so…there I was on my life-cycle, in the midst of a second twenty four minute interval, honing my body into an ever stronger and lethal weapon preparing for light, truth, justice, and the american way – not to mention trench warfare commerce, and possibly the summit of a mountain.

through my self-induced haze of fitness euphoria there emerged the image of my stunning youngest daughter, Emma Jo, and her friend for life (for now, anyway) Claire Butler. their blond hair joyfully wild from a sleep-over, they stood before me in our home-gym with a proposition roiling behind their blue, and decidedly, impish eyes.

Emma Jo spoke first, setting the stage with a delighted smile playing across her bright face: “Daddy, we want to clean your den! and, you can pay us!”

their orchestration both carefully considered and finely conceived, Claire added: “we’re doing chores instead of playing”.

…an absolutely brilliant and well-played strategy founded in principled theory. playing-off Daddy’s sense of integrity and work ethic.

the negotiations were nip-an-tuc, to be sure.

two WHOLE dollars EACH for the effort. and, to seal the deal, an extra dollar if they threw in the basement play room (that once served as our home school room). so, three large dollars each.

as they padded out of the gym, their triumph clearly evidenced by their chins held high and delighted squeaks, Emma Jo turned around with: “IloveyouDaddy”, and, “can we make it four dollars?” we’ll let you take us to Brusters for ice cream!”.

they had me pinned down for the count with a devious and well-calculated strategy to warm my heart and empty my wallet.

my Grandad used to introduce me to people with: “This is my Grandson Brian. You could drop him buck-naked into a Nebraska cornfield, and in two weeks, he’d own the farm”.

there you have it. Grandad would be proud.

I am; adding, helplessly enchanted, and in love.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork