Tag Archives: moms

2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The comments and actions or inactions of the politicians provide plenty of fodder for the inquiring mind…..

Those on the Right generally bemoan the level of regulation of business and even private affairs and those on the Left defend each of them and call for even more regulations for ever perceived problem whether real or only imagined.    A few facts might be helpful in determining the level of regulations we face in the US now.  If you are a big bank then you are subject to the regulations and injunctions of–the SEC, the FDIC, Office of the Comptroller, the Federal Reserve, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the new committee under the Dodd-Frank law and that leaves out the other government agencies like EEOC, OSHA, the NLRB, the Commerce department and even the EPA and of course the IRS.   Those are the ones that come to mind much less those other arcane Federal entities that have a hand in regulation we can’t think of now.  You think that is enough regulation?

Does anyone anywhere anymore take a few two by fours and old apple crate and wheels from an old pair of roller skates and make a small derby car for their three or four year-old?   It really isn’t that hard and it is a great Saturday project for Dad and his son.  Try it sometime and you learn something about yourself.

France has historically prided itself on a vigorous protection of individual rights including the right of free speech similar to our own.  Just this week they made another arrest for an alleged criminal violation because of speech.  It involves a Norwegian fellow that supposedly made “aggressive racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic remarks on the internet.  Let’s assume that what he wrote was indeed very vile, nasty and offensive.  But the West has become so addicted to the notion of political correctness that we are intruding on the right to free speech.  After all if I restrict what you say then you may be able to restrict what I say.  And like art much of the offensive language is in the eyes of the beholder.   Even if the comments are outright racist do we really want the Government to impinge in any degree on our comments?  After all we allow the most vile images in the art world that are grossly offensive such as a crucifix in a bottle of urine in the art gallaries as an expression of free speech but someone is not allowed to vent against another group he finds abhorrent.  Let all the ideas have free license in the marketplace of ideas however repugnant.   We have faith that ultimately the better thoughts and arguments will prevail among a free people.   You have a right to despise red-headed, one -legged Irishmen and call for their deportation through new legislation.  It might be an awful idea and even silly but free speech is all or control by the State, there is no middle ground.   Free speech rights are a zero sum game either you have them are  they are regulated which means you have only the free speech rights allowed by those in power.

Politicians will, when convenient, deny that the Sun rises in the East.  Witnesses Jay Carney’s recent statement this week that there is no evidence that Obamacare is slowing or impeding hiring in the US.  What is so sad is that there will be millions out there that will hear that and shake their heads up and down in agreement.   That statement has as much truth as the assertion of the guy in the White House a couple of years ago that passage of Obamacare would save the average American family $2500.00 a year.  Some still believe that even in face of revised health insurance  premium statements moving up.

I was blessed with a great mom.  She was full of energy and had a true joie du vivre and watched over me and my brother.  Yet by today’s standards she would probably be brought up before the child welfare services.  When I was about 11 or 12 we lived in a neighborhood that was still open land in many areas as the building bo0m after the War continued to fill in the vacant areas.  My friend had some horses about a mile from our house.  On many occasions my mom would let me and my friend go to the corral alone.  We would saddle the horses, bridle them and then go riding for an hour or so in the woods, creek bottoms and fields still extant in the neighborhood and then undue everything and stall the horses and come home.  Horses for you city slickers can be dangerous.  When a 1000 pound animal decides to do something he will regardless of what you want him to do.  I fell off a few times and was thrown off a few times.  Got some bruises and bumps but no broken bones and don’t think it lowered my IQ, but others may disagree about that.  It was a lesson in learning to handle freedom and the responsibility that goes with it.  You may think I am a bad seed to rat out mom now but the statute of limitations has long since run.

Poor Walt Disney must be spinning in his grave. First it was John Carter a couple years ago and now it is the Lone Ranger.  He knew it was best to tell a fun and interesting story and stay away from silly social issues of the day.   People always like a great story told and shown with verve but a significant part of any potential audience will rebel against a propagandist vent unless it is totally patriotic.    You might disagree but the ticket sales speak for themselves.

Best cartoonist ever?….without a doubt this vote goes to Bill Mauldin and his Willy and Joe series from WWII.  If you’ve never seen them you really should.  He had a deft touch about the average Joe and his worries and hopes and helped everyone truly appreciate the little joys in life.

