FROM JUNE 21, 2011
There was a time when we all worried about Daddy. Well, there were many times. But this one was different.
I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida during a time when “high society Jacksonville” was important to a lot of folks. Every year a new batch of young well-off women were honored with parties, wore beautiful and expensive clothing, attended teas and garden luncheons, and the like. All of that led up to the one evening when they wore their finest and made their debuts as they were presented to Jacksonville society circles. They were called debutantes.
The local newspapers, The Florida Times Union and The Jacksonville Journal did remarkable jobs of covering the debutante season each year. Since most of the debs back then attended the same high school that my brother, sister and I did, I read all the deb news in the paper. And the newspapers would list things about each young woman – you know, goals of world peace, colleges they were going to attend, stuff like that. They also listed each girl’s hobby. I would say that 97% of each year’s batch of new debs during that time period listed as their hobbies decoupage.
This is where Daddy comes in. He didn’t have many hobbies. He played golf every Tuesday with his long-time buddy, Linky. But that was more of an excuse to work up a sweat and cool down with a few cold ones. He was actually a good artist, but he rarely did more than a few mind-numbing “paint by the numbers” things. He did play a lot of solitaire, too.
But at some point, the man set up shop in the dining room. He spent hours and hours in that room, with tools and supplies spread on the dining table and chairs and dining room floor. The man was into decoupage. Big time.
He was quite good actually. Very clean presentations. Well, there were the occasional decoupaged-over cigar ashes on some of his projects. But that gave his work a sort of “antique” look to it.
He enjoyed it. And he was good-natured about it all. Each time one of his children would ask the man, “So, Daddy, are you going to make your debut this year,” he almost always responded the same way. He would look at us, move his cigar to the side of his mouth, bend his wrist to the limp position, sticking his crooked little pinky finger out in typical high-society fashion, and say with a lisp, “Oh yeth!”
My dad. The decoupaging debutante.