Like most kids, I lied a lot. My lies weren’t strictly for the fun of it, I had standards. Lies were reserved for making people happy, getting out of trouble or ensuring that justice was done. My ability for lying or “story telling” as my grandmother called it, was genetic, passed on from my very gifted father.
From a young age, it was clear to me that my father, while undeniably fabulous, was flawed. Dad was incredibly bright, seriously good looking, with a magnetic presence that attracted everyone. He was truly a gifted storyteller, who could weave a narrative that kept his audiences entertained and left them wanting more. Sadly, he drank too, never enough to completely ruin his life or ours, but enough to make it rough on everyone.
Once when I was ten, while retrieving Dad from the town bar, his gift was on full display. Dad was telling a story that I knew wasn’t true, as he spoke, his eyes punctuated every word. It was a whopper lie, nonetheless everyone was laughing and it seemed harmless to me. The regulars slapped Dad on the back as he finished and a pretty young woman approached – even I knew she was flirting with him – and whispered, “c’mon that can’t be true.” He smiled, steel blue eyes twinkling, “God’s honest truth,” he said while making the sign of the cross – and we weren’t Catholic. He caught a glimpse of me rolling my eyes, smiled and winked as if to say it was our secret.
Some say it takes a liar to know one, and Dad often called me the human lie-detector and would order me out when he had to tell Mom where he had been or what he done with his paycheck. It was my mother’s face that taught me how much lies can also hurt.
Years later, as Dad lay dying from lung cancer, I sat holding his hand while he slept, and wondered what I would do without him. He hadn’t been the best father, at times I hated him, hated that I was like him in any way. Yet I still adored him. Suddenly as if he knew my thoughts, he opened his eyes, motioned for me to come close, and softly asked “am I going to beat this thing, sweetie?” As I stared back, my love for this skilled liar took over and that 10-year old girl with a genetic gift did what came naturally, “you’re going to be fine Dad, God’s honest truth.” As I made the sign of the cross, he smiled and winked at me.
– Vicki Edwards Giambrone
Vicki Edwards Giambrone is a proud UD alum and a dedicated advocate for the children of our region. Currently she serves as managing partner at CBD Advisors, helping clients achieve their goals by successfully navigating issues, policy and politics.
Vicki S. Giambrone, FACHE, MPA
Managing Partner, CBD Advisors
4031 Colonel Glenn Highway Suite 201, Beavercreek, OH 45431