Friday, December 30, 2005

This is our daughter Katherine and her latest family. This is truly his, hers and ours. I don't really know the children of her new husband because I have never met them. In fact I really don't know her new husband other than I have seen him but she seems to be happy so that is what counts. With this addition to the family we now have 20 grandchildren and two more on the way one of which will be a girl. Mercy, that makes me feel old and I am only ..9 years old.

Ah kids, you think when they leave home and are out on their own that you can sit back and pat yourself on the back for doing the job the best you could. Not true!! If I live to be a hundred (heaven forbid) the kids will always have problems and Mom and Dad will be involved in some way. The key is to not get too involved and let them work things out on their own. My oldest son, Kip, got so tired of Dad giving advice that he finally told me, "Dad, this is really none of your business." I felt like someone had slapped my face but it was good that he did that. Now I counsel with my wife as to how much we should be involved, if any at all, in their problems.

I love my kids, obviously, but they still produce grey hairs (or is it gray hairs). Tomorrow or on Monday I am going to start writing the saga of my son Kip. He is the oldest and he called Christmas day to ask when I was going to write about him. At least I know now that they are reading my writings. I told him I was saving the best for last. That kid has scars all over his body from his exploits.

I am surprised I have not had one comment about the upcoming football games. I just knew some of those Texans who read this would say something about USC who is going to do some serious damage to the Texas pride. Humph!!

Enough for today. Once New Years is over I should get back to telling more stories.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Report on Mom

Well Mom has had her procedures done and it is good and it is not so good. Fortunately there is no cancer and that made us breathe a sigh of relief, however, she has diverticulosis throughout her entire intestinal tract and that has some concern for the doctor. She is to go and see a surgeon and get some advice as to what the future holds for her. The one thing they don't want is for her to get and infection and have it break and spread throughout her body. I don't think I want that either, I mean after all who would fix my meals and wait on me. You would think the woman would have more consideration for me than to go and have something like that happen. I am a man and I need pampering.

She went through the procedures very well. I think she took advantage of me though 'cause when we got home she had me waiting on her hand and foot. This morning I told her that vacation time was over and to get with the program or there would have to be an attitude adjustment. I am so mean. (grrroowwwllllll) My talk must have worked for she is now going to
Wal-Mart to buy something for herself. (Some attitude adjustment)

Have you ever notice how many Texans are doing blogs? Fortunately the ones I know of do not like the Dallas Cowboys thank goodness. What do you mean you don't even like football? That is un-American. If you want to go to a game where you know nothing about the rules but like to watch it is hockey. I can't stand to watch hockey on television but take me to a rink and I am enjoying myself immensely. When we lived in Bakersfield, CA we had the Condors; pitiful team but fun to watch. I am embarrassed to say I have not been to a hockey game this year. Of course the only hockey here is college hockey but still fun to watch.

I am babbling so will quit and try and convince my wife to not spend too much. Bye.

Remember.............. GO BRONCOS and USC TROJANS

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas is gone for another year.

Well, Christmas has come and gone and now there are nothing but memories and a few objects to play with. My wife gave me the neatest gift and it was homemade. It was a card describing and leading up to my gift (which was a gift certificate to Cabelas). The gift certificate was great but the way she did it was the icing on the cake. We have a picture in our home of one old goat and one cute chick and she used that theme to lead me up to the gift. It was hilarious.

My son, Michael shocked us all. He handmade a cribbage board shaped like a rainbow trout. Now the part that is shocking is that Michael has never made something like that in his life. He did a great job. My other presents all consisted of fishing tools, supplies and even money to buy next years license. Can't get much better than that.

Cheryl got a lot of Red Hat Society items. Okay, enough about Cheryl and back to ME.

It was a good Christmas. We spent most of the day at the jail presenting a Christmas message to those who are serving time. They all seemed to really appreciate it. Many made the comment that they did not expect anyone to come and see them. Made us feel real good.

Tomorrow Cheryl goes to the hospital for an colonoscopy and an endoscopy. She is not the happiest woman right at this moment. I keep telling her that they will do both procedures at the same time and meet in the middle so they can wave to each other. She is understandably nervous especially about swallowing the tube down her throat. She chokes up on a pill.

Guess that is about all for now. Playoffs are about here. GO BRONCOS

Thursday, December 22, 2005

No More Until After Christmas

The kids, Mike and Leslie, arrived last night with their two dogs, Ruby and Major. All at once my house is in a great commotion and poor Gus, my cat, went and hid in the bedroom and refuses to come out. The dogs are both dachshund and full of life. Within a very short time my trains had been knocked off the track, Cheryl's Christmas decorations moved around in a very rude manner and we were transported back in time to when the kids were young and full of it. It might have been dogs causing the stir but the results were the same.

At 2:30 am we awoke to dogs barking and Leslie trying to shush them but to no avail. I couldn't help but laugh it was so pathetic. Just like kids when they have to go to the bathroom you have to get them up and let them go.

Got to feel the baby kick last night. Leslie brought her pictures from the doctor and we are taking bets on the sex of the child. Grandpa says it is a boy and that is all their is to it. Of course if it should happen to be a cute little girl I guess I will have to spoil her a little bit.

I guess this is it for this week. Last night my heart was doing the skip a beat routine and woke me up just a gasping. Now my poor brain is fried and I can't think of anymore to say. Think I will close with a Christmas something or other. Oh, Merry Christmas to everyone who reads this old Irishman's ramblings. To Jason who is in Japan with the Marine Corp keep them flying and we are all proud of our servicemen in this household. To Lara, Laura, Amie, MiK, Janet, Ron, Holly and anyone else I might have missed; slow down guys and enjoy being lazy 'cause it is GREAT!!!

