My father got beat but he never beat me. His skinny frame would tighten up, he’d start to shake with a seething rage at my errors, my arrogance, he’d clench his bony fingers and say “I’ll sock ya” but he never did. My father’s father drank like a drunk. He hit my dad, called him a sissy, infected him with TB, threatened him with a knife, and sometimes just disappeared for a week or longer. My dad drank at night, drank beer and worked. A quiet man, he put in long hours and never talked about what hurt. He told me that when he’d worked Emergency at County General he’d seen what beatings do to kids and then he knew he’d never beat his. He didn’t say much about himself but he told me that. You’ll hear guys say they’d take a bullet for their kid. You’ll hear guys say a lot of stuff. My dad stepped between a bullet and me, stopped that mayhem from ripping through his chest and into the hearts of the ones he loved, did it at a cost to his angry soul, did it for me and my sister and brother and for what is decent. One time I got up the nerve to tell him I loved him. All he could say was thank you.