My father in law- Frank (aka Grandpa sticks-long story) is a fun fellow who is a retired reporter of the United Press International Bureau Chief (UPI). His writing style is a hoot so with his permission, here is a reprint of an article he wrote when my hubby's family of six kids- five boys and one tough little girl- was quite young.... Here goes:
"There was a time when fater amounted to something in the United States" ---Adlai E. Stevenson
"Never trust a 9-year-old kid. I learned that recently.
A recent poll showed a surprisingly large number of Virginia children listed television better than daddy. So, obsessed with equal amounts of paternal curiosity and concern, I decided to prove to myself that the results of the poll were a quirk, atypical, a geographical idiosyncrasy.
I have six children who range in age from 12 to 3 -a slightly older control group than the 4, 5 and 6-year-olds polled in Virginia. But my kids spend many hours-toomany, my wife thinks- plopped in front of the television set.
My poll was simple, direct. It consisted of one question: 'Whom do you like better, daddy or television?'
I can report with some relief that the answers, in the end, favored daddy. But not without a scare.
The first mistake was conducting the poll at a crowded supper table, instead of in a private, one-to-one fatherly chat where I could influence the answer by conjuring up any charm I might possess.
The second mistake was asking Tommy, the 9-year-old first.
Tommy's a nice kid, a little mischievous and a bit of a tease. But he does pretty well in school, handles his chores after prodding and brushes his teeth occasionally.
He shot his answer back through a satanic grin with out a moment of thought:
'I like television beter.'
That started it, and on cue, the domino theory became reality. Sheila, 3, added, 'I like the television better, too.'
Terry, 6, then cast his vote for the tube.
Jimmy, 8, was concentrating on a hot dog and didn't want to be disturbed. He chalked one up for daddy, however.
Danny, 10, the gentle one of the brood, noticed my increasing discomfort, and with touching filial devotion confessed he liked me better.
Jackie can be business-like for a kid, and his 12th birthday was approaching. Daddy won, hands down.
As a soothing gesture, my wife noted that, unlike fathers, television sets don't tell children 'No, you can't have any candy; take a bath; brush your teeth; go to bed; hurry to school.'
That was some comfort.
Without prompting, except for my offhand reminder that Christmas was near, Tommy relented.
'I was just kidding. I like you better than television,' he said.
On cue once more, Sheila echoed the same sentiment through a mouthful of lettuce. Terry, still operating on the herd instinct, changed his vote and left the room to watch television.
"You know," I told my wife, 'someone ought to poll fathers and find out whom they like better, television or the kids."
Thank you Frank for a look back on a wonderful family- and by the way every one, Jim is now my own sweet husband- he has not changed much when it comes to food- mwaaaahahahahaha!