By Charles Towne
Our firstborn son, Chuck Jr. was two or three when he discovered the treasure trove.
To his little boy way of thinking the hoard he had discovered was far more valuable than gold, precious gems, or vast sums of money in value.
It seems that there are some folks among us that don’t have the good sense our merciful God gave a goofy misbegotten gopher, and it was to these irresponsible nincompoops that my innocent little boy had fallen victim.
I never could understand the satisfaction some folks get out of chewing gum, I mean, really, it’s a disgusting habit about on the same par as chewing tobacco.
Tobacco chewers are constantly spitting while gum chewers, on the other hand, have to eventually discard their gobs of gooey gum and either throw it on the sidewalk where it is invariably stepped on, gluing one’s foot to the floor. You know what I mean because we have all been there!
The other favorite depository for well-chewed gum is under the seat said miscreant is occupying at the time.
Enter my son.
Yep, you know he did. He had discovered the gum under his seat.
My wife nudged me and pointed at my namesake.
(At times like this she invariably surrendered any responsibility of parenthood to me. I can remember her exact words, “Well, don’t just sit there, do something, they are YOUR kids!”)
I glanced at my son and noticed that he was chewing on a big mouthful of something.
I leaned toward him and whispered, “What do you have in your mouth?” And he said, not in a whisper by the way, “Gum!”
Again, in a discreet whisper, I said, “Where did you get the gum?” And my worst fears were confirmed, when, with a big grin, he innocently pointed under his seat.
I believe to this day that he was surprised when I didn’t join him in his gum chewing revelry.
Then I made a mistake. I glanced at my sweet, innocent little girl, Faithy. Yes, much to my mortification she was also chewing gum.
It seemed at the time that any chance I might have had of rearing any Rembrandt’s, Einstein’s, or Michelangelo’s was being swiftly flushed down the great toilet of fate, leaving in their wake, swimming gleefully, was my very own little flock of Dootsie Bobo tadpoles.
Now I must admit that later, after several years of rug-rat rearing, I would eventually arrive at the place where such behavior was commonplace and I would more than likely scold the culprit for not sharing the chewing gum with his brothers and sister, but I was still a relative newbie to the parenting game.
At the time though I must admit to no small amount of horror, revulsion, and disgust, then vague and wispy images of the gum to be found under movie theatre seats when I was a little kid were wafted through the halls of my memory. (Black Jack and Juicy Fruit were my personal favorites.)
My children, my offspring, the seed of my loins, inheritors of my genes, exposed to diseases I could only imagine, hoof and mouth disease, leprosy, and plague, not being the worst of them.
Well, as it turned out, no terminal diseases were forthcoming, and they grew up into somewhat normal human beings, (which just goes to show that normal can be somewhat overrated.)
In retrospect, if the worst thing we ever do in our misbegotten lives is to chew some second-hand gum I guess our wonderful God has laughed at that and He will most likely help us through the stickier places in life.
I think we can all shout a resounding, “AMEN!” to that, don’t you?
Dear Papa God, thanks so much for loving us even we do something really disgusting. Please continue to guide us and protect us from the ugly consequences of our boo-boos, and please Father, cleanse us from any impurities and germs of sin that we may encounter on the way. We thank you O Holy God for being there for us and with us every day of our lives. In Jesus’ most Holy and Beautiful name we ask it, Amen
Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.