Daddy’s Christmas Carol Part 1

(With apologies to Dickens)

Stave 1: Farley’s Ghost

Everything was in place for Christmas morning. Wife was going to bed. I wanted to finish my drink before following her. There wasn’t much left, so I wouldn’t be long. I sat on the couch admiring the tree and all of its ornate glory. The decorations on the bottom of the tree came from The Boy, who was the smallest of the family and could only reach so high. Ornaments were hung here and there, almost haphazardly. Anyone who met The Boy wouldn’t be surprised by this display of roughshod decorating.

A Christmas tree with ornament and garland.

I took my last sip of Holiday Cheer. I needed to get to bed. It was after midnight. It wouldn’t be long before wife and I would be met with the giddy screams of children who live for nothing else but to ruin our peaceful slumber. Children who would come crashing into our bedroom and use our bed for some type of trampoline or gymnastics mat. I stood up and made my way to the Christmas tree. I turned it off. I was about to leave the room and head upstairs when I saw a car pull up to my house and stop with a lurch. It was an old car whose door creaked open and a silhouetted figure stepped out of the car. I couldn’t make out the person but I had an eerie feeling they could see me in the dark room and they knew I could see them.

๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ„

The figure made its way up my driveway. As it came closer to my house, the tree lights somehow turned back on. They were dim at first but got brighter with every step the figure took towards my house. I couldn’t move. I stood there looking out the window, unable to take my eyes off of it as if it was silently commanding me to watch him.

A man looking around after he thought he heard something.
Sitting by myself. I thought I heard something.

Soon it was at my doorstep. It’s arms didn’t move, but I could see the door unlocking, like Wife had installed one of those early-adopter apps she likes to use and she was using such a thing to remotely lock and unlock doors. The door opened and the figure I saw leaving its car and approaching my house presented itself to me. It was a ghostly figure in the form of a man.

“Who are you?” I asked him, or it, not even sure he could understand me.

“Ask me who I was,” he answered.

“Okay,” I said. “Who you was?”

“In life, I was your high school teacher, Jack Farley.”

Mr. Farley? I remembered him. He was my Psychology teacher in senior year. I remembered hearing he had passed away years ago. I was tired, but he just got here and I didn’t want to be rude.

“What brings you here, Mr. Farley?” I asked him.

“It is required of every teacher that they should walk the earth and see that the students they taught are doing well with their lives,” Mr. Farley said. “That they are leading good lives and setting good examples for the children they raise and the children they meet.

“I’ve been out of high school for over twenty five years, and you decide to look in on me now?” I asked.

“You weren’t my only student,” Mr. Farley reminded me. “I have other students to check on and it’s not like they gave me a new car to do this.”

I looked outside. I could see the outlines of Mr. Farley’s car. It looked well-used when I was in high school, and that was a long time ago.

“Well,” I said, “I can tell you that I have five children under this roof. Each and every one of them could use a dope slap every now and then, but for the most part, I think Wife and I have them on the straight and narrow. Look, Mr. Farley, I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s getting late and my kids, especially The Boy are going to be up long before the sun with tomorrow being Christmas, and all. I appreciate you looking in on me. Things are going alright for us. I can tell you I’m doing well and things are good.”

That wasn’t good enough for Mr. Farley. I could tell by the look on his face he had more to tell me. Honestly, I was hoping he would save it for another day (a day. Like daylight when I was up and awake and didn’t need to go to sleep) and let me go upstairs to bed.

“Tonight, you will be visited by three ghosts,” he said.

“Tonight?” I asked. “Halloween was two months ago. Why do I need to see ghosts tonight?”

“Expect the first tonight when the bell tolls one.”

We were really doing this. I could see it didn’t matter to Farley how tired I was or what I had going on tomorrow.

“Bell tolls?” I asked him. “Look, Hemingway, we don’t exactly toll bells around here. Even phones ‘ringing’ don’t sound like ringing bells anymore. No bell, no tolling, no ghosts. Sorry Mr. Marley – I mean – Farley, but this house isn’t going to be able to accommodate that.

๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ”•๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ”•๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ”•๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ”•๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ”•๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ”•๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ”•๐Ÿ””๐Ÿ”•

Expect the second when the bell tolls two.

Again with the bell tolling. What is it with this guy – ghost?

“The third will visit when the bell tolls three.”

“One, two, three,” I said. “Simple enough.”

“I tried to keep it simple for you, Gregory. Math wasn’t your strong suit.”

“Gregory?” I asked. “And when did you become a math teacher?”

