20200226: Raising Young Men

Saw this article this morning, and I started thinking…..

Discussion welcome. Can’t wait to see what you guys think.
Here, we have a Police Officer who arrested a 6yr old girl in school. She threw a tantrum, kicked and screamed. Officer picked her up from school (obviously someone at school called the police), charged her with misdemeanor battery, fingerprinted the little girl at the police station, before the state atty said she would drop the charges and let her go into Grandma’s custody. Of course, Grandma is mad and will probably sue the police department.
Officer also arrested another 6yr old boy.
The Officer was fired for not getting the approval of Watch Commander for arresting a child under age 12. What happened to common sense? Why is all this activity necessary? Is it because we turned over the job of parenting our children to the state? Cuz………., that’s what I’m seeing.

Personally, I see this as a waste of Police Officer’s time, coupled with a new and alien phase of teachers who are afraid to discipline students in a classroom. AND bad parents. BUT, let’s stop and think about it. Who really knows what goes on behind closed doors and the struggles therein? Are we judging without knowing? Probably.

Here’s the other side of the story. I confess. I had a stepson who decided he wanted to run away from home. He was about 8yrs old at the time, trying to bluff me, and I knew it. I said, “Okay, fine. Your father and I will miss you but we understand how you feel……”, which left him quite confused. I can’t even remember why he was mad, but I helped him pack up his little Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle suitcase he used to take to grandma’s when he spent the night.
I shook his hand goodbye at the back door.
Gheez, he was a stubborn kid.

He took off across the parking lot at the school next door, walking real slow and dragging his feet. He kept looking over his shoulder, waiting for me to capitulate and come after him.
I didn’t move – I was committed, but I could still see him.
About 10 minutes into the event but with stepson still in eyesight, Grady drove up, local police officer. He stopped to say hello every time I was watering my flowers.
I told him about my problem with stepson and told Grady to go and arrest him.
Grady was surprised at first. Yet, it was a Sunday afternoon, he wasn’t busy in our little township, and with a sly grin, he understood my dilemma, completely.
Grady wheeled his car around, turned on the blue lights, and went to “arrest” my stepson. No handcuffs, we agreed.

Within 5 minutes, I met them both at the police station, which is also in eyesight of our house.
Stepson knew he was in BIG trouble.
Never had another problem……
Don’t ever bluff a Momma.
Of course, we teased my stepson about “the time he ran away” with great regularity over the years, but that boy always pushed my limits.

Flash forward, stepson about age 14-15.

He had a girlfriend in a neighboring county who was a superb young woman. We encouraged their dating even though the distance was a problem, and neither kid could drive. On a Saturday night, I took off from home about 11:00pm, and went to pick him up from a “date”….. quiet and dark roads. No traffic at all.
We struck up a conversation on the way home.
I asked him about his date. He had fun, but something was off.
We rode for a while in silence, and then he blurted out his problem.
His best buddy, Jeremy, had run away from home.
“What?”, I said, and my back stiffened.

Jeremy was like my own kid. Jeremy’s mother was a dear friend to me, owned a successful biz around the corner from our house. The boys had been best friends since cub scouts. When Jeremy had problems with step-dad, he lived with us for months on end – which really wasn’t all that different because he was at our house all the time anyway.
But this time Jeremy had run away for real.

Jeremy had called my step-son, during his date, and Jeremy was afraid, calling out for help, but unwilling to call his mother. Stepson was giving me details, fast and furious, but in no particular order, and I was trying to keep up with the story.
My stepson was visibly upset.
Jeremy was still stubborn and “in over his head”.
I asked my stepson “WHY” was Jeremy afraid?
Within a nano-second, “Where is Jeremy?” I was wide awake, and readjusting in my seat by then….
The answer came, “Well, Jeremy has been living in a hay barn, just south of St Louis.” Me, at lightning speed by then, “Almost 300 miles away!!??” From stepson, “Yeah, but the local farmer discovered he was living there and threw him off the property.”
“What?”
Stepson was sad, he missed his friend, but understood the problems.
“What????”
“A hay barn????”, at that point, I think my stepson was wondering if he made a mistake by telling me. I could tell my stepson was having a difficult time with this, and I stopped, backed up, calmed down, asap.
I was trying to wrap my head around the idea of Jeremy in a hay barn. I rubbed his shoulder and said, “Honey, it’s going to be close to 30 degrees tonight, cold outside and even colder in Missouri. What the heck was he thinking?”
“I don’t know, mom”, said my stepson.

