This blog is dedicated to Joy Kennedy Perry, my mom. If she were still alive these are the details of my life that I would want to share with her. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Numerical Biography of My Father

My Dad, Doug Perry, and my brother, Jason, are both Veterans and I would like to let them know how much their sacrifice means to me.  I have always been a bit removed from my Dad's Vietnam experiences as I was so young but Jason is preparing to go to Afganistan once again and I am so proud of him but carry a consistent worry for him like a small pebble in a shoe until he returns.  But this write-up isn't about Jason, it's about my Dad.

Mom with her Marines.

Some would say that my father has accomplished much in his life.  I suppose.  I guess  if you are easily impressed by the obvious.  Some would say that 25 years as a Marine, 3 tours of Vietnam and 2 purple hearts is impressive.  Or you could possibly be swayed by the fact that in Vietnam he saw and experienced atrocities no human soul should absorb and then returned home to his wife and five children and had the strength of character to not take it out on them.  Whatever, I guess that could be considered grand...

Maybe the fact that when stationed in Okinawa he applied himself to the discipline of studying karate.  Everytime the military moved us my Dad would set up a Dojo of sorts and train.  He learned and he grew.  When he retired from the Military he set up the Dojo he has now and next year will mark 30 years in the same location.  There are those impressed by that.  Or maybe the fact that at the age of 72 he was promoted to 9th degree black belt - the only in the US of our system.  The masses might think the fact that many of his black belt students have been with him the full 30 years an indication of his generous, loyalty inspiring character.
 Maybe, whatever.

Being inducted into the Shagger's Hall of Fame might be memorable to some.  I am talking the Atlantic Beach Dance and not, for those of you whose minds are in the gutter <grin>, the British version of this word.  He and Mom were amazing to watch dancing.  We would yell out our favorite steps when the kids were watching them dance, "Sugar-foot!  Belly-roll!"  I could maybe see how people might think the Hall of Fame thing worth recognizing.  But not me.  I am having none of it.  I am here to write the first (and probably only) numerical biography of my Dad. 

Here are the things I feel are REALLY worth knowing:

1)  He has one daughter.  She has been given many names over the years:  Princess, Bill Bynshun, Bean Machine, Sweetest Darlin' in the Whole Wide World (I shared this one with the dog for a few years) and currently, Moonbaby.  But "there can be only one."  (Name that movie!) The End.

2)  Two is the number of dates said daughter had while in high school.  It was a difficult process to get a date.  I first had to convince the boy I was interested in that he wouldn't be killed on the spot as he asked my Dad's permission to take me out.  It was a difficult sell as guns were always close at hand.

3)  Three is the number of times I have seen him cry.  Twice was over his dogs - never get between a man and his dog was the lesson learned there.  The third time was five years ago when my mom passed away.  He tried so hard to be strong for us, as he has always been, but this time it wasn't necessary.

I love this picture!  Everyone should have crazy family shots.
And who dresses a one year old in pleather?
4) Dad and Mom gifted me with four fabulous, handsome, smart, talented, radically different and fun friends.  They also happen to be my brothers - bonus!

5)  This is number of tattoos my dad has, I think.  I am recalling this from memory as he doesn't know I am writing this "dedicatory piece in his honor".  I like his tattoos a lot because they are the "old school" kind.    I never even really noticed them until I was a teenager and someone pointed them out to me.  Kids just love their parents, they don't really see them.  Of course, I didn't realize my husband was Japanese until we were married five years so maybe the problem lies with me...(grin)

6)  I am going to multiply this 6 by 1,000 which will equal the number of Karate Camp T-shirts the man owns. The number boggles the mind.  He loves them all and there is no getting rid of a one. My mom certainly tried hard enough.  It was a storage issue.  I love that about him.  As an aside, I was at his last karate camp this summer and noticed a decided lack of cute T's for girls/women.  He and I need to have a chat about shirt cut and colors.  I could revolutionize the entire karate T'shirt industry!  Heads up!  Invest in Bedazzle!

