Monday, November 14, 2005

Mom and Dad

I'm my parent's first-born and came into their world exactly nine months after their wedding. They were only babies themselves at 21 and 23 years old; they never got to experience their marriage, much less their youth by the time I came along.
I have to admit, I am one lucky guy. Even though my parents divorced when I was ten and, yes, there are some wounds that are a part of my life, I am so fortunate to have parents have always loved me. Without a doubt. They're also smart, highly educated, extremely supportive, and really, are just very appealing people to be around. (They're also very fortunate to have an adult son that can admit these things about them, too)

But I remember two examples when my parents really came through for me that I'll never forget. Get ready for a Hallmark Moment, folks . . .

I was nine years old. We were strict Southern Baptists and never participated in the Roman Catholic ritual of "Bingo." Nooo! For that was placing fate outside the hands of God. Besides, Catholics did it, so that really solidified it as evil. But the Jaycees were having a Bingo fundraiser that didn't involve money, but prizes instead. Dad explained to me how to play my card and also warned me, most importantly, not to get my hopes up! At one point, it was a "kids only" round and several kid's prizes were placed on the stage. Boom! There it was! This incredibly cute kid-sized wooden picnic table. I knew I could win it. God!! How I wanted that picnic table!. . . .
B-9 . . . got it.
I-19. . . got it.!
N-27 . . Oh, I got it!!
G-38 . . Hey, I got it!! . . .I'm gonna get this picnic table . . . .
. . . Then from across the hall, some fat Mexican kid yelled BINGO! (who had probably been bingo-ing at the Catholic church since the first grade).
I sat there, stunned, looking down at my Bingo card while the fat kid's father carted away my little picnic table. . . Yes! Bingo really was an evil game invented by the Catholics! My Baptist-minister Dad had really let me learn my lesson. . .

Two weeks later, I wandered in from school and Dad suggested I check on things in the back yard. Thinking that my beagle, Snoopy, had escaped once again, I slid the glass door open in back of the kitchen . . .

I couldn't believe my eyes!! There was my picnic table!! It was a perfect replica of the one back at the evil Bingo hall. It was even the same color as the other one!
But there was one big difference . . . which was that my Dad had spent the previous two weeks building it himself for me without my knowledge. I just couldn't believe it.
God, I knew then that I had the most amazing Dad in the world.

Needless to say, this one was much better than the one I'd lost at Bingo.

High School . . . I auditioned and made District choir along with two altos from my high school. Then at Regional auditions, I was the only one from my high school to make the cut. I was going to get to sing with twenty other tenors in a choir of eighty people the next spring after attending choir-camp! I'd never sung with any other choir members at all! My high school choir only consisted of a dozen underclassmen female outcasts singing soprano and alto, along with three football jocks who were being banished to the choir as punishment, and myself, a French horn-playing tenor.
Regional choir rehersals began in February and were 80 miles away from my home town. Since I was the only member representing my high school and since I was now eighteen and had my own car, (a little bitty Honda Civic) I got special permission to drive myself to-and-from rehersals each day. Each night I would come home just going nuts over how exhilarating it was to be singing tenor with eighty other choir members. Our concert was in two weeks, and god, I wanted someone to hear me sing this glorious music!
Mom was so busy raising two teen-aged boys as well as teaching in our public school. She explained to me that there was just no way she could get away and drive a hundred miles on the night of our concert. Besides, the auditorium where the concert was taking place was in a suburb of Houston. Mom was a single mother and had no idea how to find some obscure concert hall in the suburbs of Houston. I understood that, and the thought of my mom driving so far to the suburbs of Houston really scared me anyway. . .

. . . The curtains opened. There we were, eighty of the finest high school singers in South Texas. I was standing so proudly amongst the other forty tenors and basses. The stage lights were blinding me but just before the director held up his baton, I heard a cough from the audience . . . wait! . . That's my MOM'S cough!. . . I broke out in a huge grin and heard the same cough as confirmation. I coughed back and she reciprocated. WOW!! My mom was here! She made it somehow and drove all this way! Between each song, my mom would cough from the audience just to confirm that she was there.
And it was the best performace of my life.

I know that there are countless other things that my parents have done for me that go unnoticed by their son.

Aren't my folks just the greatest?


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