Father's Stories

Menstuff® has compiled stories and poems on the issue of fathers

IMPORTANT BOOKS

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COLUMNS

Mark Brandenburg

Ted Braude

Armin Brott

Tim Hartnett

John Hershey

Bruce Linton

Steven Svoboda

Linda Nielsen

Reena Sommer

Peter Baylies


Forgiving Our Fathers
The Peeing Tree - The First Masculine Ritual
Somebody Special
The Best Gifts
Do You Remember when You Were Three?
The Littlest Firefighter
The Miracle of a Brother's Song
"
Happy Father's Day, Dad!"
Honored
The Farmer
He Played the Game by the Rules, but Why?
Grandpa
A Good Name
Making a Difference - It's So Easy
Walk a Little Plainer
Stroll With Me...
Missing Children
Related Issues: Talking With Kids About Tough Issues, Adolescence, kidstuff, children,  fathers, fathers & sons, fathers & daughters, single fathers, military fathers and step fathers
Other related issues: circumcision, fraternities, gangs, hazing, sexuality-general, sexual harassment, tv violence.
Resources on families, gangs, parents, father's rights, urgent
Books on: children, circumcision, communication, divorce-general, families, fathers-general, fathers & stepfathers, fathers & daughers, fathers-single, fathers & sons, gay fathers or gay children, stepfathers, marriage, parenting-general, parenting-single, relationship, ritual-initiation, sexism, sex roles, sexuality-general, sexual harassment, gangs, abuse-boys, abuse-child, sexual-incest, abuse-ritual, abuse-sexual, violence-rape, violence-sexual
Slide Guide: Gangs, testices, stds, aids, safe dating.  

How Do We Forgive Our Fathers?

Dick Lourie*

How do we forgive our Fathers?
Maybe in a dream
Do we forgive our Fathers for leaving us too often or forever
when we were little?

Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage
or making us nervous
because there never seemed to be any rage there at all.

Do we forgive our Fathers for marrying or not marrying our Mothers?
For Divorcing or not divorcing our Mothers?

And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?
Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning
for shutting doors
for speaking through walls
or never speaking
or never being silent?

Do we forgive our Fathers in our age or in theirs
or their deaths
saying it to them or not saying it?

If we forgive our Fathers what is left?

* This poem was read during the closing credits of the incredible film "Smoke Signals". It was originally published in a longer version titled "Forgiving Our Fathers" in a book of poems titled Ghost Radio

The Peeing Tree - The First Masculine Ritual


From Kenneth F. Byers

When my first boy was an infant, I had a friend with a son about four. We lived in the same apartment complex which backed up to a golf course. Late one summer afternoon as I drove in from work, I happened to see my friend and his son walking across the open green expanse toward a huge old oak tree. I parked and watched them, thinking about the day when I could walk with my own son, and teach him of the world. When they reached the tree, each unzipped his pants and proceeded to urinate on the great old tree. When they finished they zipped up, chatted for a minute, then turned around and headed back across the fairway to their apartment. A day or two later when I happened to see my friend, I asked him about that incident. It was a beautiful story which I will share with you.

As a boy, my friend Bill did not have much physical or emotional contact with his father. The man worked a great deal and it was not the kind of job to which he could take Bill. So Bill watched his Dad disappear six mornings a week to some secret place, with great curiosity and not a little jealousy. His Dad worked very hard and when he got home it was his habit to have a quiet dinner and listen to the news on the radio, occasionally tuck Bill into bed and disappear again, to where Bill had no idea.

On Sundays dad would spend most of the day wrapped around the newspaper or sleeping or doing a little work around the house. The father didn't talk much to Bill, or anyone else for that matter, and by the time Bill was four or five, he had learned that dads were not very available for conversation. There was never much doubt in Bill's mind that his father loved him very much, but he could never seem to get the same kind of attention that mom gave him, and it bothered him. Wasn't he, after all, a man, just like his dad?

So, at around the age of seven, Bill decided that he needed to talk to his Dad. One bright summer Sunday, he approached the older man and asked why he never talked to anyone but mom. Bill asked if that meant his father was not happy, and if his unhappiness was Bill's fault. At this, his father stared at Bill for a few long moments and asked why Bill thought he might be unhappy. "Well," he remembered saying, "how can you be happy if you don't talk?" Slowly, the father took Bill's hand and walked with him in silence to a far corner of their yard. Here they stopped beneath a great old oak tree.

