Monday, December 27, 2010

I remember right after I got out of the Army and got home to my parents

house. It was a pretty good reunion, as I remember.

A few days before I left home again to embark on my newest adventure I was sitting on my duff in the living room  mulling my future over. I was in my twenties and contemplating doing two things.

First, I was going to spend a year in a tipi to follow a childhood dream. I was going to spend it in a part of the Rockies where the Native Americans knew better than to winter. I was also going to  try and couple it with going to school in my GI bill. I had no real concrete place to camp, and I figured I would wind up bing somewaht of a nomad in the national forest.

It was a pretty good chunk to have to figure out and bolt down.

I was a recently discharged GI and instead of being fed by Uncle Sam I knew I'd have to shift for myself, and keep ahead of the park people and go to school at the same time. I had no job. About all I really DID have was faith in myself.

Anyway, I was sitting on my ass letting countlesslittle thoughts spin through my head and oncein a while, I'd reach up and snatch a thought and run it through. It was a brief period of contemplation and it started getting on my fathers nerves.

He asked what I was doing and I told him I was thinking about my future and school  and mundane things like as to whether I would freeze to death during the upcoming winter.

He nodded and walked out.

A while later he returned and looked somewhat worried about me and asked a few questions. We chatted and I could see that my pensive mood was bothering him. I hadn't been like this before I had left for the service.

He left and I resumed my thoughts.

A few minutes later, he returned and started in onme about the fact that I was just sitting there. I asked him what I ought to do and he quickly snapped at me.

"Do something, even if it's wrong." he barked.

I looked up at him and calmly picked up an ash tray and threw it through the window.

He was livid, and yet there I was serenely.

"What was that all about?" he shouted.

"You told me to do something even if it was wrong," I answered, calmly.

At this point his temper was pretty hot, and I knew the best thing I could do is stay seated. If I got to my feet it very well could have come to blows and I knew there was no way I wanted to fight up my father. I was in prime shape and it would be a mess. We were not only father and son, but special friends and I think we both didn't want to go that route.

"Well, that was wrong!" ge said in an anger filled voice.

"No, dad, it was the right thing to do," I said, calmly. "Now we both have something to do."

"What do you mean by that?" he demanded.

""You always told me that I don't think before I act, I said. "A hitch in the Army taught me to plan ahead and that is what I am doing. Instead of working with my body, I am working with my mind. I'm doing something. You, on the other hand need something to do. Now you have a window to fix."

His face told me he was livid. Suddenly I saw it slowly morph. His brows furrowed and his lips pursed and the anger turned into thought which turned to embarrassment.

"You're right," he said."I AM the one that needs something to do."

He left the room and I saw him go outside to the broken window and measure the size of the pane. He returned. He still looked a little embarrassed, but he was smiling.

Let's go to the Welch Company," he said. "We'll have one together at the Grog Shop."

We got the pane of glass and had a beer at the Grog Shop. We actually had two or three and we discussed my future, the tipi, school and a few other things over the beers and then we started home.

We drove off in silence, and enjoyed each other's company.

"You know," he said, "It's kind on nice having a son who isn't a boy anymore. I guess it just takes some getting used to."

We went home and while he fixed a window, I sat in the living room with my college catalog trying to figure out what class load I was going to be able to handle having been out of the classroom for so long.

Later over dinner, my mom noticed the bonds between father and son had grown, but for one of the few times in her life, she kept quiet.

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