Silence for a few minutes. My brain was running at full tilt. There was no possible way, no possible ulterior motive or condition which existed, where I could leave Jeremy alone. No, no way….. no matter what the repercussions. No.

We turned onto the interstate for our last leg of the trip home to our house, and I turned north, instead of south.
“What are you doing, mom?”
“We’re going to get Jeremy…….”, I said.
Objections, loud objections, “Mom, you can’t interfere”
From me, “The hell I can’t!”

I called Tina, my friend and Jeremy’s mom, and woke her up. She explained the situation. Jeremy was a brilliant, rich, and stubborn young man…. which I already knew. And she told him to call her when he was ready, but he was defiant. He was unwilling to call, to capitulate, and it was killing her, but she had made her stand and her husband was a bigger part of the problem, throwing gas on the fire.
I told her I was going to get him and they could work it out later.
She was actually relieved.
Then, I called my husband. He insisted on coming with us, but I refused to come home and pick him up. He didn’t have the personality for what lay ahead. He was furious, but he was a strong man and intimidating. This….. this needed a lighter touch.

My stepson called Jeremy, told him we were coming, and they talked back and forth several times…. to arrange where to meet.
And off we went to St Louis….. in the middle of the night, fog rolling low of over the pastures, almost no traffic save the friendly semi-trucks, ….. we made great time.
We met Jeremy that night under an interstate bridge. I’ll never forget it. He didn’t want to be close to a gas station or attract any attention. He was only wearing a light jacket and had been gone for over 6 weeks. I thought to myself, “guilt”, how the heck could Jeremy be missing for 6 weeks and me not know about it?
Surreal.

We got out of the car, Jeremy not quite knowing what to expect. I threw my arms round that kid, so happy to see him, alive and unharmed. No yelling, just grateful he was okay. Within 15 seconds he was sobbing into my shoulder.
His parents were multi-millionaires. Jeremy had every advantage and yet, he was a miserable kid just trying to find his way.
Amazing how an argument can start as nothing and blossom into a catastrophe.
But at 3:00am a Waffle House can cure what ails almost anyone. Those boys were so hungry.

Both boys fell asleep on the way home. They were almost grown men but huddled together in the back of the blue-bomb mini-van, sharing Grandma Della’s homemade afghan, like they used to do when they were little cub scouts.
I rode in silence, deeply humbled and relieved. There but for the grace of God, go I. I thought about Tina and what she was going through. I thought about how I would react if my stepson was 300 miles away, living in a barn, and cold. It made me react physically. I was shaking and white knuckled, gripping the steering wheel. The thought of what could have happened scared the heck out of me. Sigh…..

Gosh, I do admire an independent streak in a young man, it means they have spirit, which is the best thing we could ever give to a child. Certainly, I raised Gunner to be incredibly independent, and at times, wow, I have learned to regret it……..

I’ll admit, as a mom, whenever my husband would try to hover over the kids and limit activities, I would argue for independence, allowing them plenty of rope to test limits. In a small town, we could always rescue them if one got into too much trouble. My standard line was, “You know, if it was 200 yrs ago, by age 16, those boys would have a wife, maybe a child on the way, and 200 acres to farm.” and then turn to the child, “Of course I trust you, …..dear” ….. which was the kiss of death and meant they couldn’t screw up. It made them responsible adults. Normally, it worked.

