Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Park

  In Grandview, Washington, there is a park not more then a few acres in size. It is a quiet place most days, but without notice can fill with the sound of children’s laughter as compared to school yard on the first day of spring.

  When I was a child I remember coming to this park with my mother. We would stop at the little hotdog stand on the highway and bring lunch to one of the many picnic table that scattered across the park. The ketchup dripped from my mouth as I rushed to consume the tasty snack. I hurried, so I could be released to play in the small wading pool. I can remember spending most of the hot days of summer cooling off in that little pond under the watchful eye of my mother.
 
  The wading pool is only a memory, demolished and covered in asphalt. The children that play Basketball on its surface know nothing of my joy that I once felt within its cool waters.  
                                             
  Today, the grass seems greener than what I remember. I know the trees are taller but from the eyes of a child, they always seemed larger than life.  From the snow filled Hallmark views in the winter to the shady days of summer, there is always someone there to enjoy its landscape. With each new season, the children play creating new memories.

  I bought my first house across the street from this magical place. I watch my son play as I did under the watchful eyes of his mother.  His pond has become the merry-go-round. If he isn’t climbing on the play structure, he is running across the open expanse of the parks interior to find another playmate. These will one day be his happiest memories.

  One day, when his parents are gone as mine are now. I hope he will bring his family here and think of us as he sits under the tall trees of this little park.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Starlight

http://theserenitylost.blogspot.com/2011/06/starlight-ch-1.html


I posted my the first chapter of the fan-fiction Starlight in the Serenity Lost series. Please read and review.

Also, you might want to follow, once I sent it up.

Thanks, James.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tail # 9 Ashley

  I once had a free range rabbit named Ashley living under foot. Not that she came to her name or even liked me for the matter. I had bought her at a pet store of all places and before I went to the trouble of a cage; I saw her make her business on a newspaper. I thought that this gave me on idea and I began to train little Ashley. She took to it really well and before long she learned to potty on the paper.
  For months she hopped around my house without really making a fuss or bother. Until one day I noticed a smell in my room. It was like a cat box but worse. I followed my noise and found what was causing the foul smell easy enough. She had found a dark place under my water bed to make the before mentioned practice. It was bad and I needed it cleaned up. I went about draining my bed and pulling the bedding clear.
  After a few hours work the room smelled better and my life continued. I was surprise at how much little Ashley had gotten away with by the simple fact that I had not paid attention to her. I blocked the holes and thought it would help.  She just found another place to potty and then stopped using the paper all together. She started to look for lack of a better word, depressed. I went to the pet store and asked the woman behind that counter for some advice.
  She said, "Ah, I see your problem, I have just the thing that you need in the back."
  I followed her down the aisle and into the back where she stored some cages. She stopped and pointed.
  "But I like her to be free," I answered the unspoken question.
  The lady said, "Sir, she is a rabbit. She thinks your home is her home and in fact it is nothing but a larger cage."
  What that woman said had stuck with me over the years. I released little Ashley behind my apartments. She never came back to me, but I saw her a few times hopping around enjoying her life.  She liked the freedom and I like the clean smelling house.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lee stole my grandpa's truck

  My dad and grandpa were working on a fence one day.  This was back in about 1971. My brother was around six and I was still in cloth diapers crawling around somewhere. Probably not from my mother. Regardless of were I was I was only told the story no less than 101 times as I grew up.
  My brother in that same summer had disappeared and found in a kitchen drawer. (story of the Disappearance of Lee in same blog) It was late in the summer and the fence needed to be finished. They worked hard into the heat of the sun and Lee play near my father in the yard. He was always an explorative child and got into trouble for his curiosity on most days.
  He disappeared for a few minute and my father stopped what he was doing to look for him. He was like that; he could multitask with the ease of will. My dad soon found Lee in the cab of my Grandpa’s truck. Going back to work my father never would have guessed what would have happened next. If he would have he would have spanked the little boy just for the notion.
  Lee played for a few moment, making truck and transmissions sounds. The laughed when he noticed the key in the ignition. It didn’t take him long to do as he had seen his father and grandpa do many times. He shut the door, started the truck and through it into gear.
  My dad heard the engine and was already running along side the truck as it picked up speed heading down the hill in front of my parent rented home in Prosser.
  My brother was oblivious to my father’s taunts and concentrated on steering my grandpa’s pride and joy. From what I understand by all that witnessed that it was quite the special. My brother standing in the seat steering still making the transmission sounds with his mouth and my father run along side the truck.
  The truck stopped and no harm done and Lee was off exploring the yard again. Many stories like that exist, but this morning I sit drinking my coffee wondering just how many have been lost and will be lost. Every story does have to a moral. Every story doesn’t need to be remembers. However, just remember don’t leave you keys in your car especial around my brother Lee. I always thought he seemed a little shifty.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Being ill and a right of passage

   I don’t knowing if anyone noticed, but I took that last few days off from my life. I checked out, I ended up playing the Xbox game 'Farcry 2'. It took my mind off of being sick. I had a headache last week, and my stomach churned with every meal. My wife pressed me to go to the Doctor to see what the matter was with me. I wrote an earlier post on this Blog and in I made a statement that may have bothered her. I felt ill, but I really didn't feel like it was God's finishing blow. If I had never been sick before this would have worried me.
  It turned out that I would worry about something else instead. My son took sick on Friday.  With a lite fever and cold he laid on the couch most of the weekend. On Sunday, he got worse and the fever went to 103. We worried about what to do, buying over the counter fever reducer we banked my son's heath on the claims of the packaging. I had made up my mind that if he wasn't better by morning he was heading to the hospital.
  About ten in the evening he awoke screaming and we ran to his aid. He was soaked in sweat and confused. His bed needed changed and the fever was gone. I held him then. I felt better even if he didn't think he was better. We both showed signs of mending.
  I can remember getting ear infections when I was little, and taken with a high fever. Staying awake was the worse form of torture. The pain of an ear infection would keep me awake for days, along with a fever and cold to boot. It became the perfect storm of sickness. I can remember my dad picking me up and holding me in his arms. I must have been ten, and he rocked and consoled me.
  It is funny were your mind goes when you hold you sick child. It races to all directions, you figure out what needs to be done, check. You figure okay how sick is he, check. You figure is he getting better, check. What would my father do, check?
  What would my father have done? He would have called my aunt and asked her what to do. I really didn't have that option; do to circumstances beyond my control I am forced to deal with these matters on my own. We had phoned a friend about the treatment of fever and had chosen the fever medication based on what she had told us, but what to do when your child is still sick. It placed us being parents in a whole new light.
   The next morning he claimed to be sick and I was tasked with finding out the truth. Yes, my son a normal child that really doesn't seem to lie about anything. But will push this practice when it comes to matter involving him going to school. He stood in front of me. He coughed.  I felt for his head and it felt normal. He coughed harder. I felt for his stomach and it wasn't clam-y and for the most part felt normal. Then he coughed louder.  I almost laughed. He was good at faking but his eyes were a little red and as he stood there his noise draining onto his upper lip.
  I asked myself would I want to stand outside for hour and half in the cold just after getting over being ill myself, because I send him to school he would have to go out and play in the cold. The answer was no and he got to stay home.  Truth was he could fake a lot of things but he could fake the runny nose and red eyes.
  So back to me or as least in my direction, my father used to be in pain for days and I often wondered if he would hit his thumb with a hammer to forget about the pain in his leg, because this is really how this weekend turned out for me. I came into it with emotional baggage and sickness of my own. I turned out worrying about my son. I forgot about the trouble and sickness I felt. I forgot about my stomach for the most part. But am I better? I will let you know once I have eaten my first meal and held it down. I will let you know once my head clears from the morning funk. That I find myself, more and more, since I passed the 40 years mark. I will let you know when I know and not a moment sooner.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cheeseburgers and chocolates

