True Story. Volume 1, Episode 1.

I just got the most important note from a reader saying that they appreciated one of my posts. It made my day. I write this blog for myself, but the truth is, I do hope it's meaningful or at least enjoyable for other people. And I appreciate feedback. Positive feedback, that is. After all, if you don't like it, do us both a favor and stop reading. ;)

Anyway, I've been thinking about my blog lately and the different things I want to capture...thinking through my editorial calendar, if you will, and I have decided that I will introduce a new feature called "True Story". Basically, I will be writing something about myself that may or may not be known, that captures some part of who I am. This way, if something happens to me tomorrow, I will leave a legacy. And if something doesn't happen to me tomorrow (crossing my fingers) I will at least have something to read when I'm having a midlife crisis, drinking pitchers full of Skinny Girl margaritas, with pictures and remnants of my youth scattered beneath my tears.

So today's True Story is this.

My dad died before I was born. And when I tell people this, they automatically feel awkward about it coming up, and feel sad for me. But the truth is this. I don't know that I even fully realized this hole in my family, or in my life, until I was about 17. I have had a full life, an incredible family, and I think I was a pretty happy-go-lucky kid. Okay, BUT, I don't mean that I was in denial or unaware of the facts, but what I mean when I say I didn't really realize it, is that it didn't have meaning for me, and/or I didn't understand how it has changed me, until I was in high school.

But that is another story. Today's story is this. When we were little, my mom would drive Nikki and I all over the country. Usually back and forth from Texas to South Dakota, but not always. And we would stop in cool towns and visit great landmarks, and I would always wonder or imagine that we were going to run into my dad one day on one of those cross-country trips. I had this idea that it was all a story. That he had not really died, and that it was going to be exposed sooner or later...and boy was my mom going to be mad. I mean, in my mind, sometimes she knew he was alive, so she was going to be mad that we ran into him in some small town in Kansas and the plot was exposed, and other times, she was mad because she had no idea the whole thing was a lie.

So one day, we stopped in at a KFC. We were really healthy and particular eaters back then...geez, wasn't ignorance greasy, breaded bliss? Anyway, we were sitting at the table, just chatting away. Nikki and I on one side, my mom on the other...when a tall man walked in with dark brown hair and a green baseball cap. An athletic, but aged body, a handsome face, but not incredibly well taken care of...and I just knew that this was it. This was when it was going to happen. The whole thing was going to unravel, right there in that KFC. And I didn't know what to do...because my mom was going to be so furious when she saw him, but I was so curious. And I knew I had to make a decision. Nikki and I were facing the door where he walked in...and in that moment I had to decide whether I was going to subtly draw attention to the door, or keep my mom distracted from seeing her supposedly-deceased husband.

The seconds felt like hours. And the decision seemed like the decision of my life. Did I mention that I was probably 8, if I had to guess? And I waited, while pretending to chomp away happily, all the while peering over my drumstick, to see if Nikki would notice. Maybe Nikki would blow the cover off this whole thing. And in that moment, I looked at Nikki and I looked at my young mom, all feasting happily on a bucket of fried chicken and I decided...to leave things as they were.

So we licked our fingers, and I ate my mashed potatoes, and whenever there was a sign that my mom might turn around, I did something distracting and probably highly erratic, to keep her facing me. I couldn't relax until that man, presumably and potentially (in my mind), my father, walked back out the door.

And of course I knew later that that man was NOT in fact my dad, and my dad DID in fact die...but I still think of that moment in that KFC when an 8 year old me decided to forego meeting her dad, choosing instead to go on with the story and the life of the Moore girls.

I remember it like it was yesterday, and it makes me laugh, to think of it. Big decisions I was making back then. Would I be a squirrel or a grocery clerk when I grew up? Would I stick with Kathi or switch to Sam? Would I meet my dad, or always wonder.

I hope I have even HALF the imagination I had then.
And that's...a true story.