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EP286: When Dr. Suess Has Real Life Application, Jason Wolfe Paid His Own Child Support to Save His Father and Under My Thumb, Lessons in Parenting

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
May 2, 2022 3:00 am

EP286: When Dr. Suess Has Real Life Application, Jason Wolfe Paid His Own Child Support to Save His Father and Under My Thumb, Lessons in Parenting

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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May 2, 2022 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Stephen Rusiniak shares a story about a devastating flash flood that severely damaged his Church and then the surprising response from the community. Jason Wolfe's father left his family at the age of 6 and here he is to tell the story of figuring out how to be the father he didn't have. Listener Brent Timmons tells the story of a lesson in parenting he learned while on a family trip to Kentucky.  

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Light, comfy, good to go to. This is Lee Habib, and this is Our American Stories, and we tell stories about everything here on this show, including yours. Send them to OurAmericanStories.com. They're some of our favorites, and man, they just keep coming. Up next, we have a piece from one of our regular contributors, Stephen Raciniak. This piece was published in his local newspaper. The story is entitled Lessons from Whoville. It's about a devastating flash flood that severely damaged Stephen's church and the surprising response from the community. Stephen asked the director of music at the Pakenak Community Church, Daniel Mullins, to read the story for us.

Here's Daniel. It was an image that I just couldn't shake. The residents of Whoville had come together on that Christmas morning knowing full well that overnight the Grinch had absconded with their gifts, but still they gathered as a community in faith and hope and love, all the while choosing to look beyond the previous night's somber circumstances, focusing instead on the present, focusing on what needed to be done, and most importantly, focusing on everything that truly mattered. I couldn't help but notice the similarities between Dr. Seuss's imaginary morning in the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the real-life morning at the Pakenak Community Church, where just 14 hours earlier, a sudden flash flood had triggered unbelievably powerful waves of dirt-filled water, containing copious amounts of mulch, leaves, and logs, to come crashing through the church's downstairs windows, and likewise through the windows of the attached cooperative nursery school.

It was a flood so intense and so fast-moving that within seconds it had completely destroyed the church offices, classrooms, files, and everything else in its path. The volunteers arrived that sunny Monday morning en masse, congregants and extended family members, parents whose children attended the school, and their teachers too, assorted friends and neighbors, contractors volunteering their time and expertise, so many people, many of whom we didn't know, all responding to lend a hand. They came out that morning with buckets and mops, with boots and bleach, with cases of water and food, all wishing to help, to save the place where they'd been confirmed or married or attended scout meetings, where their food pantry donations helped to feed the hungry, and where their used books were given a second life with less fortunate children.

A place where the youngest members of the congregation were baptized or, later in life, memorialized. It was a place that for so long had meant so much to so many, and so they came. And just like the residents of Whoville, rather than reflecting upon the events of the previous night, they simply got down to the business of addressing what it was that had brought them together in the first place. They shoveled and swept away the mud that was now littered with pages of sheet music from church programs and pageants past.

They hoisted files and furniture, children's books and Bibles, carpets and pieces of the walls, computers and a copier, all now ruined and banished to an ever-growing mountain of soggy wet contaminated trash just outside the breezeway and school entrances. But maybe, most surprisingly of all, in the school where volunteers were already engaged in the early stages of cleanup, and likewise throughout the downstairs of the formerly flooded church, there could be heard the sounds of laughter, of talking, and of teamwork. The volunteers, sweaty and mud-covered, were creating miracles by the minute, reclaiming what had been damaged and what could be salvaged, all the while acknowledging that for as bad as it was, it could have been worse. Oddly enough, and insomuch as it would have been justified, there were no tears shed that morning in the fictional village of Whoville, or likewise that morning in the real world in a place called the Pakenak Community Church. But of course, many of us came close. Surveying the moving army of muddied volunteers in motion from just outside the building, one church elder admitted to me how much he felt like crying. But in truth, his emotions weren't the result of any damages done. Instead, he said, they had everything to do with the tremendous outpouring of love and support that the two of us, even as we stood there, were witnessing. He added that when his tears begin, as he knew they eventually would, what we were watching would be the reason.

