Sunday, December 4, 2011



All Christmas tree lots looked pretty much the same in the city.
They popped up in vacant lots and parking lots all over town.
Bright colored lights and spot lights swung on wires to beacon you in.
A small forest of trees in tidy rows, sprinkled with sawdust on the ground.
The aromas of firs, cedar and pine was strong and fresh.
The smell of Christmas!

It never snowed at Christmas where I grew up.
Not even once.
But it did drop below freezing...
sometimes icing the trees with frost and sawdust.
Other times fog swirled around,
making the forest even more magical to my kid eyes.

The salesmen stomped their feet and warmed their hands
over an oil drum fire... lurching toward any car that entered the lot...
eager to make a sale.
The old man waved them off saying
"We're just looking for now."
All the little bunnies would look at each other, worried.
What did he mean by that?

The bunnies scattered...
the oldest two could wander as they wished.
The next two had to stay together.
Being the youngest,
my mother's hand firmly grasped my coat hood like a leash.

I tried in vain to steer them to the "manger" that held the flocked trees.
I honestly believed that a bright pink fuzzy tree was just the ticket.
"Too messy."
mother would say,
tugging me toward the long rows of unflocked trees.
Well, it never hurt to try.

The idea was for each of us to pick our tree...
and try to remember what row it was on.
Once everyone had chosen, we would meet
and show off our choices to each other.
Then the parents would be the judge who picked "the tree".

My parents would give me clues.
"Look how full this one is."
"Doesn't this one smell fresh!"

I had my own criteria.
Different things caught my eye.
One had a bird's nest.
"Birds nests have germs."
Another had a neat crooked trunk.
"We want a nice straight tree."
A skinny one might leave more room for presents.
The parents laughed at that idea.

When we reached the end of the tree rows...
the other bunnies had returned, begging to show off their choices.
Father made a big deal out of looking by age...
we started at the oldest and made our way down.
Each tree Father would pull out into the aisle.
Mother would walk around it,
searching for holes or flat spots.

It went that way for four trees...
then it was my turn!
I would sadly turn my gaze at the bright pink fuzzy tree,
saying good-bye in my head.
Then try to recall which of the trees seemed to have made mother happiest.
I might have been the youngest, but this was a serious competition.
I was out to win the honor of picking "the tree".

I didn't always win,
but being with the parents as they talked about them
helped me to pick a number of winners over the years.
Of course it got easier as I got older and the other bunnies grew up and away.
But much of the luster of the game was gone by then...
along with belief in that old guy in the red suit.

My father would string us along...
sometimes pacing back and forth and returning
for second looks...
Mother would whisper in his ear...
letting the tension build.
Then he would announce their choice.

One of the older bunnies would go for a salesman
while the rest of us guarded our tree.
Father would dicker the price, if he could.
Accept it if he could not.
The tree had been chosen and no other tree would do.

The salesman would try to sell him a nice
wooden cross stand to hold it up.
Father steadfastly refused.
Money exchanged hands...
and all the bunnies followed the tree to the car.
Father would wince as the salesman tossed it on top of the Buick,
worried about his paint job more than the tree.

We sang carols all the way home
with slightly less enthusiasm.
The excitement of the day was wearing us down.
My own eyes would begin to droop.
By the time the station wagon rolled up the drive,
I was ready for bed.

Buying the tree was a very big deal.
But it never was decorated the day of purchase...
inspite of the decorations neatly laid out.
Father would have to drag it inside,
stand it up and wait for my mother to decide
where the top and the bottom needed to be trimmed.

Once that was done,
it needed to be wrestled into it's stand
and the stand filled with water.
Father had worked a full day.
It was time for a beer.
The bunnies were sent off to bed.

I lay there and listened to the parents below.
They laughed about different trees and things said by silly little bunnies.
If I could keep my eyes open long enough...
I would hear the happy sounds of my father swearing
as he tied the big old heavy strings of lights onto the tree...
mother giving him directions.
The magic of Christmas had begun.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011



Let the season begin!

While I have been taking my break...

I decided to work on some stories about Christmas

the way it was when I was a kid.

Because Christmas is special to children...

and infects all their thoughts and ideas...

in a way that does not affect adults.

So here is my warning...

these are stories,

and they are wordy!

If you are looking for short posts,

I do understand and you are welcome to look elsewhere.