He wasn’t listening. He had already turned and walked through the door. At least I didn’t have to worry about him closing it, like I do with my kids. He walked down the driveway. The lights on the tree dimmed with each step he took toward his car. He looked at me one last time as he opened the door and got in. I’m wondering when and why he chooses to open some doors and walk through others. His car started and drove off. I stood there alone in the dark room, trying to figure out if what I thought I had witnessed had actually happened. Whether or not it did, it was a good enough reason for me to pour a quick one and process the supernatural events that had occurred. Once again, it had happened with no one else around, so if I decided to tell Wife about it. She would just tell me that I had interesting stories. My kids might believe me. Then again, they might not.

Next: The Ghost of Daddy Past

A fireplace with garland hanging on the mantle over it. There is an elf next to it in front of the tools.

My Child’s Version of the Day they were Born

With all of the debate at my house, my child wanted to set the record straight about the day they were born.

My child saw what I had written about the day they were born and they felt the need to straighten some things out when it came to that day. I didn’t think that was necessary, but they insisted on lending their opinion on the events of that magical day.

So, first I already know my dad is lying because I know I was born the day after Thanksgiving and my mom was in labor for 50 hours, so they would have been in the hospital since 1 a.m. that morning and MY MOM seems to have a different story and they don’t go to my aunt and uncles for Thanksgiving.

Brave Daddy here. We did go to my brother’s and his wife’s for Thanksgiving until they moved.

Plus, I have relatives to back my story up and I have asked my dad if am adopted and he says no.

My children seem to think I can be a little different when it comes to things I say and do. I don’t know where they get this. Seems unfounded to me. Anyways, there always seems to be some different recollections when it comes to that magical Thanksgiving and for some reason, they always seem to come up around Thanksgiving.

He was in the room, so he knows I wasn’t adopted. Well I disagree. (Being adopted is not a bad thing)

My child didn’t want any of their adopted siblings to thing Wife and I loved them any less because they were adopted, so they put that last part in there.

The point is, some people in this house seem to remember the day differently. Whatever happened, and we all know who told the REAL version here, Wife and I were happy to be parents. In fact, you could say we were thankful (see what I did there?) What ever you’re thankful for, enjoy it. Happy Thanksgiving.

A Very Special Thanksgiving ๐Ÿฆƒ

There are some disagreements as to exactly what and when things happened, but you, a loyal reader are very, VERY well aware of the truthfulness and accuracy of the stories and events recorded and shared.

This week is an exciting time for my family and I’m sure it is for your family as well. This is the time we all come together to visit loved ones or loved ones come to visit us. This is the time we all come together to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is an especially memorable time for me and Wife because it is the first time we became parents. There was one particular Thanksgiving that will always have a special place in our hearts. There are some disagreements as to exactly what and when things happened, but you, a loyal reader, are very, VERY well aware of the truthfulness and accuracy of the stories and events recorded and shared. Because of this, you know of the historical accuracy of the tale I am about to impart.

It was a quiet Thursday morning for me and Wife. We were planning to go to my brother’s house that day. The DVR was set up to record a football game. Wife and I were seated in the living room sipping our coffees. My coffee had a little something tasty in it. A little Amaretto or Bailey’s for flavor on this leisurely morning where no one needed to go to work and it would be hours before we would need to be at my brother’s.

There was one particular Thanksgiving that will always have a special place in our hearts.

The time finally came to hit the road. We drove to my brother and his wife’s house. There we saw relatives and loved ones. We chatted and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres. Some rooms had people sitting around talking. One room had the television on where people were getting ready to watch the football game. Wife and I made our rounds and said hello to our hosts and their various guests. Everyone knew Wife was pregnant and, if they didn’t, I think they figured it out when they saw her. Wife found a seat and rested herself. People made their way to where she was sitting and wished her a Happy Thanksgiving. Everyone wanted to know how she was doing. Would she like anything? Could they get anything for her?

People continued to talk. I divided my time and attention between the game and conversation. Then, not long after we began talking, we were called into the dining room. It was a beautiful room, elegantly decorated. The table was beautifully set with various side dishes: stuffing, vegetables, cranberry sauce, a variety of potato dishes. In one area of the table was a large bare spot. Very large.

Everything was in place. Everyone was in place. We were all ready to eat. But first, we had to give thanks for the bounty we were about to receive. After all, it was Thanksgiving.

After giving thanks, we passed sides to and fro. The turkey was carved. Wife and I passed sides to those next to us and around us. People passed sides to us. I was fortunate enough to get a drumstick, my favorite part of the turkey.

