The kind of pride that brings a man to tears... Literally... It's that kind of pride that comes as a reward for all the hard work it takes to "raise 'em right".

As you may remember, I took #2 of 5 through Firearms Safety Classes, and then he was invited to join Ed and I for our annual Duck hunting trip (Dad's Outdoor Journal Post Pending... 2/3 finished) . This was his first hunting trip with the guys.

Without getting into too much detail (and thus spoiling the Outdoor Journal post that is still pending), while we were up at the cabin, Ed's Dad spent some time "supplementing" his firearms safety information.

My dad is not a hunter, and so what I have learned about hunting, and gun safety came directly from Ed's Dad, and Ed. (This was before Firearms Safety Classes were mandatory for all hunters).

It has been almost a month now since we got home, but when I got to work this morning, I discovered an email in my inbox. This email was Ed's Dad.
I frequently get jokes, funny pictures, and what-not sent from him. We have recently been sending a couple of emails back and forth about the 8 year old who died when his father let him use a fully automatic "Uzi" at a Machine Gun Shooting event - and about responsible gun handling and ownership. My comments back to him opened up the conversation...

Today's email from Ed's Dad was... well... I'll let you judge for yourself.

Hi Dave ---

Meant to e-mail you before this but time flies.

I wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed your bringing Johnathan up to the cabin with you. It's good for him to be with the guys and also receive some competent instruction in handling firearms.

I was, by the way, an instructor for the Colt .45 when I was in Germany. I would drive from my station in Schweinfurt to Frankfurt to instruct new Military Police replacements in the use and application of firearms.

Jonathan is a delightful kid and he does you proud. Bring him up again next year.

Take care. John

P.S. Maybe you could arrange a trip up to the cabin next summer for a couple of days or so of shooting, fishing and great eating. Sound like fun?
Very few of you (if any) know Ed's Dad. Ed's Dad is of the ol' timers. When I say he is one of the ol' timers I mean that with the utmost respect. Guys like Ed's Dad are few and far between. He and Ed's mom have been my secondary parents since I first met them. I have learned a lot from him over the years, and I have great respect for him.

I returned his email with this...

You have no idea how it makes me feel to hear this from you. It is truly a "reward" for all the work that we have put into raising him right.

Weather you know this or not, YOU have been one the mentors in MY life. You have taught me a lot about many things. Some of what you see in my Jonathan, is in direct relation to some of the things I picked up from you along the road of life.

You and Jan have been like a second set of parents to me. I will never be able to thank you guys for that... Ever.

If anything, I need to be thanking you - for opening your lives, family, home, cabin, knowledge, etc. to me, and for raising such a great kid yourself (in Ed). Ed has been, and continues to be a once-in-a-lifetime friend to me.

A couple of days of shooting, fishing, and hangin' out at the cabin sounds GREAT!

Take care John!

It's one thing to hear these things from his teacher, or from his grandparents, or our neighbors... It is something completely different, when it comes from someone you consider a mentor.

It REALLY hits home.

This may embarrass him just a little bit, and I am sorry if it does. My intention was to thank him for all he has done for me over the years.

Thank you John... It means more to me than you will ever understand.


  1. I got a tear in my eye.

    Because NO one was using those Dr Peppers for targets. Way to go, guys!

  2. You have lots of reasons to be proud and grateful.
    It's wonderful when our kids give us those moments (wow, I sound sappy).

  3. Just knowing Ed and meeting his father a couple of times I know what you are saying men like them are rare and so are you Dave it is wonderful to hear when fathers take so much joy out of raising their sons! Oh yes girls too but they are already have their daddy's wrapped around their finger they day they are born.

  4. *sniff* I think I'm getting a vaklempt!

    Ah, you raise good kids. I mean, HECK! You've had a bit o' practice!


  5. It's huge to get compliments like that about our kids from ANYbody. Even more special when it's from someone you deeply care about and whom you respect.

    Pat yourself on the back and give #2 a huge high five and hug . . . you both deserve it. Raising kids is not easy. Raising parenst is even more difficult ;-)

    You've both done well.

  6. It's so nice to get hear that from someone else. Sure warms your heart.
    You are clearly doing a great job


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