Why I Love Your Father–In Which There’s a Throwdown at the Soap N Suds

Dear Lily June,

Your dad, Ryan, claims that in his youth, he was a bit of a bully. He was the kind of big guy that dudes never picked fights with, or, when they did, they never won. Given his size and relative strength, I reckon they practically never got up.

For what it’s worth, Lily, I have never met that man.

Of the illimitable reasons I love your father, add to your mental image of him this anecdote: Once upon a time, your dad, a burly dude with a raging birds’ nest beard and a barrel chest, was carrying a laundry basket containing his cottons and my delicates back to our car from the Soap N Suds, a laundromat in Tuscaloosa.

His hands being otherwise occupied, a stranger snuck up on him and attempted to raid his pockets, dropping your dad’s cell phone in the shuffle and snapping it like a twig. Your dad, in a state of shock, dropped the laundry basket, struggled with, then finally slugged the guy.

(In my mind’s eye, I see a cartoon cloud of socks flying up around the fisticuffs, spinning around the shuffle as if they were back in the dryer, tumbling. The second your dad’s fist makes contact with the attempted mugger’s face, all laundered items immediately drop.)

When he got home, he was in a state, Lily. I sat there trying to console him about what happened, thinking he was upset that he had nearly been the victim of a crime. He looked into my eyes in near tears and said, “I hit him, Alyssa. I hit him. And he was so young.”

Your dad, Lily, was not upset that he had been attacked, but that he had exercised force, almost instinctively, back. He was worried about the hurt his near-mugger might have suffered at his fist. He had empathy for someone whom he’d never met, who, in fact, had tried to take something from him. Whatever other lessons you learn from me and these letters, I hope you learn the following lessons from your father, too:

  1. Sometimes, others need what you have more than you.
  2. Sometimes, the hurts you deal out, even in self-defense, end up hurting you.
  3. Sometimes, your dad can be a real badass. Don’t even try to mess with that dude.


Picture Credits:

25 thoughts on “Why I Love Your Father–In Which There’s a Throwdown at the Soap N Suds

    1. dearlilyjune says:

      High praise coming from you, Linda. I’m trying to write a little shorter lately. In your brief posts, you always manage to pack these weighty emotional punches that I so admire. I’ll probably be back to my verbose old self tomorrow, but it was fun to try. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. dearlilyjune says:

      It would take a LOT of paper, Charlie, to print these all out. We’d need an entire attic just devoted to my ridiculous ramblings! But thank you kindly, as always, for the encouraging words.


  1. Lonna Hill says:

    I really, really loved this. It sounds like you really found a gem in Lilly’s dad.

    I love all the truths you list at the end. Especially number two. Physically, I am such a wimp. I took a self defense class just last week and came home thinking how ludicrous it was. If I was ever attacked, I would hand someone my money. There is no way I would ever be able to hurt an attacker physically. (My experience and thoughts about the class is a post of its own for another day if I ever decide to write it.)

    I know this is a totally different scenario than what you described in your post, but I think what strikes me about your point in #2, is that it’s just as true with our words as it is with our fists…and for girls, that’s so much more relevant. As a former middle school teacher, I was horrified at how nasty girls could be to each other. The bullying that boys do and the bullying that girls do is so different….the girls were discreet, the girls knew how to hurt in ways that could be so much more damaging and lasting.

    Anyway, thanks for your post. It got me thinking about so many different ideas. It will take some time for me to sort them all out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ShitHappens2U says:

    POWERFUL lessons in this post…I gotta go think about this. I hear my mother’s voice “it takes ass to get ass” and get yet another meaning to her signature phrase. While beating ass, you lose a piece of yourself in the process…and only you can decide if it’s worth it. Oh dear God, my mother is making sense to me…let me go meditate!

    Liked by 1 person

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