My dad came over after work tonight to drop off my Christmas presents. He's a Southern Baptist who attends a church that believes in the literal inerrancy of Scripture and I'm...well, I'm a fag, so our relationship is, shall we say, delicate? We actually get along just fine, but there are certain things We Do Not Discuss.
Even though we live just about 8 miles apart, we don't see each other very often. Tonight was only the second time he's been in my apartment and the first time he's seen it with furniture.
"Hmm, you're a better housekeeper now than when you were ten," he said.
It was pleasant enough. He rode his bike here in the 30 degree weather so I offered him a cup of hot tea and we talked about a problem I was having with a spreadsheet at work (he's an accountant), played with the cats and made other banal small talk while sitting in the living room with the tree and listening to my Christmas mix on the iPod.
He did comment on my rather well-stocked bar, but I just said I like to entertain. Which is true. No one ever comes over, but I like to entertain.
About this time the iPod shuffled to "Hard Candy Christmas."
"Is that Dolly Parton?" my dad asked, with a combination of surprise and distaste.
"Yup. I love Dolly," I said. He looked at me skeptically.
"I met her once," he said.
Okay, time out. I am not really someone who's into celebrities, but Dolly Parton is on my very short list of people I would kill to meet. I just have a sense that she is an amazing human being. She is an incredibly compelling artist, both as a musician and an actress; she just seems to radiate warmth. I am mad about Dolly Parton.
Now, my father is the kind of guy who can't remember that he's told you a story before, so I've heard every story he has to tell about a hundred times each. Except this one.
"Wait, you met Dolly Parton?"
"Yeah, she came into the restaurant in Pleasant Hill."
He shrugged. "Mostly I remember the gazongas."
Yes. He said, gazongas.