My Dad and our dog Koko were celebrities in our neighborhood.  Children would run to pet Koko and tell my Dad about their school day. They clustered around him, emerging from nowhere, calling him Sam within seconds, holding his hand, trusting him completely.

So, I was only a little surprised one Sunday afternoon when our doorbell rang and I saw a boy and a girl standing before me. “Is Sam home?” the boy asked. Dad, hearing their voices, joined me, swept the little girl, Emily, into his arms and invited them inside.

The boy, Devin, said solemnly, “Sam, I want to ask you something. Wednesday is Grandparents’ Day at school. And our grandparents live far away. Would you be my Grandfather at school that day?” Dad – already over 70 with no grandchildren of his own – bent low to Devin and said, “Yes, I’d be honored.”

And so, that Wednesday, Dad entered the school and found Devin’s classroom. Devin gave him an enthusiastically decorated name tag – SAM in bright letters – and a chair to sit in. Devin returned to his desk, and Dad listened, laughed and applauded, as he had done years earlier for our own visitors’ days.

Dad with grandson Nathaniel at Monmouth Beach, New Jersey.

The program ended and Dad hugged Devin goodbye. Leaving the classroom, he walked toward the school door, still wearing SAM in bright letters. Then, on an impulse, he thought about little Emily. Asking directions to the second grade hallway, he retraced his steps and found her class. There sat Emily, bravely alone at her desk amid the hubbub of the day. Standing in the doorway, Dad called to her: “Emily! It’s Sam.”

Emily looked up, saw him and ran across the room with a face illuminated with such joy that Dad later said his heart nearly exploded. Emily flung herself into his arms and then led him to her own Grandfather chair sitting empty nearby. Ignoring everything else, Emily curled herself tightly into his lap and leaned her head against his warm loving chest. “Oh, Sam,” she whispered, “I knew you’d come.”


And here’s a Father’s Day story from when I was just a bit older than Emily. The miracle Dad and I shared that year was bigger than baseball and as lasting as the deepest love. Cassie, Daddy, and the Amazin’ Mets

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3 thoughts on “Promise

  1. Yes Carol Ann that’s my Uncle Sam! That’s who he was!!! His photo made me teary eyed. Teresa 😘💕


  2. Thank you, Teresa! I’m so grateful to you. And you actually knew him longer than I did! Yes, it is a lovely photo. Dad was so generous with his love! I send you mine… Carol Ann


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