In Memory of My Dad #31

This article was written by my dad on April 8, 1995 entitled Springing Eternal the Hunters Spirit Mingles in the Greenery.  Perhaps some of you hunters can see yourself in the description, and most of your hunter friends too.

The days are lengthening; green colors are showing beneath the yellowish brown cover of fall grasses, buds are showing on the fruit trees and another long winter is about to end.

Early Spring burst out in the hills to the east of Tahlequah and the whites of the dogwoods and the pinks of the redbuds bring out another phenomenon:  The return of the deer and turkey to their accustomed haunts.

The fundamental instincts of these creatures brought about each year simply seem to make the animals disappear from the face of the earth.  Even for the last two months, it’s as if they had been swallowed up by the earth.  And it’s not until about the first of March that they come out again from the deep canyons and heavy brush and become visible to their human neighbors.

Many people will not believe what I am about to say.  I remember a few years ago, when I interviewed the last (at that time) of the Whooping Cranes, there were doubting Thomases who denied that I had ever, in the middle of Dismal Swamp, Texas entertained a family of cranes and held a prolonged conversation with the head of the family while feeding them canned shrimp and anchovies.

There has been a many-antlered deer out on Webster flat for many years now.  Neighbors have seen him flitting across the darkening landscape, and he has been the quarry of many an ardent hunter these past hunting seasons.  As a matter of fact he and I have an understanding.  He lives in a growth of cedars not far from Art Webster’s house near a hillside watering tank.  Often we meet out by a large block of salt and he licks while I talk.

Now if you don’t believe this you had better stop reading now—especially if you are a deer hunter–because my old friend may be discussing you with a frankness which will not do your ego any good.

The afternoon was mild as I sat propped against a sweetgum tree, and old Lucky Buck worked out on the block of salt.  Finally he turned to me and said:  “Mr. Bob, people are sure enough funny, especially hunting people.”  I don’t know why it is, but all sorts of animals call me “Mister Bob”; deer, fox, ‘coons and all sorts of flying creatures. 

“I suppose,” he went on, “that we deer here in Cherokee County have had about a good a chance as any to study the hunting human.  And believe me, they are a strange lot.  Now being that you want the facts, I’ll give them to you.  And you write them down.

One of the oldest types of hunter is the Housekeeping Hunter.

This fellow arrives on his hunting lease in the early morning hours with a truck load of equipment and one or more hunting partners.  He is the boss of his own camp and a great stickler for detail.  While his companions look longingly out over the hills, he is picking the ideal campsite.  This may take three hours.  Then the others in his party are handed shovels and boy scout axes which brings about the job of erecting the tent.  Cots are then set up and the kitchen is installed with all the painstaking care of Admiral Byrd setting up camp in “Little America” in the Arctic.

On about the second day there is a supervised hunt for a couple of hours with no results, and the third day is reserved for breaking camp, reloading and policing up the area.”

So our interview came to an end, and in the interest of brevity I have condensed the other observations of Lucky Buck.

THE EXECUTIVE TYPE:
According to Lucky Buck, this man hunts from a tree stand.  The game is supposed to come to him.  Often he has a hole bored into a live oak limb, into which he slips a swivel chair, so that he can feel at ease and face up or downwind at will.  he spends a good deal of time drinking coffee that his toadies fetched for him, while sighting his rifle in on imaginary rhinos or cape buffalo, against the time he is voted in as president of Alaska or the king of Africa.

THE MEAT GETTER:
Works under the old belief that there are two kinds of venison, that with antlers and that without.  This man is of special interest to game wardens.  This mean is an elusive character, found mostly at night equipped with a powerful flashlight, poaching on private property and later found in the county judge’s office.  Often has wife or children along as a decoy.  Cries like a baby when caught.

THE STATUS HUNTER:
Often is accompanied by his wife.  Easily recognized by outdoor and hunting plumage, station wagon, and a certain amount of hopping from one hunting camp to another.  Is not considered a serious threat to the deer population, but does make an occasional input on armadillo, field mice and owls.  Only disaster that can happen to this boy is getting shot by his wife.

THE DRINKING HUNTER:
A boon to conservation (deer conservation that is).  Full of laughter and practical jokes, conversation and ‘who hit John’.  Usually can be found at convenience and package stores around town, thus enlivening the hunting season.  Likes to frame hunting companions by pretending he’s the game warden over the telephone.  Keeps odd hours.   Returns home from hunting trips laden with plenty of meat:  cured hams, smoked bacon, sausage and a tame turkey that he tries to pawn off as a freshly killed wild turkey.

