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The Slice

Unscheduled matches in our living room

My father's relationship with my older brother tended to be tense.

Maybe it was different before I was on the scene. I don't know.

But by the time my brother was in high school, he and our dad usually seemed at odds with one another. Things were strained.

My brother was a good high school football player in Ohio. And I'm sure my dad was proud of that.

But if you wanted to see my father actually relax and let his guard down for a minute, you needed to see him when my brother brought his friend Bob over to the house. Bob was a big-deal wrestler. What a neck he had.

My dad would see him and immediately pounce. He would get Bob in a headlock or some other hold. Often, they wound up down on the floor in our living room, Bob shouting "Mr. Turner! Mr. Turner!"

I think this secretly delighted my brother. Though I remember my mother took a dim view of the proceedings.

Bob would try passive resistance until he realized that my father wasn't going to let him go until he fought back. So eventually he would, and that would be the end of the match.

You should have seen my father smile in those few moments.

My dad died when he was 90. He would have been 100 if he had lived to see his birthday tomorrow.

I guess none of us can be sure we will turn out to be the person we aspired to be. I doubt my dad wanted to be an uptight worrier when he was a young man. I suspect he regretted that he and my big brother did not have an outwardly warmer relationship.

But they had their moments.

Once, when he was an old man, I asked my father if he remembered how he would playfully attack my brother's wrestler friend Bob when he came over to the house. His smile was all the answer I needed.

The Slice

The online home for Paul Turner's musings and interactions with disciples of The Slice.