Tag Archives: Father’s Day

Story Gift: “A Match for Papa”

Happy Father’s Day!

Here is a short short I wrote back in, geez … 2004. I’ve polished it up some.

Enjoy.

The Rebel

A MATCH FOR PAPA
by Jill S. Behe

Papa always carried a pipe. It was either in a pocket, cupped in-hand, or stuck in his mouth.

Most of the time, it wasn’t even lit.

After supper every night, he’d go have a smoke in the backyard. He’d lay his napkin neatly beside his empty plate, get up from the table, and give Mama a big loud kiss. They’d smile at each other. “Excellent meal, my beautiful Bella,” he’d say. Then he would go to the cupboard, get his tobacco pouch, fill up his pipe, and head out the back door.

Mama would stop clearing the table, and get a match from the little glass dish beside the stove. “Here, Paulie. Go give this to Papa. He forgot to take one with him.”

Papa would get about halfway down the sidewalk before turning back, patting his pockets, pipe in his mouth. He’d look up to see me running toward him with a matchstick in my hand, and get a big grin on his face. “Ah, my boy Paulie. You’re a life saver.”

It was a long trip for my short, five-year-old legs, and I’d be breathless. “Here’s your match, Papa.”

Bending down, he’d ruffle my hair before taking the stick from me. We’d spend a little time walking around the backyard together, and talking about stuff.

Once I got older, I realized he did it on purpose. He knew letting me bring him a match would make me feel like I was doing a great thing for him, and that feeling of accomplishment and helpfulness was important to my development into a man. He also wanted the bond between us to be stronger.

He worked so hard and such long hours, those few moments together were about all we had. Even after I knew what was going on, I still made sure I always had matches with me, just in case he needed one.

I loved that man, and he loved me. If I had to name a hero, it would be him. I was so proud he was my papa and that I had his name. He died when I was twelve. There’s no getting over the pain of that loss (though it does fade some); but you never-ever forget.

Eventually, I got married and had a Paulie of my own. I didn’t smoke, so I wasn’t able to play the same game, so created one of our own. We had ‘catch.’

After supper, I’d give my wife a kiss, and thank her for the meal. Paulie would grab our baseball gloves out of the box on the back porch, and hand me mine. “Here’s your glove, Papa,” he’d say. We’d throw the ball back and forth, and talk about–stuff.

Brought back memories.

Now, he’s got a Paulie. I haven’t asked him if he’s going to carry on the tradition. I guess it’s a little early yet; my grandson’s only a year old. Still, I’ll have to ask if he’s thought about it.

Times are hard, especially nowadays. Fathers and sons need to get along. We don’t always bond like the women do with their hugs and kisses and crying and carrying on. We men have our own code.

My Papa was the best man on earth, in my eyes. My son has told me I’m his hero. That makes a man proud and humbles him at the same time. All fathers should feel that, at least once in their lives. A boy-child is special. He’s the one who will carry on the family name. If he’s ashamed of his father, he won’t care if he continues the legacy.

I took the time to know my son. Studied him from birth up. Learned his personality, likes and dislikes. To this day, I make sure he knows how much he means to me, how much I love him … how glad I am that he’s mine.

THE END

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(FDMFTR) Meanderings: When the people stop talking.

WHEN THE PEOPLE STOP TALKING
By Jill S. Behe

Today is Friday the 13th, and also a full moon. Tomorrow (as I’m writing this) is Flag Day. Last Friday was D-Day. In a couple more, it’ll be Father’s Day.

Where am I going with this?

Give me a minute.

Obviously someone felt these days were significant enough to want them celebrated. But each is just a day on the calendar. One where we get to fly the flag and be thankful for the sacrifices made, or an opportunity to stare off into the night sky to marvel at nature, or to honor our fathers (or not, depending).

My point?

Um, at this point I don’t really have one.

But … for those of us who write—because to NOT write is not an option—the four days mentioned above provides us with a multitude of story ideas. Some more prolific than others.

Writers are/can be a strange breed. We have characters (we call them people) living in our heads, usually all talking at once. ALL wanting their story told, RIGHT NOW! Our job, as the real human element (though that may be questionable) in this mishmash, is to isolate that one single solitary voice whose story is the most intriguing, and forcibly shutting the others up in the closet … until next time. Unfortunately, the confinement does tend to break open and allow a character, or more, to escape.

Then the fun begins.

There’ve been articles, stories and, I think, even a movie, about that dreaded disease writers get every once in a while called: WRITER’S BLOCK. Makes me shudder to think of it. And, don’t get me wrong, it’s a legitimate malady—depending on who you talk to. But writers ALWAYS have something to write about. We may not always be so inclined as to take advantage of all that potential. (That’s a whole different mindset). But there is as much of an unlimited source of material available to the artist with a pen, as there is to an artist with a brush.

Take the examples above:

D-Day is just such a tear-jerkingly horrifically awesome Holy Crap memorial day (for me), it’s hard to know what to say about this one. Watching all the documentaries that are available I can’t, as a U.S. citizen, be thankful enough for the selfless sacrifice those men and women made. A friend recently mentioned how it reminded him of the Bible verse (St. John 15:13KJV): Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Except that, these people laid down their lives for their entire country, and though (I’m sure) some grumbled about it, they did it without a second thought.
Okay, back on track.

Flag Day.

Do you know why we have a special day, just for the flag? Why we even have a flag? How did it come to be? How did they come up with the design? All manner of questions come to mind, jerking on the ‘idea chain’ in our minds. Could aliens have had a hand in that?

Did you know that on June 14, 1777 the flag was adopted, by resolution, by the Second Continental Congress? Did you also know that June 14, 1775 is the U.S. Army’s birthday? (Just thought I’d throw that in there).

How about Friday the 13th? What hasn’t been written about this day? But what if it all hasn’t been written? (Obviously not). There’s all kinds of weird and wonderful beings associated with the 13th of anything.

Talk about endless possibilities.

A full moon? Yeah—wow—see above.

And Father’s Day? Another subject with an infinite number of options.

I know it sounds like a history lesson, but it isn’t, not really. It’s all about finding an idea, having a notion, getting a niggle about something, and writing it down, then expanding and expounding.

Next time that ‘person’ stops talking in your head, or starts to whisper too low to hear clearly—and the story just sits and spins its proverbial wheels—stick it in a drawer, or save it to a file, and then go write something else for that day, hour, minute, until the creative juices start flowing again, in the right direction. Taking a walk not only does wonders for the stress levels, but can enlighten, and sometimes even jiggle loose that one fragment of a line that opens up the whole rest of the story.

I understand the qualms.

It may not always work (sometimes nothing seems to), but it can’t hurt to give it a try, right? And, obviously, there are more potential idea makers out there than just those four days I mentioned. Fiction, or not.

Hmm, I guess I do have a point, after all.

Don’t let the trepidation of the blank page—or of having that loud aggravating disruptive person messing with your gray matter suddenly go silent—dissuade you from moving forward. Every word counts. Every thought put on paper counts. They may not be for the work at hand, but perhaps the next story, novel, article, etc., will benefit.

Take it, or leave it.

So,

Don’t walk backwards—you never get anywhere that way. Persevere. March onward and upward, into the fray of the unknown piece of writing that only you can write. Take the … pen by the quill (nib?), and make something great happen.

Profitez de votre journée,

The Rebel

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