  Life was simple back in high school. Oh, I can remember thinking that each day was to end all days. I can remember feeling like it was just enough to get through the day without someone picking on me.  I hated most things about school. I did my best but I was very self-conscious when I was younger. I tried to do my best but when I failed I felt all eyes upon me.
   Why do we go through life believing that?  That failure means everything and fear what people will say. I can remember my parents saying not to where red on Thursdays. If I did it meant I was telling everyone that I was gay.  It was a hold over from the 50's. This happened so offered I stopped wearing red all together.
  I can remember in my high school, if a guy wore an earring on the right side he was saying to the world look at me, I am gay. But what does that tell my about myself. I was just as bad as everyone else. I would have been first to point out a right earring wearing peer.
  Now life is different. I am not that self-conscious about anything but maybe my weight. I go to work and do my best to please my employers. I follow the laws of my community. I help with my family and try to help my friends as much as a can help.
  Tom Hanks in the movie Forest Gump said it best, "Life is like a box of Chocolates, you never know what you are going to get." My life has been like that, I have been to the other side and looked back. I have been homeless, I have been alone, and it changes nothing. I have bit into my box of chocolates and choked on what I found.
  I guess what I am getting at if I wouldn't have taken that first bit of chocolate I would never have left Sunnyside, I would never have gone to the city, never have went to Central Washington University, never did everything that needed to be done. So I could meet the love of my life and have a great child. So I could live in a great house, literally my dream house. We went to a real-state agent and described a house and this was the house that she picked out for us. My dream home was a beautiful house in a nice neighborhood across from a park. Will I live here for the rest of my live? I might or I might not. I don't know what my next bite of chocolate will bring. Will it be a lovely favor or a nasty concoction? I don't know.
  All I know is life is too short to swallow cheeseburgers every time life gets stressful. I will work on this in the future and maybe just maybe, call a doctor if I do have a heart attack. (Read Cheeseburger on this Blog)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Working late at my dad's

  Last night was a very busy night. I got dressed for bed and ended up in my dad's shop. He was planning on going on a trip soon, so he needed me to help him work on his trailer lights.  We rewired it and even wielded new mounts for the tail lights. Once that was done we tested it and it still didn't work.
  "Crap," he said.
  "What does this mean?"
  "The trucks lights plug is bad, and it doesn't really matter the trailers lights needed reworked anyway."
  So an hour past and we got the lights on the truck to connect to the trailer and it made me feel good to help him once again.
  "I know it is late, James but can you help me clean up the shop."
  "Sure," I answered, even though I wished nothing more than to go to bed.
  We brought the tools inside and started wiping them down. I was like a robot picking a tool up, examining, cleaning it to a shin, and then returning it to it place on the bend. That was where he hung most of his tools. We even painted them pink at one point so we could tell that they went above the bench.
  The shop as clean and soon I was saying goodbye.
  I awoke then, I tried not to cry, I both love and hate that dream. I miss him especial days like this. God rest his soul.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Contradiction

  My first year in college was a time for change and growth. I left the small town way of life behind and in braced the city of Seattle. Compared to cities back east, Seattle is still a small town. But the lessons I needed to learn wasn't from the fact it was large but it was far away from what I considered home. That first year noted changes in my life that could have only have happened that far from home. I saw love and cruelty; I saw sadness and hope at every turn. Evil and good made their home on every corner and I lost myself somewhere along the way.
  Someone smarter than me once said that in order for a boy become a man he must kill his father’s image that he holds up to the light. Now, I am sure he didn't mean to kill my father, but he did mean for me to forget that my father was an all powerful man.  When we are small we look up to our parents as man looks to God. They give us everything and ask little in return.  I got away from my parent early and grew years beyond from the way I was when I left. I learned more about the world in the first 6 months in Seattle than in the first 18 years of my life.
  I picked up a hooker once. I was driving and this woman was hitch-hiking on highway 99, just over the boarder to king county. She wore tight shorts and a bikini top. Just the kind of girl you wouldn't take home to your parents. Well, long story short my passenger announced she was a working girl and I asked her how far she wanted to go up road before I dropped her off. I wasn't mad at her, I was mad at myself for not seeing just what she was doing standing on the side of the road in the middle of the night.
  Then there was the guy that wanted to go into the woods at night with me.  Never took him up on that offer and I am glad I didn‘t.  He claimed to be looking for Meteors. I just didn't trust him. Something was wrong about him. I laughed at this the day he was picked up by the police for assault.  Never heard anything else about him but I wondered for years if I would have every stepped from the woods if I had walked into the secluded spot with him as he had wished.
  Once I was standing at the entrance to a library and met up with a friend. He introduced me to a group of six of his friends as they filtered out of the double doors. One looked at me and said, "He looks harmless enough."
  I told her my name was Todd, Todd Bundy.  Only one of the seven understood what I was saying. She became my girlfriend of the month. I had peaked her curiosity and she liked to live dangerously as I soon found out.  Watch the movie, Blind Date starring Bruce Willis.  Our dates were a lot like that movie, fast and dangerous.  What was I expecting from a woman that wanted to go out with a serial killer's relative?
   Then there was the Goth crew I tagged along with, today they would have been considered Emo, but we didn't use labels back then. We just hung out at dance clubs and Denny’s restaurant all night. I loved the music the most. It was loud and probably the reason I have a little hearing loss today. We listened to heavy metal and punk while enjoyed each others company. When we were together I wasn’t depressed and wasn’t sad. I was me.
  I liked to dress in black; it really fit my mood about life.  I like the music and the group as a whole; they let me hang out with them excepting me almost from day one. I can only remember faces today and this makes me sad. There was Robert our leader and Pete he liked to play the air drums, but for the life of me I can’t think of the rest of their names. I get flashes of their faces and that is all. Like young it is probable best that I don’t jump into those memories very long.
   I met my crew at a club up from my apartment. It was called 'Tuneups and Beats’ or ‘turn up the beats.’ For six months I would go there and hangout with my new friends. Night after night, I would go out and be myself, a depressed young man in a room full of depressed teenagers. My parents called them death-mongers. They were referring to the fact that they believed that my new group of friends were a bad influence and promoted death. I liked them all the same, they understood me, or at least I thought they did. I wore black clothes with no labels, untied boots and always a hoody. I wore chains around my ankle and used one as a belt. Yes, I was back to my same old ways that I had introduced to my school years before.  I would wear my hair long in the front and hide from sociality.
   I started to use stiffing gel on my hair and going to college dress that way.  I quickly learned that people judge you on how you presented yourself.  I was surprised that I failed a class. Going back I figured out that she (The Teacher) was using her power of grading to punish me. I never understood that. She believed that she thought she knew what I was and that I was something that she didn't approve of; she may have been right but what business was it of hers.
   What I wore didn't define me. I had learned this in college and high school. I also learned that you can’t please everyone. Wearing black doesn't make you want to kill yourself and wearing pink doesn't make you gay. Acting grown up doesn't make you an adult. (That lesson took the longest to learn.)
   I learned a lot that year. I learned that people are cruel and unforgiving when you thought they should they would be kind and then I are surprised at the people that I thought were mean were really nice.  I told a story about a chess match the other day. There was more to the story, trust me there always is more to the story. I didn't mention that I was dressed in all black and angry at the world. I sat there dressed in Goth, with a chain around my ass playing chess by myself. I was a contradiction in terms. I did mention that I was depressed and I guess that is why it was so easy for me for fall into a group as with the crew. We were a band without instruments, each had a part to play in our concert we called life.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tail # 8: Teddy, the clairvoyant dog

