Front Row Seat: Dad fixed problems when reporter did silly things as a kid

by MIKE LESKO | REPORTER Published:

Kids can do a lot of dumb things when they're little. Like me.

When I was about age 5, I let my cousin convince me to climb into our sump basin -- a 2-foot diameter hole in our basement floor where a sump pump got rid of stinky water.

It seemed to me like a good idea then, but I didn't know how to climb out, so my father rushed into the basement and lifted me out of the water.

Those are the kind of things fathers do. They get their little kids out of jams after they've done silly things. As Father's Day approaches, it is a good time to remember some of the unwise things we did as kids.

My dad -- Mike Lesko II -- knew how much I appreciated him. Now, I have an even better perspective on how good Dad was at fixing problems because I'm a father. My son, Michael, has good intentions, but sometimes, kids just naturally do things their parents wish they hadn't. Other times, messes just happen and are no one's fault.

I thought about that recently following a large storm when I found a dead squirrel in our backyard. I got the privilege of scooping up the squirrel with a shovel and dumping it in the garbage. This is the task that my father would have handled. Now, that became my job.

Fathers become the ones who wipe up the melted ice cream off the hood of the car and pick up pieces of dog poop in the yard. They also get called upon when their kids screw up.

When I was young, it felt like I made my share of boneheaded mistakes that Dad had to fix.

• When I was about age 6, I stepped into the shower in our basement. The overhead electric light was uncovered. I wondered to myself, "What will happen if I turn on the faucet and splash water on the light bulb while it's turned on?"

Pop. That was the sound of the light bulb exploding.

My mom, Bettie Lesko, asked me why I thought that was a good idea. I told her I didn't know. I still don't know. I just know my dad got stuck cleaning up the broken glass, which did not injure anyone.

• Once, at about age 10, I threw a baseball that cracked one of our basement windows. Haven't a lot of kids done this? At least I have some company on this one. Our mistake, of course, was having the batter stand right in front of the window. But Dad uncomplainingly fixed it.

• When I was about age 4, I climbed up a ladder into the second floor of a garage at my grandmother's house because several of my other cousins also did it. Of course, they weren't afraid to climb back down like I was. Dad had to trudge up the ladder, put me on his shoulder and carry me to the ground.

My dad and I were best friends after I became an adult. We talked about some of the childhood misdeeds I committed, and we laughed. All those foolish things didn't seem so bad anymore.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187

Facebook: facebook.com/mike.lesko.378

Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC

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