Well, was going to add a picture here but somehow got it all fouled up and can't seem to fix it so Merry Christmas anyway.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Nothing serious today

Nothing serious today. Couldn't sleep much last night so my brain is not focusing. Received this from my brother-in-law in South Carolina and thought it would do for today. I smiled anyway.

The Blonde Year In Review:

January - Took her new scarf back to the store because it was too tight.

February - Couldn't work in a pharmacy because the bottles wouldn't fit into the typewriter.

March - Got excited when she finished a jigsaw puzzle in 6 months because the box said "2-4 years."

April - Was trapped on an escalator for hours when the power went out.

May - Couldn't make Kool-Aid because 8 cups of water won't fit into those little packets.

June - Couldn't learn to water ski because she couldn't find a lake with a slope.

July - After losing in a breaststroke swimming competition, complained to the judges that the other swimmers were using their arms.

August - Told her blonde friend to hurry when trying to get into their locked car using a coat hanger because it was starting to rain and the top was down.

September - When asked what the capital of California was: answered "C."

October - Hates M &M's because they are so hard to peel.

November - Baked a turkey for 4 days because the instructions said 1 hour per pound and she weighed 120.

December - Couldn't call 911 because there was no "11" on any phone button.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Our Daughter Leslie

This is a picture of our youngest daughter Leslie and her husband Mike. They have been married for a year now and still just as crazy as they were when they were dating. In fact the thing I like the most about them is that they have not stopped dating one another. Mike has been a very welcome addition to our family.

This is Leslie's second marriage. The first one was supposed to be the perfect one and all looked very good until after they got married then things started happening unfortunately. I enjoyed her first husband because we would go shooting or whatever. Come to find our later that he literally hated our family with me being the exception. Leslie quickly found that he had a dark side that he had kept very well hidden. He was into pornography major time, could not hold a job and became physically abusive which is something I have no tolerance for. At first I thought she was making a mistake in getting a divorce but now I support it 110%.

Mike, on the other hand, is what every parent hopes for in a husband for their daughter. Leslie and Mike both work for Utah Valley State College in the aeronautics program. Mike is a licensed A&P mechanic and is working on getting his commercial pilot's license; Leslie is a student counselor for the school helping students get whatever they need to get into the flying program. She is a licensed hot air balloon pilot. I have often wondered how you pilot a hot air balloon. They go where they want to and you are at their mercy. As far as having enough hot air, welllllll, Leslie is a woman so there is enough there to keep the balloon afloat for a looooong time.

They are expecting their first child in April, (I think) and are very excited. It has been a hard thing for them to accomplish due to Leslie having some medical problems that have prevented child bearing. Maybe it is because her mother never gave her the birds and bees talk, I don't know. I still believe babys come from the pumpkin patch and that is all there is to it. (Or is it the cabbage patch) Bunch of little farts I do know that.

This is the pair on the big lake in northern Idaho. The one I can not spell properly.

I envy them in a way. They have traveled Europe, Costa Rica, and other places together. They have some great stories to tell.

I guess I am proud of all my children. Each has their struggles but don't we all.

Well, I have to go and get Cheryl off. She has not been feeling too well this week. A lot of bronchial stuff going around and right now she feels and acts like a Mama Grizzley on the prowl. The cat and I just stay out of the way and let her do her thing. Oh there might be a little teasing but it is mostly from the cat.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Got up this morning and found a new 4 inches of snow on the ground and it looks so peaceful. All the time we lived in Bakersfield, CA I think it snowed once and that was a very freak storm. It put down about 8 inches in one night and the town almost closed down. Bakersfield is known for the heat not the cold.

I remember, (yep it is going to be one of those blogs), back in 1948 and 1949 the storms were so bad in Teton Valley that we could not drive on country roads for over three months. We had to be careful walking near the power lines because the snow was so deep that they would be hidden and one could get shocked. We would go to school in a horse drawn covered sleigh which had a pot belly stove to keep us warm. When the roads were finally cleared we could stand on the top of the banks and look down on those big old cats, rotary plows and other machinery trying to clear the roads. There are pictures of the train trying to get to our valley and it had a great big rotary plow on the front. Men would have to shovel the snow down into the rotary because it could not reach the top well enough.

I love blizzards. I used to stand and watch the wind blow the snow. It seemed to have a soothing effect on me. Oft times I would go out to the shed where the cattle were and make me a bed out of straw right next to one of the cows and just lay there enjoying her warmth and listening to the wind howl while watching the snow blow. Ah, those were the good old days. We don't get snow like we used to.

As kids we would saddle the horse, put on the skis and let him pull us up and down the road. We would take our skis and hike up the hills so we could slide back down them. Kids today have it too easy. I loved to put on my snowshoes and go up the canyon. It was always so peaceful and quiet.

Later, when snow machines started taking over it didn't matter if the roads were closed or not. Everyone was in town. School would be closed but that didn't mean we had to stay home. Of course there is always a down side to things. After every real good snow there is usually a real good cold snap. Temperatures would plummet to minus 30 degrees and that does not make for enjoyable cow milking. They seem to object to cold hands on a warm udder. Hmmmmmmmm.