7)  Seven is the number of high schools in Charlotte, NC he was kicked out of (probably for fighting)  AND how many times he was beat up while boxing under the name Lindsey Mushay (not sure I am spelling that correctly.)  He swears his trainer chose this name for him. What can we learn from this?  What I take from it is that my Dad is scrappy and I like that about him.  He had no good template after which to pattern himself and grew up under very harsh conditions.  He created his own template.  He did graduate from high school and he has many winning boxing trophies despite his unfortunate moniker.  One of those trophies sits on a shelf in my bedroom.

8)  He will at any one time have eight Louis L'Amour books by his bedside.  I think he owns a hundred.  Eight is also the number of times he has read each one.  Do the math - this man loves a spaghetti western.  Eight is also the number of grandchildren he is blessed with.

9)  The number of ice cubes required in his coke at night for dinner.  Nine cubes of ice with his coke, a piece of cheesetoast and a handfull of Cheese-Its.  He has been eating this meal for at least 30 years as I used to make it for him when I was young.  I also got to witness him teaching my daughter, Maya (at right), how to make the perfect piece of cheesetoast when we visited last.  It is an important lesson, I understand - I am just not sure why...

10)  He has 10 fingers and I am glad of that fact - although I have a brother and a friend with only nine so I would probably be fine with nine.  What is special about those fingers is that they are attached to his hands.  Daddy's hands are not pretty but I could pick them out in the dark or in a room of 1,000 other hands.  He bites his nails when he watches ball games, his knuckles are calloused from doing karate type things and knuckle push ups (not sure if this is a Marine or Karate thing but he is proud of those callouses!) His hands have a few tattoos as well.  But they are also the hands that held mine growing up, that used my leg as a guitar when I was 3, that played piano on my leg when we rode to the dojo together when I was 16 and that holds my hand still as he takes me on tours of his yard.  I love his hands - even if they could use a little moisturizer now and again...

A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again.
Enid Bagnold 
A heartfelt and gracious thank you to all military personnel and veterans. 


  1. #9. This is also the amount of money he spends weekly on his grok-eries, which consists of bread, cheese, cheez-its, and co-colas.

  2. THANK YOU Shannon!!! Your DAD is AMAZING and I LOVE him and your MOM ( and their family)!

  3. That's so true Rowdy! I could have also put 0) the number of hairs on his head and the number of words he CHOOSES to pronounce incorrectly!

    Thank you so much, Becky, for your sweet, kind words. I think of you often and hope you and your family are well. You are so good to us.

  4. Love it! Jason and Poppy have yet to see it, but I'm sure they will both laugh and cry (well, not really cry, since they both don't cry, but come close)!

  5. Thanks, Aubri! Have fun tonight!! Can't wait to see pictures!

  6. What a fun read- looking forward to Avery begging cheez-its from Poppy.

  7. I wish I could be there to see that, Karen! You had better warn Poppy ahead of time to buy extra and be prepared to share!

  8. Dad and I just finished reading this and had a great time. You hit the nail on the head. We had a great time at the ball last night and to add to your count he has 12 hard-earned medals in his war chest. We almost cried reading the blog but not quite; so that stays at 3.

  9. Moonbaby: I am still in CA with Jason and family. We had a great time at the ball. The "biography" did bring back some wonderful memories...with the exception of the Lindsey Moushea comments. Thanks was great...despite some comments from my

  10. Shannon, I love your writing. Reading your blog reminds me of all those hours of chatting on your green couch. Miss you. xoxo

  11. OK "MoonBaby",
    I finally read the blog about your Daddy...and I brought a few tears to my eyes...I love you and ALL the Perry Families. My life is enriched by being a part of it. All the blogs are great!

  12. Thanks Jason! I don't want the number to ever get too high - especially due to something I've done!
    Love you, Dad. Because we love you, we poke at you! I am glad you liked!
    Tennery: The green couch is always here to welcome you! Miss you too!
    Miss Pootsie: Thanks so much for posting and taking the time to figure out how! And it is we who are grateful to you for being in our lives...