Why This Dad Is Happy

Posted: June 19, 2011 
Filed under: Amelia, Deana, Denton Family, Eating, Food, Grandparents, Jeff, JJ, Pictures, Texas, Video, Waterbrook Bible Fellowship
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Lunch out with the family after church on Father's Day.

 Today is Father’s Day! So my family took me to lunch at a place with an hour wait for a seat. We got a new waiter who I’m pretty sure went outside and threw up from the stress of such a busy second day of work. I’ll get back to that story in a moment.

My weekend began Friday night when I met a couple other members of the Wylie Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association (WCPAAA) members to tag the town. Our graffiti spree was for the purpose of marking the streets of Wylie for the Race Against Crime 5K, 10K and 1 mile fun run. Try explaining what you’re doing to a guy who comes out of his house yelling at dusk because he sees you walking down the street with cans of spraypaint as it gets dark. He didn’t believe me because he thought I was painting “I’M” with an arrow. I kept saying, “It’s ‘1M’ for one mile.” Not sure I convinced him, but at least he didn’t shoot me.

Opening of Jr. Police Academy Graduation during the "Star-Spangled Banner."

Saturday morning was…early. Amelia got up with me before sunrise to head out and work the race. We got about 10 minutes of a cool rain around 7:00 am, which was a blessing when you’re sweating from 1.5 hours of frantic work. That cool rain was a bit deceptive because the rest of the day turned blazing hot! Another day in triple digit temps. All the runners finished up, and we cleaned up in time to make it to the next event – the Jr. Police Academy graduation at Olde City Park. One cool side note – the adult academy, who puts on the Race Against Crime, donated all the leftover fruit and water from the race to the Jr. academy graduation.

Amelia & JJ with the Wylie Police SROs and other officers at graduation.

The kids just completed a wonderful week of Jr. Police Academy training with officers from the Wylie, Texas, police department. (Read more and see the video here.) Academy director, Officer Angie Willis, did a great job with the week of the academy and an equally impressive job with the graduation. Started with the presentation of colors by the fire department and the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Sgt. David LaRocca spoke to the graduates about teamwork, family, and being able to trust those who have your back on the streets. He told the graduates they now represent the Wylie Police when they’re out and about, and that means living at the highest ethical and moral standards. Officer Willis, and the other officers present, handed out diplomas and congratulated the graduates. Then we had a late picnic lunch outside in 103 degree heat. Ugh! Who can eat when it’s that hot outside? I’m really proud of the kids and their hard work at the academy training and classes.

By the time we finished cleaning up from the graduation and ran a couple errands, it was evening and we were all exhausted…and possibly a little heat-stroked. I should mention Deana worked during the morning at the Waterbrook church workday. It was all outside work in the heat and sun. We’d all had plenty of “fresh air” for the day.

My first Father’s Day gift today was JJ taking Coco out for her morning run. I got the morning off. Then to Waterbrook Bible Fellowship for a great morning of teaching, worship and fellowship. I’m really enjoy the current auditorium class I’m teachign on becoming emotionally and spiritually healthy adults. We had some great interaction about what it means to be a healthy adult. The most amazing truth this morning was probably the concept that love for God and love for people is not contradictory, but complementary. Plus, I had the morning off of preaching since Waterbrook Teaching Pastor Stephen Bramer did the second sermon in the summer “Life Verse” series. (If you’re wondering what a life verse is or want to know my life verse, click this link for my introduction to this series.)

However, there was a little surprise at the beginning of the worship service. Men just started to stand up and sing…and do some coordinated choreography…WHAT!? Yes, at a men’s night event last Monday, Pastor Don Moore secretly asked the men who came if they’d learn a song and some moves to do as a kind of “flash mob” song at the beginning of our Father’s Day worship service. We had guys from Jr. High age to gray hair who were willing. It was a lot of fun. And, since no one seemed to know what was going on, as guys started to stand up so did others in the congregation – even some of the ladies. Pastor Don had written some new words to the song, “Seize the Day,” from the musical Newsies. One of the highlights of this year’s Father’s Day is that my son, JJ, was my partner for some of the moves in the song. It meant a lot to do something fun like this with him.  Here’s the video with a little taste of what happened. (By the way, it’s difficult to get a great video when you hand someone a camera as something is beginning and tell them to record what’s happening. They have no idea what they’re recording.)

