Mothers have historically been ” the menders”. Your vision may be the same as mine; that of a lady in her rocking chair repairing  socks and garments that have become the victim of time and use. Not that it will give them new or predictable life, but to buy time for when the user can fend for himself or choose a replacement.

The saying:” A stitch in time will save nine ” is a way of saying that if the “stitching ” is early on…….. we will avert serious or maybe an impossible repair later,

This story is about that, but not about mothers and their efforts. It is actually about my father who put that idea to work in a strange….perhaps to some, an insensitive way. It’s not about shirts or socks… is about breaking a commandment.


My younger brother, Wayne, and my Dad stopped by the grocery store to pick up some things on their way home. There was a line at the check out and they were left to survey the many  “impulse items” to be found there on the shelves.

Wayne, about six years old, found a Hershey bar to be irresistible, but received a “no” from dad;”Too close to dinner”. As they moved forward to greet the clerk, he quietly slipped it into his jacket. Dad noticed this and made him return it to the shelf.

The ordinarily short return trip home seemed way out of the patte, and Wayne asked “We’re not going home?”…..No answer.

As they pulled into the Police Department parking lot, he was told to come with him inside.

At the front was a desk, where they addressed issues that were presented, Dad walked to the desk and talked privately with the Sargent.

They were led to another office  where Wayne was asked to give personal information, and he was fingerprinted. Wayne was totally shaken and started to cry.

The officer, trying to contain his obvious sensitivity, went through the process that had been requested by my father; essentially, “What happens when people break the law and steal?”

It ended with a group  hug, and a very quiet trip home, followed by a summary of the event at the dinner table, where Mom later said privately; that she did not subscribe to this approach. While it was impossible to get endorsement from Wayne for some years; he became the one who tells the story; that he respected Dad for this “lesson of love”…..And, as he would later joke: “Who knows, I could have become a John Dillinger!”

I would add another saying.. ” As the twig is bent…. so grows the tree”

Wayne, long gone to this world, developed strong limbs, was very grounded, and afforded shelter to anyone in need.

And, as you might expect, the story was not lost on me…….  It left its’ fingerprint as well.


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I am a retired great grandfather, father of four; a writer (long time blogger) and visual artist. And, most importantly,a believer in the power of God to change lives..

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