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Ricky Harpole
Harpole:  Single buddy excels at child-rearing

I recently spent a little time with a friend of mine who also happens to be a lawyer. (Now ain’t that spooky?) He is a single dad. That’s spookier.

I have spent half a century studying anomalies and I have witnessed some doozies, but this one takes the cake.

Now, as is by now obvious to the readers of my column, I am basically lazy. I am frequently ill tempered. My patience wanes thin, my rages wax.  

Well, I’m older than Methuselah’s baby sister, so I can get cranky from time to time. It’s written in my owner’s manual. Deal with it. Sometimes I see things that make me smile, and on a rare occasion, laugh out loud. Some things warm the heart. Far too often I see things that “P” me “O” but this is not such an occasion.

There is something about watching a provincially mean and nasty old lawyer raising not only hell as usual, but children as well. It is rare sight that requires a delicate sense of balance. Let me tell y’all about them young-uns.

It will probably be illegal soon, but it is not yet. Heaven help us, those children have chores.

 They are far more philosophical about that inconvenience than I was at that stage of the game. Clothes washer-dishwasher-trash removal-yard technician.

It wouldn’t put me in mind of sweatshops and child labor laws if they weren’t so damned cheerful about it. Of course there is an upside to life with dad.

“C,” age 10, is an accomplished shotgun wrangler on the skeet range. Powder gets burned three days per week no matter what the occasion. Ball practice, to enhance an already wicked pitching arm; a once weekly poker game to keep his education up to par in worldly matters.

This is a diversion dependant upon recent scholarly achievements. If you flunk a test you’re out of the game next week. He hasn’t missed a game. His math is so good that he declined my offer to teach him to cheat. His antics with his little sister remind me of some of the outrageous things I used to plague my little sister with.

Baby Girl, as I address her, is a character in her own right. She has more scholastic achievement awards prominently displayed than a congressman (or woman) and at the ripe old age of seven years.

She is not hesitant to advise me on my choice of wardrobe, after all I’m her adopted uncle and must keep up appearances for the family’s sake. I picked her up a present from the center lane of Hwy. 35 in the form of a box turtle which had “froze up” in the middle of the road. The reptile of the day was promptly christened “shelly sunshine” and was presently afflicted with a new wardrobe of her own consisting of a discarded wild turkey feather and a three inch length of scotch tape.

People, I’d never expected to see such a spectacle. Holy Indian Terrapins not on the warpath, but happy as pigs in mud. These kids are a pair to draw to.

Their collective achievements in the creative carnage department are worthy of note, although having a gunslinger lawyer for a daddy might have something to do with that particular situation. How  he does it, I don’t know, but he gets the job done.

There is an old saying in the Delta, “What goes around comes around.”

Well, my children are grown but they were raised in the main, with me being a weekend and sometimes a months-end daddy. A large part of the integrity my children retain is due to my beloved ex.

I hereby recognize the sacrifices and deliver credits to the single parent.

I was there often but not often enough. I intend to rectify some of my previously errant ways by spending as much time as possible with grandchildren, dogs, and horses and adopted nieces and nephews.

My advice is:

Never give up on a worthy cause; love ‘em each and every one.

Ricky Harpole

Visitor Comments
Submitted By: Submitted: 8/10/2010
A wonderful article Ricky! I look forward to your article every week! You make us southern people proud!!

Submitted By: Submitted: 8/11/2010
A collection of these columns should be in a book. My personal favorite is being banned from the airport!

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