Gut Rumbles

January 25, 2008

My father's face

Originally published December 12, 2003

I always took after my mama's side of the family. I was short and stocky, I had the bow legs and that "Abner nose" that everybody in the family was proud of. I was convinced that I was a chip off mama's block.

Five years after my father died, I got a wild idea up my Cracker ass and had my hair buzz-cut. I am talking about a Marine-boot-camp haircut. Jennifer hated it, but I kinda liked the way it felt at work in the summer. I could brush my hair with a towel. I didn't need a comb. It felt GOOD under a hard-hat in the Southern summertime.

I decided to take things one step further. I came home one day and shaved off
my moustache, too. I didn't really look at anything except what I was shaving when I got rid of the 'stache, but Jennifer and Quinton had a difficult time recognizing me after that. I remember Quinton saying, "Daddy, you don't look like daddy anymore."

I knew that my hair would grow back any time I wanted it to grow, and I enjoyed the change. I did all of that stuff on a hoot, just to make something different in my life.

That night, I was brushing my teeth before I went to bed. I looked in the mirror and the toothbrush froze in my hand. MY FATHER was looking back out of that mirror at me. I had his eyes. I had the shape of his face. I had his same crooked smile. I had ears just like his.

I never realized how much I resembled my father until that night. I stood in front of that mirror for at least ten minutes noticing things that I had never seen before. I was amazed.

I don't believe that Quinton looks a lot like me. He takes after his mother. But every now and then, I see him at the right angle or in the right light and I see myself in his face. I am pleased when I see him that way.

I wonder if he'll ever look in the mirror some day and see ME looking back at him.

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