Now that I am older and don't have to work in the snow and cold I am enjoying it more. A good bowl of popcorn, a good movie while Cheryl is cooking some goodies, oh yeah that is the life. If there is snow to be shoveled I get Cheryl to do it and I instruct her on the proper procedure from the window. (I wish) Have a nice day everyone.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

You Can Never Be Too Careful

This picture is my grandson Brandon being a little smart butt. He is imitating his grandpa's belly. Personally I don't see the resemblance and I think I will thump him for it. He is a character.

About never being too careful. It is amazing who actually reads these blogs and I like the communication going back and forth and, hopefully, the new friends made. Yesterday I got a comment from a lady name Holly who lives in Ashtabula, Ohio. Now what is nice about this is that Holly is our niece that we have not heard from or about for a long, long time. It was great to not only hear from her but when I referenced her blog there was a nice picture of her and her boy friend.

Here I was about to say something about my in-laws and now I can't because they found me. :)

Holly's mother is my wife's sister and oh what a pain in the south end. They live in South Carolina and if there was ever a redneck it is Janet. She evens talks with that drawl and I know she came from Ohio where the drawl did not exist. Hi Janet.

Reminds me of a time that we lived in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Now there is a place that God took his wrath out on. I know that when the creation was just about finished God looked at what was left, just wadded it up, threw it at the earth and there was the beginning of Rock Springs. There are places around that town that are so ugly even the devil would reject them.

Anyway, we moved there to work in the oil fields and at the time I didn't think I knew anyone. Who should be living right across the street from us but my cousin. We really hadn't had much to do with them in the past but Cheryl and she became very good friends and we had a lot of fun together.

I am truly rambling today. Need to take a couple of days off and collect my thoughts. Had a light dusting of snow last night which hurt the attitude of getting out and doing something useful. Lucky for me there are three NFL games on today and one of them is the BRONCOS.

Have a nice day everyone and be safe.

Friday, December 16, 2005

My daughter Kimberly

This is a picture of my daughter Kimberly, her husband Robin, Jeremy (my monster) and Brandon (who likes to tease his grandpa). We were in Cour de Lane, Idaho on vacation this past summer when this picture was taken. (No, I did not spell the name right)

Kim is my next to the youngest and the spitting image of my mother. My mother died when I was six months old so I never got to know her but my aunt gave me a picture of my mom when she was approximately 13 years old. We took a picture of Kim when she was about the same age and they looked like identical twins. As I listened to my aunt talk about my mom it seems that Kim has her personality as well. Onery, but loveable!!!

Everyone tells me that Kim and I are alike personality wise so the loveable part really shines forth. Kim is a very hard worker, very dedicated to what she does and very protective of her family. She likes the outdoors and enjoys camping, some fishing, atv riding and etc. She has been our child who does not like changes nor will she try anything new until she is forced to. She went to Korea to live for a couple of years and I couldn't believe she actually ate and did the things she told us about. That kid would not even try shrimp when she was home. In Korea she ate kimchi, seaweed, and all sorts of things. She even ate a silk worm one time, or so I understand.

While there she would write home crying about the language and how hard it was and how she couldn't understand it. After about the fourth month of being there the crying stopped and now she speaks Korean fluently.

All of my kids have done things to their bodies that probably make Cheryl and I look like abusive parents. Each one has scars of some sort from growing up. I can assure anyone reading this that I did not do it, Cheryl maybe, but not me. There were many times I felt like putting some knots on heads but did not. Kim's scar in on her ear. She was horsing around with her siblings one day and somehow managed to fall on the coffee table we had. The edge was so sharp and the fall so hard that she cut her ear in half. Just another run to the hospital. Being the 5th of six kids we knew by then that it was not life threatening and took it in stride.

She is an accomplished string bass player. When we lived in California she placed 4th in the state for her bass playing abilities. We always thought she would make music her major in college but she enjoys music for just that; the enjoyment. She played in the university orchestra and was first chair and has played in community concerts as well. I guess we can say we are pleased with her accomplishments.

It was through Kim that we met our Colorado and alien abducted daughter, Amber. They were roommates in college and have maintained a friendship all these years although I wonder who could be friends with someone who sends moose poop for a gift. It was also in college that they learned to play cribbage and now our whole family plays cribbage and Cheryl, my wife, is the biggest cheater I have ever seen. No one is that lucky all the time and I am a good player yet she still beats me. Cheater, I am telling you.

Have a nice day. :)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

It is a ho hum day.

I think this about describes my day so far. Cheryl and I both went to see the doctor and the results were not the best. We will survive though.

I owe Lara and Laura an apology. I did not realize that I had two different people reading my blog (thank you by the way). I appreciate your comments and glad you like what I write. I have read Lara's blog (I think that is the right one) but not Laura's. Man talk about confusing a simple mind.

So if I understand everyone correctly, Lara is from Wisconsin, home of the (gag, choke, barf, and etc.) Green Bay Packers, and Laura is from the evergreen state and I don't know what that is.

Then to top it off I received a comment from Mik who resides in Texas. Ah Texas. I have only been to Texas a couple of times and I am sorry but I realized I did not lose anything in Texas to make me want to return. When I drove through the Abilene (I think) area I could not see what would make anyone want to live there. Then to top it all off I suppose Mik is a (serious gagging, choking, barfing) Dallas Cowboy fan. The only time I liked the Dallas Cowboys was when Don Meredith was there. I guess it might have something to do with me being a Denver Bronco fan.

Actually I appreciate all the comments and yes I do make my wife look cute don't I. I am telling you the woman would be nothing without me. Ha,ha. I know Amber is reading this and probably my sister in law Janet so as they say here, Thtttttttttttttttt. which is a raspberry.

