Summer Program has begun at the Boys & Girls Club, and that means the staff operates on half-energy for more than a full day's work. Baseball's in full swing (no pun intended), and school's out, so we're corralling kids when we open in the morning, and dealing with parents, volunteers, and the general public during the games at night. (Thank God, I'm out of most of the evening situations, especially since the grownups can act more childish than the children, who just want to play ball, and aren't caught up in the whole adult ego thing.)
A couple posts back, I mentioned my dad reading the first episode of my serial, Thieves' Honor. He's not a science fiction fan, nor does he read much other than nonfiction, but he likes the fantasy I'm writing (he's read the first manuscript, and is waiting for me to finish the second), so I had a thin hope he might enjoy the mildly cheesy adventures of a crew of space pirates.
Tonight, I get home at six, change shoes, grab the old-fashioned lawnmower, and blitz through front and back yards in a little over an hour. When I return to the house, there's a message on the answering machine: "This is Dad. If you survive the yard, give me a call. I read your little stories" -- Little stories, ain't that sweet? It annoys me, but I know he means the individual episodes that comprise the whole story -- "and I want to talk about them."
Turns out, he stayed up till two this morning, reading all the current episodes. "They're simple and straight-forward, and kinda fun. Rough and tumble, like a Louis L'Amour story."
The words he uses and the shrugging way he says them might seem like faint praise, but my dad read L'Amour's Westerns and detective stories throughout my childhood (and so did I, some of them many times), so a comparison to one of his favorite fiction writers is unexpected and encouraging.
"Style's not the same," he adds, "but it is. A little."
When words fail, sometimes you just gotta know the guy to know what he means.