Father Bill speaks

Bill Packard: 'I didn't intend to offend any mothers. Obviously, I did'

Mon, 12/17/2012 - 12:30pm

Well here's a good example of what can happen when you don't plan ahead. After a couple of emails, I agreed to write some articles for my dear (I didn't say old) friends Holly and Lynda. There really wasn't much negotiating. I offered. They accepted. I've got lots and lots of stuff that I've written that's never been published and to get the ball rolling, I picked a piece that I thought was funny and people who knew me would relate to and we'd be off to the races again. Seems I was wrong. I never understand how this happens, but every once in a while someone takes me seriously. This was one of those times. I always love it when someone calls me Mr. Packard in the paper. It makes me feel so important.

So let's get something straight right now. If for some strange reason I decide to be serious, I will tell you at the beginning of the piece. If I'm horsing around with you and you still are so upset that you have to write in, understand that the paper is ecstatic about that and I really don't care.

Let me explain to readers of the Pilot who have never read me before just what is going on here. I don't take myself very seriously. I take you less seriously than I take myself. I don't take life too seriously, either. Life is life. It's not fair. It's not unfair. It's not happy. It's not sad. It's life. How we each choose to view it determines how we live our lives. So, lighten up. That was the title of my column in the "other" publication. While I might recycle a piece or two, I probably shouldn't recycle the name of the column. This bad boy needs a title. "Life is Good" is taken. I'm thinking "Father Bill Speaks." There are a few close friends and hundreds of others who have met Father Bill in Loudon, N.H., over the years. I think we can go with that.

If we can all start from a neutral point, I think we'll be OK. I didn't intend to offend any mothers. Obviously I did. Hopefully they told other mothers who were equally upset, who told still other mothers. All of you mothers read the Pilot, and that's the idea! There's lots of good stuff in here. Spread the word. Have fun. Do whatever with your kids.

In the spirit of transparency, I have two children. My daughter I inherited at age five when I married her mother. I inherited some money and things when my parents passed away, but those things pale in comparison to what I got when I inherited my daughter. She came with her mother and you talk about a "And that's not all!" deal, I was blessed. And, she was trained when I got her. My son is an officer in the United States Navy. If you hate war and warships, I respect your opinion, but keep it to yourself. I hate war, too, but I guess it's one of those things that someone's got to do. At age 28, he decided to make serving his country his career and I respect that a lot. When I served during Vietnam, I couldn't go anywhere in my uniform because the public would spit on me or try to pick a fight. There were few choices back then. Get drafted, move to Canada or enlist in another branch of the military. I get to write this and you get to write what you want because of people like him. We don't hear much from him. He's on a destroyer, the USS Winston S. Churchill, a Bath-built ship, somewhere in the Persian Gulf or the Arabian Sea. He wanted to serve on a Bath-built ship and he's very proud of that. I've heard workers at "The Yard" complain over the years about working there, but I'll tell you they build the best ships in the world and if my kid decides that his career involves ships, I want him on the best. When we get to talk, he never says what he's doing or where he's going. We talk about the fun we're going to have when he returns after nine months at sea. He's trained to. I don't remember when my kids stopped pooping in their pants, but I know they did stop.

So here's the message: If your kids are around or you can call them or visit them, cherish every minute. If they live away, call them and say hello. If you've got one of those "We don't speak" things going on, be the parent and fix it. Never mind that your kids are adults. Never mind that they did this or that. Think back to when they were little and all the things you forgave to get them to adulthood. Call them right now.

I'll see my boy sometime in March unless something happens. Here's what I will tell you. When the USS Winston S. Churchill sails into Norfolk with the crew lining the rails, I will be there, no matter what. Hug your kids. Tell them you love them. Get over yourselves and let's just enjoy life.


Bill Packard lives in Union.