Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Beginning of Change

Change is coming to the home of Jimmie Earl. As sure as the wind blows out of the west in this part of the nation, change is coming. You all know that Prof is moving to Montana. Well, yesterday she came home and began repacking stuff. She and I labored over many of her 34 boxes of books, sorting and resorting. She has a limited amount of space in her vehicle, so she wants to maximize quality over quanitity...except for her books. She narrowed down the amount of boxes of books to go to Montana to 5. The rest she put in storage, along with personal stuff she had stacked in our garage. I agreed to or maybe insisted that she keep her Christmas decorations here instead of storage. Today, she is sorting stuff upstairs in her room, determining what goes into storage, what stays here and what she can possibly cram into every available corner of her car.
One week and two days, and counting, and she will be leaving. I tell myself as a fellow educator that this is a wonderful opportunity for her. As a father, I tell myself that I can bear to watch her go. Now whether I can convince my inner self of all of this is a different story. I know that she will do a great job teaching high school. I know that she is a mature adult able to take care of herself, and I know she will be okay. I also know that I will miss seeing her. Hopefully she will be here for Thanksgiving and also at Christmas. That's not too long.
So readers, just keep us in your thoughts. It's hard to see children spread their wings, but I sorta consider myself the wind beneath her wings. I want her to soar!
Good luck, and God speed, Prof.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Remembering Dad

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. He died in 1968 at the age of 52. He was a cancer victim. Sometimes it is hard for me to picture him in my mind anymore. But the things I remember about him are more than just what he looked like.
Dad was an executive. He wore starched white shirts every day. When he was home, he wore long baggy shorts in the summer, and in cold weather he had the ugliest mustard yellow pair of heavy twill pants and a moth eaten brown sweater that he wore when working outside. He loved to garden and I think we had every imaginable tree and plant in our HUGE yard. (I never could mow that yard to suit him.)
Dad loved his family. He was an excellent provider. He exalted Mom and because she was the only woman in the house, he insisted that she be treated with the utmost of respect. The most trouble I ever got into with him was because I "sassed" Mom.
Dad took his faith very seriously. He was a big worker in his church. He gave his tithe and an unending amount of service.
Dad loved his toys. He had a speedboat, then progressed to a pontoon boat on which we partied alot.
Dad loved to fish. Living on a lake gave him ample opportunity to do what he loved. When you couldn't find him, just look on the end of the pier, and there he would sit in his old lawn chair, feet propped on the rail, fishing pole in the water.
Dad loved to entertain. He was an excellent griller, had a grill installed in the family room fireplace, and cooked the best steaks around. He loved having people around.
Dad hated his cancer. He fought like a trouper the whole time he was sick. The last 30 minutes of his life he told his doctor, "what are you going to do now, 'cause this sure as hell isn't working." Then he was gone.
38 years later, I may not recall everything about my dad, but these are the most important things. These are the things I hold near and dear in my heart. Happy Birthday, Dad!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Oh Gosh!!!

I have never been one to get too excited about much. But "OH MY GOSH!" my kids are making me gray before my time. Well, if I had hair it would be gray totally or even white by now. All in a short span, both of our children have thrown me curve balls.
First, Lil Bro, our son and his wife announced that Till and I are going to be grandparents again. It has been 13 years since the last grandchild. I wonder if they still are made the same way. This is their first child and they are almost as thrilled as we are!!!! I perused the garage and located the hand made cradle that we used for our children and Kiddo, and the rocking chair, and the rocking horse and car seat. It's all there awaiting the big arrival. This is so exciting. We decided 13 years ago that the best part about being grandparents is that we can spoil them and send them home. What fun. It's already fun to listen to the two of them talk about names and "how are we going to afford this or that." I sit back and grin and just say that "it will all work out."
Then a day or two later, Professor tells us she is moving to Montana. Now there's a real curve ball. Who in their right mind moves to Montana on purpose? Prof does. She wants to teach, has the opportunity to do so in MONTANA!!! Her biggest class will be 19 students. Oh to have a class of 19 students.
All weekend long we have teased her about being the only one in town that everyone will know before she gets there. Being a single "school marm" in a town of 352 people will be interesting. Every cowboy in a 50 mile radius will be knocking on her door. And she's never been on a horse!!!
So Tilly and I are just sitting back and waiting for all of this to happen. It will be an interesting year for us all. Keep reading, cause the ol' blog will be full of updates from my point of view of what's going on.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Vacations: Heaven or Heck!

