The Clapping Toy Monkey

My Daddy had a keen eye for finding bargains. Sometimes a bargain was cleverly disguised as trash in a dumpster or sitting on someone's curb on garbage day. Daddy wasn't too proud to ask to have these treasures. In fact, he almost felt obligated to rescue them from destruction.

Daddy could fix anything. He had a large assortment of tools, paints, wood products, metal, you name it. He had a great imagination and found ways around almost any challenge or problem.

For this reason, Daddy also loved garage sales. He would spend hours and a tank of gasoline making garage sales. He was picky about where he went. He didn't bother going to the 'rich folks' because they still wanted too much money for their stuff in his mind. He loved the average man's garage sale. Then he would haggle with them to get them down from a quarter to a nickel. Did I mention my dad was frugal?

KCC's Daddy's Stop Sign
KCC's Daddy's Stop Sign

Daddy's Funny Side

My Daddy was also a very witty and funny man. He loved to make people laugh. He had a very quick wit and wasn't afraid to use it. Daddy never met a stranger.

One of Daddy's favorite things to do was to check the caller ID when the phone rang and once he knew who it was he'd answer the phone "Mule Barn, head Jack speaking".

He loved plays on words and changing words around. He really wasn't a joke teller although he knew a few.

He also liked playing practical jokes. One of my favorites was when he placed a life-sized witch (Halloween project for school) in our bathroom hoping to scare my grandmother when she came to visit. Unfortunately, he wasn't counting on one of my young cousins finding it first. The poor girl ran screaming from the bathroom.

My Daddy  (1932-2008)
My Daddy (1932-2008)

Daddy in 2008

Daddy's health deteriorated in 2008. He didn't go bargain hunting anymore. He spent most of the time at the doctor's office trying to figure out why his leg was red and swollen and wouldn't heal. Of course, they suspected diabetes, but he never came back positive for it.

Daddy was hospitalized with the leg issue and ended up breaking his hip and contracting a staph infection while in the hospital. That really set him back. In fact, that really changed everything for Daddy. It certainly lengthened his time to heal and affected his mobility once he healed some and began physical therapy.

Daddy was only home after that hospital/nursing home stay for 2 months. Mama insisted that he didn't seem to be healing right and after arguing enough with the home health nurses, a doctor finally agreed that it looked like the infection had now set in his hip incisions.

Back to the hospital. Only this time, Daddy never came home. We got the call at 1 a.m. to please come to the hospital, the chaplain would like to meet with us. That's the kind of call that you know never has a good ending. He had died before we had gotten the call. A nurse making her rounds had found him.

Buy Clapping Monkey Toy Online

Something I Had to Do

When my only son, and my Daddy's only grandson, died in 2003 my Daddy made it perfectly clear to me that funerals are not supposed to be sad and somber. He felt that it was a time to honor the deceased with tales of their unique contribution to the lives of those left behind. Knowing that still didn't make it easy when planning my Daddy's funeral.

When I met with the preacher that would be officiating the ceremony, I gave him very specific instructions about the tone my Daddy would want him to take. But, I still worried that he's somehow screw that up and throw in too much mourning talk. So, I decided I'd have to take matters in my own hands.

With the help of my teenage daughter, we sat down and made a video on my computer. It consisted of some pictures of Daddy, a few soundbites from an instrumental portion of a song we liked, and a few pictures including the clapping monkey and deranged looking side-kick, the panda, that you see pictured at the top of this hub. We recorded our voices telling the funny stuff my Daddy said and did. This picture stared at the funeral attendees during the first half of the ceremony with everyone wondering what it meant while we waited for the video segment to be played. It held the audience in suspense with anticipation. They knew something funny was behind it all.

What The Clapping Monkey Means to KCC

The Clapping Monkey seemed to sum up my Daddy. It was exactly the type of toy someone might discard because it no longer worked properly that my Daddy would feel obligated to rescue and fix. It also represented the silliness my Daddy liked to display in his desire to make people laugh. And what a hoot to have it staring at all the people who came to pay their respects.

