Chuck and Charley recently went on an ULTIMATE Father/Daughter excursion.
Charley and I eventually had a great time. After witnessing the oddities and sorrows of downtown Richmond while waiting under the scorching sun for the arena gates to open, Charley was considering abandoning the event. Several times she was about to cry. The excitement of seeing our T.V. wrestling heroes and their antagonists left her face and I watched her working hard to hold back tears and fight against mouth muscles that force a frown.
A man was peddling brass knuckles and tasers out of a backpack. Charley requested that she and I relocate to avoid having the man push his wares on us. We successfully avoided the seedy salesman only to find ourselves closely situated to a standing man forcing himself atop a man sitting on a bench and threatening to beat him up. Christian charity required that I observe to see if something could be done. Charley was greatly disturbed that I was lingering. But once the victim hollered "help" many times in a row, the assailant detached himself from the victim and then Charley and I removed ourselves from the scene. We spotted a shaded bench many yards away from the malice where I figured Charley could be temporarily shielded from the fringes of society. Just prior to sitting down, I noticed a homeless man sprawled out only a few feet away and fast asleep on a pallet comprised of pieces and parts of soft materials. Once again, Charley and I repositioned ourselves. This time, however, only to find a man beating buckets with drumsticks in hope that we and others would give him a dollar. Soon another individual joined the man with makeshift drums and began dancing erratically. The dancing man would take pauses in his performance and present his upturned hat to the crowd hoping to receive money. We endured the pounding and dancing from a distance only to be disturbed once more by a very skinny, sweaty, and harsh looking woman mumbling something to me. I assumed she was asking for money. I just said that I had nothing for her and she moved away mumbling again, I assume, something negative about me for not giving her cash.
All the while Charley was concerned that the people causing her so much trepidation were the same people she would be seated against inside the arena. I started pointing out little kids with John Cena signs and dads wearing polo shirts and Cabela's type shorts. Every time people with appearances familiar to her walked by, I explained they were the ones that would be inside. She soon understood and was excited to get into the coliseum, but more so for safety than seeing the event. She then became very inquisitive about what would happen after the show was over and we had to walk outside in the dark. I explained that we would be herded out of the building like cattle and that bad people will not want to do bad things in a mass of witnesses. I also explained that there would be streetlights illuminating our way back to the car and that the police would be present.
Once the doors to the WWE Universe opened and we felt the building's cool air pour over our hot faces, Charley's fears began to leave her. And, as soon as the sweet child stepped within eyeshot of the brightly lit squared circle, her face was once again filled with excitement and her smile returned. We sat in our seats and she said thanks dad for bringing me and thanks to mom for getting our tickets. Then the fun began. The WWE magic unfolded around us leaving only ear to ear grins, cheers, kind boos with smirks because we really didn't want to be mean to the bad guys, clapping, and a bunch of "Dad Look at that!" Wow Charley Look at that!" etc...