Dear Reading Friends, sometimes we think of Father’s Day as a day for spoiling our fathers. It is that as well, certainly. But maybe what fathers need most is our encouragement to keep making the hard decisions, to stand by the choices that matter most, and to lead the family and the community in a way that impacts lives for Christ. Fathers need to be appreciated for being the head of the family, for trusting God when things seem bleak, and for keeping their priorities straight in this compromising world. Here’s a short story that may speak to our times. Happy Father’s Day, you fathers! [Check out our special sale for Father’s Day below!] I hope you enjoy the story.—David Telbat
Father’s Day Short Story
The Best Pitch
by D.I. Telbat
Greg Thurman clapped and cheered for his nine-year-old son, Brian, as the boy carefully chose a baseball bat for a turn at the plate. After he picked up a wooden slugger, he hefted it in his hands and approached the backstop. The umpire brushed off home plate and the stands hushed themselves in anticipation for the next batter.
“Dad!” Brian signaled urgently for his father.
Leaping over two rows of cheering mothers, Greg landed below the bleachers and jogged up to the backstop to speak to his son through the wire.
“You ready to hit it?” Greg asked his son.
“I think so. Everyone here is better than me. I can barely see the ball when the pitcher throws it.”
“Remember what we practiced in the back yard.” Greg lowered his voice so only his son could hear. “When you’re facing the pitcher, and the ball is coming at you, it’ll be easier to see head-on rather than watching it from the side. Keep your grip tight, tuck your chin, and swing when it seems right.”
“Tuck my chin and swing?”
“It’s just you and the ball.” Greg made a fist, barely containing his pride. “Forget everything else and smack that ball!”
“Okay, Dad.” Brian grinned and stepped up to the plate.
The umpire signaled the pitcher, and the pitcher went through his dramatic wind-up routine to pitch the ball.
Greg’s phone vibrated on his hip when Brian swung and missed the first pitch.
“It’s all right, son!” Greg yelled. “You’ll get the next one!”
He glanced down at his phone, wondering if it was his wife. She was on bed-rest, pregnant with their third child. But no, it was the office. The office? On a Sunday? He’d already told them he wouldn’t work on Sundays. His immediate supervisor had promised that Greg would be passed over for a raise because of it, but Greg hadn’t budged.
“A raise if I miss Sunday morning services? My God is more important than that,” Greg had told his boss. “And my family is more important than a raise to miss our Sunday afternoon time. I’ll see you Monday morning.”
Without a doubt, the family could use that raise, but Greg had stood on his convictions, trusting God to provide for them as Greg put his faith and his family first.
Reluctantly, Greg answered the phone as Brian allowed a wide pitch to float past him, and the umpire called a ball.
“Good eye, Brian!” Greg called. “Good eye, son.”
“Hello? Is someone there?”
Greg held the phone to his ear.
“Yeah. This is Greg Thurman. Is something wrong?”
“This is Sal Broschen.”
Greg felt the blood drain from his face. Sal Broschen? Big Sal? The top boss? Sal Broschen owned the marketing firm his division worked for!
“Yes, sir. How can I help you?”
“Well, I’m standing outside your office, and I don’t see you here. I gave explicit instructions to the division heads that I wanted everyone here. We need to kick off this next quarter with a fresh attitude. How can we do that together if some of the team is missing?”
Greg covered the mouth piece as Brian let another pitch pass, this time a strike.
“It’s all right, son! Wait for the right one. You’ve got it.”
“Excuse me, Mr. Thurman?” Big Sal said on the phone. “Can you hear me? It sounds like you’re in the middle of something there.”
“Actually, I’m at my son’s baseball game. He’s at the plate right now. It’s his first time.” Greg was tempted to hang up the phone, but decided against it. “Mr. Broschen, I assure you, as an honest Christian and a family man, I give one hundred percent for the company when I’m at the office. I need that job, but that job isn’t more important to me than my faith or my family. My Sundays are reserved for attending church service and for enjoying my growing family. Now, it’s Father’s Day, and I think the real question is, why are all of you at the office? Don’t you have families?”
Brian allowed another ball to pass. The umpire signaled that the count was full. The next pitch would decide everything.
“You do know who I am, right?” Big Sal asked. “I mean, you know who you’re talking to?”
“Mr. Broschen, I’m top in sales not only for my division, but you can check the numbers. I lead in sales for all of your divisions. I appreciate the job I have, but I was already threatened about giving up my Sundays for the company, and it didn’t make me change my mind. So, if you want to threaten me or fire me, it still won’t change my priorities. I’m a husband and a father first. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I think I’m able to make so many sales, believe it or not. Our clients care about their families, and they know I’m a family man, too. Is there anything else you’d like from me this afternoon?”
“No, Mr. Thurman. I think you’ve said quite enough.”
“Am I fired?”
“No, you’re not fired. I’d say you’re hired.”
“Excuse me?” Greg asked in surprise.
“That’s right. I had already terminated your employment before I called you. I just wanted to hear your sorry excuse.” The man chuckled. “Turns out, your excuse isn’t sorry after all. I’m re-hiring you. We need more sales reps with your kind of gumption!”
“All right, sir. Thank you. Have a nice day.”
Greg turned off his phone and stuffed it into his pocket as Brian swung and barely connected with the ball. He dropped the bat as Greg shouted excitedly. The ball wobbled five yards to the left. The boy sprinted for first base as the youngsters on the other team scrambled for the ball while tripping over the in-field.
Brian barely reached first base before the ball was thrown to the first baseman.
“Good hit, Brian!” Greg yelled. “That’s the first of many. Now, pay attention, son. Watch the next batter. Get ready to run again!”
Brian waved at his father, and Greg couldn’t think of a better Father’s Day gift.
Suddenly, he thought about the phone in his pocket. He’d been so focused on Brian’s game that it hadn’t quite registered what the head boss had said. Fired, but then re-hired?
The Lord was definitely showing him favor. But, why? He guessed God was watching over him because Greg was willing to put his faith and family first.
Or, maybe the Lord was pleased because Greg didn’t swing at the pitch the enemy had just thrown.
You can find several other Father’s Day Short Stories at this link.
Special SALE for Father’s Day – June 15-18! Dawn of Affliction will be $0.99 for four days only! If you’ve not read it, now’s your chance! June 15-18, click the title for a direct link.
COMING UP: Join us next time for “Reflections of Resolution,” in which you’ll find a little background for The Resolution Series. And for the following post, Dee will bring a Novel Update to you on the status of upcoming D.I. Telbat books.