MISCELLANEOUS HUNTER:
Shows up on frosty mornings with a .270 rifle and plenty of .30-06 ammo.  relaxing in his snuggly sleeping bag, he awaits dawn and D-Day, then suddenly remembers what it was he forgot to bring–his hunting license.

THE DISCOUNT STORE HUNTER:
Can be seen wearing the bright hunter orange vest, cap and gloves, searching for an inch of uninhabited land to hunt on.  Not finding this, can usually be found around a companion’s truck checking out the spike deer that his friend has been feeding for six months.  Drinks tons of coffee and talks about how it used to be.  Can be readily identified by the trinkling gadgets that can be heard two miles away.

Radio Contest

My husband, J-Dub, is a music nut.   He can tell you a song after hearing 2 notes played.  He knows the lyrics, the artists, the name of the album, and the year it was released. 

I, on the other hand, am a music flunkee.  I make up lyrics.  Whatever sounds close, that will work for me.   I mistake the sound of a fiddle for an electric guitar.  I think a woman’s singing when it’s actually a man.   I think The Beatles are The Monkees, I think Robert Palmer is Ronald Palmer.  Big deal.  I’m laughed at regularly, but I’m used to it by now. 

Today J-Dub is trying to win a radio contest.   It’s a big one.  Five hundred dollars to be given away to the ninth caller who can correctly identify a song by its first 3 notes that was played earlier.  And guess what?  J-Dub knows it.  He’s 100% positive.  He and his buddy had the cassett tape and rewound it over and over and over.  He’s appalled at the guesses of the people who have actually been caller #9.  All day he’s been trying to win this contest.  He only receives a busy signal, and the one time he did get through, he was caller #7.  It’s not as far-fetched as you might think.  He’s won several radio contests.  Maybe a free CD, maybe a couple of tickets to a show, but never anything as win-worthy as $500.

He’s been hauling hay all day, so a radio and a cell phone have been right handy for him.  Since he’s been home, we’ve been listening to the radio, ever attentively listening for the little jingle that signals the time to try to be caller #9. 

But now, he’s gone outside to do the chores, and I’ve been left in charge of winning this contest.  Me.  He has left me, the musical flunkee,  in charge of remembering the name of a song I’ve never heard before.  Oh the pressure. 

However he knows me oh-so-well, so before he walked out the door, he programmed the radio station number in my phone, and handed me a yellow sticky note on which he has written the name of the song, the artist, the phone number to the radio station, and which caller I’m supposed to be.  Just in case I need to know all that stuff.  And just so I won’t act like an idiot if I actually do win, he’s even written down what I’m supposed to say when they ask me, “What station makes you a winner?”

Knowing my luck, I’d have to stammer and stutter….”uh…..uh……100.3? 93.1? 87.9, The Car?  The Cat?” 

I wonder if they’d still give me the money if I was unable to identify their radio station?  Would they know I was a fraud?  Someone who never listens to their station, only when I’m forced to by my beloved?

So here I sit, needing to go to the bathroom.  But instead I’m frozen into place, ear turned to the speaker, white fisting my sticky note in one hand and my cell phone in the other while blogging with my tongue.  The ink on my sticky note smearing from my sweaty palm to a blue smudge by the time I make it to caller #9.

The stress is too much for me.  

J-Dub, where are you?????

 

In Memory of My Dad #30

Some little-known sports facts and a bit of elk lore

written by Bob Briggs

Abner Doubleday was thought to be the inventor of baseball while in Cooperstown, N.Y. so Cooperstown has become baseball’s adopted home.  However, Alexander Cartwright has been proved the actual inventor of the game.  Doubleday never even lived in Cooperstown.

Besides being thin-haired presidents, Gerald Ford and Dwight D. Eisenhower had something else in common:  both played college football.  Ford played at the University of Michigan, Eisenhower at West Point.

The Harlem Globetrotters got their start as a team that was sent on a grueling tour across the Midwest to play local teams in 1926.  Their now famous antics didn’t start until 1929.

Wilt Chamberlain played as a Globetrotter for a year before joining the NBA.  In 1962 the “Stilt” scored 4, 029 points, an amazing average of 50.4 points per game!  He had a 100 point game and a 55 rebound game as well.

