ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on June 22, 2010

My Dad

One Last Shot At Doing It Right!

 Justin Halper wrote a great "piece" in the Los Angeles Times for June 20, 2010, FATHER’S DAY. Title: When Father's Day Gifts Bomb .,0,5913202.story

Justin’s Dad reminds me of the Dad in The Christmas Story because of his love for expletives, but also of my own Dad in so many other ways.

My Dad was somewhat tame when it came to expletives. But he loved to say, "Damnit." And I will never forget when I was about four years old and fell off my tricycle and shouted, "Damnit!" Dad was quite surprised and amused that I knew the word and could use it so appropriately! As with many of us parents, I’m not sure that Dad got it, that I had learned it from him!

But my Dad did say a lot of other things. They weren’t expletives as such, but you gotta wonder what he was thinking when he said them. For example, when something went wrong during a repair job, and I was standing there, even as a very little guy, he would turn to me and say, "Doesn’t that just screw ya?" When it rained, he wore a pair of rubberized slip-overs, and he would always call for one of us to "Get my rubbers!"

BUT the reason I am writing this blog has to do with Justin’s persistent intent to find the right gift for his father. Like Justin, I never succeeded, and I wonder how many of us ever did. Like Justin’s Dad, my Dad enjoyed his booze, and we were forever trying to find a special glass for him to drink his scotch out of, not realizing he already had his favorite glass and wasn’t about to give it up for any Father’s Day, Birthday, or Christmas gift from us!

Like Justin’s Dad, my Dad also liked sweat pants. But they could not be just any sweat pants. They had to be sweat pants with NO elastic around the waist, only a draw string! Of course, I never knew how much he liked sweat pants till the last month of his life. I was fifty two at the time, but never too late to have one more shot at buying something for Dad that he really likes!

But I have to back up just a tad to give you a little more background. In our family, we go out of our way to make sure everyone gets to die at home! Notice how we assume that everyone wants to die at home!! I thihk I will prefer to die in my own bed with my family around me in contrast to being in a hospital room or perhaps a "rest" home.  Well, so far, no one has complained about our efforts.

So here is the scene. I arrive at Mom and Dad’s house the last week of April, 1997. It is approximately three weeks before Dad will pass on and we all, including himself, know that he is nearing the end. Nevertheless, he is still ambulatory, very alert, and basically his old self: cranky, controlling, funny, and at times sweet.

When I walk into his bedroom, he is casually stretched out on his king size bed showing Teri, one of my sisters, a pair of sweat pants that is almost thread bare. He’s asking her to buy him a new pair.

Now again, I must digress a moment. We also have another tradition in our family that when you die at home, we dress "you" up in something "special." so when the mortician comes to get your body, you are "suitably" dressed for the occasion. We also request the mortician to hold off on the body bag routine until they get you to where ever it is they take bodies in this day and age. And instead of the body bag, we wrap you in a special sheet or blanket purchased just for this occasion.

I know for some of you this all must sound pretty nutty.

So for Dad’s exit, we had planned to dress him up in sweat pants and a bright yellow Fresno State Bulldogs shirt.

So there’s Dad on the bed asking my sister to look for a new pair of sweat pants. AND it cannot have elastic around the waist band, only a draw string. That is a critical point because Dad says he is allergic to elastic.

So I step up to the plate and volunteer for the search. In the meantime, Dad adds another item to the list. He wants an extension cord that has a perfectly flat plug on the end, so the plug will not protrude from the wall.

So off I go. The extension chord was a cinch. But the sweat pants without an elastic waist band only a draw string, now that was a challenge and then some. I literally searched every department store and sporting goods store in the city of Fresno. After searching an entire afternoon, I finally found exactly what he wanted at Macy’s and wouldn’t you know it, they were on sale. Two pairs for $26.00. I knew how much Dad appreciated a sale, so I was in pig heaven. Not only was I getting him what he really wanted, but able to buy two of them!

I wasn’t going to tell him that we were going to set aside one pair for that "momentous" day when he would leave the house in the mortuary van. Just then, I was going to write "for the last time, " but it wouldn’t be the last time. We actually brought Dad back to the house in his casket for an old fashioned Irish Wake! Poor Dad! Even when you’re dead, your kids continue to drive you crazy!

