Local Opinion Editorials


Everyday Heroes


I may as well tell you up front that I am something of a Dinosaur. I come from that prehistoric time when children’s toys were pretty simple. Oh sure, I had toy guns and cars, and my sisters had dolls, but not like this stuff today. I mean, when I pointed a gun, I had to say, “Bang!” It didn’t have a computer chip inside that made it sound like an Uzi.

I personally provided the horsepower to move my toy cars. That’s right, I actually pushed them around in the dirt. No remote control, no batteries, no sound effects, just me pushing the car and making the “Vrrrooom” sound with my lips. My sisters had dolls, but they didn’t cry, wet the bed, or date some hunk with a Corvette. They just kind of laid there with a blank stare on their face and needed to be held. Yes, kids. That’s the way it used to be back in the day.

Actually, as I think about it, my sister did have one high-tech doll. It must have been one of the earliest models with moving arms and legs. In fact, that doll played a feature role in a memorable story from my childhood. But first, a little background. My dad left home when he was 14 and went to work in the oil fields. He escaped an abusive home with two alcoholic parents and struck out on his own. He married his hometown sweetheart when he was 17. Although a high school dropout, he eventually went to college and became the Valedictorian of his graduating class.

Fresh out of college Dad moved us to a small town in Oklahoma. He was working two jobs, both of them full-time. We lived in a little apartment above a laundry. By today’s standards, it was definitely low-income housing. Come to think of it, it was low-income by the standards of the day. The point is we didn’t have much. We were just beginning what would become a great life.

My six-year old sister had a favorite toy, the aforementioned high-tech doll. It was basically a hollow torso with rubber bands passing through the body to hold the appendages and head in place. Well, one day while dad was at work, the child had a nervous breakdown. Not my sister, the doll. The rubber bands broke and the baby just fell to pieces. Of course, my sister was instantly heartbroken.

Now, my mom is the most compassionate and maternal person I know. If you look up “nurturing” in the dictionary, her picture will be right there beside the word. Determined to solve my sister’s problem, mom set out to put “Humpty Dumpty” back together again. She tried and tried. She worked all afternoon trying to thread the rubber bands through the torso and hook them up to the arms and legs. She just couldn’t do it. Throughout the whole process, my sister stood patiently at mom’s knee waiting for the miracle.

Finally, exhausted from the process, mom told my sister it wasn’t going to happen. She couldn’t fix the broken baby. She was certain my sister would be completely devastated. Instead, my sister uttered a line which became famous in our family. She said, “Don’t worry, Mom. Daddy can fix it!” And, he did. When he got home from work and heard the story, he would have fixed it or died trying. Being your little girl’s hero is powerful motivation.

I’ve often thought about that story and its implications. While I spent my childhood pretty much below the poverty line, the fact is I was really a rich kid. I had something most of the neighbor kids didn’t have. A really great dad.

Kids today search for heroes on football fields or movie screens. But, I had a real life hero right there in my own house. Not someone who performed a single heroic act in an otherwise lackluster existence. My dad was an Everyday Hero.

He worked hard. Then, he came straight home every night. He was faithful to one woman his whole life. He was a man of integrity who lived for his family. He gave us a childhood that was light years removed from the one he experienced. He equipped us for productive adult lives and became the genuine patriarch of a huge, happy, and successful extended family.

So, if you want to do something to make things better for the next generation, I can tell you the secret. Don’t look for help from the White House or the U.N. If you really want to make an impact that will ripple through several generations, just make sure an Everyday Hero tucks in your kids every night.

The Waynedale News Staff
Latest posts by The Waynedale News Staff (see all)

Thomas Minnick

Our in-house staff works with community members and our local writers to find, write and edit the latest and most interesting news-worthy stories. We are your free community newspaper, boasting positive, family friendly and unique news. > Read More Information About Us > More Articles Written By Our Staff