The great center fielder Mickey Mantle of Commerce, Okla., began his career as a shortstop.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s real name is Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr.

Roger Staubach won the coveted Heisman Trophy during his junior year of college while enrolled in the Naval Academy in 1963.  Staubach didn’t enter the NFL draft until 1969 because he served in the U.S. Navy.

Ted Williams missed nearly five seasons in Major League baseball due to serving his country as a flyer in the USMC during World War II and Korea.

After spending nine seasons as a professional basketball player, George Mikan, the first big man in basketball, became the first commissioner of the former American Basketball Association.

People in the know say that Sandy Koufax may have been the greatest pitcher ever had he not acquired chronic arthritis in his left elbow which forced him into early retirement.  Koufax also was the youngest man ever inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.  He was 36 when he took his place in Cooperstown.

Patrick Ewing was born in Jamaica.

****************

What comes to mind when you hear the word “fertility clinic”?  Probably a bunch of middle-aged ladies being bathed in perfumed waters, while being fed herbal concoctions while their husbands watch old movies and chew on an elk antler.

There has been quite an upsurge lately in the form of exotic animals, and a bunch of Canadians and Americans are in the business of supplying elk to the public, not just as a fertility enhancer, but for a plethora of ailments from boils to memory loss.

Elk raising is well suited to a lot of livestock operations.  The animals have to be worked, treated, bred, wormed, vaccinated, fed and pastured not unlike other cud chewers down through the ages.  Fencing, of course, has to be adapted along with the other working facilities.  As one old garrulous ranch hand told me, “It’s kind of like fencing in kangaroos.”

Elk velvet is the whole horn sawed off the bull elk in the velvet stage.  The market value, according to the old ranch hand, was $45 per pound.  The fresh horn or antler from a mature bull elk weighs about 10 pounds.  The live market for breeding animals is high.  Yearling heifers brought an average of $3,750 late last year, while yearling bulls went for an average of $1,300.  Young elk cows and mature bulls went for $4500 and up.

Other species like llamas, ostriches, emus, pot-bellied pigs, buffalo and catfish have also made inroads in the livestock operations throughout Oklahoma and Texas as additional sources of income.  Like the elk, supporters of these breeds of livestock talk up the practical side of these animals such as meat, milk, feathers, hide and tallow.  And they are quick to point out that eggs and breeding stock are very valuable and therefore, a good investment.

Elk have a value that is above and over elk burgers and market speculation—-antlers.  As the brochure says, “The magical and mystical elkhorn has been prescribed in countries such as Asia, China and Russia for virtually every disease known to man.

In our country the FDA requires proof before miracle cures and products can be advertised as such, so the promoters of elk velvet have a disclaimer printed which says, “we cannot make any medical claims for the product; however, we will let the product speak for itself.”

But then again, jogging, garlic, ginseng, megadoses of sunshine and Vitamin C, Mama’s chicken soup, Sunday School and loose shoes are all accepted as beneficial to health.  So far there has been no concrete proof that they are bad for you.  I’ve been taking my elk antler drops regularly.  Now we’ll have to wait and see if my hair starts to come back and if that slice has been cured.

 

Football!!

Football in Texas is kind of a big deal.  More specifically, small town Friday night high school football in Texas is kind of a big deal.  Especially in my area.   It seems the whole town gathers in a sea of green and gold to cheer on our home town boys, The Harvesters.  Yep, the Harvesters.  Not the Bears.  Not the Cougars.  Not anything that can shred you to bits with their teeth or their claws, but The Harvesters.  Don’t get me wrong, we carry a mean sickle let me tell you.  Or is it a scythe?  I certainly don’t know what that harvester is harvesting with.

This Friday night just so happens to be our homecoming game.  Which I would be false in assuming everyone understands.  It pretty much took all my life to be proved wrong.  It wasn’t until last year when my sister, who now lives in New Mexico, said “you know…..I think homecoming mums are a Texas thing.  No one around here does it.” 

I was caught a bit off guard.  If you don’t do homecoming mums, what do you do?  I just figured everyone did it the way we did.  Let me explain. 

Not only do the students deck themselves out in green and gold, spray paint their hair, and paint their faces, all in the name of school spirit, but for the homecoming game, shy boys awkwardly ask out nervous girls, and then buys a homecoming mum (the gawdier the better) to be pinned to their shirts.

