Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I don’t even know what set me off. I was furious. I jumped on this guy, I’m not sure the button that got pushed even existed before it was done and like toothpaste out of the tube what was done could not be undone. If I remember correctly it was a warm fall day with the sounds of crinkling leaves beneath your feet. As we walked along, a group of us stomping home together, we noticed some other kids behind us, also on their way home from Angell Elementary School. What happens next is very cloudy in my mind and I am not sure if what I am remembering is what really happened or what I think really happened. I remember some pushing and shoving, but not the reason behind it all. I kind of think Will’s younger brother, Eddie, started running his mouth. I didn’t know these kids, they were obviously outsiders to my second grade world but I was determined not to let Eddie but in on my turf, except his older brother Will, who was in the same grade as I was, stepped in and was not going to let me have my way with his younger sibling.
I don’t get this part. I was never an outwardly aggressive person nor have I ever been. I mean sure my buttons have gotten pushed a few times and I have had some fist fights along the way growing up, but none were like this when Will and I squared off on the corner of Wiltshire and Elwood on that autumn day. I think it may have been a combination of me feeling pretty confident that I had two older brothers, Jeff in seventh grade and Mark in ninth grade at the time. Will, well he was the oldest child in his family and besides I am sure my dad could easily take his dad! So a confident new school year buoyed by the fact that my two older brothers had started taking Korean Karate lessons, I was the master of this little universe.
It wasn’t much of a fight really; no little kids fights really are, thank God. I think in less than a minute I had knocked Will to the ground and punched him three or four times in the face. Game over. The new flyweight champ of the corner of Wiltshire and Elwood, was me Craig Coon! I whooped it up all the way home with my friends and little Will and Eddie ran home to their momma!
I was greeted at the door with the obligatory “How was your day?” every schoolboy just loves to hear from their overprotective stay-at-home mothers! I am certain I must have responded with a “Great!” on this particular day. Then came an odd question from my mother:
“Do you know who Will Weckwert is?” Gulp.
“Umm, I think he’s a kid at school, why, why do you ask?”
“His mother just called and said that you beat him up today on the way home from school, is that true Craig?”
Man that was quick! I am certain that an entire litany of excuses proceeded from my lips trying to leverage against any sort of punishment, to no avail. My mom wasn’t buying any of it.
“I want you to go over to his house right now and apologize to him and his mother!”
What? Could anything be worse that? Didn’t she know that I was the new flyweight champ of the street corner of Wiltshire and Elwood? Hadn’t anybody told her of the “street cred” that I earned that day? Oh wait; “street cred” wasn’t even invented yet and I lived in the suburbs of Detroit.
So I made the long humiliating walk around the block and met Mrs. Weckwert that day and told Will that I was sorry for hurting him. His mom wasn’t very impressed with me then, but the funny thing is, Will Weckwert and I were best friends for the rest of our tenure at Angell Elementary School.
“At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility is our greatest friend.” John Stott
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Man I miss you Ryan. I just can’t believe that you are gone. There are days when it seems like everything is the way that it had always been. I go through my day subconsciously believing that real soon you’d come home smelling like pizza and asking me to crack your back. I loved giving you those great big bear hugs, even though in these last few years it was getting harder and harder to reach around you’re broad shoulders to do it. It was during this time of year we would start throwing the football around, talking about if the Lions would ever win anything again, since Barry retired. Or how we would do everything we could to get the TV remote and then crash on the floor after church on Sundays to watch the game, often wrestling around at halftime for control of the couch.
This is a really weird time for me. It’s a special bond that a man has with his children. I know that I won’t do it justice by the words that I birth on this page. Sons and daughters are so different. Daughters steal your heart away on the first hug and never give it back again and sons, well sons, are like a little pieces of you walking around that you hope and pray will “do” life more “right” than you did. I think that is why dads can be hard on their sons when they are growing up. I pray that God gives you many sons and daughters in your life. You need to have a lot of kids, you will be great with them Ryan.
I am so proud of you and I know beyond knowing this is exactly where you need to be, and that this separation isn’t the end of the story, but I still cry for the way it used to be. Tears roll down my face today, because while you were here, I acted like it would never end, never considering these days of separation that are now upon us. I long for your call as I never have before and that is a harsh and sad reality.
“Wherever you are be all there.” Jim Elliot.