Monday, June 18, 2012

the time he almost killed a man.

we were riding our banana seat bikes around the neighborhood as usual. i was with an older neighbor girl, so we went a little farther away from the house than i would go on my own. it wasn't a terrible neighborhood, but it wasn't a particularly suburban oasis where you leave your doors unlocked at night or leave your bikes in the yard after dark.

i was 8 years old.

in the summers we would leave in the morning and come home for lunch, only to go back out again afterwards until dinner. flitting from the backyard, to the neighbors house, to the alley way in the back eating honey suckles, or to the gas station for a slurpee if mom said it was ok.

so on one of those summer days, as the neighbor girl and i were riding our bikes, a brown, beat-up, 4 door car approached us. we kept on riding. he rode slowly by us all the way down the street. we pedaled faster towards home and he followed us.

i remember that he was older and was very tanned from working in the sun, perhaps. and i especially remember his piercing blue eyes and the cigarette that he smoked without using his hands.

and he just kept circling the block. at one point he said something to us...i think an invitation to get into the car. but i couldn't hear very well over my panting.

that was the first time i remember feeling a very intense kind of fear. and i wanted my daddy.

we whipped around the corner and tried to lose him, stand-pedaling to gain momentum. i was slightly crying and mostly breathing hard. and i couldn't see my friend's face nor did we have any conversation about what was happening.
but her legs were moving fast and i was trying to keep up.

and then in the middle of our escape, the chain fell off my bike. i can hear it. my pedals were spinning into nowhere.

when you're a kid who grows up poor, and a bike is the only thing you can actually say is yours, leaving it on the side of the road isn't an option.
so i ran next to my bike, pushing what felt like multiple dead elephants, 2 blocks until we got home.

we sprinted into my house yelling all sorts of things. and before i knew it, my dad put us in his blue chevy car and told us to show him the car that followed us.

as if we could find it.

except a couple miles away, we did find it. parked in front of some beat up apartments.
are you sure that's the car? he asked.


that's the car, dad.

and so he stopped the car and knocked on the door. and by that i mean, he almost beat down the door.

it was definitely the guy. clearly drunk...staggering out onto his walkway.

i remember sitting in the back of the car watching my dad drag him over to the car pointing at us. then punching him. then throwing him on the car. and repeating this process.

after a while of this, my dad threw him under the car by the wheel and yelled,
i'm going to have to kill you!
i'm going to have to run over you and kill you!
that's what you deserve!

i stuck my head out the window and yelled, don't kill him, daddy! in a thick texan accent with my sweaty, red face.

he couldn't hear me.

and the neighbors were out at this point. and my dad was yelling, call the cops on this kidnapper! he tried to take these girls... more yelling...more threats...


the cops finally showed up...in a gigantic swarm, 10 cop cars and a firetruck. they also got an ass chewing for not coming fast enough. i remember him saying, what is this!? a slow night?

and after we were questioned and sent home, i fell asleep fast in my bed. my world had changed that night and my father looked different to me.

today, i wanted to say a lot of words about my dad, but i thought this story shows best the fierceness in which he has loved me. whenever i have been in any sort of trouble(even times when i didn't know it), he was ready to fight for me and protect me.



my dad has not been a perfect father, but he has been a strong protector and he has always loved me the best he knew how. sometimes that looked like almost running over a guy who tried to kidnapp me and sometimes it looked like a guy setting his guns by the door when some boy was taking me out on a date. an oh-so-subtle reminder that linus was watching. always watching.

"don't kiss her. it's like kissing me."

awe.some. thank you dad. that tactic is better than guns.

regardless, i am thankful for such a strong father figure. there are not many like him. oh the things i've learned from my father. i attribute 20-30% of my funniness from him. the rest is from being ugly through my middle school and most of my high school years. a gal must have something to make people want to at least do group projects with her.

all that to say, i love you dad. thank you for being my strong protector.

happy father's day.





31 comments:

  1. WOW! What an intense day! Your dad sounds awesome. I hope that my babies dad would almost run over a mans head if he ever tried to hurt my kid.

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  2. wow, this just...wow. the tears, they are a-flowing. what an amazing gift God designed for us. fathers are so important. as a daughter of a likewise imperfect-yet-amazing dad, i am so grateful for it. great post. thanks for sharing it.

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  3. This is such a real post about a father's love. It isn't hard to see that you also got a lot of his fierceness in loving your own children. I love the way you capture life and its people.

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  4. Ah, the moments that happen when something finally clicks in your brain/heart and you realize just what you mean to someone else or what they mean to you. I remember them clearly. I think it's sad that its usually something bad that happens but those are the most crutial moments.

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  5. For Reals? Your dad rocks! He's superman! Loved the story. Made me choke up. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Oh I'm just crying reading this. Bawling. In the car. Especially after that awful story in the news this weekend where the dad did kill the guy. It's awful that we live with such sick, fallen people around us. Anyway! Way to go, Jami's dad! Happy fathers day.

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  7. Your dad is badass...I'm sure he got a kick out of you posting this story. I hope you had a great Fathers Day celebrating him! xoxo

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  8. i'll never forget when you and i were going on a double date and the boys picked us up at your place (i think one of them was jason) and linny says "you boys planning on trying to have sex with these girls tonight?"

    mortified.

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  9. Awesome post, thank you so much for sharing.

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  10. Your dad is awesome! What a wonderful example for you and your siblings.

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  11. I thought the 20-30 percent was so under that you lost credibility with your blog audience

    The guy almost had a tragic accident where he apparently had tried to change his tire with the car running and got caught under the car....

    remember the black guy who came out of the apartment -- thought first i was the bad guy and I explained and then he said he would help me kick his ass. I told him to call police

    the slow night was the fact there were 10 cars -- i dont know if the black guy told them I was about to kill this guy but I thought 10 cars and a fire truck over a child molester who had been found dead was a bit much... police told me I had helped enough and to get out of there...
    hope the comments indicate they would have found me not guilty on manslaughter charges

    love dad

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  12. great story!
    love to hear about a daddy protecting his family.
    especially if it means he gives an ass whip to some drunk perv!
    yikes!

    FWIW, i was pretty mutt ugly in jr high/high school too...
    i also survived with my humour.
    that's what got me through too!
    i hope the same for my daughters...
    that humour and lack of "looks" during the formative years will take them far in life and humbleness!
    ha ha ha!

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  13. I am literally sobbing. what is wrong with me? This is such an amazing story of the strong protective love of a daddy...Imagine how fiercly our heavenly father protects us! thank you for sharing, although my kids will never ride their bikes without me again.

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  14. Oh Jami. You always make me cry. :) You are lucky to have such a vivd memory of how much your dad loves you. And I love that you included the sweet, loving pictures from your wedding.

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  15. you have such a way with words jami. what a beautiful tribute. i wish that i had a dad like that.

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  16. That is such an awesome story! I totally got goose bumps when you said how fiercely he has loved you...UGH! Beautifully written. I grew up riding bikes around the block, playing in the alley, and only coming home to grab and ice pop and eat meals. I felt transported reading this...and I love that your dad went and found that man. That is AWESOME! :)

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  17. LOVE this. your dad sounds way awesome :)

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  18. Holy cow. You got my heart rate up a little, jaminato. You told this story so well. It also reminded me of a talk i heard once. On how God is a protector and says, you mess with MY kid, you mess with ME. I like that in a dad and even more in a God.

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  19. i love every single thing about this post. your writing is perfection, and the character of your father shines through. your fierce protector. it's a beautiful image.

    also, if we ever have a daughter, my husband is so using that kissing phrase.

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  20. Wow. I lurk on your blog - I can't even tell you how I found you. But you are entertaining and I'm intrigued by your story - by your strength. This story about your dad really touched me. As a parent - knowing all the accidental dumb situations I've found myself in as a kid, I really worry about my kids and what they'll be faced with. And I imagine as a parent, I'd do (and so would my husband) exactly what your dad did. I'm impressed he did not kill the guy! Thanks for sharing...hugs to your dad for all the parents out there who've never had to deal with that situation and all the unfortunately families who have.

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  21. favorite.nato.post.EVER.

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  22. tears running down my face. you are BLESSED.

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  23. Oh man. What a great story. In the words of my dear, sweet daughter regarding your dad, "That guy is crazy. But he's FUN, too!"

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  24. there is no better dad name than "linus."

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  25. loved this jami! thanks for posting :)

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  26. This story in this link is definitely disturbing but I couldn't believe it popped into my yahoo news this morning, given the story about your dad. Your dad is not alone ;-)
    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/father-daughter-attacker-beat-death-texas-151942957.html

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  27. wow, amazing, horrific, super-neat daughter dad stuff, love it. thanks... and yes i too will suggest/demand my husband use that kissing line in a few yrs for our daughter-brillianT!

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  28. what a story! What love. I hope he scared the evil out of that slimeball.

    And the kissing line is classic.

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  29. You HAVE TO write a book. That little story about you being followed and what-not, gave me the chills. I'll buy your book and then show up for a picture when you do a signing in the Philly area. For reals.

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  30. what a story. what an amazing dad.

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  31. i didn't have a dad who would have ever done anything like this.. actually, i didn't have a dad who knew me long enough to get the chance. reading this i had tears in my eyes picturing something like it, and thankfulness in my heart that i have a husband who will be this kind of dad to our two little girls. thanks for sharing it.

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