Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Things that Children Say

I am constantly entertained by the things my grandchildren say. And sometimes they teach me things I didn't know that I needed to learn. I think that every grandparent feels this way.

Recently, my seven year old grandson asked me,

 "Mamaw, do you ever get lonely?" 

"Why do you ask that?" I said.

"Because you call my Mom all the time."

Oh boy, did I learn a lesson there!

And when my daughter picked me up for lunch one day she chose a Chinese restaurant that I had never been to before. The boys, all three of them, were well-behaved and opened their fortune cookie at the end of the meal. I read Sam's fortune cookie, which said, "You will get lucky." Lucas told Sam, "You need to give that to my Mom, because she hasn't had any good luck lately." I almost died laughing!

My younger daughter has three girls. Allie is the middle child and has to share a room. The girls wanted a fish tank for their rooms, something small. The older sister teased Allie, telling her that she would have to share a fish tank with her baby sister. Allie wasn't having any of it and put her hands on her hip, " I have to share a room. I have to share everything with her! I am not sharing a fish!"

They each got their own fish.


Drive Through Zoo

Yesterday, when I had the day off, I took four of my grandchildren to a local Safari. First, we went to swimming lessons for my grandson. At 8:00 in the morning it was already hot. When I picked them up bright and early the little ones were still rubbing the sleep from their eyes (it is summer vacation, after all), so after the lesson ended I took them to McDonald's for breakfast. Since Mommy wasn't picking up the girls until lunch time I decided to take them to the Safari animal park. We bought food at the gate and had to be careful feeding the animals. When I took my grandson the first time he got scared at the Emu that tried to poke its long neck into the car window. The children were fascinated by the animals and were able to pet the pony, the deer and even the Zebra. I wouldn't roll down the window when the bull or the buffalo came near, however! At the end we parked the car and went to see the reptiles, the snakes (even an albino Python), and fed the tortoises. It was lots of fun and the kids are ready to go back, but not until I vacuum the car out!









Wednesday, July 20, 2016

God in the Public Schools

I recently read an article where the local sheriff was asked what change he would make to the criminal justice system. "Put God back into the schools," was his answer.

I thought of how different things were when I was growing up.

I can remember starting each day with the Pledge of Allegiance and "My Country tis of Thee" in the 1960's.

I can remember a 3rd grade teacher, who was a devout Baptist and Sunday School teacher, who mailed me some illustrated Bible story booklets when my family moved to Oklahoma.

I remember singing Christian hymns, "O Holy Night" and "Silent Night" at a 5th grade Christmas program.

I remember helping to decorate a school bulletin board for the holidays in the 6th grade. We picked a manger scene, with Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus.

I remember taking an English class in high school, called "The Bible as Literature" and reading the Psalms and the Song of Solomon, with football players, cheerleaders, student leaders, and bookworms, like myself.

As someone who didn't grow up in church, there were seeds planted along the way. It made a difference to me.




A Different Perspective

My daughter wrote this a few days ago. With two police officers in the family it makes our heart heavy to hear the headlines.

Tomorrow morning, my husband's alarm will go off at 4:15 am. So will mine in order to make sure he gets up. I'll go back to sleep, but only half way as I hear him get ready for work. I'll hear the Velcro on his bullet proof vest get readjusted, I'll hear the sound of the belt keepers as he puts them on, I'll hear him lift his foot on the foot board to tie up his boots, and finally, I'll hear the front door close, after he tells me bye, I'll see you after awhile, call me later. Never in our 14 years of being together have I been more scared of him walking out that door. Never in our 14 years have I thought someone would not only want to take his life, but the life of his co-workers. Never in our 14 years have I ever, EVER, thought I'd have to explain to my three daughters that daddy's job is truly, truly scary, and there is pure evil out there. It's more than catching bad guys. It's more than giving people tickets. It's more than assisting in an unattended death investigation. But he goes...he goes to work every day with no less determination and loyalty to serve this community. He goes to work, knowing damn well, there are people out there who hate him. Who hate what he does. Who doesn't give a rat's behind he has a wife and three beautiful daughters at home. He goes without hesitation. He goes and does a job that many others wouldn't think of ever, EVER doing. And for that, I am proud. And for that, I love him.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Heroes

I had the fortune to see a presentation by Michael Durant, the pilot who survived his downed Black Hawk helicopter during the Mogadishu attack in 1993. You may remember the movie, "Black Hawk Down" which tells that story. Durant was the only survivor from his crew and was held captive for 11 days until he was finally released. He has written a book, "In the Company of Heroes" and serves as a consultant to the military. He is married and the father of six children. He is a hero in my book.


