At the end of last week’s column, which was posted on Facebook, I asked what lessons from their childhood the readers of this column still remembered all these years later. There was a huge outpouring of comments, both on Facebook and to me personally.
While there were many comments that reminded me of my own childhood, one hit me the hardest. John C. Trimble is an amazing man, husband, father, grandfather and in my case, friend. We did not grow up together, but one of his daughters, Marie, and one of my daughters, Elizabeth, became fast friends while attending Washington and Lee University.
Out of the common bond of our daughters’ relationship, we were blessed with our own friendship. We do not see each other often; in fact, our visits are rare. Yet through the positive side of social media, emails, and texts, we have remained connected decades after our daughters graduated.
John is a distinguished and accomplished lawyer. His talents are extensive, and his reputation extends far beyond his home state of Indiana. When John Trimble talks, people listen. That is why I took note when John responded with one of his own childhood lessons that he still follows to this day. Put the toilet seat down.
John is like me; he has two daughters. It was not much of an issue in our houses while our children grew up as the only people who had to follow the rule in our respective homes was John and me. You could not blame anyone else in the house if a seat was left up as other than the dogs; we were the only males around.
As fate would have it, three of my four grandchildren are boys. It has led to a culture shock when we all get together at Compass Lake or Auburn for family get togethers. Short of tacking a note on the toilet seat, it is more likely than not that the seat will be in the up position for the next visitor.
John, on the other hand has five grandchildren. Four of the five are girls. Unfortunately, if a toilet seat is found in the up position, his grandson, Evan, is likely to be blamed. Otherwise, the guilty party is one of his two sons-in-law, or heaven forbid, John himself.
Today is my 67th birthday. I have now gone one day without being accused of leaving a toilet seat up. Since only Mary Lou and I live in this house, I am always to blame. The only break I have gotten is when I discovered the maids left the seats up when they had cleaned the bathrooms. All of them. That means that Wednesday is a freebie for me.
Thank you, John, for reminding me of this important law and how hard it is to achieve perfection in adhering to one of the most important rules for boys to learn, at least according to their mothers. Put the toilet seat down!
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org