So, in honor of my Daddy, I chose to display the Clapping Monkey as my avatar on HubPages. I think my Daddy would get a real big kick out of that.

Recently, while looking on eBay for a tshirt to wear to the gym I ran across a shirt with this same vintage monkey on it that says "Make Noise". I couldn't resist.

I still miss you, Daddy.

More by this Author


Comments 71 comments

C. C. Riter 7 years ago

That's a wondeful metaphor for your daddy. i love it. My deepest sympathy to you and your loved ones for your loss. Thanks for sharing this KCC, and he does have a twinkle in the old eye.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much, CC Riter! Yeah, the Panda looks pretty bad, LOL....not sure what that is he has in his hands....Looks like a beer and cookie. Th monkey looks quite mischievous.

Thank you for your kind words of sympathy.


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

I like those old toys, treasure them always.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

What a wonderful tribute to your dad! Clapping monkey fits him perfectly! No doubt he was laughing his butt off watching the faces of attendees as the funeral service progressed! 

Many hubbers already know my own dad's side of the family believed funerals shouldn't be sad occasions either, but more like a roast.  Funny stories about the deceased were the bulk of the service, which never failed to upset my only sibling, who got most of his genes from Mother's side.  Stock in Kleenex always went through the roof the day anyone on her side was buried. Such wailing and carrying on!  Suspect the Panda belonged to one of them.  LOL!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

KCC - that was so touching and yet so strong somehow. It must have felt so good to do what your Dad wanted. And what a wonderful way to remember him! clap,clap!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

CC Riter:  You're right, those old toys are always the best.  I know someone in our family has one that my dad fixed.  At family reunions my parents would take a truckload of toys and gadgets all boxed and neatly wrapped with newspaper.  (Again, showing his frugal side.)  They would then conduct drawings at the reunion to give away all the prizes.  Everyone walked away with something from Uncle Sonny.

Jama:  I agree that my dad would have enjoyed what we accomplished.  We did have people laughing instead of crying.  People lined up to tell us how funny it was and how well it fitted him. We ended the video with a saying my Daddy had that everyone would appreciate hearing one last time.  Daddy's 'goodbye' was always, "I'm sure glad y'all got to see me".  

Shalini:  The video was easier to make that I thought it would be, mostly because my daughter knew what she was doing.  It was nice to be able to say all of the things we wanted to say without having to stand up in front of everyone to say them.  I wasn't sure I could do that without bawling.  Because no matter how funny they were I was still grieving inside. 

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to read it and comment.


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

FINALLY!!!  Sometimes, when you look forward with great anticipation to something, you build it up so much in your mind, it actually ends up letting you down.  Not this one.  It's even better than I expected!  I did use a couple of paper towels (because I'm sitting at the table and that's all that was handy.  It's too good to quit reading to get a kleenex, for heaven's sake)  But I laughed more than I cried.  I've always thought the term "daddy" should be reserved for that special father.  You got one there, didn't you?

Was this what you were writing whilest we took over your wrestling hub?  I'm sorry we pulled you away!!!  You did great, KCC.  Your daddy raised himself a real gem!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Yes PM, this was what I was writing in between the comments on the wrestling hub. I too laughed and cried the whole time. It's funny you should mention the use of the word "Daddy". I did toy around with the idea of changing the wording in the hub to refer to him as my dad or father because it considered proper. However, it's my Daddy I was talking about. I couldn't change it.

Thanks again for all your support and comments, PM.