Sometimes though, our terrific young men, they just need a little help, a little bit of space, neutral ground, and a 3:00am Waffle House run in Missouri.

By the time we reached Memphis, the sun was up and my husband was calling, anxious, making the boys even more apprehensive. Yet, he was legitimately worried about all of us. We arrived at home and he was waiting in the driveway. My first husband had the ability to LOOK at those boys, and they would immediately start crying. The boys were nervous and didn’t know what to expect from him. Slowly, they unfolded their stiff bodies from the mini-van. Were they in trouble? Going to be torn apart? Yet, I have to give my ex-husband credit. He handled it perfectly….. hugged them both hard, for a long time. He told them to get some sleep, take a shower, and everything would be okay.

And it was.

Only a man can understand an adolescent male, and the innate natural desire for a young man to stake a claim, stand for something – even if it’s wrong when they’re teenagers. It’s something a mom can’t do no matter how hard we try. It takes both parents to raise a young man. Sure, a lighter touch from mom is often needed because young men go from an eight-year-old, to 40-year-old, and back to a 12-year-old, in the same conversation. A stern look from Dad, which can make a child crumble, is definitely necessary but comes in handy. Above all, a little bit of silence, no quick judgement, and plenty of long hard hugs make everything better, no matter how old they are.

When Jeremy returned to school, he was quite the legend. The stories of his nights “on the lamb” and our midnight run to Missouri grew like exaggerated “fish stories” as the years passed. He was a handsome young fellow and the girls swooned around him. I rolled my eyes. He was the consummate bad boy. But a strange thing happened along the way….. Thankfully, my legend grew a little bit as well because it was part of Jeremy’s story. It went like this: “Because, No matter where you are, Miss Daughn will come and find you.” It was strange and liberating for the kids. It meant they had a sense of security, to step off of base…. The kids never did anything really bad, no gun-running or drug-dealing, but they had a feeling if they ever really got into trouble, they could call Miss D, and magically, I could fix it. In a weird way, it gave them more independence. Over the next dozen years, there were many phone calls, but nothing too severe.

As my own son, Gunner, grew up, he had thousands of miles of rope to test his independence. We kept thinking he would screw up, mildly, a little bit, and waited for it. Nothing. Straight as an arrow, that kid, …… until one time, he called me at midnight from his dorm. He was quite upset, ranting and raving. I tried to calm him down to no avail. He cried and sobbed, inconsolably. After an hour, he hung up on me.

What? My son had never hung up on me. What was going on? I woke Big T up and he was concerned as well. It was unlike Gunner. Big T was pacing the floor and suggested we drive down to his college. I nodded, but thought I should go alone, again, over his objections….. softer touch, save the big guns for when we need them. I couldn’t sleep anyway, took a shower, and started driving. I woke Gunner up, in his dorm, at 5:00am. “Mom, what are you doing here?”, he said, embarrassed. I looked at him and squinted, “Because no matter where you are, I will FIND you.” and then, “You want to tell me what’s going on?” It was hormones, over-reaction, thinking too much and caring what other people think too much. He was lonesome and had lost perspective. I took him to the grocery store and restocked his little fridge. He was fine……………

We went to Waffle House for breakfast.

And I let the rope out again…………

Kids are tough, and take all of our effort, but being a mom is the best job I’ve ever had. Why would any parent trust the bureaucracy with such an important job?

33 thoughts on “20200226: Raising Young Men

  1. The leftists are the ones that are behind the push to eliminate discipline. This includes discipline in the home as well as schools.

    Of course, it’s completely irrational and nonsensical. But it makes a lot more sense when we set aside the assumption that they are working for the public good.

    * Undisciplined children, AKA spoiled brats, are much more likely to “rebel” – against their parents, against the church, against society, against culture. . . “Rage against the machine”. Irrational rebellion means fertile recruitment for radical leftists.

    * Extreme cases result in criminality, which is also useful to the left. Social breakdown through criminality destroys good society, and leftism is by definition the deprivation of the good.

