At the Orthodontist

A woman was in the orthodontist’s waiting room. A father and his
teenage daughter entered. Noticing the time, the woman decided the
father must be on his lunch hour and the daughter out of school for her
dental appointment. The woman had a habit of taking in all that was
occurring around her. She began to study this couple.

The man looked to be a professional type. He was well groomed and wore
a conservative dark gray suit. His daughter (she assumed it was father and
daughter) was attractive. Her eyes were brilliant blue; her auburn hair long
and in the casual style of the day. She wore a cashmere looking sweater
in the shade of blue which only accented the beautiful eyes.

The father picked up a magazine, sat down in the usual male fashion with
crossed legs, one serving as a table for his magazine. He turns the pages.
His daughter snuggled close to him and view the magazine.

The man moved away from his daughter. His space was being invaded. It
was a small move at first. He continued turning pages and the daughter
continued moving closer and looking with him at the magazine. At times
she pointed to something on a page. He gave her a disgusting look and
moved away again from the girl.

The woman was beginning to feel sorry for the girl. But then she started to
think it was the father who really needed help. As they say, “He didn’t have
a clue!” Here was a daughter who obviously cared deeply for her father.
To him, she was just an annoyance to his magazine reading; her
appointment interrupted his work day.

Once again the daughter pointed to something. The father uncrossed his
legs, slammed the magazine into her lap, and folded his arms tightly
across his chest. He glanced at his watch with a look of disgust. The girl’s
face flushed to a bright magenta. Her blue eyes filled with tears. She put
the magazine on the chair next to her and dropped her head, her hair
flowing over the edges of her face.

The woman also looked down. One of these days she was going to have
to stop taking in things. It was too painful. She tried to keep her own tears
from falling.

I Believe in You

I know somewhere in all of my posts I have referred to John Gardner’s
book, SELF RENEWAL. Well right now one of his comments jumps back
into my very crazy, and overloaded mind. According to him, each
generation must discover for itself the meaning of “democracy”.
I am posting this in the Teenagers section where I first posted my
observation of a father and daughter at the dentist’s office.
Why? Because right now the teenagers of today have discovered what
John Gardner meant in his book so many years ago. But, the sad part is
how they’ve discovered this. They’ve witnessed their friends blood as the
friends die in the mass shooting in Florida and so many other places.
I recently tried to figure out why I have always believed this generation will save us. When did I start to believe in the younger generation. My answer
lies in earlier posts on this website where I talk about my small speech
class in Sparta, IL, so many years ago getting the Pierre Menard home
restored. If you haven’t read that yet, do so now.

As adults we preach how important education is. The kids are educated
and now led by Greta from Sweden fight for climate change just as the
kids from Parkland fight for gun laws. And where did this come from “And
a child shall lead them…”? So what do some of our enlightened (???)
adults say, but the kids fight on. I continue to believe it is the youth
discovering first hand as John Gardner said, what democracy is all about.

And oh yes, I talk in another part of this site about my obsession of Clare
of Assisi. I eventually chose her for my Confirmation name because she
represented courage; she confronted the Catholic hierarchy of the time.
I say to all these teenagers today, I’m with you. Sad that you have to save
us, but (and I know some people hate this saying) “It is what it is.”


The mother was reading in her bedroom. The son was on the lower level of the split ranch home working with his films. It was his birthday. His sister was busy at her job in the deli this Sunday. The birthday cake was completed. All was well.

Sniff sniff. Must be the furnace working thought the mother. It was the first week in November and the heat had just been turned on two days ago for the winter season.

Sniff sniff. Really smells terrible thought the mother. She continued with her reading.

Sniff sniff. Cough cough. Something is wrong. She looked over to the heat vent and saw smoke coming through it. Rushing to the lower level, she was met with smoke filled rooms. Concerned about her son’s safety, she managed to get to his work room and threw open the door. The room was not only filled with smoke but flames as well.

“It’s okay, Mom. I’ve got in under control.”

“Yeah, right!”

They both struggled putting out the flames. She saw that one of his newly purchased very expensive lights was totally destroyed. Things like that never bothered her as long as he was safe. Other than some singed hair, he seemed to be all right.

Years later the mother would remind him (as mother will do) of the incident.

“Yes, and remember it was my birthday and you called me up later to eat cake. I told you I wasn’t very hungry and you really yelled at me. You said you made that cake and after I practically put the whole house on fire, I was going to eat it if you had to stuff it down me.”

The mother didn’t remember that part.