Category Archives: Stories of difficulty

My Pop-Tart Dad

“The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”

—John Wooden

Today’s story is from Sharon.

Dad was distant. We never had a close relationship. Did he even like me? Sometimes I wondered.


Sharon’s Dad during a recent family Christmas.

My father was taciturn, reserved, an academic. Neat freak. Perfectionist. Workaholic.

We were like sugar and salt. I was full of words — and problems, too. Dad said little, buried in work and his books. That’s why my sister and I first lived with Mom in Illinois. But as I grew older, it didn’t work out. Mom and I had issues.

I was bipolar, had OCD and an eating disorder. It became too much for her to handle. So at 18, I packed up and headed for Minnesota to live with Dad. At least he would just leave me alone.

He was exactly as I remembered. Introverted. Distant. But he had a razor sharp intellect, and was very observant. READ MORE 

Mario Andretti – Exclusive Interview

This story was contributed by racing legend, Mario Andretti.

bio_01Nothing for Granted

Part 1 of a 2-part exclusive interview

He is considered by most to be the greatest race car driver of all time.  It’s no wonder.  Mario Andretti is one of only two drivers in history to win races in Formula One, NASCAR, Indycar, and the World Sportscar Championship.  He is the only driver to be dubbed United States Driver of the Year in three different decades. READ MORE 

Believing in Black Sheep

This story contributed by Bill Lavidge

Lavidge 1Nick Lavidge, Bob Lavidge, and Bill Lavidge at 2001 World Series

South Chicago. The Depression.

Raising children was tough. REALLY tough . . .

My grandfather was a good, yet demanding man. He expected my dad, Bob, and his older brother, Art, to excel in everything they did, especially academics.

Both sons rose to the challenge. After completing his undergraduate degree at DePauw University, Dad was accepted to Harvard Law and the University of Chicago’s MBA program. He chose the University of Chicago, which laid the foundation for founding one of the most respected marketing research companies in the nation.  In his spare time, he also taught marketing research at Northwestern University for nearly 30 years. READ MORE 

Tuesday’s Child



Peter Guza was doing what most any college kid would be doing that morning — sleeping in.

Today’s story is about Peter and Phil Guza.

His first class was at 10:00 a.m. The phone call woke him up before 9:00. It was a childhood friend from New York, bearing the horrific news.

Peter’s dad, Phil, worked in the World Trade Center. Peter ran downstairs, where the rest of his frat brothers were huddled around the television, watching in silence. The North Tower had been hit — Peter’s dad worked in the South Tower. His panic subsided only a little as he watched the terrible event unfold.

The Blind Man in the Bleachers

“Music gives a soul to the universe, 
wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, 
and life to everything.”


Todays story is courtesy of RJB Productions.

Music. “Soul to the universe. Wings to the mind.” With Plato we agree.

Today our story is music in form. It’s quite a treat.
Perhaps a coffee or tea, a comfy chair, and put up those tired feet.

Now close your eyes and relax your mind.
One warning, a Kleenex you may need to find.

The Blind Man in the Bleachers by Kenny Starr.

One parting note to our dads out there…

“Your kids don’t care how tall you grow, how smart you appear, how much you weigh, or how well you tell jokes. They don’t care whether you play drums, shoot hoops or shoot guns. They just need to know you’re there.”

Blind Man in the Bleachers by Kenny Starr

Kenny Starr (real name — Kenneth Trebbe), recorded with MCA Records in the mid-1970’s and was a member of Loretta Lynn’s touring band during much of that time. His hit song “The Blind Man in the Bleachers” was released in 1976 and reached #2 on the U.S. County Music Chart, #1 in Canada.

Father-Son Olympic Moment – The Rest of the Story

“A child looks up at the stars and wonders. A great father puts a child on his shoulders and helps him to grab that star.”

—Reed Markham

Today’s story is contributed by Rick Weinberg.

This story is a tribute to the grit of a son and a dad who raised a great man. Dedication, courage, focus and grit. Some have it. Some don’t. What separates great men from mere boys? Our guest writer, Rick Weinberg, takes it from here.

Derek Redmond

Derek Redmond and his father, Jim

Unlike Carl Lewis and Daley Thompson, Derek Redmond is not a name that conjures up memories of Olympic gold medals. But it is Redmond who defines the essence of the human spirit. Redmond arrived at the 1992 Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona determined to win a medal in the 400. The color of the medal was meaningless; he just wanted to win one. Just one.

He had been forced to withdraw from the 400 at the 1988 Games in Seoul, only 10 minutes before the race, because of an Achilles tendon injury. He then underwent five surgeries over the next year. READ MORE 

A Sonny Day

To her, the name of father was another name for love.

—Fanny Fern

Today’s story is from Summer Puente.

On occasion, we share a story that cuts deep, so deep that the customary “life lesson” seems extraneous. A story that confounds the traditional paradigm of what a father should be, and reveals the boundless potential of what a father can be.

In the words of Summer Puente…

“This is my dad. With him is my eldest sister, Sonny.”
Summer Puente

“Thomas and Sonny eat dinner in the big chair and fall asleep together every night.”

“She’s got the cognitive ability of a two or three year old, with limited speech and mobility and function. Like a baby, trapped within the temperament of a toddler and in the body of a young woman.”