I have a quandary. I have a grandson who likes my fight stories and thinks I used to like to fight. I didn’t. But I like to tell stories and I did like to hear my Dad’s stories, which are much better and more manly than mine. Apparently my grandson is fascinated and tempted to follow our storied examples – he recently got in a fight at school and got suspended – so I am trying to tell this as real as possible without making it an example to follow. I don’t know if that’s do-able.
I do really want to help my grandkids. I have been concerned for awhile to hear some of them are having trouble. They are in need of some help. They are almost teenagers, and are anxious about life, not understanding themselves or their value or even what they want out of life. How do I explain stuff so they can realize they are normal, everything is going to be fine? Can I combine a Dad-story with value and helpfulness for them? Can anything I write really help at all? It’s worth a try.
My father passed away 14 yrs ago at the age of 73. There are several interesting things about my reactions to that event in my life. I miss him more than I realized I would. I miss the comfortable, friendly pat on my shoulder when he would walk past on his way to the bathroom after a morning session of having coffee and telling stories. I miss having someone who was actually interested in my boring life and proud of me. He loved to tell stories. They were very good stories full of action, often old fights he had been in before he was a Christian, or war stories from WWII.
Dad did not like to fight anymore after becoming a Christian. He said that after he got Christ in his life he lost all that rage and did not know if he would actually be any good at fighting. The reason my Dad came to Christ was for my Mom, Rita, and his family and God was talking to him, reminding him of some deals he had made on Iwo Jima when he was in extreme danger of dying in the war.
He did not encourage me getting in fights, so I didn’t much, but his stories were good. I liked them.
My Dad came by his fighting ways, I think, because of his reaction to life’s bummerness. It didn’t do much to improve his life, I would say, except when it came to having coffee and telling stories to your kids. Life did not get any easier or better. I’m not saying he should not have done it – I am proud of him for not caving in to the bullies and for getting good enough to beat them, and I don’t think he was ever one himself.
Earl Hitson (Dad) had a hard time almost from birth. Edna, my grandmother, told me a story about the 2 yr old Earl. His grandpa, Eli, who was a public employee before PERS ever existed, had served as Sherriff in Wyoming during the old west days and his retirement plan was to move in with Grandma and Grandpa who were poor themselves. Somehow the old man, Eli, and Earl did not hit it off well. The senile old man would get my dad in trouble and he would get a whipping from Grandma. She finally realized what was going on and felt bad about it. I think this was a pretty hard way to start out in life, and could have built in some rage and frustration (says the amateur analyst).
Later, in school, Dad did not hit it off with his teacher, who constantly made fun of him and used him for an example to the rest of the students. This made him the butt of jokes with some of the older kids. (Reminds me of some things my grandson has gone through). He began skipping school. He would ride his horse down to meet the bus and just hide under a bridge until the bus left without him and then go have a great day as a boy on the loose in the country side until big sister came home on the bus and told Grandpa, getting him in trouble again.
School is just hard on boys in the first place. When I am elected President of the United States, the first thing I am going to do is abolish mandatory schooling for boys.
After getting beaten by some bigger boys, Dad began working out with a punching bag and at the age of 16 he was a fighter with a knockout punch, beginning his period of life where he was almost unbeatable. He acquired a circle of friends who appreciated his abilities, many of whom were bar buddies, and not the highest quality of individual.
My Dad was the type who gave friendship whole-heartedly and did not understand fickle people. He did not seem to mind hanging out with the type of individuals who did not really respect his friendship. I don’t think he easily comprehended that fact, such as it was.
He got a reputation around Klamath Falls, and glory seekers started coming looking for him wanting to prove they were tougher. Some of the people hanging around him were just there because he had the reputation.
He told a story about one fight that tells it all for me.
He was in a bar with some ‘friends’, a couple he thought were good friends. A man who was an Army Ranger came in, sat down at the table with them and started getting mouthy. Dad punched him across the table. The fight was on. The Ranger used a choke trick that Dad did not know about which caused Dad to crumple to the floor. He had Dad in this hold and Dad was not worried because it was not hurting him. He was backpedaling toward the wall and was planning what to do when he hit the wall – he was going to bounce back and the fight was going to be over, but suddenly he was blacking out and going down.
As he hit the floor, he could hear the woman of the couple who were his friends yelling to the Ranger, “Put the boots to him! Put the boots to him!”
Unfortunately for the Ranger as soon as he let go of the choke hold Dad instantly regained his strength and came up off the floor like a tornado. He still got in trouble with the establishment, however, because he drug that Ranger outside by the hair at a run to finish the fight and scuffed up the special floor finish.
Dad had a problem with always getting in trouble for no reason. Heheh.
Well, don’t know if that helps little guy, but hey! You came by it honestly – now go get ‘em! Oops. Wait, no! Don’t do that!. Fighting solves nothing! Oh well. *sigh* (I just can’t seem to help myself once I get started).
My point is that while the stories sound heroic and cool, his friends were lame and Dad was a bit angry at life. Getting married and becoming a follower of Christ was just what he needed to become an asset to the world instead of a headache.
So get married and that will solve your problems. Umm… Well, not really, but theoretically possibly. Okay, not batting 1000 here.
So, to my grandson: Just enjoy the stories, be proud of your heritage, and try to stay out of trouble so I don’t pull the rest of my hair out! I hope this helps you understand a little bit, maybe a little more information than you had before, along with an entertaining anecdote. (Story).
Anyway, Dad always seemed to feel a little like he was a bad person during his fight days. At his grave side service in Bonanza, Tim was telling how Dad used to be bad, and fight, beat up on on people and stuff before he became a Christian, (because Tim never misses a chance to preach Christ) and a lady near me was a bit offended at that. She said, (and I quote), “He never whipped anyone unless they really deserved it!”