Category Archives: children

You’re Pretty

She was a cute little girl, about 9 years old, with her hair in corn rolls and little rubber bands at the end of each braid.  She and her mother were walking up the sidewalk toward the restaurant, but her mother forgot something and stepped back to her car.  The girl just stood on the sidewalk. 

We were leaving, and quite frankly, I was talking to my brother-in-law as we obliviously walked past the little girl.  Turnabout is fair play, because I suspect she didn’t give either of us a moment’s notice either. 

She did, however, zero in like a heat seeking missile on my wife, Janet.  After passing a few parked car bumpers, we realized Janet was no longer with us.  We turned around and Janet was kneeling down looking the little girl eye to eye. 

The little girl was mesmerized as Janet spoke to her with a compassionate, peaceful smile on her face.  She  stared in her eyes soaking up the gentle words and kindness that naturally flow from Janet’s spirit as they talked briefly back and forth.   Continue reading You’re Pretty

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Laughter in the Mind

Somewhere in the forest of the mind, echoing between growth rings of the trees, laughter is held captive.

Over time it dies, or at least settles in the hard wood, and many don’t really remember laughter at all.  We remember moments, the freedom, the feeling, not the laugh itself.

Laughter bubbles up from fresh water wells that runs deep in the soul. It spills over, runs across the ground, even the stony parts of the heart.  If there is enough joy, the water rises soaking even the high, arid places of the heart allowing lush green fields of Spring grass to once again grow.

In its sincerest form, laughter is kind and gentle. It happens when the heart is full, safe, secure.

It’s the kind of laughter children have when wrestling the family pet, and to their delight, the dog plays back.   It’s baby laughter when they first become old enough to respond to silly faces that cause hysterical laughter.  It’s a toddler’s uncontrollable belly laugh in a fullness and purity that we adults often crave to experience again. Continue reading Laughter in the Mind

Wanna Be Santa

Saturday was the annual Christmas parade down town.  We found an open curb on the brick street to sit on for a front row view.  It was about 6:30 PM, so it was dark, but well-lit with street lamps.  Directly across the street a pickup sat in a driveway with the tailgate down.   Several adults, all apparently related, were sitting on the tailgate, in lawn chairs around the back of the truck and on the curb ready for a bird’s eye view of the parade that would be starting soon.

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About 10 minutes before the first lighted float crawled by, an “unofficial” Santa slowly walked up that side of the street.  He looked the part too — real white beard, red suite, black belt and boots, big belly.  The “official” Santa always rides the last parade float, so this guy wasn’t the “real” Santa!  He was a wanna be Santa, but he was convincing, even for a certified Santaologist.

To the poster child of cuteness little girl sitting on the tailgate, it didn’t matter one iota.  To her, this man dressed like Santa was totally, completely and absolutely, the real deal! Continue reading Wanna Be Santa

Catching Wind….in a Hurricane!

Hurricane Rita was going to blow in a few hours later and I was shutting down the hatch.  My four sons helped and I was about through when I walked in on them in the garage.  They looked guilty. Figures.

I was hurrying so I didn’t ask why they had a life jacket, rope and a new 8’ x 10’ vinyl tarp.  I should’ve done a mental stop, drop and roll, but there were just bigger fish to fry.  Besides, the next day I’d find out during the peak of the hurricane.

Ever since they were little, Blake, the oldest, has come up with ideas for his younger brothers to try.  Jared, the second born would usually pass on the idea, but instead encourage Todd, the third son, to try some scattered brain idea.

Sometimes Todd volunteered. Sometimes they talked him into it. Sometimes he was blackmailed into some wild, half-baked scheme, most of which (surprise, surprise) dealt with some sort of danger or peril.

Regardless how outlandish, or in this case, hazardous it might be, Todd usually tried their brain cramp scams.

Blake had an idea — a homemade parachute, powered by hurricane winds, to make Todd go airborne! Continue reading Catching Wind….in a Hurricane!

Carl, The Species Confused Cat!

Carl knows better. I don’t know how he knows, but he knows.  Carl and I have a working relationship, but most of the work’s on my part.  Even how Carl got here was an arm-twisting escapade (read here.)  He does nothing, absolutely nothing!!

Really, the worthless feline folly should be dragging up mice, gophers or little dead snakes.  He doesn’t.  Half the time the flea bag is asleep flat on his back by the garage door. The other half he sits under a shade tree near the barbed wire fence watching the neighbor’s horses.

It’s a one-sided relationship! He can be totally out of sight, but if he hears his stainless steel feed bowl slide on the floor or the crinkle of the cat food bag, he comes running like he’s Lion King and I’m two days late.

I could live with it if every once in a while if he would do something for us, his “people”, as Carl likes to think, that would justify his meager existence.  As it is, I’m going to have to renegotiate a month to month deal, maybe charge him cat rent, something.

