The Captain Has Left the Building

So I was composing a post for my birthday (dark and inappropriate just like me….) when my brother called to tell me that our father had died.
It was sudden. We didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.

We hadn’t expected this but in hindsight we should have been more prepared. 

But nobody ever is. And besides. Dad’s are invincible. Especially ours.

But he didn’t suffer, or deteriorate and that was exactly how he would have wanted it.

It still sucks.

It sucks so much that I cannot wrap my brain around the absolutely horrible reality of my father being gone.

But instead of wallowing in self pity on my blog I’m going to tell you one of my favorite stories about him because the man was fucking awesome.

It was a little bit like being the daughter of Marlon Brando without the fame or money (damnit)

Young hot Brando, because….why the fuck not? My dad looked like old Brando too but they are both gone so lets remember them at their most awesome, shall we?

When I was a teenager I was an exhausting disaster. My hair was a bleached out teased up fire hazard. I wore pants with big holes in them, fish net stockings on my arms and enough eyeliner to restore the Mona Lisa.

I looked something like this:

Ok so this is Janet Gardner of Vixen and my hair was NEVER quite this cool. But it was close a few times…..I swear.

You get the general idea. There are photos but I have no scanner and no courage.

Mostly no scanner. That’s how old I am. My childhood photos require a scanner.


At one point in time I was hanging out with my best friend from jr. high school, Bambi (her real name was Virginia and this was completely inappropriate) and her boyfriend who was the drummer for an 80s hair metal band called Giuffria.

He also played drums for Tina Turner back in the day so respect (there is actually a slight chance K might see this so lets give props where they’re due. God bless Facebook.

Love you Krigger.

So my dad came down to L.A to visit me and I thought it would be cool to take him to The Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset and show off.

Because I was an idiot.

But the Captain as always was willing to play along. My sense of humor comes utterly from him.

Given the awesome status of Bambi’s boyfriend, we were sitting with some pretty heavy 80s hair metal celebrity including the lead singer from Angel, the drummer  from Quiet Riot, and drum roll:

Ronnie James Dio (Holy crap. Am still a little impressed by this 20 years later…)

Ronnie too has left us in the last couple of years.

I don’t know if anyone reading this remembers the whole 80s hair band movement, with quite the same filters that I do.

And I don’t want to spend a lot verbiage describing it at here.

Lets just say these guys were the coolest cats in all of L.A at the time.

They couldn’t walk down any city street without some groupie throwing themselves at their feet.

They wore more makeup, hair spray and rhinestones in one night then I wore in a week.

They were so goddamn cool they could hardly stand to be around themselves.

Because no band represents the fashion disaster that was hair bands quite like these guys do.

So my dad is sitting at a big round VIP table with these guys, me on his right and RJD on his left.

And my dad starts spinning stories. I cannot remember for the life of me what the hell he was saying and with my dad it didn’t really matter.

He had your undivided attention.

And within minutes this bunch of rockstars were hanging on every word that came out of my dad’s mouth like he was dropping holy nuggets.

It was beyond awesome. My dad WAS a rockstar.

I was puffed up higher and prouder than any head of hair in that bar.

For the record I was not a real groupie.  I had friends who were, but I wasn’t really sexy or thin enough. I was their cute but slightly chubby friend who didn’t have the good sense to put out when it counted.

In other words I would have had to stand on the table naked and peeing while singing an aria in pig latin to actually get any of these guys attention. But the Captain had it without even trying.

We stayed maybe an hour before I got the distinct feeling that dad had had enough. When we we left I turned to my dad and said

“So Daddy, what did you think of The Rainbow?”

My Dad:

“Its just a saloon, sister.”

Every little girl thinks their Dad is super cool. My dad really was. He was like Superman Popeye and Indiana Jones all rolled up into one. He loved his family and made everyone laugh and feel safe. He taught me how to work, how to play and how to make people laugh.

I’m going to miss him every day.

The song below is for my brother and anyone other family member who reads this. It was his favorite.

Bye Daddy. I love you.


18 thoughts on “The Captain Has Left the Building

  1. Anonymous

    Sandra, great story about your dad! Sorry to hear you lost him last week. I just found out a couple of days ago from my mom, I was out in the woods somewhere as usual. I got to your blog from Bob’s post, also a great tribute to your dad. What a blessing you all have such great memories to hold on to!

    I tell you, everyone I fish with in AK knows I have an Uncle who was a Captain with the state ferries! Even when I was a kid, before I ever went to sea I thought that was pretty cool! I can’t recall the last time I saw Uncle Skip, but he’ll still be missed!…

    Love you guys,
    Brian & Diane Haley

  2. Effing amazing eulogy sis. It made me proud that in a round about way, he was a part of my family. R.I.P. Captain. I know he is smiling down on you.

  3. my dearest grandson – I will NEVER forget “spelled backwards is” – COMPLETELY astounded and mesmerized your grand mother – as all my offspring continues to do. Sigh and deep breaths!

  4. Anonymous

    Loved your story Sandy. Your Dad was such a great guy. You are all so lucky to have him, as we know he is still with you in spirit. We love you, Aunt Reenie & Uncle Wayne

  5. So very sad to hear of your Dad’s passing, Sandra. You captured who he was and your relationship with him through your unique and accomplished writing style. After reading The Captain has left the building, I could sense the depth of your loss. At the same time, I know that you’ll continue to cherish and be impacted by your memories. What a rich inheritance to have a Dad who loved so freely and lived so fully. That too is unique. With love mixed with sadness, Aunt Marilyn

  6. The post is perfect. I missed the “enough eyeliner to restore the Mona Lisa” line the first time through. Well played. Ditto for the scanner line. Dad would’ve loved it. It’s finally starting to hit me. Our dad is gone. Yet you and I know he will live forever. I love you sis.

Comments are closed.