Saturday, June 26, 2010

Father's Day - Part 2

(Continued from June 19, 2010) ........

15) The dad, a long-time computer guy long before computers found their way in to homes, told the son to get a computer, because he would need it for everything in life within a few yeas. The son reused. The dad then showed up at the son’s work one day with a huge computer – paid for by the dad. The son used it for years before upgrading a few times – the dad was right!

16) The son, for many years questioning the wisdom of his father, later in life learned that the dad was far beyond his years in wisdom. Interestingly, the same scenario is unfolding with the son’s children many years later.

17) In the son’s neighborhood, ALL boys owned a BB gun. One day the son, an expert marksman in his own right (at least that's his story!), fired a shot at a garbage can – a normal occurrence. The dad was on the other side of the can and the shot scared the dad. The BB gun was instantly retired on that day!

18) In later life, after the dad was making a very good living, the dad told the son that there had been times during which the family had not been able to afford shoes for the two kids. Funny, the kids always had new shoes and everything else that they needed. The son never knew that funds were low when he was a little kid.

19) When the son bought a new front door for his own home, the dad asked the son how he would install it and he offered to help. The son declined the offer for help. On the next day, while the son was struggling with the directions, the dad showed up and installed the door. He just knew.

20) The son, watching his dad’s health get weaker with the job, watched his father’s face light up when he held the son’s baby daughter – moments that the son will never forget!

21) In the dad’s final summer, the dad and son bonded again while completing home projects together at the dad’s (and mom’s) house.

22) When funds were quite low (although the son did not know this), the dad took out a loan to purchase a brand new Buddy Rich drumset for his son – the exact drumset that the son had always wanted! 35 years later, the son still owns this drumset; it is still in perfect condition; and the son’s son uses it now, too. Oh, and the son used the drumset to put himself through college and make a few extra bucks for married life.

23) Played catch almost every single day after work during the son’s formative years - this gave the son needed confidence to excel at baseball.

24) Coached the son in bowling – the son later went on to win the highest average in the league award several times, mostly because the dad showed a great interest in his son’s weekly battle with the lanes.

25) The dad, knowing that he was going to die in the hospital, refused to tell the son that he was even ill, so that the son would not worry; so that the son would keep working and not take time off; and so that the son would not see his dad in a suddenly frail state. However, at the moment of death, the son, 25 miles away and not knowing that his dad was ill, knew that he had just lost a friend, a huge supporter, and his dad all at once.

O.K., with all of that unselfish fatherly love bestowed upon a son, you might think that the young man might become spoiled!! Well, ..... I don’t know ..... do you think that I’m spoiled????

That’s right! Those 25 items describe my own dad, but they only scratch the surface!

To the best father in the world – THANK YOU, DAD! I REALLY MISS YOU! If my kids someday consider me to be as great a parent as you – my life's mission will be completed. Thank you for the lessons on being a great parent!

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day - Part 1

Well, tomorrow is Father’s Day, the day on which tons of neckties and books are liberally given to dads all over the land! So, what are 25 of the top one million things that a father can do for his son (the son who will someday be a dad)? Well, spread over the next two weeks, here they are:

1) Coached his son’s T-Ball team when the child was only 7-years-old and encouraged and coached him while the son went 33-34 at the plate, after following his dad’s advice to hit everything toward 3rd base, because nobody at that age could fire the ball to first base in time to get the kid out!

2) Managed his son’s baseball teams at age 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, and 14. Had to miss managing the 10-year-old season due to a work commitment in another state – a season that the father and son always regretted

3) Always expected more from his son in practice and games than he expected from the other boys. While the son felt somewhat pressured, he credits his dad’s driving him with his making the all-star team as the shortstop!

4) After the son continued to believe that the father was “too tough” on him in practice and in games, the dad agreed to step down as his son’s manager for the first time.

5) In one of his first games with somebody other than his father as the manager, the kid, now 15-years-old, pitched the 2nd no-hitter of his career. After the game, the son was barely able to get his father’s attention. The kid’s feelings were hurt. Later, after asking the dad for the reason behind the blow off, the kid learned that the dad had been near tears and would have broken down in front of everybody had the two spoken right after the game.

6) After refusing to get the kid another dog (the first two dogs had passed away within months of coming into the home), the father, after being away for 10 weeks and missing his son’s 10-year-old baseball season, allowed the son to get another dog – a magnificent collie who would become a buddy to the father and son.

7) After the magnificent collie passed away years later and after the son moved out and got married, the father got another collie.

8) After watching his son make two egregious mistakes in a basketball game in front of about a thousand people, the dad used the next morning to berate his child for his poor play and for embarrassing the family and the team. While the son thought that this treatment was harsh at the time, the son later realized that the ‘chewing out” had awakened him toward a quest for excellence in all that he did.

9) The dad wore a suit to work every single day – a trend that the son had decided to follow for his own career.

10) Although he had resisted purchasing a swimming pool for his children, the father eventually gave in; bought a pool; and the whole family used it as a gathering place for family fun for years.

11) Refused to let his son swim on game days until after the game, because the pros did not swim on game days.

12) Early on told the son that he would be going to college and he would earn at least one degree. There would be no discussing the matter. Nobody was more proud than the dad when the son walked across the stage to receive his B.A.