    * A lack of morals is exploited by the left. Useful idiots are ammunition for them.

    * A lack of discipline contributes to the general social breakdown and upheaval. California streets and the roll-back of New York City quality of life regulations follow a parallel track. Create a problem so big that government needs to step in and solve it. Never let a crisis go to waste. Use a rotting and trashed city to demoralize (psyop) people into fatalism and learned helplessness. Push the NARRATIVE (lie) that America has FAILED us. Meanwhile, pocket all the money that comes in to “fix” the problem. (The “fix” is in, alright.)

    Liked by 15 people

    1. EXACTLY!

      And you can trace it all back to the ROCKEFELLERS!

      1894 — Dumbing Down America — John Dewey the Father of Modern Progressive Education (funded by John D.)
      1920 — The Hand that Rocked the Cradle: A Critical Analysis of Rockefeller Philanthropic Funding, 1920-1960 The ‘New Progressive’ Child rearing practices taught mothers by doctors.

      Feminism designed to tear apart families was a creation of the Rockefellers.
      How The Rockefellers Re-Engineered Women

      The Rockefeller Foundation Funded ‘Womens Lib’ For The Same Reason The CIA Funded ‘MS Magazine’

      Not only was feminism about getting to tax the labor of women —Remember the Grace Commission report to Reagan noted that 100% of personal income tax goes to pay interest on the national debt, the lion’s share of which goes to the banking cartel that we know as the Federal Reserve. –(wwwDOT).bloggernews.net/17032) —– Women’s Lib was about the government getting control and indoctrinating children.

      Liked by 11 people

      1. Exactly. http://www.crossroad.to has a lot about that (“Brave New Schools”).

        One of the favorite justifications or principles of the leftist teachers’ unions (but I repeat myself) AFT and NEA, is “In Loco Parentis”, i.e. in the place of the parents.

        BUT

        They are not the parents. And the parents are responsible, BEFORE GOD.

        NOT the teachers.

        Whether or not they like it. And whether or not the parents like it.

        Amazing (and disappointing) to me how in the last 60 years, NOTHING HAS CHANGED, and NO ONE IS PROTESTING THE LOSS OF PARENTAL CONTROL…

        I grew up in Kalifornistan, and the garbage I saw being spewed by the left is being spewed over here in Germany, some 40-60 years later.

        Screwey Dewey (who my teachers (Columbia Teachers’ College, go figure),et. al. considered a saint) and his colleagues (as well as “Fearless” Emerson C. Fosdick) who destroyed mainline Christianity in the 1930s) deserve an especially warm “local warming” in HELL for what they’ve done…

        “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of American Schools”, by Charlotte Iserbyt, and “Brave New Schools”, by Berrit Kjos are well worth reading and analyzing, for they document the decline and fall of American Education. Berrit’s site is http://www.crossroad.to.

        http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com is a great, technical resource for this as well.

        Common (rotten-to-the-) Core has NO PLACE in the American (indeed, ANY) education system system!!!

        Liked by 6 people

  2. Great story, top notch parenting!

    In my family, there have been 3 generations of teachers. My grandfather, one of his brothers and one of his sisters were teachers, and started just before or during the Great depression. I grew up listening to stories from their experiences, most of all from my grandfather.

    My husband taught Jr. and Sr. High, from approximately 1962 for 30+ years. There were a LOT of changes that happened while he was teaching, and a lot of stories that I could relate that illustrate what michaelh lists above.

    One of our daughters teaches at a school that works with autistic children, children with some learning disabilities, as well as a few with behavioral issues that the school feels that are manageable for them. She Is one of those people that kids “glom” onto. She’s been that way since she was about 12 or 13. Kids love her and trust her. She has some interesting insights, but is coming to realize that a few of the children that have problems stem from poor parenting.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Daughn, I could read your stories forever. You really need to compile these and sell or offer them to the wider public, if you don’t already.

