Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

The crimson rug at 211 Vinewood covered most of the hardwood. Living room golf was one of my favorite pastimes, especially at Grandma and Grandpa’s. Grandpa housed his silver putting cup in the dining room drawer, quietly nestled amongst the other trinkets. The cup’s beveled edge was steep enough to deny putts lacking appropriate pace, but its raised, curved perimeter proudly corralled those that made it in. Often, I asked for permission to use it, and Grandma was always happy to retrieve it for me. One day, after positioning the cup near the fringed edge of the rug, I walked toward the fireplace with two golf balls in hand. After a pendulum-like practice stroke–the one Grandma and Grandpa preached–I addressed the ball.

With a final glance at my target, I made a smooth stroke. I watched as the ball held its line. As it neared the cup, I stepped forward to celebrate–raising my arms in triumph. Then I stopped. A small bump–imperceptible a moment ago–now loomed in front of the cup. The ball veered right and caromed off the edge, missing wide.

That moment of exultation vanished. I charged after the errant ball–teeth gritted–swinging wildly in disgust. It only took a single swipe. I punctured Grandpa’s leather chair, the putter’s toe digging in just beneath the armrest.

I was 9 years old, and ten seemed uncertain. Any chair but Grandpa’s, any chair but that one.

My legs went first. I sank as tears streamed down my cheeks, emptying into the corners of my mouth. Pangs of nausea rippled through my stomach as I sat on my knees amidst the incriminating evidence. Grandpa’s Italian leather chair—a highly coveted seat at family gatherings—sat next to the end table as it did before. Only now, its maimed side would incite anger, I was sure.

I knew what awaited me. I dreaded the conversation with Grandpa—that candid moment of confession where the lump in my throat would swell with each word uttered. He was a wonderful man—generous beyond belief—but old school in every sense of the phrase. His authoritative brand of discipline came equipped with an arsenal of didactic narratives and clear expectations. The thought of his furrowed brow and piercing eyes was more than I could handle. When we finally spoke, though, he was calm—disappointed, but calm. And word of my ensuing punishment came quickly.

I worked that summer shoveling dirt, pulling weeds, washing windows. Dad drove me to Grandpa’s every Monday to atone for my transgression. The regret was like a plume of smoke, enveloping me each time I unlatched the iron gate to Grandpa’s yard. With flecks of dirt adorning my sunburned legs, I transferred each mound of earth across the yard. Working in the hot summer sun felt interminable. Minutes felt like hours and hours like days. I longed for the comfort of air conditioning. I felt like a prisoner at the whim of whatever Grandpa deemed necessary to correct my behavior. At my age, it was the most torturous punishment imaginable, but it was entirely deserved.

Grandpa impressed upon me that summer an indelible lesson in self-control and accountability. Poor choices yield negative consequences. He made sure I wouldn’t forget.

What seemed like an eternity, in truth, was only about six days–six Mondays–and not nearly enough to cover the repairs. He could have arranged for my dad to bring me for the entirety of the summer, but in his mind, a few days would suffice. Now, when I reflect on those hot summer days, I appreciate what Grandpa did for me. I needed it.

The irony is that Grandpa’s blue leather chair is now mine. That very seat I so recklessly damaged some 25 years ago resides in my basement office. Shortly after my Grandpa’s passing, Grandma offered me the chair. “Is it something you’d like to have?” she asked. She knew, though—she already knew. My eyes welled. To quantify the number of times I’d sat in that chair would be impossible. It was my favorite, the one I sought more than any other.

I often think of Grandpa, but especially when I drape my arm over the chair’s side and run my fingers along the finely-crafted leather. And when my fingertips find it, when they linger upon that familiar scar, I remember. Grandpa never repaired the side panel. He didn’t care about the chair—he cared about me. And so now it sits in my office and remains un-mended. There’s a story, a lesson, a bond, a love–all in that inch-long scar. I’ll never fix the chair, Grandpa. I promise.

You may also like:

6 Things That Will Surprise You When You Become a Dad

My Dad Stepped Up When Mom Got Sick

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Patrick Danz

Patrick Danz is a follower of Christ, husband, father, educator, and sports enthusiast. He lives in Trenton, Michigan, with his wife, Nicole, and their three children: Keason, Carmella, and Alessandra. When he's not teaching, Patrick spends his time writing, golfing, grilling, and quoting lines from Groundhog Day. His work has appeared on and Fatherly.      

My Dad Showed Me the Greatest Lessons Are Taught Through Example

In: Fatherhood
grandpa holding donut box with grandson

Waiting at the window, I arranged the blue ruffles on my brand new dress and flipped my hair around to look just right. It was a night to be fancy. It was my first date. My face was flushed as I looked forward to the night ahead. I knew it was a big deal to be taken out and I would get special treatment. I would pick the restaurant and maybe we would have some ice cream and walk around downtown before the sun went down. After that, I was pretty sure we could go to the store and that...