  When I was 8 my parents had a dog that belonged to my Grandmother, his name was Teddy.  He was a black poodle. I can remember see photos of the dog back into the sixties and he last into the 80's. So we have come up with that he must have been 23 years old before he died.  The truth is we don't know how old the dog really was. He seemed like he had been in the family forever.
  My dad used to go to my grandmothers unannounced after driving 90 minutes to get there. He would show up in the middle of the day and knock on the door. He would sit and she would hand him a fresh cup of coffee. One day, he asked her about the coffee.
  "Mom, you haven't started drinking coffee have you?"
  "No, I can't stand the stuff,” she offered, taking a seat across from him.
  "Then why do you always have a fresh pot on?” he asked, taking a sip of the scolding hot coffee.
  "I don't always have a fresh pot on, just when you are coming to visit,” she answered.
  "Hmm, but I didn't tell you that I was coming,” he asked.
  "I know, Teddy did,” she answered with a smile.
  Now my dad looked down at the dog and back up to my grandmother. "Explain?"
  "He scratches at the door when ever you or one of you sisters are about to show up and he is hardly ever wrong," she answered with a smile.
  The dog was hardly ever wrong and the fresh pots of coffee came until one day my dad slipped into the Grand ma's and there was no coffee.
  He looked down at the old dog and then back up to my Grandma. "So he didn't know I was coming today."
  "No, he knew. I just found out I was out of coffee," she answered, showing him the container in the bottom of the garbage, the note with a shopping list written out on it, and then she raise her purse showing she was ready to go.
  "Where you going?" dad asked.
  "I am ready to for you to take me to the store," she laughed.
  My dad for years thought that someone else was supposed to take his mother to the store, but no one has ever steeped forward.  When she died my family inherited that toothless dog. He was old but he started a new life in at my house and we enjoyed his company for many years.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How I came out of the Closet

  My parents used to tease me over the fact that I spent to much time in the closet. They discover me there more than once. They worried about such eccentric behavior. 
  "They would tell me to stop this action and come from the closet."
  The truth was I felt most comfortable in my closet: protected, defended, safe, and most important free to be myself. I loved that closet. Closing the doors and to the outside world was the only way I felt I could be myself. 
  Each day I would come home and fire up my television and read books of far off lands. Places I knew deep down that I wound never visit. I was happy in side that closet of mine. 
  Soon I talked my dad into moving a larger dresser into my room and I cleared to cloths from my closet and it made it even better. The television I placed on a shelf inside the closet and I talked dad into letting me have an old car seat. 
  That was the biggest closet I ever owned. All the rest just weren't deep or wide enough. I invited a friend over once he saw the humor of my closet. The jokes started, and the names that hurt and our friendship ended. He lacked the foresight to under stand the pain he cause me both at home and at school.
  I left my closet one day and never returned. Cloths and boxed filled the gap in my life. I miss the good old days of disappearing into that closet. Late my junior year in high school, I moved in my brother’s old room that had a closet with no doors. I moved my television and home computer into my brother’s dark room. It was another closet on the other side of the house over the stairs. It offered the needed protection but little ventilation. 
  If you haven't figured it out sometimes a closet is just a closet and one guy's closet can be another guy's 'Man Cave'. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Zen

  It amazes me to think about how a single comment can spur such internal conversation. I am a writer, an author, an artist, and many other things. Zen moments for me don't really come often enough. When they do I wake up as if waking from a dream and time has past. Maybe 5 minute maybe an hour. I can say that I didn't pass out; I can remember what I did. First a feeling of joy comes over me and then one of sadness. Like withdrawals I wish I could return to that point in time at will.
  I have been told I am having experiencing Zen. I joke some times and say is that anything like a senior moment. I know these times are special and I can reach these points a few different ways. One is in a quiet room listen to Celtic instrumentals while relaxing with my eyes closed.
  The second way I experience Zen is the way that seemed to come easier and the most often of the occurrence, it is while driving my car on long trips. No radio, no conversation, just the open road. Soon I realize that time has pasted and I am miles from where I remember being. I have been told that Zen moments are nothing more than the right side of you brain taking over for the left.
  The right side of the brain is the creative side in charge of lying, art, dreaming and filling in when the left side shuts down.
  Now the left side is in charge of math, decisions and logic. It works in concert with the right but sometimes it decides this is boring and says, "Wake me up when it over."
  When I was younger I experienced Zen easiest when I was mowing the lawn. I go in descending circles as mow the lawn. At some point, I lose myself in the white noise and the absences of thought. I awake and the lawn is done and I leave my trimmed lawn wishing I had a bigger yard to mow. I miss Zen moment mowing days, I can't stand in the sun like I used to, I take medication that magnifies the sun's effects and I come to the point of heat stroke.
  Writing and art helps me reach my Zen/Happy place. I look up after what seems hour and I have put 1500 words on a page or drew something that was far beyond my talents. The hour turns out to be hours and I secretly wish I could do it again. Time had pasted but I can hardly believe how much has past.
   While in fact, I started a timer when I started this post. I have been typing for 39 minutes and it doesn't feel like 39 minute it feels like 10 or less. I have lost myself in a Zen moment just now and I feel relaxed and centered. If anyone would like me to explain the mental process of reach a Zen moment send me comments and I will write more on this topic.

Friday, January 14, 2011

To let it go


  Over the years I have been taught to try to let thinks go. I know in the past I have talked about stress, but what I am referring to is when someone or thing attacks you, sometimes it is best to let it go. In my case I try to let most things go. But there are the moments in my life that stick to my insides. (Yes, like cheeseburgers)
  Take the time that my family went to Utah for a family reunion. I went with my parents on the trip. My brother was at that age when he wanted to stay home and mind the fort. It was good to see everyone and we like the Lake that they had picked for the reunion itself. I was high up into the mountains almost touching the cloud themselves. It would have turned out to be a great 4 days if it wasn't for my brother getting attacked in the back yard of my parents home.
  He heard a noise walked out the back door and made it just to the shop when someone hit him over the head with a 2x4. He woke up an hour later and called the police. It was a frightful thing to happen when we were so far away. Being that we weren't in the age of cell phones; we only found out about it because someone from the police station called the ranger station.
  I was mad, upset, and I felt violated. I must admit that I went for a walk to work things out. My parents decided to stay one more day and that kind of pissed me off. I wanted to get home and make sure he was indeed, okay. We heard from him and he told his story. Someone broke in to my dad's shop and burglarized thousands of dollars worth of tools, and then put there own lock on the door. It was a shiny lock, new. The police had no idea that someone had robbed my parents. Until my older brother discovered the new lock that have been placed on the door by the robbers.
  I ran from the camper and into the woods angry with everyone. That is when a wise man told me that I needed to let this anger go. The feeling of anger I had told everyone. It would get me no where. I need to wait and see what happened.
  So when every something goes bad in my life. Let say a friend turns on me or someone says something that hurts me I let that kind of stress go. I try to wait and see just how bad it is before chow-ing down on the bit of stress. The man that taught me that helped me more than he would everyone. I looked back on that talk and I can remember his eyes, they were like the eyes of an eagle. When it came time to name my son there was no other name that I could have given him that would have been more fitting that that of the Darrel Farnworth.
   That weekend he taught me that drinking beer didn’t make you a man. So I try to let things go, to let them be, until I find out what is really going on. Then make an informed decision on what to do next. As I get older I have every talked to my support group of friends and asked opinions on what to do. It helps if you don't make decisions that burn bridges, and build fences, until you know what to do.
   I guess I am just trying to get the point across to who ever is reading this, read it over and over until you do understand. It may make life a great deal better. I would also press upon my son to read this when he is older. Don’t let the little things that come against you, hurt you. There is a lot to be said for the saying, "Sticks and stones will break my bone and words will never hurt me.”  Just know tomorrow is another day that leads to the rest of your life.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I tried on a New Self.