    First off, a visit to a Waffle House has helped solved many problems in my life. If you don’t visit the nearest Waffle House enough to know the main cook by first name, you probably aren’t going enough. Eugene is the cook at “my” Waffle House. He starts cooking what I haven’t yet ordered the moment he sees me enter the door. I always get the same thing.

    As an aside, the last time that I ate at my Waffle House, I was alone and sat at the bar. I sat next to an elderly veteran, as evidenced by his hat. I thanked him for his service and we began to talk. It turns out that he manned a gun on a small (PT?) boat off the shore of Omaha during D-Day. His guns provided cover as best as he could. Needless to say, I paid for his breakfast after listening to his stories for nearly two hours… Best Waffle House visit ever.

    Back on topic: Though technically I wasn’t running away at the age of maybe 12, a friend and I decided to take a ride on a train one summer day. We had noticed that there was a section of track near our homes where the train would move forward and back, probably changing out cars, and we could easily climb inside one of the open-door empty cars during the moments of no motion. So, hoping for adventure, we packed some lunches and did exactly this – jumped on board during a stationary pause.

    At first, it was incredible. The feeling of freedom, of adventure and of going places was a rush. The train got moving and we happily ate our lunch and watched the farm land wiz by.

    But, then, it dawned on us that it was time to catch the next stopping point and return home. Except that the train hadn’t stopped even once yet.

    This went on for hours. The day was getting old. And, we started to realize that maybe this train won’t stop for a while. A long while.

    We contemplated jumping. But, landing on land would hurt. Maybe worse. So, we concluded that jumping when we were on a bridge into water was better. But, each time we were on a bridge, the water came and went too quickly for us to build the nerve to jump. (Thankfully, we didn’t try any of these things…)

    Before nightfall, the train did indeed come to a stop. It was in an industrial area, probably a train depot of sorts. We got out of that car as quick as two little guys could move and didn’t even think twice about not finding an adult (some train-company guy standing not too far away) and come clean with our adventure.

    A walk to a building and a phone call later, my dad was on his way.

    It turns out that we had not only gone a couple hundred miles, but we also crossed a state line.

    My dad wasn’t even that upset. Not happy, but not angry either.

    I don’t believe we stopped at Waffle House on the way home, but that would have been too good to be true.

    So, yeah, somehow this story connects, in my mind, to your story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Chimpy – this post was sent to spam by Akismet. As was your NEXT attempt to post it. There is no reason to spam either of these, except a psych test.

      I believe that if you don’t complain to them, for both the last one and this one, they will begin to block you regularly. I believe they may be testing to see what they can get away with in terms of blocking people here. It’s a psych test of Akismet censorship. First they hit you on one that you might be embarrassed by for being hot under the collar. Now they hit you with a personal story you might not share as an example. Smells like a psych test to me. WHERE WILL YOU COMPLAIN? Where will you NOT COMPLAIN?

      Buck up – show them they can’t push you around – or not. Your choice.

      Here is where to report: https://akismet/contact – pick the 4th option, and give them these 2 URLs:

      https://wordpress.com/comment/wqth.wordpress.com/411363

      https://wqth.wordpress.com/2020/02/26/20200226-raising-young-men/comment-page-1/#comment-411363

      Like

  4. So how do we go about combating the problems?

    I think a lot of the teachers are cowed by administrators to not take control of their classrooms. I know from my husband’s experience, that was starting to go on in the high school. Send the disruptive child down to the office or counselor’s where nothing was done, and if a particular child was continually being sent down, well, don’t send the child anymore, but the teacher had no authority to discipline the child. He’d send them down anyway. I know some teachers just kicked disruptive children out of the classroom to roam the halls because administration didn’t want to deal with them.