But these are memories near and dear to me,

about a time that was magical.

I credit each and every one with to my parents,

who worked very hard to make

Christmas very special to all of their children.

They were the best parents that I could possibly have had.

I believe you will see why.

Here we go... I hope you enjoy the ride.


Oh Christmas Tree!

The first weekend in December was dedicated to our traditional activities...

It began with boxes and boxes of decorations for the tree and house,
pulled out of their home in the closet that ran under the stairs.
Mom would set them out on the dining room table,
the big coffee table and here and there on the window seats.

Mother hated messes...

and this was a messy business.
But for once, it was a mess that she honestly loved.
Each item was taken from its nest in the tissue,

newspaper and paper towels,
and gently inspected for damage.
There was always damage...

bulbs that were broken or burnt out,
fragile ornaments that had shattered or cracked.
She morned each and every lost reminder of her favorite memories.

Between the balls, bulbs, light strings, garlands and angel hair...
lay her favorites;

all the dopy, sappy ornaments made at school
from bits of paper, glitter, photos, macaroni and pipe cleaners
and the baker's dough ornaments made at home by our little hands.
There was a set of glass birds with spring legs attached to alligator clips
with feather tails from her own childhood trees.
One bird had lost a leg and flopped to one side,

but still made his home in our tree.
Dad called it

"the drunk bird".

She would work through the morning...
enjoying the memories they conjured up,
sharing them with us.
We laughed and smiled

and shared our own stories as
each ornament came out of the boxes.
"I made that!"
The house smelled like oranges poked by cloves,
cinnamon, gingerbread,

always bayberry,

and her stew perking in the kitchen.

This was Christmas tree ornament day!
We were kept busy hanging up and

laying out the house decorations.
Setting up small winter scenes...
a pair of ice skaters on a mirror...
snow men conversed in their snowy angle hair fog
("Don't touch your eyes!")
on the sill of the window at the place where the stairs landed and

split toward the living room

or the breakfast room on the other side.

There were candles here and there...
angles, santas, snowmen, gingerbread boy and girl...
and always fresh bayberry candles in

the giant brass candle sticks on the mantle.

Red satin bows were tied to their necks
to match the big bow on the front door

with it's cascade of sleigh bells.
The following few days fir boughs and

sprigs would find their way
around picture frames, mirrors, and across the mantle...
and cedar garlands

would be hung in swoops under the crown molding.
Mistletoe was hung in the center of

the french doors to the dining room.

We peeked out the windows...
waiting for Father.
Hurry, hurry, hurry home!
The bigger girls would help mom push
the love seat around the room,
until mother was satisfied with its temporary home.
This made room for the tree between the
built-in bookcases with their leaded glass doors
and the high,

short and wide window with her antique bottle collection,
that would glitter with the reflected tree lights.

The excitement of the day was contagious...
anticipation grew by the minute
and every car that entered our street made us hold
our breath... until it passed us by.
We'd groan and wait for the next engine sound.

Once the ornaments were all unpacked...
the boxes were filled with the wrappings and

tucked back under the stairs.
The rug under the place where

the tree would go had to be vacuumed...
and we showed a rare enthusiasm for the task.

Then the sound of the Buick in the driveway
inspired us to gape out the window.
"Don't smudge the windows!"
Father walked smiling into the house,
as we rushed him...

and he announced the same line year after year...
"Hey! It looks like Christmas in here!"

as he tired to cross the room to kiss mother,
with a five pack of little bunnies hanging on tight...

all chattering wildly.

But there was diner to eat yet...
before the best part of the day.
None of us had to be told to hurry or finish what was on our plates...
and no one asked for seconds...

unless Father did,
then you might as well have another

bit of stew or chunk of cornbread.

The oldest bunnies would snatch up dishes
and wisk them away to rinse and put in the dishwasher.
One of us would wipe the table and counters down.
Another would take out the trash...
all without being asked,

which made the parents smile.

Father would stretch and threaten to read his newspaper...
all the bunnies protested and groaned.
But instead of stopping at his chair...
he would take his jacket from the hall seat,

that looked like an oak throne...
causing the bunnies to hop into their coats as well...
and run to get the best seat available in the car.

