the dish ran away with the spoon

image courtesy of Google

I still remember the goofy image like it was yesterday…  I recall the words fairly well, but the pictures are burned into my memory like a hot poker branded into cowhide. I almost felt bad for the little guy with that blue suit or uniform. That was the sort of thing that would make for a real life nightmare for a little kid at the age I was.

I also remember the panicked look on the little guy’s face. While I appreciated the artist’s rendering, I was glad not to be in the feminine looking shoes of Little Boy Blue. I liked the pictures in that book of nursery rhymes, especially the cow clearing the moon with a proud smile on his face, but my all time favorite was the picture of the dish with the mischievous expression on his face while he was running away with the spoon, that had tears of fear flying off a worried-to-death-look on his face… I liked the dish…

By the time I got to junior high school I thought those childhood memories were dead… turns out they were just hiding. You realize a few things by the time you’re that age. My parents had a small business that kept my dad busy the majority of the time providing for his family, and my mom was on call 24/7 with the phone line… So much for unlimited use of the phone for talking to girls. Oh, I tried but between the business and my siblings vying for their long cord stretched out the side door, it was slim pickins’… or talkins’…

When I heard that song the first time those buried memories resurfaced from the deep… bringing moisture with them… I remembered the nursery rhymes which pressed a melancholy heart and I thought of my dad. He worked like a machine and took much pride in that fact that was visible by his actions.

It was partially the time he couldn’t spend due to work, but more of the dogged determination and perseverance with little to show that I read in his eyes like the rhymes in that book in those years. Cats And The Cradle by Harry Chapin would be burned into my soul even more than the nursery rhymes and I would allow emotion to take over when I’d hear or think about that song.

I’m a workaholic… I come by it honestly. It was how I came to measure and revere a man… It was paramount. I remember how proud my dad was to see that work ethic and my early success in life due to it. I’ve spent most of the last ten or fifteen years trying to be more balanced – to show my family different priorities than the one strength I had that had become my biggest weakness.

Our girls loved Cats In The Cradle too. I made them listen to it with me… I was around enough for that… I’m still seeking God in reining in the gift from Him that I’ve exploited and tend to. That old song came on the satellite music channel we had playing at home a few weeks back and my mind went back to adolescent days of joy and sorrow.

I’m thankful for all that my parents gave me, and the things they didn’t or couldn’t. I consider it proof that there is no perfection on our parts in this fallen world.

As Cats In The Cradle played, and the dish ran away with the spoon, that same proof was reflected in the tears of my youngest…