Well, so here I am with sweat pants "in the bag," literally and figuratively. I am so excited.

"Did you find a pair?" He asks.

I was bubbling with excitement. "They were on sale," I shouted! "Two for twenty six dollars!"

"So how many did you buy?"

"Two pairs."

His face scrunched. He frowned like he was in some kind of intense gastric pain.

"Vern, Vern, Vern! Why did you buy two pairs?"

I was crushed. I thought I had finally pleased my father, but NO. So I thought I would push the envelope and tell him why I had bought two pairs.

"You really want to know why I bought two pairs?"


"Well, for when we take you out of here!"

"Take me out of here? I’m not going anywhere."

"Well, I mean when you die!"

"Oh my god, we’re going to give the mortician a perfectly good pair of sweat pants for free!"

"Well, I’ll take them back."

"You do that."

As I mentioned above, I was Fifty Two years old at the time, but still vulnerable to doing the right thing to win Dad’s approval. I left the room and found a quiet place to pull myself together. I couldn’t believe that the search for the right sweat pants had become my final opportunity to do the right thing and win Dad’s approval.

But here’s the kicker. Later he called me back into the room.

"Did you buy that extension cord?"

"Oh yea."

"And how many of those did you buy?"

"Just one."

"How come you only bought one?"

"Because that’s what you asked me to buy."

This little exchange went totally over my head till several hours later when I reflected back on it. I started to laugh and also called him a few choice names!

Well, three weeks later, Dad did pass on, and when the mortuary van came to pick him up, he was decked out in his white sweat pants (the pair I did not return) and bright yellow Fresno State Bullgdogs shirt. Now I know this next part sounds a little wild, but even the mortician commented on it. He had a smile on his face.

I also loved to play the piano for my Dad, but he was forever asking me to play later. So in addition to having the last word about the sweat pants, I had the mortician stop at the piano while I serenaded Dad, and I played LOUD and LONG. I couldn’t disturb him with my playing anymore, and I also enjoyed being able to send him off with not only sweat pants and a colorful shirt, but with a few original arpeggios.

One more tidbit. Dad was always very uptight about opening and closing the sliding glass patio door, and, to keep his peace of mind, he required that we just keep it shut. Well, in order to get his casket into the living room for the wake, it had to be brought through the patio door! When we were bringing the casket through the patio door, the casket bumped the door and pushed it off its track! The "damage" was so severe that it remained off its track for several weeks till a repairman could come out to the house to get the door back on track! Maybe it was Dad’s way of getting the last laugh. "If you just do as your told," he would always say!

So it’s the day after Father’s Day. About thirteen years and a month (May 14, 2007), since you passed on, Dad. Happy Belated, Father’s Day. I’m still trying to please you, and I hope you enjoy the blog. If I have any trouble getting it posted, I will know the answer!!

Love you and miss you.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      8 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Thanks for the comment, Dianna. I'm guessing you mean you didn't buy any sweat pants! Hope your first day back to school is as stress free as it can be. I know that is probably an oxymoron or whatever that word is. Thanks for stopping by and reading.


    • profile image

      Dianna Bradley 

      8 years ago

      None I didn't but any so no one can say anything!

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      8 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Hey Dave and Hotelsinsolan. Thanks for reading and commenting. Appreciate it mucho. Hotelsinsolan, I literally just glanced at your profile and will have to check it out in more detail. Sounds like an interesting place.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great idea dear...........

    • David R Bradley profile image

      David R Bradley 

      8 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Very Sweet.

    • vrbmft profile imageAUTHOR

      Vernon Bradley 

      8 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Hi Kim. Thanks for reading. Yes, priceless memories and I am happy that the memories are still there, nice and vivid as well. We actually took a photo of Dad with his smile and I thought of asking around to see who could digitalize it and send it to me to post it here!! But you never know how something actually looks when you see it in a different context years later!! Anywho,thanks again

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 

      8 years ago

      That's priceless! What memories. Thanks for sharing it, vern.....and Happy Father's Day to you.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)