I completely understood. The work is ongoing, and that's okay, but until the restoration is complete, and a sense of normalcy one day returns, I know that, at least for a while, a certain image will never be far from my thoughts. And who could have ever thought that a children's story presented in rhymed verse could have provided such a relevant message of hope for so many volunteers doing such remarkable things at my church? Lessons learned from Whoville.

Imagine that. And a special thanks to Daniel Mullins, the director of music at the Pakenak Community Church, for performing that piece, to Stephen Raciniak for writing it, and to Faith for producing it. Our own Faith does such great work here. And my goodness, these kinds of stories we love to tell, and those tears that were being shed, wasn't because of the damage and carnage they'd seen, but because of the volunteerism and the grace and love that they were witnessing. And that happens across this great country all the time, every day, and we love bringing stories like this to America and across this great country.

Lessons from Whoville, here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the great American stories we tell and love America like we do, we're asking you to become a part of the Our American Stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country, please make a donation. A monthly gift of $17.76 is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to OurAmericanStories.com now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming.

That's OurAmericanStories.com. Doing household chores can already be time consuming and tedious. And there's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done.

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Here's Jason. You know, I think my very first memories were when I was living in Virginia. My dad worked in the CIA. So we lived in a place called Ruston, Virginia, which was like a new suburb of Washington, D.C. back then. I could remember having a bike and learning how to ride a bike with my dad. And I must have been maybe three or four. And I remember going down this little hill that he was pushing me down and, you know, basically being scared and then being happy that I learned how to ride a bike. So, yeah, it was my earliest memory.

Something that happened in my life that I remember that was like a pivotal thing, probably when my mom and dad got separated. By then, it was 1975. So I was six or so. And I can remember my dad driving.

He had a Volkswagen. So like a station wagon, Volkswagen loaded all of us up into this Volkswagen, drove up to Connecticut and all of us, meaning my brother and sister and I drove us up to Connecticut and dropped us off with my grandparents, with my mom. My mom was acting strange.

I didn't know what was going on. And then he left and that was the beginning of their divorce. And shortly after that, my mom, it turned out later, I found out my mom had mental illness. And so she was put into a sort of a mental institution for a couple of years. So for a couple of years after my dad dropped us off, my mom was, you know, going through trying to get herself back together.

And yeah, that's probably the next milestone in my life. I could remember when my mother was, they were trying to get her to take her into this mental institution, whatever, she was put away for a couple of years. And they somehow couldn't get her. She was elusive. And I can remember my sister and I going to this hospital. And they were getting her there under some other guys, some other trick to get her to show up. And so she shows up and my sister and I are sitting out there.

By now I'm probably a little older, six or seven. And I remember they had my sister and I playing sort of games out inside this room. And I remember hearing some screaming. And I look over and here's my mother running towards me with a straight jacket on because they were trying to put her into a straight jacket.

And that was like hugely pivotal and kind of crazy at that time. And from then, over the next course of a couple of years, I mean, we lived with grandparents. I lived with an aunt for a little bit and then eventually moved in with an uncle. And my mom came out of the institution, tried to take us back, get back on her feet.

Living in sort of, you know, welfare life, not a lot of money, poor. I can remember a Christmas vividly when I was around nine at this point. And just laying under a blanket with no heat in the house and getting a knock at the door. And at the door was looked at the door was a box with frozen turkey and some games for us. And, you know, we couldn't cook the turkey. We had no gas.

We had no gas to light the stove. We're the poor people. We're what I called the raggies.

You know, the raggies of town, the people that are real raggie and poor and stuff. That was us. And so, yeah, I remember that.

And then living with an uncle and then having to make a decision when I was about 10, whether I wanted to go to this new school that they discovered, that this nun that we were going to a church told my grandmother about down in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It was a school for, at the time it was boys, boys school. They were just converting over to add girls.