“Where the people possess no authority, their rights obtain no respect.”  Geo. Bancroft, American historian.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com




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Observations On Moms And Daughters

I don’t like to write about things that I don’t know about.  Ok, enough with the comments that I shouldn’t be writing anything.   I am not a mom or daughter.  But I have a mom that I have lived with almost 50 years and four daughters and six granddaughters so I been able to at least observe over the years some of those interactions and reactions between moms and daughters.   They can have such scratchy relationships at some times but those gals always seem to know how to work things our better than we guys.  It might have something to do with using those 20,000 words per day that experts have estimated the gals must get in daily to feel good.

Those brand new moms with their first babies are often more cautious than even the dads handling the baby.  Watch them at the hospital.  They love holding the baby but they treat them so gingerly like they are a China doll.  Of course it doesn’t take more than a few score of diaper changes and baths before they can put them down on the changing table and get to it quick as a flash.

I know some ladies prefer not to nurse for good reasons but there is something special about those moms who do and that image of them holding their new daughter to her breast.  I realize some would dispute that there are medical or health benefits to nursing but I think it does give that mom and daughter a special bonding that comes with it.  It must be incredible to know that part of you is going directly to your child.   We have a beat up small sculpture of mother and child doing that and it is one of my favorite pieces in our house.

When they a couple of years on them the moms seem to all know instinctively how to do all those arts and crafts things with their daughters.  The paste, scissors and ribbons and such and they make these little collages and cut outs that you would think were going into the Lourve.   The little girls all love doing those things and then showing them off to everyone who is sitting still and breathing.

Of course there is the entire drama and production around the getting dressed up as they move into school age.  Sure they are still young enough that often it is just shorts and a tee shirt.  But when holidays or Sunday School or other special events come along that little girl and her mom will be exploring through every option in the closet to pick out just the right outfit for the occasion.  Moms love for them to look all frilly sometimes and those patent leather shoes top everything off.  When a Dad tries to pick the clothes he is evitably told that whatever he choose just won’t do.  We have to sense of fashion apparently.  But it is in the DNA of those gals, big and small.

The day will come when Mom doesn’t go do the shopping for clothes for the daughter by herslf anymore.   It doesn’t matter whether they are shopping at Wal-Mart or Neiman’s the drill is the same.  You can see it at the stores.  The two of them picking, putting back, selecting, eliminating and then the interminable trying everything on, and then again.  I reckon that teaching the daughter how to choose the right outfit within the budget is considered a true neccessity for survival like learning how to start a fire and skin the kill.  Of course when they arrive home the male side of the family is required to ooh and aah over the great deals and the style and how pretty everyone looks.

Then there is the whol ritual of applying make up.  They start doing these around puberty and Mom is definitely the artist in chief.  Usually the daughter will start off wanting to do it herself and take her cues from magazines, TV or movies or youtube I guess these days.  For sure when they first start using the make up they use too much.  Lordy, how many fights have there been over the eons between moms and daughters about the amount and use of the make up?  Cleopatra probably argued with her daughter on how much henna to use or ground sand to apply for just the right look.  Those young gals always go through about two years of trying to look about 5 years older than they are before they settle down before college.

The kitchen is a whole other matter.  When they are little the daughters love to “help” in the kitchen by playing like they are cooking also.  They get all the equipment from the toy store and are happy playing.  But they tire of that after a couple of years and they usually don’t have much interest in Mom’s cooking as long as it is  there on time and meets their perceived dietary wishes.  Those vary with weight from time to time.  Some decide to lose weight when they are only 14 or whatever even if they don’t need to.   Mostly they don’t show much interest in cooking skills during those teenage years or even into college.  But, but, but give them a few years down the road and they start remembering all those really great meals Mom could fix and they decide they wish they could fix a pot roast like Mom’s or stroganov or whatever it is they remember being so good.  Then Mom gets those phone calls asking for directions about how to fix the dish and they soon are sharing with the Holiday meal preparations.

