Friday Night Think Tank: Father’s Day Edition

Doc BrownFriday night has finally returned to us, Modern Philosophers.  I’m sorry about the late hour posting this, but there was actually a serious incident here at The House on the Hill as I started to write this post.

All kidding aside, I was startled by a knock on the front door at about 11:15.  No one should be knocking on my door at that hour, so I was definitely nervous.  I looked outside, and it was my neighbor from across the street.  She’s fairly new to the neighborhood, so I don’t know her that well, but she has a pretty dog and she always waves and says hi when we see each other outside.

Only this time, she was crying and barefoot on my porch asking if she could come inside.  After some coaxing, she told me she’d gotten into a fight with her boyfriend and he’d hit her.  I did my best to comfort her, make small talk, see if she wanted to talk about it, and asked if she wanted to call the police.  We sat on the couch, she drank some water, cried a lot, apologized even more, and just talked.

She wouldn’t call the police and decided to go back home.  I offered to call the police for her, but she wouldn’t let me.  I’m embarrassed to say this, but I don’t even know her name.  We’re just “Hi how are?” kind of neighbors.

Hopefully, I did the right thing in allowing her to go home.  It was her choice, but I don’t know if I should have insisted she stay.  If I knew her better, I probably would’ve been more insistent.

Maybe I need to distract my thoughts, so let me focus on the Think Tank.  As usual, I am going to propose a topic for Deep Thought and we will share our answers and hopefully set off a lively philosophical discussion.

This weekend is Father’s Day, so let’s ponder on that, my friends.

This week’s topic: What Father’s Day memory would you most like to share with the members of The Think Tank?

Big Austin & Little AustinFather’s Day is a rough holiday for me.  My Dad died when I was 19, so I’m usually pretty sad and reclusive over the Father’s Day weekend.  For that reason, I’m going to share a story from two years ago.

The Girl Who Is The World To Me also lost her father when she was 19.  The first Father’s Day that we were seeing each other, we decided that we would spend it together doing something to take our minds off of how much we missed our Dads.

She drove over to The House on the Hill on a gorgeous sunny day.  She looked even more beautiful than usual.  We sat on the porch and drank our favorite sangria as we enjoyed the sun and the company of someone we loved.  I made lunch for us on the grill.  She played with my hair and even let me sing to her.

FootballThen we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and walked into town, hand in hand, to see a play at the Bangor Opera House.  I love going to plays with The Girl Who Makes My Heart Skip A Beat because I just have this silly thing about knowing that I’m sitting there, holding hands with the most beautiful woman in the theater, and through some miracle, she loves me.  It’s a very nice feeling to experience.

It was definitely the happiest Father’s Day I’d had in a very long time.  I still missed my Dad so much that day, but it helped having The Girl I Know My Father Would Love right there keeping an eye on me.

So what about you, Modern Philosophers?  What Father’s Day memory would you like to share?  Did your Dad ever dress you in plaid slacks and a football helmet?

I look forward to reading all of your comments.  If anyone would like to give me a little advice on what to do about my neighbor, please feel free.  Should I go over tomorrow to check on her?  Should I just mind my own business?

I miss you, Dad.  I hope you’re following this blog in Heaven…


About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Holidays, Humor, Love, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Friday Night Think Tank: Father’s Day Edition

  1. drishism says:

    1st, I think you did the right thing letter her in.

    2nd, you question. I have no Father’s Day memories because I never knew my father. However, I hope to create some Father’s Day memories in the next few years through adoption… hopefully they will involve fishing, or perhaps taking my kids to a baseball game over Father’s Day weekend 🙂

    • Austin says:

      Thanks for the reassurance that I did the right thing. Still feel bad about letting her leave, but it’s what she wanted. Sorry you never knew your Dad, and I hope you soon have wonderful memories of the holiday with a kiddo of your own! 🙂

  2. SocietyRed says:

    What an interesting combination of topics. I guess I got stuck on the boyfriend that hit your neighbor. That’s somehow easier to think about than my dad, who is also gone. I would check on her and I would call the police and tell them what you experienced. Any guy who hits is bad. Unless he leaves escalation is inevitable.
    My son will have his 3rd Father’s Day this year with his three daughters. I’m going to think about that on Sunday.
    Love your blog!
    Best of luck with your neighbor,

    • Austin says:

      Red, thanks for the answer and the advice. I will check on my neighbor tomorrow and will ponder on calling the police. The thing was, I couldn’t see any signs of assault other than a scraped knee, so I would hate to call the cops on him if what she told me wasn’t the whole truth. Does that make sense?

  3. Yes, let her in. No, don’t let her go back. And you call the police. I don’t know what the law is in Maine, but in many states, the police are enabled to press charges against a domestic violence offender precisely because the victims so rarely want to do so – they love him and he’ll change and he’s really sorry, right?