The sleigh bells jangled on the door and swayed.
The station wagon doors slammed.
The engine roared to life and the Buick backed out.
Someone would begin to sing and we all joined in.
"Jingle bells! Jingle bells!"
Extra loud on the "Hey!"
Look out tree lot... here we come!

The story continues tomorrow...

see you then!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I know, I used this pic before...

but I like the way that bird looks at me.



The real reason for Thanksgiving is

to be thankful for the blessings of the year.

So here are the things that I am

thankful for in the past year...

thank my friend, fellow blogger...

"lime" for this one!

In the past year many things have occurred that I am very thankful for...

The man!

Yes, I met him two years ago.

But I married him in May.

This was no mistake.

The man loves me in spite of my faults,

which are many.

After at least 11 years alone...

I sleep at night in his arms,

I spend my days in his mostly quiet,

and often humorous company.

I face each coming day with curiosity

and joy.

It is a wonderful thing to share my life with someone

so caring and kind.

I am thankful for my wonderful children...

who despite the miles between us


manage to stay in touch daily...

who make me proud to be their mother...

who have given me joy

(and sometimes frustration and trauma)

since I first knew of them

growing within me.

I love them more than I can possibly express.

For family...

my own and...

particularly for my new family!

For accepting me...

for no more reason than the the fact,

that the man loves me.

How can I not love and accept you back?

I am so blessed by you!

You have enriched my life.

I am humbled by this acceptance.

I am thankful for grandchildren...

the 5 I currently have...

and the two that we are expecting

in March and April!

I am thankful that today...

I have a shelter and food...

when so many do without those simple things.

That I am safe,

that I have health and a good life...

while others live on the street...

unsure of where their next meal will come from...

or what will happen to them today,

let alone tomorrow.

And last...

but certainly most important...

I know that some of you do not have

a faith that you believe in...

I do!

I am thankful for the faith

that sustains me when times are bad...

for the faith that uplifts me,

even when times are good...

for the sacrifice made for me...

and you...

should you believe it or not,

it is important to me.

I am grateful.

I am thankful for you too...

you bloggers who share your

experiences and opinions.

You are amazing!

You add interest and thought to my days.

Your joys and sorrows...

all that you feel...

contribute to my life...

in ways that I can not begin to explain.

Bless you all on this Thanksgiving Day.

See you after your holiday!

A special hooray...

to the Shifelys,

for their new baby girl.

I am very happy ( and thankful) for your family!

I cannot think of a more wonderful gift,

than a new born child.

May she bring you the joy and pride that my own children

have given me.

May Hayden understand the gift she has been given...

to be born your child...

and all the love that means.

A happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

By the time this post hits,

it will be Veteran's Day.

That is not a day that I am personally willing to forget

or let slip past unnoticed.

My dad served in the U.S. Air Force,

too late to be in WWII...

too early for Korea.

I am glad he was here to be my dad.

Papa, my mother's father

served in the U. S. Army in WWI...

where he lost a lung to mustard gas.

But he came home relatively safe...

and still managed to smoke roll your own

Bull Durhams into his 70s...

able to be my much, much loved "Papa".

The man also served

in the U.S. Army.

Like my father,

he would have gone to war if called.

What would I do without him?

I am grateful that they were not called to war,

yet very proud that they were willing.

Many have gone to war.

Many have come home

safe perhaps,

certainly changed by that experience,

if not changed physically.

Many have died.

You cannot give more than your life.

There is no price you can put on that huge offering.

Today at our house,

we hang our flag with pride and gratitude...

our way of showing our respect

and our thanks...

to all who serve,

all who have served

and all who will serve...

May God bless them!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Goodness I haven't been here in a long time!
Hopefully that will change now.

Friday morning is the man's Friday night.
It was the last day of buck hunting.
We weren't going to go out again,
but T was taking the day off to go.
We decided that once the man was home,
after a trip to the bank
and balancing the check book...
we'd meet up with T, B and K and try one last time.

It proved to be an interesting sort of hunt...
in that we spent most of our time hunting for the other hunters.
Never did find them.
But it made for a beautiful drive into some very lovely woods.
And it was just as well since the man was fading fast.

I had just enough time to make him a grilled cheese sandwich
before he was off to dream land
and I had my evening to myself to do as I pleased.
I did very little beyond the dishes,
other than watch the Criminal Minds marathon.
He doesn't understand why I like that show.
Worked out great!

