Funny Flannel Papa, by Danielle York

“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s stupid man!” My father was always trying to make my boys laugh.

“Papa say it again!” they’d cry.

My dad always had that personality to make others laugh, even when he didn’t try. His jokes and “tall” tales will always be something to remember.

I swear you could spot my father out of of a crowd easily. He was a tall, lanky, thin man who walked slightly hunched over. I’m pretty sure dad used to have dark brown hair, but over time it had mostly turned grey and had a matching beard to go with it. We used to tell him he looked like an anorexic Santa. He always wore a baseball hat, flannel shirt, jeans and ratty looking tennis shoes. Even during the hottest month of summer, he’d still be wearing that flannel shirt.

During the summer time when I was younger we would always take my dad camping for his birthday. My sisters, a few friends, and I would throw dad a themed birthday party. We would dress my father up in something ridiculous, like a clown or princess and make him prance around the campground. Dad always played into it making everyone stop, look, and laugh uncontrollably.

Dad was always telling his “tall’ tales. I call them this because most of the time they were lies.

I remember always telling my friends that when they meet my dad try not to believe every word that came out of his mouth. Most of his tales were about himself. He always told us how he was a race car driver, a night club owner, a baker or even a care taker. When I was much younger I remember asking my mother if dad was really what he said he was.

“Mom was dad really a race car driver?” I’d ask.

“Hell no!” she’d replied. “Your father is just telling you another lie.”

We got used to hearing dad tell his tales. My sisters and I had come up with our own little way to tell if dad was lying or not. Ninety percent of the time when he lied he’s rock his feet back and forth as he was telling his story. When we’d see him doing this, my sisters and I would all look at each other and roll our eyes. As we got older we’d already heard most of his stories so we kind of ignored him when he’d repeat them to the grandchildren. The grandchildren hadn’t heard them before so they would laugh hysterically when dad would tell a good one.

My father would occasionally tell the kids the stories of how he’d be forced to dress up as something very embarrassing.

“Papa what did you dress up as?” the kids would ask.

“Well your mom and your aunts used to dress me up as a princess crown and all,”   he’d say back to them.

The kids would just roar with laughter. Dad had that effect on them. As soon as he’d start telling a story, he’d add in a little stupid joke or saying just to grab the attention of the kids and keep them on their toes for more.

My father lived his life the way he wanted and died the way he wanted. He taught us to have fun in life and always laugh away the small stuff. Even today my boys quote little sayings Papa said and will always remember him being so funny.

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