  Today, my nephew reminded of me something. He left an update on Facebook that stated, "I should bring back Jerry curls. LOL" His comment had me thinking of when I had just turned 18, I just became a senor in high school and when I was just figuring out who I wanted to be.  Early on I had figured out that we can be who I wanted to be; although, I shunned away from ridicule back then. I decided to one day shed my cocoon of depression.
  This for me meant getting a hair cut and a change of clothes. I wore my hair long in the front and shorter in the back. Sun glasses were not aloud in my school, so the next best thing was a shield that would drop in front of my face when ever I wanted to hide. This happened was five days a week. A quick tip of the head and I was under a mop of hair hidden from my peers.
  A great example of my hair style is a little longer than of that of Justin Bieber's hair today. For clothing I wore black, with black socks and black shoes.  I wasn't really Goth although my depression-ist state of mine lead people to believe I was a Goth. The ones that thought of me as anything else thought of me as a nerd or just seemly weird. Either way, I really didn't have a lot of friends at school. But once I was free. I would join my real friends. They know who they are and we will just keep it that way for now.
  Well, back to my hair. One day, I decide to change. I had fallen in love and want that person to know it. I wanted let everyone know that I was no longer depressed. I went to Victor my brother’s hair stylist and asked him cut my hair. He was surprised when I wanted a cut as described.
  "Victor, I need you to cut my hair a little different today."
  "How so?" he asked, as he started to lean me back and wash the hair spray out of my hair.
  "I want it short on the sides and with short curls on the top."
  He laughed, before answering, “You know it is expensive to do perms.”
  "How expensive,” I asked, I hadn't really thought of the money.
  "About severity,"
  "Dollars, really," I questioned, with great inflection in my voice.
  "Yeah," he answered, raising me up and turning me to face the mirror. He noticed the frown on my face and smiled.
  "What?" I asked.
  "Don't worry about it. Let’s talk turkey."
  I had thought we were talking about my hair style. I am just glad I chose to continue to look at myself in the mirror and not express anything about the price of turkeys in Sunnyside.
  "How much do you have?" he asked.
  "About $35, $45 if I walk to school,” I laughed.
  "Okay, so which is it? You willing to walk to school for a week." he asked.
  I decided to walk and he charged me 45 bucks. When he was done he had used a lot of curlers, small and tight. I could feel my hair pulling from my head. I was painful and made me appreciate what women go through to look great. We were done and I was in a hurry to get back to school. I was late for an after school Club meeting and needed to be there before it started. I thanked him and I left.
  When I sat down in my normal seat, this cute blond leaned over. I later found out she was a cheerleader for another school.
  "You better find another place that seat belongs to someone else."
  I almost laughed. I had sat there for a month and she had not taken notice of me other than that of the long hair and dark cloths.
  "It will be okay," I offered opening my book.
  "No, it wont, he looks mean and he will beat you up."
  "Really, I don't think it will be a problem; he is not going to show up today,” I answered, turning to look her in the eyes.
  She smiled and liked my confidence. Then she noticed my dark cloths and worn tennis shoes.
  "Oh, I am sorry," she exclaimed.
  "What?" I asked.
  "I thought you were someone else," she answered, as the meeting started.
  "Me too," I whispered, as I settled into my new self.
  This isn't that kind of love story and I didn't go out with her. She did show me that I had changed, so much so that I wasn't recognized by people that should have. The ones that thought of me at all didn't think I was a Goth anymore, and the ones that thought of me as a nerd, still did. By the end of the next day, everyone thought of me as just weird. Although, popular peers asked me where I had gotten the hair cut and soon ten or so of my peers sported the same hair style.
  My real friends loved it and some even ran there fingers through it. I loved that hair cut but it did put me on the defensive.
  It is like being invisible one day and walking around with a Multi-colored flag the next. People notice you and I started to feel self-conscience of the glances. When school was out I left for Mabton, Toppenish, and My friend in Grandview, I can't for get about you.  By the time, I got the next hair cut I was ready for a different hair style. On a side note, I never went back to the Justin Bieber look.
  I studied my photo albums and I couldn't find very many photos myself back then. Which is a good a thing, I guess. I need to know that I am different now. Less set on the way I look and more on the way I see myself in the mirror. Like that day at Victor's watching him change me into someone else, someone closer to who I wanted to be.
 
  Thanks, for reading my Blog and I hope to hear comments from you all. Today, I have decided to make my comments private. I will still get them just they will not post without a first glance through from me. If you comment please let me know if you want them posted to my blog for others to ready.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My First Car

  My first car was a 1973 Ford Mustang that had cycled threw my brothers clutches before I got my hands on it. They had both crashed more than on one occasion. It was light pea green, gray patches painted over the rust fenders and the front spoiler was missing.
  My dad joked and said if I was willing to wait I could find a better car for myself. I asked if he could just help me fix up the mustang.
  He smiled and said, "Of course, do you have any ideas."
  "Yep, how about a white paint job, and maybe tented windows?" I asked.
  "I am surprises you want it white, why not another color. Such as blue?" he answered with a question.
  "Because white will reflect a lot of heat," I answered, walking around and looking at the rusty quarter panel. "I need to rework this fender also." It was from the accident that my second oldest brother had managed to get him self into. He hit the restaurant that he worked at. (Yes, the very building he worked at.)
  "It will need a lot of work but I am willing to help, but you are going to need to work on it too," he barked.
  "I will," I answered, kicking the tired. (Back then I thought that was what one did to check if the car was mechanical sound.
  "And you are going to need some tools," he said, turning pull a piece of cloth off a set of tools.
   He had planned it from the beginning. He knew I would want to fix up that old mustang. He wanted this more than anything. It was always a learning experience when it came to our father/son relationship. Over the summer we reworked the fenders and replace the parts that couldn't be fixed. We rebuilt the head on the engine and by the time I passed my drivers test my car was finished.
  A year later, someone hit me in a parking lot. He they paid in cash and we sat around my dad’s counter and decided to fix it ourselves. I was older and we decided to paint it Fire engine red and added a sunroof. That was my favorite car. Not because it was a sports car, because it wasn’t. It was because it was an extension of my father’s love. It was rebuilt be us twice and it made me feel free when I drove it. He showed me time, and time again, that he really did know me best.
  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Master and the student

