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Hit the Ball, Drag Joe

I am sure every one has their family jokes. We have ours. You know how it is, you give the punch line and the family laughs.

Over the years our family has had its mode of operation. Al says “No,” before he hears any details. I say “Yes,” before I think. Al digs in his heels and I ride off without the horse. It has been a lifetime pattern and that when the punch line, “Hit the ball, drag Joe” came into play.

Once in awhile Al gives in and I win. He goes reluctantly and I smile as if to say, “Aren’t we having fun.” But the family knows I am not going quietly and Al isn’t going easily.

You’ve heard the old saying, “You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” I have found if you salt the oats, you can make him thirsty.

A good example happened recently. A young man, who I have known for years, was in jail. He needed a home. He didn’t have any place to go, so the court ruled for him to stay in jail. The day of his court date was his sixteenth birthday. There were tears in his eyes and his heart was soft and he was sorry.

He needed someone to believe in him, and I did. I could help him. So I said,

“Yes, he could come and live with us.”

Al said,

“What were you thinking? We can’t raise a sixteen year old boy.”

I wasn’t giving up on this one. So I said, “But he needed a placed to live. What’s the problem?”

“Call his attorney and tell him you can’t bring him home.”

Well I salted the oats for days before I called his attorney, I prayed and prayed for the young boy, called everyone I knew who he could live with. Then I turned my prayers on Al. I prayed and prayed for Al to change his mind.

Then when I figured God had worked on Al, I asked him,

“Have you changed your mind yet? Can we raise him?”


More prayers and finally I got it, my own oats were salted. “Al is right. Our life style is not conducive for a sixteen year old boy.”

I have not given up on this young man and somewhere and somehow along the line I am going to help him. The family knows how determined I am and how determined Al can be. So this is how our family joke began years ago and has continued as of today.

When I say, “Hit the ball and drag Joe,” our family knows. When I say I am going to do something, they immediately ask, “What does Daddy say about it?”

I respond, “Oh you know.” They laugh. They know their Dad probably said “No,” and I am determined to finish the game.”

If you are wondering and have never heard the joke, here goes. A professional golfer was going to teach his novice friend how to play golf. About the fourth hole, the professional golfer dropped dead with a heart attach. The novice finished the game. When he got back to the clubhouse, someone ask him if he enjoyed playing golf. He said, “Well, it was a great game until my friend dropped dead and for the rest of the game, I hit the Ball and had to drag Joe.

So now that I have let you in on one of our family jokes, you know the punch line and have been indoctrinated into our family.

Final brushstroke: You win a few and lose a few. The game is always interesting and it is always worth playing even when you hit the ball and have to drag Joe.

Artist’s quote

“So it is, life is actually made up of our choices. We are the sum total of them, and if we hold to an attitude of love and thanksgiving for all the good things within our grasp we may have what all ambitious people long for — success.” — Delma Neeley.

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