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

Daddy was indeed the proper term! it takes me back to when I had mine for just a few years of my own childhood. It's special and held in reserve like a fine comforting wine that has aged.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you CC.....memories should always be treasured.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

What a perfect tribute to your Daddy, I am sure he is looking down on you with great pride and appreciation for this, plus of course a truckload of love.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much, Cindy. I'd like to think I made him proud. :)

Truckload of love.....very appropriately phrased for us Texans. LOL


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

LOL, I guess it is kind of appropriate :)


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

KCC, that was a great tribute to your father, my grandfather just passed a couple of months ago, and I'm guessing this brought a couple of tears to your eyes while writing this and though it hurts, it feels better at the same time. I just have to say, they don't make 'em like they used to.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much Goldentoad! It was time. Someone, had mentioned the monkey and I thought it was time I explained why I use it as my avatar.


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

Thank you for sharing your heart with such a loving story in more ways than one. Daddy has got to be proud of this :)


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

What a warm and sensitive story. It made my eyes water. The love you have for your father and this tribute is a beautiful thing. Thanks for sharing it with us.

I'm sorry, but you wrote that your only son died in 2003. Did you mean that? I apologise if I am bringing up a subject you don't want brought up.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much Dottie! I think Daddy would be proud.

And thank you, Christoph. Yes, I had the storybook family, married my high school sweetheart, neither of us had every dated anyone else, we were married 23 years, had two kids, a boy and a girl 2 years apart. But, everything changed in 2003. We filed for divorce in 2003 and 3 wks later our son was killed in a go-cart accident. I wrote a tribute hub to Kevin as well. My daughter actually has a hub about her too. Of course, the new hubby does as well. They always say, write about what you know. :)

Thank you for asking.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

That is so sad KCC, my Sister went to school many years ago with a girl whose younger Brother was also killed in a Go-Kart Accident (on a track here in Guernsey). They were never the same for many years afterwards.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks so much Cindy! It is certainly a life-changing event for all of us. And it's a 'club' a parent never wants to be thrust into. I ache inside everytime I hear of the loss of a child because I know how wretched those left behind feel.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Dear KCC, You've written a lovely tribute to your Daddy. Your fondness and his specialness are both apparent in your writing. I'm truly blown away by some parallels we share. Here goes:

1. My family had the same clapping monkey. It did stop working after several years. Alas, my dad was not as handy as yours. But I still love the monkey as well as some other old animal toys.

2. My dad also died in 2008. Like yours, was hale and hearty and suddenly became sick and frail and went downhill quickly. My condolences to you and your family. Even though you choose to look at the happy and funny memories, I know it's still a big loss. And that you miss him. I know I miss mine.

3. I was born in Texas. El Paso to be exact. My dad used to call me his Yellow Rose of Texas.

4. My only son is named Kevin. Again, my condolences on the loss of your child. I will have to go and read your hub on him.

5. I'm also remarried.

So glad to connect with you! Hugs, MM


k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California

I'm sorry about your Dad. I loved your article, it made me laugh and cry and realize how lucky I am.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks Kari. Trust me, I laughed and cried all the way through it myself. Treasure those you love always. Thanks for stopping by.


Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 7 years ago from Australia

What a lovely ode KCC to a lovely man! What nice memories you have of him. And thank you for explaining the avatar, I did wonder sometimes.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks LBD! He was a great father.

Someone mentioned the monkey one day, I think it was ProudMom....so I thought it was time I explained the story behind him.


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

And we are all blessed from your doing so, KCC!!!!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Speak of the devil....there she is! LOL Just kidding....muah! Were you ears burning? LOL I just got home from a bit of work at the office (yuck!) and a little shopping with my lovely daughter (great fun!). Catching up on all the new hubs and hub comments.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

Aaaahh!! Another good one , I had one of those clapping monkeys however I do not know whatever happened to it. How nice it is to see that you have again shared apart of you .:)


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks AEvans! My daughter said she spotted one just this past weekend at an antique store and immediately thought of her grandpa. As always, thanks for stopping by!


Laughing Mom profile image

Laughing Mom 7 years ago

Does it count if I don't comment?


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

It should! It's only pageviews...I don't know if you have to stay there so many seconds to count, but it doesn't require a comment.