My plate was made. I was ready to go. I’ll never forget that drumstick. It was next to the mashed potatoes, which had gravy on it. The gravy was running down the potatoes and ran towards the drumstick. The tip of the drumstick had a little gravy on it. Just a little. Just enough to add a little more flavor.

I took the drumstick in my hands and brought it to my mouth. I was about to take a bite of the crispy drumstick with just a little gravy on it. I could smell the delicious aroma of the bird. I was about to take a bite when I felt something on my arm. It was Wife tapping me and saying, “I think we need to go to the hospital.”

And so we did. We said goodbye to our hosts and our fellow guests and we drove to the hospital, where we later said hello to our first child. This is the true, irrefutable story of how Wife and I first became parents. It happened on Thanksgiving. It was an exciting time, and it all happened just as you read it.

This week is an exciting time for my family,

and I’m sure it is for your family.

โ€ฆ and we were thankful.
Continue reading “A Very Special Thanksgiving ๐Ÿฆƒ”

Busy Parents and Exciting Times

This week was another exciting, action-packed week for yours truly and the family. There was one particular day…

Thereโ€™s never a dull moment with this house or this familyโ€ฆ or this neighborhood.

A neighborhood cul-de-sac.
Never a dull moment in
our idyllic enclave.

This week was another exciting, action-packed week for yours truly and the family. There was one particular day where I had a little more than my usual excitement. I got a phone call from my father, who told me he was meeting a friend for lunch and lunch just happened to be in this very bustling metropolis I call home. It just so happened that my mother had no plans on Wednesday, the day of the lunch, so she decided to accompany him to my house where we would make our own plans.

Heated Arm Rests and a Leaf Blower

My mother and I found a place for lunch, then went back to my house, where Dad was waiting for us. We drove to school to surprise The Boy and The Oppressed. We got to school, and they were surprised and so was I. My parents had bought a new car a couple of months ago and I got to ride in it for the first time. The arm rests were heated. I never knew such a technology existed. There were other fabulous amenities to this car, but my mind couldn’t get past the heated arm rests.

My nephew called. He was in the yard and having trouble with the leaf blower. I asked if the rake was broken too.

While we were driving to the school my nephew called my father. Nephew was doing some work in the yard and was having trouble with the leaf blower. Dad tried to walk him through it. He told him to try a couple of things. If the advice didn’t work, he could just forget about it and my dad would take a look at things when he got home. After Nephew hung up, I asked if the rake was broken too. My dad just shrugged.

We went back home where Lovie, Slick, and Slugger had returned from their day of learning and enrichment. Mom and Dad said hello and chatted briefly before starting their trek back home. After they left, I needed to give Slick a ride to work and get groceries for dinner. I then got The Oppressed, who wanted to check out a book at a local store (God bless her heart).

Neighbors to the Rescue

A small pile of leaves in a puddle in the street gutter.
A seemingly harmless part of the street. This is where we helped the nice lady.

On the way to the store, we noticed a nice lady on the ground next to a dog. I was a concerned citizen, and I stopped the car to see what the problem was.

It turned out that the nice lady had awkwardly stepped into a small hole that was in the sidewalk. She hurt her leg, and, after a brief conversation, we learned that we actually lived on the same street. The oppressed and I helped her and her dog into the car and we drove her to her house, where her husband was waiting for her after she called him to tell him of her misfortune. When we told her where we lived, she told us she passed our house all of the time and noticed our dog.

From there, The Oppressed and I continued to the store. I then went home to cook dinner, which we ate like we always do on any other normal day where nothing out of the ordinary happens.

Superman
Just another day in the lifeโ€ฆ

Follow me on Twitter @bravedaddy

Coaching Flag Football

Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.com

Alas, nothing lasts forever. Seasons change. We had a nice extended summer in these parts, but now it seems like things are returning to normal. November is bringing colder temperatures. I’ve had to scrape my windshield before taking The Oppresses and The Boy to school.

There are other seasons, of course. Sports seasons. As you may already know, are a part of our family’s schedule and routine. If I’m lucky, I will coach a team. This gives me a chance to spend some more time with my children and try to teach them something and help them out.

This season gave me another chance to be on the field with The Boy and a few other children. I was an assistant coach for the flag football season. We had a lot of raw talent on our team. We had kids who wanted to play, kids who wanted the ball. We had kids who didn’t understand there were five players on the field and just one ball to go around.

A football on the ground during a sunny day.
Another flag
football season

In addition to our needing to explain to the gridiron greats how to share the football, we also needed to temper some of the players’ enthusiasm. For instance, if we were about to throw the ball, some of our own players would shout, “Pass!” as the play started. We loved the enthusiasm, but the head coach and I thought it would be a good idea to “surprise” the other team when it came to what play we were going to run.

