My Dad was a funny guy. I always appreciated his sense of humor, which is hard to describe if you never met him. Think Monty Python meets Weekend at Bernie’s. Broad, kind of dark at times, but very funny.
One thing my Dad was a stickler about was being late. I mean he hated, HATED, being late. He always wanted to be on time for everything, and living with four women made it damn near impossible to be on time for anything. Another thing he was a stickler about was when it was time to leave, it was time to leave. I can remember him heaving a heavy sigh after church, standing outside, waiting for my mom to leave church. “Your mother has to talk to everybody” he would say to me. This especially got irritating to him when it was football season. My Dad would come over every Sunday to watch the Packers play with me. The timing thing was crucial. He had to get out of church, and get over to my house before the 1:00 p.m. start time. It got to the point where he would drive separately from my mom to church so he could be at my house, beer in hand, and chips ready, for the start of the game.
What really threw a monkey wrench into my Dad’s plans was when there was a “guest speaker ” at church. A missionary, the church’s financial update, a guest priest that took a little too long with a homily, it really got Johnno’s blood boiling. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t that he didn’t think that they had the right to promote their charity, or talk about their latest mission trip, or ask for an extra donation. He just thought most of them took too long, it was too much information, he just wanted to pray, and be on his way.
So my Dad developed a system. (Disclaimer – if you have a church or a charity please do not take offense to this – this was just the Johnno way.) When my Dad knew that there was going to be a “second act” or an additional person talking during the “homily” time Dad would put them on a timer. My Dad developed a system (which was completely rational in his mind.) Let me explain how this worked.
My Dad has a set donation – an extra $10.00 towards the charity – on top of the donation that my parents regularly made to the church. So when the guests started their talk, say it started at 12:30 p.m. – my Dad would give them 10 minutes of “his” time to get in all they had to say about their charity or organization. If they went over the allotted “Johnno Time” he would deduct a dollar per minute they went over.
I’m not kidding.
I can remember being at church, there would be a guest. My Dad would look at his watch, cross his arms, and give me either a nod, a wink, or a smile. I knew what was going on, some of those folks didn’t have a donation chance in hell.
12:30 p.m. start time, still talking at 12:40 p.m. – at 12:41 p.m. a dollar gets taken away. You went from $10.00 to $9.00, tick-tock goes the clock, so does your donation. The pastor at church knew it too, sometimes, not very often – but sometimes, I would catch them looking at my Dad out of the corner of their eye knowing what he was doing. Some organizations got all of the $10.00 that was intended, some got nothing. Dad would always grandly report whether or not they got a donation, or if they only got a partial donation. It wasn’t meant to be mean, it was just the way my Dad was.
At my Dad’s funeral, one of the priests commented, well we’ve already gone over an hour and a half, we better wrap this up. My Dad would have appreciated that, and laughed.
My Dad, he was a funny guy.