  The girls return the favor by buying the boy a homecoming garter to wear on his arm.  A parade kicks off the festivities, and the next night the football stadium becomes a sea of  green and gold ribbons, bells, whistles, and even feathers.  Not only are there concession stands, but it is almost equivalent to a fair.  Booths are set up and the smells of  burgers, turkey legs, roasted corn on the cob, fajitas, and just about anything you can imagine wafts through the stadium.  At half time, a homecoming king and queen are crowned and everyone hopes the Harvesters pull off a win.

As if all this fun and frolic isn’t already giving you a headache, imagine how I feel knowing my sweet, little, tiny, innocent 7th grade niece actually has a date to this thing!  When did she grow up???  Now granted, my first homecoming date was in the 5th grade with a neighborhood boy named Ryan and I guess I turned out alright, but I really wasn’t expecting this so soon with Ash.  

That little girl who made Santa Claus beards with the bubbles in her bathtub now has a boy asking her to homecoming.  He bought her a mum, she bought him a garter, his parents are driving him over to pick her up, they’re going out to eat Mexican food before the game.  Oh my.  Oh my. 

My niece Ash doesn’t have the best table manners in the world, and J-Dub harps on her all the time.  I’ve even been the one to mention, “Ash, someday you’re going to have a date, and if you eat like a hog at the trough, that boy is never going to ask you on a second date.” 

I almost hope she eats like a hog at the trough.  
It’s a hard pill to swallow, this growing up stuff.
 

And then I think of this little bundle of pink who is busy growing toenails in my comfortable, safe womb, and a ripple of panic courses through my veins when I think that this day too will visit us.  One day, when we least expect it, she’s going to grow up and catch the eye of some boy who will ask her to an innocent homecoming football game.  We’ll blink our eyes, and before we know it J-Dub will be walking her down the aisle, giving her away to some stinky boy.

Whoever said “Time flies”  sure knew what he was talking about. 
I wish someone could figure out how to slow it down.

In Memory of My Dad #29

Whizbang Red was the luckiest fisherman I ever encountered on a golf course in my life. I’ll tell you why.

Whiz was trying to retrieve a lost golf ball that he had sent to a watery grave when he hooked a seven and a half pound bass, and actually landed the thing, much to the chagrin of Rick Archer, our resident pro fisherman at MapCo out in West Texas.

Whiz wasn’t a bad guy, he was just awfully hard to be around, what with all his bitchin’ and crying.  I think that Whiz would gripe if they were going to hang him with a new rope, or at least be opinionated enough about the whole mess that he would give you second thoughts about hanging him.  You’d just want to go home and relax with a tall glass, rather than go through with the hanging.

And the man was an awful cheap golfer.  He’d slice one out-of-bounds and then spend 15 or 20 minutes looking for the ball, cussin and slashing weeds and whatever greenery that was growing along the golf course.  One thing, Whiz found a lot of golf balls no matter if they were beaten, scuffed and worn.

I was playing with Red that beautiful April morning, I had him about three holes down with but one hole to play on the front nine of Huber Golf course over near Borger, Texas.  To say there were a few obstacles on the course would be an understatement.  You may have to dodge a well-servicing crew working on one of the four oilwells on the course, or you could lose your ball to an armadillo family rustling around the sand dunes where they like to burrow. 

Whiz and myself came to the ninth hole, a medium long-par four.  It’s one of the three holes on the course in which water comes into play.  The hole played easy if you could turn the ball over—there was a nice level place down by the water that we called the “sweet spot”.  If you landed there with your tee-ball, you had an easy flip wedge shot to get home.

I hit a good tee-ball, and had maybe a 75 yard shot to the green and Whiz cut his ball out to the right and 140 yards over some big willow trees.  He tightened up visibly on the shot and dumped his tee-shot, “ker-plunk,” right in the greenside pond that fronted the ninth hole.

I put my ball on the green and two putted for a routine par while Whiz went on one of his world famous cussing sprees.  “Blankety-blank #&$!*#(#@#$%$#%%^^!!@$%$”  This was why I hated to play with Whiz, he was an embarrassment to be with.

Whizbang was playing a fairly new orange ball of some kind, one that he had found on the eighth hole, when he had hooked his teeball wildly out-of-bounds.  I didn’t know when he’d pay me the buck that I had coming, so I just said Adios and went home.