Saturday we never got out of our jammies!
No cooking, shopping or errand running.
We watched college football all day long...
ending with our Duck game against U of Washington Huskies.
Ducks won.
We ordered in pizza.
Then had a bit of time for romance.
Ooh la la!

Today we did pretty much the same...
just lazed around and enjoyed each others company.
Watched a movie.
He's snoozing again, as he should be.
I'd call it a perfect weekend.

Roxy has been busy coming in and out of the house...
leaving muddy dog prints today...
in a path through the kitchen.
That's number one on my to do list tomorrow.
Erase the evidence of dog.

Meanwhile I am trying to plan Thanksgiving here this year.
I'm excited.
I hope everyone likes my mom's recipes.
Her gravy is a bit different...
but it's not Thanksgiving for me without it.
I've got my work lining up.
Guess I won't be bored.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend too...
and that you got to do whatever it is that you enjoy.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


(Blogger is frightened by the skull...
and doing weirdness with space again...
so be patient and scroll all the way down past the gaps please.)


It's time for Saturday Scavenger Shots again!
Today's word is "UTENSIL".
The above photo is not mine...
I plucked it from this site:
What could be
better than...
A zygomatic bone glommed together from old sauce pots; a mandible constructed from rusty whisks; a maxilla ossified from dinner plates and moustachioed with unwashed spoons. This gloriously sepulchral skull constructed entirely from old cookware and crockery was on display in London's Regent Park a couple weeks ago as part of the Frieze Art Fair."
to fully illustrate "utensil"?

Of course, I can't think of the word "utensil" without thinking of
barbecue... and with the 4th of July coming up...
barbecue is our plan for the h

So how about some
barbecue "utensil" art?
I did not come up with that "utensil" piece.
But it certainly says...
time to barbecue!

Okay... a perfectly terrible shot of the man
There are some "utensils" there on the right...
if you can see them!

All this talk about "utensils" has made me hung
I'm thinking

Chinese food!

So grab your "ute

aka: chopsticks...
and dig in!

Happy Saturday Scavenger Shots everybody!
(I hope the man will let us get take out.)

And don't forget to use the side bar here to visit
What Fresh Hell Is This?
Eclectic Spaghetti
for more SSS and next week's word.
Then go out and take your best shot!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Yesterday the man's son kissed bachelorhood good-bye.
He didn't seem to mind a bit!

As my regular readers know, I am not normally a wedding person.
Some people really get into the whole idea of weddings...
sparking TV shows about bridzillas,
how to plan the perfect wedding,
tons of wedding web sites,
movies about wedding planners,
and that event that all little girls are supposed to dream about all their lives
until the day they say
"I do."
Weddings are a huge commercial industry!

My wedding was not a big affair and that was the right wedding for us.
Make a quick and serious commitment...
then get past that to the barbecue.

This wedding was much more traditional.
The beautiful bride included traditions from her
Italian heritage that were interesting and new to me.
It was a very important wedding because it was family.
As formal weddings go,
it was in a wonderful setting in the country,
complete with babbling brook
and lovely landscaping.
Tables were set on the lawn and the atmosphere was charming.

The ceremony was not long winded... a good thing...and had a nice message.
We all had a good giggle when the bride pulled her cheat sheet
of her vows out of her bodice.
The man said "Hey, she uses her bra as a pocket too!" and elbowed me.
Everyone cheered at the kiss.

Little N was the flower girl.
Her brother, Te was the ring bearer.
The bride's daughter, R was one of the brides maids.
We had a lot of people we cared about standing up there.
That made this wedding extra special.

It was a very nice evening with family and friends from both sides.
The food was delicious.
Everything was as perfect as any wedding could possibly be.

By nature I am a wallflower at social gatherings,
unless I know the people very well.
The man was called away off and on to do photos, etc.
and had many people to visit with in the gathering.
But Mom and Dad were there... the man's that is...
so I sat at their table and visited.

Eventually I slipped away to the truck so that I could
call my son Boo.
It was his birthday.
I missed it last year, because I had just moved here and had promised him that I would not miss this one.
I'd never missed one before that... ever.
Of course he understood that this was a big family event that we could not miss.
While I called, I missed the cake cutting!
I have photos of everything else though...
from the setting to the actual show.