Tomorrow I will try and write something worthwhile.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My Favorite Girlfriend

This is a picture of my favorite girlfriend. She is the best thing that ever happened to me and I remind her that life would be boring without me. We will be celebrating our 40th anniversary this coming January 3 and I can not think of anything in our lives I would change.

I have this friend, Amber in Colorado, the one who was abducted by aliens, whom I would say send us a present but................... the last time she did that she sent me a moose turd from Alaska. Those aliens must have really did a number on her. I have a picture of them somewhere but can't find it right now.

Well most of the Christmas shopping is done, the cards have been sent and now it gets down to the best part of Christmas; the goodies. Cheryl makes great fudge candy, even better cookies and throws in a little egg nog (non-alcoholic) for good measure. We like to watch Christmas movies and snuggle down with each other on the couch. Sometimes we unplug the telephone just so we can enjoy an evening by ourselves with no other interruptions.

If I can remember I will start telling the story of Kip, my oldest son. Believe me that kid has had more things happen to him than most would want in eternity.

I guess today is nothing but ramblings so will close and go start the car for Cheryl. It is about 2 degrees outside with a slight dusting of snow last night.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

PW (Finale)

We buried Pat in August of 1971. I learned something that day. Even though we had been prepared by God for the inevitable we found we were never really prepared. We believe in miracles but it wasn't to be for us. Through the trauma of the hospital, the funeral and all the things involved nothing prepared me for the time I seen the casket being lowered into the ground. Then is when I truly realized I would not see him again in this life. I cried.

For many days after I was very distraught and constantly prayed to God to let me see him again just to say goodbye one more time. It was in this state that I approached God one more time and as I was praying I felt as if someone was talking to me. "Pat is fine. He is with me and doing the work I need him to do at this time." I can not explain why but immediately I felt calmed. I accepted wholeheartedly this explanation and even though I still might shed some tears I am very calm about where he is and why.

Many, many years later my wife and I were invited to San Diego, CA for a Denver Broncos and San Diego Charger football game. (Stupid Broncos lost) The people we were staying with had a daughter that came to visit at the same time and we met her family as well. She had a little 4 year old boy whom we found out had almost the same exact problem as Pat did. Because of medical advancements he had been operated on with no complications and a full life ahead of him. We couldn't help but feel that maybe Pat had something to do with this boy's success. Maybe the doctors learned from Pat and now knew how to correct the problem. It gives us some solace to think that way.

I have a new friend (I hope) name Lara who has been reading my blogs. Lara, I hope this story of Pat might help your father. I will admit that if it wasn't my faith in God I don't know how I would have responded to Pat's death.

As a side note. Cheryl and I never did get Pat to be potty trained. How it happened was through one of the nurses at the medical center. She was a large, but very loving, black lady and one day she looked at Pat and said, "Pat you are too big of a boy to be wearing diapers and I don't want to see them again." Immediately he stopped wearing diapers and never had a problem from that date forth.

Monday, December 12, 2005

PW (Part 2)

When we lived in Ohio we attended church one day and the lesson was on sin and punishment. One man decided to make our family an example. He stated, in front of everyone, that the reason Pat was sick and our family was having problems was because we were sinners. Needless to say the hackles on the back of my neck stood up. The rest of the people proceeded to tell him he was wrong. The next week we had church leaders from Cleveland visiting and I'll be doggoned but he did it again. This time even the church leaders told him that was not true and he should not be making statements like that. The third week, believe it or not, he was giving a talk and it was as if he were addressing our family only. In front of God, congreation and everyone else he once again said we were sinners and that was why we were having problems. I could have exploded. I later told my wife that if I did not believe the gospel to be true I would not set foot in that church again.

Enough said on that. When we knew that Pat was going to be operated on in a few days we were in a great turmoil. The doctors were giving him a 50-50 chance of surviving and that was being liberal. At the time I was working for Pepsi-Cola as a route driver. I was driving home from my route in Berthoud, CO and of course thinking about Pat's situation when I had a vision (if you will) of Pat lying in a powder blue coffin with a beautiful picture of the Grand Teton mountains behind it. It was so distinct and clear that it caused me to wonder about it for quite some time.

The day before his operation I got permission to take him to Stapleton airport where we could watch the planes come and go. This was a favorite pasttime of mine and he enjoyed being with me when ever he could. We often would go to the local airport and watch the planes. As I look back now it was another item that should have convinced me that the prognosis was not good. What hospital and doctor lets a patient go do something like that the day before the operation? We had a great time that day.

The next morning we got up about 6:00 am and prepared for the coming operation. I was in scrubs so I could go with him to the operating prep room and of course the nurses had been in doing their thing with Pat. About 7:30 the surgeon came in to check him. He spent a couple of minutes talking to him, checked him out and said, "Looks like we are all ready." He then left the room and closed the door behind him. Pat was on the floor lying down, which was something the nurses never did get used to. He liked the cold floor so they just said okay. As he was lying there he suddenly looked up to his Mother and held out his arms. Cheryl picked him up and he gave her the biggest hug I had ever seen. After a couple of moments with his Mom he held out his arms to me. I took him and held him and he did the same thing to me. As he was holding me I felt his little body go very ridgid. I jerked him back and looked into his eyes and I could tell immediately what had happened............. He had died! I have hunted and killed enough animals to know the death look in the eyes.

