There are three things about men I have learned over the years I have spent with them. First and foremost it’s not what they say but what they do that matters to them most. While rinsing the dishes after Easter dinner yesterday afternoon, through the kitchen window I watched my husband check the fluids in my car. I understand that he is doing that because he wants to make sure that I am safe on the road and that small act speaks volumes to me about how much I am loved.

The first man in my life was my dad and he built in me a reliance in men through his actions. Stationed at Travis AFB in Illinois in the dead of winter, we had lived there for a brief six weeks where I had attended no less than three schools. One in the area where we rented an apartment while house hunting, a second one on base, then finally a house.

A month later Dad received orders for Vietnam. It was horribly unfair. He wasn’t supposed to go for at least two more years, but a General’s son was called up, strings were pulled and he was removed from “the list.” Dad moved us out to California got us settled ASAP and then he was gone. I was heartbroken and lost in all the flotsam and jetsam of moving. Fear kept my nose buried in any thing readable and he was gone before shock wore off and realization set in. California was not the best place to be at the time and where we were living there was no group of military brats to speak of. Thirteen years old is a hard age to be and it’s easy to get swept up in popular fads, girls who protested the war by carving peace symbols in their thighs pushed me up against the lockers one afternoon between classes and pulled my stockings down. I slowly reached down and pulled them back up by the tops never taking my eyes off her. I managed to keep it together until I got home and sobbed out my story to the Base Ops operator who was just as sympathetic as can be. He routed my call to Guam where a pay phone rang in a quonset hut located on Anderson AFB. As providence would have it my father was walking by when it rang.


I had a terrible day!

Everyday after that phone call he sent us a taped message, no matter what. Sometimes the package would have candy or a letter. Several months later a jewelry box came in the mail. It was made out of teak, stained dark mahogany and trimmed with an intricate Oriental design in brass. Every day for nine days on R&R in Hawaii he gave me a piece of jewelry to keep in that new jewelry box. One day it was a bracelet the next day an opal necklace. This is how my father loves his daughters.

After the dishes were done Kiki and I went for a walk down to the park where we sat on the bench behind the backstop to watch families enjoy the warm spring afternoon. A little boy literally danced across the playing field in big whoops and hollers as his father unloaded a fairly good-sized gasoline powered toy car.

This is the second thing I have learned about men. There is not a whole lot of difference between men and boys except the size of their feet and their toys.

That little red car rocketed and zoomed all over the field as the boy and his dog took turns chasing it through dusty clouds as dad held the controls broad faced and grinning. Just to see all that glee and innocence more than made up for the blaring racket it was making, but apparently one of the neighbors didn’t think so.

Or so I imagined when two of Tucson’s finest showed up. I began to worry that they would ticket the father because the car wasn’t legal for some reason or perhaps it would be for not having his dog on a leash. I thought how sad that the little boy and his father’s special day was about to be ruined. The policed talked to the man for a little bit while the boy stood patiently at his father’s side. They pointed to the racket-making car and asked them several questions then headed off to the police car while the father started the little red gasoline car back up. I had to laugh out loud when I saw the officer’s returned with their radar gun and aimed it at the little car now zipping merrily along..... men and boys and feet and toys yes indeed.

Kiki and I finished up our walk and when we got home burst into the bedroom to tell my husband what we saw. Bubbling over with excitement I started right into the story when my husband grinned, cocked his head to the side and asked,

Why do you always come in here when I’m naked?

Oh yea… that’s the third thing I’ve learned about men.

I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love forever and ever.
Psalm 52:8 (NIV)