The Empty Nest

Today is Jon’s birthday. What is your favorite memory of Jon as a kid?

 
There are so many memories I have of all you kids that it’s hard to say ‘this is my favorite’. With Jon, it happened when he was about to go to Abilene to college, but he really didn’t want to leave home.     Every time one of you kids went off to school, your mom would grieve for several days, almost as if you were ‘gone’. Busy as I was working, we always had the next young’un still at home, and I just didn’t experience that maternal separation each time like she did. We always still had kids in the nest.

I used to stop at our house every day (Route 2 Box 129) to eat a little lunch.  (By this time, mom had finished and excelled in her education. She had bachelors and masters degrees from Sam Houston   and was in demand as an English teacher in both Normangee and Madisonville.) This day I walked in to eat lunch, and there was a note on the end of the bar which said, “Bye, y’all. I’ll miss ya….and if I get homesick, I’m comin’ home!” (I still have the note in my little brown shaving kit in my closet)

Anyway, I knew how badly Jon didn’t want to go to Abilene…and college. He had been a genius as a builder, even as a little boy!   When I read that note, I looked outside. His pickup was gone, his trailer was gone, and his horse was gone!   I cried all during my lunch and, when it was time for me to head back out on the mail route, I thought I’d better go into my lavatory to wash the tears from my face.

When I went to the lavatory, I was in for another surprise! (When Jon  graduated, he received a bottle of Kuros, very expensive and good-smelling cologne. I would sneak into his bathroom and borrow a little Kuros.  The aroma was so distinct, that it had become a game with us–Jon would holler, “Get outta my cologne!”) When I got to my lavatory to wash my face, to my surprise there sat that little bottle of cologne with this note underneath. “Dad, this isn’t much, but maybe it’ll let you know how much I love you!”  Well, I really started bawling then.  I couldn’t stop crying for a full 6 hours! I still have that note (and the cologne) on my lavatory!:))

My baby boy was gone! Also his horse, his truck and trailer. I just wasn’t ready for that ’empty’ feeling…and the ‘nest’ was empty!

BUT…leave it to Jon. He called me in October with these words, “Dad, you’ve gotta help me with Momma. I can’t stand it out here…I’ve gotta come home!”    I said to him, “Now Jon, you know Mom’s not gonna stand for you dropping out of school.” He replied with a typical ‘Jon’ism, “Well Dad, I can flunk out a whole lot cheaper at Sam Houston than doing another semester here at ACU.”   His heart just wasn’t in it, but Betty and I have just thrilled to watch him blossom and grow since!

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