Waiting on Dad


Throwing rocks at puppies is probably not a good idea. Throwing rocks at puppies when you are standing by a large window is definitely not a good idea. I looked up at the window and surveyed the damage. It didn’t shatter the glass, only made a rock-sized hole. Oh, yeah, and a noise. Oh, and one more thing: my mom was in that room.

So I did what any guilty, rock-throwing, panicking eight-year-old would do. I ran. That was mistake number one. I ran to the back corner of the house, took a hard right, to the front corner, and then headed straight for the front door.

By this time I had a plan: get inside the house so quickly that my mom would not suspect that I had anything to do with the broken window. That was mistake number two. If she had been eight years old like me, I probably could have fooled her. But she wasn’t eight, she was . . . older . . . and smarter. Somehow she knew that I was coming in the front door and there she was, drying a plate, and looking me over.
She asked, “What was that noise?”

Looking as innocent as any guilty, rock-throwing, panicking, panting eight year old could, I remembered George Washington and the cherry tree. George told his dad the truth and things worked out. But I was no George Washington, and this was not my dad. So I decided to try a different strategy–I wiggled around the question. “What noise?” I asked. Mistake number three.

She didn’t take the bait. She simply said, “Go sit on the couch and wait for your daddy to come home.” No pirate walking the plank could have felt more dread than I did. I walked to the couch and sat down, knowing it would be the last time I might sit down for a while. I said nothing. I sat in silence. I aged ten years in that few minutes. In my own little mind, I was spanked a thousand times. I thought, I prayed.

Then I heard the car coming down the driveway, gravel crunching under the tires. I heard dad shut the car door. I heard his footfalls on the steps, and then he entered the house.

The spirit of George Washington came upon me, and I threw myself on the mercy of the court, crying and confessing in a torrent of words and tears all mixed in with snuffles and sobs, “Puppies . . . rock . . . window . . . scared . . .  ran . . . mom . . . couch. I’m sorry; don’t spank me.”

Surprisingly, he didn’t . . . spank me, that is. He listened, he understood. He called it an accident.

He was just.

I loved him; I respected him.

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