Hold Me Up Dad So I Can See

James Anthony Ellis
Legacy Editor

On this fateful Saturday, I would never have guessed what one little adventure and one simple act of kindness could mean to me.

It would be one of the first times the entire family could get away from the house together.

Usually, my dad was too busy with work, or the family was too engaged in homework or some extra curricular activity.

But no – this certain Saturday, the Ellises were going on a picnic!


It would be my two parents, my older sister Mary Lynn, myself, my younger sister Kathy and some potato salad, sandwiches, snacks, chips and drinks, and a big basket and a big blanket.

We packed it all together and took off in our blue Chevrolet Impala. Mary Lynn was especially excited about this adventure.

Me? I was about 6 or 7. I was happy just to get out and about in a brand new place.

Jimmy in happier times, pre-BBQ.

After traveling to the site, we pulled into the parking lot. Dad parked the car, and together we found our way to a spot on the grass to unfurl the blanket.

Within mere minutes of this settling in, I chose to run around exploring, ending up in front of what I would later learn to be a barbecue.

Since I was so short, I could not see what was on top of this square platform.

The smart thing to do? Of course, I put my hand on top of this BBQ to lift myself up.

Well, you can imagine what a recently used hot grill does to some little bare hands.

I ran back to the family, informing them through the upset about my burns.

And yup – once they saw the results of my exploring, that was the end of the picnic.

We would be leaving.

The response from my older sister was a sarcastic, “Thanks a lot Jimmy.”

Though we would be leaving shortly, I so clearly recall my father asking, “What happened?”

I told him about the hot square. He said, “What did you want?”

“I wanted to see what was on top of it,” I said.

Hearing this, he walked me over to the BBQ, and lifted me up in his arms so that I could see the burnt black grill.

A stare. A pause. Then … “I burned my hands for THAT?!!!”

A pretty mundane experience, a very discouraging experience.

But one I will remember forever. Spot weld moments are like that.

For me it would stick in my mind. It would remain there, alongside the knowing that if I really needed help with something, my father would be there to hold me up so that I could see.

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