Category Archives: Family

HEART OF HOPE (2) – My Daughter’s Transplant Story

“Daddy, they called! They have a heart!!”

(Read Part 1 here)

A new heart!  Renewed hope!!  A chance for Shelby to live a full life!!  It’s exactly what we hoped and prayed for!

But wait!  Wait…

For one to live, someone doesn’t.

Somewhere, a family’s tears flow!  Someplace, loved ones grieve! Somebody is hurting, mourning a tragic loss!

Their hope, it’s gone.

Yet, in the deepest of deep grief, they share. They share life through their loss.

To someone else, some unknown person to them … to Shelby … they pass along a heart, the very beat of life. Continue reading HEART OF HOPE (2) – My Daughter’s Transplant Story

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HEART OF HOPE (1) – My Daughter’s Transplant Story

Phone rings.  3:42 AM.  Never a good call at that time.

I listen, shocked.  Adrenaline rushes.  My fingers tremble on my shirt buttons.

Twelve minutes later in the ER, several people explain that Shelby, my 20 year old daughter, has an enlarged heart that’s only working at 15% capacity.

I can’t get to her.  People everywhere, beside her, in the way. I can’t reach her, and she’s slipping away.

It’s almost ten minutes before I can bend over to see her in the bed, pale.  So pale.  Shallow breathing.  Hands and fingers, blue and cold.

I speak softly, fully understanding I may not ever get to again. “Hey Sweetheart.”

Her eyelids flutter before opening her blue eyes that are there, but slipping.

I see the recognition as she whispers, “Daddy, I don’t want to die.” Continue reading HEART OF HOPE (1) – My Daughter’s Transplant Story

Dad, Does Insurance Cover an Ambulance

I didn’t recognize the number and almost didn’t answer. “Hello.”

It was my third son, Todd, who has an adventurous spirit.  “Hey, Dad. Whatchu up to?”

“Just watching a soccer game on TV”, I said.  “I thought you were in San Antonio playing in the college club soccer tournament this weekend?”

“Yeah, I am.”

“Y’all doing alright?”

“Yes sir. We won the first one, lost the second, and tied right now.”

Todd pressed on. “Hey, does our insurance cover ambulance rides?”

“Yeah. Why do you ask?”

“I was talking to some guys and I didn’t know.”

“Yeah, any time there’s an accident, it’s covered.” I was getting confused. “Where are you?”

“I’m at our game.”

“Are you finished, or about to start?,”

“No, the game’s going on now.”

“Well Todd, why aren’t you playing?”

“I was, but I was making a steal and slid to clear the ball out of bounds.  The guy from the other team fell on me and when he did, there was a loud pop in my neck.”

“Oh man!! Are you hurt?  Need to go to the doctor?”

Todd matter of factly said, “These guys think I do.”

“What guys?”

“The paramedics.” Continue reading Dad, Does Insurance Cover an Ambulance

I Went to a Football Game

I went to a football game, alone. It was second half of our local 13,000 student Stephen F. Austin State University football game.  It was Parent’s Weekend, so literally half the people left after the 2nd quarter.

It was a stifling hot Texas evening, so I sat at the top of the stadium where there was virtually no one, but the team flags blew in the breeze. That breeze was nice!

I participated, without involvement. Was part of the crowd, yet not crowded. With people, but all by myself.

Plus, high in the stands you can see plays develop.

Perfect! Continue reading I Went to a Football Game

Whisker Windfall

This Labor Day was the twentieth anniversary since I grew a goatee. Haven’t seen the ugly under those hair follicles in this century!

Several weeks ago Janet and I traveled, and in Keystone, South Dakota, I shaved.

I was shocked! Without hair on my face, everything looked different!

At least my receding hair line, even if it’s in a steady retreat, is a gradual reveal.  It’s like a slow descent plane landing.  But shaving cold turkey and going lickety-split from whiskers to clean shaven after twenty years, well that’s an engine failure crash landing!

I felt like I needed to introduce myself to the guy staring back at me in the mirror! Who is this stranger?

The worst part, however, was somehow, sometime in last twenty years, someone snuck another chin under the original! It doesn’t look like a double chin with facial hair, right?