"Son," the big man said, "there is no greater happiness in the world than in this old tree. It does not have to talk to be happy. It's happy just being a tree." "But you are not a tree, you're my dad," said the boy." "Yes, but knowing that you are my son makes me just as happy as this tree." The boy thought about this for a moment, looking up into the full and inviting arms of the tree. "But Dad," he said eventually, "how do you know the tree is happy?" "Well", he said gently and with a rarely seen smile, "it just looks happy. We can tell by the great size and fullness and richness of its branches and by its strength." "Can I help the tree be happy?" asked the young one.

With this, the father thought for a moment. "I'll tell you what, Bill. I'll bet that if you give the tree a gift, it would be even happier than it is now." "What kind of a gift could we give a tree, dad?" "Well, the most important thing for a tree is water. Without water the tree would quickly die. Suppose you and I pee on this tree and give it the gift of water." "Oh yes," cried Bill, "let's do that. Let's do that."

After that day it was never very hard for Bill to find a way to talk to his father when something important was on his mind. He would just ask him to come pee on the tree with him. Bill does not recall his father ever refusing.

With the passing years and the life of his father, Bill forgot about the ritual. Life got complicated, he fell in love and was married and eventually had a son of his own. That afternoon, when I had seen the two of them at the old oak, the boy had asked his father a very serious question. He wanted to know the difference between boys and girls. Bill felt uncomfortable but hesitated to brush the query aside.

Suddenly, the memory of his father came to him and he took the boy into his first initiation. As they stood before the great oak, Bill told his son, "Well, son, I guess that we're all pretty much the same in most ways but the main difference between boys and girls is that girls can have babies, which is very nice..but boys can pee on trees." Sometimes the greatest wisdom is in the simplest answers.

©Copyright 1999, Kenneth F. Byers a personal coaching professional with a thirty year background in business, industry and therapy. He specializes in phone based Men's Life Coaching and also publishes a free e-mail letter titled Transitions, where this appeared. Request via e-mail at mekendar@pacbell.net or www.etropolis.com/coachken/

Somebody Special


A teenage boy lived alone with his father. The two of them had a very special relationship. Even though the son was always "warming the bench," his father was always in the stands cheering. He never missed a football game.

This young man was still the smallest of the class when he entered high school.

But his father continued to encourage him but also made it very clear that he did not have to play football if he didn't want to. But the young man loved football and decided to hang in there.

The son was determined to try his best at every practice, and perhaps he'd get to play when he became a senior.

All through high school he never missed a practice but still remained a bench warmer all four years. His faithful father always in the stands, always with words of encouragement for him.

When the young man went to college, he decided to try out for the football team as a "walk-on." Everyone was sure he could never make the cut, but he did. The coach admitted that he kept him on the roster because he always puts his heart and soul to every practice and, at the same time, provided the other members with the spirit and hustle they badly needed.

The news that he had survived the cut thrilled him so much that he rushed to the nearest phone and called his father. His father shared his excitement and was sent season tickets for all the college games.

This persistent young athlete never missed practice during his four years at college, but he never got to play in the game. It was the end of his senior football season, and as he trotted onto the practice field shortly before the big play-off game, the coach met him with a telegram.

The young man read the telegram and he became deathly silent. Swallowing hard, he mumbled to the coach, "My father died this morning. Is it all right if I miss practice today?" The coach put his arm gently around his shoulder and said, "Take the rest of the week off, son. And don't even plan to come back to the game on Saturday."

Saturday arrived, and the game was not going well. In the third quarter, when the team was ten points behind, a silent young man quietly slipped into the empty locker room and put on his football gear. As he ran onto the sidelines, the coach and his players were astounded to see their faithful teammate back so soon.

"Coach, please let me play. I've just got to play today," said the young man. The coach pretended not to hear him. There was no way he wanted his worst player in this close playoff game. But the young man persisted, and finally feeling sorry for the kid, the coach gave in.

"All right," he said, "you can go in." Before long, the coach, the players and everyone in the stands could not believe their eyes. This little unknown, who had never played before was doing everything right.

The opposing team could not stop him. He ran, he passed, blocked and tackled like a star. His team began to triumph. The score was soon tied.

In the closing seconds of the game, this kid intercepted a pass and ran all the way for the winning touchdown!

The fans broke loose. His teammates hoisted him onto their shoulders. Such cheering you've never heard!