After church it was off to lunch with some fantastic friends for Italian food. The wait was long and hot, but we finally got seated, only to learn from our waiter it was his second day on the job. He apologized in advance for any mistakes. I’d typically tell someone not to start off with an apology, but in this case it would be necessary. We watched people get drinks and salad around us, while we waited. We finally got our drink orders. I’m sure it took a bit because we had ordered five waters and a tea. Actually, I’d ordered a PEACH tea. I’m sure that’s very complicated to put together. We got a set of breadsticks – one per person – and then didn’t hear from our young server for a long time. I take that back, he did come back to ask again what I’d ordered. I repeated “manicotti formagio,” the same thing I’ve been ordering for years at this chain, and the whole reason I wanted to eat there. Guess what – it’s not on the menu anymore. Ok, that’s my fault for ordering off the menu with a new waiter. When we didn’t see him for a long time again.  We wondered if he’d gotten overwhelmed and quit. Another server eventually brought out our food. After getting my lasagna (yep, can’t get the manicotti anymore), I did ask for my bowl of soup. I’d ordered the same kind of soup my wife had, but when it came it clearly didn’t look the same. It was a different consistency, and her’s had pasta in it. Mine didn’t. When another member of our party got a refill on her bowl of soup (same kind I was having), it was clear her first and second bowl were not the same thing. For a second time we asked if the soup was correct; finally getting an admission that it wasn’t quite right when we spoke to the manager. One person actually said to us, “It’s the right soup, just without the pasta in it.” Doesn’t that make it the WRONG soup?  Honestly, they told us they’d go back and throw some pasta into that pot and bring us a new bowl. It still wasn’t right on the money, but I appreciated that someone was trying. Since we had such clear errors in our meal and hold up with the food, I expected a little discount, coupon for next time or at least an apology – but nothing. We had to have three servers help us along the way and the manager; yet, not even an apology. It was a little disappointing. And, since they no longer have my favorite dish on the menu I guess there’s not much reason to go back anyway. Yet, it was still a great meal because the delays gave us extra time to sit and talk. So it was still a ‘win’ in my book.

I did get to open my Father’s Day gifts at lunch. They included some drink sweat absorbing stones for my car drink holders. I also got an iTunes gift card – which also comes with several suggestions from the kids on how to spend it. I also got another volume in a comic book set I’ve been collecting. Score for me! It also makes me feel a little bad because all we got Deana was candles for Mother’s Day this year…and they weren’t even the right smells…excuse me, scents.

Happy Father’s Day to my own dad, John Denton! He’s been a great dad to me, and an amazing grandfather to his grandkids. He’s been there for serious conversations, teaching me how to drive a stick shift and mow a yard. We’ve also had LOTS of laughter over the years. I’m always surprised when I hear from people who say they never laughed with their parents. That’s so foreign to me because I’ve never known family life without laughter, goofy vacations, mixups and adventures along the way. I love my dad because he’s modeled what it’s like to be a dad who cares and works hard to provide for his family. He even let me drive the Austin Healey when I was still in high school. I enjoy time with my parents now more than I ever have before, and love when they come down to Texas to stay for a week or two. So, today, as I get spoiled from my kids I’m also sending out a Happy Father’s Day greeting to my own dad. Happy Father’s Day dad; I love you!

Well, I did get to come home and take a nap in my recliner this afternoon. Yes, I’ve hit the stage of life where a nap in the recliner is a joy. I’m not even ashamed to say it. Deana asleep on the couch. Me napping in the recliner. JJ doing some dusting and cleaning. Amelia upstairs in her room singing on the karaoke machine. And Coco the wonderdog on the floor next to my chair. Doesn’t get much better than that. And that’s why this dad is happy today.

The Unexamined Life and All…

Really, my parents let me drive their little Austin Healey sports car. If only I had that car today to drive around in Texas.

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