Moms and daughers as the years pass are talking about their families, friends, their worries and their happy moments.   They really do share in ways we guys will never relate too. They often become friends which doesn’t work when you are raising them.  They can pass a quiet and very pleasant afternoon just drinking tea and visiting with each other the whole time.  We guys run out of topics pretty soon but they never do.  Their relationship is special as it should be.  You will be blesse and learn about life if you get to observe those Moms and their daughters even from the cheap seats.

The Good Lord got it right when he pulled that rib and gave them to us.   www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Mom Memories And Play

I am rapidly approaching the 50th high school reunion for my class.  That event doesn’t make me sad but just catches me by surprise.  Been so busy with life and the kids and now grandkids that it stuns the mind to actually come to grips with the fact that the graduation was 50 years ago.   Some of those events still seem as though they occurred only a few months ago yet the calendar has turn over many times since that event.  When I think of myself I still “see” in my mind’s eye a young man I suppose of some indefinite age but late twenties or thirties I suppose but then I step in front of the mirror and realize that haggard face is mine not just a hazy memory of a dream.  As they say it is a shame that youth is wasted on the young.

My mom was always a good sport about things and usually ready for just about any adventure.  My Dad was the cautious one and much more likely to want a few more restrictions on my activities, not the social stuff but the cars, traveling out of the neighborhood and who I was hanging out with.   Mom always encouraged me to be more social and mix with the groups.  I started having a real passion for reading when I was pretty young.  By the time I was a teen ager I would just as likely prefer reading one of my books in my room as watching Lucy or Gunsmoke on TV.  Mom couldn’t stand that.  She was one of the few parents who fussed about her boy reading too much!   But she sure let me and my brother have our fun in the neighborhood.

She always let us build our forts in the backyard or trees if they were large enough.  The forts were used to play cowboys and Indians or soldier.  We would get whatever sticks or rods we could scrounge up and some cardboard boxes.  We could always find some of those.   We would plant the sticks in the ground which was often very difficult because the earth was so hard from the drought during the ’40’s and ’50’s.  As long as they would remain upright we were set.  Then we would cut the cardboard to size and tie or tack it to the sticks to make walls.  The walls often collapsed during construction and required constant attention and rebuilding.  We course had to leave a door way somewhere and that was usually determined by the bends in the cardboard.  The roof was always a challenge and more than on ce it made the whole thing fall in or over and had to start afresh.   They always looked like something out of a real junk yard but up0n completion we had a place of privacy and a spot to get into and out of the direct rays of the hot Texas sun. 

In hindsight they must have been very unsightly but Mom always let us build them and we could keep them as long as they would last which was until the first rain and the 20th collapse of the structure and we couldn’t repair it any further.  Of course we would take out toy guns and things inside them and the kit items from the Army and Navy store.  In those days those stores were loaded with surplus from the War and Korea.  Every stain on a backpack or musset bag we were sure was the blood of some fallen hero.   Mom would let us take our baloney or peanut and jelly sandwiches out there to eat and kool aid.

At the heat of the day we had to come inside to play because of the scare of polio.  It was generally believed at that time that exp0sure to heat would trigger the polio condition.  I have no idea if that was true but all the moms believed it and from about 2 to 5 we had to stay inside.  Of course it was only marginally cooler inside that out because the only cooling was by electric buzz fan or rotating fan.  No one could afford air conditioning.  By the time I was about 15 we got our first window unit a/c and we thought we had the life of Riley.  (Do you know who Riley even was?)   The only downside about playing inside was that was when Mom would talk with me and help me with school work. 

She would often set up the ironing board and do that while she had me sit at the table beside her and work on my numbers, letters penmanship.  Sad to say I never developed the pen hand that she preferred.  Mom was from the old school that thought it was very important to have a good “hand”.  Hers was magnificent.  You’ve seen those shot in movies where the pen scratches across paper and the script is beautiful.  My Mom could have written those words for those shots.  

When I was released back outside I could ride my bike or go play with the neighborhood guys.  I had several friends within just a couple of blocks to that was great and they usually wanted to come to my house to play and I naturally wanted to go somewhere else like the creek a block away.  If I was home I always feared Mom would cut off my play time sooner that normal if all she had to do was open the door and there I was.  She would always let me play until dinner time.  Poor Mom me and my brother and Dad always wanted the same thing–meat and potatoes.  Mom constantly tried to get us to try something new, liver, fish, cauliflower, rutabagas, greens or chicken.   She would fix something that we considered weird a couple times every week and was always surprised and disappointed that her guys didn’t like that stuff.  She would ask about the next day’s meal and it was the same refrain–we want meat and potatoes.  In fairness to us we could take our potatoes, baked, fried, boiled, mashed, au gratin or thick cut.  See we were flexible.  Thanks Mom for the memories.

