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A Divorced Father Living with His Marine Son

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
May 16, 2023 3:03 am

A Divorced Father Living with His Marine Son

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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May 16, 2023 3:03 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, if Bob McLalan knew his father would be living with him for 18 months, he would have thrown him out that first night. A collision of cultures like no other! The latest story with Bob McLalan.

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All for free, no strings attached. Stay free this week into your Xfinity voice remote. Watch The Today Show weekday mornings at 7 on NBC. And we continue here on Our American Stories and now it's time for another installment of The McClellan Files where we go deep inside the life of Bob McClellan.

Someone you don't know but whose life and whose voice well you're sure to be captivated by. And today Bob, who's a Marine, shares a story about his dad who also happens to be a Marine. After getting my dad settled in the living room for a short visit after my parents' divorce, my father and I sat on the couch to have a beer and watch some TV. Sitting next to him I noticed how much he'd aged. His six foot two inch frame combined with his broad shoulders and chest gave no hint that he'd lost any of his power. But he was heavier and softer. His hair was graying and the creases in his face were deeper.

As he leaned forward on the couch to reach his beard and cigarettes I had to admire how formidable he still looked. He was aware of what was happening to him but he didn't care. He had no interest in prolonging a life that he felt had exhausted its excitement and purpose. He'd become bored. There were no more wars to fight, no more women to love or children to raise. Left without these his passion for life was diminished and his interest in life had become lackluster so he saw no sense in prolonging it.

Life had become a still photo rather than a motion picture. His coming to a visit instilled some real anxiety in me. I knew what to expect from him. As the chain of command drove the hierarchy in his house growing up it would be like that here. He'd want it that way. In his house or under his command he was like a giant redwood tree and very little grows underneath those trees.

They are so big they gather all the sunlight for themselves. He was used to giving orders and having them followed. But now I was 26 years old.

I was a former Marine and a senior in college and I've been living on my own and taking care of myself for the last eight years. Coming to visit my home would be my dad's turn. It would be his turn to move over. My father would tell us boys that the changing of command from father to son would be inevitable.

Let me tell you something kid that a day will come when you're not going to want to do what I tell you to do and on that day you're going to leave because if I lose control to one of you I won't be able to control the other two. That day came when I was 18. I blocked the doorway that he was trying to pass through on his way to the kitchen. I stood in the doorway and my chest really expanded. I thrusted in front of him.

We stood face to face looking into each other's eyes. He said so you think you're ready to take on your old man now? Is that what this little display of yours is all about? Well let me tell you something.

At my age I don't care anymore about winning or losing. What you need to know is I'm not going to go easy. I'm going to get a piece of you even if I have to bite it off. You're not going to get out of this pain free.

You need to think about whether it's worth it to you. Staring into his unblinking metallic blue-gray eyes I thought over what he said and decided yeah it's time to step aside and let my father go on his way. My father knew that the key weapon in intimidation is that just a pinprick of doubt will burst the over-inflated balloon of self-confidence. Living in San Francisco in 1974 was very different than the life on the farm my father led as a young man. Life in the city was about freedom and audacity not regulation and authority. There was nothing that was clean or sterile. Order was not part of the day's routine and traditional roles well traditional roles and values were best left back in your hometown. My roommate returned from work after 2 a.m the night my father arrived and joined us at the kitchen table for a drink. Sitting around the kitchen table my father reached into his pocket and produced an empty key ring.

Tossing it on the table he said look at that that's something you don't see every day an empty key ring no more house no more office no more house no more an empty key ring no more house no more office no more car. I left with only my suitcase. Really yeah of course had already given away all my clothes there was very little to pack at least she didn't throw them out in the street or the driveway like she used to do. Well she can have it all including the car payments house payments electrical bill and all that crap that goes with those things. I have my suitcase and that's all I want.

I went overseas with far less. The night after my dad's arrival I invited my girlfriend a couple friends over to meet him sitting around the kitchen table having a few drinks was an easy way to introduce my father sharing drinks at a bar around a table talking that was his element after everyone imbibed a few pops he answered questions about his life and he started to tell a story about his time in the military police I looked over at my girlfriend sitting next to me and I started to run my fingers through her hair I commented to her about how beautiful she looked she didn't respond or pay any attention to me as she seemed fascinated by the story. A phone call from a hotel to the Kingston police asking for help. The desk clerk at a local hotel reported that a woman was with a marine upstairs in her room screaming you murderer oh my god you murderer the door was locked and bolted on the inside and the hotel clerk was afraid of what he might find inside he wanted the MPs and the police to come immediately he continued in the hall we could hear sobbing inside the room but there were no other noises we pounded on the door until she screamed you murderer you animal help help whipped our weapons right out unlock the safety pull the hammer back and I heard my body back and shouldered it into the door to get it open and the three of us exploded into the room with our guns searching for a target with our weapons locked and loaded we quickly surveyed the room but found no one other than the sobbing woman sitting alone on the edge of the bed she raised her arms he's in there she said as she pointed to the bathroom he's in there I ordered the other two MPs to cover the door as I burst into the bathroom looking down the barrel of my 45 I only saw a drunken marine sitting on the floor in my gun sights sitting between the toilet and the wall with his arm around the back of the water pipe he looked up at me and with a smile on his face he waved his arm and said hiya sarge we all had our guns pointed at him until we realized he was unarmed and certainly too drunk to stand up I demanded up I demanded to know what the hell's going on here marine with his free arm the marine pointed inside the toilet bowl and said look we all leaned forward to peer into the bowl into our amazement there was a small orange duckling the couple had wanted a local fair swimming around the inside of the bowl the drunk marine said what's this sarge with the arm around the water pipe he reached up and pulled the cord on the water closet the sound of a flush unleashed a torrent of screams for the woman in the room as the water was sucked down the drain the duck caught in the whirlpool started swimming faster and faster against the suction of the vortex in an effort to stay afloat the faster the water drained the faster that duck paddled in spite of his struggle to paddle fast enough though to keep him from being flushed down the drain he was eventually sucked down the drain and disappeared the bathroom became quiet as the bowl started to refill mystified all eyes remained transfixed on the now empty and quiet bowl which had just swallowed the duckling jesus christ maroon what the hell are you doing here he said he demanded marine just sat there next to the toilet laughing so hard he could care less about the prospect that he was going to be arrested and hauled off to the brig the woman in the other room she just continued sobbing about her boyfriend's cruelty until the water refilled the bowl when the water level was restored and the toilet bowl quieted down out of the depth of the drain the duck suddenly popped up and continued to paddle around in his porcelain pond as if nothing had happened as the crowd sat around the table laughing a friend approached and asked hey is it cool to smoke some pot i mean i know your dad was a marine and military policeman and all that but is he cool the reality of cultural and generational clash became real clear to me now if i could have imagined at that moment that his few days visit would turn into his becoming my roommate for the next 18 months i would have thrown all his clothes out on the driveway and bought him a one-way bus ticket back to my mom and you and listening to bob mcclellan and what a storyteller and we look forward to more from bob mcclellan it's the mcclellan files again the mcclellan files bob mcclellan story his father's story here on our american stories get ready xfinity flex has unlocked shows and movies from all over the globe and you can watch for free right from your couch journey to japan with shows from anime network go back to the wild west with billy the kid and other mgm plus pics celebrate asian american and 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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-16 04:30:47 / 2023-05-16 04:35:49 / 5

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