We have four sons and are very proud of each. We also have one daughter, Susan; the embarrassing of whom will be postponed to some later, yet to be determined date.
Our eldest is Kenneth, a born mechanic. Working on cars is all he ever wanted to do. If it can be licensed to drive on the streets of America, Kenny can fix it (I am the only one in the world who can get away with calling him "Kenny"). If we have car problems, Ken gets a call.
All around Clay County our son Nathan, owner of Computer Central, is known as "that computer guy." Discovering computers at age 10, he, too, never wanted to do anything else but work on/with PC's. There may be men in Brazil who know more about the darn things, but I have not met that person.
The youngest is Benjamin (aka. Benji, The Hammer, and/or That Skateboard Hooligan). Those who knew him at Northview are amazed to learn he is teaching fifth-grade in a low-income school district in North Carolina. Born to teach no would have suggested. Somehow Benji has become our resident dietitian and chef.
And then there is Matthew ("theoneinthearmy"). A Warrant Officer in the U.S. Army, he is currently assigned to a base near Baltimore which base I dare not mention -- Big Brother is always watching. Nor can I tell you what he does that he is so good at doing. I cannot say because: (a) I do not know, (b) if I did know I wouldn't understand it, and (c) he says if he told me he'd have to kill me even though I didn't understand it. The general consensus is that if our family has any potential genius among us the closest would be Matthew.
Matt had been in Okinawa for eight years, getting home on leave then was a big deal (flying time 14 hours). Now he's close enough to take part of his leave and come home for a few days (driving time 11 hours). For him we reserve the "honey-dos". These are the things neither Kay nor I can do, don't know how to do, and/or none of the other sons can get around to doing. Figuring out the VCR leaps to mind in this regard (apparently NOBODY uses old-fashioned VCR's anymore).
As Matthew leaves to go back to duty, what struck me is that these young men with apparently so little in common have some really important things in common.
Each works hard, faithfully and honorably to provide for their respective family. So doing may be the highest purpose of man, whatever the catechisms say.
I try to respect the reality that each now has his own family, responsibilities and life. But, within the limits of what they can do, each of them would do anything their parents need done.
What their mother and I are most proud of, though, is simply this: When they are home (ours or their own), there is a Man in the house.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.