Beth100 profile image

Beth100 7 years ago from Canada

A very touching tribute to your father. Thank you for being so open.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you Beth! It was a tough one to write.


Aunty profile image

Aunty 7 years ago from Scotland

What a beautiful tribute to your Daddy. He will be laughing and clapping with your son and their warmth and love pouring over you! I am so sorry to read of your enormous losses, but I totally believe that we should celebrate a person's life, however long or short it was. The celebration will be tinged with heartache, but the amount of memories of happiness and laughter will always prevail when wrapped up in a huge hug of love, light and warmth. Take care, I know you will never forget their life and your love, and this is such a beautiful hub. Thank you for sharing it with us. Aunty,x.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you, Aunty! I do agree with you. We made sure that both funerals were filled with stories to make people laugh and remember the good times. We celebrate my son's life each year on his death date and birth date by releasing balloons from his gravesite. We plan to start that tradition from my dad's gravesite as well.


wordscribe41 7 years ago

Oh, wow, what a beautiful tribute. It stirred up all sorts of emotions in me, both happy and sad. You paint a wonderful and vivid image of your father, and also of you. What a lovely hub.


\Brenda Scully 7 years ago

will come back and read the comments...... Your daddy sounds like a wonderful man..... even the fact you call him daddy, speaks volumes. i was attracted to this hub by the clapping monkey, as it is so like the one at the beginning and end of phantom of the opera....... I am feeling so sad now for your losses, but glad you shared..... x


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Wordscribe: Thanks for your comments! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Brenda: Thank you for your comments as well. I'm glad the monkey drew you in.

Thank you both for allowing me to share my daddy with you. He really was a special guy and I miss him greatly. I really can't see a clapping monkey without thinking of him.


C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 7 years ago from NW Indiana

Don't know how i missed this. Think you came along during a long drawn out personal problem in our neighborhood. Now I have much catching up to do. Glad you shared this tribute. Thumbs up to you, keep on clapping!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you CS Alexis! I've managed to make it through a few of the milestones one goes through after the loss of a parent....I've passed the big holidays, Father's Day and just this week would have been his birthday. So, yes, I'll keep clapping. The anniversary of his death is coming up in September.


Ghost32 7 years ago

Excellent. My tribute to my own late father amounted to a couple of songs, both of which are in video form online but not on HubPages. Makes me wonder if one day I might oughta do a Hub about Elvin M Baker and embed at least "The Twinkle In His Eye"....

Again, excellent work.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much, Ghost32! I look forward to reading that hub! If it's not in a format that HubPages video capsules takes, surely you could at least link to it for us to go watch, right? I'm intrigued.


caymanhost profile image

caymanhost 7 years ago from Cayman Islands

It took me a while to get to this hub and the portrait of your father is poignant and powerful, and the love he both gave and received in his lifetime is a testament to how he chose to live that life.

There is no better legacy to leave behind. Thanks for giving us such a personal insight and painting such a wonderful picture of a loving father. He sure put a smile on my face today and from what you say he will get a kick out of that :-)


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks Caymanhost! You're right, Daddy would definitely smile knowing someone understood him.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

Big Country, you are so fortunate to have had such a wonderful dad, and he was lucky to have such a loving daughter. I cried when I read this, the loss of my father was terrible for me but I guess they are right when they say that the love is the thing that's never lost.

I did not realize that you had also lost a son. You must be made of strong stuff to move on in life after a thing like that. Somebody I know said the loss of a child brings you to your knees, and you never really get up again. I guess one could take that several ways. God bless you, dear.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much Dolores! Yes, I was blessed to have such a great dad AND a great son, only to lose them both long before I was ready. Losing a child is unlike anything I've experienced for sure. It has all made me who I am today. I can only hope that it adds to my perspective on life. Thanks so much for your kinds words. I do appreciate it.


