The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

Footsteps

January2

My eldest daughter, Haley Anne (She prefers that I call her “Haley” – but, I won’t. I gave her that middle name for her Nana – my own Mother, Barbara Anne) is twelve.

She is gorgeous, bright, witty – and, the world sings around her.  She is also a formidable Defender, and a Captain on her Football (Soccer) team.

I am proud of her. I trust her judgement; and, I am becoming more and more impressed with her insightfulness. We both LOVE music.

We share iTunes

But, Haley Anne is pushing the envelope with her Mother (that would be Joanne).

Joanne is stubborn in her own right.  Spirited and willful.

But, I dare not draw that comparison (Well…  Not openly any way) when they find themselves at odds.

Perhaps I will write about the Mother and Daughter thing another time. But, at least for today, Haley Anne is my “Daddy’s Girl”, and it’s just fun to be amazed and delighted with her (except she can be a real pig – especially when it comes to her room and leaving dishes every where).

Having said that… She and her Mother went a few rounds this afternoon. While listening to Haley Anne attempt to make her case (an important part of growing – right?), I was struck by the realization that she really was twelve – on the verge of being a teenager, and many an adventure just around the corner.

And, it was then I remembered one of my own first (and likely most dangerous) adventures that made me want to just hug her the rest of the day.

Off we go…

By the time I was twelve, I was much more than the typical handful.  I had already been winning national AAU championships as an age group runner and pentathlete. I had started my first business (lawn care and fence painting /1).  And, learned that I was indestructible by jumping off a three story radio tower using silk sheets from Mrs. Burton’s bed for a home made parachute /2.

I was a pretty good kid – just like Haley Anne. But, we were moving every two years because Dad was a career Air Force Officer.  Dad was being transferred from Offutt Air Force Base (we lived in Papillion) Nebraska to Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson Arizona. I think he was making Lieutenant Colonel (he retired as a full Colonel.  He had a star (General) coming, but declined it when we knew Mom was not going to make it /3). Mom and Dad thought I needed more stability. So, they enrolled me in a prestigious Military School in Massachusetts. It took me less than a week to sort out that I had an “issue with authority” (according to the commandant).  So, I left.

It took me about ten days to hitch hike pretty much across the country. I slept in a few cars; one rail car; under one bridge; two trees; and, one lawn chair (next to a Holiday Inn pool).

It was tons of fun. I talked to a lot of people; made a friend or two.

Apparently it took the school two days to realize I was missing; and, another two days to track Mom and Dad down.

I hit Tucson just three days after my family had moved in.  The Lieutenant Colonel that commanded the Air Police met me at the main gate and grimly escorted me (with a squad no doubt for effect) to our base quarters – lights flashing.

Mom was waiting for me in the front doorway. My younger brother Greg was apparently down the street playing with some kids we had known from a previous duty post. I pulled myself out of the jeep and stood on the sidewalk contemplating Mom – and, of course, trying to conjure up some witicism.

But, my stomach growled.  You could hear it a mile away.

Mom burst into tears, and drew back into the house.

I found her on the brown sofa that had been part of my life for – well- twelve years /4. She wasn’t crying. She was just shaking her head. I sat next to her. I could not say I was sorry (I see that in Haley Anne). I really just wanted to tell her all about the trip. I wanted to remind her about the stories her own great Nana Lenci had shared with me about Mom and her high diving; and crawling out of windows; stealing a bike; pretending to be a boy and getting a grocery delivery job…

But, instead, I just put my head on her shoulder. She put her hand on my knee and sort of squeezed it (I just know she wanted to ask me about under wear). After a few minutes she stood up and asked me if I wanted a sandwich.

“And soup” I added.

She nodded.

Then Dad came through the door.

One day I will Blog about when I was seventeen and my Dad told me I did not have the discipline to attend the United States Naval Academy (I had an appointment – but, he was right), and how I informed my Dad I did not need his help with college. What happened at, during, and after Radford University, makes all of this other story sublime.

I hope Joanne reads this story.  One day I suspect Haley Anne will too. I don’t necessarily want Haley Anne and her sister Emma Jo to follow my footsteps. But, I do have their backs (and, that of their own Mom). And, I know great adventure, life and love lie ahead.

“Borrowed Time” by John Lennon. And, Huckleberry Finn my favorite (id)iot.

2/ I write about this in an earlier Blog Post – “Happy Birthday Mom”.

3/ See “My Mom: Story 5 – Pain and Strength”.

4/ Those that serve in the Military work hard; often sacrifice everything – but don’t make much money.

