I Locked My Father in the Shower

            Yes, I did. I locked my father in the outdoor shower of the manse we use when we visit Avalon, New Jersey. You ask me: Why did you lock your Dad in the shower? I will tell you: I have no idea but I did.

            Here’s the story. My older brother Scott and my Dad came for an overnight visit to Avalon during our recent vacation. In the afternoon, all of us had gone for a swim in the pool of friends of ours in Stone Harbor. We returned to the beach house and my father wanted to clean up in the outdoor shower set in the back of the house. I made sure that he a towel and then I remember that he closed the door and I slide the lock across. I can recall a vague thought that I had that I was somehow keeping him safe. I went inside and changed my clothes. My brother and I sat on the front porch and started talking. In the back of my mind I wondered where my Dad was, but I figured that he was taking his time. He is 90 years-old after all. About 30 minutes later, my father opened the front door, peered down at me and asked, “Can you tell me why you locked me in the shower?”

            Some people can hold a pie in each hand and resentment at the same time. Thankfully, my Dad has never been someone who clings to hard feelings. I felt terrible all the same. He told me that he called out for help. No one heard him. So he sat on the bench for a while, waiting for rescue. Finally, he kicked the door open. My son Sam reminded me that I did the same thing to him in the same shower when he was 9 years-old.

            Grace, mercy, kindness and forgiveness are needed in abundance in all of our families and for all of our relationships. We are mistake-making people which mean that we also have to be forgiveness-giving people. I’m so glad that my Dad and I could quickly laugh about my odd action. Soon after his great escape, we had a delicious dinner and then walked to the ocean to body-surf. My Dad got in the surf too. The day wasn’t ruined and life rolled on like waves.

            You would think that I would have learned a lesson from my father’s mercy and kindness to me. I regret to tell you that I didn’t. We came home on Tuesday and I asked my youngest son, Miles to cut the grass. He did but he failed to put the lawnmower back in the crawl space. When Miles got around to putting everything anyway, he didn’t close and lock the doors. When I saw the open and unlocked doors, I heatedly told him to go and lock them. He tried to tell that he was having trouble closing the doors, but I wasn’t listening. For a guy who locked the wrong door at the wrong time you would think that I might be a little more understanding of my son who was trying to lock the right doors at the right time. The next morning, I told Miles I was wrong and asked him to not lock me in the shower the next time we’re in Avalon.