And it was the late 70s, 79 or so. And we went down, took the test, came back. My brother and I, my brother didn't pass the test.

I did. And they asked me, I can remember standing at my uncle's house on the second floor. And they were asking me, do you want to go to the school or do you want to go with your uncle, aunt and uncle to go to California because they were moving to California. And I decided to go to Milton Hershey School alone by myself, which was hugely, you know, that was a God moment. There was no real reason for me to choose to not go with my family. But I chose to not go with my family, to go down to Milton Hershey School.

And so on September 20th, 1980, it was a fall day, crisp out, football season, sunny. I'll remember just like yesterday. And I could feel the air even right now and being dropped off at Milton Hershey School. And my mother and my grandparents were there. And inside this place called the Rotunda, which is a huge building at Milton Hershey School. And I can remember Mr. Long standing there with me.

He was the person that had the intake of children coming into Milton Hershey School. And I can remember standing with Mr. Long and looking at my parents or my mother. By now, I thought my dad was dead because my mom told us he was not alive.

So he never paid child support and we really thought he was dead. So seeing my mother cry and my grandparents standing there and then they walk away and I'm alone now. I didn't realize, but I've been alone for a long time thereafter. And growing up in that school, I can remember not even a few months into it, maybe, crying every night, trying to put myself to sleep and starting to try to get used to the school at the time was a, you know, corporal punishment was not, it was something that happened. It just happened, right, as part of discipline. And I can remember running away and I remember getting paddled.

I remember these things that I wasn't used to and it was scary and I cried and I didn't want to be there. But I learned to adapt and to change, to figure things out. Eventually I did. And eventually I excelled. I became, played three sports, football, baseball and wrestling. Some of them I was a captain on, some of the teams I excelled in. My grades were always good.

I was in the top group of our class, probably in the top, you know, handful of kids. And then, you know, went on to college. But before going on to college, I remember sitting at graduation day, next pivotal moment, was just sitting there and, you know, with a suitcase of clothes and 100 bucks because they gave you a check at the time of $100, I think mine was less than 100 because I owed the school something for something that I did.

I don't even know. And I couldn't cash a check because I didn't have a bank account. And I had a suitcase with brand new clothes, you know, three pairs of socks, ten pair of underwear, something like that, a bunch of pants, you know.

And I'm sitting there with this big suitcase of clothes, this check I can't cash. And my grandfather had a stroke, so he was, on the last months of his life, my mother was always, you know, dysfunctional. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do, you know. So I went up to Connecticut and I stayed with my grandmother to help her to take care of my grandfather until he died.

And he passed away within a couple months. And I didn't go to college. I wasn't sure what I was going to do. And so I got involved in like a lot of things that somebody who has no family, really, who has no direction, no male mentorship, Christ not in my life to any large measure. And so I got involved in things that were illegal. And I didn't do, you know, I'm not proud about it, but there was a stretch in my life right there that I was led, I was kind of going down the wrong roads.

And, you know. Thankfully, Jason, after a number of setbacks, had a moment of clarity. And after years of hard work, he created the first coupon website ever.

And then the first real software to use cookies to track web browsing, which he sold for roughly $22 million. So that was 2006, and by then I was married. I was only married for a couple of years. And I had a son, Morris, and I ended up going through divorce. I get the old, you know, you're locked out of your home type of deal.

I go into my house and all the locks are changed. I was only married for two years. I didn't know the person I was getting married to. I only knew her for four months before I got married, and I married her because she was pregnant. And you've been listening to Jason Wolf tell the story of his life and what a story it is.

When we come back, more of the life story of Jason Wolf here on Our American Stories. Doing household chores can already be time consuming and tedious, and there's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done. I mean, that can be overwhelming for anyone. So if you want to get those larger laundry loads done right and get back to your life, try all free clear mega packs. All free clear mega packs are bigger packs with two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack so that you can tackle any laundry load without the worry. All free clear mega packs are also one hundred percent free of perfumes and dyes and they're gentle on skin, which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs, which my family, we definitely have sensitive skin. So the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation is that's caused this big pile of dirty clothes. Just know that all free clear mega packs.

