The Joker in our Pack (Friday Fictioneers, June 2013)

Copyright John Nixon

A great photo this week that really made me smile.  Once again Rochelle hosts Friday Fictioneers, and for once I’ve got no internet restrictions.  Yay!  🙂

Birthday parties were the total pits; his need to entertain was almost manic.

“Your Dad’s real cool,” my friends would say, falling about laughing. 

“He’s a real dork,” I’d think, cringing as he performed his latest party trick.  I just wanted a father like other kids had, someone you could respect.

“You shouldn’t have encouraged him,” I told my mother years later, “he became totally ridiculous.”

She glanced towards the faded photograph of Dad in his army uniform, before fixing me with a gently reproachful gaze. 

“If he hadn’t made people laugh,” she whispered, “he would have made them cry.” 



About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to The Joker in our Pack (Friday Fictioneers, June 2013)

  1. Dear Sandra,

    Many layers to this. Brilliant. Beautiful. Well-crafted. Can’t say enough about it.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

  2. nightlake says:

    The Dad’s army uniform and the Mom’s words..really well done

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  3. vbholmes says:

    Too many times, too true, Sandra. Very nice.

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  4. That’s a good one with Father’s Day coming up (at least in North America). I’ve known a lot of dads like that, although luckily none of them mine. 🙂

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  5. Two sides of the same coin – told well

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  6. Joe Owens says:

    The sound of everyone’s laughter likely crowded out the memories that plagued him.

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  7. zookyworld says:

    Well done on bringing depth by the photo and mom’s line. Dives deeper than the narrator’s resentment.

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  8. Those last couple of lines are so touching, darling. Very nicely done.

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  9. wmqcolby says:

    As usual, Sandra, excellent work this week! The goods were delivered on time and on the money! Hoorah!

    Like

  10. Hannah says:

    Bitter sweet memory. It reminds me of the film ‘Brassed Off’.

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  11. elmowrites says:

    Beautiful. The embarrassment of the child is palpable and then you hit us with a nice depth of field at the end. nicely done, Sandra.

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  12. Penny L Howe says:

    Sandra, well written, amazing depth for 100 words. Telling both the backstory while filling in with emotions. Good one! 🙂

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  13. This pained me. That last line hurt.

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  14. Sanda, this was beautiful. Good job!

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  15. Sandra, you caught all sides of the family situation perfectly. I could feel the child’s embarrassment, the father’s need and the mother’s love.

    janet

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  16. Linda Vernon says:

    I love the ending! I like that her Dad silliness was redeemed in the end. 😀

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  17. Shainbird says:

    Very nice! 🙂 Deep in feeling.

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  18. The agony of embarrassment over one’s parents’ behaviour can hover overhead long into adulthood. But why do they do what they do? When we learn to look beyond ourselves to find their motivations, is that when we begin to grow up? Glad you liked the photo.

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    • Sandra says:

      Sometimes when you look back and realise that they were actually younger than you are now when they did whatever it is you’re judging, it puts things into a clearer perspective and lends a bit of understanding.

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      • That’s very true. Perspective can alter perception quite dramatically. My grandfather – mother’s father born in 1897 – whom I never met, had ambitions to be a poet. He was something of a joke in the family for that. A notebook turned up and got passed around, and his poetry really wasn’t very good. Then one day I thought to work out how old he was when he wrote the poems we all laughed at – and realised I was already old enough to be that poet’s father. It gave me pause.

        Like

  19. WilderSoul says:

    Nice revelation at the end – it adds depth to the child’s perceptions, a real learning moment. Perhaps it changed the kid’s view…

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  20. denmother says:

    We’re always learning new things about our parents, aren’t we? Great story.

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  21. Perry Block says:

    Very nice story. Shows the need for fun and silliness in the face of the seriousness & often tragic nature of life.

    Like

  22. Trudy says:

    Perfect story for Father’s Day, and very moving 🙂

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  23. Joyce says:

    That is a beautiful story and tribute to your father, Sandra, if it is indeed your own father in the story. Sometimes it is the laughter, jokes and storytelling that heals and binds the hearts and lives together, no matter if there were some people who did not enjoy or could relate to them. I did a special tribute and poem to my father too, and early one posted last Sunday to use for a word prompt, ‘memories.’ It is under my newest story chapter of one I am working on, if you’d like to read it.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Joyce, I’ll pop over to your site shortly. This wasn’t about my own father, though I think I tell his story many times in different ways. Thanks for reading and commenting, have a good weekend.

      Like

  24. EagleAye says:

    Oh, bittersweet. Sometimes kids need to understand the depths of their parents to appreciate them. This was wonderful.

    Like

  25. Sandra says:

    Sometimes I think our expectations are too high; for most of our lives they’re only older versions of us, until one day we find that we are older versions of them. Sometimes I think back to things my parents were doing when they were the age that I am now. It kind of puts things into perspective. 😉

    Like

  26. Shreyank says:

    a great take on the prompt 🙂

    Like

  27. troy P. says:

    Very well done Sandra, and the last line was worth a tear or two. Beautiful.

    Like

  28. petrujviljoen says:

    Great title. Bitter-sweet story.

    Like

  29. erinleary says:

    I think my son at 15 has some of those feelings. We are a constant source of embarassment to him. Good times!

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  30. writelindy says:

    One of your best Sandra. Well done.

    Like

  31. Oh, Sandra, such a powerful story. I’m amazed at how you pulled it together. You’re a master. – Amy

    Like

  32. neenslewy says:

    A flash with great depth and punch!

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  33. That last line is a real killer… Really a lot of depth in this story…

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  34. angelgal3176 says:

    Contrast achieved – makes me wonder the whole story. I’m supposedly a cool mom (even to my 17 year old), but I wonder what’s going on there. Nicely done.

    Like

  35. annisik51 says:

    Quality writing. Lots in this story. I like the juxtaposition of the two uniforms: clown and military. Meaningful use of the prop. I like the layering of times. Ann

    Like

  36. This really expresses a universal sentiment. Poor dads. I’ve had to stop dancing!

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  37. unspywriter says:

    Oh, wow, this says so much in so few words. Very nice.

    Here’s mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/simon-sez/

    Like

  38. kz says:

    a beautiful tale.. that last line is so great

    Like

  39. Lyn says:

    How sad that this is so often the truth. God bless our servicemen and women.
    Well written with much depth of feeling.

    Like

  40. Sarah Ann says:

    Very sad – father playing the clown to hide from his memories. The child’s embarrassment and mother’s caring both come across really clearly.

    Like

  41. I appreciate fathers like this. My Dad is also a real card. The Joker.

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  42. So much going on in this one – the teenager, inevitably embarrassed by his dad; the manic father with a dark past; and a bit of mystery (at least to me) – does mother mean he’d make them cry by telling them about the horrible things he’s been through, or would he make them cry by lashing out dangerously?

    Like

  43. Sunshine says:

    i love your story how in the child’s embarrassment for the father, the mother tries to enlighten her child (to be grateful) if the father was different. i felt this mother’s pain.

    Like

  44. elappleby says:

    HI Sandra – I thought you were going for funny there, but that last line was so sad. Beautifully done 🙂

    Like

  45. Pingback: For Better, For Worse – Friday Fictioneers, June 2016 | castelsarrasin

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