The Church of Happy Thoughts
the one truly unorganized church
(a couple weeks ago at a sidewalk cafe, all of a sudden a parade came by... New York is like "a box of chocolates"...)
Yesterday, Father's Day, I was sitting at another sidewalk cafe in Portland, Oregon. Sunny. Beautiful day. Good coffee, a blackberry muffin, and a tree.
And then, I saw a great dad.
A family had stopped to talk with a woman sitting at the table next to me. There were 3 or 4 adults and three boys, the littlest probably about 3, the middle, maybe 7, and the oldest 9 or so.
All of a sudden, the dad noticed the littlest was sort of missing. Sort of really missing. He recounted that the boy had been with them when they crossed the street a few minutes ago, more as an assurance than anything else, but getting into the situation assessment mode. That's one thing dads do. Everyone began to disperse, heading past me toward the corner to check around the block, or just heading further down the sidewalk, calling his name. In just a few seconds, dad calls out he's been found! He was hiding. (If children only knew the years that fall off a parent's life every time they decide to go hiding on a busy street or a mall!)
They all pooled around the table again, the dad holding the littlest, the oldest standing in front of the mom, her arms gently holding him across his chest. The middle one was trying to climb on mom's back, which she didn't seem to mind. The dad gently, but firmly, asked him to please stop. Which he did.
He wandered over to the tree and walked around it a few times. I was aware he was a little bit left out.
Instinctively, the dad gently put the littlest down and reached over, patted the middle sons head and stepped sideways a few feet to pick him up. All the while carrying on the conversation with the woman who seemed to be a teacher of his sometime in his life.
The boy held him tight. It was the sweetest thing to watch.
I said to myself, what a great dad.