Early the next morning I had a game with a long-knocker by the name of Cryer.  Longcryer was a lefty and was armed with a driver that had crippled more people than polio.  We were both on the driving range warming up when the Frito-Lay panel truck that Whiz drove came clamoring up and parked right next to me and Cryer’s pick-ups.  We had all had experience dealing with higher ups and we frequently hid our vehicles next to the honeysuckle vine hedges and the sunflowers over by where the clubhouse was separated from the clapboard building.  This was where old men drank beer and wiled away the hours playing moon for 25 cents a game and 25 cents a hickey.

Whiz immediately started in on the lost ball: “That was no ordinary ball.  It was a new Pro Staff—you can see that ball from anywhere on the course.  Everyone is trying to buy one, you can’t find them just anywhere.”

“So what’s that got to do with that fishing equipment?’ asked Cryer, sensing another pigeon.  I moved closer to add my two cents worth, since I’m not adverse to cutting someone up like a boarding house pie when it comes to a golf match, especially a lame like Whiz.

To say Whiz was not a fisherman, is like saying Mr. Ed is not a Kentucky Derby hopeful.  Whiz said that he broke the “twine” twice while tying on the huge orange rapella lure onto the rod.  Twine hasn’t been used in fishing since the invention of safety pins.

Orange ball, orange lure; a coincidence, who knows?  They were both orange and that was good enough for Whiz.

Whiz stalked over to the ninth hole like a man on a mission with me and Cryer tagging along still hoping that Whiz would give up on trying to snag the ball and come play a little golf for a quarter a hole.

Whiz lined up the flag stick with the aforementioned oilwell, and started to make cast after cast, pulling out great gobs of moss each time.

On about the ninth cast the plug stopped dead in the water.  “Shucks, (that’s about as strong a word that I can think of to use in a family publication), I’m hung up,”  Whiz exclaimed.

Just about then, the drag started to screech and the line started to smoke as the fish headed for deeper water.  Whiz, not knowing how to play a fish, just horsed that bass right out of the water.

Whiz wrestled the fish for awhile there on the ninth green with Cryer and myself not helping matters any by trying to get our hand on the fish.

It was a sure thing that no one at this Great Track that we called home had ever seen a fish like that come out of those waters. 

By the time we got the bass hogtied and loaded, we drove the thing up to the hi-way to Big Tom Little’s feed store where we weighed, measured it and took a photo with a Polaroid for a keepsake.  The fish weighed 7 and one half pounds.

Rick Archer, who had loaned Whiz the rod and reel that he caught the fish with, was so sick of Whiz’s good fortune, that he took a week off from the welding job he held.  Archer fished the water hazard for a week and never got a nibble.

Whiz fishes all the time now.  “I used to not like fishing, but now it’s my favorite sport,” he said.

Me and Longcryer lost a producer when Whiz traded vocations.  He did go back to Huber Golf Club once more.  He waded out and found the missing orange golf ball.  It was about twenty feet from where he’d been fishing.

50 Rules for Dads of Daughters

My friend Suzanne sent me a link.

Actually she sent it for me to share with J-Dub.

I shared it, and then I read it myself.

I loved it.  I cried.  But I’m a bit emotional these days with my little girl on the way.  I couldn’t help but think of her and her daddy. 

And then I can’t help but think of me and my own dad.

This was written by a fellow named Michael Mitchell who blogs at Lifetoheryears.com and stolen from a blog fromdatestodiapers.com

There some great stuff out there, folks.  I hope you enjoy it.


1. Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.


2. Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she add years to her… add life to her years.


3. Save the day. She’ll grow up looking for a hero. It might as well be you. She’ll need you to come through for her over and over again throughout her life. Rise to the occasion. Red cape and blue tights optional.


4. Savor every moment you have together. Today she’s crawling around the house in diapers, tomorrow you’re handing her the keys to the car, and before you know it, you’re walking her down the aisle. Some day soon, hanging out with her old man won’t be the bees knees anymore. Life happens pretty fast. You better cherish it while you can.


5. Pray for her. Regularly. Passionately. Continually.


6. Buy her a glove and teach her to throw a baseball. Make her proud to throw like a girl… a girl with a wicked slider.


7. She will fight with her mother. Choose sides wisely.


8. Go ahead. Buy her those pearls.


9. Of course you look silly playing peek-a-boo. You should play anyway.


10. Enjoy the wonder of bath time.


11. There will come a day when she asks for a puppy. Don’t over think it. At least one time in her life, just say, “Yes.”


