The Worst Thing (by BettyHT)


Summary:  A story for Father’s Day as the sons discuss Ben and the worst things he has ever done to them, and the conversation leads to an entirely different conclusion.

Rating = K+  (WC = 1053)


The Worst Thing

“What’s the worst thing Pa ever did to you?”

“He married Marie and gave me a pesky little brother.”

“Adam, I’m being serious. I was thinking about that man in town that killed his two boys and his wife and then killed himself. There’s really nothing worse that a man could do than that because a man is supposed to protect his family and care for them, and he did the opposite. I don’t know how a man could do that. I mean we have a Pa who does every thing to help us that he can. Then I was thinking that Pa never really did much of anything to us. I mean we got yelled at, and I got a few tannings, but that was it. Even when that happened, I knew he only did it because he wanted the best for me and knew I had to be forced to follow rules. Pa’s a wise man. He never gave me anything that I didn’t need. Now what was the worst that ever happened to the two of you?”

“I dunno. I’m thinking mebbe it was that year of schooling he forced me to get. I shur did not want to go. I mean, Marie did some teaching of me here and I got some tutoring like Adam did, but I never went to no school cause there weren’t none here. Then when I was old enough to work on the ranch, they opened up that first little school, and Pa being on the school board and all thought I should go. Mighta been the worst year of my life. I was bigger than anybody there and a course there weren’t no boys my age. I shoulda been here helping on the ranch. Adam was away at college, and I guess Pa thought he shouldn’t short change me with Adam getting so much schooling, but dadburnit, I didn’t like it at all.”

“I thought you wrote to me and said you hardly went to school at all that year because of the weather?”

“Yeah, well I guess there was that. Now that you mention it, we did have some bad rains in the fall that washed out roads and such so I couldn’t ride on in to school. Then when it got cold, it got real cold and the winter snows were pretty bad that year so I didn’t go agin til the snow melted, and then in the spring, Pa did need my help so he took me out early, but it still was the worst few weeks I ever had. When we worked together, now that was the best schooling he could give me. I learned to be a man from the best man I ever did know.”

“How about you, Adam? What’s the worst that Pa ever did to you?”

“He almost left us.”


“I told you. He almost left us.”

“You can’t say something like that and then stop. What’s the rest of that story.”

“When Marie died, he almost left us. He was here, but not here. Maybe that’s not clear to you, but that’s what it was. He walked through the house and rode around the ranch like a ghost of himself. There was no life in him. I was afraid we had lost the best father that sons could have. I didn’t know what we would do. Eventually he came back to us. Step by step, he came back. He was changed in some ways, but as a father, he was the same.”

“You know, I never think about that. I’m always thinking like Pa is always gonna be here. I kin never think on him being gone.”

“I don’t ever want to have to think about that.”

“None of us want to think about it, but it will happen some day. Thank the Lord, it hasn’t happened yet, but you never know when it could happen. We all need to remember that, and we need to let Pa know how much we care about him now when we still can. Someday he will be gone, and we don’t want to think then of the things we should have said or the things we should have done.”

“Yeah, we oughta do something nice for him now. Dadburnit, we oughta give him a day that’s special to show him how much we care. You know, the kind of day that he’ll remember cause we made it special enough that he cain’t forgit it.”

“How do we do that? Adam, you’re the planner. What do we do to give him that kind of day?”

“On Sunday, we could all get up without Pa having to wake us. We could do our chores without being told. We could get dressed for church without complaining. We would smile and have a nice conversation on the way to church, and we would get along all day with no jibes, no complaints, and none of that stuff that gets Pa’s finger pointing at us and his eyebrows coming together like a storm front moving in. If Pa has a suggestion for something, we agree to it.”

“You know, he did say something about maybe wanting to take a ride up along the lake to see about some ideas he has for things. We could all ride along and listen to his ideas and let him talk ’em through without us making our own suggestions. He likes it a lot when we all agree and nowadays, he likes it when we like his ideas instead of having our own instead.”

“That sounds good. Maybe Hop Sing would pack a lunch, and we could have a picnic out there by the lake. It would be a nice day in June by the lake. Pa would like that, don’t you think? He’s always remarked on the beauty of the Ponderosa but especially when he’s near the lake.”

“I think he would like all of it. It would be his day to let him know how much we care.”

“Dadburnit, Adam, you do have the best ideas.”

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Author: BettyHT

I watched Bonanza when it first aired. In 2012, I discovered Bonanza fan fiction, and started writing stories as a fun hobby. I have hundreds of stories now. If I am unavailable and anyone needs permission to post one or more of my stories on a site such as Bonanza Brand, AC1830 and/or Mo1427 are authorized to give permission in my absence.

14 thoughts on “The Worst Thing (by BettyHT)

  1. What a beautiful story. It nice to hear them talk about their father in such a loving way. It nice that a father can bring up three sons who can see that their father has as much love for them as they have for him.

  2. very pleasant short story, I enjoyed each word. A very nice moment between three fine brothers. THanks a lot.

  3. It was nice to read how the boys wanted to give Ben a special day, Ben always showed them how much he loves them, and how proud he is of them. so now it is there turn to let they father know how they feel. lovely story for father day.

    1. Thank you so much. It’s good when a serious subject gets children to look at their parents and appreciate them.

  4. Ben raised some fine boys. He always let them know he loved them, even with discipline. You’re right, it’s good to hear it now and again. He’ll enjoy his special day with them.

    1. Thank you. Yes, he’ll enjoy his day very much. He always smiled when his sons were with him and getting along. They were his greatest joy.

  5. Good story to end the evening of Father’s Day. The advice to let people know how you feel about them when the person is alive is a good idea for all of us to remember.

    1. Thank you. Yes, we never know when loved ones will leave us. Best to tell them now that we care rather than have regrets later.

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