Lee Tate laughing at his son.


Yet More Treachery

By now you are surely thinking that there could be no additional Oklahoma horror stories to relate about the devilish actions of my father. People come up to me all the time in fact, and say, "Your parents are so sweet!" DO NOT BE DECEIVED. My dear mother is sweet, generally speaking, but my father is a notorious perpetrator of criminal activity against his own begotten offspring.

Naturally, all fathers, being clumsy, insensitive, Neanderthal males, achieve mishaps of mythical proportions. And from this fact my own father is not exempt. To illustrate, I'll simply mention the time Dad squished my hand between the pickup's cattle racks and the loading shoot. And then there was the time we were sitting at the table - me with only socks on my feet - and Dad leaning back in his chair - something he has been taught since grade school not to do for the very reason that when you decide to come back down to earth with your entire 180 pound mass (divided by four) applied to one of the front legs of the chair (1" in diameter), there may just be the unprotected foot of your classmate occupying the spot in which your chair leg is destined to land.

All fathers are guilty of such accidents, so I won't hold mine accountable for them. However, the fulfillment of premeditated harmful intentions cannot be dismissed so readily. Again, I will state with solemn truthfulness that my father is not the kind, innocent Baptist deacon everyone thinks he is. One must realize he is not only a youngest child, but a twin (actually the other one is younger by several minutes, and I can't even bring myself to report on the wake of destruction he has left). And we all know the wily schemes developed between a pair of twins brought up in the desolation of West Texas.

So I bring you another installment in the unmasking of Lee Tate. It occurred in the sanctity of our own household...at that sacred traditional family refuge, the dinner table, no less. Having just finished the main course of the evening meal, we were preparing to take on one of two varieties of dessert leftovers. The first, something safe and scrumptious in the form of one manner or another of fruit pie topped with whipped cream; the other a vile concoction of holocaust featuring a lethal dose of the deathly poison coconut. I said my mother was sweet, generally speaking.

I was on the verge of shoveling a sensible amount of one manner or another of fruit pie topped with whipped cream into my mouth, when dear Father suggested that he doubted very seriously if my young and untrained palate could detect the difference between one manner or another of fruit pie topped with whipped cream and one manner or another of fruit pie not topped with whipped cream. Naturally, I rose to the challenge, being a Tate and all, and subjected myself to a blindfold taste test. My taste buds were, in fact, very well developed; my sense of danger, not.

I need not go into great detail about the excruciating pain and suffering I underwent in the weeks to follow. I won't elaborate upon the time spent in ICU, the months of rehabilitation, the entire year lost in school, or the disintegration of several internal organs. I'll only say that to this day, I still keep both eyes wide open when any combination of Lee Tate and coconut is about.

© 2015 Dane Tate