    Good administrators work in the building, help the teachers, and know at least some of the students. They should not be gallivanting all over attending meetings that taxpayers pay for and are not helpful to the teachers or students. Somehow the number of administrators / student needs to be reigned in. In our state, administrative salaries USED to be tied to teachers salaries. Once administrative salaries were no longer tied into the teachers’ schedule, it became a free for all. Districts also have sneaky ways to show a higher teacher to student ratio by counting certain administrators as teachers. Reigning in of number of administrators and their salaries seems to be the most often overlooked problem, I think partly because administrators can be very adept at applying blame to teachers.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Same thing applies to “healthcare” — 80% of the employment and dollars go to people who never actually see a patient and improve their circumstances.

        Liked by 4 people

  5. We still have corporal punishment in Mississippi.
    Kids can get paddled. A least we did 6-7 yrs ago.
    I was really surprised. You should have seen my uber liberal Wisc sister-in-law when she found out…..
    Anyway
    Months later, I learned of an incident where Gunner was “paddled”.
    What?
    At the time he was 6’2″ and weighed 230lbs, playing freshman football.
    How could anyone paddle him?
    Well,
    come to find out, a football coach had the honors.
    Gunner had an “F” in a class. It was an obvious clerical error but the timing was wrong. Coach asked him, “Gunner, what the hell are YOU doing here?”
    Gunner told the coach to go ahead and get it overwith, because I wouldn’t believe it. Huh? Of course I would have. Grades were fixed in a few days.
    I was surprised though, the paddle worked.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There was a time after which I didn’t get paddled any more. It was a combination of events. One was when my mom broke her hairbrush whacking me with it and I ran around with scorecards reading “brush 67, cthulhu’s behind 1”. Another element was when I perfected the technique of looking at the paddling parent with a “you probably enjoy this, you sadist” expression. The third was when it was realized that I was already plenty infuriated with myself when I got caught.

      Like

  6. Great story. Son came to tell me goodnight right when I was reading this. We talked about rebellion = differentiating one’s self from parents and that opposite of parents might not be who he really is, etc. Things we have talked about for many years and are now a part of him. Why did we talk about this for so long? A) to prepare him for teen years and B) because independence runs strong within him…ran away first time at 3 yrs and 11 months…for real. Second time when he was 6 yrs old. Yeah, we have worked on this.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Between 2.5-3 yrs old (had to have been no older because he was still in a diaper) he stood at the top of the stairs and shouted that he was an American and wanted his Freedom!

      1st time he ran away had a plan to live in the neighbors yard. That was also the day he fired me from being his mom and told me that I wasn’t pretty any more.

      At 5 he told me he was now completely grown and didn’t need me for anything except to cook his food and drive him places.

      At 6 he ran away again.

      yep – all American stubborn streak runs through that boy!

      So we worked hard on these things early, often and prayerfully. He is now teen and is coming into his manhood well…praying continues.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Really great story, Daughnworks247…the 3 of us just had a lovely visit together at the end of the day talking about what you shared. Thanks! 🙂

    Like

  8. This lovely post reminded me of one done by another Treeper, Menagerie, who often hangs in the branches at StellasPlace1.com

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2014/08/06/being-a-little-boys-mama-the-real-life-version/

    Thanks for continuing to bless & encourage us with your warmth, wit, & wisdom. Gunner & your other “sons” have been so blessed to have you in their corner.

    This illustration from Menagerie’s post seems to typify the spirit of so many of the conservative men we love!

    https://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/baby-newt.jpg?w=300&h=212

    Like

  9. Incidentally, one of the things I am seriously looking forward to about leaving my birth state is that I will be in a land with bright yellow 11-letter signs of civilization all over the place.

    January 12, just over a year ago, we were in Nashville when it snowed. We had our little stash of food in the hotel fridge, but we made it over to the Waffle House down the block. The Waffle House delivery truck drivers would go around with supplies — including flashlights and other gear — and go around at every change of shift to make sure that Waffle House staffers weren’t stranded at work or could make it in.

    I had previously never seen snow fall, but as long as I knew I could get to the Waffle House, I knew it would work out.

    Like

  10. One subtle thing you might get from being a parent is when the heavens open and a ray from the sun shines down and illuminates you. We all live our lives questioning that we are not doing the right thing, wondering if we’ve left something behind.

