Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Father and Sons

(Inspired by Matthew 21:28-32)

©Linda Goodman, November 2013

My father was sixty-five years old when his mother passed away in 1970. She left to him the heavy chifferobe (a combination armoire/chest of drawers) that his father had made by hand.

Daddy was glad to be offered this piece, as he loved his father and admired his handiwork. The piece was much too heavy and bulky, however, for my father to move by himself. Besides that, my grandmother’s cabin was 10 hours away in Wise, Virginia, and Daddy did not drive.

He did have two sons, though, and each of them had a pickup truck. He called Allen, his younger son, and asked him for his help. “My sister Nell is going to be at Mama’s house two weeks from Saturday, Daddy explained. “ That’s the only day that someone will be there to let me in. Will you take me to get that chifferobe and help me bring it back?”

“Sorry, Pop,” Allen answered. “The World series begins that day. The Baltimore Orioles are playing the Cincinnati Reds. You know I can’t miss that game.” The Baltimore Orioles were his favorite team.

Daddy understood. He was a big fan of the Orioles, too. So he said good bye to Allen and called his oldest son, Lee, whom he asked the same question. “Sure, Pop,” Lee answered without hesitation.  “I’ll be glad to go with you and bring that chifferobe back.”

I am sure that Lee meant well, but he was the happy-go-lucky type who made promises easily, but did not keep track of them. Within a week he forgot all about Daddy and the chifferobe and, excited about the World Series, he decided to have a World Series hotdog cookout party. He invited all his friends and neighbors. He also invited Allen.

“Say What!” Allen exclaimed. “Didn’t you tell Daddy that you would take him to pick up that Chifferobe in Wise that Saturday?”

“Shucks! I forgot all about that.” Lee reflected. “Oh, well, I’m sure Daddy will understand. He knows that the Baltimore Orioles are my favorite team. I’ll call him right now.”

“Never mind, “Allen told him. “I’ll call Daddy and tell him. I need to talk to him any way.”

On Saturday, October 15, at 4:00 a.m., my Daddy stood on the front porch of his apartment building waiting for his son to pick him up and drive him to Wise. As the truck pulled up to the curb, Daddy was surprised to see Allen, not Lee, behind the wheel.

“What are you doing here, Allen?” Daddy asked. “I thought you were going to watch the World series.”

“Yep, I was, Pop,” Allen grinned. “But then I decided that I’ve seen plenty of Orioles games.  I’ve never had my father to myself for an entire day before, though.  How could I pass that up?”

Daddy laughed and slapped Allen on the back as he got into the truck.

Daddy talked about that trip until the day he died in August 1987. Memories of that trip brought a smile to his face whenever he thought of them. I am pretty sure that they made Allen smile, too.
          Years after Daddy was gone, Lee told me that he would give anything to have that day back. Unlike Allen, he would never have his father to himself for an entire day.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Mel. I hope the story helped you learn more about your grandfather and your uncles.

    2. Good stories like this one are a lot more memorable than most sermons!
      Thanks, Linda.

    3. It touched my heart.

    4. Glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for reading. Daddy would be happy to know his story touched your heart.

  2. This was one of those "I wish" moments that many of us have...thanks for sharing this one. Sometimes, I feel like that "gonna do" person. I want to be that "done-a" person these days.

    1. I really like that phrase - I want to be a "done-a" person, too.

    2. Lovely, poignant story. A beautiful tale that shares the true meaning of family. Thank you Linda.

    3. Thanks for reading, Karen. I think it is amazing that, in hindsight, I can see that my family truly was wonderful. Too bad I did not always appreciate its unique simplicity.

  3. Thanks for the story, Linda. It makes me think of the time I had my father to myself for a whole day in 1964, and makes me wonder what will happen to the armoire I made for my daughter.

    Something is missing from the story, though. What has happened to the chifferobe that your grandfather made by hand, now that your father is gone?

    1. My brother Allen has it in his house, Jacob. It is one of his most prized possessions.