The whistle signaling the end of another shift blew the much anticipated note, and his mind allowed some of that built up work tension to ebb away. Pondering the week-end ahead, hopeful for the coming rest, Charlie punched his card through the time clock, stamping the final hours for this pay period.
"Hey Charlie," hollered a voice over the sounds of a giant crane winding down and the whir and thump of power-tools being silenced one by one, cascading down to a level of semi-quiet. Ed strode up with a big grin.
"Hey buddy, you goin out with us? We're gonna cruise over to Manny's Bar and cut loose."
"Uh, I don't think so Ed. I have a wife waiting at home, and I promised Tommy I would be at his 5th grade play tonight."
"I got a family too, but I don't let them tell me what to do. You lettin yer woman run your life? You worked hard all week--you deserve some time to blow off steam."
"Yeah well... maybe I need my steam. Besides I'm the one deciding not to go."
"Well have fun wild man. Don't party too hard on the merry-go round."
Two more voices sounded, "You comin Ed?"
"You bet I am--HOOO-YAH! See ya Charlie. Ya better hurry home or your ol-lady might crack the whip."
Walking to his dingy pick-up truck shaking his head, Charlie jumped in and fired up the motor. "I'll never understand that guy", he mumbled as he waited for the engine to warm. "If he doesn't enjoy being with his wife and family, why did he marry and have kids in the first place?"
The quiet of the truck cab sounded good--peaceful. With head bowed, Charlie prayed. Thank you Lord for the wonderful wife you have blessed me with--a woman of true virtue. Thank you for her love Lord, and for yours. Please help us get to Tommy's play on time. Amen.
Waiting at the door was Charlie's wife, Amanda, Tommy and Skamp, a big, lovable, mixed breed dog. Amanda was first to wrap her arms around the man who had always been the one for her. Charlie felt warm assurance envelope his body. All remaining work stress instantly ebbed away into comfort. The 80 pound Skamp nearly knocked the embracing couple over, tying to get in on the loving. Tommy too, wrapped his little arms around Daddy's legs and looked up as if trying to view the top of a tall sky-scraper. With bulging eyes he asked, "You're still comin to my play, right Dad?"
Tousling the boy's sandy locks, he stooped for a hug.
"Of course I am, I wouldn't miss your Oscar performance for anything!"
All four formed their usual huddle in an expression of family unity. Their practice of exhibiting family togetherness is a good foundation on which to build a successful, healthy and happy life. Even Skamp seemed to understand the importance of coming aside with family for a time of rest and rejuvenation.
Mom and Dad made a big deal over Tommy's first acting performance, raving that he might be the next big star of Hollywood.
Saturday was spent piddling around the house, Charlie and Tommy played catch and everyone did a few household chores. It was family movie night with popcorn and candles. All snuggled together on the couch, they would have made a good Norman Rockwell painting.
Sunday was the Lord's Day and the family joyfully attended church, acknowledging God by setting aside a day for rest and worship.
When Monday rolled around, Charlie was again eager to do a good job at work, letting the light and love of Jesus, his Savior, shine in the work place. The weekend had been very refreshing, and Charlie pondered the wisdom of following God's directives regarding setting aside one day a week for rest.
Punching his time card, Charlie turned around to see Ed dragging his weary body in, looking all haggard and sickly.
Good Morning Ed! How were your days off?
Ugh, I don't want to be here. I barely made it out of bed this morning.
Well I'm sorry to hear that Ed. But I had a wonderful weekend, I feel great.
Well you don't have to be so darn cheerful about it!
Charlie walked briskly to his work area whistling a happy tune, knowing for certain that He had a great family at home, who would always love and support him.
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