A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker


I'm not going to say that today was a bad day.

It wasn't.

It was worse than that.

I won't go into detail. Heaven knows, it was bad enough going through it the first time. The last thing I need to do is to re-live it here, in unforgiving black and white.

Besides, you already know what I'm talking about. You've had days like this. I know you have. Not a national crisis, Day of Infamy, 24-hours-of-live-CNN-coverage kind of a day. Nothing of that magnitude.

It was just little stuff piled on top of more little stuff until somehow, without warning, it became Big Stuff.

All day long.

You know what I mean?

By the time I got home it was after 8 p.m., and my fuse was short. It wouldn't have taken much to set me off - a rolled eye, an insensitive word, a thoughtless gesture. But I didn't get any of those. Instead I got 12-year-old Elizabeth meeting me at the door with a big smile, a bigger hug and sincere expressions of love and concern. Then my 2-year-old granddaughter, Becky, came running, arms outstretched, with loves for Grandpa. Then Becky's Daddy, my eldest son, Joe, took me into his arms for one of his patented - and sometimes painful - bear hugs.

And suddenly, it wasn't such a bad day after all.

A few minutes later I was eating re-warmed pizza and talking to 10-year-old Jon about the latest adventures of Harry Potter in the book he's reading. Then Becky was back for another hug and a sip of Grandpa's Dr Pepper. And then it was my turn to hold Becky's little sister, Julianne. Did you know that it is physiologically impossible to feel bad when you're holding a smiling, cooing infant?

It's the eighth or ninth law of physics, I think. You can look it up.

The day ended with some sweet moments at the respective bedsides of Jon and Elizabeth - talking, cuddling, laughing, loving - and an excited hug from Andrea, who had just learned that she was cast in the lead in her college musical. And now I'm looking back on the day and thinking it wasn't such a bad day after all.

I will be the first to admit that it isn't always that way in our home, just as I suspect it isn't always that way in yours. Sometimes there is confusion. Sometimes there is chaos. Sometimes there is acrimony just this side of mayhem. Even so, the home can be a magical place - a refuge, a haven - where hurts are healed with hugs, where frowns are turned upside down.

And where bad days turn good.

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--- © Joseph Walker


Look for Joe's book, "How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World." It is available on-line through