They have your back. Purchase all free clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. Hey, you guys, this is Tori and Jenny with the 9 0 2 1 OMG podcast. We have such a special episode brought to you by Nerd Tech ODT. We recorded it at I Heart Radio's 10th poll event, Wango Tango. Did you know that Nerd Tech ODT RemedioPants 75 milligrams can help migraine sufferers still attend such an exciting event like Wango Tango?

It's true. I had one that night and I took my nerd tech ODT and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by Nerd Tech ODT RemedioPants 75 milligrams. Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family.

But thankfully, Nerd Tech ODT RemedioPants 75 milligrams is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults. So lively events like Wango Tango don't have to be missed. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year. And UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare annual enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th.

If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage. It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more.

UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. And we're back with our American stories and with the story of Jason Wolf. Jason's childhood was anything but easy. His father was institutionalized, his father leaving and later dying, or at least that's what young Jason was told. Down the road, Jason had a son and got married. Unfortunately, that ended after a few years and Jason found himself in the middle of a divorce.

Here's Jason to tell us the rest of the story. During that divorce and after that divorce, it was a time for me, I think, to when God started knocking on my door and saying, hey, all this stuff you've got to do, you've got to be starting to change the way you live and put God first. Even though going through divorce wasn't fun, it was, you know, financially it was a mess. It was because I sold a company during the time that I was married. It became a marital asset and that was a big problem. But I started to go to church more.

I was invited into a men's group and I started the journey to change my life, to bring me as a man more towards Christ in a real way as opposed to just saying that I'm a Christian. When I got divorced, it was easy for the lawyers to say, hey, you know, let's just kind of settle this disagreement and I'm signing papers, honestly, I didn't realize this Robbie, that is saying that I have, I didn't know the lingo men at the time. I didn't know what primary custody meant compared to just custody. I didn't know what legal custody meant.

All I just knew was like, you have the kid or you don't. I quickly figured it out because I didn't have equal physical and legal custody. I had sort of visitation rights.

I think that's terrible for dads at the time and that's how it was for me. And I had to then try to argue with the court that I could be an equal father and I wanted to be equally in Morris's life and his mom tried to stop that. And so for years from 2006 all the way up to 2011, we fought for equal custody. And eventually in 2000, I think it was 11 or 10, the governor at the time, Rendell, Pennsylvania, was leaving office and he put a change to the law or the thing about parental equal custody. At the time I had to prove that I was an equal father. I was proved that I was, instead of just automatically giving equal custody to both parents and then disproving that the other person couldn't be a parent. And so when he did that, it allowed me to have 50-50 custody. It was a wonderful thing.

And I think that's how it always should have been, but it wasn't at the time. So it took years for me to fight for him to just be in his life. And he was a big part of my life.

We spent, I didn't get remarried until 2017. So for 10 years, it was just Morris and I and my dog Toby, our dog Toby. And I spent a lot of time with him.

I focused on Morris. I did his homework with him. I was involved in the school. I was involved with his doctors. I was an equally involved father, as it should be.

And I loved it. I loved to be involved in his life. He's older now, 15, 16. Kids change.

He doesn't want to listen to me as much as he did before, but that's okay. Since then, I did get remarried, and we have fostered and we have adopted. So we have two girls now that we've adopted. Danielle, who's five, and Marigold, who is eight. We got them when they were three and six.

And so we love them. We have two new girls, and we have a boy right now, too. We foster. His name is Jeremiah. And Jeremiah, we hope, eventually will be our son. And so our family went from just Morris and I and our dog to Susan, my wonderful wife, Danielle, Marigold, Morris, Jeremiah, the dogs, and my wife loves animals.

We have a donkey and a goat, two goats, and a pony. So, yeah, things have expanded. That's good. All these struggles, all these challenges that I had, I learned later in life that, you know, it was God banging on my heart. My heart was getting broken over and over and over, and it was because God wanted to get into my heart. My heart was hard. And so I think these struggles have made my heart softer.

