Saturday, August 15, 2009

"They got my father."

Or, “Not cry one tear for my daddy. I stole it off a crocodile.”

(First tattoo possibilites, aka Watching Cold Mountain.)

In all seriousness, I’ve never been a tattoo girl, I just like peeps who are. It’s just, I always said I’d get one when it meant something.

At 31 years old, I unfortunately have a “something.”

His name was Tom. Thomas John Horton. He was my Dad. He was my hero, and he died two years ago. I miss him everyday in a way I will never be able to explain. He shaped my life and watching him die changed everything.

So, that’s my “something.” I just want his initials, his Oklahoma initials, that is. Back where he was born, they called him TJ. I love that. I’m a city girl, born & raised, but what always fascinated me about my father was that he grew up in an environment that is the total opposite of the one he chose to raise me in. And yet, I turned out just like him.

But of all his awesome qualities I do call my own, it’s his fearlessness that I didn’t inherit. He just went for it, and at such a young age. He dug dtches at 15, literally. He was the one who did whatever it would take to get the hell out of dodge. He made people pay attention. He saw the world. He wrote about it and people PAID him to keep doing so. He met and married an equally (if not not more) incredible person. And they had a child. One. A daughter. Me.

I realize now, I was their world. And you know what? They were mine.

So there it is.

I fear I will never live the kind of life my parents did. Actually, I already know I won’t. Mine is a different journey, I know this. And it’s been awesome so far. But…

That said, I can’t help but feel envious because when that Okie From Muskogee was my age, 31, he had already seen so much life. I’ve barely left this continent.

(BTW, I’m fairly certain my Dad hated that particular song, but I do know he loved him some Merle Haggard.)

This I know: the fact that I am hungry for more life? That, my friends (or whomever is still reading this), is my father’s legacy.

So yeah, TJ. He’s the “something” I was waiting for.

p.s. My Dad would lose his shit if he knew that I was grooving to Merle Haggard just now. Trust me, Dad, it’s flipping me out, too.


  1. I'm not a tattoo person either (my body is completely unadorned--take that anyway you want). But I applaud your desire to celebrate your father, even if it involves injecting colored dye below the surface of your skin.

    One day, I hope either or both of my kids find some reason to celebrate ME. However, I hope they do something that is a lot less painful, like plant a shrub in my honor or something.

  2. If you're going to get a tattoo you're right on with wanting to make it one that means something to you. Since your parents are very important to you I say go ahead and get it, will be one you will never regret.

    -Cuzin Tim