My great-nephew, age seventeen, wrote me a letter last week.

It was an English assignment.

He inquired about my health, my dog and my horses. The second paragraph stated that his team won the first game of the season, 34-7. He signed off, “Yours truly, Starting Fullback.

Did I mention that he’s named after me?

The Sunday after I received that letter, I substituted for the priest in a neighboring town. I parked my truck in front of a house near the church. In the driveway stood a car with “Go Tigers!” painted on the window.

For a moment, I felt like a proud dad in a small town where sports are king. But then, something caught my eye: the garage door in front of the “Go Tigers” car was completely smashed in!
So much for romanticizing parenthood.

When I walked into the sacristy at the church, I asked the deacon if he had noticed the damaged garage door down the street.

He smiled. “Yep.”

“That door’s ruined,” I said.


“Who lives there?”

“The Baptist preacher and his family.”

We laughed. I set my vestment bag on the counter. “I hope the congregation covers his insurance.”

The deacon winced. “He’s got three teenagers.”

“You speak from experience?”

He nodded and we laughed again.

I heard exasperation beneath his chuckle. And he probably heard the relief in mine.

10 / 16 / 2023
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