Finally, after the stands had emptied and the team had showered and left the locker room, the coach noticed that the young man was sitting quietly in the corner all alone. The coach came to him and said, "Kid, I can't believe it. You were fantastic! Tell me what got into you? How did you do it?"

He looked at the coach, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Well, you knew my dad died, but did you know that my dad was blind?"

The young man swallowed hard and forced a smile, "Dad came to all my games, but today was the first time he could see me play, and I wanted to show him I could do it!"

So rememeber:

somebody is very proud of you.
somebody is thinking of you.
somebody is caring about you.
somebody misses you.
somebody wants to talk to you.
somebody wants to be with you.
somebody hopes you are not in trouble.
somebody is thankful for the support you have provided.
somebody wants to hold your hand.
somebody hopes everything turns out all right for you.
somebody wants you to be happy.
somebody want you to find him/her.
somebody wants to give you a gift.
somebody wants to hug you.
somebody thinks you ARE a gift.
somebody admires your strength.
somebody wants to protect you.
somebody can't wait to see you.somebody loves you for who you are.
somebody treasures your spirit.
somebody is glad that you are their friend.
somebody wants to get to know you better.
somebody wants to be near you.
somebody wants you to know they are there for you.
somebody would do anything for you.
somebody wants to share their dreams with you.
somebody is alive because of you.
somebody needs your support.
somebody will cry when they read this.
somebody needs you to have faith in them.
somebody trusts you.
somebody hears a song that reminds them of you.
somebody needs you to send this to them, too.

"To the whole world you might be just one person, but to one person you might be the whole world."

Do You Remember when You Were Three?


My son Canyon just said "Ya know dad. When you're 13 you only have to remember back 10 years to when you were 3. When you're 33, you have to remember back a long time to when you were 3." "So, what's up with that," I asked. "I liked being 3," he said. "But Canyon. You're only 8," I reminded him. "I know dad, so I only have to remember back 5 years."   Long pause. "Dad?"  "What Canyon." "Can you remember being 3?"  "No. No, I can't." "I hope I always remember." (Sanchez, 3/2/94)

The Farmer


His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. "I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life." "No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer.

At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel. "Is that your son?" the nobleman asked. "Yes," the farmer replied proudly. "I'll make you a deal. Let me take him and give him a good education. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll grow to a man you can be proud of." And that he did.

In time, Farmer Fleming's son graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the nobleman's son was stricken with pneumonia. What saved him? Penicillin. The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son's name, Winston Churchill.

Someone once said: What goes around comes around. Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching. It's National Friendship Week. Send this to everyone you consider a friend. Pass this on, and brighten someone's day. Nothing will happen if you do not decide to pass it along. The only thing that will happen, if you DO pass it on, is that someone might smile.

"Happy Father's Day, Dad!"


It was Sunday morning. The phone rang. "Is this Gordon Clay?" the operator said. "Yes" I replied. "You have a long-distance call from your daughter, will you accept?" "Of course," I replied.

"Happy Father's Day, Dad!" I heard from the other end. "Thanks, Nat." I said. "Sounds like you have a cold." "This is Jenny," the voice said. I'm confused. "Is this some kind of joke, Nat," I replied, figuring that it was. "No, my name is Jennifer Masters. It's taken me a long time to find you." Masters? I thought. I don't remember any Masters. Jenny continued, "Your name is Gordon Clay, isn't it? You lived in Kansas City, didn't you? You used to go to Barry's Barn dancing, didn't you?" The answers were yes. "Well, do you remember Sharon Masters?" Sharon Masters? I racked my brain, still in somewhat of a fog. "No, I'm sorry I don't." I replied. "You used to dance with her a lot. You even dated her for awhile. She's my mother."

Ring. Ring. Ring. I awaken from a deep sleep and pick up the phone. "Happy Father's Day, Dad!" I hear from the other end. "Thanks, Nat. What time is it, anyway?" "It's a little before 7 and I wanted to call you before we went wind-surfing. The wind's really blowing this morning and we thought we'd get an early start." We chatted for a while but not about the dream she had just woken me from.

I spent a disturbed Sunday working with my dream. What was it saying? The memories started to return. As a teen-ager, I used to go to the Barry's Barn all the time. There were always a lot of good-looking girls there and, being a good dancer, I got the chance to date many of them.