Summertime brings thoughts of going on vacation. Tilly and I have had some really good times on vacation, but we've had a few "rough spots" too.
The first trip we ever took was our honeymoon. It was great. All that one could hope for, once we got used to being with each other 24/7. The only glitch was that we decided to go to a "drive-in" movie in a strange state, in a strange city. Don't ask why we decided this, it wouldn't make sense to any of you, but we did. As I remember, "The Wild Bunch" was the movie playing. It was so bad that we decided to leave mid-movie. But... we couldn't find our way out of the theater, so we parked again, and slept until the movie was over, then followed the crowd out of the place!
Traveling with children was and is still an experience in itself. The first trip we took with Professor, at age 3 months, was to eastern Kentucky for Christmas with Tilly's family. She was a good rider then, and the only drawback on this excursion was getting tangled up in traffic in Cincinnati. For 2 hours, we moved ahead one car-length at a time. Prof got hungry, so Mom whips out the baby food jars and feeds her as we are trying to merge. Needless to say, she got her tummy full, and slept the entire last 2 hour leg of the trip, then kept us up most of the night, after we had traveled 9 hours, after working a full day.
The next trip we took was with two children. We went to "Holiday World." No glitches, but we found this quaint Italian restaurant, where the people who ran the place loved the kids. We went back there for every meal while we were there, and were treated like royalty.
The summer we went to Bear Lake near Traverse City, Michigan was a blast. We loaded up the old 9 passenger station wagon with a week's worth of clothes, toys, food, 4 people and a dog. In Grand Rapids we suddenly were besieged with a horrible racket. I pulled over along the freeway and got out and looked under the car. The muffler and entire tailpipe from manifold to rear end was dragging from one bracket. We exited at the next possible place. Lo and behold, there was a muffler shop. I pulled in, went in and poured out my tale of woe to the guy who ran the place. He was ready to close, but agreed to stay open and fix us up. About an hour later, we were on our way, good as new, but $80.00 poorer. I warned him in advance that I would have to write him a check. He took it in good faith, knowing that he would never see us again. We had a blast that week. We rented a friend's small cabin for the week, swam, boated, and ate. Oh yes, when we left the cabin, Tilly accidently left a Wick's sugar cream pie in the freezer. The kids have NEVER let her forget it.
Then there was the trip home from Kentucky where we took a different route than usual, and would be shorter by 15 miles according to Uncle Jay, and I kept missing my exit. Three times we went across the bridge from Ohio back into Kentucky and had to turn around and come back. The forth time was a charm. Both kids were young adults this time, and not only did they laugh their asses off at Dad, they still remind me about it. We got into a snow storm on that trip back in our home state, pulled of at an IHOP, where we belly-laughed thru dinner at the waitress's expense. She spent the entire time we were in the restaurant, with a glob of cole slaw on her face. Had this woman never heard of a mirror?
Since the kids have left home, Tilly and I have vacationed in Michigan at Ludington three or four times. It's a grand little town. It is located on the beautiful coastline of Lake Michigan. It has a wonderful beach and quaint shops and the most beautiful sunsets in the world. The last time we went, I videotaped 45 minutes of sunset, then made Prof and Lil Bro sit and watch it. We wanted to share our vacation with them. Still photos just wouldn't work. The last time I got out that video to watch it, it had been taped over with episodes of "Friends." Who would have done that? I wonder!!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Savers, collectors, or pack-rats?