I was the driver, so no booze beyond a couple of short cups of beer
before eating.
We didn't leave for hours after.
All in all, it was a great night.

When we signed the guest book... the man left it to me to do this...
I was tempted to put "the original Mr and Mrs H".
That's because we all have the same names.
He has his dad's and she has mine.
But I didn't.
I wasn't sure if joking in a guest book is appropriate.
It did make me smile to think about it.
I'll let future readers wonder why they signed their own guest book.

We got home late.
The man was hungry so I made him a grilled cheese.

Ok... I have to ask you how you make your grilled cheese?
The man likes his with miracle whip inside on both pieces of bread.
Its really weird to have to slather something on all the different
sides of bread and quite messy!
I don't use anything inside mine except for cheese and maybe a tomato slice.
I guess there is no wrong way or right way,
but I'd never heard of that before.
Kind of like pizza... you can put what you want on it.
Still, I wonder what other ways you can fix one.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


When we first got Roxy we put her dog food in a giant Tupperware container with a good sealing lid.
This was due to my association with a friend who worked for Terminex who,
once told me that critters go where ever they can find dog food...
and that dog food was an excellent bait for traps.

We have been fortunate not to have indoor critter problems...
so far...
with the exception of ants.
(Which are as inevitable as death and taxes.)

So... into the Tupperware with Roxy's food.
Then it was stashed under the kitchen bar counter,
next to her food and water dishes.
There it stayed until an ant attack forced us to move her dishesto the shop,
where ants did not bother to go.
I'm not sure why that is.
Yet, sure enough, the ants did not follow.

The first time I spied the shop mouse,
she was looking pretty fat.
Never a good sign with a mouse.
The next time she skittered by in the corner of my vision,
she was slimmer.

I like mice.
I used to have a large walk-in closet in the house where I grew up,
that my mother allowed me to use to raise mice to sell as a business.
I had at one time 28!
(All in cages of course.)

The man, however has no sympathy for mice.
I must agree that the wild variety are not good for human living spaces,
but I'm kind of funny about killing them.
I'd rather catch and release.

When the man spied the mama mouse, he set a trap.
Whap! Whap!
He quickly dispatched two mice bodies to the dumpster.
I admit to being a mite sad at this,
but they were mature mice who had lived full mousey lives.
Better a quick snap of the trap than slow death by playful kitties.

Not long after I spied a tiny puff of fur with a pink tail by Roxy's dish.
One of the food pellets must have been a feast to someone so tiny.

To tell or not to tell...was my question.
Yes it was a wild rodent full of nasty germs and disease.
But darn, it was cute!
I didn't say a word.
(Shame on me!)

Roxy ratted me out!
That pig bull nose of hers began to snuffle and search.
Who's been eating my porridge?
She spent hours at a time trying to track my fuzzy secret friend.
The man noticed and the trap came back out.
He uses peanut butter for bait... another tip from Terminex man.
The first night... nothing.
the second night... nothing again.
Yay! Yay!
Unfortunately on the third try
the poor little fellow got the ax.

I wasn't at all surprised when I spied a flash of fur this morning...
close to Roxy's dish.
Where you see one mouse, there are at least six more.
She's out there snuffling again.
Sadly, we have plenty of peanut butter.
More dumpster funerals to follow.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Happy Birthday Mom and Ron!

Two of the three birthdays I have this week.
The other is this guy...

My first born... that you know as Boo.

June is a very full month for us!
We have four birthdays and a wedding.
The wedding is the man's oldest son's... which falls on Boo's birthday.
That will be easy for me to remember.

In fact, Thursday we have the rehearsal diner,
then the wedding on Friday evening.

Weddings are okay... I'm not a huge fan of them.
Some people really get into going to them.
They are nice family events that are full of hope and joy.

But I would rather celebrate birthdays!
Its good to have one day a year where you celebrate
that one special person.
Which everyone deserves!

So here are the reasons that I celebrate each of my birthdays
here today.

Mom is my MIL.
But unlike some MILs, she's also a dear friend.
We met through the man, true enough,
but we began talking on the computer everyday before I went to work or after.
This is before the man and I decided to be a committed couple.
Even if, heaven forbid, the man and I would not have gotten to that point, I know that we still would have remained friends.
We can talk about anything.
She has a great sense of humor and a lot of varied interests that I share.
We're both pretty crazy about the man.
As you know, its not always easy to break into a new family.
Mom and Ron both have accepted me into theirs.
It is a comfortable feeling.
A good fit!