Then I was reminded of the many adults who had taken my "Healing the Father Wound®" workshop since 1986 had father's whom they never knew and the pain they went throught talking about it. Some were one-night stands. Some mothers choose never to tell the partner he had fathered a child and raised them or left them for adoption. Some had since located their fathers, but others never even knew their father's name. Some of their mothers hadn't either.

The pain began to grow within me. "Oh no," I thought. There was a girl I dated for a while. One night she wanted to leave the dance early and talk. I still don't remember much about that evening, but I do remember that she told me she was pregnant. Assuming, as I do now, that the child was mine, I think I asked if I could help. She said no, that she was going to leave school to have the baby. I remember feeling relieved at the time and subsequently tuned it out of my memory.

In one of my workshops, I remember thinking that one of these attendees might be that child, conceived back in the back of my father's car in 1959. I thought, if the child was carried to term and is still alive, they may be out their looking for me, having little more to go on that I do.

In 1994 I decided to give myself a "Father's Day" gift, a plane ticket home to start my search. If s/he didn't want to see me, that's okay. It's just very clear to me how important it was to make the effort to let this person know who their natural father is.

So, I dedicate this story to every man who has ever had sex out of wedlock and didn't get married. And to those who are still willing to create a child by having sex without protection.

There's no time like the present to think back through those active "two teen-agers' in lust" years. Maybe even your more recent years. Might there be someone out their looking for you, to fill in the missing pieces of their life? It's scary to think about, but the time has come to take responsibility and risk whatever the outcome. Are you willing to be responsible? I sure hope you'll join me on this venture and let your child know what kind of a person you've grown up to be! A man in the true sense, is one who is willing to face his own fear and be responsible for all of his actions.

Come Father's Day, you might just pick up the phone and hear "Happy Father's Day, Dad!" from a strange, new voice. What will you say? - Gordon Clay

See also books fathers-general, fathers&daughters, fathers-single, fathers&sons
 

Honored


"I have been honored being my father's son ever since I was a five-year-old schoolboy. He gave me his business card to carry, Kenneth W. Donelson, Attorney-at-Law. 'Keep it with you, just in case,' he would say. I left home at 17. Whenever we meet now, his form of goodbye is always the same. 'Do you have one of my cards?' I always smile as I say, 'Yes.' After 43 years, I am still a card-carrying member of this club of two." Richard Donelson, Austin, Texas. From The Best of Man: Selections from the First Three Years of MAN! Magazine, Sharon Adams, Editor

Grandpa


I wrote this letter shortly after I learned of my grandfather's death while I was serving in Panama, 7 Sep 1962. I hope, if your grandparentts are alive, that it will be a reminder not to wait too long to talk and ask your questions.

Dear Grandpa:

I am writing this last letter to a great man, leading father and influential grandfather. To someone, whom I think understood me more than grandmother, because she couldn't always comprehend my feelings and youth, and I often went off in a direction where few, if any, could understand. This would confuse grandmother. Grandfather understood much more, I think. And I feel, more than ever, that he understood a great deal more about me than I thought he did. Gramps, there were a lot of things that I had been planning, starting back at least a year ago. I remember how we used to drive around, while I was taking you to the bank, or for gas down on Broadway, or to Manor's or the laundry on Main or out on Troost. You used to tell me everything you knew about Kansas City and who lived in what house, when. All about everything that was anything and everybody who was anybody. Being young and carefree at the time and really caring less about the whole thing, I listened little to what you had to say. I had hoped to do three things when I came home in December. Number one was to take you downtown and get you the latest style suit, hat and coat in the latest fashion, and then just drive around Kansas City and let you tell me all about it, this time paying attention to your words with interest. Then we would go to church, and everybody would see grandfather and grandson going to church togehter, and I would sit up so proudly to be sitting by one of the eldest and most regular church members at Second. And then, when stockholders day came at Burler, the first one for me I remember so well, when the chairman got up and introduced both of us saying the oldest and the newest stockholders added to the Butler list, and there in that same place we would sit together. I had hoped that you would take up the brush again and tell me stories with it. I so enjoyed the opportunity to be your private critic. It made me proud. And then to have you role out the long scroll of the family line, and tell me where I came from and just how long the blood line was. All about the Scots, the English and the Germans. And when the two families of Clays came to the new land and one went South (the Henry's) and one went West (us). I had so much to learn over again, that I had heard so many times, that just didn't soak in. About Westport Landing, about the old days at Procter - where I well remember the annual bingo games, and then over to Luziers to visit your friends. Yes, there were a lot of things I wanted you to tell me, about the old civil war sword and the times Phil had building the boats. And for you to pick out a tune on your eight-string bango. There's only one other instrument that I would rather hear, one I hope to be able to play someday, and that is the Pipes. Then comes the bango - and of course, the parradiddle that you kept trying to teach me, and my hands just didn't quite have what yours so apply possessed.