13) Demanded that the son perform regular tasks around the house, i.e., taking put the garbage, shoveling snow, etc. However, when the son started taking care of the lawn on days of 95 degrees, the dad told the son to slow down and not work so hard - apparently the dad believed that his years-long message had gotten through too well!

14) Even though the two had a breakdown in communication during the son’s final year of college, mostly due to the father’s stress at work, the dad later became a nightly visitor at the apartment of his son and new bride.

(Please come back next Saturday for the conclusion of the Father's Day Top 25!)

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, June 12, 2010

No More Squirt Guns! Pt.3

(Continued from June 5, 2010).... Take care of it? TAKE CARE OF IT?!?!? Well, can you imagine the amount of oil, gasoline, fire, and a few boxes of matches that the dad envisioned Robert throwing on the dispute? This fine 8-year-old, known for starting disputes, was going to end one? That was not his normal pattern of behavior (or so the parents told me!).

The dad asked Robert to repeat what he had just said. Robert said, “Don’t worry, dad. Just go back in your room and get dressed. I’ll take care of this”. With that, Robert continued down his path to the exploding bathroom. OH NO! Nothing about this sounded or looked good, as the loud arguing was still continuing between Kathy and Bill!

The dad told Robert to walk back to him. Robert, upon retreating to the dad, seemed to be holding his left arm (the arm away from the dad) in an awkward manner. The dad asked Robert what was wrong with his arm. Robert then revealed that he been carrying A FULLY LOADED RIFLE-STYLE SQUIRT GUN DOWN BY HIS SIDE, you know, the kind of toy that is JUST PERFECT for solving disputes as two people are fixing their hair before school!

Yes, ol’ Robert had planned to enter the bathroom, hose off his younger brother and older sister just moments before they had to leave the house for school and as they were fixing their hair, and CALM THEM DOWN?!?!?

Ah, yes, Robert must have concluded, a couple of gallons of gasoline should put out that fire! And, if it exploded into a larger fire? Well, 8-year-old Robert was counting on it for his enhanced morning entertainment!

While one can certainly give Robert credit for quickly designing a scheme that would produce his desired results in large quantities, one certainly had to question the overall wisdom of the plan. As you might have guessed, yes, his delay into the fray was caused by him having to go to the garage, get a squirt gun (the LARGE one, of course!), fill it with water, and scoot upstairs, all while trying to sneak past the parents! Ah yes, a carefully crafted plan that almost worked to perfection!

But, alas, the parents, who had previously purchased that squirt gun (and other squirt guns, as well) for use at the beach and in the backyard, quickly decided that perhaps their purchases were not the smartest transactions that they had ever made.

Before going to work, the dad confiscated Robert’s AK-47 (or at least it seemed like one!), as well as all of the squirt guns from the garage, and hid them in a place where no one could find them. In the future, they were only brought out for use at the beach and in the backyard upon mutual agreement by all parties. After each use, the dad locked them way.

Robert? Well, he eventually cooled off on his love of controversy involving other people and actually got along quite well with his older sister (in fact, he later came to rely on her for just about everything at school) and his younger brother (to this day, they continue to make music together and try to solve all of the world’s political issues!). As far as Kathy and Bill, they have never had another similar argument since that one exciting morning!

But, had Robert been successful with his method of “stopping” the dispute between Kathy and Bill with an early morning splash, it is possible that the resulting yelling matches would still be heard around the world today!

Yes, "NO MORE SQUIRT GUNS" quickly became the mantra and we, uh, I mean the parents, could not be happier!

So, how about you? Any near-disasters that turned out to be quite humorous? Let me know!

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, June 5, 2010

No More Squirt Guns! Pt.2

(Continued from May 29, 2010) ...... Now, again, Kathy and Bill always found quick and easy solutions to any grievances that might have occurred between them, with each attempting to please the other. Robert, of course, took pleasure in having his siblings air their grievances with him all over the house!

So, whatever occurred in front of that mirror on that beautiful school morning, Kathy and Bill exploded into a shouting match aimed at each other! Their parents, getting themselves ready for work in another room, stopped and looked at each other and just listened in shock, as "water and water" verbally and loudly lashed out at each other. One would have never thought that the day of Kathy and Bill arguing over anything, much less engaging in blood curdling screams on an otherwise normal and almost perfect school morning in the home, would ever occur!

The parents shook their heads and chuckled a bit, as the idea of their two kids (previously joined at the hip and only 5 and 11 years old) arguing like the world might end actually seemed a bit cute to them .... at first!

However, the arguing did not stop as soon as it should have for the parents’ pleasure. They jointly decided that it was time to investigate the dispute, have them shake hands or hug, and get over it, even though it was the first mutual dispute of their lives!

Just as the dad was leaving his room to walk down the hallway to the bathroom, Robert was briskly walking up the stairs, hurried past the dad, and announced that he was going to take care of the situation! Actually, the parents were a little surprised that Robert had taken this long to join in the fray. This seemed like the type of scenario for which Robert lived – disputes, arguments, somebody other than him ticked off …. Ah, the perfect scenario made for Robert!

(Please come back next Saturday for the 3rd and final part).

Paul W. Reeves