“No, Dan, I really am going to have to pass this time. I promised my wife I would have the garage clean this weekend. She is having a garage sale next week and it looks like something exploded in there. I’m going to have to leave the clubs in the trunk this weekend. I’ll have to take a rain check. Maybe next time I can join you.”
Mitch hung up is cell phone and smiled at his boy, Jessie. Jessie was ten. His wheels were turning. The next morning when Mitch drove away, Jessie stood and watched him go out of sight. As soon and the car was gone, Jessie went to work.
He spent most of the day emptying out the garage, sweeping the floor, throwing away trash, organizing things, and returning everything neatly to it’s place. He worked strait through lunch. It was a very impressive job.
When he finished he went to get his mother. When she saw what he had done without being asked she was shocked and delighted. Jessie said, “It’s my Father’s Day gift to dad. I can’t wait to see the look on his face when he gets home. I heard him say he was not going to be able to golf Saturday morning because he had to clean the garage. Now he will be able to go. I didn’t have any money to buy him anything for Father’s Day so I cleaned the garage.”
That evening at five Jessie closed the garage door and rode his bike around in the street in front of the house watching for his Dad to drive in from work. By five-thirty he had still not come home. At six his mother called him in to eat.
“Jessie, your Dad called. He is going to eat on the way home. He had to stay a little late. You haven’t had anything to eat today. Why don’t you wash up come in?”
Jessie laid his bike down and ran in to eat. He was in a hurry. He didn’t want to miss seeing the look on his Dad’s face when he saw the work he had done in the garage. Toward the end of his meal he heard a loud impatient horn sounding in the drive. He ran for the door. Out in the drive was his dad with a scowl on his face.
“Jessie, get this bike out of the way. How many times do I have to tell you not to leave your bike in the driveway? Answer me. How many times?” Jessie’s shoulders dropped the light fled from his eyes.
“Put it away son. You know where it goes.”
Jessie started to answer.
“No excuses, son. No excuses. I don’t want to hear it. Put the bike away and wash up for supper. I’m sure your mother is waiting.”
Jessie quietly moved his bike into the clean garage.
I am happy to tell you this little story is pure fiction fabricated in my mind but it is true to life for many children every day. I never want it to be true of any of mine. That is why I pray: “Father in Heaven, Help me to carefully gather all the facts before I move to judgment, especially with those who are so very dear to me. Amen.”
Riverfront Character Inn
June 8, 2005