  Chess was a big part of my life when I was growing up. I played well in high school. Not so well against the only time I played a master but he was in fact a Master in the game of Chess.  I lost interest as I grew but I would like to tell you about a moment in my life the change me. I was depressed, all alone in Seattle.
  Lost and lonely in Seattle. It sounds like a good book title. I didn't have many friends and lord knows I tried to find them. I would introduce myself at games, in classes, anywhere I thought I might find someone to be friends with; this got me no where, so I stopped.
  Until one day, I was sitting in the library at school waiting for the class. You know the one. You get two classes; say one at eight, and one at nine in the morning. There is that before mentions class, the one that you wait around for in the afternoon. I didn't like to leave school once I had arrived and I needed to study anyway.  I buried myself in books and studied for that afternoon class.
  I always ran out of homework and ended up playing chess by myself. As portentous as it sounds, I enjoyed a game of chess with myself. The rules are simple, no cheating and you exploit your opponet mistakes. There is nothing like a game of chess, when your opponent knows your every move. People watched me, I was aware of this and I didn't care. I had come to the conclusion that if I was going to not have friends, I was at least going to be myself.
  This worked, I was in my protective bubble until that one day and that one moment when everything changed. As I was minding my own business, a very cute woman sat down across from me. She was lean and had a short hair cut. She smiles and parted her hair that swung over her blue eyes. I went back to my game of chess.
  She moved her hand across the table and she strummed them once. I looked back and she smiled. I was beginning to think that I had been chosen to be her pet project. She smiled until my eye met hers.
  "What is your name," she asked.
  I pondered the question before answering. "Does it really matter? In an hour, I will be in class and you will just be a memory."
  She frowned and it was obvious she wasn't used to people talking to her that way. She left a few minutes later and I went back to my game of chess.
  The next day, she was there at the table when I walked into the study room. It had been raining and library was full of students wanting to stay dry. As I looked around for somewhere to sit she moved her bag and offered the place in front of her. I was young but even then I could see the emotion in her eyes. I smiled and almost laughed.
  She didn't talk, just studied her books and waited.
  I was coming to the point when I didn't really have anything else to do. I had gone over everything twice and out of the top of my eyes, I could see her glancing up every few minute waiting for me. I finally pulled out the chess board and she put her stuff away. I pulled the pieces out and she reached over and pulled the board closer. I almost pulled it back but I thought why not.
  The first game took a few minutes. I didn't want to try anything to hard. It was my first game against anyone for a while. I notice we had a small audience. When we were finish I came out as the winner.
  She laughed and said, "I wasn't as easy as you thought I would be."
  A guy that I didn't know laughed and said, "Now, why don't you play for real."
  I broke character and a smirked.
  I could see the fire in her eyes. "You went easy on me?" she asked, a little too loudly for the environment.
  Of course I did. It is the one lesson, I was taught when I had played the Chess Master. Play defensively and feel your opponent out the first match. Get to know how they think.
  I nodded my answered and she set the pieces up again. The next match was over in 5 moves and the second in less than ten.  She understood now that I wasn't a push over. The guy gave it ago and lost the first match in around 20 quick moves. I didn't play him for a second time. I looked around the she was gone and I was late for class.
  The next day, I was happy to see that the library was empty and only two people were in the study room. Someone I didn't recognize and the young lady. This was a Friday and I didn't have class in the afternoon that day but I needed to get a little homework done.
  She once again waited for me to be done.
  When I was finished I looked up and she was already packed. I explained that I don't play chess on Fridays.
  She said, "I know."
  We stood and walked to the parking lot.
  I wasn’t surprised when she asked for my name again.
  I answered, "Jay." It was a nickname that I used for myself when I was in college, giving to me by a friend that I met at a dance club.
  She waited.
  I finally asked, "What is your name?"
  She laughed, moved closer and touched my hand. "I will tell you on Monday if you can beat me at chess." I had been beaten at her own game. The only one that had counted that day. She showed me I was a student and she was the master at different kind of game. The next week with her was an eye opener. She teased me about that first day we met. I found out her name was Chris.
  I wasn't lonely anymore and we had a great seven months together, but she had a wandering eye that I could not forgive. I found her compromised and it was over. I haven’t shared this story before but it seems fitting today. I stood out in the rain earlier and thought of her for just a second.
  Then I called my wife and told her I loved her, I have no intention of looking Chris up or anyone from my past ever again.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bugs was dress for dinner.

Bugs Bunny copyright
By WB, and artist.


  When I was 13, my dad said it was time for me to learn of some responsibility. It was the end of spring and the sun was just coming out from behind the clouds. The days were getting longer and soon school was going to get out.
  "You are going to learn some responsibly. Take on more chores and work for your allowance," he said, one morning just before I left for school.
  I didn't really know where the statement was coming from. What I remember thinking was he wanted me to do more work for less pay.  Any decent worker would have gone on strike but when you live at home your parents make the rules. That was a Friday and by Saturday I understood what he meant.
  When I was growing up, we would go to the Saturday Sale. It was a place that resembled a Junk Yard. The difference was that they auctioned items off each weekend. Good deals could be found if you knew where to look. The auctioneer went from lot to lot, and the helper would raise things high into the air. People would yell, "Yep!" and the dollar about would increase.
  It was fun watching the auction and playing with the live stock. By noon they would go out and sell: ducks, geese, chickens, and rabbits. I stood beside my dad as they called out the lot numbers and started the bids on the chickens. He leaned closer and asked, "Which rabbits do you want?  You need six, four girls and two boys, to start."
  I must have looked confused. "You are buying me bunnies?"
  "No, I am teaching you some responsibility."
  "Okay, I like the white ones, they tag says that they are all girls. I don't know about the rest,"
  "Well, go find out which ones you like. Remember the males," he whispered.
  We picked out 6 girls and 2 boys. They came cheap and we boxed them up for the ride home. I was excided; it was turning out to be a very interesting day.
  By the time we got home they were already sitting in their own pee and they didn’t smell all that good. We built a small pen and opened the boxes one by one to let time out.
  Mom came out then and just shook her head and said, "I hope you know what you are doing." She watched us build some cages out of wood and screen. It was a tiring job but the pen looked good.
  It wasn't long and all the rabbit were put away. My dad itemized my bill. "What is that?" I asked.
  "It is your bill so far, of the things you used, as well as the cost of the rabbits. It is far, I assure you."
  "Yes, it seems far," I answered.
  "What about the food?" asked my mother?
  I must have looked confused and my mother looked unsurprised it was a stark difference from what her appearance was before. I was starting to think this day had been planned.
  "Ah, yes. Let’s go to the feed store for some supplies."
  On the way, I asked, "So, this is responsible."
  "No, but you will understand by the time the summer is up."
  "How am I going to pay for this?" I asked, meaning the cages, materials, and the food.
  "You will need to keep them, breed them and then returned to the auction. Then you can pay me back. It is a lot of responsible raising the young ones into adults."
  I was started to think that he was talking about raising children. We worked it out and by the time the day was over, I was a Rabbit herder. Now, they call the occupation something else, I know this, but that is just the name that I came up with.
  The first week was fun but the second, was a consequence of the week before. The cages were a mess and my dad called me on it. I hadn't done anything the first week but feed them. Their cages were smelly and mounts of poo were forming.
  He said, "Go out side and clean the cages. When you do you can come in and eat your dinner?"
  It made me sick those first few weeks. The smell of pee and poo haunted me for a long time. However, I got over it and made it a routine that before dinner I would go out and tough up the cages. They weren't all that hard to keep clean as long as you just did it everyday.
  One Friday my father asked me to pick the best male. Now what he was talking about wasn't looks. He was talking about how good a lover he was and there was not question of the answer. I chose and he picked the other one up and headed around the shop. I followed looked confused.
  "James, this is a business and this male is useless for that business. He won’t bring enough at Auction this time of year. So we are going to eat him."
  I started to complain but was surprise on how fast my father killed the rabbit and hung him up to dress him for dinner. I remember call the rabbit, 'bugs'. We cut along the legs and pulled the fir down, over the rabbit’s body. Removed the fir and laid the skin a side. It was brutal to think about even to this day.
  We ate rabbit that night and the only memorable thing about that dinner was when my mother asked, "Can I have a wing."
  I started to explain but my father shook his head. She caught the conversation and stated, "This isn't chicken is it."
  "Nope," I smiled proudly.
  After that I started looking at the rabbits as someone's dinner. I had a different mind set about the rabbits than what I had thought of them early on. My father had planned for this, he had asked me to pick two males. He understood that I was going to think of them as pets. He had put a lot of thought into how he was going to break me of that. It worked for the most part.
  It was more or less timed. Soon my females started producing babies. Mom ended up helping in my little rabbit-ry. It was nice spending time with her and she loved holding the babies.
  One day dad asked me to pick out a couple for dinner. It was September and we had guests coming. Each time had them for dinner he would take a little off my bill for the enterprise. The second time was easy. I picked the two that scratched me. I enjoyed them with peas and mash potatoes.
  It might seem cruel to eat ones pet but they weren't my pets anymore. In some ways, I miss taking care of rabbits. Then I think about the winter months and want to forget the whole thing. But that story will have to wait.
 
