BY: Marc McMahon
Dad, I was wondering if maybe after school today we could sit down and talk. Like maybe Dad we could barbeque dinner and put it on paper plates. Ya Dad, and we can set up the tent out back and pretend like we are camping, and, and, and, DDDDaaaad, could we sleep in the tent too? The boy stutters.
Jim just getting in the door from a long day at the pit. it’s actually the Kaleetan Steel Foundry about 3 miles down the block. The plant sits on property that dead ends the road stopping right at the banks of the Sahale River. It’s the second largest foundry in the state, and that’s saying a lot because there are seven Foundries here in all, 3 total just in our town. Same place Jim’s brother works at, and where their Father retired from as well.
I tell you what, Jim replies. Since it’s a school night for you and a work night for me. How about we set up the tent, barbeque our dinner, then just you and me will go in the tent and have dinner and talk. How does that sound? Ok, Dad, and Dad, can we share secrets too?
Sure, buddy, we can share secrets, let me go hop in the shower first. How about you run in the kitchen and help your mom with sweeping the floor like you always like to do. Ok Dad, oh daddy, one more thing. Whats that kiddo Jim says now from halfway up the stairs. I love you, daddy, I love you too son, now go help your mom.
Mommy, yes Tyler what is it? Daddy said to come in here and help you and that I’m Supposed to sweep the floor for you o.k. Mom? Sure, grab the broom and the dustpan out of the closet and you can sweep. Now make sure you do a good job Tyler, remember what Mommy always say’s. Yes, I will mommy cause you said if I can’t give it my all, don’t give it at all.
Yes! Very good sweetie. If you don’t remember any other lesson I have taught you, dear, remember that one and you will save yourself a whole lot of grief. What’s grief, Mommy? Mmmm, remember last year when Grandpa died and you felt really sad that he was gone?
Uh huh, that feeling of sadness, of missing your Grandpa and wanting him back, that is called grief Tyler. Oh, and so when I was all done being sad then I was no-longer griefing Mommy? It’s grieving Tye she says with a smile, but yes, you are exactly right. What grade are you in now? Tyler holds up all his fingers on his left hand and 3 on his right and proudly displays them to his mother. This many grades Mommy. That’s close son, your eight years old that is correct, good job Tye, now let’s get the floor swept before Daddy gets out of the shower. Ok, Mommy.
All finished sweeping Mommy, great job Tye, thank you very much, you are such a hard worker son, I know Mommy. Daddy say’s I’m the best, do you think I’m the bestest Mommy? No son I don’t, I think your the double bestest son in the whole wide world Tyler. Ya Mommy, I’m the double bestest ever!
Tyler, run in the kitchen and tell your mom we need the picnic plates and the plastic silverware cause our dinner is done. And Tye, grab the Tobassco Sauce for me too, ok daddy, but Tabrasko Saussee is gggrrroossss daddy. I know son just grab it so we can go in the tent and eat please bud.
Daddy, I like this new tent its big in here Daddy. Yes, it is son I am glad you like it now eat buddy. I’m not hungry Daddy. What? Jim replied. Then how come you asked me to barbeque and eat in the tent? Cause I wanted to share secrets Daddy and we only share secrets when we eat in the tent right Dad? Ok, I got ya, yes we have only done secrets before when we have eaten in the tent, but son we can do secrets any time you need to talk all you have to do is ask and I will drop what I am doing to talk with you.
What’s troubling you son? The kids at school are being mean to me Daddy. Billy and his older brother Victor, they said that they heard their Dad and Mr. Johnson next door talking about how you are a drug addict Daddy and that you are a bad person who lies to people and does bad things. They don’t think its good to let Billy and Victor come over and play any more daddy.
As Jim carefully thinks out his reply, little Tyler crawls up between his Dad’s legs and rest his head on one of his Dad’s thighs while his two arms wrap as far as their little parts can stretch to hug his fathers waist. Daddy? Well, son, I have been expecting this conversation but I figured we would have it when you were about 15 not 8 years old but no better time like the present.
To answer your first question son, no not everybody lies, as a matter of fact, buddy I would say that most people are honest, caring, and respectable. But there was a period of time in my life son where your friends Dad is right I was not a very good person. It was a time in my life son when I had experimented with some drugs just for fun with my friends but the thing was son the drugs made me sick.
They made you not feel good daddy? They made me sick son like to where I could not stop doing them even though they were ruining my life. Even though they were stealing from me everything I ever loved Son, including you. Daddy drugs are mean then huh if they did that to you? Yes, buddy, you could say that drugs are very mean, and selfish they only care about themselves, nobody else.
As little Tyler, face still planted on his Dad’s thigh, arms clinging to each side of his Daddy’s waist, begins to cry. What’s wrong Tye Jim say’s as he slowly sits the boy upon his knee. Drugs are mean Daddy and I don’t want them to take you away from me again Dad like you said they did before. I don’t want them to make you a bad man again dad. Daddy, I like you just the way you are, please Daddy don’t go, please!
As tears begin to run down Jim’s cheeks and the boy visibly upset as well, he picks his son up and gives him the longest hug of his life. Oh, buddy, you don’t have to worry about that anymore Ok, I promise. Your Daddy went to the Doctor for a month and got it so he wasn’t sick anymore, so you never have to worry about me being taken from you again son.
Promise, Daddy. Jim pauses, and with a deep sigh and the thought that there is no way he can guarantee his sobriety replies, you bet buddy, I promise!
About the Author: Marc is a 48-year-old Author, Speaker, and Soldier in a war to loosen the grasp that Substance Abuse has on our society. He is a Father, Son, and friend to all those seeking refuge from this incorrigible disease. Marc resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where he enjoys, writing, hiking, and kicking the disease of addiction in the teeth, every chance he gets. As Marc always likes to say, “be blessed, my friends!”