“Are We Having Fun Yet? Good. We’re Leaving.” By Chris Zito

Sometimes I feel like I’m turning into my father. I should be so lucky.

Last night we were over at a friend’s for dinner and afterward Vince was outside in the backyard playing with their kids. They’ve only met a few times so things were tentative at first. But by the time we were leaving a game of soccer was in full swing.
“Vince!” I hollered out the back door. “Come on. Time to go home, son.”
“But, Daddy,” he whined, “we just started to have fun!”

I couldn’t believe my ears. This was exactly how we sounded when we were kids. No matter how long we’d been at our cousin’s house it seemed like Dad had a knack for calling time just when something really good got started.
“But, Dad! We just started to have fun!”
“I know,” he’d smile. “I was waiting for you to start having fun so we could leave.”
Oh, you’re a real riot, Dad, I’d think to myself. He never seemed to feel the least bit guilty about hauling us away anytime he wanted.

Dad had an itching trigger finger when it came to telling us “no.”
“Can can we stop at McDon-”
Dad, can I get a-”
“Is there anyway-”
‘No’ was Dad’s default position. It made sense. Most requests were for money, which he didn’t have, or to do something stupid or dangerous, which he wouldn’t allow. Interrupting us with a ‘no’ has probably saved my dad at least 72 hours of his life.

A partial list of wishes not granted.

He wasn’t our pal like so many fathers are today. He was in charge. We learned all about ‘no’ growing up.
There was no back talk, no questions, and no negotiating with Dad.

Thanks for reading. Tell your pals.
Chris Zito


5 Responses

  1. This is so true Chris. Thinking back if it sasn’t for the word “NO” sometimes you wonder what your life would have been like. I thank God for my father, God rest his soul,. I miss him everyday and wish he was here to teach the kids of today the word “NO”.

  2. Mom was in charge of the word NO. “NO, I said. NOOOOOOOOO” Dad was always working 80 hours a week. When he was home, he worked there too. He mowed, chopped, painted, organized, hauled, weeded, planted, cleaned, stacked and fixed. He was usually out of ear shot to hear the requests, and often missed the incessant complaining when the answer was “No” Maybe this was why he just kept working. Once in a great while, he rested. He had an blue easy chair in the living room. When he did sit, his favorite line was, “If I have to get up out of this chair….”

  3. Thank you for reminding me!!!!

  4. Keep writing Chris. I steal my best stuff from your blog.

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