    But what’s done is done. At this point, find out her name. Check in on her regularly. Give her information about local shelter options – you don’t want to be the one protecting her when he comes looking for her, that’s a job for professional security. She needs to know that there is a community out there that cares about her – the worst abuse happens when the victim is cut off from any other kind of support.

    I hope you realize what a gift it is that she came to you – you now have the opportunity to help someone who really needs it.

    • Austin says:

      Yes, I understand it is a gift and a responsibility. I didn’t sleep well at all last night. I don’t see her car across the street today, so I’m taking that as a good sign, that she got out of there for someplace safe. I have learned her name and I will check on her.

  4. ksbeth says:

    she is new and knows no one locally probably. check on her regularly, it is true that many states will press charges as the victim often will not. trust her when she says it happened, many times abusers hurt someone on a part of their body where it will not be seen, for the very reason you described, someone may question the victim’s telling of the story if they don’t see any visible signs. you were right to let her in and listen, keep in close contact with her, offer her a safe refuge, even if it is just a place for her to talk about it. give her info for local support/shelter. she would not have gone to a house of someone she barely knows had she not felt threatened. i’ve volunteered with women who have lived through this and it always escalates. unless they leave, and as they get ready to leave or actually go, it is usually the worst for them. there will be more and just be ready to help in any way you can.

    as for fathers, mine has passed away as well, my ex hus, my daughters father has passed away as well, so i love to watch my son’s in law as fathers, they are all naturals, and each has their own style. i remember my own father used to take each of us on ‘dates,’ (there were 4 of us), and we could choose what we wanted to do. i chose to go see the opening night of ‘the boatniks’ and have milkshakes with him. sweet memory of a wonderful night )

    • Austin says:

      Thank you for the tips, and for sharing your touching “date” story.

      After last night’s combo of thinking about my Dad and helping my neighbor, I’ve come to realize how lucky I am…

  5. if you want to pop over to my blog you can read some of my Father’s Day memories (from yesterday)– but suffice to say he did not dress me in plaid pants and a helmet (often)

  6. reocochran says:

    I think this real story combination touched me because it let us into your life more. Of course, we do still wonder and hope you are not in your p.j’s. wondering (and wandering) if your woman who lights up your life will come back.
    The neighbor needed a listen and that is a kind way to handle it. If she is out in her yard and you have reason to be out getting your mail or paper, ask her how are you or how’s things going? But with summer and windows open, don’t let the boyfriend overhear you, there could be negative repercussions from that!
    I worked at a battered women’s shelter for only 18 months as a child advocate and “weekend warrior” so I would give you my opinion as to No, don’t call the police. This was a first time incident and if you were to hear more of this, Yes. But it may complicate things…
    Thanks for the chance to see you as a young man and little boy. Love the sweet pictures and it is too bad that you didn’t have more time with your Dad. Hope you have a hand to hold and sorry, don’t know if the Girl Who Means the World to Me is back but hope you can talk to her on Father’s Day and remember the good times.

    • Austin says:

      I actually talked to The Girl last night about what happened as she remembers those neighbors. It’s always helpful to get her opinion on things.

      Thank you for the advice and feedback. I promise to keep an eye on my neighbor…

  7. momshieb says:

    What a touching post, Austin.
    You definitely did the right thing to let your neighbor inside, and to listen to her. It says a lot about you that she trusted you enough to come to you for help. And personally, I think that you did the right thing to let her go home if that was her choice: that last thing she needed was another guy ordering her around right then.
    But I would definitely check in on her, and I agree with those who suggest talking to the local police, too. I don’t know what Maine’s laws are, but I know that some states have sort of “mandated reporter” laws that say you have to report domestic violence.
    As for Father’s Day, I have too many to pick just one. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful Dad right up until I was 54 years od. And I’m lucky enough to be married to a great Dad for our three kids.

    • Austin says:

      I’m going to go for a run now, and see if I run into her, or if she comes out side knowing that I’m there. I did see the boyfriend out on his porch this morning, but he didn’t see me. I am planning to check on her, and will seek out advice from people who know more about the topic. Thanks for your insight and advice…

  8. dfolstad58 says:

    I think my favorite Father’s Day story to share would be the fact that for 12 years I was able to share my coffee breaks and lunch breaks with my dad because we both worked for the same employer in downtown Vancouver.
    It was a lot of fun to go and spend time with them every day and get to know him so well and we have funny conversations and I remember one time laughing really hard at some joking made having to do with donuts on the name of a donut shop. It was a real privilege to get to know my dad that way and we enjoyed special closeness all those years and is never lost.
    Regarding your neighbor I don’t know what you could’ve done more than what you did however I think you need to learn her name, and I think you need to usher her that she’s welcome to find shelter with you again and if you feel comfortable you can give her a key so she can find shelter there if you’re out

    • Austin says:

      That’s awesome that you got to spend so much time with your Dad. I’d always wait on the porch for mine to come home, looking for his legs coming up the block as he walked home from the subway station. I’d run down to the corner to greet him.

