Once upon a time, back in the dim antiquity when I was young, I sat with my father at a picnic table, our plates heaped with goodness. My father had helped me through the food line, sat with me to eat.
Across the table sat another father with a younger girl, blonde hair braided and a little frizzy. I knew her slightly, but our fathers were firm friends.
All needs were met. We four began to eat, the fathers to talk.
“Daddy,” said the younger girl, “I want some water.”
“Alright,” said her daddy. “I will get you some.”
My father stood up and left the table.
Her father continued eating. The little girl waited.
“Daddy,” she said. “I want some water.”
“Yes,” he answered. “I am getting you some.”
“Daaa-ddy,” she giggled, a plaintive tone to the music. “Daddy.”
I watched, fascinated. Why such obvious nonsense? He ate another bite, firmly rooted to his seat.
The little girl waited. Tugged at his arm. “Daaa-ddy. I want some water.”
“I am getting you some. Just a minute.”
Suddenly my father appeared beside me, leaned across the table with a full cup in his hand, set it down by the little girl’s plate.
Her father smiled down at her. “You see? I was getting you some.”
My father sat down and the men began to talk.
Though twenty years and more have passed, this memory still tugs at my mind. What passed between those two, unseen by either of their daughters? A nod? A wink?
Was it a simple act of courtesy? My hands are emptier than yours, let me do the fetching. I thought at the time it was more than that.
Did they have any idea that so often since I would remember this, think of my Father and the promises He makes, the nonsense as He sits immovable?
He is on the way.
Credit to John Coblentz and Val Yoder, two fathers firm friends.