 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Seahawks


  When I was growing up my dad would watch football on Sundays and I would be there at his feet with my toys watching with him. He enjoyed watching the Seahawks until he had came to the conclusion that every time he spent the day watching them; they would lose.
  It got so bad that he wouldn't even listen to then on the radio. Unless they were in the playoffs. I grew up believing that my father controlled the Seahawks destiny. That he alone could alter the fact if they won or lost.
  I still have that feel about the Seahawks I hear that they are winning. Now, I am not just any fair weather fan. I enjoy a good game. Yesterday, I had planned to edit one of my Novel's with a friend. As we readied the large computer monitor. We heard that the Hawks were ahead in their wildcard match up against last years Superbowl champs the Saints.
  I turned the channel ignoring that little voice in the back of my head. It was telling me to avoid the game and give them a chance to win. I wasn't surprise when the Saints came back and closed the gap in the score. I have see this happen many times while watching my favorite team.
  The announcers were obviously Saints fans. My friends shouted to mute them and just watch the game. I didn't enjoy the announcers description of my favorite team. It was much easier to watch the game, muted.
  Win or lose, it was all the Hawk's in the fourth quarter when Marshawn Lynch broke free and I screamed like a teenage girl at a Miley Cyrus concert. One of my friends yelled and pointed the screen. Matt Hasselbeck the Hawks quarterback was there, four feet behind the Lynch throwing blocks half way down the field. I was surprised to hear he was looking to leave. We could tell at that point he wasn't thinking of himself. He was a teenager running to protect his teammate. It was nice to see a man at the twilight of the career looking like he was the top of his game. If he does leave the Seahawks he will look back at this game and will think this was one of his best games.
  As the game clock ran down the announcers turned into Hawks’ fans. Now that is the definition of far weather fans. My team came into wildcard Saturday as the underdogs having a losing record but still managing to win their division; something that has never been done.
  They came into the yesterday’s game losers and left as winners. This win was very inspiring if you think about it. The Saints didn't get that easy victory. The Hawks didn't lie down and let the Saints walk over them. They showed one of the best teams that it isn't over until it is over.
  Thanks, goes out to the Hawks for a great game that I won't forget. There in front of my flat screen with my son watching the Seahawks get the job done.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Help

  Have you every been left on the side of the road? By someone or thing that your trusted. You feed it, you watered it and you only asked that it takes you from one place to another without breaking down. Yes, I am talking about my car.
  Yesterday, I started a line of thought of all the times my father had to put his shoes on and saved me.  Late at night, wind blowing snow sideways and me in a ditch. He only complained once. That was the last time I called him for the ditch removal. Oh, I didn't fault him for it.
  I had slipped off the road and it was cold. I walked to a farmhouse about a half of a mile and called my grumpy father. by the time, I had walked back to the car my dad pulled up. When he opened the window I could feel the warm air bursting from the cab. He reached out with a rope and motioned it over to my car. I fell in the snow as I walked back down the side of the ditch. He had me out on the first try.
  If a friend calls me in the middle of the night I may complain just like my father did, however, that didn't stop him from coming out in a blizzard to help me and it would stop me from helping someone. He would have done it for anyone really.  I like to think that if I know you enough that you have my phone number that I would be willing to get up in the middle of the night to bail you out. Speaking of bail, I once got a phone call from an ex-girl friend to come and bail her out. There are always exceptions to that rule of mine. I have to like you, before I put my shoes on and go out into the night.
  She was surprised when I said, “No, I don’t think so.” I am just glad she didn’t know my parent’s phone number. Dad would have gotten up and bailed her out. He might not even have called me.
  Take the biggest problem that anyone has every helped you with and then ask yourself, “Would I have helped someone else out that much?” I know the answer because I have been in that position. Given the choice to leave a stranger on the side of the road. Yes, I stop for people in distress. I get up for people that need me. Not because I want anything in return but because it is what I have been taught by my father and it is what his father taught him.
  So when my son is stuck in a ditch I will go out and think of how it felt when I was in his place. I will hand him the rope and make him hook us up. Slowly, I would pull him from the ditch and make him crawl out to unhook us. He was teaching me if I could get into the ditch I needed to learn to get myself out.