And a softer, gentler heart was needed when Jason had to face the man he'd grown up thinking was dead, the man who left his family when he was six, his own father. And so I found out my dad was alive in 1992. I was 22 years old, 21 years old.

I was in college. And I found out he was alive. We sent letters to my grandmother who wouldn't tell us where he was, and then she would send the letters to my father. And he, lo and behold, wasn't dead. I found out he lived in New Zealand.

He had a whole different life. And I ended up going down and meeting him probably when I was 23. I spent about a month with him. I got to know him a little bit.

And over the course of a couple years, I knew him a little bit more, but I wasn't with Christ yet. And so what I decided to do was to say to my dad, listen, I don't forgive you unless you apologize. You need to apologize to my mom. You need to apologize to my grandmother. Because I am the judge. I didn't leave it up to God. I lived it up to myself.

I'm going to dictate the situation. So he did. He sent a letter to my mom and my grandmother. And now my grandmother and my mother knows where he lives, right? And so now all of a sudden it's a lawsuit. It's my mom suing my dad because he never paid child support. Now my dad's wanted and in the United States couldn't come back here. And if he did, he'd go to jail. And he had a judgment against him of $418,000. And back child support and interest and everything else.

Penalties, whatever. So he couldn't come back. And it was because of me that that happened. And because of my thought that I needed to tell somebody what to do or I needed to be the judge of somebody else. That caused him that pain.

So I felt bad about that. And so when I sold the last company in 2016, I hired a lawyer. And I found the documents down in Virginia.

The divorce documents between my mom and my dad. Found the settlement amount or the amount that they had leaned against my dad. And I went up to Connecticut and met with my mom and convinced her to allow me to pay her on behalf of my father. So I would pay her. I'd buy her house at the time.

The house was probably worth $100,000. I gave her $200,000. I gave her a commitment of $2,000 a month over the rest of her life. And gave her some other stuff in exchange for her releasing my father of the debt that he owed her.

And she did. And so it was a proud moment for me to be able to tell my dad, hey listen, I've settled your debt to my mom. And I was able to live that out because of my faith. Now my father all his years was not very close to the Lord. I think he was probably an atheist or agnostic at best. And in the last several years, he married somebody, Rebecca, who was a Christian. And now my dad, at like 75 years old, is going to church. And he's in a small group at church.

You can't make this stuff up, I'm telling you. And so it's been a really great journey for me with my dad. And I forgave him. I forgave him in the right way. I didn't forgive him because of me telling him what to do.

I forgave him because Christ forgave me. And I think that's been special for me. And what a remarkable piece of storytelling. Thanks to Robbie for producing the piece. And a special thanks also to Jason Wolf for sharing his story. My goodness, being abandoned by his father, the mental illness of his mother, being alone all that time, then the divorce, then the fight to get equal custody of his son. And he found his dad at the age of 22, tried to reconcile, forgave him incorrectly the first time, incorrectly the second, and it changed everything. The story of Jason Wolf. The story of so many men and women struggling to find peace and healing in this world.

Here on Our American Stories. Doing household chores can already be time consuming and tedious, and there's nothing more daunting than facing piles and piles of laundry that need to be done. I mean, that can be overwhelming for anyone. So if you want to get those larger laundry loads done right and get back to your life, try all free clear mega packs. All free clear mega packs are bigger packs with two times the cleaning ingredients compared to a regular pack so that you can tackle any laundry load without the worry. All free clear mega packs are also 100% free of perfumes and dyes and they're gentle on skin, which is great for any family's sensitive skin needs, which my family, we definitely have sensitive skin. So the next time the whole family gets home from long vacation or you get the kids back from summer camp or whatever the situation is that's caused this big pile of dirty clothes, just know that all free clear mega packs, they have your back.

Purchase all free clear mega packs today and conquer any laundry load for all fabric types. Hey, you guys, this is Tori and Jenny with the 90210MG podcast. We have such a special episode brought to you by Nerd Tech ODT. We recorded it at iHeartRadio's 10th poll event, Wingo Tango. Did you know that Nerd Tech ODT Remedipant 75mg can help migraine sufferers still attend such an exciting event like Wingo Tango?

