Dad was recovering from a knee replacement he had undergone three weeks earlier, and was still undergoing physical therapy. I knew how much my parents enjoyed going to the Maryland Barbecue Bash, a two-day festival in Bel Air with over 60 barbecue vendors from several states. Realizing dad couldn’t get around, I offered to go to the festival, pick up some carry-out, and bring it back to the house. The plan was set.
I was to pick up two pulled pork sandwiches with barbecue beans for my parents, get whatever I wanted, and bring it back to the house about 6 p.m. Dad was treating!
I had been out for much of that Saturday, probably riding my bike. When I returned home about 3 p.m., I had a message on my answering machine that my sister and her fiancé would be joining us for dinner, and to “please pick up two more pulled pork sandwiches, and 2 more sides of barbecue beans.”
At the Barbecue Bash, I found a stand that offered platters, consisting of a sandwich, barbecue beans, and coleslaw – for $12.50 each. I worried a little about the more than $60 plus I was about to spend of dad’s money, but the decision was made.
I arrived at my parent’s house, where everyone was looking forward to sinking their teeth into a juicy barbecue sandwich. I placed the food on the kitchen table, and as I took the platters out of the bag, I briefly explained that I had made an “executive decision” to go with these platters. No one seemed to mind. My dad, who had been sitting in his easy chair in the family room, shuffled into the kitchen, sporting his cane for support. In his other hand, was some money. I was sitting down.
Dad asked, “How much do I owe you?” At that moment, I recalled the words that our Lord spoke to St. Peter, and adding my own twist, responded “Daddy, do you love me?” We playfully repeated that exchange two more times. Finally, I told my father the figure, “$62.50.” Knowing that the amount of money in his hands wasn’t enough, and without saying another word, dad turned around, made his way back to the family room, and returned moments later with more money.
It was a priceless moment, one I’m so glad we had. Dad passed away unexpectedly, less than four months later, from cancer. My dad loved the Lord, mom, and his 6 children. We loved him, and we miss him.