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WHEN  GOD  MADE  A  FATHER

          When the good Lord was creating Fathers he started with a tall frame.

          And a female angel nearby said, "What kind of Father is that? If you're going to make children so close to the ground, why have you put Father up so high? He won't be able to shoot marbles without kneeling, tuck a child in bed without bending, or even kiss a child without a lot of stooping."

          God smiled and said, "Yes, but if I make him child-size, whom would children have to look up to?"

          And when God made a Father's hands, they were large and sinewy.

          The angel shook her head and said, "Large hands can't manage diaper pins, small buttons, rubber bands on pony tails - or even remove splinters caused by baseball bats."

          And God smiled and said, "I know, but they're large enough to hold everything a small boy empties from his pockets, yet small enough to cup a child's face in."

          Then God molded long, slim legs and broad shoulders.

          "Do you realize you just made a Father without a lap?" the angel clucked.

          God said, "A Mother needs a lap. A Father needs strong shoulders to pull a sled, to balance a boy on a bicycle, or to hold a sleepy head on the way home from the circus."

          God was in the middle of creating two of the largest feet anyone had ever seen when the angel could contain herself no longer. "That's not fair. Do you honestly think those large boats are going to dig out of bed early in the morning when the baby cries? Or walk through a small birthday party without crushing at least three of the guests?"

          God smiled and said, "They'll work. You'll see. They'll support a small child who wants to ride a horse to Banbury Cross or scare off mice at the summer cabin, or display shoes that will be a challenge to fill."

          God worked throughout the night, giving the Father few words, but a firm, authoritative voice; eyes that saw everything, but remained calm and tolerant. Finally, almost as an afterthought, he added - tears. Then he turned to the angel and said, " Now, are you satisfied that he can love as much as a Mother?"

          And the angel said no more.


-Erma Bombeck-

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