“A good wife who can find?  She is more precious than jewels.”  Proverbs www. olcranky.wordpress.com


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The Old Neighborhood–II

When we moved to Cascade I was about 9, I was starting the third grade.  Dad had worked really hard fixing the place up for Mom, working every evening and on the weekends to make the upgrades for her.  It even had a chimney and a hearth in the living room but it was a fake one.  But it looked homey.  Except Mom insisted on putting plants in the fireplace hearth which took away from the look in my opinion.  That house became the place I always thought of as my childhood home.

That block and the whole neighborhood was filled with kids and interesting characters.  The Church we attended was only a three block walk from home so that made it easy for Sunday church.  It was a true neighborhood church, small and all locals. My Sunday school teacher for the next several years was a man who had been in the war like so many.  He had been shot by a Jap machine gun that stitched across his belly and chest.  Of course, we guys thought that was really something.  You tend to listen to a man who has been through something like that.  We lived in that house for about 6 years.  That was where I finished elementary school and started to jr. high.

Next door was the Windoms.  The brothers were a lot older and quite nerdy but they did interesting things and had fun stuff.  They were both very active in Scouts and the outdoors.  They had their garage walls covered with old license plates.  In those days you got a new license plate every year and some folks would take the old ones and nail them to the garage wall as a memento.  They had them going back to the early ’30’s.  They made their own bow and arrows from scratch.   They caught an injured owl one time and nursed it back to health.  It bit the devil out of the older brother.  He had a big bandage on his hand for a couple of weeks.  Then they let it go.  Their grandfather was very old school.  He wore a white Panama hat with bolo tie and shirt every day and spent lots of time sitting on the front porch.  Sometimes he would tell us kids stories of the old west and Dallas from the pioneer days.  He was very old then, in his nineties.  We loved hearing the story of how his dad and some others had a gun battle with  Comanches just outside Dallas after the War Between The States.  Lots of shots but only a wound from and arrow and an Indian wounded by gunfire.  Then each side went its separate way.  It was fascinating to hear him tell about the first time he heard someone had flown in a machine and that cars would be replacing horses and buggies.

Next door was the neighbor with the boy who was retarded.  It was sad.  I remember being sad every time I would think about him.  He had a sister who went to school with one of my cousins.  Across the street was a fellow named Perry.  He was also quite a bit older but he had lots of memorabilia his older brother brought back from the War.  He would show us occasionally some of the things.  A German helmet, a knife, some German insignia, belt and other things.   Naturally all us guys thought that was pretty cool.   Billy lived two house down. He was smallish for his age but a good athlete.  He ended up playing tailback for Sunset which was a pretty big deal at the time.  Next was Jimmy, who was  member of the DeMolay, the youth group for Masons.  My dad became a Mason while we were living on Cascade.  Jimmy was also pretty nerdy but he tried hard to be one of the guys.  He just wasn’t much of an athlete.  But he played pretty good chess.  I played with him often and the Windom brothers next door.  I have no idea why I was interested at such a young age. I beat the younger Windom brother regularly which bugged him no end.  He gave me a book on Chess strategy which I actually did read. Guess I was pretty nerdy too.

Up and the corner of Cascade and Pioneer was my best childhood friend, David.  He was always tall and gangly.  He was a good egg.  Not very agile but he did play football with me and continued to play until his junior year in high school.   We spent hours together goofing around and being guys.  When the weather was nice we would always be outside doing lord only knows what.  Late in the day when Dad was home and it was time for dinner my Dad would come to our front porch and whistle.  He could whistle really loud.  That was the signal for me to come home and eat.  There were no excuses.  I was expected to be close enough to hear it.  You could hear it easy if the wind wasn’t blowing a block away.   Of course I often said it didn’t hear it right away.  