I yelled for the doctor who was just standing outside the door and I think all of Denver heard me. Immediately there were doctors and nurses and machines all over the place. We were ushered out of the room but could still see what was going on. They tried to save him but it was to no avail. We stood there in shock. You can expect things like this but when it actually happens you find you are never really prepared for it.

Being a religious man I believe in the workings of the spirit. It was not 5 minutes from the time that Pat had died then who should come walking down the corridor but our church leader. He was visiting in Denver and just felt like coming over to see how things were going. We needed him right then and were grateful that he was there.

Tomorrow I will finish the story of PW but today I want to close with this. We never seen Pat's body after the time that the doctors took over. He was to be buried in Idaho and the hospital took over, made all the arrangements for transfer and we proceeded to drive from Denver to my home of Driggs, Idaho.

The night before the acutal funeral we had a viewing for our friends and relatives. I had never been inside the funeral home in Driggs so that night was the first time for me and the first time since he died that I had seen Pat. As I entered the room where his body lay I beheld him lying in a powder blue casket with a big beautiful mural of the Grand Teton mountains right behind him. Do you think the Lord was preparing me? I do.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

P.W. (Part 1)

P.W. is actually my son Patrick Wayne. He was born in North Madison, Ohio in 1968 a healthy, robust 9 lb (forgot the oz. but I am sure his Mother has not) boy. About six weeks after his birth we took him for a checkup and the Dr. showed some concern. Apparently he had a sound in his heart that was not normal and further tests were needed. To make a very long part of this story short, PW was destined to spend a great deal of his short life in and out of hospitals and in a great deal of pain.

The Ohio weather and humidity were not good for him so we decided to move to Greeley, Colorado where the air was much drier and the University Medical Center was located in Denver with top notch doctors. Without going into a lot of detail let it suffice that PW continued to live in pain and discomfort as well as in and out of the medical center almost weekly. Mom spent the most time with him at the hospital while I took care of his brother.

PW was a Daddy's boy. It seemed that he knew his life would be short and could not grow up fast enough. Of all our children PW learned to speak the fastest, however diaper training was a different story. He refused to go to the toilet. It was a joke in our house between my wife and I, although at the time I did not see the humor. Cheryl would have a meeting or something to go to and I would watch the boys. That darned Pat would wait until his mother had left the house and then mess his diaper like he had been saving for at least a week or longer. Oh the messes that kid had for me. We even tried to fake him out. Cheryl left one day, drove around the block and waited the appropriate amount of time and then came back to the house. Normally he would let me have it within 5 minutes of when she left. Not this time. Nothing. So we decided he was going to be okay and she left. It wasn't two minutes and that little pup blasted me again with a messy diaper. If he hadn't been so sick I would have killed him.

Night time he would scare the dickens out of me. Have you ever gone to sleep and suddenly you feel that something is out of place and you wake up? Pat would get out of his bed, come into our room and stand right beside me about three inches from my face. Of course I would let out a yell, scare him and Mom and everybody would be upset then.

Sleeping in his bed was very uncomfortable for him so he would often sleep on the floor. We finally figured out it was because it was cool for his body. Many times he would come into our room and curl up on the floor right next to me. The first time he did that I jumped out of bed, not knowing he was there, and landed right in the middle of him. It didn't take long for me to start checking the floor before I got out of bed.

While living in Ohio my Father came to visit us and being religious people we asked him to give Pat a blessing to help him with his sickness. He blessed him and when he was finished he turned to me and said, "He won't live." Well, that was a heck of a statement. My Father and I never got along too well and I figured he was using Pat to get back at me. I was upset. Shortly before Pat's death I asked some elders from our church to assist me in giving him a blessing. When I had finished I too knew Pat would not live. That is a hard realization to accept. You always hope for a miracle of some sort. (More about this later)

The doctors never did give us much more than a 50-50 chance that he would survive past 18 years. Their hopes were that in that time medical science would progress enough to provide better chances. We were told that Pat was a text book case meaning that nothing in the text books covered his problem and he was breaking new ground for them.

I have to leave the story here at this point for two reasons. One, it is quite long and two, I have an appointment in a few minutes and must close for today. Pat's medical problem was this; his arteries were reversed entering and leaving his heart plus his mitral valve was missing completely. The mitral valve is the one that prevents blood re-entering the lungs after it has received the oxygen. For this valve to not close meant the person could literally blow his lungs apart from the hearts contractions. ( I think I said that right)

Tomorrow I will tell more about our times with Pat and some of the people's reactions to our problems. If I can get his picture scanned I will include it also. He was as good looking as his Father. (Err, I mean Mother.)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Christmas Traditions

We have always tried to develop Christmas traditions as we have raised our family. I hope if anyone reads this blog that they will be willing to share traditions they have had in their families. My wife and I find it interesting to see what others do.

Every year, while the kids were home, we would read the Christmas story from the book of Luke in the New Testament on Christmas Eve. We would then bundle up and go look at the lights throughout the town with the thought in the back of our minds that we were wearing the little beggars down so Santa could do his job. Our daughter Katie was always so wired up that I would have to threaten her with her life to make her go to sleep. Even then she would be awake at 3 or 4 a.m. being threatened again. Two years ago my wife and I were alone, looking at the lights and got good and lost. Of course it was snowing like it had a right to and you could not see 30 yards ahead of you.

