On November 25, 1973 at Desert Samaritan Hospital in Mesa, Az, this little guy came into this world and was about to change my life FOREVER! Little did I know that EVERYTHING in my life was about to change and never again be like it once was. I was about to embark on fatherhood and on the ride of a lifetime.
For the first twenty three years or so our relationship was rocky as some parental relationships go. He was ALWAYS going to do whatever he wanted and he was going to do it HIS way! My son was a very independent, and many times defiant teenager and young adult. To use the term “trying” would be a gross understatement in defining our relationship! My first born tried me in every single way possible, and in many ways that were seemed to be impossible!
You know there is a saying that goes something like this. “God watches over fools and drunks.” Well I found out that he watches over more people than fools and drunks! Because God was watching over two individuals that didn’t necessarily fit either of those two categories, Boyd Leon Hammack and Jason Christopher Hammack! On second thought maybe we were both fools!
But somewhere around Jason’s 23rd birthday a light switch flipped! He changed overnight! Suddenly up was up and down was down again, day was light and night was dark! Suddenly logic prevailed in his illogical world!
For the next eleven years our relationship was much better that it was, however deep down inside I knew that there was still much more in our relationship that needed tending to if we were going to have a great relationship.
Then the other shoe dropped in the fall of 2007.
One afternoon I got a call from Jason and he wanted to meet for lunch………. just me and Jason. After I hung up the phone I got an ugly knot deep in the bottom of my stomach and I began to think that this “luncheon date” is going to hurt!!!!!! I must have ran a hundred scenarios through my brain in order to prepare myself for this impending discussion.
Well that agreed upon date and time rolled around and I crawled into my car and drove to the agreed upon restaurant. I really don’t fear a lot of things, but on this particular day and time I was so fearful that I can’t even remember much about the drive to the restaurant.
Once I arrived at the restaurant Jason was already there, which is totally not Jason!!! He is usually UNFASHIONABLY late to everything……alway has been and always will be, that is just Jason!!! We quickly greeted each other, ordered up our meals and then “the dreaded Father-Son talk” began. He said that he had some things that he “needed” to tell me and asked me to just listen to him. I agreed to his wishes and added that when he was done will he listen to what I had to say as well? He agreed so now the ground rules were set!
I won’t devulge the content of our conversation, I think that it is called “executive privilege”! LOL! But to say that what Jason had to tell me was eye opening would be a gross understatement. I had made a commitment to keep my mouth shut, not to interrupt, not to justify my behavior, and to take to heart everything that he was going to tell me, as difficult as that may be. Well, let me tell you I thought that I had put on my “big boy panties”, but boy was I wrong!
During that afternoon I learned a lot abut myself that I didn’t know before! I also shed quite few tears during that fateful “father-son come to Jesus meeting”! But that lunch date with Jason was an extremely important and pivotal point in our relationship. Even though it hurt my pride, my ego, my manhood, and my heart, it was without a doubt one of the single most important days in my 70 years! However, I don’t think my heart could take another one of those days again!
From that day forward our relationship, this father-son thing, has grown immeasurably and the bond is solid!
I will say one thing. The rollercoaster ride that I mentioned at the start of this article, forty eight years later, if the truth be knownst, still continues on a much different path, but in way that is absolutely extremely gratifying to this old man!
Jason, it has been a grand old ride with you!
You have made me a very proud dad!
So today I want to wish my first born, Jason Christopher Hammack, a happy 48th birthday!!!!
Carry on my wayward son!
I love you more than you will ever know!!
ROGER, WILCO, OVER, AND OUT!