    I had a scheduled visit with my grandparents in Parkersburg, WV. I lived in Silicon Valley and was running my own business and it was a big deal to take time off. Prior to my visit, my grandfather had an episode and ended up in the ICU. I kept getting updates — he’s better — he’s worse — he’ll be OK. Finally, I said, “screw it” and headed across the country.

    I was a total techie-boi and had a laptop that read a universal address finder off a CDROM (internet didn’t have it yet). Flew into Columbus, OH and rented a car, then drove to Parkersburg with the laptop on the passenger seat. There were two hospitals with ICUs, I got lucky and guessed right on the first. I got there and verified that my grandfather was there, but it wasn’t yet the official visiting hours, and I was wondering whether I was just foolish or stupid.

    And the ICU got a phone call on behalf of my grandmother. She might not be able to make visitation that day because she was four stories down in the ER due to stress. The clouds parted, the light shone on me, the angels sang, the doubts were scattered to the winds…..I had made the right decisions and was there because I needed to be there. If I had made poor decisions, I’d still be 3,000 miles away.

    I imagine that I hugged my grandma with the same fierceness as Daughn hugged Jeremy. We live our lives in second-guessing and doubt, but there are some scarce moments when we know we’ve done right.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Great story, Cthulhu. When the light bulb goes on and you know you made the right choice, it is a wondrous thing. Gives us courage to take more chances.

      Like

  11. Daughn, I could read your stories forever. You really need to compile these and sell or offer them to the wider public, if you don’t already.

    First off, a visit to a Waffle House has helped solved many problems in my life. If you don’t visit the nearest Waffle House enough to know the main cook by first name, you probably aren’t going enough. Eugene is the cook at “my” Waffle House. He starts cooking what I haven’t yet ordered the moment he sees me enter the door. I always get the same thing.

    As an aside, the last time that I ate at my Waffle House, I was alone and sat at the bar. I sat next to an elderly veteran, as evidenced by his hat. I thanked him for his service and we began to talk. It turns out that he manned a gun on a small (PT?) boat off the shore of Omaha during D-Day. His guns provided cover as best as he could. Needless to say, I paid for his breakfast after listening to his stories for nearly two hours… Best Waffle House visit ever.

    Back on topic: Though technically I wasn’t running away at the age of maybe 12, a friend and I decided to take a ride on a train one summer day. We had noticed that there was a section of track near our homes where the train would move forward and back, probably changing out cars, and we could easily climb inside one of the open-door empty cars during the moments of no motion. So, hoping for adventure, we packed some lunches and did exactly this – jumped on board during a stationary pause.

    At first, it was incredible. The feeling of freedom, of adventure and of going places was a rush. The train got moving and we happily ate our lunch and watched the farm land wiz by.

    But, then, it dawned on us that it was time to catch the next stopping point and return home. Except that the train hadn’t stopped even once yet.

    This went on for hours. The day was getting old. And, we started to realize that maybe this train won’t stop for a while. A long while.

    We contemplated jumping. But, landing on land would hurt. Maybe worse. So, we concluded that jumping when we were on a bridge into water was better. But, each time we were on a bridge, the water came and went too quickly for us to build the nerve to jump. (Thankfully, we didn’t actually do ANY of these things…)

    Before nightfall, the train did indeed come to a stop. It was in an industrial area, probably a train depot of sorts. We got out of that car as quick as two little guys could move and didn’t even think twice about not finding an adult (some train-company guy standing not too far away) and come clean with our adventure.

    A walk to a building and a phone call later, my dad was on his way.

    It turns out that we had not only gone a couple hundred miles, but we also crossed a state line.

    My dad wasn’t even that upset. Not happy, but not angry either.

    I don’t believe we stopped at Waffle House on the way home, but that would have been too good to be true.

    So, yeah, somehow this story connects, in my mind, to your story.

    Liked by 1 person

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