We played lots of stick hockey in the street with old tree limbs and tin cans for a puck.  Hours were spent throwing and kicking the football in the street.   This is where we lived when I got my first car and began working in the summers at the water plant.  This is where I learned to drive and was allowed to drive to the 7/11 by myself when I was only 13 but I had to park without crossing Edgefield which was considered a busy street by Mom.  I was really young and had no license of course but they trusted me.   I even got to drive the car to the school dance when I was in the 7th grade that spring.  It wasn’t very far but man did I feel like a big shot.  To be continued…..

If total government control and central planning of the economy is the best formula for success one wonder why the Soviets aren’t King of the Mountain, with their people living off the fat of the land and happy as clams.  We know how that story ended though don’t  we.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com


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August–The Anticipation Month

As people have said since the Roman era we are in the Dog days of Summer with August here and plodding along at its lethargic pace.  It is too hot for much energetic activity even for the kids.  The pool would be great this time of year but you can’t hardly get them to go there this time of year.   They are burned out on it by now.  That first week after school is out they want to go every day.  Now when it is 10 or even 15 degrees hotter each day they want to hand around the house and watch dvd’s and play with their electronic games.  It so hot you can eat fried grasshopper right off the Johnson grass.  

Basically it is my least favorite month due to the heat.  So many of the chores you need to do around the house but just don’t feel like doing because you break out in a sweat when you open the door before you even get the tools at hand.  Then of course the neighborhoods are pretty bleak too with so many people gone for their vacation time right before school starts.  You don’t see as many people out riding their bikes, walking their dogs or running.  The heat even seems to take the color out of the sky.  Seems to me that it loses some of the blue and becomes more milky looking when it is this hot.  I am sure it is one of those “tropical illusions” as one of my kids used to say.   It is too hot to even enjoy golf, and that takes some doing to diminish that pleasure in life.

But it is getting closer to the time in a few weeks when things do start to change.  You can anticipate those changes, feel them humming in the air.  Of course the big event for so many is the start of school.  Both parents and kids get wired up about that.  The moms because they have about worn out their creativity for kids’ activities by now and they frankly look forward to just a few hours each day with the little ones away.   They look forward to a bath and time in the bathroom alone for the first time in months.  For the ones with teenage sons it means they don’t have to check the refrigerator door every ten minutes to make sure they shut it after they took a swig of milk from the carton.   Even without air conditioning those kitchens still get hot in summer preparing the evening meal especially with the kids running in and out every second, and often forgetting to shut the back door all the way and letting the cool air escape to cool Mother Nature rather than the house.

August always reminds me of my football days.  By now you were really into the training to get into shape.  The running and lifting these days.  We just did exercises and ran.  No one lifted weights then.  That was just something you saw in the Charles Atlas ads in the back of comics and magazines.  The smell of that fresh cut grass still lingers with me from the football field as they were getting everything ready to make our lives miserable for a couple of weeks.  Normally, we started practicing twice a day around  the third week of August and would do that until the day after Labor Day when school started.  I absolutely loved the game and playing the game but there was nothing fun about those workouts in the 100 degree heat.   The grass was very green because they had watered often during the summer and keep it cut a little longer before the last cut a day or two before we started.  You would put your helmet on the minute you walked outside of the locker room just to keep the sun off your head.  Of course it was hot with it on because there wasn’t much circulation inside those things.   Today so many of the guys practice and play on the artificial turf.  I do know those really radiate a lot of heat back up and must be terribly hot and unpleasant.  I have no idea what they smell like, not like the grass for sure.  But at least they do get water.  They gets lots of water and Gatorade.   Now that I envy.  Our generation thought that was really sissy and weak sister to have water during workouts.  We were denied water.  occasionally we would be given a half cup if the workout went to the coach’s liking but most often it was no water.  Wonder is we didn’t all die of heat stroke.  But we didn’t.

The guys are beginning to think about the start of the hunting season which begins in September for the birds–dove and some duck in lots of places.   The fishing even gets better with the cooler temperatures that September will bring.  The gals get to start either looking forward to,or fearing,the approach of the party season and the Holidays.  The gals can’t just jump into the Holidays.   They have to sorta ease their way into that whole deal.  They think of the meals, the gifts, the decorations and all the rigmarole we guys just don’t see on our radar screens.   So as you jump into your car and your rear end burns from the heat on the seat from the relentless Sun just think you only have a few weeks to go and things will be different not just in temperatures but the daily and seasonal activities we all enjoy so much.  Where’s my ice tea?