Keep Reading

It Doesn’t Matter How Old I Am—I’ll Always Need My Daddy

In: Fatherhood, Grown Children, Living
Vintage photo of little girl on bike with her dad

I have always been a Daddy’s girl, much to my mom’s frustration.  She always said my dad and I were wired the same, and that’s why it’s always just “worked.” Sure, we have had our struggles and frustrations—when two people think almost the exact same way, certainly there will be battles. But my dad has always had my back, without fail.   Whether he had to question a school decision or staff my senior class retreat (yes, my dad is featured in my high school yearbook), I knew he would be there. He thought he would lose me someday, that having...

Keep Reading

I’m Just a Little Boy, but Daddy You’re Teaching Me How to Be a Man

In: Fatherhood, Marriage
Daddy on the floor playing with son, color photo

I’m only a little boy, still too young to tie my own shoes or make my own breakfast. My days are filled with playtime, snacks, lots of hugs from Mommy, and plenty of tickles from you, Daddy. Right now, my life revolves around me and you and Mommy. I don’t know much about the world outside our home yet. I haven’t learned about responsibility or self-discipline or sacrifice. I haven’t had to find my place in the world yet. But I guess I’m pretty lucky because even though you may not know it, you’ve already begun teaching me everything I...

Keep Reading

You’re the Father You Never Had and I’m So Proud of You

In: Fatherhood, Marriage
Dad and kids walking on beach

Can I tell you about my husband? He’s amazing. He’s kind and doting and loves Jesus, but perhaps his most endearing trait is the absolutely incredible father he is.  In our early days of dating, he was crippled by the fear of what type of father he would be. To him, fatherhood was burdensome, grumbling, abandonment, and fighting for the final dollar during tax season. His experience as a son crippled his anticipation as a father.  But I knew it all along—what an incredible dad he would be. Although I must admit, he has often far surpassed what I even...

Keep Reading

To the Stay At Home Mom From Your Husband: I See You

In: Fatherhood, Marriage

To the woman who sacrificed her comfort zone—leaving her family, friends, and everything she’d ever known—to follow her new husband across the country for his job: I see you. To the wife who pours herself into making a house her home, only to have to move again: I see you. To the wife who put her career, education, and personal pursuits on hold for the sake of her family: I see you. To the mom who went through pain and misery for nine months, only to have motherhood turn out to be nothing like she’d dreamed and longed for it...

Keep Reading

I Struggled With My Son’s Diagnosis, But Found Hope in the Special Needs Community

In: Fatherhood, Tough Times

When I found out I was going to be a father I was beyond excited. My wife and I had been trying to conceive for years before she got pregnant. So, when she told me I was going to be a father I wanted to shout it to the rooftops! I made sure to call my wife every day at work to make sure she ate lunch. I’m sure I annoyed the heck out of her. We later found out that we were having a boy, and started to plan everything. We started to paint the baby room with blues...

Keep Reading

My Son is Growing Up, But I’ll Hold On To the Pictures Forever

In: Fatherhood

A certain part of my heart longs for these moments to never change. I look back on pictures like this one, where my oldest son tastes the salty breeze on his lips for the first time, feeling the sand underneath his toes and laughing out loud at this wholly new experience. I look back and want to freeze it, but in something more than a single picture, more solid than a flimsy memory, more lifelike in substance than what a camera can fashion. RELATED: Stay With Me a Little Longer, Daddy Because that little person who could not stand without...

Keep Reading

I Want My Sons to See How Important It is to Cover Your Wife

In: Fatherhood, Marriage

Transparent moment—I did not always do the best job of covering my wife. Early in our marriage, I was often guilty of being selfish. Our first of four childbirths had contentious moments. From the whistle I jokingly wore on our first trip to the hospital while she was in labor, to me telling her in the midst of her frustration that if we didn’t have the baby that night, she could decide if she’d go into work the next day—I’m not proud of the way I handled some of the challenges. RELATED: 5 Ways To Love Your Wife After the...

Keep Reading

Dads: Your Kids Love Doing Things Because They Get to Do Them With You

In: Fatherhood

This piece was co-written with the author’s husband, Nathan Glenn. I remember my husband taking our daughter golfing for the first time and wondering if she’d enjoy it like he did. He’d dress our kids up in Pittsburgh gear, hoping they’d love the Steelers and Pirates and Penguins as much as he does. When we imagined our someday kids, he hoped he’d have someone that would want to play catch with him and go sit on the banks for hours fishing. Now here we are over a decade into this parenting three thing, and our oldest has her own clubs...

Keep Reading

This British Dad’s Parody of Orlando Bloom’s Daily Routine Has Us Cracking Up

In: Fatherhood

Two men on the same parenting journey see things a bit differently. Read to the end for this British dad’s hilarious take on what it’s like to be a father if you’re not a famous A-list celebrity. Ever since his cinematic debut as Legolas in the Lord of the Rings film series, celebrity actor Orlando Bloom has been capturing hearts around the world. Let’s be honest, we all know why our wives were so excited when Pirates of the Caribbean hit theatres. Outside of fantasy, there’s not much that makes Mr. Bloom relatable to the average Joe. However, parenthood tends...

Keep Reading