Tears of a Hero

Tears of a Hero

A Story by BearTears60

a look at a childhood memory


I am 22 years old.  I suffer from depression.  I write.  I am me.   And the greatest man I know is my father.  He is a hero of my life.  He teaches me so.  I’ve been angry with him, hurt by him, and afraid of him.  In retrospect, I’ve been angry with myself, hurt by myself, and of afraid of myself.  His wisdom continually astounds me.  Do not get confused that we agree on everything and sometimes it feels like almost nothing at all.  But what keeps us together is his love for me and my love for him.  I love who he is and who he wants me to be.  Our strife comes from hard lessons which have shaped me into the man I am becoming. 

I still remember the first lesson my father ever taught me.  I was about six year old.  A small runty boy with platinum blonde curly lockes and blue eyes.  My Father, a seemingly enormous man, stood six feet tall, as a big a tree, and weighed roughly 300 pounds with strength to match his stature.  He was my superman.  His brother, Ed, had left Oregon to be closer to his wife’s family in Utah, and we were going to visit. 

My memory still races with thoughts of excitement that me and my Daddy were leaving on a grand adventure to visit my uncle in a place I had barely heard of.  Explorers of a new world and each other.  Driving in our beat up old ‘88 Dodge Colt, we were riding off together.  We continue to ride off together, continue to discover the world around us and each other. 

On the second day, my uncle told us that their was a carnival a few towns over.  We drove there to absorb the local color, but more than that I went there to be with him.  Being the young boy that I was in early 90’s, I was a fanatic for Ninja Turtles.  And there it was, the Baseball Booth which contained the grand prize of three foot tall Ninja Turtles.

My hero stepped up to the mound, pitching for my happiness.  A sore arm and a wallet fifty dollars lighter, my father handed me two of these enormous plush turtles, Rafael, my favorite tough turtle in the red mask, and Michelangelo, the comedy relief of the foursome adorned in his orange face cover.  I strutted around the dusty park feeling so proud of my father while dragging behind our trophies and accomplishments. 

When it was time to pile in my uncle’s mini-van, my cousin, Kristi, who is one year older than me, had the privilege of riding shot gun.  It was her turn, but my desire.  I decided that I would barter my way to the front.  I told her that if she gave she the front seat that I would give her one of my prized turtles.  She agreed, and I took my “rightful” place up front.  A fitting end to a great day.

The mini pulled into the driveway and my cousin came to collect.  She informed me that she had thought about it, and that she wanted the nun chuck wielding turtle Michelangelo.  I informed her that I was just joking, and that I had “got her”.  She ran to my father to explain the situation.  Inside I laughed.  Did she know who she was talking to?  My father was my hero, loved me, and there was no way that he would waste his talents and trophies on her, rather than his own beloved. 

My father walked toward me, and I smiled.  He crouched his massive frame so that he could look me in the eyes and placed his strong hand firmly clutching my small shoulder.  He asked me one question, “Did you tell Kristi that you would give her one of your turtles if she gave you the front seat?”
A simple question, which deserved a simple answer with a qualifier.
“Yes, but I was only kidding.”
He looked pained and replied, “Your word is one of the most important things you have in the world.  When you promise something to someone, you honor that promise.  Sometimes in life all you have is your word and it has to count for something, even if it’s hard and you don’t want to do it.  You need to give her the turtle.”

With those words my life was changed.  My hero, my father had betrayed me.  With eyes blurry from tears, I threw the turtle at my cousin and ran away sobbing.  I did not understand why he would choose her over me.  It was until later in life that I realize he still chose me.  He wouldn’t allow anything, let alone a plush turtle, to tarnish my word and reputation as a man.  The pain in his eyes was not a disappointment in me, but rather the pain of having to teach me a difficult yet important lesson.  A lesson, that in his wisdom, he knew I would not fully understand at the time.  And the pain of knowing that he too would have to sacrifice his own joy of seeing me happy in order to mold me into a man who I could and would later be proud of.  In thinking back upon my father, I realize that he has been and continues to be one of my life’s greatest teachers.

© 2008 BearTears60

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Added on October 29, 2008



Changes with the seasons, OR

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