In Week 2 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for Mr. Charles Cheney.
In a conversation about parenting, a dear brother, J.B. Nicholson, said that children are like arrows in a man’s quiver and raising them is like straightening an arrow’s shaft, you must repeatedly smooth them in the same direction.
I was very fortunate to have had many wonderful people, especially men, who were co-laborers in the smoothing process of my life. Mr. Cheney was one of them.
Mr. Cheney was a bear of man with a spirit as gentle and kind as a dove. It was apparent that he enjoyed food, as he and his family operated a restaurant in addition to his daily 9 to 5. Their family attended the same church as my family, Blessed Trinity United Methodist Church and the highlight of many Sundays was eating at their restaurant after service. No one, and I mean no one, could fry fish like Mr. Cheney. The portions were generous, like the man, and his restaurant retains a spot in my heart as one of the best of all time.
Mr. Cheney’s generosity seemingly knew no bounds. He took it upon himself to start a Boy Scouts troop at our church. I fondly remember the simplicity of those days. We’d have entire meetings that consisted of nothing more than seeing who could do the most push-ups and sit-ups. That was it and we loved it.
I especially remember the one and only “camping trip” that we did as a group. Mr. Cheney told us we were going to cook “man meals” and cook our own dinner over a camp fire. He took our group of boys to the grocery store, bought us each a pound of ground beef and told us to find other ingredients that we’d like to include in our meal: potatoes, celery, onions, carrots, etc. -it could be anything, whatever we thought would suit our palate. He then brought us to his house where we each prepared our own meal: we mixed our chosen ingredients together, added seasoning, wrapped them in aluminum foil and placed them atop the camp fire in his back yard. Looking back it seems so simple, too simple to have kept the attention of a whole band of pre-teens, but that it did. It was one of the best times of my life. So much so, it’s a tradition I decided to pass down to my boys.
Notwithstanding, it wasn’t all food and fun. Mr. Cheney was yet another man that I wanted to be like. He was a professional man, a family man who dealt lovingly with his wife and children, he was kind and generous. His influence was another part of the smoothing process of my life, helping to solidify in my mind the kind of man I wanted to be.
I don’t have any pictures of Mr. Cheney but I try to honor his influence in my life by doing for others what he did for me. Pictured are my boys preparing their “man meals” and cooking them over a fire in our back yard. They seemed to have as good a time as I had with him 30 some years ago. I hope to be as good an example.
I’m grateful. #52WoG