Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • Sober, my alcoholic father was an abusive, angry, violent, explosive and mean person. But punch drunk, his stern defensiveness and insecurity faded into something disarmingly charming and somewhat funny.

    My father has been an alcoholic in my eyes since his surprise birthday party more than twenty years ago. That night he couldn't walk a straight line. With self-deprecating jokes he insisted party guests gauge the extent of his impairment. He embarrassed my mother.

    That night, my mother decided my father could drive himself home. In the moment, I imagined life without random, violent outbursts.

    For years, I haven't known what to think of either my parents. My father is a revered socialite although he rarely socialized with his nuclear family. He played tennis every Saturday, and during the summer he played every Sunday too. He played after work and surely stole days from work for the game. He traveled to tournaments and filled the basement (his basement's) fireplace mantel with gaudy,silver trophies.

    When my sisters and I were children, my mother was relatively inexperienced in contemporary marriage. She had no idea June Cleaver lived without options. And nor did she know Mrs. Cleaver had it so hard.

    My father made it home safely the night of his surprise party. He didn't drive through the woods back to our house. I did.

    When I was seventeen, my father wanted to leave. He said my mother and he had two "different philosophies" and at the time that was true. She had married an atheist and he married a devout Catholic and Christian woman.

    Today, some twenty years after that smashing surprise party, my father can be found in a large Baptist Church on Sundays in a deep blue, pin-striped suit.

    My mom still attends the small Catholic church at eleven on Sundays only a mile away from her home. But she no longer races through the neighborhood at speeds of 50 mph to get there on time.

    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.