Bear in mind as you read this, that Tilly and I live in a very modest house, about 1650 sq.ft. with a garage and my woodworking shop which sits out away from everything else. All of this on a 75'x125' city lot. Just keep this in the back part of your brain, okay?
Sunday afternoon, after my nap, I was out perusing my flowers and yard, and decided to take a look into my shop and garage. In the shop, which is a mess right now, mainly because it's too damn hot to work out there, and I need to clean it up, sweep up the sawdust, and generally clean, up in the loft, I found the following stuff. There is an old suitcase full of Barbie dolls, clothes shoes and accessories. There is a box of Barbie furniture, another doll trunk full of some other doll and her wardrobe. There is a huge storage bin of children's books. There is another two bins containing photographs dating back to the early days of our marriage. There is also two pictures we used to have hanging on the wall and a bin of outdated craft items, that we will probably never use again. Along with that, is a bin with silver trays, pitchers and etc which we received as wedding gifts. We are not the "silver" type of entertainers, tho we have been known to "put on the dog" once in a while. All of this is neatly arranged and labelled.
Strolling on to my garage, I was amazed at the "stuff" that was stashed in every conceivable corner and nook. Professor has some of her things temporarily stacked in there(part of her 34 boxes of books) so I overlook that. Lil Bro has some stuff there too, like a skateboard, a scooter and basketball and bikes. I overlook that too. What I see is a shelving unit that is 8 feet long, 4 feet deep and 10 feet high stacked with Christmas decorations. No shith, there is nothing on those shelves but Christmas stuff. We normally erect and decorate approximately 9 Christmas trees during the holiday season. We also put up one of those minature villages with at least 50 buildings, trees, people and so on. You have to store all of that paraphanalia somewhere. Did I mention that I like to decorate for Christmas? There is also a coffee table in a state of being refinished, a file cabinet full of music and other whatnot, Professor's old toy box, Kiddo's old toy box, along with a freezer, coolers, garden tools and lawn mower and snow blower. This is all on the floor. Overhead is my old toy barn and farm impliments(toys) Kiddo's rocking horse, Professor and Lil Bro's cradle, more Christmas decorations which belonged to my mother, old checks and receipts and a plethora of junk I can only imagine. I found my mom's collection of ceramic ducks and another box labelled "paper weights." These too came from my mom"s house when she died. There is a complete set of every day dishes up there that belong to some one of the kids. Who knows which one.
Now, let me tell you about our collections inside the house. We have a shelf around two sides of our master bath that has ceramic, wood and various other types of birds. We also have birdhouses scattered about. In the bedroom, you see Tilly's collection of teddy bears. But the real "treasures" are in the kitchen. We collect tins. Currently we have 120 tins of various sizes and shapes. We also posess two complete sets of fine china, along with 3, count 'em, sets of everyday dishes. One of which we never use, but it's the one we started up housekeeping with and neither of us want to part with.
In the basement, or what we call "the dungeon" is more Christmas stuff (this goes out of doors) and other junk we "just don't want to part with."
Now, let me make it perfectly clear, I am as much to blame for this saving and hoarding of stuff as Tilly is. Did I mention that I like to decorate for Christmas? At last count, I have 19 different Nativity Scenes. Complete! Some are very tiny, but one is nearly life size, and lights up. I love to display that one out front where our neighbors across the street, who don't believe in Christmas, can fully enjoy it. It is garish and probably in very poor taste, but...did I mention that I like to decorate for Christmas?
After my tour, I came back into the house and asked Tilly what we were going to do with all this stuff? She said we would just keep it and let the kids worry about it when we are gone. So, Prof and Lil Bro, beware. You have your work cut out for you once of these days. He, he, he!!!

Monday, July 10, 2006

I Love.......

  • Wiggling my toes in the wet sand near the water at the beach
  • M & M's
  • plastic hangers
  • Dairy Queen Chicken strips w/gravy
  • The smell of new mown hay
  • Clear, crisp fall days
  • The first snow fall
  • Decorating for Christmas
  • Going for a drive in the country, even at $3.09 a gallon
  • The smell of sheets dried outdoors
  • Paper clips, staplers, and post it notes
  • Reading
  • Chilly, rainy days...good for reading
  • Fireplaces
  • Horses
  • Walking in the woods in the fall
  • Teaching kids
  • Family gatherings
  • Going to Lowe's and Hobby Lobby
  • Chocolate...but you already knew that!
  • Making lazy love
  • Sing with by buddies

What do you love?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Regrets? I've Had a Few!

But then again, haven't we all. If we all delve back into the past, and take a look at some of the skeltons that still lurk in the great closet of life, we have to adimt we all have some regrets. Or at least wonder if some of the "shoulda, woulda, couldas" of life would have made a BIG difference in our lives if we'd have done things differently.
Love: Ah yes! I think we all, If we have the cojones to admit it, have the one BIG love of our lives that we either acted on or didn't act on. I personally did act on the BIG love of my life, and have been happily married to her for almost 37 years. I know a person struggling right now with this delema. I think this person, I will call Jan, is blaming himself for a love not working out. As a very close friend of Jan's, I can say that he is not to blame. The other party was not considerate of Jan's feelings and circumstances then and isn't now. There has to be willingness for compromise on the part of both parties, and there wasn't. I believe in the adage, "tis far better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." I had another romance once, too, but it didn't work out and I feel that there was a better plan for me. Now I KNOW it!
My biggest regret is that I didn't have the nerve to move. I was offered a better job in a town far away from family and friends many many years ago. My wife and I were newly married and expecting our first child. I could not see that moving would be to our benefit. I still wonder how things would have played out had we moved. Maybe we wouldn't have liked being that far away from family, and maybe we would have moved back. But I will always wonder. The job market hasn't always been kind to me, and just maybe it would have been better if I had just had the nerve to try something different.
I regret not finishing my college education. Yes, I have an associates degree, but I really wanted a bachelor's. I never finished it. Now, at age 61, I really don't have the desire or the ambition to pursue it anymore.
I regret not becoming a teacher. That goes with the degree thing above, but at least I am pursuing that career path by being able to work with "my" kids as an instructional aide, and had an experience of a lifetime teaching prep English at a junior college a few years ago. I was very good at it, too. Maybe it is something that I can do again later down the road.
Like I said, I have a few regrets. But very few. I guess I am lucky. My advice to those of you harboring regrets is to just bite the bullet, hold your chin up high, and get on with your life. It is to short to worry about "shoulda, woulda, couldas."