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    Curfews and a Cautionary Tale

     

    Last night I anxiously waited for my son to return from a party.  This was one of the first times he would be going with a friend in a friend’s car.  The party was at the home of a church member I trusted and I my son had his phone, but honestly I was a little embarrassed by my parental gaffe. I couldn’t remember if the curfew I set was 10 or 10:30.  I’m sure we talked about it but I really didn’t want to get in a fuss about the details, especially if they weren’t written down. 

    As I sat on the porch waiting for the sound of the 90’s German jalopy that I saw him climb into earlier that last evening, I suddenly had insight into my nervousness. It took me back to 1979 when I went to my first homecoming with Susan Edmunson. She was indeed the first date.  I was a good kid under the rule of strict parents so I guess it slipped their mind to set up a curfew for me.  They trusted me.  Right? Surely I would use my brain and get home at a reasonable hour. This was my first school dance.  I’d never danced before. I was a Baptist, for goodness sake. The music played on that night and everybody else seemed to be fairly unconcerned about the time. I was just a guy with two left feet trying everything I could to bust a move to a ten minute long version of a Donna Summers hit.

    It must have been 1am when Philip Baynum and I rolled into the driveway of the Tullos home. I went in, locked the doors and prepared for bed, still basking in the glow of my first date.  About a minute later I heard the doorbell ring.  Strange…  Who would be ringing our doorbell at one in the morning? I went to the front door and there was my dad. Angry.  And in nothing but his underwear. Dad had seen the lights of the car rolling into the drive as he waited for my arrival.  He went out the front door to confront me. He wasn’t quick enough.  By the time he walked around the lawn to the back of the house, I had already gone in and locked him out.

    The lecture that night must have lasted an hour and my days on the dance floor came to a swift conclusion.

    So now it’s my turn to sit at the window and wait for my son. That crazy night proved to be a cautionary tale about the importance of proper time management and communication.  My son Caleb came home well before the clock struck 10 and all was once again well. Time controversies subsided. But the picture of my dad in his underwear at the front door are forever burned into my memory.