Ron was a teacher and so knows the ins and outs of life with students.
That was a great connection for me.
When you work in a school, you live in that community
even after regular work hours... with all the functions involved.
When you move around in the world outside, you tend to see things and think of how that could be applied to teaching
or of interest to your students.
Its automatic.
Its nice to have someone around with other school tales and who has an idea about the school life.
he puts up with me flicking him crap!

As for Boo...
This was my "training child"...
the one where I had no manual and still had to figure out what to do with the kid... and not break him in the process.
Fortunately, he was the best baby on earth...
when I had his sister,
I could not believe how difficult she was in comparison.
Boo is bright, funny and very compassionate.
As a child he often ended up in center stage.
He was picked from the audience by THE Yo-Yo man himself,
Tommy Smothers
to come up on stage and learn a yo-yo trick at the state fair.
While in school, there was a traveling troop of professional actors who came every other year to put on plays with students.
Every single time they came to our school during the years that Boo was enrolled, he was picked for the lead role.
The actors were different each time and had no clue that he had done this before.
Boo was like that...
a very attractive child, with an open personality that did not quit.
He tried everything and feared nothing.
A natural.
Gee... can you tell I'm his mom?

Happy Birthday my June people!
You are all very much loved and appreciated.
Here's to many, many more!

Monday, June 20, 2011


This was the man's birthday last year.
It was quite a family and friend celebration!
I was still new then.

This year, I didn't manage to get photos of the event.
Dead camera battery.

Not a big party, which kind of surprised me.
I thought that maybe since it was Father's Day too that his kids might want to plan something.
But you know how adult kids that are are... 20s and 30s.
They have families of their own, jobs and big plans.
Jr. is going to marry this Friday... I've no doubt that they are busy!
Mom and Ron are off on a long trip to visit family and not available.

A week ago T (the man's best friend)
asked what the man's kids had planned for the day.
"Nothing that I know of..."
He said
"Okay, we're having Father's Day barbecue... you're coming over and we'll do birthday cake too."

Very cool beans!

We always enjoy going to T's house.

I let the man sleep in as late as he wanted and quietly left him biscuits and gravy to eat in bed.

Early in the day, the man's youngest son showed up with a piece of German Chocolate cake for his dad and to visit for a little bit.
That was sweet!
I didn't tell him that I had a big German Chocolate cake already.

Mom and Ron called from where they were on the road.
The man's sister, D, called as well... as she always remembers to do.
My kids sent well wishes via text... we are a texting bunch!

Then it was time to leave for the barbecue!
This time there was an absence of the man's family.
Generally they show up there when there's a Duck party or whatever.
I half expected them to show up, not knowing if T had invited them or not.
But basically, we were crashing T's family Father's Day celebration.
So it was T's mom and step dad, sister and husband, brother J and T's family.

The food was so tasty... and I ate too much of course.
All in all a wonderful afternoon filled with a lot of laughter and good company.

Jr and his fiancee, B showed up at T's briefly to drop off a card
and say happy regards, but couldn't stay long.
They are not only getting married on Friday, but are packing their house to move when they return from their honeymoon in Hawaii.

R, his daughter put in a call on toward evening, so eventually all the kids had checked in to wish their dad well.
That made the man happy.
We made a stop by her house on the way home to drop off part of the cake
for them to enjoy too.
I got to wave at little N through the window.
She is such a cutie pie!

Home again, our evening was quiet.
The man had to be up early for work.
We didn't bother with a diner after such a huge afternoon meal.
We watched some TV and I had ice cream, he had cake.
That was about it.

Not a giant celebration.
But a mellow day and evening.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Father's Day all you Dads!

"Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later... that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life."
~Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities

I think that about sums up what a father's role is in the world pretty darned well.

When I began researching for this post, I had no idea what I wanted to say.
I've told so many of my stories here about growing up---
I can't remember what I have or haven't told.

I thought I would list some of the valuable things my father taught me.

Cricket can explain the meaning of "value" to you here:
Believe me, understanding value is more complex than you assume.

Valuable things my father taught me:

* Fair is not a condition of life...
its a place you go to, to have fun.