But now, my face looks pregnant! Nine months. With twins! Continue reading Whisker Windfall

Throw Momma From The ‘Plane’

Last week we flew to Rapid City, South Dakota to start a six state vacation tour. There’s always a variety of people on airline flights.  I catch myself evaluating everyone, particularly the men, just in case I have to fight.

Don’t call me paranoid. Call me, I don’t know, prudent. Maybe paranoid.  Mainly, prudent.

This flight though, I was more worried about a flight attendant than anything else! At first, I wasn’t completely sure if he was a she, or she was a he. It was she.

I’m figuring she could’ve retired in 1972, but has held on to working as long as she can. The airline must have great benefits! Hair styling, Botox and charm school, however, aren’t among them.

Her gruff, don’t make me slap you, matter of fact, I smoke three packs of cigarettes a day for lifer voice seemed disturbingly familiar. She even looked familiar, but patting my chin with my finger, I couldn’t figure out from where…

Then my mind started churning….a movie, maybe?

That’s it! That’s who the stewardess looks like!  She looked like mama from the 1987 movie, Throw Momma From the Train!  It was uncanny!!  Twilight Zone music started playing it was so eerie!! Continue reading Throw Momma From The ‘Plane’

To See The Way

A college student in an electric wheel chair was moving up the sidewalk beside our local university.

She controlled her chair with one hand while tapping a cane back and forth in front of her with the other.  She was partially paralyzed, and on top of it, blind! Yet there she was, out in public, on her own, making her way from place to place!  Amazing!!

I respect her immensely for doing what seems impossible to me!

She reminds me of a blind friend named Randy I knew in college.  Randy was 7 or 8 years older than me and had lost his sight his senior year of high school when he caught a rare virus. Continue reading To See The Way

Golf With a Putter and Six Iron

A few years ago a handful of my high school buddies started getting together every year. They’re great guys and I’m always glad to see them!

But every year we do something they love, I loathe. Golf.

I’m not talking about fun golf, like Putt-Putt, where you navigate obstacles, putt over the astro turf hill, and maybe even win a free game with a hole in one at the Windmill. Nope!  Nothing fun like that!

They like golf-golf, where you whack a little white ball (orange for me so I can find it in the woods) and hit it over acres and acres of mowed grass that’s had gallons of ‘Weed Be Gone’ sprayed on it. The only goal is to knock the little ball in a coffee cup in the ground that you can’t see.

Psft!  What are they thinking?! Continue reading Golf With a Putter and Six Iron

Playhouse to Lighthouse

The tenth grandchild is coming in October! Can’t wait! Grandkids are great!

Last year I built a swing set for the grandkids, then a fire truck (you can read that here).

The boys had something, but JJ, daughters, daughter-in-laws, and even granddaughters said they wanted something for the girls, specifically, a playhouse. Playhouse foundation

~Challenge accepted.~

I drew up plans for a little 10’ x 10’ playhouse, bought the materials and started work.

It’s insulated, with lights, porch lights and a plug for a heater or fan powered by an extension cord.

Like everything that comes from your hands though, I know where I messed up.  I see my mistakes, things others, besides building professionals, may miss.                     img_0633

But I see them.

I shake it off.  Remind myself that the goal isn’t perfection, even if I want it.  Demanding perfection, whether in a playhouse or a child’s life and behavior, destroys the goal. Continue reading Playhouse to Lighthouse

Just Two Little Letters — 2

~Disclaimer: This is the second satirical post and only meant to entertain, maybe even cause a grin, snicker or smile.  The first post is here.  And yes, there are ALWAYS exceptions.  For the record, no words were injured in the writing of this post, so please don’t injure the writer. (Wink, wink.) ~

It’s weird! Men and women have fun differently!  Granted, there’s no hard and fast rule, but generally the pendulum swings two ways.

Men feel friendship with other guys by doing stuff together.  Here goes:

Two men. They get up at 3:15 AM in cold weather, and meet 3:45 AM sharp at a gas station.  They go inside, fill their thermoses with coffee and get in a truck together.

“Good morning”, one says.

“Morning”, says the other. Continue reading Just Two Little Letters — 2