“As you do not know how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”  Ecc.12  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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First Trip To the Hospital for Baby’s Birth

Some events in our lives are more embedded in our memories than others.  Most of us can recall the birth of our first child and the excitement that surrounded that event.   I can sure remember mine.  We were in the last semester of my law school days.  It was the fall and I was due to graduate in December.  We had moved out of our apartment and were home shopping.  We stored our belongings in my dad’s warehouse and moved in with the in-laws for a couple of months then with my folks for a couple of months to finish that semester and get organized.  We did find the house we wanted and could afford.  It was in the suburbs and a typical 3-2 with an attached garage.  It was modest but nice enough and all we could afford.

I recall that being a very hectic and trying time.  I needed a permenant job for sure with the baby due in November and us living like gypsies.  We had picked the house only a couple of weeks before the baby was due.  I was both relieved and scared to death.  I only had a clerk position at that time and was not sure it would be permenant.  Hard to believe now but we had the money for a down payment from a small investment I had made in Delta Airlines in the early ’60’s from our savings.  Our house payment was going to be more than the car payments for our VW bug–the monthly payment for the house was $118.00 it cost ab0ut $17,000.00.   It was a God awful Japanese or Chinese style with swooping eaves.  Quite grotesque.   Hey, but it was home sweet home. 

In the dark ages we didn’t know the sex of the baby.  No one did in those days.  You got what you got and all those baby showers brought in clothes in lots of neutral colors.   We had a great Ob-gyn.  We were at my folks those last few weeks and it was an area where I was raised so I was very familar with the neighborhood and the entire city.  We had both grown up there.    I recall vividly that night when we had gone to bed in my old bedroom and my wife told me that she was having really strong contractions and this was the real deal.   We had naturally packed beforehand and were prepared.  So I quickly dressed and we were ready to depart.  Of course my mom heard the commotion and was all over us like a chicken on a June bug.  Questions, questions, questions and advice, advice, advice.  But we knew the drill and were on our way and told the folks they could come along when they liked.  I insisted that we take our own car over their repeated offers to drive us.  Perhaps I should have taken them up on the offer.

I knew that part of town like the back of my hand.  For reasons only explained by excitement and euphoria I decided at the last minute to take a short cut to the hospital.   It was only a 10 minute or so drive especially late at night like that if we had taken the conventional route.  But hero here was going to get her there really fast and smoothly so I take the back streets.  Darn, if we weren’t soon on streets with construction and potholes as big as icebergs.  Every time we hit one of those the jolt made me gringe and my child bride was beginning to moan and express her displeasure with my choice of routes.  I’ll be damned if I didn’t get turned around in my own backyard as it were.  We weren’t lost of course but I was so bamfoosled that I kept taking the wrong turns and driving us over the bumpiest roads in that neck of the woods.  I thought for sure I was going to make my baby birth right there in the car with my inadequate navigating and driving skills.  Finally we got on the main thoroughfare that went straight to the hospital.   I felt like Columbus seeing Hispanola for the first time. 

Of course as it turned out all that rush was futile.  The labor was a long one.  My poor trooper of a wife was in labor over 24 hours before that baby finally decided to join the fun outside the womb.  In those days it was different and dads weren’t allowed in the delivery room but we were allowed in the labor room.  I was with her until the very end.  I got to see my baby crown before they took her away.  After delivery she was in the recovery room and the anesthesia was really having an effect on her.  She was babbling and making no sense at all.  Me and her mom and the nurse were in stitches listening to her.  She kept talking about the elephant in the street and how she had to guide it somewhere.  What that elephant had to do with my daughter’s birth only she and the anesthesiologist would know.

Fellows, figure out how you are going to get your little lady to the hospital when the time comes and then stick with it.  Don’t change things at the last minute.  Believe me it will not be an improvement.

We did move into our house only a  couple of weeks after our daughter was born.  Then I was promptly fired because I had asked for a raise from 75 cents an hour to $1.00 and hour as a clerk.  There went the permenant job.  So I had a new baby, new house and no job.  What a great start.  But a little work and the good Lord taking care of fools helped out and we did manage.  I have never been so frightened and elated in my life as I was that winter.  I guess that is when I learned that Woody Allen was right about 90% of success is just showing up.  I kept showing up and now it is 6 children and 12 grandchildren and a lifetime later.  I got better than I deserved.   Blessings often come in adversity  and we don’t see them at the time.

