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Root Beer Floats

As I write this my bride is on her way home from a work trip to Iowa.  The kids and I have been trying to hold the fort together for the last few days.  Nothing works quite as well as it does when Dana’s around.  In fact, I have a tendency to exhibit some epic failure on occasion when Dana’s not around, but…you do what you can.

One thing I know how to do: make root beer floats.  They asked for them, and who am I to deny my own children a good thing like that?  So, I stopped by the store and grabbed the essentials: ravioli in a can, bread, milk, ice cream, and root beer.  After devouring a couple cans of Chef Boyardees, we paused our movie and I was making floats.  I was transported back in time to Camano Island.  I was young, but I think it was on the southern end.  I was remembering my very first root beer float.

Do you remember yours?  I do.  It was a gathering of maybe three families.  Kids downstairs watching Bad News Bears with Walter Matthau.  Then, in the middle of the movie we were called up the kitchen to receive something I’d never even considered a possibility: soda pop and ice cream together.  “What?!  You can do that?” I thought.  Remembering this made me remember whose house it was and what he meant to me.

Norm and Carol Story.  They had a boat – a yacht as far as my young mind was concerned.  Though it was probably only 28 feet or so, it had a small galley and bathroom.  More importantly it had a place to put your fishing pole while you slowly trolled for salmon in the Puget Sound.  That’s what Norm taught me to do.  Me without a dad in the house, and Norm with a need to stand in the gap for me – or give my mom the day off from raising me. 

I can’t picture Norm in my mind right now, but I know what he meant to me and I’m grateful.  I think of him every time I have a root beer float.  I also think of him every time Christmas time comes around – not because I have some Christmas memory of him, but because he stood in the gap for me when my dad wasn’t around.  Just like Joseph did.  Raising a son not of your genetics is difficult, but the love of God gives us the ability to go beyond ourselves in amazing ways.

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