Big, burly and bearded, Rocky was a biker; tough as a nail. He was my dad…and a pretty good “housewife,” too.
Today’s story is from Lora Jarocki.
We lived in Mountain Home, Idaho, a very small town. Mom, a Civil Engineer with the Air Force, traveled for work. With her away so much, Dad raised my sister and me.
When I was 9, Mom was assigned to South Korea. She would be gone a whole year.
Dad said, “You and I are the grownups now.” Together, we would take care of my little sis, the house and ourselves.
All was so good. Then lice came to town. “Epidemic,” they said.
Awoke one morning. Went to school. The lady’s room. Ran my fingers through my hair. I screamed with disgust, shock and fear. I saw the nurse. The lice were so bad she ordered me home. I was instructed to wait outside for a ride. Sitting on the school steps, I felt like a freak, cast out and alone. I started to cry.
Dad soon arrived, gave me a hug and said “Lora, don’t worry, I know what to do.”
Together, for days, we tried it all. Dad spent over $100 on medicinal shampoos. We laundered the linens, towels, and clothes in our home. In desperation, Dad fired up the vacuum and ran the attachment through my hair. The shampoos were useless. The vacuum clogged up. Our clothes re-infested.
Finally, with sorrowful face, Dad sat me down in the kitchen.
“Lora,” he said, hand on my knee, “We have to do something you’re not going to like.”
From behind his back he produced a pair of electric black clippers. “Honey, we have no choice.” I knew he was right. Dad slipped a towel on my shoulders. The clippers started to hum. My eyes quickly watered with tears.
I gazed up at my biker tough dad. Swollen red eyes. Streaming wet face. I could see his heart cried similar tears. Before it ended, a torrent of daughter-dad tears and swatches of hair rained down on the floor.
‘Now,’ Dad said, turning to me, ‘my turn.’
He took my exact place on that same kitchen chair, fired up the clippers and plunged into his own mass of hair. I helped in the back and clipped close to his ears. Together, we walked over and looked in the mirror. I marveled at Dad’s shiny bald head glowing with mine. Our eyes had now dried. We looked at each other and shrugged…we grinned then we hugged.
My hair, of course, would eventually grow back. But it wasn’t the last I’d see of the clippers. Every fall for twelve straight years, Dad ceremoniously shaved his head bald. “Penance,” he said, though I assured him there was nothing to forgive.
I’ve faced some tough times since that day in my life.
What got me through?
The memory of that grinning big guy in the mirror standing by me—my tough biker dad, head shiny and bald.
Savvy Dad thanks Lora Jarocki for the opportunity to write this personal story about her dad, Rocky. Lora is 28, engaged to Rob, and lives in Midwest City, Oklahoma. Her mom and dad are still a big part of her life. Her other “special guy” is Brutus the bulldog. Thank you Lora. And thanks Rocky.