I Love You Dad – Corey the Wanderer

Fairly recent pic of Corey

Fairly recent pic of Corey

When I write these little true life adventures, I try my best to relate them to any event or thought that’s going on in the present.  Sometimes it doesn’t always work, but most of the time it does.  When I first began writing these, I did it on a whim, not thinking that I would still be writing them more than a year later.  I thought, how many stories can I write, fifty maybe?  At some point, I began to get excited over the prospect of leaving behind a compendium of my life, something my kids and grandkids could possibly enjoy reading after I’m long gone. 

Along the way, I thought I’d document some thoughts about each of my children.  I’ve already written about our last child, Tim, in this story (read me).  This week, my wife is in Pennsylvania, visiting my son Corey and his family.

I’ve written many times about how important it had become for me to create a future for my boys, a future with options I felt I never had while growing up.  One of the most important options was the ability to attend college.  I wanted to be able to save money so that I could afford to pay for it for them.  In order to do that, I felt it would be wise to not have two kids in school at the same time.  And because of this, Corey was born five years after Mitchell.  Always the consummate planner I was, (and still am), Corey was a planned baby.

Each of our boys has his own uniqueness.  From day one, Corey always seemed inquisitive and was always lovey; that was Corey’s uniqueness.  Do you know how great it feels when your little three year old says “I love you Dad”?  Corey would say those words a lot and it would always make me smile, still does.

I like this video.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–lOPUHifLM

Watch the first 40 seconds and then come back to me.

OK, you back?  That was a MyPal2.  He loved it when he first got it.  Somewhere in this video he mentions that he can put it in his bedroom.  Well we did….the problem was that MyPal kept talking at night.  It still makes me laugh as I’m typing.  Yes, he got very scared of it because it would speak and the face would light up.  We eventually had to take out the batteries and hide him in the closet.  (note: we hid the robot, not Corey)


We are cat people.  Cat people don’t have time to follow a dog each night to pick up their poop.  We traveled a lot because I was transferred out of state and so we would always travel back home for holidays.  Getting someone to check in on the cats is a lot easier than getting someone to dog-sit, plus dogs need a lot more constant attention.  Cats fit our lifestyles.  The thing too about cats that you dog people might not know is that although a cat likes all of the family members, it imprints with a primary person in the house.  Squeaky was Corey’s.  We got Squeaky when Corey was perhaps four years old.  She was a docile, loving Himalayan.  Indoor cats will live between 14 and 20 years on average, outdoor cats maybe 8.  Squeaky died at the age of sixteen.  I was the one who was nominated to take her to the vet to be put down when we found her on the floor, near death, her mouth in a state of rigor.  Corey just couldn’t bring himself to go with me.  He just loved that cat.  We all have such fond memories of our first pets, don’t we.

(Note – Squeaky can be seen in the short video at the end of this story.  She would not be a year old yet since her color had not yet changed to a dark brown)

The other thing about Corey that always stood out was his inquisitiveness; he asked a lot of questions and was always curious.  Perhaps this is the reason he wandered away from me, not once, but on two occasions.  Neither of our other boys did anything like that, but Corey did it twice and scared me to death on both times!

The first time Critter, (his nickname), wandered away was totally at my error and I still shudder when I think back on what could have happened.  I had taken him and Mitchell to a ball field behind an elementary school.  The field was bordered by 4 streets.  None of the streets were ever terribly busy, but that is no excuse for my taking my eye off of him while I was pitching baseballs to Mitch.  At almost the exact instance I realized Corey was missing, I heard a lady calling out – yoo-hoo, does this little guy belong to you?  Man, I felt like an idiot.  He couldn’t have been perhaps 5 years old.  He could have stepped out into the street in front of a moving vehicle and not have been as lucky as I was (link)….thankfully he was more lucky!

The second time Corey’s curious nature caused him to wander was once again related to baseball.  Mitchell was playing Little League in Hamilton.  He was 11 years old, Corey 6.  We were at one of the rear ball fields furthest away from the front gate.  I was seated on the top bench of a bleacher so that I could watch Mitch at the same time I was watching Corey playing in a sand pile a little ways behind the bleacher.

I noticed that Corey kept looking back over his shoulder in order to see me.  I’d wave occasionally and he was having a great time – that is, until Daddy disappeared.  You see, Mitchell had just taken a pitch to the thigh and was crying a bit so I immediately went down to check on him, forgetting about Corey.  I couldn’t have been on the field but two minutes.  When I returned, no Corey!  The great thing about this park was that there was only a single way out so I immediately took off in a hurry for the front gate.  If someone had gotten him, I felt I could beat them to the entrance since we were so far from it.

Luckily, I didn’t have to go all the way for as I was running up there, I saw ahead of me Corey holding hands with a lady who was looking for his daddy.  Apparently, Corey saw I was gone and had logged in his mind the way out.  I guess he thought he was headed out to the parking lot to join me.  I learned my lesson – Corey was a wanderer and I would always need to keep a very close eye on him.  I am trying, but it gets more and more difficult the older I become.

Corey is married now, has a family and has wandered 2,000 miles away from our home.  He has wandered away from me yet again.  In his short time as a husband he has already gotten to experience the joy of marital strife.  It took my wife and I much longer but Corey’s always been a fast learner.  He is, after all, a chemical engineer today so he must have some smarts.  He doesn’t ask his daddy many questions today but that’s ok.  He knows I’m always here for him.  He may be almost 30 years old, but to me he’ll always be that little thumb sucking “Critter” happily sitting behind me in his child seat on my big green Schwinn, saying – I love you, Dad.

I love you too son.

This is one of my favorite moments caught on tape.  Corey was laying on the ground watching tv and realized he was nabbed by the video recorder with his blankey.  He also had chaps lips that summer.   I love the moment he says ‘uh oh’, so cute.



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