It's true. I had one that night and I took my Nerd Tech ODT and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by Nerd Tech ODT Remedipant 75mg. Life with migraine attacks can mean missing out on big moments with friends and family.

But thankfully, Nerd Tech ODT Remedipant 75mg is the only medication that is proven to treat a migraine attack and prevent episodic migraines in adults. So lively events like Wingo Tango don't have to be missed. Soon millions will make Medicare coverage decisions for next year. And UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th.

If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage. It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCmedicarehealthplans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. And we continue with our American Stories. Up next, a listener story from Brent Timmons, who listens to us on Spotify in Delaware. Today, Brent shares with us a story called, Under My Thumb.

Take it away, Brent. Thirty-five years after I'd spent the better part of a summer in Louisville with my Uncle Bud and Aunt Tinka, we sat at her dining room table with my wife, Tina. Our four kids played in the adjacent room. We listened to music from 1969. A black woman, Nina Simone, sang haunting songs about the mistreatment of African American women in 1960s society. Uncle Bud talked about the glory days of sitting on his front porch with Tinka and her friends in the early 70s, discussing how they were going to make the world a better place to live, a world where everyone respected the rights of everyone else.

All they would need was love. We talked about Abe Lincoln's depression and how ironic it was that such a depressed man would take on such a depressing job of leading this country through a war, ironically, to attempt to save it. We talked about how he must have laid in bed at night and wept as he thought about Americans killing Americans in an effort to forge a united country. We talked about Tinka crying upon hearing the news of Kent State, learning again about Americans killing Americans in an effort to define themselves as a country. We didn't discuss the things that an eight-year-old and a 31-year-old spoke of during that summer in 1969. We had matured 36 years.

I was now 44, Uncle Bud was still going strong at 67, and Tinka, somehow, still a beautiful 29 years of age. We talked about how those 36 years had changed us. We discussed the similarities between 1860, 1960, and 2005 America and the events that shaped our country during those critical years. In each case, someone rose up who was able to clearly articulate ideas held dear to their heart. This very day we had visited Abraham Lincoln's birthplace. Scrawled everywhere was evidence of a man who could express his heart and mind.

How fortunate we were as a nation to have a man who could ponder life and then speak so clearly, so briefly in the way the average 1860 citizen could understand. Certainly Martin Luther King was one of those men in 1960. Certainly this black woman whose songs we were listening to was one of those women. But who were these men and women today? Was it one of us?

Was it one of our young children playing out in Tinka's pool? Perhaps a great gene of wisdom passed from my grandfather, through Uncle Bud and my mother, through me, to Asher, and would surface one day in our now two-year-old son. We were right in the middle of listening to Nina sing a song detailing a method of keeping white men from taking advantage of black women.

The song which reportedly encouraged Mick Jagger to pursue a life of music when we were thrust back into the present. As if on cue, practically by the hand of an all-knowing God determined to restore humility to my large head, we heard a cry from the latest little family thinker, Asher. Apparently, he had fallen and cracked his young and still small head on the counter of Tinka's 1950s Art Deco diner-style table. Uncle Bud matter-of-factly asked if we needed to go to the emergency room for stitches. Upon closer inspection, that did not appear to be necessary, but I could see that Tina was not totally convinced and was concerned about scarring. We decided a call to a nurse friend in Delaware would give us more information by which to make a decision. We concluded that butterfly bandages would be adequate for this crisis. The last thing I wanted to do was spend the next six hours in the ER.

It was not what I wanted our kids to remember about their trip to visit their Uncle Bud and Aunt Tinka. Uncle Bud and I valiantly volunteered to drive to the pharmacy for the bandages. As I stood before the shelf searching for the butterfly type, I spied a product called liquid bandage.