Trouble is, Carl doesn’t know his place!  In his messed up wheel of fortune mind, he’s Cat Sajack and I’m Vanna White! Continue reading Carl, The Species Confused Cat!

Super Glue Stitches

When my youngest son, Clark, was in high school, he got a gash in the top of his head from a basketball tournament.  Clark shaved part of his head so we could look closer.  Butterfly stitches wouldn’t stick, so I pinched the skin together while one of Clark’s friends dripped Super Glue on the cut.  Worked well too, a lot better than the first time….

….the first time Clark was 7 years old.  I coached his baseball team and was working with the outfielders to catch pop flies.  It almost dark and I told the boys no more but Clark begged for one more pop fly.  Since he was my son, I went against my better judgment and threw one more pop fly, high, really high.  Clark had perfect big leaguer form, stuck up his glove, and the ball hit him squarely in the mouth.

The week before he pulled his first front tooth and had big open gap when he smiled.  The ball smashed the open gap and pushed the next tooth through his upper lip.

Blood poured.

Another player’s dad, a doctor, took a look. It needed a stitch, maybe two.  Off the record, he said if it was his son he would avoid the ER trauma and just super glue it together. Continue reading Super Glue Stitches

Last First Day

Today was Jessica’s last, first day of school.  It’s always different for a senior during their last year of high school.  It’s the beginning of the end, but also an end of the beginning.  It’s a celebration, yet a mourning, and both emotions run a parallel course.

Most seniors. whether high school or even golden age seniors, inherently seem to make more effort to savor the time.  A sentimental process of looking back and remembering starts.  

At the same time, seniors usually seek out more opportunities to make more meaningful memories with their friends because the looming reality is that it is all about to change.  

It’s strange.  I’ve noticed that even kids who don’t like each other tend to unite during their last year of high school.  Maybe it’s because they share a bond of we’ve done this together and belong together. We belong to this school. We belong to this year.  We belong to this graduating class.  We, we as a group, we have walked a path together, even if on different trails, and we will end this journey together as a group, so we will enjoy each other on the path because after this year, it is no more.   Continue reading Last First Day

Nightmare at Bedtime

Our granddaughter, Claira, is 15 months old. She was spending the night with us, along with her brother and sister, ages 5 and 3.

Claira has a sweet, happy personality, but she’s also semi-strong willed.

She was all rainbows and unicorns! She even had them on her pajamas, but then it was…bedtime.  Claira had been laughing, cooing, and cawing until JJ (my wife Janet) and PawPaw (me) had the audacity to lay her down in the baby bed.

As JJ carefully laid her down, Claira immediately let it be known that she thought we were completely incompetent to try to put her down to go to sleep!

We talked softly to her, patted her back, patted her diapered bottom, rubbed her head, nothing at all made her happy.

She spit out her pacifier like it was a poisonous trick, pulled off the baby blanket, and screamed even louder when the door closed. We figured she’d quickly settle in for a long night of restful sleep.

Nope!

The unicorns turned red and grew multiple horns, and the rainbows became a Class 5 hurricane.  She started to wail, not whimper, not cry, wail.

Continue reading Nightmare at Bedtime

Carl, The Killer

Carl, the cat, did again.

A mama sparrow built a nest in the most unlikely place, in a flower arrangement hanging on our front door.  We didn’t even know a nest was there until I was going in the front door and the mama sparrow flew right at my face. That’ll make your ticker skip a beat!

I watched it several days and when the eggs hatched, she had a half a dozen naked chicks.  A few nights later, two of the grandkids spent the night with us and saw the now lightly feathered baby birds in the nest by porch light.

Carl, our big, orange, worthless cat must have been watching Mama fly back and forth. Or maybe he heard the chicks chirping, or figured out from the grandkid’s interest that there was something in that flower arrangement on the front door.

Regardless, the next morning my wife, Janet, heard the Mama sparrow feverishly chirping over and over.  She opened the front door with one of the grandsons in tow and the flowers were all on the porch by Carl.  All that was left of the baby birds was a little pile of bird feet and feathers while Carl scarfed down the last baby bird innards!  The grandson was horrified!! Continue reading Carl, The Killer

Where Your Story Starts


I told four of the grandsons, ages 3 to 5, a story before bed time.

I learned a long time ago, the hard way, you don’t tell a scary story to small boys, UNLESS you’re camping and you have to sleep in the same tent with them.  Then, any old ghost, alien or crazy wild flesh-eating bear story will scare the living bejeebers out of them.  Afterwards, you can go soundly to sleep in the tent while in silent terror they stare wide-eyed listening intently for any ghostly rattles, spaceships or bears creeping through the woods.

This wasn’t such a time, so story time was about four boys with names that rhymed with their own. They were just amazed how the names seemed so much like their own. 😉

The story was about a submarine adventure in the Gulf of Mexico. The four boys were looking for sunken pirate treasure.

Instead, they found a sunken K-Mart cargo ship full of copper forks, tambourines and a miniature cannon. Continue reading Where Your Story Starts