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me and my father

It's kind of hard not to talk about my dad [Randall] as a drunk. I mean, he's been one ever since I was born. But he really didn't start hitting it hot and heavy until we moved to Garrett.

I'd say like five days out of a week he's pretty good, but you can never judge when those two days can be, when he's not feeling well or anything. Everything's pretty good until he gets home, and then something happens -- my brother's had a bad day or my mother's had a bad day -- and they can go off at any time.

My father is a strange case. I mean he died once in the hospital due to the DTs, or, what do you they call them, convulsions? Due to drinking. And still he keeps drinking. No matter how hard we try, he won't quit. It pisses me off at times. I can't handle it. He sits there, he's like, "Chris, go buy me a half a pint," and I'm like, "What in the hell are you doing? You're killing yourself, and you don't care?"

Randall and his pet pig

Randall's father was an alcoholic, too, and all they kept around the house was alcoholic beverages. I mean, vodka was the main, or beer, something like that. My dad told me that there was no milk bought. No, half the time all you had was water and vodka. That was it. And that's just one strange case I can't handle. …

My dad, he's been a drinker for years. I think he was like at the age of 13 or 14 maybe. He lost his mother at age seven [or] eight due to a brain tumor. And ever since then, he's always drank. I mean, he started out with, I don't know, beer. Then worked his way up to vodka. But they say it's an illness, a sickness. I don't believe a word of it. I believe they've drank it so long, they've become accustomed to it. They think they need it when they don't. That's how I feel an alcoholic is like. It's someone who's given up on life even though it could begin again for them.

Chris and Randall on the drive home from school

When I come home from school, I don't know how my father's gonna turn out. Maybe, I think in my mind, he's gonna be OK. Maybe he's gonna be happy as can be. But there has been times he's been in the raw ass-est moods you've ever seen in your life. Now sometimes it's to the point, when I come in to the house, we don't even talk to each other. I go about my business he goes about his. Or when I get home he's too drunk to even talk, I have to pack him into the back bedroom. I had hoped my little brother, my little sister would never go through this. But I can't stop what's already been done. But I can change the future if I try.

I care about my father dearly, it's just sometimes he can get frustrating. I mean he'll sit there and say, "I'll never drink again." Next day comes in drunk. I can stand a drunk, but I can't stand a lying drunk that will tell you, "Oh I'll stop. I'll never touch it again." Next following day he's drunk.

I lost all respect for my father. …

My father and I don't talk too much, especially when we're around large groups of people. If we're in the house somewhere, about the only time we talk is when we're yelling at each other. But if I'm like driving along with him or we're driving home from picking me up from school or something like that, we'll sit there and make out like we're the best friends in the world. Just depends on what day it is.

Randall shows Chris some new chords

If he's had like a little nip or something, that's usually when you find him on his bad days. I can usually acknowledge that just by getting in the car.

If my dad and I are having a good day, soon as we pull out we just start laughing. It could be over any reason. The radio's not working or the radio is working and we find a song one of us disagrees with, we'll joke around about it. If there's a song we don't like, we'll laugh about it. Or if we're moving up to Stone Cove, how hard it's gonna be. Or maybe one of us will do something really out of the way, we'll joke about that. We'll find just about anything to laugh about.

But say I've had a rough day at school, or my dad has had a really rough day at home. Soon as I get in the car he can acknowledge if I'm not talking or if I'm in a bad mood, I'll let him know. Or vice versa, he'll tell me the same thing. If it's a bad day, we don't even say a word.

I really enjoy the good days. The bad days are a little rough to comprehend. The good days, I wish there was a lot more of them.

I believe my father and I are a little bit of the same. He's precise, I'm precise. We try to find errors so that way we can correct them. We don't like anything going wrong. If something goes wrong, we'll fight like hell to fix it. We won't quit 'til we get it right. If he's sober, if he's ready to take on the world, believe me, he will take on the world. Same with me.

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posted jan. 9, 2006

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