!" she said, spitting it out. "It tastes like COVID!"


I had to get my father somewhere fast, so of course my car had a flat. Sure, I could have changed the tire myself, but my father was being feisty so it was easier to get on my smartphone and order a ride. In the middle of everything, someone sent me a text. It said, "I'm here for you."

Gee, that was thoughtful, so I texted back, "Thanks, I needed that. Maybe my father’s doctor will have some good news for a change. The enemas I have to give him for his constipation isn't going to be any fun, but what can I do? I asked the doc how bad it was going to be. He said it would be "explosive." And "messy." And who's going to have to clean it up? Me. He's MY father, so I can't expect my wife to do it. Again, thanks for the support, but I've gotta go. We’re waiting for the Uber driver."

"I AM the Uber driver," came the reply, "and I'm here for you."

The secret to being smoking hot in your old age? Cremation. theduchenebrothers@gmail.com @JimDuchene