Oh yeah… They are from Kentucky

December17

So…

I was minding my own business in the kitchen contemplating the refrigerator, when Haley Anne (currently 12) approached me all bold-like, and full of herself.

She says:

Daddy, did I tell you about Emma?”

She has a younger sister named Emma Jo.  So, I planted my feet, put my hands in my pockets, and waited for the news.

Obviously she read my mind (my Mom clearly channels through this child), and says:

“Not OUR Emma, MY FRIEND Emma.”

I kept my peace and maintained eye contact.

Hands on hips Haley Anne volleys the following at me:

“I KNOW I told you some of this – but never mind…  Well… Poor Emma’s Uncle was thrown in jail for no good reason.  And, her Mom is in bed for two years!”

Haley Anne pauses for effect, and then adds:

“Her Dad was living in a house with her step Mom.  She [Emma] is best friends with her step Sister.  But, the step Mom through them both out!  She had a dog with her step Sister. But, the Step Sister kept the dog! Poor Emma!!!”

I had some questions forming in my own head.  But, never-mind because, Haley Anne who is quite indignant now says:

“Her Uncle will be in jail for twelve years, and he didn’t even do anything (but, apparently this has something to do with a sixteen year old girl, beer, and a broken pool table).  Her Mom (not the step Mom [I think]) hurt her back at work. She was supposed to rest before she HAD to go back to work.  But she fell down some stairs and the doctors say she may have to stay there for TWO YEARS! Emma says she is paralyzed and all she can do is watch television.”

All I can think of is:

“Should we invite Emma home for Christmas?”

Haley Anne:

“No”. [deep breath]. But, now poor Emma and her Dad have to live in a really small creepy little house because he can’t find a job, and the step Mom won’t let him and Emma come back.  The house is in a park.”

And, adds:

“Oh yeah… They are from Kentucky.”

Peace be my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Haley Anne Has a Plan

December16

So…

I was strolling purposely through the house contemplating my role in the world and what I might need to be doing that afternoon about global warming, the flat tax initiative, Green Lantern, alternative energy and youth soccer.

I found myself in the kitchen and was pleased to find my daughter Haley Anne at the counter engaging a piece of technology.  Once I realized it was her cell phone, I had an uneasy moment wondering if she might not be hacking into a super computer managed by an emerging shadow government. However, I dismissed that particular thought (but, only for now) when she looked up and froze me with the words:

“Daddy, I have to tell you something”.

Why might those words (potentially) strike fear in a fathers heart?

I swung into action making quick decisions.

I countered with:

“Grab your shoes.  You are coming with me.  We are going to Publix (food shopping).”

She shrugged, and off we went for high adventure and quick witted reparte.

In the car (bad-ass BMW M6) /1 Haley Anne laid it out for me…

“Emily (her best friend and one of my many adopted daughters) and I have DECIDED that she is going to College of Charleston with me.  You might have to pay for that”.

Life is so obvious and simple when you are twelve, and your Daddy is clearly omnipotent.

She went on to say:

“Emily wants to be a Marine Biologist too.  She already knew this before we met (she raises her eyes when she adds this part as if to say: ‘don’t bother to challenge me on this Daddy.  You are Daddy [and, Racer X], /2 but, we [the collective we that is all wise, bold and fearless twelve year old daughters] are firm on this’). We have it all sorted out.  We are going to have an apartment together off campus so we don’t have to bother with a lot of other people in a dorm, and get a Chihuahua and call him Mr. Tinkles“.

She paused for a moment. Not to contemplate my reaction (as if that really mattered); but, to change the radio station.

After a moment, as she considered the tune playing (Bawitdaba by Kid Rock – I am hearing it everywhere), she fixes me with those beautiful, heart-melting brown eyes (a gift to her from her Nana [my own Mother]), she adds:

“You have to live nearby us in case we need you”.

I will stop this Blog post right here. I want to freeze and remember that brief exchange for the rest of my life.  It’s classic Haley Anne; silly; and, pivotal.

epilogue: As we walked from the parking lot towards Publics Haley Anne grabbed and held my hand. Then she made me help her find a certain brand of cream for shaving her legs (I don’t think she actually needs to shave her legs just yet.  But, that was okay).

I am listening to Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day (its what was on iTunes).

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

____________________

1/ The BMW is, in fact, the E63/E64.  Top speed, with the inhibitor removed, of 205 MPH (but, not with Haley Anne or other children present).bmw-m61

2/ By now it is likely common knowledge that I am Racer X.

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Lots of stuff.

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brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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