When I was a little boy my dad would always buy me licorice ropes for a special treat. He was in the Air Force and often was away for holidays and birthdays. No matter where he was though, he always sent me a gift along with a dozen licorice ropes. Of all the gifts I would receive, those licorice ropes were always the best gift, as I knew they were given with love.
The year I turned 8 my dad was in Vietnam. It seemed as if my whole world was turned upside down and I dreaded the day of my birthday. My mother did everything she could to make it a wonderful birthday but as I opened my presents I knew that something was missing. I brought my presents to my bedroom and sat by my window looking at the stars.
All of a sudden I heard the doorbell and my mother called me down to the living room. A young Airman, who was returning from Vietnam after serving with my dad, had a box in his hand. He asked if I was Andrew and I said yes. He gave me the box and said that it was from my dad. I slowly opened the box and there inside were a dozen licorice ropes with a note saying "Happy birthday to the best son in the world."
To know that my dad was in harms way, yet took the time to make sure I received my special birthday gift, made me realize just how special a dad he really was. Now as my grandchildren and I shared licorice ropes and confidences on warm summer nights, I also share with her the story of the night a little boys wish came true. ~ Andrew from New York