How do you keep your wires connected with your 34-year-old married son, a father of two, who lives out of state?
My son Justin Thorp and I started the tradition maybe five years ago. We'd go out and have a craft beer together whether it was here in central Michigan or in St. Louis. It turned into an occasion where we could sample some great beer and talk about our lives. He's heavily invested into a really great job and into his family, especially his two kids.
Over the years, he has introduced me to some really beer and wine. He understands the chemistry behind the making of both beverages and what gives them their distinctive tastes.
In St. Louis, he's taken me several times to Urban Chestnut where I developed a taste for Schnickelfritz, one of my favorites. Then he came back home to Michigan where we went to Horrocks Farm Market which has a vast selection of beer and wine. I was introduced to Founders from Grand Rapids and its Backwoods series.
What do we talk about? There's no set agenda. There's how to get young kids to sleep through the night, dealing with the wonderful challenges of a job that you really like and everything in between.
Last weekend, when he and his family came here, I had a chance to share about the challenges of having stressed vision caused by corneal swelling and about a cornea transplant that I had earlier this week. I was going through in my mind the questions about what if it didn't work.
We also talked about where we got our strength. Justin can articulate clearly his belief in Jesus Christ and what he means in his life.
What did we order while at Horrocks? He ordered a small glass of 120 Minute Dog Fish Head IPA for each of us as part of a flight.
I walked away really impressed by the man my son has become. He's a great husband, great dad and a great son. I knew this, but a small glass of beer helped remind me in a very personal way.
Does this work for son-in-laws? You bet. My son-in-law Adam Jones is a high quality person who I am really proud of as the husband to my daughter and father to three of my grandkids. For as long as they've been married, we explored our two worlds over coffee and over a glass of beer.
He's a pastor and a person who I'm really proud to have as part of our family.