If you think health care is expensive now just wait until you get it free from the government.

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Children and other fun things

Hey, I know there are lots of harrowed moms out there right this minute wanting to know what is fun about dirty diapers and two year old tantrums.   They just cleaned up the kitchen table from the mid morning snack and are thinking about the menu for lunch and little bit there over in the corner just won’t be quiet for a moment and the older brother is complaining about not getting to watch tv again because mom limits that to regimented hours.  

I understand that there are those who make the deliberate choice not to have any children and I have no problem with that decision.  It is about the most personal decision and the most compelling one we all make during our lives.   I recall myself that the little wifey and me were married a couple of years with absolutely no sign of any grandchildren and the family pressure was building.   They all wanted to know when we were going to “get busy” and have those kiddoes.   Well, from this distance it is hard to realize that we really weren’t sure about that idea and certainly not right away.   There was school to finish and then there was the normal desire to finally have some money and enjoy ourselves without that financial burden all those little boogers bring with them.   In fact we ended up being married for 4 and half years before the first blessing came along.   Everyone was relieved and just couldn’t contain themselves.   We had even told them at one time we weren’t sure we wanted any kids and the stillness of the room was palpable, like those moments of silence that descend on a group at one time and no one seems to know what to say to get the conversation going again.  

I can’t really say how we reached the decision that we did want children.  I suppose the desire more or less evolved along with our relationship.  We were young and the young are mostly clueless about life.   (But we let them vote, hmm).   Our first did in fact turn out to be a real terror.  She was collicky and boy she could cry for literally hours.   But in spite of all that it was so incredible to hold that small body and realize those smiles were for me and that I was responsible for something very very important–a human life that was totally dependent on me.   For every crying spell there was the joy of the first words and the funny way they could look at you like they knew you were tricking them with dinner just so their tummy would be full and they would get sleepy.   Once we got the hang of it we decided it was so much fun that we would just see what happened.   Well, what happened was five more children.   By about  the third one the folks starting changing their tune and making comments about us becoming overworked and overwhelmed with it all.  Did my wife think about maybe “doing something”.   We merely kept deferring any decision.  The fun outweighed the work.  There was a tremendous amount of work I can assure you so you can only imagine how much fun it took to overcome it.

There was something so magical about each birth and although the patterns of infancy were the same, there was an uniqueness about each one and the journey of raising them was always different in its own way.   I took such pride in my brood and had more laughs and moments of sheer exhiliration with each of them that I often felt I had been blessed so much more than I deserved.   Sure I got irritated as heck often.  I mean when  I was carrying the skis, poles, boots and assorted hats and gloves with all of them trailing behind me like I was the Pied Piper, I would wonder sometimes if  I was going to survive this obstacle course.   But then I would see them sking down the hill, smiling or even grimacing with fear and that would immediately erase all those concerns and their faces  would restore my energy and enthusiasm.

I never regretted my choice to have kids.   Wanted to wring their necks on more than one occasion and didn’t like some of the choices they made as they got older, but having them gave me a purpose in life that transcended  the commonplace and made me a better man for being a dad.   A man can have no better title than that–dad.

For you consideration I offer a few thoughts on the following:

Musicals–Go see Little Me if it ever comes by your town during summer musicals.  I got to see it with Donald O’Connor.  it is very lively and bouncey and you have a grand evening.  It is in the best tradition of broadway.  None of those darn melancoly ballads in this one.

Movies–Mrs. Miniver with Greer Garson.  It was made during the War and is the classic of its genre.  Walter Pidgeon is the husband and London and the south of England is the stage.   It is an uplifting story of endurance during the most difficult of times for a nation and the Minivers.  Take your hanky you will need it.

Books–State of Fear by  Michael Crichton.  He recently passed and he was a favorite of mine.  He was always true to science.  Real science not opinion or prejudice for political agendas. I admired his integrity.  You will remember him more for Jurassic Park or E.R. on tv but this little novel is him at his finest in seeking the truth.

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