12. It’s never too early to start teaching her about money. She will still probably suck you dry as a teenager… and on her wedding day.


13. Make pancakes in the shape of her age for breakfast on her birthday. In a pinch, donuts with pink sprinkles and a candle will suffice.


14. Buy her a pair of Chucks as soon as she starts walking. She won’t always want to wear matching shoes with her old man.


15. Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait ‘til her wedding day.


16. Take her fishing. She will probably squirm more than the worm on your hook. That’s OK.


17. Learn to say no. She may pitch a fit today, but someday you’ll both be glad you stuck to your guns.


18. Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.


19. Teach her to change a flat. A tire without air need not be a major panic inducing event in her life. She’ll still call you crying the first time it happens.


20. Take her camping. Immerse her in the great outdoors. Watch her eyes fill with wonder the first time she sees the beauty of wide open spaces. Leave the iPod at home.


21. Let her hold the wheel. She will always remember when daddy let her drive.


22. She’s as smart as any boy. Make sure she knows that.


23. When she learns to give kisses, she will want to plant them all over your face. Encourage this practice.


24. Knowing how to eat sunflower seeds correctly will not help her get into a good college. Teach her anyway.


25. Letting her ride on your shoulders is pure magic. Do it now while you have a strong back and she’s still tiny.


26. It is in her nature to make music. It’s up to you to introduce her to the joy of socks on a wooden floor.


27. If there’s a splash park near your home, take her there often. She will be drawn to the water like a duck to a puddle.


28. She will eagerly await your return home from work in the evenings. Don’t be late.


29. If her mom enrolls her in swim lessons, make sure you get in the pool too. Don’t be intimidated if there are no other dads there. It’s their loss.


30. Never miss her birthday. In ten years she won’t remember the present you gave her. She will remember if you weren’t there.


31. Teach her to roller skate. Watch her confidence soar.


32. Let her roll around in the grass. It’s good for her soul. It’s not bad for yours either.


33. Take her swimsuit shopping. Don’t be afraid to veto some of her choices, but resist the urge to buy her full-body beach pajamas.


34. Somewhere between the time she turns three and her sixth birthday, the odds are good that she will ask you to marry her. Let her down gently.


35. She’ll probably want to crawl in bed with you after a nightmare. This is a good thing.


36. Few things in life are more comforting to a crying little girl than her father’s hand. Never forget this.


37. Introduce her to the swings at your local park. She’ll squeal for you to push her higher and faster. Her definition of “higher and faster” is probably not the same as yours. Keep that in mind.


38. When she’s a bit older, your definition of higher and faster will be a lot closer to hers. When that day comes, go ahead… give it all you’ve got.


39. Holding her upside down by the legs while she giggles and screams uncontrollably is great for your biceps. WARNING: She has no concept of muscle fatigue.


40. She might ask you to buy her a pony on her birthday. Unless you live on a farm, do not buy her a pony on her birthday. It’s OK to rent one though.


41. Take it easy on the presents for her birthday and Christmas. Instead, give her the gift of experiences you can share together.


42. Let her know she can always come home. No matter what.


43. Remember, just like a butterfly, she too will spread her wings and fly some day. Enjoy her caterpillar years.


44. Write her a handwritten letter every year on her birthday. Give them to her when she goes off to college, becomes a mother herself, or when you think she needs them most.


45. Learn to trust her. Gradually give her more freedom as she gets older. She will rise to the expectations you set for her.


46. When in doubt, trust your heart. She already does.


47. When your teenage daughter is upset, learning when to engage and when to back off will add years to YOUR life. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.


48. Ice cream covers over a multitude of sins. Know her favorite flavor.


49. This day is coming soon. There’s nothing you can do to be ready for it. The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be.


50. Today she’s walking down the driveway to get on the school bus. Tomorrow she’s going off to college. Don’t blink.

My life. My thoughts. My faith. My family

Well today is Sunday, and those who may have been looking for it, might have missed my “in memory of my dad story” yesterday.  I’ve been a little busy, which is no excuse. 