      As for my neighbor, I have learned her name and intend to check on her. Thanks for the advice.

  9. Don’t really have too many of these… I guess it would be the few times in my early youth when we’d sing together.

  10. LucyJartz says:

    I don’t know what you should do about your neighbor. Yesterday I said something to a woman about her two preschool boys hitting each other with objects in the shopping cart, and my family said I should have ignored it like she was. She said, “it’s okay, they’re brothers” but I looked at one boy huddled in the cart, crying and cradling his head to block more blows, and all I could think was “this is not okay.”

    Part 2,
    My dad is awesome, and I can’t wait to see him in a few weeks. My father and I have a tradition of not wishing each other a happy birthday on the exact day, it must be early or late. My sister thinks we’re crazy on that account. His birthday is always near Father’s Day. As a child I thought the holiday was invented to celebrate my father. Favorite memory of my dad, loading the canoe on the top of his car, because it always preceded a great family fishing or camping trip with him.

  11. Hollie says:

    Don’t call the cops, she needs to do that herself if she feels that it is necessary. A call to the police is likely to put her in more danger as her abusive boyfriend will be none too happy when he returns from jail, which he will. Many domestic violence calls end in a he said/she said and unfortunately most cops end up arresting both parties with the line of thinking that they will be separate and safe for the night. Statistically, women will return to their abusers an AVERAGE of 7 times before they leave for good so trying to push her out of the situation will likely do no good either. From my personal experience and my year of working at the domestic and sexual violence shelter I can tell you that the best thing you can do for her is to let her know that you’re there to help if needed but will stay out of it if wanted. A lot of people get frustrated when they help someone out of an abusive situation only to see them back in it the next day. The abuser has broken then down emotionally to where the victim is made to feel like the incident is their fault (if I hand’t been so mouthy, if I hadn’t smiled at that man, if I hadn’t burned the dinner, etc.) and that it will never happen again. The abuser makes the victim feel sorry for the abuser for having to act that way. It’s all very sad. So..when someone helps them and then they aren’t actually ready to leave this person, they are hesitant to ask for help again if they feel like that person is going to call the cops/try to make her leave, etc and they are embarassed at having to ask for help more than once. She was brave to go there last night, she must have been so scared. The best thing you can do for her is to check on her, let her know you’ll be happy to help should she need it, and leave it up to her. (Granted, if you feel like she is in grave danger, by all means call the cops but it sounds like the immediate danger has passed?) Maybe if you know if a women’s shelter or domestic violence victim advocates in the area you could give her the number and they can talk to her. Abusers alienate the victim in most cases from all of their friends and families to where they think they have no options but to stay with the man because no one else will want them/no one will be there for them/ no one will help. Sounds to me like she knows she can knock on your door and bend your ear if she is unfortunate enough to wind up in that situation again, and I pray she does not. I hope she can find the strength to get out of that “relationship” and leave for good.

  12. queenlorene says:

    My dad lives across the street from me so every day is father’s day. 🙂 My dad lived in Saudi Arabia for work for a period of time when I was young. He was impressed with the marriage system, so when I came back from college unmarried (broken engagement, sob), he pulled out my picture to every single man he met. Every time he found someone interested, he would come home and tell me about it. Oh, the misery. I still don’t know if he was desperate to get rid of me or if he was worried about me (as my broken engagement was a really terrible time in my life). Either way, I guess it was brave of him to tote me around and extol my “virtues”. In a medieval way.

  13. I personally love the plaid pants and football helmet look, but the first thing I noticed in that photo is how you are both crossing your legs the same way. My dad is gone as well and he made the decision to leave on a day so we would never forget…yep, he died on Father’s Day. So the actual date doesn’t really matter. Well played dad, well played indeed.
    As for the neighbor…you did the right thing by letting her in and being present. Sometimes that’s all we need is a helping hand and a listening ear.

    • Austin says:

      I’ve outgrown those plaid pants and the football helmet, but I’m sure I probably still cross my legs that way. Dear old Dad taught me so much… Sorry that your Dad died on Father’s Day…

  14. Typehype says:

    What a touching post. I love the photo of you and your dad. It’s precious. When I was 6, my dad quietly woke me at 5:00 AM on one Saturday and whispered, “Get dressed.” The rest of the house was asleep. We tiptoed out of the house and got into his station wagon. He drove and to a house that was being demolished and parked the car. Then he lowered the tailgate and instructed me to climb into the back. A huge mound of lumber and old bricks was on the lawn. Armful by armful, back and forth, my father transported bricks to the car. My job was to neatly stack the bricks in the bed of the station wagon. The car filled with bricks, he closed the tailgate and started the car. On the way to the Donut Man, he told me he planned to brick the front of our house. In the parking lot on the way inside, he dug into his pocket and gave me all of his spare change. We sat at the counter like two truck drivers eating donuts and coffee. It was the happiest day of my life and one of the few I spent alone with him. He died in 2000 and I miss him terribly.

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