One year I volunteered, and that does not happen very often, to sing The Night Before Christmas at a church function. Actually it was a singing and narration combined. Our kids liked it so much that even now when they are around us on Christmas Eve I have to sing that thing again. It has a variety of songs like, "Thirty Two Feet and Eight Little Tails, Up on the Roof Top, Jolly Old St. Nicholas and We Wish You A Merry Christmas." I performed it last year at a church function and had to beg them for some applause so you can tell it was not so good.

For many years my wife would make special ornaments for the Christmas tree. Sometimes she would paint one side and the kids would paint the other which led to some interesting ornaments. As the kids have grown up we have passed them on to them to do as they please.

My wife got into the Christmas angel collecting. We have a small tree just for all her angels she has received or collected over the years. Women. Should have been fishing stuff.

Of course each year we would make up plates of goodies and hand out to different families. These were not always families we knew very well. The kids would sneak up to the home, leave the plate on the door step and then run like crazy so they would not get caught. It was fun to go to church and listen to the conversations as people would be trying to figure out who did it. Lately my wife and I have been alone in our house so we make up four plates of goodies and take them to neighbors that live by us. Most of the time these are neighbors that we don't know very well, some that would not give us the time of day. It has been surprising how a plate of cookies will develope a friendship that was not there prior to that time.

For many years, and I am thinking of restarting it, I would hide a small present in the tree for my wife. The kids got the biggest kick out of watching Mom look for her present. They would do the hot and cold promptings as she looked. We had many a good laugh. Actually I am now putting small gifts in one of the train cars of the model train I have under the tree.

My wife's family would not put up their tree until Christmas Eve. Now I was not raised that way so some negotiations had to be made. Her family would keep the tree up until New Years Day and I did not agree with that. Sooooooooo, we put our tree up around the first week of December but it has to stay up until New Years Day. Obviously we dicided to opt for an artificial tree. The only drawback for me is that New Years Day is FOOTBALL!! It is down right irritating for Mom to be putting things away while the games are on but I am a patient man. (Right) Relatives learned early in our marriage to not invite us over on New Years Day.

One year, and I really liked this one, we gave each of the kids $10.00 and told them that was all they were getting to spend on each other. We had drawn names previously so they were not buying or making for everyone. We also told them that one of the gifts had to be homemade and of their design, this even meant the little ones had to think about it. It was a very interesting Christmas and a memorable one. I am not gifted at making things but my wife still has the silly thing I made for her.

One year we decided not to get a lot of toys. We made Christmas gifts out of packages of nuts, candy, snack crackers, sodas, I forget what all there was. To this day the kids say it was one of the best gifts Mom and Dad could have come up with. They played with their Santa stuff and pigged out on their goodies.

Of course there are the traditional stockings. I think our kids would have been greatly disappointed if there were not oranges, apples, raisins, nuts and candy in their stockings. I personally liked going around and raiding their stockings so mine would last longer. Oh, I knew and suspected they were doing the same to me; especially Kip, Michael, Katie, Kimberly and Leslie. Shoot I even suspected my wife of doing such dastardly deeds. I am by nature a very suspicious guy.

Those are some of the traditions we had and have. If anyone reads this blog and wants to share some traditions please do. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

My Son Michael

Well I was going to post a picture of Michael and his family but blogger is not responding to pictures today.

Michael is my third son and fourth child. He was born June 28 and right off the bat we could tell there was something about this kid that we had to worry about. I think it is all in the name we gave him. According to a name thingy we found Michael means "Like Unto The Lord." Hmmmm. Somehow that part might have been missed so far. Now don't get me wrong 'cause he is a good kid and person. Hard working, good looking and full of mischieviousness. He is always calling home and disguising his voice and pulling pranks on us.

We have pictures of him involved in sports around the town where we lived. Not high school sports but city stuff. He has always been our daredevil. Jumping off high bridges into water below, bungy jumping, motorcycle riding like a knothead and tearing up poor old Dad's car. I am still finding out some of the tricks that kid pulled while in high school. He is now 33 years old and a manager for one of the FedEx terminals.

I always referred to him as my miracle child. He would be so mischievious that I would constantly threaten him on a daily basis saying, "Mike, if you don't stop doing what you are doing it will be a miracle if you live to see tomorrow!" I got so mad at him one day for his antics that I started chasing him so I could give him a good thumping. Didn't work. The little brat outran me.

We went to the zoo one time and my wife and I started laughing at the noise we kept hearing. From different parts of the zoo we would hear, "Michael stop that! Michael get out of that! Michael I am going to beat you if you don't quit." No, it was not our Michael, it was other parents getting after their Michaels. I am telling you there is something in the name.

Life has not been easy for him. He found out that leading the life of a playboy was hard on family life and spiritual life. He has now returned to his upbringing (I think) and is doing so much better. We love him as we do all our children, good or bad. A lot of prayer and meditation has gone into hoping things would turn to the better. Now he is back with his lovely family, has a beautiful wife, (Lord Brandie, did I just say that?) and likes living in New Mexico.

Tomorrow I will talk about another of my children. I have already mentioned Katherine, my old Huff and Puff daughter. (Hee, hee) She hates that. What can I say. Love your children even when it looks bad. Working at the prison I see so many young men and women who feel they are lost to their families and I often wonder if that really is true.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Mom and the Hillside Gougers

My wife is from Ohio. I think I may have mentioned that in the past. Being from Ohio she was not aware of western lifestyles and western humor so, quite naturally, I had to have some fun at her expense. However there could be some truth to the story I am about to tell. Scientists are still working on the species and the findings have not been officially published.

