Cooking, Family, Fathers, food, Health, Tennessee

My First Crush, by Beverly Hicks Burch

My First Crush

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Most little Southern girls’ first crush is on their daddy. It’s nothing weird or unnatural…it’s actually quite chaste and natural. A good daddy gives us our guidance, is our rock, our example, our protector, our everything…well almost. To me there was God…then there was Daddy. Daddy is like a Lighthouse…a guide in a storm. His values are rock solid, he lives by them and he’s passed them down to me…whether he realizes it or not. Wrap all of that with East Tennessee mountain boy modesty and a brilliant mind that understands things this wordsmith finds amazing.

When I was little, my friends would get a crush on my Dad. They thought he looked like Elvis. Actually he was better looking. He was tall, had dark black hair and big sultry grey eyes fringed by long jet black lashes.

Oakley Hicks - Dec. 1975Not too long after I married I was working at a bank not too far away from where Daddy worked. He popped in one day on his lunch. This was a large branch. I saw Daddy stride across the lobby as I looked up front the customer I was attending to. He threw up his hand and waved, I grinned and waved backed. He took care of his business and I went about my business. On his way out he waved again. After the lunch hour had calmed down one of the tellers came scurrying up to me and said, “Who was that good-looking guy flirting with you?” Huh? She recounted what she had seen, and then incensed I explained that was my dad. She couldn’t believe it. My Mom could…that’s why she married him!

During my last bout of lung cancer in my left lung, Daddy was there. It was the days of HMO’s, not major medical like during the days of my first lung cancer in my right lung. The treatment was very different…and faster…think easy in…easy out…easy home. Except for the patient. After taking 60% of my left lung out because of cancer, I was sent home one week to the day after having surgery. When I had my first surgery in 1982, I was in the hospital for several weeks. Well, to say that Daddy didn’t “cotton” to them turning his oldest girl out of the hospital like that was putting it mildly.

I was sent home that day with only a mild pain med, no antibiotic and had not even had my temp taken before I was sent home. I was sent home running a fever and the attending surgeon had gone out of town. There was a lot that happened that day, but long story short, my Dad saw to it that the HMO knew they would be held responsible if anything happened to me. I believe the way he put it was, “If I have to mortgage my house and get the best attorney in town, you will hear from me if something happens to my daughter.” (Gomez, the ex, on the other hand did absolutely nothing but stand around and twiddle his thumbs. And as I reflect back, considering his behavior later and the things he did and said, maybe he was counting on something happening to me.)

About two years later Daddy had his own scare with cancer, and like the Project Manager he had been, he jumped right in and managed the situation right away. Between that and Daddy’s strong Faith he pulled through…big time. Of course, I had been sick with worry. To date Daddy has remained cancer free.

In September 2005 we had another scare with Daddy. It was his heart. We never suspected it. It came out of no where. He had had a little dizziness. The day before he went to the doctor he had gone to the track and walked a mile or more. Tall & Handsome and I had just moved to East Tennessee a few months before and my own health was not too good at the time. Mom called and said Daddy was at the hospital and they were going to do surgery the next day. At 6:00 AM…there was no way I could get there in time. He had to have 6 by-passes. Yes, you read that right…6.

Once again, Daddy tackle recovery like a Project Manager. It was kinda hard at first. It always is anytime you have major surgery like that. Tall & Handsome and I went down as soon as we could. T & H always likes to try and cook for them…mostly grill. Momma said Daddy had not had much of an appetite after he came home from the hospital. So, we took it upon ourselves to cook something for Daddy that he would eat and enjoy. Daddy enjoys flavorful, spicy…sometimes downright hot food. We had to avoid MSG and high sodium/salt. Now, Daddy is a “tea-totaler”, but we knew this recipe would be good, and acceptable. We fixed the Tequila Lime Chicken, some Spanish rice and grilled corn for Daddy. He ate it. Mom said it was the most she had seen it eat after he came home from the hospital. We also like to serve it with flan.

So, two years later, Daddy is “blowing and going”. He and Mom are building a house…and I’m glad I have another Father’s Day with my “first crush”. Try the chicken for yours…bet he likes it, too…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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