Wednesday night my mom was out of town on business. Now, I don't know about other people's parents, but mine tend to get a little pathetic when the other is out of town. It's kind of like after 38 years of having dinner together, they forget how to eat when the other isn't there. Dad (who we all refer to as George, even though that isn't any part of his actually name) usually just resorts to Whataburger in front of the TV, but this week, I managed to talk him into taking me to dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant ( food!).

So, while I'm working my way through half a dozen of the best garlic rolls on the planet, George and Daisy start talking, and it didn't take long to realize George was in an introspective mood, a fact made obvious when he asked me if I thought I'd had a happy childhood.

For those not in the know, my childhood was, in fact, pretty fabulous: two parents who loved me (and are still together no less), two siblings who loved me (even as they tortured my stuffed Snoopy doll), and an extended family that, if nothing else, knows how to have a good time. I had great friends, I got to travel, I had an unlimited supply of books, and I was never denied money for the snow cone man. What else could a kid have wanted?

Apparently, however, my dad feels he had to have done something wrong because, in his words: "I could have made you a Republican."

Hahahahahaha! I almost choked on my stromboli, I was laughing so hard at this thought. What was funnier is when I told him it wasn't for his lack of trying.

For the record, I, unlike my card-carrying-Republican-Party-member brother (imagine Alex. P. Keaton listening to George Jones and George Strait, and you've got a pretty accurate picture of Big Brother), I really have no party affiliation. I have, in fact, voted for number of Republicans in my voting life. There are several Republicans (living and dead) for which I have a great deal of respect. I admit that I am way more liberal on most matters than anyone else in my family, but I'm pretty sure that Democrats can be just as asinine as Republicans, so I try to listen to what politicians say and watch what they do instead of looking for a particular mascot on their shoulder. Seems logical, no? It never ceases to amaze me, though, how many political arguments around the dinner table stem from the simple fact that I won't fall in the party line.

Still, I figure that if my not being a Republican is the worst thing George did as a parent, he must have done a pretty good job. And, as he said once years ago: "Sometimes I think, "Dear God I raised a Democrat." But then I realize you're too independent and stubborn to join any party." Wonder how long it will take him to figure out where I get that stubborn streak from? :)