Without his parent’s permission, young Jimmy Ward at the ripe age of fourteen, feeling cocky upon entering high school, decided to invite a buddy over to his house after school.

No mischief existed in his mind, but then, at fourteen sometimes things can just happen with no forethought or knowledge as to how it happened.

Jimmy’s parents both worked to provide for their children. Since no one was home, the afternoon found the young men simply hanging out discussing, well, those things post-pubescent young men discuss. With manhood on the horizon, or so most think at fourteen, the two young men began to challenge each other with feats of strength.

One thing always leads to the other and before either could say lickety-split, a prized vase handed down through family generations upended, falling to the floor. Suspended silence filled the air, each boy looking at the other and thinking thoughts not yet audible.

The moment passed and the two began to scheme. First, they thought long and argued over how to fix it. Second, (here is where the tale deepens) the two began to connive on a plan to keep the accident a secret. Contemplating the trouble they were in, Jimmy knew he shouldered the greater burden, admitting it to his parents didn’t seem the best option.

Repairing the vase with 14-year-old skill, Jimmy thought his best course of action was to turn the vase so the crack could not be seen, at least long enough for him to leave home, travel the world and claim memory problems should the mishap be discovered.

But parents are smart and observant, Jimmy’s more than most.

A few days passed and Jimmy began to relax, long enough to fool himself with the thought he had concocted a great excuse. Thinking the woods were behind him, his mind turned carefree again.

Slam! Jimmy heard the backdoor shut. Interrupting his tranquility, footsteps he knew belonged to his father quickened and tapped louder toward his room.

“Jimmy Ward! Who broke the vase?” Uh, uh, what vase? “You know what vase. How did it happen?”

Strangely, his contrived excuse could not reach his lips, could not stutter into the air. Caught, he began to fess up, face up to his wrongdoing, not breaking the vase, but the cover-up.

Manhood does have a beginning. This was Jimmy’s.

Jimmy’s father relaxed. His expression softened. He said, “Son, you should have come to me. I love you more than that vase. Hiding from me, attempting to cover up your mistakes gives me great pain. Did you not know to trust me instead of trying to handle the situation on your own? Did you not know you could come to your Father?”

Jimmy said, “I thought I would be punished. I thought you would be mad.”

“Son, the vase has sentimental value, but you are worth more than anything we own. The path to my grace and love is always open to you.”

And isn’t this the Easter story?

Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for more than 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton. Contact him at pgadeacon@gmail.com.

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