All day in the area I was working, I would bump into
a member of the Cycle Count department. His name is
Cliff and we have been friendly coworkers. We have
our lockers nearby and he is approximately ten years
younger than I. He is a ‘good family man’ who I have
admired the way he interacts with his boys.
When Cliff took his family on a trip out West, their
goal was to see all the states from here to the Grand
Canyon trip last summer. Cliff had chosen to take both
his weeks in a row which included the four weekend days.
This meant a rather long and extended time in the car,
but I was sure they would have an awesome time.
When Cliff came back, he was reluctant to brag. He knew
that I had been up at Mom’s, not any real vacation plans.
But I certainly reassured him, asked to see any travel
photos he may have had on his cell phone, at break time.
I was happy for his three boys and wife, too.
One neat family traveling activity, that brought some
memories back and nostalgia flowing, was Cliff’s family
played ‘car games.’
He told me they still like to play an alphabet game
and a license plate game in the car. When the boys
have participated in these for about an hour a day,
Cliff says he asks if they want to play their own
games, with headphones on. He says, it makes him
feel good that they don’t beg to do this all the
time. You can tell, he enjoys ‘together time’ with
his wife and sons.
When I was talking to him recently, Cliff and I were
discussing the movie, “Brave,” and how at first, even
at age four and a half, Micah (my youngest grandson)
was unsure how ‘cool’ it would be. He even said,
“That movie’s for girls, Nana!”
Cliff noted that it all depends on how he, as the father
of boys, approaches things. He shared that any time the
boys tend to make a comment, hesitate or indicate they
are prejudging something, he will bend over backwards,
saying, “We have to try this!” and I just knows it
will be good!”
We discussed in short snippets, as we were working,
about how society has transformed young people into
being overly conscious of ‘what people will think.’
I did say that this probably isn’t as “new” as we
like to think!
Cliff shared his positive attitude adding that,
“It is all how you approach things!”
He got his two boys who are in middle school and
one who is a high schooler to watch the movie,
“Brave.” Cliff said that his wife and he had really
wanted to see it at the movie theater. He said,
that by admitting he wanted to see it, the boys
when asked wanted to join them.
At Christmas, one of the gifts he purchased was
the Wii game for “Brave.” He says it is ‘great
I like Cliff, think he is a great father and
husband. I asked him what he was going to do to
celebrate Valentine’s Day, in barely two days?
He was so enthusiastic, glad I even asked such a
question. He is taking the family to Cincinnati,
where they have reservations for two nights
consisting of two rooms, side by side. The plan is
to leave straight after work, on Friday. They have
their bags packed and are raring to go!
“The boys will stay next door,” he winked, “if you
know what I mean.” They were going to the perfect
place for people who are ‘sick’ of the snow!
They were heading off to the Newport Aquarium
on Saturday morning. They plan to stop on their
way south through Columbus at either a Bob Evans
or the Cracker Barrel south of ‘C-town.’
I was also applauding his idea of what to do on
Sunday morning. He has reservations at a nice
restaurant for their ‘brunch.’ It will be an
overall special occasion, with some privacy
and alone time, included. He also has plans
to stop on their way home at one of the big
Outlet Malls. Each member of the family will
use their own extra money or allowance, he
let me in on this fact.
What really pushed me into writing this post,
was not just to let guys know that it is very
thoughtful to think ahead about holidays.
Another reason was because I found out more about him
in the few hours he was ‘in my way,’ counting products.
He wanted me to tell you that his wife is named, “Joan.”
But for “forever and a day,” his parents and he have
called her, “Joanie.” Not her parents though!
When I asked him why?
Cliff answered, “Ever since Cliff Clayban was a character
on the hit television series, ‘Cheers,’ I have been kidded.
Sometimes, it has been about delivering mail, sometimes
about drinking every night at a bar, (which he assured me
he doesn’t do this, thinks it is ‘wrong’ and ‘not good for
building a strong marriage.’)
He loves to hunt with his boys, sometimes go on long walks
with one of them, with their family dog. Cliff also enjoys
the way he gets to know his boys, individually, on separate
hiking trips. This he does, sometimes, with his wife and
So, what happened to cause him to change the name “Joan”
Oh, wait, I thought I had it!
Cliff saw my ‘light bulb come on’ and asked,
“Come on, Robin, why do we call her ‘Joanie?'”
I got excited and said, “Joanie Loves Chachi!”
And I continued,
“Then, the both of you have to live the life
of a television character!”
That show, by the way, was a spin-off from the long
lasting, “Happy Days.” It lasted with Erin Moran and
Scott Baio playing the leading roles, only from 1982
Didn’t make too much of an impression on many
people. Small viewing audiences didn’t choose to
watch and help make it last.
That show came out the year that Cliff graduated
from high school and met his wife, Joan, at the
local bowling alley in Marion, Ohio. They had fun
roller skating, bowling, hiking and swimming. they
liked going to Delaware to the Drive-In movies on
Cliff says they got married at age 20 and smilingly
“And we didn’t look back!”
The last part of my Cliff story is about the curious
habit that he has had since very young. He is passing
this habit on to his trio of boys.
He loves cartoons!
He rents or borrows cartoons from the past, including
Bugs Bunny, Coyote and the Roadrunner, and Mr. Magoo.
His favorite one that he spent two summers ago was
watching with his boys, every evening for one hour of
together time, excluding weekends was, “Johnny Quest.”
Cliff stopped from going any farther and his whole
demeanor changed. He gave me an exaggerated sad face.
I asked, “Oh no! What happened? Did your computer stop
projecting the Youtube copies of ‘Johnny Quest’ onto
your big screen television?”
Cliff shook his head.
I cannot help myself, when someone is silent, I have
to guess the reason!
“Is it too immature for the boys’ age now?”
Cliff looked at me like I was crazy!
“No! For some reason, I cannot find it on Youtube
anymore! So, no more ‘Johnny Quest!'”
“What happens now?” I wondered.
I got quiet, as if in mourning the passage of time
or the loss of a loved one.
I kept on picking my auto parts and putting them
into the five hampers I was pushing on the rails.
Finally, as if he knew my impatience or curiosity
was getting to me, (I have a face which doesn’t
hide my emotions.)
Cliff announced his proud decision:
“We watch ‘Scooby Doo!'”
I can just visualize those ‘men:’ two in middle
school, one in high school and one who is
supposedly the ‘adult’ in the group.
The father who wants to make his boys laugh.
A rather wonderful gift, indeed!