It is not so much the song but the Ooga-chaka ooga-ooga Ooga-chaka ooga-ooga Ooga-chaka ooga-ooga Ooga-chaka ooga-ooga…If you know my (step) dad you have heard him say this in his deep bass voice.
He and my mom were supposed to meet on a blind date set up by mutual friends but both he and my mom had just come out of two very unsuccessful marriages and were not interested. My mom was a cashier at the local co-op grocery store. My dad had gone through her till and was smitten. He went and asked the boss who she was and he said, “That’s her! That’s the woman we want to set you up with!” When he called my mom later that evening she clearly remembered who he was. She had gone to school with his older brother, they are so similar they could be twins. (Even all these years later I can get them mixed up if I am not paying attention.) Anyway, they went on their first date. He must have squandered half a pay check because he took her to the nicest restaurant in town. He was not a wealthy man, working in the pulp mill since he was a teenager. When my mom was alive she often told the story of them waiting to be seated. When their names were called he let my mom walk in front of her and put his hand on the small of her back. She said it was like electricity went through her. That is when she knew she was going to marry him. That night he came back to her house and never left. The next morning my brother and I woke up to a man in the house. Now I have to say this because it is important. My mom was very… good. She never just had men stay over. Not ever. But she let him stay over. My biological father had left my mom with a house that she was about to lose because she could not afford the mortgage payments. He also left a sundeck half finished. No matter. He started on the deck that day and started paying her mortgage.
And he was/is so funny! He is always happy! He doesn’t get into a bad mood. Not ever. The strange thing is, he has known tragedy. His nine year old son died suddenly and tragically shortly after he and my mom met. The story behind it is desperately sad. You would think that it would have left him angry and bitter but it had the opposite affect.
When he came to live with us he came with a black poodle named, Alex. He jokes that Alex was the only thing he got from his previous marriage. When we were kids me and (his daughter, my step) sister used to have McDonald’s protests where we sat outside on his truck waiting for him to take us. One time he took us to the park in the fall and he let us fill his truck with leaves. No, not the back,,,the cabin of the truck. We drove home that way. There wasn’t just a few leaves. It was full. My sister and I could not see over them. He also drove us to school. Backwards. The whole way. My mom talked about coming home from work noticing the floors were so clean. Why? He let us have water fights. In the house. Everyday with him was fun.
You would think that age would have slowed him down and it has but just barely. His jet black hair and beard have turned white. He now has a whole new audience with his four grand kids. My sister and I have two kids each and they all adore him. After my mom died he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and is undergoing treatment and that makes him a little tired but he never says no to babysitting my sister’s two girls, ages 9 & 3. He will be there in minutes if either of my kids call him.
One of the most beautiful things about him is he has written in his will that my brother and I are to be considered as his own biological daughter. And that is who he is to me. My dad.