Monday, March 29, 2010

A Chase Scene to Cherish

There is a small park next to the pizza joint Mrs. LIAYF, Lukas, and I visited the other night. It doesn't have playground equipment, and just a couple of bench's. It consists mainly of a small circle of grass big enough to run around in, surrounded by a couple of big rocks and a small concrete wall. The only real lure of the place that evening was that it was next to said pizza place and it could afford us a few moments to let Lukas burn off a bit more energy before taking him home to bed.

So, still full of tasty pie, we walked onto the lush green grass of the park, set our belongings down and engaged in a fun filled game of 'chase' with our son. I chased Lukas, who in turn chased his mother, who in turn chased both of us. Like much of our family playtime it was spontaneous and authentic, with the laughter of the moment ringing out in all directions.

We were so engaged in the moment that I hadn't even noticed that we were not alone at the park.

After a few minutes of fun we had announced to Lukas that it was time to go, and gathered up our belongings & walked towards the direction of our car. Then I heard something faint. A mumbling that I couldn't make out. Not realizing where it came from, I looked all around before finally fixing my eyes on a man sitting on a rock at the opposite end of the grass.

He was a fairly sad looking character who was sporting a shaggy beard, tattered clothes and a dirty baseball hat. As we made eye contact, he took a long drag off of a near fully smoked cigarette, then said something again. His voice was barely audible, and what came out was more than a bit raspy. Still I couldn't make out what he had said, so I veered off from my beautiful wife and son, who had continued on towards our car, to approach this man. I acknowledged him with my eyes and cupped my hand to my ear.

"What's that?" I said, not knowing quite what to expect in response. He managed a slightly louder "Cherish what you've got there" giving a wistful glance towards my family.

"Cherish what you've got there."

I smiled and followed his glance towards my family as I let those words soak in. He was obviously speaking from some form of experience, perhaps having had then somehow lost just such a sublime period in his own past. My mind wandered to some day in the far future when my son would be off doing his own thing and I would be the one envying young(ish) families laughing and playing with their children. Then, as I turned and glanced back towards him to carry on the conversation...

He had vanished.

Nah, just kidding. He was still there. Finishing off that cigarette. I paused, then merely gave him a nod of acknowledgement and an "Absolutely man".

Then I turned and rejoined the two most cherished things in my life, to start our evening routine.

20 comments:

Eric said...

Good story man. I would have probably thrown a handful of change at him and ran..

Whit said...

I totally bought the vanished thing for a second. That would have been awesome.

Just Like Birdie said...

Awesome story...and great reminder.

Jessi said...

Cherishing is probably the hardest thing we ever do. It's so hard to sit back and appreciate when there's so much laundry and hissy fits and whining. Good advice.

SciFi Dad said...

Great story. We - all of us fathers - are the lucky ones.

Ben said...

Good story. It's sometimes easy to think of tramps as just a smelly inconvenience and forget that they are people, with lives and histories.

Steve said...

Wise words indeed.

WeaselMomma said...

You're funny and sappy. I like it.

Mighty M said...

I'm glad you went back to hear what he was saying! :)

If I Could Escape . . . said...

You had me with the blooming vanishing comment too! Lovely tale -- I've had those comments too made to me by seniors. And, it totally makes you cherish them all the more.

PS Do you ever get to the Gas Works Park in Seattle? Hands down, probably one of the best parks we've ever been to -- my boys including the hubby never wanted to leave. Well, until one of them rolled down a hill through some geese poop and we were forced to, but it was the end of the day anyway.

If I Could Escape . . . said...

Just wanted to make it clear that I do mean it makes you cherish your children, not the seniors. Not that there's anything wrong with cherishing random seniors. Just saying.

DC Urban Dad said...

We always get the best advice from the most unlikely sources.

A Free Man said...

Good advice. Easy to mind in the good times, harder in the temper tantrums!

Lady Mama said...

Sometimes it takes someone to stop us and remind us of these things. Lovely post. p.s. nice new header!

Joe @ IrrationalDad said...

I do my damnedest to never take my family for granted. I'm very lucky to have what I do.

Captain Dumbass said...

Good story. And nice bit with the vanishing.

Slamdunk said...

That is a powerful reminder. Thanks for sharing.

On a side note, I gave you two blog awards over at my place if you accept such things.

Enjoy your day.

Keith Wilcox said...

LOL You set it up like he was a crazy dude looking for trouble, then it turns out he just has something nice to say. Love the turn around because I was expecting a fight :-) He's right though. These moments are fleeting. Cherish them indeed.

TempestBeauty said...

Very sweet... love the little things it takes to open your eyes sometimes.

Yeah, I thought you were for serious with the vanished comment too. Nicely done. :)

goodfather said...

Great story. I found it from your top 2010 list, and it is indeed worthy of mention.