Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wooden Spoons

I am searching for heartfelt and inspirational stories about mother-daughter relationships, stories that share wisdom and teach important moral and life lessons, stories from which daughters and moms might derive hope and guidance after reading them.

What did you learn from this unique parent-child relationship, how it has changed over the years, how you two dealt with conflict, etc? The stories can be about good or bad times, as long as the result is something others can learn from. There are no format or length requirements.
For more information about submitting your story, please visit my website, www.gregoryelang.com, and click the red corner on the home page, just beneath the “Projects” tab.

I’m also collecting photos of moms and daughters to display on this blog. If you’d like to submit one, please email it to greg.lang@mindspring.com.

If this is your first visit to my blog, please read the Frequently Asked Questions posted on March 20, 2008.

Now on to today’s post~

Today’s photo is of Jackie Bradley and her daughter. Mrs. Bradley is one of Meagan’s school teachers; she has posed for me several times over the last couple of years. One of the really fun things about taking photos of the same models again and again is watching the kids grow up.

Here’s the new sample story I promised; it comes from Daddy’s Little Girl. I hope it explains my answer regarding the FAQ discussed yesterday:

“Ray told me of a television commercial he likes, one featuring a dad who hugs his daughter before she leaves on a date while the boy stands at the front door. As the dad holds his daughter he looks over her shoulder and without a word but in an unmistakable expression, tells the boy, ‘Be careful, I’m watching you.’

When Ray first saw and laughed at that commercial, his twelve year old daughter turned to him and asked, ‘That’s not going to be you, is it?’

Of course not, darling, what father worries about the intentions of boys who come to his door hoping to remove daddy’s little girl from his immediate reach?

I told Ray of my rule about Meagan dating. I require the young man to come inside for a chat, or the ‘interrogation’ as Meagan calls it, so that I might determine his trustworthiness before granting time alone with my daughter. Everyone in our house knows to stand clear of the door should I not like or be convinced of an answer given to me. As you might guess, I’ve already ruled out eight of ten boys having a future as my son-in-law by the time I’ve asked my third or fourth question.

Ray then told me of a large wooden spoon that hangs on the wall in his daughter’s bedroom.

Of Italian descent, his grandmother, and later, his mother, used a large wooden spoon for stirring their carefully prepared sauces that simmered in a large pot on the kitchen stove. When his conduct merited it, the spoon also conveniently served its secondary purpose as a ‘correctional instrument.’

Some years after his daughter was born, he happened into an old kitchenware store and spied on a shelf a dusty wooden spoon. It reminded him of the one that had effectively kept him in line as a young boy. He bought it, cleaned it up and hung it on the wall. When his daughter inquired why, he explained, ‘When you start dating, I’m going to have a chat with every boy that comes into this house. If I don’t like his answer to any of my questions, I’m going to whack him with that spoon.’

I’m sure his daughter was no more delighted with his answer than Meagan is knowing what I’m going to put each prospective Romeo through on their first date, but simply put, we don’t care; it’s a dad’s prerogative. It’s our favorite sport, making teen boys sweat and squirm as we query them with suspicion about their plans for the future and interest in our daughters.

My neighbor Scott, his friend and I had lunch together recently. Scott and I have daughters, his friend has two boys. We accused him of flirting with our waitress while she took our orders, speculating she might now spit in the ‘old men’s’ tea before she served it to us. He asked why we were bothered by his flirtations, and Scott and I explained having daughters changed the way we thought about women.

A few months ago Scott became the proud father of his second little girl. I’m thinking about buying him a large wooden spoon, maybe two. I’m sure he’ll know just what to do with them.”

So you see, Ray told me a story in an interview, I observed a few life events that involved Scott, and I have my own experiences to draw from regarding my daughter going on a date. These components came together to make one story about not only how dads feel protective of their daughters, but also how having daughters changes the way men see women. I, the narrator, put it all together in one seamless chapter. If this is not a satisfactory explanation of how your story might be used, please let me know and I’ll take a whack at it again.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Now go out and hug somebody!

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