Skip to main content

Joe

We drive home; groceries spill out of bags; wipers slap raindrops and Kirk Douglas is on stage remembering his father in Before I Forget. He talks slowly, fighting stroke-impaired muscles to transfer thought to voice. (Here I paraphrase.) "My father wasn't around much when I was a boy," he says. "When we moved, he chose not to come along. But once, when I was five, I was in a play and my dad came to see me. He didn't say anything about my performance but after the show was over, he bought me an ice cream cone and that, that was my Oscar."

The wipers slap, a spearmint plant slides off the front seat and I calculate the years. Ninety-two minus five. Eighty-seven years. Eighty-seven years later Kirk Douglas remembers the one time he knew he mattered to his dad. I drive by the Gas and Go where the men loiter with bottles wrapped in paper bags. I drive through the section of town where men sit on porches. All day they sit, play cards. I drive past the school where a long line of women wait to pick up children after work and take those children home to a fatherless house. Dads are a rare breed in my little town.

I remembered these things this weekend when we went to see Joe.

Photobucket

Joe is a friend and a father to three. His wife left but Joe stayed and now he raises these three children on his own. He has a good job, he just earned his MBA but these things are not the things that impress. Joe and I left the kids with Stuart and took Joe's truck to make a pizza run after he gave his stick-to-the-plan child (Plan A was barbeque) a heads up about Plan B. I stood in the driveway waiting while he shuffled art projects, Barbies and sports equipment out of my seat. His car looks like mine. He cooked bacon and eggs for breakfast. When his daughter's hair slid out of her ponytail, he fixed it. He brushed yellow tufts from the shedding dog and called to the speedy pianist in the next room, "Slow down. You're not supposed to rush through that piece." He refereed turn taking with the Wii. His house is filled with children's art taped to the walls and photos on the fridge. It feels homey at Joe's house.

Photobucket

We drove away Sunday afternoon while Joe herded his kids into the house for a quick rest before a game of golf. It is good to know that there are still men in this world who are do not rage against becoming an adult, who choose to be selfless. I smiled the whole way home comforted with the knowledge that Joe's kids will not have to make do with the memory of a single ice cream cone.

Comments

What a beautiful tribute to the love of a father. It's good to know that in spite of the sterotype, there really are men who are selfless and perfectly capable of raising children, our husbands being two of them.

Xandra
Mama JJ said…
That is so encouraging. We hear so many stories of the other (the first part)---we need to hear more of this type. Thanks.
ocean mommy said…
So powerful. May God pour out blessing on that man.
Alana said…
If only there were more guys like Joe. I pray God's blessing on him!

Popular posts from this blog

Spelling Wisdom

One day while skipping around the internet, I came across these:




And when I clicked on the sample, I knew we had to change spelling curriculums. Again. Goodbye Spelling Power and MacMillan and Sequential Spelling! We've found our true love.

The problem with the afore mentioned curricula is sheer boredom. Memorizing lists of words is mind numbing and as my children don't like their school work to lull them to sleep, they often push spelling to the side in favor of more exciting lessons.

When I found Spelling Wisdom, I realized what has been missing: an idea, something to engage the mind so that learning the difference between than and then occurs almost incidentally.

Sandra Shaffer uses the writings of famous men and women (Helen Keller, Beethoven, Winston Churchill...), Bible passages and quotes from quality literature...poems and novels (Robinson Crusoe, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, All the World's a Stage...) to teach more than six thousand frequently used word…

This Week

This week, I let a kindergarten kid play with my iPhone to coax him into the tutoring classroom.  I set up a plan for dealing with this ongoing issue and consulted with his mama.  She’s a tough one to get to know, his mama, but I try.
This week, I promised two little boys I would pick them up on Friday and take them to my house.
This week, on a crazy afternoon, a granny asked me for alcohol and I thought.  I wish!I could use a swig.  But that's not what she meant.  She was looking for rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to take care of an injured kid.  A few months ago, we were awkward because we didn't know each other but now the awkwardness is gone and I can’t help but hug her every time I see her. I love that granny. 
This week, I dropped off a little girl and shook hands with her father.  His hand was dry, he had a tattoo on his neck and he's just fresh from jail.  He asked how his daughter was doing in class and they both basked in the rain of praise.
This week, a …

Mr. Morse and Mr. Gilbreth

Stuart rang this morning, "Have you seen the Google homepage yet?"

We had. John did a little Gollum dance in front of the computer to let us know. "Come quick! Hurry!"



Morse code. The kids all joined John in his little Gollum dance to celebrate their new favorite form of communication.

We read Cheaper by the Dozen a few years ago when the little ones were too little so, my chore time pep talks, "Frank Gilbreth would roll over in his grave if he saw you clearing that table one plate at a time," only generated blank stares. Finally, after Mr. Gilbreth came up for the twentieth time Faith got curious. "WHO is Frank Gilbreth and WHY do you keep talking about him?"

Out came Cheaper by the Dozen . We rolled our way through the chapters, holding our sides. A story of a motion study pioneer who practiced his techniques on himself and his supersized family with hilarious results. A born teacher, a man who made the most of his time. We were spellbound. When w…