Now, all I can say as I type this, literally with tears in my eyes, is that I hope that I can be just a small portion of the man of my father and grandfather. I see my father as a man of little fault and much tolerance. More than many know. If I can come anywhere close to the image of these two men, which have greatly instilled meaning in my evident characteristics, then I would indeed feel that I had accomplished the greatest task of human life, that of becoming a real man. And it all started with you, gramps. My good traits I attribute to the strong subliminal influences - not dictitorial - of my father and grandfather. My poor traits I attribute only to myself and my own weaknesses. I've lead a good life, while in Panama, and I know that that is true only because of my grandparents, and parential guidance. People who had faith in me in my blunderings. It has been a healthy time for me here; physically, mentally and spiritually and I'm sure that it would not have been this way, had it not been for them.

Few people, I believe, can state and truly mean, that their grandfather had left such an important mark and impression on their lives, and great meaning in their soul. Few people could say that either of their grandparents had instilled great things in their grandchild's mind and thoughts, but I am truly one who can without the slightest doubt.

I think I can say it well in the words of Carlyle, from Cromwell's Letters and Speeches. "Without oblivion, there is no remembrance possible. When both oblivion and memory are wise, when the general soul of man is clear, melodious, true, there may come a modern (Kliad at) memorial of the Past."  I hope my recollections continue with me so as to help guide the path of my life down the right path and live up to the achievements that will have long been forgotten by many, but not me, of my grandfather.

Good bye, and God bless you always,

Your Grandson, W. Gordon Clay

Note: The ( ) I could not decifer nor could I find the reference. However, I think you get the point. Don't wait til September 10, Grandparents Day, to remember them. To walk and talk with them, if it's possible. You'll never know what you missed if you don't. A Book

Making a Difference - It's So Easy


At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the school's students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question.

"Everything God does is done with perfection. Yet, my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as the children do. Where is God's plan reflected in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued.

"I believe," the father answered, "that when God brings a child like Shay into the world, an opportunity to realize the Divine Plan presents itself. And it comes in the way people treat that child."

Then, he told the following story:

Shay and I walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they will let me play?"

Shay's father knew that most boys would not want him on their team. But the father understood that if his son were allowed to play it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates.

Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We are losing by six runs, and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but as still behind by three. At the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield.

Although no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base. Shay was scheduled to be the next at bat.

Would the team actually let Shay bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps closer to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman.

Everyone started yelling, "Shay, run to first. Run to first." Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" By the time Shay was rounding first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman for a tag. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions had been, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head.

Shay ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home. As Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third!" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay! Run home!" Shay ran home, stepped on the plate and was cheered as the hero, for hitting a "grand slam" and winning the game for the team.

"That day," said the father softly, with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of the Divine Plan into this world."

And now, a footnote to the story. We all send thousands of jokes through e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages regarding life choices, people think twice about sharing. The crude, the vulgar, and sometimes the obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of decency is too often suppressed in school and the workplace. If you are thinking about forwarding this message, you are probably thinking about which people on your address list aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. We believe that we can all make a difference.

We all have thousands of opportunities a day to help realize Spirit's plan. So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a spark of the Divine? Or do we pass up that opportunity, and leave the world a bit colder in the process?

You have two choices now:

1. Copy this on your cliip board and forward it to the people you care about, or

2. Continue surfing the web.

You know the choice we made. Thank you for reading this. And, have a great day!!!!!!!!

A Good Name


Story No 1

World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier.

Reluctantly he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold. A squadron of Japanese bombers were speeding their way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor, could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.

There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch weaved in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until finally all his ammunition was spent.

Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to at least clip off a wing or tail, in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly. He was desperate to do anything he could to keep them from reaching the American ships. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.

Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had destroyed five enemy bombers. That was on February 20, 1942, and for that action he became the Navy's first Ace of WWII and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. A year later he was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of that heroic action die. And today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man. So the next time your in O'Hare visit his memorial with his statue and Medal of Honor. It is located between terminal 1 and 2.