Immediately, my great knowledge of Vietnam trivia came to mind. I had heard that super glue was originally invented to mend battlefield cuts during the Vietnam era. I shared my wealth of trivia with Uncle Bud and decided that in addition to the butterfly bandages, we would get some liquid bandage.

So we left the store with $9 worth of first aid supplies. We arrived back home at Tinka's and began with surgical precision to repair Asher's cut. The gash was just over his eyebrow. I was concerned about leaking the liquid bandage onto his eye, so I firmly rested my pinky under his eyebrow, which also served to close up the wound, a task which had been suggested by our nurse friends. We carefully applied a little of the liquid and waited the suggested 30 or so seconds for the bandage to set.

Our plan was working beautifully. No liquid to the eye, no bleeding, no gaping, no problem. As I relaxed and began to loosen my hold on Asher's head, he began to whimper. It was then that I realized a small flaw in the procedure.

The directions, which I had carefully read, said that the liquid flowed freely until setting. Indeed, it had flowed from the wound down the entire length of my pinky. My great intellectual ability to anticipate possible effects had paid off. The one small glitch was that my pinky was now affixed to my son's eyebrow. I announced my predicament, and Tina quickly resorted to her faith with an exclamation of, Oh, Lord. I recalled from the directions that some form of oil would release the adhesive, so as calmly as possible, I requested that someone read the box to clarify what the antidote was. Mineral oil or baby oil would do the trick.

Tina had just used up her last of both, but drawing from her culinary experience, did a quick conversion and rushed into the midst of the chaos with olive oil. Fortunately, all but a few drops ended up in the carpet and Asher's hair. I was too busy to look Uncle Bud's way, but he was quiet, obviously concluding that this was a situation better left to the parents. I hated the very idea that he had to witness this at all.

He had just told me weeks previously that he would never have the audacity to try to tell me how to raise my children. He remained true to that conviction to the nth degree in this situation. As Asher cried and struggled to free his head of my finger, the grip between our flesh began to free, and I could see that an end to the nightmare was in sight. With a little more coaxing, my finger was free, and Asher had a layer of liquid bandage on his small cut.

In a short while, he was pretty much back to his old self. We were all older now, and we may have grown in wisdom, but needless to say, we were always in a position of needing more. Our experience may equip us to better handle a situation, to handle it in a cooler fashion, to improvise, or to let someone else do what they need to do without interfering or making it worse. And when faced with some things, it sure doesn't hurt just to say, Oh Lord. It is in situations like these that the only thing you can be is yourself. What comes out is what is deeply rooted inside.

You don't tell yourself how to act, you just act. And if you have learned anything at all in life, the way you act will be a little more mature than the last time. If only Abe Lincoln could see how his life had inspired Nina Simone to write her songs about freedom, who inspired Mick Jagger to write his songs, and then see me bring a whole new meaning to the song, Under My Thumb. Just as we had seen that day that Mr. Lincoln came from humble beginnings and would forever remain humble, God would see to it that I too forever remained humble. I was reminded that the task of passing on a legacy to our son would always involve a balancing act of trying to decide when to keep him under my thumb and when to encourage the separation of our flesh in its proper time. After a few minutes of this incident, it was obvious that this was a story we would tell and laugh about, eventually. Asher would learn of his battle scar, which he would proudly display and talk about for years to come.

It would be a battle scar suffered during the watch of his family while they discussed the fate of the world and how to pass on the values that make us who we are. And a special thanks to Monty Montgomery for the editing and the production on that piece, and a special thanks to Brent Timmons for his work, and he listens to us on Spotify, and he lives in the state of Delaware. And my goodness, he's right about that balancing act, and any parent, any human being ultimately has to weigh when to keep people under their thumb and protect them, and when to go out on their own. And again, if you have stories, you can tell we love listeners' stories. We stand by that. We love hearing the stories from all over this great country, too. Big cities and small ones, big states, and a little state like Delaware, and I grew up in New Jersey right above it. Brent Timmons' story, under my thumb, here on Our American Stories. American Stories American Stories American Stories
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-15 18:39:55 / 2023-02-15 18:57:09 / 17

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