Gut Rumbles
 

April 17, 2008

My boy

Originally published May 28, 2003

A fellow at work who was my maintenance planner for more than five years stopped me in the plant today. I really like John and respect his work ethic a lot. He said, "I met your most excellent son yesterday." John is 60 years old and he lives in Rincon, not far down the road from me.

"My son?" I asked.

"Yeah, I was in Wal-Mart and ran onto Jennifer. She had Quinton with her and I was really impressed with your boy. He's about as polite as any young man his age that I've ever seen. Hell, Rob, he's a good-looking boy, too."

I laughed and said, "Yeah, he is, John. And he's already smarter than you and I put together."

"I don't doubt it," John replied. "Next time you see him, tell him Mr. John said hello."

I'll do that, and Quinton will remember who "Mr. John" is. My boy is that way. He's always been pretty easy to handle, but I believe that he learned the lesson of minding mom and dad from an early age. We never moved any breakables, or put up with any shit out of him when he was in the curious, crawling stage of life. We taught him the meaning of the word "NO!"

He had to learn the hard way, like most kids do when they learn that word, because he got his hand smacked a lot. But he finally understood that Jennifer and I BOTH were serious and that pain would follow an episode of deafness when the "NO!" word was spoken. The truth is, he picked up on the concept pretty rapidly.

In his really formative years, we lived on the mini-farm, where he was free to run the dirt roads and the woods with his friends. He learned quickly then that no matter where he went, one of the neighbors was watching, and the neighbor would tell on the whole bunch of that roundhouse gang if they fucked up. He learned not to do it, because unpleasant consequences always followed.

I believe that I spanked my boy twice in his life. He deserved both, and I delivered on a promise both times. "If you do that again, I'm going to spank your butt." He did it again, and I spanked him. Twice. After that, never no more.

Yeah, I have a fine son. I am very proud of my boy and I miss him a lot. I see him four days every month now, and that's just not right.

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