Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dads and Sons

I lost my father last Father's Day. It was only fitting given that he had 10 children. He had a flair for the dramatic, my father. He was born on Christmas Day and was quite a guy. With so many kids he worked a lot but he always tried to be at our sporting events to support us.

This past weekend my son and I were scheduled to go to Moses Lake for a big 12 and under tournament. He hurt his foot two weeks ago and we figured he bruised it. Played five games on it and did really well, even hit a three run homer. But in an abundance of caution we went to the doctor on Friday. Doctor came in and said, "When did you break your foot."

Joe handled it well. He really wanted to play this weekend, but we held him out so his foot will be healed for the all-star tournament. We debated going to the tournament at all, but then I realized why wouldn't we? How often do you get to share three days with your son - sleep in a tent, be in the dugout with him, eat all meals with him.

On the ride home, with a trophy in the car, Joe said, "Thanks for taking me, Dad."

I replied, "Thanks for going with me. You know, Joe, I know you were disappointed not to play, but I really appreciate your maturity. I never had this kind of experience with my dad, but these are memories I hope we both have for a lifetime."

His response? "I know I will."

ON-line writing tip: Sorry I've let this lapse. Okay, you have a protagonist and he or she has received her call to adventure and decided to step forward. Now what will be at least three obstacles he or she will encounter on his quest?

Anyone see Transformers? I watched it last night. The plot was one of those plots where it looked like someone told the screenwriter, "No, it needs to be longer so we can squeeze in more action scenes. Come up with yet another obstacle, even if it really makes no sense to the plot you've already developed." Watch it. It's a good lesson on plotting and how not to do it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Service, Fort Lewis and Fathers

I signed last Saturday at the Fort Lewis PX. In May I had appeared at the base to give away free copies of Wrongful Death on Armed Forces day. Simon and Schuster also provided two organizations with free copies of the novel to be sent to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Being on base is always a moving experience. It is a world within a world, one that most civilians, myself included, don't fully understand. For anyone who wants to criticize the military, I would invite you to visit one of the military bases and talk to the men and women who are deploying to Iraq, and now to Afghanistan again. Talk to their families. It is a sobering experience. I spoke to one woman from Germany who met and married her husband while he was stationed there. The week before he had deployed to Afghanistan. She was a lovely woman, happy and very interested in the book. I was surprised to learn that her husband would be gone for a year and even more surprised when she returned to introduce me to her three children, the oldest just 12.

I lost my father last Father's Day, June 15. This one year has felt like ten. I can only imagine it must feel the same way for so many of these military families, with one very significant difference. I have achieved peace knowing my father is not coming home. These families go to bed every night wondering if their father, or mother for that matter, will be coming home. It is a sobering thought for all of us.

God bless those soldiers and their families who are making the sacrifice every day. Maybe wars are political. But the soldiers aren't. They're mothers and fathers and wives and husbands just like all of us.

May they all come home safe.