by Joelle Charbonneau
Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there in Do Some Damage land. Because it is Father’s Day, I started thinking about what great father characters exist in crime fiction. I think my favorite is Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird…most people probably consider this LITERATURE now instead of crime fiction, but look at the themes in the book and you’ll see the crime part. Atticus was a solid man and a good dad. His desire to see his children unscathed by events was admirable and heroic – not always the stuff great crime stories are made of, but totally the stuff great dads are.
This is the second Father’s Day since my dad passed away from cancer. (Yes, I just segued into the sappy part of my post. I’m a chick so I’m allowed to make you get out your hankies.) I won’t say that Dad and I always had a fabulous relationship. He was an alcoholic for much of my youth and young adulthood. Alcohol makes for some interesting story conflicts, but not great parent/child communication. He was also a big smoker. Between the drinking and the smoking, my father would have made a fabulous character in one of my fellow bloggers books.
My dad kicked the alcohol when I was in my mid-twenties and cigarette smoking the next year. Cold turkey on both. Amazing! Can you tell he had a stubborn streak? If you think you know stubborn think again. My dad took it to a whole new level. He had things he wanted to get done and nothing, no matter how important, was going to get in the way. Want an example?
While he was battling cancer, Dad had an episode in which he started to bleed and needed to be taken to the hospital. The paramedics loaded him into the ambulance and were ready to go. Only my father wouldn’t let them. The bleeding made it hard to talk, so he pointed to my mother and then down to the edge of the driveway. My mother knew exactly what he wanted and told him no. They were going to the hospital – now. My dad wouldn’t agree. He pointed again. Finally the paramedic asked what Dad wanted. Turns out it was garbage day. The garbage had been collected and Dad was prepared to bleed until the cans had been brought up to their proper position next to house. Baffled, the medic dutifully fulfilled my father’s wish so he could get my father the treatment he needed. Point scored for Dad.
Yep. Stubborn. And he passed it along to me. Okay, I’m not stubborn about my garbage cans, but I did learn an important lesson from my father that has helped me in my publishing adventure. Never take NO for an answer. Keep knocking on doors until someone says yes. Even when it looks like no one will, keep knocking. When you least expect it, someone will finally open the door and let you walk in. It happened to me and it was because of Dad’s example that I kept trying. Thanks Dad. Happy Father’s Day. I hope I do you proud.
***picture is from 8th grade graduation - gotta love the '80s***