Commonwealth Journal

December 4, 2013

The Ping-Pong Paddle

By CLINE CALHOUN, community columnist
Commonwealth Journal

I haven’t written much lately—not because I haven’t wanted too, but because it’s hard to keep your thoughts on one subject for a long period of time when you’re 70 years old, working full time and helping raise a three-year-old. 
However, I do find time to read the Commonwealth Journal, especially the Opinion Page, and recently some columns have caught my eye. The first was from Maryanne Davis entitled “Reader is tired of politics.” I could not agree with her more, but unfortunately politics has governed the life of the average American citizen since the founding of this country—a necessary evil.
Maryanne, its common folks like us that need to stay aware of what’s going on, help alert the other Maryannes of this nation, vote the scumbags out of office and elect some who hopefully know what they’re doing for the majority of this country. I personally believe the next man or woman who holds the highest office of this land should be a conservative medical doctor with a double dose of common sense.  
The second article was by Ronnie Ellis and his writing of “Its getting complicated to be a Kentucky Republican these days.” His article simply proved the point that Maryanne was trying to make. Ronnie, it’s not hard to be a republican, I’ve been one all my life. The problem is: picking out the lesser of the evils to vote for. With the medical coverage disaster that is happening and going to soon explode in this country, it’s sometimes hard to concentrate on things such as what Maryanne suggested: “four-way stops, the price of food going crazy, gas prices, something other than government issues.”
This past Sunday, our preacher told a story in his sermon that made us stop and think about why we should do good things for others today, and not put it off until its too late, and in doing so, it will help free our minds from a lot of the negativity such as politics. 
This has been told several different ways, but the moral of the story is the same: A man had spent most of his youthful years amassing a large fortune in businesses and investments. He chose a wife so as to have a child to leave his legacy to. A son was born and no man could have ever been prouder. As the years passed, the rich man had to continue involvement with his many business enterprises, leaving little time for personal interaction with his growing son. His son wanted for nothing, his every wish for material things was granted, but what he wanted most was a personal relationship with his father. 
At around 10 years old the father asked his son what he wanted for Christmas and his son said, “I want a purple ping pong paddle with yellow polka dots.” Amazed, the father asked his son if he would tell him why he wanted such an unusual thing. The son said, “no.”
The son grew up, having the best education Ivy League schools had to offer. Every year at Christmas time the father would ask the same question and receive the same answer: “A purple ping pong paddle with yellow polka dots.”
The son became a success in his own right, but did so in Europe so no one would confuse his success story with that of his father’s, because he wanted credit for his own efforts.
Getting late in his years, the father called his son and wanted to spend Christmas day with him in Europe. The son happily agreed and arrangements were made. Upon being picked up at the airport, the father presented the son with his Christmas present: a purple ping pong paddle with yellow polka dots, obviously handmade. The father immediately asked: “Why have you wanted this strange item all these years? I could never find one to buy, so I had to make it myself.” With a smile on his face and tears in his eyes, the son said “Let’s go across the street to the coffee shop and I’ll tell you.” The son stepped into the street and was killed instantly by a car. 
The father didn’t realize until much later that all his son wanted was a piece of his father’s time with a simple hug and three little words: I love you. The father went to his grave a lonely, broken man.
The youth of this world are being taught the wrong lesson. Christmas should not be about fighting the crowds on Black Friday, or putting carts full of merchandise in lay-away. It bothers me every year to hear people ask the children: “What are you GETTING for Christmas?” Should we not be asking them: “What are you DOING for someone this year?” 
God, our spiritual Father, gave a part of himself, His son Jesus, to show us how much He loves us. His Son was born into the humble abode of a carpenter, not into a place with glittering tinsel, flashing lights and a jolly fat man in a red and white suit. These things are not bad in themselves, but we have let them take over. We have within ourselves what most people want: a little piece of our time and the rest will come naturally. It should be given freely, willingly, all of the time, not just at Christmas.
•   •   •