A rare opportunity

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

By the time most of you read this column, I hope to be away from the office with not a single thought of work in my head as I enjoy some quality time with my oldest son.

Ronnie and his family live in North Little Rock, and we donít get to spend as much time together as I would like. But heís due in Berryville later today and I am looking forward to his arrival.

This will be a rare opportunity for us to spend some time together alone ó although Iím hoping my younger son, Ryan, will get to hang out with us, too. Ryan lives here in Berryville and if he isnít working, we might have to have a Madden tournament on the X-box like we used to do when they were younger.

Ronnieís beautiful bride, Christi, and their sons Hayden and Liam are on vacation in Florida with Christiís grandparents. Thatís an annual tradition for Christiís family and, judging from the photos Iíve seen on Facebook, the boys are having a blast. Ronnie recently started a new job and couldnít arrange his schedule to make the Florida trip, so instead heís coming to visit me on his ďweekend.Ē

Itís been a while since Ronnie has visited without Christi and the boys and, although I certainly wish they were coming too, Iím looking forward to some quality time with him. It reminds me of the good old days.

Ronnie was 9 and Ryan 4 when their mother and I divorced and she eventually moved to a small town near the Missouri border in northeast Arkansas. I still lived in Central Arkansas then, so it was a 350-mile round trip for them every other weekend to visit ó or for me to watch them play baseball or basketball. I made that trip as often as I could, because it was important for them to know that even though I didnít see them every day, they were never far from mind.

I always looked forward to seeing the boys ó especially when they made an extended visit, like on spring break or summer vacation. We had a lot of good days going to the movies or a ballgame or just staying home and playing video games. When they were younger, I lived in a very small apartment and we would all pile on my bed and watch a movie or a basketball game.

Later, both Ronnie and Ryan enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and some of my proudest memories are watching each of them graduate from basic training in San Diego.

Today, Ronnie is a grown man with his own family and his own responsibilities. Heís a good husband and father and even though I miss the little boy he used to be, I enjoy seeing the man he has become.

Heíll be here in just a few hours now, and I canít wait. Iím not sure exactly what weíll be doing while heís in town, but I know Iím going to enjoy spending some time with my boy.

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Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com.