The Minutes of Our Last Meeting | Chillicothe Father of the Year

The Minutes of Our Last Meeting | Chillicothe Father of the Year

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By Joe Janes

 Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce

Father of the Year Nominations

Chillicothe and Ross County Chamber of Commerce, Chillicothe, Ohio

June 5, 2019          10:30am

In attendance: The Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce and Baldr

Jimmy – Welcome…Baldr. Thank you for coming before the chamber to nominate your dad for the Father of the Year Award. Says here you only recently moved to Chillicothe.

Baldr – Yes. The company I work for opened a branch here. I moved from Iowa to be closer to Norway.

Jimmy – You’re still pretty far from Norway.

Baldr – Yes, but I am closer. 

Jimmy – Okay. Well, Baldr, does your father live here?

Baldr - My father passed away a few years ago and, I’ll say this, that even from the grave, he could beat up anyone else’s dad. 

Jimmy – Not really an attribute we are looking for.

Baldr - My dad was a war veteran. 

Jimmy – Now you’re talking.

Jimmy - Disabled. He lost an eye in The Battle of Tonsberg. Fighting Frost Giants. Which worked. Seen any Frost Giants lately? To be honest, that’s the story he told us growing up. It is only half true. He did battle Frost Giants. They threatened to plunge the mortal world into a new ice age. He and his army — dad had an army — drove them back into the heart of their own cold, cold world. My dad lost his eye when he traded it for a drink from the well of wisdom, which is the dumbest thing he ever did. He admitted that, which maybe means it worked. He became wise enough to know how stupid it was. It probably also made him unbeatable on family game night. He always won Trivial Pursuit. 

I have an older brother who is very responsible and good with a hammer. I have a younger brother, adopted, who does magic and is a complete jag off. We recently found out we had an older sister. She’s not alive anymore. Long story. Destroyed our home. Killed a lot of innocent people. Had to go. My dad would be okay with this outcome. He always said raising boys was easier. 

My father wanted me to join the army. His army. He wasn’t happy that I left home to go to college and become a theater major. He was proud that I got my degree, not so proud that I now apply it as a telemarketer for Holiday Inn timeshares, which really are a good deal. I’m on the co-assistant manager track. Give me your number and I’ll be happy to call you about it. I can’t tell you about it in person, because I’m a telemarketer. Bound by honor to use the phone. Honor is something I learned from dad. 

My father is the greatest dad not because of his accomplishments, although maintaining peace in the nine realms is kind of a big deal. No, my father was the greatest because of what he tried to instill in my brothers and me. He always said, “Responsibility, duty, honor. These are not merely virtues to which we must aspire. They are essential to every soldier and to every king.” I wasn’t a soldier, I was a telemarketer with a BA in Theater Arts, but he did often say this with me in the room, and with that one eye, I’m pretty sure he looked over at me a few times. He was mainly talking to my older brother. 

When it came time for my father to pass along who would be in charge of the family business — being king — he went with my older brother. It’s not that my younger brother or I weren’t considered. My younger brother was disqualified because he was faking his death at the time and we weren’t really sure. Father asked me if I wanted to be king. Well, he didn’t say “king.” He said co-assistant king. Which, you know, means you have to be ready to step in if the other fifteen people ahead of you aren’t able to fulfill their duties. I thought about it, but with my telemarketing schedule, no way. I had just got a .50 an hour raise and was 75 sales away from a free three-day vacation at any Holiday Inn in the world. Airfare not included. 

Growing up, my father wasn’t home very much. He’d commute to work on an eight-legged horse. He’d leave early on Monday morning and come back late on Friday night. He was usually out fighting great beasts, invading foreign realms, destroying demons and monsters, devastating whole worlds, and laying waste to many a mighty kingdom. All to keep peace. On the weekends, he’d come home and tell us of his adventures and bring us gifts, like novelty trucker caps, souvenir t-shirts, a necklace fashioned from the teeth of a Dark Elf he slayed.

Family vacations were fun. Dad loved taking us to Norway. It was on one of these road trips that my dad gave my older brother the nickname “God of Thunder.” You do not want to be near him when he’s sucking down Slim Jims and a flagon of Root Beer. Pee-yew! My younger brother would fake his death at amusement parks so we could get in free. We’d be at the front entrance, he’d die, they’d rush us to the first aid station inside, he’d resurrect, and we’d go off to ride the rides. My dad did not mind this. He was an honorable man who also didn’t like to spend money on frivolities. 

He was generous when it came to his kids, though. And thoughtful. He gave my older brother a hammer that was forged by a dying star. That ain’t cheap. You have to know a guy. He gave my younger brother a really cool curved pointy thing with an infinity stone add-on. Those are hard to come by. He gave me a little squishy toy shaped like a dog to relieve stress while I worked. The dog’s eyes and tongue pop out when you squeeze it hard enough. “You’re barking up the wrong tree!’ It says on the collar. Made in the ancient land of China. 

Dad was also capable of some tough love kind of discipline. He got angry at my older brother for starting a revenge war that he forbade. Dad deemed him unworthy and cast him out. I thought this was brutal until I found out he sent him to New Mexico. Some punishment. Nice weather. Still had his hammer. Met a hot girlfriend. Dad always had a soft spot for him. For all of us, really. Even for my younger brother who once tried to conquer earth, remember that? So embarrassing. People would ask me about him, “Hey, isn’t that…?” and I’d be like, “He’s adopted.” My older brother defeated him and brought him back home. I would have helped, but, you know, I work on Saturdays. Dad threw him in a dungeon for life, which, for a guy who habitually fakes his own death, wasn’t very long. 

Dad wasn’t perfect. He would tell you that. He made mistakes. Kept secrets. But everything he did, he did for a purpose. His family came first. Becoming men he could be proud of was important. To him and to us. 

My father spent his last few years in a retirement home and then, in his final moments, got to visit Norway one last time. We were with him. As he was in life, he was patient, just, and still wise from that well water. He said, “I love you, my sons.” I don’t think he remembered our names and only knew we were his sons because I said, “Dad. It’s us. Your sons.” But the important part of that sentence wasn’t, “my sons.” It was “I love you”. From our births until his death, my father was strong, clear, and unwavering in his love for us. And then we found out about our sister, who he did not love, and, hoo-boy, that showed. 

Jimmy – Well, your father sounds like a great man.

Baldr – Some would say a God. 

Jimmy – We really were hoping to give the award to someone in person. Honestly, it’s just a way for us to promote Chillicothe and maybe get ourselves in the news. 

Baldr – He sometimes appears in visions and gives advice. He told me not to take it personally when my manager swears at me. Doesn’t sound like much, but whose dead father goes to that kind of trouble?

Jimmy – We will take your nomination under consideration. It’s between your father and Craig Pinkleton’s father, Trevor. Trevor is also a war veteran who was a POW in Vietnam and also a fantastic gardener.

Baldr – I will destroy him. 

Jimmy – Not a very fair fight. You could knock him over with a feather at his age.

Baldr – Good. I am horrible in battle. 

Dad in his favorite chair.

Dad in his favorite chair.

Hank, Unedited

Hank, Unedited

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