The Day My Plate Was Broken

It was past midnight in Dalton, Georgia, as I stood in a dimly lit phone booth making a call to my folks. My first summer job away from home wasn't panning out as it was supposed to be. The work was hard. My two best friends had quit and gone back to Texas, and I was bunking in the Salvation Army until I could find an apartment. For a big, tough nineteen-year-old, I sure felt small.

The voices of my mom and dad had never sounded so sweet. Although I tried to hide it, my loneliness was obvious. I had promised my parents that if they'd let me go, I'd stick it out for the whole summer. But now those three months looked like eternity.

As I explained my plight, I could tell my mom wanted me to come home. But just as she said, "Why don't you come home," my dad, who was on the extension, interrupted her. "We'd love for you to come back, but we've already broken your plate."  (That was west Texas talk for "We love you, but it's time to grow up.")

It takes a wise dad to know when to push his son out of the nest. It's painful, but it has to be done. I'll always be thankful that my dad gave me wings and then made me use them.

Author Unknown