Lost

I was off on Wednesday and decided to take a day trip to Tennessee to see a cousin. It was a beautiful day. Rain was expected later in the day, but the drive was filled with sunshine. It's less than two hours away and the road is through some of the prettiest country scenes imaginable, with hills and hollows and farms and pastures in the distance.

My cousin and I had a good visit and went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. I wanted to leave before dusk, as I don't have a GPS, but thought that I knew the roads like the back of my hand. I usually drive with my daughters and they have GPS. Up until a few years ago, I still followed maps and depended on Map Quest.

I was only about 30 minutes on my way home when the storm clouds opened up and a torrential downpour came beating down. Tree limbs were falling left and right in the road. On the road I usually take home, a tree had fallen in the road and was blocking the way. Cars were turning around. I followed two other cars, assuming they would lead to a detour. They eventually left me. I kept driving, thinking that surely I would see a sign or something. Nothing. I was driving the back roads of Middle Tennessee, lost in one hollow after another and no phone service. After about 15-20 miles of driving in the storm I came upon a little country church and pulled over. Phone service at last! I called my daughter and she was able to give me directions home from my location. 

It took me three hours to get home, twice as long as it should have. I am so thankful I found that little church. The storm had subsided by then and as I ran through the drive through at a fast food restaurant  the girl at the window pointed out, "Look over there. That's a beautiful double rainbow."

And there was. 




Father's Day


Today is Father's Day.

My father was a career soldier. He joined the Army after he graduated from high school and knew nothing but hard work from an early age. My mother was a stay-at-home Mom. They were young parents and raised five children. Although they divorced when I was grown they kept us together for 20 years and always put the family first. When money was tight, my Dad would take extra jobs to put food on the table. My parents took cleaning jobs on nights and weekends and eventually started an antique clock and restoration business. At one time we had over 30 clocks hanging on the walls, many of them chiming on the hour and half-hour.

I remember my father sitting at the dining room table many nights as he polished his brass and spit-polished his boots.

I remember my father getting up before daybreak and dress in his uniform to make PT by 6 a.m.

I remember especially the time he returned from Vietnam, surprising us as a cab dropped him off in front of our house. He got to meet my baby sister for the first time. She was 9 months old.

I remember the many moves we made across the country and overseas, tackling the moves and keeping up with five kids, ages 2-12. When we went overseas we had to wait more than a month to get our household goods and all of our belongings, not to mention, the family car. My parents were champions to get us enrolled in new schools, find us temporary housing, and never lose any of us at the airport!

My parents always managed to get us what we wanted for Christmas. I had to have a guitar when I was 13 years old. Standing next to the Christmas tree that year was a real guitar, just for me. I needed money to go to London on a high school trip when we lived in Germany. He managed to come up with the funds. The older I get the more I appreciate what my parents did for us, too often with limited resources.

My Dad helped my buy my first car at the age of 19. I had saved $700.00 and he loaned me the other $700.00 to buy a red Volkswagen beetle. I paid the loan back.

When I was a teen-ager, like every young person, I thought my parents were too strict. My siblings and I didn't have the freedoms that young people now have. There was no dating or "hanging out" before a certain age. We had household chores to do. It was ingrained from an early age that we were a military family and our actions could influence my father's career.

My father wasn't a soapbox type of Dad. He didn't lecture us a lot. We knew what was expected of us.
He showed us what it meant to have a work ethic. He didn't have to tell us what it is.
He showed us what is meant to be patriotic by serving his country.
He showed us what it meant to be responsible by taking care of his family.

I'm sure there are a lot of Dads just like him. Let us honor them today.