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Friday, January 15, 1999
By Paul Ford
A discussion with a stranger about her family.
How old are your parents?
They're actually both gone; they both died in their 60's.
Were they tall?
Always. My father was at least 6'3", and he had his clothes custom made. He could pick me up with one hand, until I was about 11 and I got a little chubby. My mother was 5'11".
What kind of games did you play?
Games? Not too many, really. Basketball. We never had board games, other than like Monopoly. Hide and seek with my brother. Or we'd make up games. You know the way you have ten thousand rules for everything? We used to go build things. I built a lot of doll houses with my dad in his shop.
Did you play Monopoly?
I liked Parcheesi a little, but board games, card games, are boring. I mean, you could be doing something.
Did you ever notice how the best games are all about touching other people? The only popular game that lets you touch someone is Twister. We didn't play that; I didn't play it until college, and then you'd be drunk and someone is grabbing your ass. But in theory it's a great game. When we were kids we used to goof around a lot, like when my dad would stretch out his boots on the coffee table and I would come up and climb on his legs, or he'd run my brother around on his shoulders. Or just splashing water on each other when you go swimming.
What about with your Mom?
You couldn't jump on her. She liked to pinch us, though. You'd lead up to it; she'd say, "here comes a pinch." And you'd make a face and pretend to be horrified, and she'd pinch your cheek a little, more of a squeeze. Dad was really physical; we were always pretending to box and fight. He played football in college, stuff like that. We had a basketball court out back, and since we were all tall we were all pretty good. My brother is 6'5".
What was your favorite thing to do with your Dad?
There was one thing I really liked. We used to play it until I got too old, like 10 or 11. My dad would stretch on the ground, put his legs up, and I would lean over so that his feet were pressing into my stomach. Then I would hold his hands, and he would lift me with his legs into the air, and then he would let go of my arms, and I was flying.