Before I tell about the hillside gougers I must make a comparison of sorts. I have been told that people from Iowa are famous for their corn crops. They have corn for breakfast in the form of corn flakes; corn for lunch in the form of corn bread; corn for supper in the form of corn on the cob. I believe they have Thanksgiving dinner with a corn made turkey, corn style potatoes, corn rolls, corn jelly, corn drinks and corn pie. Now that makes sense to me even if my friend Sarah thinks I am being "corny."

I was driving with my wife along the Little Salmon River located near the town of Riggins, Idaho. Here the mountains are quite steep and it is very hard to climb them. We had a saying that when mountains were steep as a calf's face then it was STEEP. As we were driving my wife kept looking up on the mountains and noticing animals feeding on them. The ones that caught her eye the most were the cows. She turned to me and asked, "How do they keep from falling off those mountains?" "Oh," I told her, "Those are hillside gougers." She thought about this for a while and then just had to ask, "What are hillside gougers?" I told her, "Hillside gougers are a special breed of cow that has legs a normal length on one side and shorter legs on the other side. This way they can stand on the mountain like a normal animal and eat without fear of tipping over." "Well," she asked, "How do they turn around?" I replied, "They don't. They have to go in the same direction all the time or they will tip over and roll to the bottom of the mountain and be killed." She believed me!! I laughed about that for quite some time but not in front of her. One day she asked her mother in law if that were true and the answer back was, "Oh that lying pup. Did he really tell you that? Don't believe a word he says."

Now that is pretty harsh coming from someone who lived there and knew better. I didn't dare tell her about the ones that had their heads pointing up the mountain and their rears pointing down. They can't turn sideways at all. They have to go either face up the mountain as they are grazing or they have to back down the mountain. To turn left or right would bring on certain death. Now any self respecting mountain person will back my statements up. Mountain people don't make things up; they just tell it as it is.

I had her going on the jackalopes until she seen one and then the fun was over. My point. Don't try to mislead your spouse. Be very truthful in every word you speak. They might not understand your new way of life and one has to be very patient in teaching them about these new and exciting experiences.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Man's New Society Group

Have you ever noticed how many women's groups there are? The latest fad for my wife is the Red Hat Society. I have questioned her as to what exactly they do and what are they trying to accomplish but she does not know. "We are just having fun!" is the answer I get back. Just having fun huh. Anytime a group of women get together "just to have fun" it means that we men are going to be the subject of the day and it won't be good. Women!! I keep telling my wife that if it weren't for sex I would hate women. She doesn't seem to see the humor in that statement. As I have grown older I have changed it from sex to, "If it weren't for her good cooking I would hate women." She still doesn't see the humor I am trying to bring into her life.

Here is my suggestion for men. I propose that we start the "Lazy Butt Society" and it is for men only. There will be no goals, no club meetings, no dues however we can have T-shirts made up that advertise our group. This group would comprise men who want to do nothing. Even to get a soda or other drink we would have a women to bring it to us. We would set around and discuss all the problems in the world and how someone else should take care of them. Of course there would be the usual banter about football, baseball, basketball, hunting and last, but certainly not least, fishing. Now I honestly ask, could there be a better society to be a member of?

Monday, December 05, 2005

How I Met My Wife

Yesterday being the sabbath got me thinking about when I met my wife so that is what I writing about today.

No, this is not my wife, but, when I first met her she was just as attractive, leastwise to me. I understand there is a TV program called "How I Met Your Mother" or something like that. Obviously I have not watched this program 'cause the advertisements indicate too much sexuality and innuendos, plus football is on then and priorities must be met.

How I met my wife. It actually started about two years before I met her. I was serving a two year mission for my church and had been assigned to the area in Ohio where she lived. After serving there for a while I was transferred out but kept in contact with my missionary companion. He wrote me a letter about how he had met a good family and I immediately had an impression of a heavy set, balding man, a heavy set woman with bushy gray hair and a string of kids next to them.

Two years later I left Idaho and went back to Ohio to visit some of the people I had come to really enjoy. One of them was a cute blonde that had caught my fancy or so I thought. As I visited with the blonde and her family I found that she was extremely shallow and my interests were waning. One Sunday I attended church services with her and we arrived late so the meeting was already going. We sat down and I looked up to see who the speaker was and it was my wife to be. I took one look and said to myself, "That is the girl I am going to marry." Blonde? What blonde. I was smitten.

Of course all the members of the congregation made sure I was introduced, the eclesiatical leader got me a job in Cleveland and I headed back to Idaho to get my stuff and get back to serious business. Now did she have the same feelings? Welllllll, maybe not, however when she found I had returned to Idaho she felt something had gone out of her life.

To make a long story short we courted, I asked her parents for her hand in marriage and was basically told, NO!! The parents treated me quite badly and I was upset to the point I was heading back to Idaho. When my fiance knew of this we decided to elope, which we did. We had people tell us that our marriage would never work and all I have to say is this; this January it will be 40 years and we have loved each other more each day so I guess we proved them wrong.

A side note to this story. When we were getting ready to leave and elope we were at her grandparent's house where I was renting a room. We packed our things and was sneakng down the stairs into the kitchen but who should we run into, her aunt and uncle who had come over from Cleveland for a visit. They said, "What are you doing, running off to get married?" We didn't know what to say. There we stood with suitcases and other personal belongings; we were caught. All we could think to say is, "We are going to do some laundry."

