Firing from the Lip

A collection of thoughts, stories, tall tales, half truths and opinions from the Heartland of America.

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Location: Missouri, United States

An irreverent but loving grandfather of five and father of three, I enjoy writing of family, love, life, and the never ending fascination of it all.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Take It Like A Man!

My sons couldn't have been more different. Todd, the eldest, was a quiet, studious kid who played trombone in several bands in high school. I was very proud of his talents as a musician, and when work permitted, I loved listening to him play with the symphonic, jazz, or marching bands. He was a committed student and I never worried about him getting good grades and staying out of trouble.
If Todd was a calm sea, Adam was a tidal wave.
A big, strong, rambunctious kid, Adam thought just about any problem could be solved with the appropriate application of brute force. He played varsity football, starting as the left offensive tackle, and seemed to take it as a personal insult that any opposing player would dare attempt sacking his quarterback. In class, he was everything Todd wasn't. If Adam needed a 75 to pass, I think he stayed up late figuring out how to get 75.1. He drove me crazy, and I loved him to death.
When the boys were in their early teens they began to settle their differences the hard way. I called it knuckle and skull diplomacy. Their mother had little patience for such negotiations, but I knew they didn't really want to hurt each other. They were just two little bulls in the same pasture.
Pulling into the drive one afternoon after a miserably hot day at work, I was met by my wife on the deck. She told me not to sit down, but to go upstairs and see what my two little angels had done to my wall. I found a large hole in Adam's bedroom wall and after looking it over, I went downstairs to discuss it with the boys. I let them know that fighting inside the house wasn't going to happen, and to drive the lesson home they were going to pay for the repairs, and my wages for fixing the damage. Since I love them, I gave them the cut rate of ten dollars an hour, and planned on taking my time repairing the wall. Their faces fell as they mentally calculated what this would do to their meager cash reserves. Warning them not to take it any further, I sent them upstairs to sit on their beds and reflect on a better way to settle their differences.
When I got back from the lumber yard, I found Vickie chuckling as she fixed supper. I asked what was so funny? She told me when the boys had walked past her on the way upstairs, they were talking about how much money this might cost? She said Adam looked at Todd and, sounding disappointed, said, this wouldn't have happened, if you'd stood there and took it like a man.
My sons are gone now. Todd is a federal corrections officer, Adam is a United States Marine, they're both good men, and I'm very proud of both of them. Sometimes, when the house is quiet I can almost hear their voices from those long ago days, and it makes me sad that they're grown.


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