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

It sound like your dad was a very funny character and brought a lot of joy to you. Thank so much for sharing such a wonderful and caring hub. Godspeed. creativeone59


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much creativeone59! He was a great dad!


marygarrison profile image

marygarrison 6 years ago

I enjoyed reading about your dad. What a legacy! Yes, I'm sure he'd get a kick out of the clapping monkey, and the tribute to him.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks so much marygarrison! I think he'd enjoy it!


sunshinegirl323 profile image

sunshinegirl323 6 years ago

KCC I enjoyed reading about your daddy. I enjoyed your story of the monkey. It took me back to my childhood. I had a grandfather who use to go through the trash to "rescue" things. I am 44-years-old and I still have this little doll that would twirl a baton that he gave me. So hats off to the people that like to "rescue" things.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks sunshinegirl! It is nice to have someone around who can fix anything. Several things have come up since Daddy died and it's a reminder of how much he's missed for lots of reasons.


Deborah-Lynn profile image

Deborah-Lynn 6 years ago from Los Angeles, California

KCC I really enjoyed your tribute to your dad, he had some great qualties and bless you for keeping his memory alive in this way! I didn't find your hub on "Hub words" this one took my attention away from my search...so I will continue to search, BTW...Happy Halloween! It's my way of reminding myself to rate up a HUb as I am commenting, so you have been "Hub-Treated"...


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks Deborah-Lynn. Now you know why I use the monkey avatar. :) Thanks for the Hub-treat!


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

I knew I was going to love this story. What a great tribute to your dad.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you Money Glitch. I re-read it myself this weekend and it sure stirred a lot of memories. :)


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

KCC the monkey reminds me of Phantom of the Opera. Maybe someone already said this. Fitting too that he was bought at auction at the beginning of the play. I commend you on such a moving tribute to your daddy.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much rmcrayne!


poetlorraine 6 years ago

read this long ago enjoyed it then enjoyed it now,,,, lovely lovely hub


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much Poetlorraine.


Joel Cairo profile image

Joel Cairo 6 years ago from Jersey City, NJ

What a beautiful story about the Clapping Monkey and what it means to you. I'm sorry for your loss but what a joy it must have been to have had a father such as yours. I'm also sorry for your son's loss.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so very much Joel. I miss them both very much, but am so very glad for the time I had with them.


Lisa 6 years ago

My darling 8 yr. old son has special needs and spotted the clapping monkey on a cartoon and it's now his most recent obsession. Just so you know, that's how I found your story! What a beautiful one it is, I never thought a vintage clapping monkey would mean so much to anyone. I will continue to search for the monkey...ebay has them but their shirts are red, not sure if that's a newer version or what. ha! Enjoy your day!!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much for stopping by Lisa! I hope you find the monkey you're after for your son. I'm glad I was able to share my dad's story with you and you were able to share yours with me. I take it as my dad's way of saying hello and thanks for being the messenger!


Mikel G Roberts profile image

Mikel G Roberts 6 years ago from The Heartland

I think you like making me cry...


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

*hands you a tissue* no, not really. :) Thanks for stopping by and learning a bit more about me and my daddy.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

OMG KC this is just such a beautiful tribute to your Daddy. I too miss my Dad and I think my dad and yours would have been great friends, they had similar dispositions. This is why this generation is called the "Greatest Generation". I can so relate to the fixing of things and the great humor. Thank you for writing this hub and sharing your Dad with us. This is the way that our loved ones legacies live on forever...through sharing.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you so much Dorsi! You're right, sharing is definitely a way to keep a part of them going.


PaperNotes profile image

PaperNotes 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing the story of your father with us. I know it is hard to talk about someone dear to you soon after he's gone. I suppose I might find it hard to do when same thing happens to me.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thank you PaperNotes. Sunday marks the anniversary of my daddy's death. He's been on my mind a lot lately.


leann2800 4 years ago

I love this toy. I used to go to a restaurant that had one of these and blew bubbles when I was little. I loved it. It is one of my favorite memories of spending time with my dad.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working