Story No 2:

Some years earlier there was a man in Chicago called Easy Eddie. At that time, Al Capone virtually owned the city. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. His exploits were anything but praiseworthy. He was, however, notorious for enmeshing the city of Chicago in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Easy Eddie was Capone's lawyer and for a good reason. He was very good! In fact, his skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big; Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago city block. Yes, Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddy did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddy saw to it that his young son had the best of everything; clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Yes, Eddie tried to teach his son to rise above his own sordid life. He wanted him to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things that Eddie couldn't give his son. Two things that Eddie sacrificed to the Capone mob that he could not pass on to his beloved son: a good name and a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Offering his son a good name was far more important than all the riches he could lavish on him. He had to rectify all the wrong that he had done. He would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Scar-face Al Capone. He would try to clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this he must testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. But more than anything, he wanted to be an example to his son. He wanted to do his best to make restoration and hopefully have a good name to leave his son. So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street. He had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer at the greatest price he would ever pay.

What do these two stories have to do with one another? Well, you see, Butch O'Hare was Easy Eddie's son.

Stroll With Me...


Stroll with me.... close your eyes.... and go back... before the Internet ...before bombings, aids, herpes ...before semiautomatics and crack... before SEGA or Super Nintendo... way back! I'm talking about sitting on the curb, sitting on the stoop...about hide-and-go-seek; Simon says and red-light-green-light. Lunch boxes with a thermos ... chocolate milk, going home for lunch, penny candy from the store, hopscotch, butterscotch, skates with keys, jacks and Cracker Jacks, hula hoops and sunflower seeds, wax lips and mustaches, Mary Jane's, saddle shoes and Coke bottles with the names of cities on the bottom.

Remember when it took five minutes for the TV to warm up. When nearly everyone's Mom was at home, when the kids arrived home from school. When nobody owned a purebred dog. When a quarter was a decent allowance. When you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny. When your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces.

Remember running through the sprinkler, Mickey Mouse Club, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Kookla, Fran and Ollie, Spin and Marty...Dick Clark's American Bandstand ... all in black and white and your Dad made you turn it off when a storm came. When around the corner seemed far away, and going downtown seemed like going somewhere. Climbing trees, making forts, backyard shows, lemonade stands, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, staring at clouds, jumping on the bed, pillow fights, angel hair on the Christmas tree, Jackie Gleason, walking to the movie theater, running till you were out of breath, laughing so hard that your stomach hurt... remember that?

Not stepping on a crack or you'd break your mother's back ... paper-chains at Christmas, silhouettes of Lincoln and Washington, the smells of school, of paste and Evening in Paris.

What about the girl who dotted her i's with hearts? (that was before that stupid smiley face)! The Stroll, popcorn balls and sock hops?

Remember when there were just two types of sneakers for girls and boys -Keds and PF Flyers, and the only time you wore them at school was for gym. And the girls had those ugly gym uniforms. When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking -- all for free -- every time!

And, you didn't pay for air, either, and you got trading stamps to boot!

When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box. When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents. When the worst thing you could do at school was flunk a test or chew gum. And the prom was in the gym or the lunchroom and you danced to a real orchestra. When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed -- and did! When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home.

Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, or gangs. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat!

But we survived because their love was so much greater than the threat.

Remember when a '57 Chevy was everyone's dream car -- used to cruise, peel out, lay rubber, scratch off or watch the submarine races?

When people went steady; and girls wore a class ring with an inch of wrapped Band-Aids, dental floss, or yarn coated with pastel-frost nail polish so it would fit their finger.

When no one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the car and house doors were never locked!

Remember lying on your back on the grass with your friends and saying things like "That cloud looks like a..." And playing baseball with no adults needed to enforce the rules of the game.

Remember when stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals, because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger.

And, with all our progress, don't you just wish, that just once you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace...and share it with the children of today?

So send this to someone who can still remember Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Dowdy and The Peanut Gallery, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, The Shadow Knows, Nellie Belle, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk... As well as the sound of a real mower on Saturday morning, and Summers filled with bike rides, baseball games, bowling, visits to the pool... and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar from the palm of your hand.

There, didn't that feel good? Just to lean back and say: "Yeah...I remember...." memory

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The worst misfortune that can happen to an ordinary man is to have an extraordinary father. - Austin O'Malley



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