I’ve been:

  • sleeping (today anyway)
  • trying to revive a dead front yard from a serious drought
  • cleaning out a junk room of boxes and inessentials to make room for a crib and diapers
  • scouring baby books and the internet for the perfect little girl name
  • guarding my red toenails from pecking chickens
  • gathering 5-6 fresh eggs a day
  • enjoying the beautiful fall days
  • teaching a class of 22 darling second graders
  • cleaning, washing, drying, sweeping, mopping
  • attempting to bring my husband back to reality from our recent visit to Colorado
  • Oh, and building a baby

I went to Lubbock, Texas this weekend to listen to one of my most beloved Bible teachers, Beth Moore.  Some church friends and I spent the day knee deep in the book of Luke and Acts and reveling in the reminder of how awesome our God is, and I wasn’t able to get to a computer to post my dad’s story and did not have the wherewithall to post earlier.  I’m sorry, but I’ll make it up shortly. 

  While my dad was living, he spent some time writing commentaries and sports for his hometown newspapers, The Tahlequah Times.   My sister brought me a basketful of old newspaper clippings, so each Saturday I post one. I will post them until I run out of stories or until I run out of Saturdays, whichever comes first.   I chose Saturday because that was the day he died.  A Saturday afternoon.  Just a normal, unsuspecting one.  Much like this day 10 years ago when our country was attacked.  Much like the day when Jesus will return.  Normal.  Unsuspecting.  

 I had spoken with him back and forth on his facebook wall that morning, and was planning a visit in July for a family reunion.  That afternoon, I was home alone standing in my kitchen with a cardboard box and newspaper pages scattered on the kitchen counters, wrapping drinking glasses in preparation for a move to a new place when my phone rang.  I almost didn’t answer it because the number was bizarre.  I’m glad I did.  It was my dad’s friend, Jane, on the other end tearfully explaining to me “we’ve lost your daddy.”   I had to call my sister, my mom, and my brother.  It was a difficult day, as is days that come and go still.  My dad has been gone a little over six months and my goodness, so much has happened in that short time.  I miss him, and I so wish he was here to share what is happening in my life now. 

When I first shared with my family that Jason and I would be having a baby, both my mom and my sister remarked how they wished my dad was here.  How he would have loved to know the baby.  And it made me sad for a split second.  But then I remembered something my friend had told me and I had an epiphany.  We all come from different backgrounds and beliefs and sometimes we get stuck thinking ours is “right” and everyone else is wrong. I have a very dear friend who, when speaking about babies, she would often mention “spirit children” in heaven waiting for a body in order to come to earth.  I had never heard of this from anyone before.  Although it was her belief, it was one I didn’t share.  I hadn’t been taught this idea, I hadn’t ever read about this idea, so I dismissed it, quite frankly, as cuckoo.  Until the day I needed desperately to believe that. 

 I believe that our spirits live forever.  When we die our spirits live on, either in heaven or in hell.  And it came to me clearly, if our spirits live forever after our earthly body is gone, then how narrow-minded of me to think our spirits only begin when our human bodies form in the womb.  Of course they exist before our earthly body and of course they exist after our earthly body.  Of course there are “spirit children”.  And of course my dad’s spirit, who lives in heaven, and my baby’s spirit who lived in heaven, have met one another.  My dad is not missing out on knowing my baby.   I believe they have met one another.  In the heavenly realm of which we know very little about, they’ve become acquainted.  They are well acquainted.

I let my imagination run wild with this idea.  Not only have they met, and shook hands, and said hello, I’m your grandpa, but perhaps they’ve played together.  Maybe he’s already given her horsey back rides and swung her around in his arms.  Could it be possible that he’s sat her in his lap, hugged her close, kissed her cheek and stroked her hair.  Have they’ve splashed in crystal seas digging for the perfect skipping rocks ?  Have they held hands and played ring around the rosey on a golden street? 
Is it unfathomable? 
Not to me.  
Is it cuckoo? 
Not to me.  Not anymore.

I enjoy Saturdays with my dad’s stories because I get to hear from him again.  I’ve  never read all his stories, there were only a select few that he mailed to me.  I’m so glad I have them, and I’m honored to share them.  Granted, some are better than others, as are all of mine as well.  But we live on with our words.  We can impact people years later with our writings.  Last week his story told about a blue and white seersucker jacket he had that served him well for both weddings and funerals.    My sister commented and said I should have posted this picture of him wearing that jacket. 

That’s us in 1993.  I’m the one with the big hair.  Take your hands off your gaping mouths.  Yes, that hair is real.  Yes, I left the house with hair that big.  Yes, that hair was sort-of in style.  And that’s my handsome dad standing proudly beside me.  He was always proud of me, and told me often. 

I thank God he was my dad.  I thank God for the time we had together.  I thank God He prepared a place for him.  And for me.  We will see him again.  And we will laugh.  And hug.  And he will give me his sloppy kisses as he always did.