Of course, there was no evidence to support this, but don’t question a kid’s gut.

Luckily, we were able to convince players to surprise our opponents. Other challenges for us included kids who wanted the ball. Again, rules called for only one ball per team and there were five players on the field. The head coach did a great job of spreading the ball around. Some players were more patient than others. Some waited their turn. Some players wanted to know how much longer they had to wait before their turn to run or pass the ball. Some players were certain that others were getting more turns than they were. Of course, there was no evidence to support this, but don’t question a kid’s gut.

Practice was fun. We had to remind some kids we were playing flag football and not tackle football. Some kids thought it was fun and cool to maybe tackle or physically block (totally against the rules). This was fun until they were the ones getting tackled or blocked, then it was mean and people were breaking the rules.

Sometimes there was a little confusion when a play was being run. Sometimes kids would run into each other, or trip over someone or something. Again, some were convinced people were trying to sabotage them. Balls were thrown or spiked. I jump in with my coaching experience and expertise and ask what’s wrong. Does it hurt and have a temperature? Kids are absolutely belligerent as they fill me in on the unwarranted attack on their person. It’s wrong and people should be punished. Our innocent victims demand satisfaction. I ask if we should hand out an equally harsh punishment for the accident that occurred when the victim ran into someone on the previous play. They try to hid their smile as they are reminded of what happened earlier, but they can’t and they go back to the huddle.

We try to make sure everyone has a chance to play every position. One assistant coach spent the entire game tallying plays and making sure everyone got in and got ample rest. My job was to make sure those who were on the sidelines were ready to play when their turn came. Some were ready. Sometimes someone was at the concession stand or going to their parents for a drink. The water bottles were on the sidelines, but they were convinced the parents had better drinks.

It was a good season overall for everyone. The players hopefully learned a few things about playing as a team. The coaches hopefully learned something about patience and working with kids. The Boy and I spent some time together driving to and from practices and games. He got a chance to see his friends again outside of school. I got to talk to some more adults. Everyone played and everyone had fun. My head coach gave a gift card to me and the other assistant at the end of the season, so some retail therapy to Dick’s Sporting Goods will be in order very soon. We all get to recover in time for a new season and new challenges.

Kids adjusting their uniforms and getting ready for a flag football game.
Ready for action.

Ale Baseball Basketball Beer Boston Celtics cars Cats Children Christmas Coaching Coffee Coronavirus Daughters Dinner Dogs ducks Exercise Family Flag Football Football Foster Children Funny Homework Hospital Humor Kids Little League Lost Stuffed Animals mornings Neighbors New Parents Parenting Parents Pizza Santa Claus school Sports stuffed animals summer vacation teenagers Thanksgiving vacation Volunteering Winter Youth Sports

When did this Life Begin (for parents)?

Six o’clock the usual morning lineup
Try to find a coffee cup that’s clean
Answer adoring messages fans write up
Put some dishes away, then it’s like 7:15

Music from โ€œTangledโ€ to help with your day

Sung to the tune of “When will my Life Begin?” from “Tangled”.

Rapunzel from Disney's "Tangled" leaning out a window and looking up while singing.
Photo: Disney

Six oโ€™clock the usual morning lineup
Try to find a coffee cup thatโ€™s clean
Answer adoring messages fans write up
Put some dishes away, then itโ€™s like 7:15

And so, Iโ€™ll knock on doors
Or maybe two or three
Itโ€™s time to get up, kids
Now, days are ruined, see?
Iโ€™ll make their breakfast
And they wonโ€™t eat what they see
Just wonder when did this life begin?

After drop-offs itโ€™s laundry and cleaning
Take out the trash. Some music for the stress
Grocery shopping and more music streaming

Then Iโ€™ll take clean clothes to rooms.
Oh my God! What a mess!

A boy's room with clothes and toys all over the floor and on the bed.
Oh my God! What a mess!

And then Iโ€™ll write some words
If I have time to spare
Bring dirty dishes down
Iโ€™m sure thereโ€™s room somewhere
Bring dirty laundry down
And clean clothes up the stair
On their beds where theyโ€™ve always been.
And Iโ€™ll keep washinโ€™, foldinโ€™,
Lugginโ€™, and wonderinโ€™
When did this life begin?

And then tonight
The kids will disappear
Just like they do every night each year
And it is nice
That time when they go
Now that Itโ€™s quiet
I might just
Thought youโ€™d know

A girl dressed up as Rapunzel from Disney's "Frozen".
Rapunzel