* Do not put your bare leg against the motorcycle exhaust pipe.
(Painfully, I failed to listen.)

* If I did not do what my mother said, he would make me regret it.

* Think about what you read, don't just say the words in your head.

* The truth sometimes depends on who is telling it.

* If you don't turn down the stereo the first time I tell you...
it will disappear.

* There is only one thing teenage boys really want...
is to drive your vintage sports car ...
do NOT let them!

* If you call for a ride home be prepared to wait until I finish my beer.

* If you ever get pregnant before marriage, there will be no abortion...
you will have the baby, and spend the rest of your life raising it,
spend all of your money on it and countless hours worrying about it.
(That one scared the crap out of me!)

* Family are the people who love you even when you screw up.

* You can only spend as much money as you take with you,
so only take what you can afford to spend.

* Never drink Cognac as a quick shot...
your head will explode.

* If the bathroom door is closed... knock!

* "If I had to choose between saving you or saving your mother...
I'd save your mom. I can always have more kids...
However, if I didn't save you, your mom would kill me.
It's one of those questions where there is no good answer."

That's pretty much the wisdom of my dad in a nutshell.
Smart and often smart-assed.

He has delighted me, pissed me off, protected me, made me laugh,taught me and always loved me no matter how angry I made him...
and believe me, I did test that.
He has made my life interesting and still does
Here's to my dad...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Boy do I miss this little gardener!

Yesterday was my first day home alone now that the
man has gone back to work.

A man rang the doorbell.
It took me some time to get there as I was on the patio out back.
By the time I got to the door, I could see he was
about to throw his leg over his bike to leave.
I called hello.
He was in his mid twenties,
riding a black bike that had seen better days.
Plain jeans, Duck tee shirt.
Clearly not selling anything and no one I knew.

He motioned in the direction of my back yard gate.
"Hi. I've seen that old car sitting there..."

Old car?
That's no old car!
"That's my clown car!"
(He looked surprised by that statement, but chose to ignore it.)
This was the second time this week that someone had assumed that my clown car was not running and unwanted.

"I'm looking for a car to fix up and buy, you know for a family car..."

I laughed.

"Actually, it runs and I use it."

"Really? Okay. Sorry to bother you."
He looked at it unsure if I was telling the truth.
"Thanks anyway."
He mounted his bike and waved as he pedaled off.

I walked out and looked at my car.
Honestly, I am puzzled.
Yes, it could use a bath.
Otherwise it's still green all over with relatively little damage beyond one scratch, a small dent and a cracked windshield.
What about it said unwanted and unused?

Maybe its the windshield thing.
Up where I used to live cracked windshields are common.
There is a great deal of ice and snow in the winters
in Dumb Potter's Hell.
Even once the snow is gone, the little rocks they use to make the roads safe remain.
Trucks fly past and toss them at your windshield.
The one time I replaced it... in August...
I was hit by a rock two days after I got X to install it!
That was the summer of 2009.
It took it a long time to go from nick to crack... and by then it had more nicks that aspired to be cracks.
My how those little nicks have grown!

I suppose I should have replaced it again.
(My insurance does not cover windshield nicks.)
But once I decided to move here,
we knew that we wanted to use it for a trade in.
The windshield was unlikely to be much of a money factor.

I peeked into its windows.
It does look rather abandoned when you do that.
There was my smock and lunch bag from my last day at work in January.
The seat cover on one side is half pulled off.
The blanket that I like to keep across the back seat
was bunched in a wad.
My "car book"... in case I'm stuck somewhere,
looked like it was crawling for cover under the driver's seat.
Lots of dust.
A vacuum would do wonders.

I guess it has been a while since I last drove it.
I think it time to give it a make-over.
I've got the tools...
Armor-All, Windex, shop-vac and the washing machine.
Maybe people will stop asking me if I want to sell it.

Poor clown car.
I owe it that much.
I bought it for a thousand bucks going on four years ago.
I've only had to replace the clutch and windshield.
The engine has just kept chugging.
Yep... the least I can do.
Besides, I don't want to have to wait and do it the
day before I start work again and
have a billion other things to get done before I get busy on it.

Its supposed to get warm today and the sun is supposed to shine.
I'm still waiting for that but its only 9:30.
That's my afternoon project.
Until then, its house work and job hunting.
I need to water plants.
Maybe I'll even wax it.