He loved much, and is loved and sorely missed by many.

Pics from the Reveal Partay!

This past Friday, some friends and loved ones joined us for a gender reveal party. 

Some wore pink, thinking it would be a girl.  Some wore blue, thinking it would be a boy.

Some wore black, thinking it would be…….uh, nevermind, I guess they hadn’t had time to do their laundry.

J-Dub and I were both decked out in blue.  No doubt in my mind it was a boy.  No doubt.

There were more folks dressed in blue than pink. 

The survey from my blog predicted boy over girl.

 

We began with a little game of “What do the Old Wives Say?” where different old wives questions were thrown at us, and the majority of our answers revealed boy. 

Boy, Boy, Boy.

The contents of this box would reveal the truth.  Would it be blue or would it be pink?

The moment of truth arrived with hearts all a’flutter.   Anticipation hung heavy in the air. 

 

The florist was the one who received the sealed envelope.  He was the one who first saw the ultrasound picture.  He was the one who packaged the box.  We were the ones to open it with the ones we love.

Pink and white balloons drifted out, screams and cheers lifted up, and tears flowed down.  Happy tears of course.

It was a day of love, happiness, celebration.

 Hugs.

Congratulations.

 

 And smiles.

Lots and lots of smiles.

Good News!

I’m on top of the world.  I’m just on top of this beautiful, dadgum world.  It’s as if scales have fallen from my eyes and I see things in a new light. 

In case you haven’t been following my life, first off, I’m pregnant.  With my first child.  At age 36.  With this came a scary test that informed us that our baby was at an increased risk for Down’s Syndrome.  A 1:75 possibility.  I stewed and fretted and cried, then I prayed, and others prayed, and the Holy Spirit granted me a peace that passes all understanding. 

Today, we had a consultation and an ultrasound that looked for certain “markers” of Down Syndrome that the baby may display.  If any of  these markers were found, it increased the risk for the disorder, and if they weren’t noted, it decreased it.  Some markers they look for and measure are the thickness of the skin at the base of the neck, the length of the bones, the amount of fluid around the baby, the veins and arteries in the umbilical cord, certain spots in the heart, and others.

God is good, and if you don’t already know that, well, you need to.  There were not any markers found!  I praised Jesus  out loud right there lying on that table.  The absence of markers does not mean our baby does not have anything wrong with it, but it does mean that the chances went down 50%.  So now the odds are about 1:150.  And that sounds pretty dadgum good to me.  We were offered an amniocentisis to determine 100% for a yes or no answer, but we declined.  Our faith is in God, not in medicine.  You know I’ve never been the “one”.  I’ve never won the lottery, I’ve never been struck by lightening, and I know that I know that I know my baby is normal (as normal as can be expected with the parents it’s been given).

I am praising God to day for His goodness.  His mercy.  His grace.  His gifts.  He has given me something that I never dreamed I could ever need.  And I’m thrilled to become a mother. 

I’d like to believe that even if the test hadn’t turned out positively for us, I would still be praising God.  I’m just so thankful and relieved I am not experiencing the other end of the spectrum right now.  Praise the Lord with me today!

On a different note, during this ultrasound they were able to determine the sex of the child.   I have some wonderful, caring, loving people who are throwing a reveal party for me.  I had never heard of a reveal party before my principal approached me with the idea.  It can be done several different ways, but generally speaking it works like this:  the ultrasound technician puts the gender in an envelope keeping it a secret, even from the parents.  People are invited over, and in some way the sex of the child is revealed to everyone during the party, including the parents!!   Yes, you are reading that right.  We do not even know the sex of our baby.

Our baby was VERY uncooperative today.  It decided to stay sleep with it’s little legs crossed.  The technician was getting frustrated, but she perservered.  Finally she was able to get a good view.  She told us to turn our heads from the screen, while she took the picture.  It was then stuffed and sealed in an envelope and hand delivered to my principal by me.  It was much harder than I ever imagined it would be driving home with that envelope in the car!  But we didn’t peek.  I do admit I held it to the light, but still couldn’t see anything!

the envelope, please......

Tomorrow we will be finding out whether we need a blue nursery or a pink one.  I can hardly wait. 

I wish you all could be there, but since I feel like you are all experiencing this with me, please join me in spirit and cast your vote.

The result will be announced tomorrow!