"THE MAN"

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I vaguely recollect a story, maybe from the Bible, about a son and his father.  The nub of it was the two occasions the son had cried when his father had hit him.  The first time was when he was a child and because it hurt.  The second time was when he was a young man and it didn’t, signifying that his father was now weak and dying.

I have a personal recollection which mirrors this.

I can’t recall the first time my dad hit me, nor any subsequent occasion.  But I will add that he was a good man and there is little doubt in my mind that I will have deserved it.

The last time he hit me, however, I shall never forget.

I’d have been about fifteen, I guess.  He’d hit me hard across the face.  It was undeserved and my dad knew it. 

He begged my forgiveness instantly and cried like a baby.

It was as though in that moment “the man” passed between us.

◄ SLAVA UKRAINI HEROYAM SLAVA

IT'S FOR THE GUN WE SPEAK ►

Comments

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kJ Walker

Sat 28th May 2022 06:59

My mum once brayed my sister for no reason.
On realising her mistake she simply said "oh well, your in credit now. Next time you do owt wrong you can get away with it"
The first time that I hit my dad back was the last, and we never spoke again. (Not to each other I mean. We weren't struck dumb or owt)

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Kevin Tan

Wed 25th May 2022 20:15

I will John. Learning from all my mistakes

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John Coopey

Tue 24th May 2022 22:21

Stick at it, Kevin. You only get one dad.

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Kevin Tan

Tue 24th May 2022 20:22

After 36 years still working on my relationship with my Dad. He turns 74 this year. Forgiveness is hard when God and Jesus used to smack the judgement and condemnation into you. But we're doing better. Thank you for this poem

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John Coopey

Tue 24th May 2022 17:49

That sounds right to me,MC. The question exists because both “the nub” and “two occasions” are the subject of the sentence ie neither is the object. We can see they are both subjects by inverting them ie “the two occasions were the nub...” From schooldays I seem to recall transitive and intransitive verbs come into play when parsing.

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M.C. Newberry

Tue 24th May 2022 13:14

The nub indeed! I think it's correct as written. Conversely, had you written "Two occasions were the nub of it" - that would have been OK. It's about what qualifies what.

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John Coopey

Tue 24th May 2022 10:35

I’m sure he must have been in a rotten mood and at the end of his tether about something or other, MC. Something made him snap. And just as he forgave me in that instant I too have forgiven him for his once-in-a-lifetime mistake.
Incidentally, for the grammarians amongst you, should it be “the nub WAS ...” or “WERE the two occasions”, since “nub” is singular but “occasions” is plural?

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M.C. Newberry

Tue 24th May 2022 09:42

It seems likely to me that your father was moved to do what he
did because whatever you did or said affected him deeply. In
short, perhaps he cared TOO much about you at that moment.
I would say that is something to keep in your heart as a "positive"
in your father/son relationship.

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John Coopey

Tue 24th May 2022 07:24

Thankyou, Stephen.
And thanks for the Likes, K, Holden and Frederick.

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Stephen Atkinson

Mon 23rd May 2022 21:21

Poignant stuff, John

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John Coopey

Mon 23rd May 2022 19:35

Thankyou, Stephen.

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Stephen Gospage

Mon 23rd May 2022 16:53

Very moving, John.

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John Coopey

Mon 23rd May 2022 16:43

Thankyou, Ghost.

Reggie's Ghost

Mon 23rd May 2022 15:46

John, the poignancy of this touched me, and not because I can tell of a similar situation.

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