My Father's Son
It's hard being an astronaut's son. I mean, everybody
expects you to be special or perfect, and I'm just an average elevenyear-old
kid. I'm an average student, and I'm average, too, when it comes to
basketball, football, soccer, and baseball.
I often wonder how my father ever had a son like me. I
mean he's so special and so good at everything he does. In high school he
was captain of the football team, class president, and editor of the
Well, to tell you the truth,I do have a little talent
that nobody knows about. I write poems and stories and keep them in a red
notebook in my bottom desk drawer.
Nowadays I dream about being a famous writer, but I
used to dream about doing something spectacular to impress my father and
make him proud of me-something like rescuing a child from a burning
building or chasing a robber away from an old lady.
I was daydreaming in school one morning ( which I do
often). I was daydreaming about being some kind of hero, like discovering
an instant cure for cancer or a shot for mental illness, when I heard my
English teacher announce a Father's Day essay contest for the whole
"I hope we have a winner right here in my English
she said. "The PTA has donated three cash prizes- one hundred dollars
for first prize, fifty dollars for second, and twenty-five dollars for
third prize. "
After school I walked home, thinking about the essay I
would write. My father is an astronaut, I would start out. No, I decided.
I wouldn't do that. The whole country and maybe even the whole world saw
my father as an astronaut , but that wasn't the way I saw him.
When Igot home, I kissed my mom quickly. Then I went
upstairs to my room and sat down with a pen and a pad of paper. I started
to think about what I would write.
How did I see my father. Hmm.
I saw him sitting with me in the dark23 when I was a
little kid and had a nightmare.
I saw him teaching me how to use a bat and how to throw
I remembered how he hugged me for hours when my dog
Spotty was hit and killed by a car.
And I remembered how he surprised me with a new puppy
at my eighth birthday party. When I started to cry, he told all the kids
that I had a bad allergy. "David's allergy bothers him a lot this
time of year," Dad said.
And I remembered how he sat and tried to explain death
to me when Grandpa Bob died.
These were the things I was going to write about my
dad. To me, he wasn't just a world-famous astronaut. He was my dad.
I wrote about all these memories and put them in my
essay. I handed it in the next day and was surprised to find out that the
winning essays would be read in the auditorium on Thursday night. A11 the
parents and students were invited.
My parents and I went to school Thursday night. One of
our neighbours said, "I bet you'll win the contest, David. I bet you
wrote what it's like to be the son of an astronaut, and you're the only
one in town who could write about that. "
My dad looked at me, and I shrugged. I hadn't sliown
him the essay, and now I almost hoped Lwouldn't win. I didn't want; to win
just because my father was an astronaut.
When third prize was announced and it wasn't me, I was relieved and
disappointed at the same time, Ellen Gordon won third prize, and she read
her essay. Ellen. is adopted, and she wrote a.bout her "better than
real" father. When she got to the end,I heard people in the audience
sniffing and blowing their noses. My mother sniffed, and my father cleared
The second-prize winner was announced next. It was me.
I went up to the stage, my knees shaking. I read my
essay and wondered if my voice was shaking, too. It was scary standing up
in front of all those people. I called my essay "My Father's Son.
" I watched my parents as I read. When I finished reading, the
audience applauded. I saw my father blowing his nose. Tears were running
down my mother's face. I went back
to my seat.
"I see you have an allergy , too , Dad , " I
tried to joke.
Dad nodded, cleared his throat, and put his hand on my shoulder.
"Son, this is the proudest moment of my life," he said.
It was the proudest moment of my life, too. Maybe I'll
never be a great hero or win a Nobel Prize, but just then, it was enough
just to be my father's son.
Questions on Text B
7. Read the following passage once. Underline the key words while
reading and retell the story to your partner.
The Clever Servant
A long time ago, there was a rich old man who loved
food above everything else. And he had a servant who loved drinking and
eating as much as his master did.
Each time the rich old man went out, he had to hide his
wine and food away. Bot each time the servant found them and he helped
himself to the bottles of wine and all the nice food. Of course, the rich
old man knew who did it and was displeased. But he could do neth:ag about
it, because he had never caught his servant drinking his wine or eating
One day the old man was invited to dinner at the home
of one of his friends. He did not know what to de with the wine, meat and
chicken he had just bought. Certainly he could not leave them to the
servant. Then he had an idea. He called up the servant and said to him:
"I'll be away for the whole evening, and I'll
leave you to look after the house. In the cupboard there are two bottles
filled with poison. Be careful about it. You'll be killed if you take even
a drop of it. There is also some meat and chicken in the cupboard. Take
care of them. " With these words the rich old man left home.
As soon as the master turned his back, the servant
opened the cupboard and began to enjoy all the nice things in it. He
emptied the two bottles and ate up the meat, the chicken and everything
else he found in the cupboard. He was satisfied and soon fell asleep.At
the rich old man returned home. He looked into the cupboard and, to his
great surprise, all his wine and food were gone. He was mad with anger and
called the servant up.
"Oh, Master," the servant began before the
old man could open his mouth. "While you were away, the neighbour's
black cat stole into our kitchen and ate up everything in the cupboard. I
knew you would be very angry with me. I was so afraid that I drank the two
bottles of poison to kill myself. " There were even tears in the
servant's eyes. "Oh, Master," he continued. "Please don't
get angry with a dying man. I'll soon be dead. "
The rich old man, of course, did not believe a word of
his story. But again, he muld do nothing about it.