Two years later we were back visiting Ohio, staying in her grandparent's home and this time we really were going out to do some laundry. We came down the back stairs into the kitchen and who should we see; her aunt and uncle from Cleveland. "Where are you going?" they asked. "Out to do some laundry." was the answer again. This time we were holding our baby son and her uncle made this statement. "Damn, when you do laundry it takes a long time and strange things happen." looking at our son. We all had a good laugh over that one.

Our life together has had its ups and downs just like everyone else but we have remained true to each other and that is so important. In the future I will write about the death of our son and the impact it had on us. Hope whoever reads this enjoys it.

P.S. When I met my wife's parents it was almost as I had mentally pictured. Her dad was a heavy set balding man, her mother was a heavy set woman with bushy gray hair and they did have six children.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

My Wife is a Corker

I have been looking for the right picture to show of my wife but I can't seem to find it right now so will try another time.

I just don't understand women. Now this sounds normal coming from a man for what man really understands women? Take my wife for example. She just does not appreciate what I do for her; let me explain.

I love to sing. I am always going around singing about this or that. Being Irish I like to make up songs and have them apply to whatever situation I am in. When I was driving we were going up some very steep hills and all of us lost traction and had to be pulled up the hill by a cat. My mind was constantly singing, "What goes up must come down." It was as scary going down as it was going up. Some of those hills required a cat being attached to the back of our trailer and letting us down slowly.

I love my wife so much that I like to sing to her and try to make her feel good. For some reason she just does not see the same thing I do. For example here is a song I used to sing all the time.
"Cheryl my darling I love you. I love you with all my heart. Tomorrow we might have been married but you went and let a fart." Now what is wrong with that song. She just did not appreciate it.

Then there is the song, "Mother dear I love you so. Your happy smiling face. It's such a joy to look at, you make home.... aaaghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, what a scary sight." Again she has no humor in her bones. She did not like that one either.

Then there is, "I dream of Cheryl with the dark brown, or blonde, or grey, or whatever color of hair." No humor.

I keep telling her that she is one of the luckiest women in the world. How many women can truthfully get up each day and say their husband sang to them? She ought to be honored to be one of the lucky ones.

One of my all time favorites is, "Down in the valley, the valley so low. Hang you head over, Cheryl is going to blow."

Well got to go to a church function. We are having a Christmas brunch this year and I really don't know what a Christmas brunch really is. Last year we had a nice dinner and a talent show. Yes, I got up and sang but not the songs for Cheryl.

I truly do love my wife and she should be exalted for having put up with me for 40 years now.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Friends on the Internet

I am not one to seek friendships via the Internet due to the amount of "strange" individuals who seem to patrol the net looking for victims or suckers but I have had a couple of good experiences worth mentioning.

Sarah is a lady that lives in Iowa. We struck up an Internet friendship some time ago due to mutual interests in genealogy. She lives close to where my grandfather met my grandmother and married her so I enlisted her help in obtaining what little information she could get me. Since that time we email one another often mostly sending tidbits of fun as well as information. I consider her a friend even though I have no idea who she really is. I do know she is a grandmother and mother who loves her children and grandchildren and that is good. I enjoy hearing from her and learning about her life in Iowa and, if the truth be proved, we probably are related in some way. Thank you Sarah for being my Internet friend.

Elisabeth is in her 80's and lives in Virginia. The problem with Elisabeth is that I have lost her email address and don't know how she is doing these days. Genealogy again was how I met her via the Internet. I was searching for a gggGrandmother and was referred to her and it was a golden find. I taught her how to use the PAF program and we had many lovely times with each other. I miss her and hope she is all right.

There have been others that I have visited with but these two ladies stand out the most. My wife tells me I have girl friends across America thanks to genealogy.

I like to correspond with people who want to share experiences of their lives, where they live, about their families and how they are doing. There is Jason and Kathy in Idaho Falls that if I don't hear from them I think something is wrong, and then there is Glen and LaRue who are also in Idaho Falls. Now Glen and LaRue are really great people and we miss them a lot. Thank goodness the Internet helps us to keep in touch.

What am I trying to say is that you never get enough friends and the Internet can be a great source depending on what you are looking for. We hear so much bad about the net that we forget there is also a lot of good on it.

That is all for today.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Oh How I Love Christmas!!

Here is a picture of my Christmas hero. This is how I feel about Christmas each year it comes around. It is so commercialized that I hate going to the stores, I hate driving on the roads and I hate not having enough money to give my wife what she truly deserves. (NO, JANET AND AMBER SHE DOES NOT DESERVE A NEW HUSBAND!!) It seems that every year there is some kind of emergency that eats our money up and leaves us with nothing to purchase for each other. My wife cheats though. She is so gifted at crafting that she manages to come up with some sort of item that she gives to me. I, on the other hand, have no skills.

I have always maintained that I don't need a special holiday to get a gift for my wife. I guess that is why during the year I will get her this and that just because I love her. Christmas should not be about gifts in the first place. It is the time to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Do you listen to Christmas music much? I find it amazing how so many artists (??) can ruin the good old Christmas songs so badly. I was listening this morning to Winter Wonderland and it was so bad that I had to listen for a while to understand what song was really being sung. Even the religious songs are butchered beyond belief. (I must be in a complaining mood today)

We got our Christmas snow this week and it is still snowing. Nope, I won't complain about it because we sure need to keep our water supply built up. Now next spring when I want to go fishing at my favorite fishing hole I might complain because it is still frozen or the road full of snow; that is when it gets serious.

To those of you who might read this blog, merry Christmas and have a safe one. (Yes Amber, that includes you but only if you stop trying to call E.T. in the mother ship.)