WITandWISDOM™ - E-zine

Prior Date Back to Archive Index Next Date

WIT & WISDOM - October 29, 1998

~~~~~~~ THOUGHTS:

The better part of one's life consists of his friendships. - Abraham Lincoln [1]


Alone in the wheel of light at the dining room table, surrounded by an otherwise darkened house, I sat in tears.

inally, I'd succeeded in getting both kids to bed. A relatively new single parent, I had to be both Mommy and Daddy to my two little children. I got them both washed, accompanied by shrieks of delight, crazy running around, laughing and throwing things. More or less calmed down, they lay in their beds as I gave each the prescribed five minutes of back rubs. Then I took up my guitar and began the nighttime ritual of folk songs, ending with "All the Pretty Little Horses," both kids' favorite. I sang it over and over, gradually reducing the tempo and the volume until they seemed fully engaged in sleep.

A recently divorced man with full custody of his children, I was determined to give them as normal and stable a home life as possible. I put on a happy face for them. I kept their activities as close to how they had always been as I could. This nightly ritual was just as it had always been with the exception that their mother was now missing. There, I had done it again; another night successfully concluded.

I had risen slowly, gingerly, trying to avoid making even the least sound which might start them up again, asking for more songs and more stories. I tiptoed out of their room, closed the door part way, and went downstairs.

Sitting at the dining room table, I slumped in my chair, aware that this was the first time since I came home from work that I'd been able to just sit down. I had cooked and served and encouraged two little ones to eat. I had done the dishes while responding to their many requests for attention. I helped my oldest with her second grade homework and appreciated my youngest's drawings and oohed over his elaborate construction of Lego blocks. The bath, the stories, the backrubs, the singing and now, at long last, a brief moment for myself. The silence was a relief, for the moment.

Then it all crowded in on me: the fatigue, the weight of the responsibility, the worry about bills I wasn't sure I could pay that month. The endless details of running a house. Only a short time before, I'd been married and had a partner to share these chores, these bills, these worries.

And loneliness. I felt as though I were at the bottom of a great sea of loneliness. It all came together and I was at once lost, overwhelmed. Unexpected, convulsive sobs overtook me. I sat there, silently sobbing.

Just then, a pair of little arms went around my middle and a little face peered up at me. looked down into my five-year-old son's sympathetic face.

I was embarrassed to be seen crying by my son. "I'm sorry, Ethan, I didn't know you were still awake. "I don't know why it is, but so many people apologize when they cry and I was no exception. "I didn't mean to cry. I'm sorry. I'm just a little sad tonight."

"It's okay, Daddy. It's okay to cry, you're just a person."

I can't express how happy he made me, this little boy, who in the wisdom of innocence, gave me permission to cry. He seemed to be saying that I didn't have to always be strong, that it was occasionally possible to allow myself to feel weak and let out my feelings.

He crept into my lap and we hugged and talked for a while, and I took him back up to his bed and tucked him in. Somehow, it was possible for me to get to sleep that night, too. Thank you, my son.

By Hanoch McCarty from A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Copyright 1997 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Hanoch McCarty & Meladee McCarty [2]

~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the outer office of the President of Harvard University.

The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge. She frowned. "We want to see the president," the man said softly. "He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped. "We'll wait," the lady replied.

For hours, the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn't. And the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted to do. "Maybe if they just see you for a few minutes, they'll leave," she told him. And he signed in exasperation and nodded.

Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, but he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office. The president, stern-faced with dignity, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told him, "We had a son that attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. And my husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus." The president wasn't touched; he was shocked.

"Madam," he said gruffly, "We can't put up a statue for every person who attended rvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery."

"Oh, no," the lady explained quickly, "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, "A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical plant at Harvard." For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. He could get rid of them now.

And the lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it costs to start a University? Why don't we just start our own?" Her husband nodded.

The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.

And Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California, where they established the University that bears their name, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about. [3]


I took Allison to the doctor for her 2-year-old check. They had her do coordination tests, like stacking blocks, and they watch and see if they walk properly. And then the doctor said, "Allison, can you stand on one foot for me?" And she walked over and stood on his foot. [4]

~~~~~~~ TRIVIA:

The days of banning left-handedness are not quite over. In the sport of polo, it is illegal to play left-handed. The reason may be for safety's sake, because the horses are trained to expect the mallet to be swung on the right side. Doing so on the left side may spook them.- Calgary Sun, September 10, 1998 [5]


[1] (Charles Powell via DailyQuote c1997 )
[2] (Chicken Soup for the Soul )
[3] (R. Braxton Hagele, sclark, Mike Gibbens, Scott Smith)
[4] (Ken Morland via Fast Eddie's Funnies )
[5] (Mavis Weatherhead)

WITandWISDOM™ Copyright © 1998-2001 by Richard G. Wimer - All Rights Reserved
Any questions, comments or suggestions may be sent to Richard G. Wimer.