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Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Proud Poppa

By Jerry Rasmussen who blogs at Thoughts on Faith

Few things fill a father’s heart with pride as much as when he sees his children treating others lovingly. His chest bursts with pride and he says to himself, “That’s my son!” This was one of those occasions.

On the surface, there was nothing unusual about having dinner at my parent’s home with my two sons. For most families, that’s a commonplace experience. For us, it was a long awaited chance for our family to be together. Living a thousand miles away and not being able to bring my sons home before, made this an evening to remember.

Earlier that day, I had taken my sons Gideon and Aaron out shopping and Aaron had asked if I’d buy him a can of Hubba Bubba soda. From the start, it sounded like a bad idea. At the time, Hubba Bubba was the most popular brand of bubblegum but the thought of pink, artificially-sweetened, carbonated, bubble gum-flavored soda was enough to kill my appetite.

But, we were on vacation and what’s a vacation for if you don’t try things that you don’t do every day back home.

When we sat down for dinner, the chilled can of Hubba Bubba soda was placed next to Aaron’s dish and as soon as grace was said, he popped the can and took a swig of the soda. I could see from the expression on his face that my suspicions about the wisdom of bubblegum flavored soda were right. It was all that Aaron could do not to spit it out. The soda went down his throat kicking and screaming.

“Yuck! This stuff is TERRIBLE!” Aaron exclaimed setting the can down emphatically on the table. “There’s no way I’m going drink any more of this!”

“You should always finish anything that is served to you at the table” my father advised.

My father took pride in being willing to eat anything, and I know he was raised not to waste food. So was I. The reality was that while my father might be willing to eat anything, he didn’t like 90 percent of everyday dishes and he’d let you know about it. He was strictly a fried meat and potatoes man, with a side dish of vegetables from the garden.

Without missing a step, Aaron asked, “Why don’t you taste it, Grandpa?” And the gauntlet was flung.

When my father reached over to take the can of Hubba Bubba, the table went silent. All eyes were on him as he lifted the can to his lips and took a sip of the soda. It took all of my father’s willpower to swallow a mouthful of the soda and the face he made betrayed his attempt to make it look like he was enjoying the drink.

Without saying a word, he sat the can on the table. After a moment’s pause, Aaron asked the question that we all wanted to ask. “How do you like it, Grandpa?”

There was no hint of disrespect or sarcasm in Aaron’s voice.

“It’s good,” said my father without much enthusiasm. And we continued on with our meal.

After dinner, with the can sitting untouched on the table, I asked the boys to help clear the table and help me do the dishes. The can of Hubba Bubba soda was unceremoniously dumped down the kitchen sink without a word from anyone. It was still almost full, with only two sips gone, but no one suggested putting it in the refrigerator. We loved my father too much to do that.

The thing that really pleased me was the respectful restraint my sons showed. They could have made it difficult for my father by saying, “Come on, Grandpa! You started drinking that soda and you said that when you started something at the table, you should finish it.”

I was a very proud Poppa at that moment. They allowed my father to save face without challenging him. When I was their age, I wouldn’t have been so gracious.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I would have been proud, too.

A sweet remembrance--good to see you here again.

Jerry, be proud of your words that show a moving picture of your son.

A very sweet story. Thanks

Very sensitive and intelligent young men you raised. I'd be proud, too. Thank you for sharing your story.

Thanks, Cile. I read your post on Elephant Revival on your blog, but didn't have the time to register with google to comment. You can hear my music at http://www.jrasmussen.net. Prairie Mountain... if I had a group, that's what I'd name it.

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