“Do I have to?” Whispered Patch to me from his seat next to me on the chapel bench.
“Yes.” I said back.
“I don’t want to.” He pleaded.
“Get up there and sing for your Dad.” I answered.
Howard probably didn’t much care whether his son got up to sing with the other kids at church, but I cared. I’d failed in the “planning for Father’s Day” department and figured the least I could do was nudge Patch into singing.
Patch put down his notepad and pencil, then trudged his way up to the front and into the back row of kids. He stood there scowling as hard as he could. Next to me on the bench, Howard started shaking with suppressed laughter. The music started and fifty young voices began a sweet song about how important fathers are. Patch glowered silently. He looked over at Howard and I to make sure we could see his glower. I do not know what expression Howard was wearing, but the moment Patch caught sight of it, the glower shattered as a giggling smile broke through. Patch valiantly attempted to formulate a new scowl, but any time he looked at his dad a smile would escape suppression. Howard, for his part, leaned and peeked around the backs of the folks in front of us so that Patch could always see his face. Also, I’m pretty sure he pulled out his full arsenal of silly faces. It didn’t take long for Patch to give up scowling.
When all the other kids were done singing and shuffled off to their seats, Patch came back to us smiling and hugged Howard for a long time.