Posted from my Iphone

Friday, January 7, 2011

That Old Truck

  When I was young, say 6. I can remember riding in my dad's truck. It is a 1970 Ford, F250, camper special. It like most of my father’s possessions was used when he bought it. It was only a year old and had just few miles on the odometer. I was sitting here, looking out the window at that old truck parked in front of my house. A thought occurred to me that no matter how many years will pass after the death of my father, that pickup will always be his. No matter who's name is on the title or if I were to paint it. It would still be my father’s truck.
  I suppose it is like a work of art. The painter or sculptor puts a lot into their work. My dad replaced the motor and transmission three times. The body is probably the only thing that is original on the truck. It has over half million miles on the odometer, but it will still start.
  I can remember riding to the dump hundreds of time. I always joke, that if I were on the way to the dump, I could let go of the steering wheel and the truck would find it own way to the dump.  Can a vehicle have a soul? If it were true this old truck would have such stories to tell.
  It could tell you about the first time that it pulled me out of the ditch, or the fourth. It could tell of all the times my dad put his shoes on and went out into the night and pulled someone out of a jam. That truck could also tell you about the trips across the country it took to tow someone home.
  We loaded a camper on its back and went on trips for a week at a time. Back when gas was 95 cents a gallon. Back when my parents had more time than money we would drive about 40 minutes away and stop in at a farmhouse to ask a rancher it would be alright if we camped on their property. In the 70’s, most people would say, “Yes.” Then spend ten minutes explaining the best place to camp. “Go up road and look for the break in the fence. Pull in there and head back to the tree line. Morning sunrise is just beautiful there.”
  Some people would even come out and have coffee with my father on there morning rounds. Some would bring wood with there tractor and we would have a campfire. Those were the good old days. The times we sat around the campfires tell each other a story. My dad crab walking on two legs with his hands above his head, moving  around the fire, jumping on his kids tickling them until they couldn’t stand it.
  I look back and ask myself, “What did that trip cost?” Ten bucks in gas. It cost nothing for camping for a week. Food but we would have had to feed ourselves anyway. Those trips cost us very little but meant so much. I have a camper. It isn’t the same one. I have been thinking lately that I want to load it up onto that old truck and ready it for a week of camping. Maybe we could camp on the shores of bumping lake. Maybe just drive it around a little see if it still has the legs for a longer trip.
  I am sure gas would be a factor. When I was last at the gas station it was three times as much.
  I am sure I would have trouble finding a free camping spot. This isn’t the 70’s and people don’t trust one another.
  I am sure time would be a factor. I work a forty hour job. I don’t work I don’t get paid.
  I can already see that it would be hard to recreate the past. Even if all the players were alive and I set the stage just right, it wouldn’t be the same. I believe that is it okay to dream about it, looking out sipping on a cup of Joe, admiring that old rusty truck.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cheeseburger


  Have you ever wanted to die? Well, maybe that is the wrong question. Have you come to a point in your life that you said, "This is it! Death is upon me and I don't give a crap."
  Someone stabs you and you think, "Well anyways life was good, what's next, I think I'm done here."
  The old and the infirm are encouraged by doctors to take out a DNR order. That means Do Not Resuscitate. It also means if medical person goes against that order they could be fired from their job, lose their medical license and/or in some cases arrested.
  Because it shows that a patient has came to the conclusion that they are finished with the pain of this life and have take solace that next can‘t be all that bad. At least, compared to what they are going though in this life.
  Today, I had a pain in my chest on the way home from work. It was family related stress. It was the kind of stress that gets me every time. So what did I do? Nothing! Yes, it is like my own personal DNR. If death comes, I don’t want Doctor House dropping in and save the day. I want that first year quack that things ducks when he hears hoof beats.
  So let me make this clear I don't want to die. I don't want to kill myself. I don't want someone jumping out and given me heart attack, either. Just know if someone were to cause a heart attack. I am not going to tell anyone.
  When I got home, I took sometime for myself to calm down and relax. It was important because the stress was overwhelming me. I had no one to talk about the stress and no one to help me with the thoughts that were rolling around in my head. After a few hours, I felt better and returned to the family in the living room.
  I don’t do well with stress. I take it like most men and consume it like a cheeseburger, but unlike a cheeseburger we can’t get rid of it. A cheeseburger goes though a process that both helps our bodies grow and slowly kills us. Like stress, too many cheeseburgers and you are likely to have that before mentioned heart attack.
  When I got home; I wanted to eat. I had been taught that a young age that it is much easier to eat the cheeseburger than share it with someone. Once again, I am talking about stress. When I was young it wasn’t all Christmases and birthdays.
   I lived with someone in constant pain. He beat me. Not that I didn’t deserve it but I felt that he was taking things out on me for things that were going well in his life. I grew to understand this and one day we talked about it and the beatings stopped for the most part.
  With my son, my instincts are to lay a belt across his back side, but I tell myself, that it won’t help. So don’t call, Child Protective Services, just yet.
   So let me get back to my cheeseburger with a side of stress. We go through life with a constant internal conversation. Each person that reads the above essay, will draw their owe conclusions. Some will ask me to seek help, mentally and physically. Some will want to talk me about it. I expect to get a few Facebook messages and I welcome them. However, I wonder how many people would agree with me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chess and Grow Up Underwhelmed

  We have proud moments in our life that make us who we are and who we were. I have a few of those moments that make me smile as remember them. When my child was born, when I got married, and the first time I saw my first car are just some of those events. Some moments aren't that easy to point out.
  Once when I was in first period in high school, on the first day of my senior year and I was trying to be inconspicuous. That was the way I was in school. I hide who I really was from the rest of my classmates. Note: I am not saying that they weren't doing the same thing I was, I believed I just better at it. I didn't do well in school on purpose; I didn't want to flunk either.
  The announcements came on and soon they were talking about chess club. I almost laughed when my name was mentioned.
  "CHESS CLUB WILL BE STARTED SOON AND JAMES FARNWORTH IS THE ONE TO BEAT."
  I looked up and around and found all eyes in the class staring back at me, including the teacher. Shock was the only word to explain want I say in their eyes. The weeks that followed left me playing against fellow students that thought they were better than me, both at chess, intelligence, and other things that go along with being a high school student.
  Lunch time, I sat behind the counselor's desk taken on students and a few teachers. The counsel ask me one day to even comment on who I thought would help us win at Chess meets. Our sports teams may not have won every match, but the Chess team, my Chess team won every meet. I was proud of myself and my teammates. Alas, no letter given for kicking the crap out of other Chess player from other school's.
  For a while was the best at something and it was defiantly out of character to who I wanted everyone to think I was, which was someone that didn't care about what people thought about me. However, it was the opposite of what I was, an insecure teenage like everyone else.
 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Death of a Cub Scout

  Have you ever had a night with your child that you just wanted to strangle him and make a new one? Last night was one of those nights for me. I am happy to say that I restrained myself. We went to Cub Scouts last night and it was alright for the first three minutes and things turned for the worse.
  He kept looking over at the bigger kids wanting to play. Their project must have had something to do with having fun, jumping, and being generally loud; no, judgments here.
  Darrel wanted to play and I was having trouble keeping his attention. Our goal was to cut a few different types of food out and organize on the food pyramid. He wanted to cut out cars and refrigerators. I finally got him on task when, he asked me a question. I over looked the question because of the noise. But out of the corner of my eye notices the scissors high into the air.
  Then he asked again. "Dad, can I cut my hair."
  I grabbed for the scissors and explained that it wasn't a good idea to cut his hair in the middle of a Cub Scout meeting, when we should be doing other responsible things, such as, the project at hand.
  It came out as simple, justifiably, "NO!"
  "But I want to," he responded.
  Once again I explained it to him," NO! You can't cut your hair."
  I let him run off to play, while, I cleaned the scraps up and by the time I was done he was already getting into trouble.
  We went home after that.
  The house was cold and quiet. I told him to get dressed for bed. He came back expecting to watch TV or play video games. He didn't seem all that surprised when I told him he was going to bed early. In fact, it was the easiest time I had getting him to bed. I had to stop him at the stairs to explain why. He understood and disappeared up the stairs.
  He was tired, this being his first day back from school and first day back from scout. I am just glad that I didn't strangle him.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tails #6, Bear, The Bowling Dog

  Okay, I am falling in a rut when is comes to starting my blog post. I get the feeling that I am started them all the same way or at least is seems like it to me. It is hard to say: when I, once when I, and there was this time.  My blog is about my past and sometimes what is happening right here in the here and now.
  I get it, I hope my readers get it, that this blog is about history: of family, friends and pets, some alive, some since gone. Most stories will make a person laugh and some will make them cry. But my goal in the end is to come to an understanding with the reader of who I was and who I am, and who I will be come. I just don't want to bore my readers, so for the lack of a better way to start, Here is Bear, the bowling Dog.

