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The Marty Stover Family

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06/01/2008 - Marty Stover, owner and operator of the family business, The Brake Stop, is the single father of five sons. "My own basketball team," Marty jokes.

We are in Marty's office with Marty and four of his sons. I watch their faces as they tell me their stories. I feel like I've been plunked into the "boyful" worlds of Huckleberry Finn, Little Men, and Opie and Andy Taylor. Where lessons of right and wrong are learned amid impish machinations.

1. The oldest son is 14. Like dad, granddad, and great-granddad, his name is Marty. Marty is blond, has a shy smile, and is the biggest kid in his 8th-grade class at Woods, the school where all the boys attend. He plays football and, just this spring, took up the shot-put. And...what do you know?...he won the State title! Academically, Marty likes science, language arts, and history. For college, he's considering the Air Force Academy. In his free time, he likes boating, fishing, and hiking at the lake with his family. He's been a Boy Scout for three years. While at the scout camp near Cody last summer, he saw two grizzles. He smiles as he tells me this. Smiling at seeing grizzlies? Must be a "boyful" thing.

Dad tells me about 12-year-old Connor who couldn't make the interview because of an after-school obligation. Connor, a 6th-grader, "shows an aptitude for math." He plays football, basketball (which his dad coaches), and has been a Boy Scout since he was nine. He's "the dare-devil of the bunch and tends to push the envelope a bit. And he's always hungry. They're all always hungry."

Ten-year-old fourth-grader Brendan likes math and American history. His favorite president is Abraham Lincoln. In early May, he traveled with some of his classmates to Washington, D.C. and New York City. "I really liked the Lincoln Memorial. And how you could sit on the steps and look out and see the Washington Monument and the World War II Memorial and..." just think about everything. As for NYC, "I didn't know it was so big!" In his free time, Brendan is a Boy Scout, loves working on his skateboarding skills, and has fun playing paintball with his brothers and dad. "I like to sit on our deck and snipe 'em," he says with a twinkle in his grin.

The seven-year-old twins Trey and Andrew are in first grade and are in the same classroom together. Trey, the oldest by five minutes, likes math, P.E., and art. Andrew, the more reserved of the two, likes art, P.E., and "centers" where he can play games. They like playing chess on the computer and riding their bikes and scooters with dad. Trey tells me, "Yesterday Andrew wiped out." If "boyful" law holds true, guess who's gonna wipe out next.

One by one, the boys have drifted off to another room to play computer games. I ask their dad, divorced for 5 years, what it's like to raise five boys virtually on his own. With a grin he says, "It's a thrill a minute." About that time, we hear a minor ruckus from the other room. Marty excuses himself and disappears down the hall. When he returns, he reports that "something was about to happen" between Trey and Andrew. Not unusual with these two, Marty tells me.

"I have a good support system," Marty says. "My parents. My in-laws." Marty loves raising his boys and is deeply aware of the responsibilities of being a father. "In the blink of an eye, they'll grow up. They won't need dad anymore. That's when I'll sit back and see what's been sowed."

And in the meantime?

"You just close your eyes and go onward through the fog."

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