One of my sons-in-law who was a leader of men in the service and even earned an award for valor, is now facing life in the more everyday civilian world. Yesterday, my daughter let me know, was a not such a great day for him.

Anxious about an important presentation coming up, he’d showered, shaved, and dressed carefully. At the last minute, he decided to trim off just a little off the sideburn area of his hair with his electric clippers. That’s about the time his youngest son, our three-year-old grandson, raced up to him. Unfortunately, the little guy has been having some potty-training challenges and had just had an “accident.” He’d taken off his dirty clothes and was pretty much running around naked, making it easy to see that he was covered with, yes, the brown stuff.

Concerned about making contact, my son-in-law pulled back his arm. This jerked the razor, causing him to take out a good chunk from the side of his hair.  Aaaaargh! He could immediately see this wasn’t something he could even out, or fix. He’d need to get to a barber before his appointment! But his son was still running around and needing immediate attention.  Hoping my daughter could come up and help, he called downstairs. No luck.  She was changing the baby she tends on Wednesdays.

Realizing it was up to him, my SIL did what he had to do–hurriedly cleaned up the little boy. Next he cleaned himself up and changed clothes. Then he rushed out and in mere minutes was getting an extremely short haircut, reminiscent of his army days.

A half hour or so later, despite his unusual haircut, he was feeling good about how the presentation was going, until, that is, the potential client asked, “What’s that on your shirt—that brown spot?”

“Brown spot?” My son-in-law hardly dared look down. “Oh . . .” Sure enough there was a good-sized brown spot right there on his shirt. And, of course, he knew exactly what that brown spot was. White lies sometimes just slip from our lips when we’re under pressure or duress. It happens to the best of us. My son-in-law heard himself mutter something about hot chocolate.

“The problem is,” he let my daughter know later, “Hot chocolate smells better than what was on my shirt.” He told her that during the remainder of his meeting he was sure he smelled bad, very bad. “Stink” was the word he used.

“He’s hoping the presentation ended better than he thinks it did,” said my daughter.  He didn’t have much time to think about it, however, because he had a second appointment not long after the first one. He raced up to change his clothes again, this time grabbing a new suit he’d just bought the week before. Again, he rushed out the door.

It wasn’t until after this second presentation that my SIL realized his pants were split—significantly. When had it happened? He wasn’t sure. He guessed it had probably happened when he threw them on in such a hurry. He guessed his pants had been split during the entire presentation.

And there you have it—a different kind of day of combat, not even close to being as life-threatening or dangerous as some of those days in the service, but well, not exactly good times.  As far as I’m concerned, the guy is still a hero—the hanging-in there Dad kind of hero.


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