  Once when I was 12 my mother decided that I needed a dog of my own, but not just any dog would do. Both my parents were avid readers of the Daily news paper. It was one of those hometown news rags that would advertisement on the front page. They read the classifieds looking for good deals and sometime they found treasures for free.
  That day my mother found an advisement for free puppies. They were Doberman and German shepherd mix, 6 weeks old and ready now.  My mother without a word ran off and got me a puppy. That was why we named ‘Bear’ from the fact that he looked like a bear cub, especially when he rolled up into a ball.
  I remember the first day that I came home and found that rather large ball a fur on the back step. He was brown and tan, with long fur. I love the surprise and the dog became an icon of my parents’ back yard for 10 or so years.
  The cabled him to a large stringer from the house to the light pole that stood in my parents back yard. I can remember how he would run back and forth wearing a hole in the ruts into my dad perfect grass. It turned out to be a long oval shape in which he poop into the middle. We would let him off the chain and he would still run that oval. It was quite funny to watch him run.
  His favorite toy was a ball that he played with. He would move it around the yard play and even carrying it. Everyone thought it was quite a feat, but I will get to that.  I still remember the day that my dad's friend, Barney, (not his real name.) walked over, moved the ball around and kicked it as hard as he could. The ball moved about a foot, and he walked away limping. What he had kicked was a bowling ball.
  We laughed as the man who was now in obvious pain.
  He responded by saying, "I thought that it rolled funny."
  This caused the group to laugh harder. My parents teased the man about it for years. Somewhere that bowling ball sits as and monument to a great dog and a great moment in my life.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Of Life and Baby

  Back when my wife was pregnant with our son we went to the woman’s clinic for a check up. That was back before when she was the one that wanted three kids and I was the one that want to hold at just the one. I being frugal want the best for my family and have a mess of children on my income was going to suck the wallet dry. She wanted a large family like the one she grew up in; she was 7 of 9 children, (Star Trek REF.)
  I caught flack for my fore though from friends and family. They would tell me that I was wrong and that it was also her choose as to the size of her family, because it was her body.
  That was about to change. My wife's doctor was gone for the day so we ended up in a room with this old man. He had been a doctor for as long as Jan had been alive. I questioned just how sharp he could have been. That also was about to change. He laid his hands on my wife’s belly and let out a sign.
  “I just don’t know,” he said looking at the chart.
  “What is wrong I asked,” I asked, looking over into my wife’s eyes.
  “Everything looks okay but I have a feeling that you should go to the hospital and have them fully check you out again,” he said, once again looking up at us from the chart.
  As simple as that we left there went home and grabbed a few things and we were off to the hospital. My wife need up staying in the hospital over night with a dear friend. I had to come home and take care of some things. I kept the phone close and slept quit well. It would be the last good sleep I got for a few weeks.
  The next morning the wife called and said to come get her and so I jumped into the car and headed down to the hospital. When I got there, they told be that she was going to another hospital and that the baby needed to come out. This meant 7 and half weeks early. We had just talked about this scenario in baby class. We never did finish that class.
  I went home and made a few calls and she headed to Emanuel hospital in Portland, Oregon. I arrived at the next hospital and she was already in bed but didn’t look very comfortable. They had started the birthing process by giving her some meds. Her best friend was there and we waited for family and friends to arrive.
  About an hour in to the process a CNA came into the room and asked her how she felt. Jan said she was having a great deal of discomfort. She went over to the end of the bed and raised the sheet and quickly lowered it back down.
  "I will be right back," said the CNA.
  A few minutes later, an older nurse walked into the room. She did as the CNA had done, raised the sheet and looked under the hood.
  "I will be right back," said the Nurse.
  They were back in just a few minutes this time a third nurse came into the room and introduced herself as the charge nurse, the one responsible for all the nurses on the floor.
  "I am the charge nurse, I am here to take a look at your and see how you are coming a lone," she said, moving around to the end of the bed.  She raised the car hood and looked in as I had seen my father do on many occasions, to cars that is and not my wife.
  "I will be right back," said the Charge Nurse.
  At this point, I looked over to the wife and declared that I was started to see a pattern. Up the chain of common we went and by the time we were done the wife was being wheeled out of the hospital room in her bed. A C-section and I soon found out that I was a father. But I couldn't see my boy or my wife. I was told that their lives hung in the balance, there are talk of chances at life.
  I wasn't a praying man back then but I did my best to be heard.
  I waited in the room, for some sign for God or just a nurse. The sign came in the form of a lady in black. She wore a white shirt and tie. She introduced herself and I for the life of can only remember looking at the tie. I have no idea if she was a doctor, nurse, or a business woman that wondered off the street.
  She told me that she believed my wife would be fine but as I new my baby boy was 7 weeks early.  I was told of his Clef lip and of some other things.
  "I would like to see my son?" I remember asking, more than once.
  She asked me to calm down.
  "I am calm, I know about disabilities, I know about chef lips, my brother has one, they run in the family. Now can I see my son?"
  With this she seemed less worried and we were off to see my son for the first time. I wasn't a loud to touch him and the people in the room was quit surprised to see that I was in this little room.  It was like a little kitchen. Three babies getting ready to go out in the NICU and me standing in a gown with booties and hat to make got to see my son for the first time. That was when I realized I wanted more, brothers and Sister for my baby boy.  To bad by the time my wife had recovered she had changed her opinion of the size of her future family. She now want it to be held at one child. Never mind the fact I wanted more. I hear things like it is her body. Even though a short time ago it was I who was arguing for just one. Ironic really when you think about it.
  We took our son back to the clinic and should that old doctor. He was happy that we had a health baby. He was forced to explain that he had took a guess that the readings in the chart were lying a sent us to the hospital. We thanked him and we never saw him again.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Grandpa, Dad and Friend

  My father was a strong man. He built houses and fixed cars most of his life to make ends meet for his family. We loved him for that. When his doctor told him that he his cancer had came back this time in his liver he took it in stride. He didn’t slow down as many people do when they heard the news that there struggle with life got that much harder.
  I remember the days back then seem to get longer as we waited for news. He would have his good days and his bad. He didn’t like sitting still. He wanted to go mow the lawn in his finial days. He had just been on the roof fixing the swamp cooler. We took a picture but swore never to show it to anyone. He wanted to feel better, he wanted to say that he was getting better but we all knew different.
  Just before his death he was on my roof fixing an air vent. He had heard I needed one. That was the kind of man he was, always looking out for others, even when they didn’t know. I miss the days of waking up and going out to the shop to work with my dad. There was always something to do, even if it was just cleaning the work area getting ready for then next project.
  Every once and a while, I have a dream that I am there working on projects with my dad. I made every minute count. I wake up all too soon and need a few minute by myself to show my misery privately. I miss the old man; he was the glue that held my family and my friends together. He was an arbitrator and an honest man. He was my father.