Category Archives: fathers

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

The Other Table

I saw a co-worker and his wife in a social setting.  The man turned to his wife, “Tell Jeff the story you told me.”

Her face lit up as if she remembered something important.  She began a story from the high school cafeteria where my kids went.

She told me about a young man who doesn’t “fit in”.  She said the student being picked on wasn’t popular, struggles in school, and in all reality, is not very socially skilled.  By all accounts, he’s a little odd.  Add it up, and he’s an easy target.

The young man’s primary defense mechanism is to blend in like a social chameleon, then avoid others.  That’s impossible during school days when he would unwilling become the center of attention.  He’d shrink alone, virtually defenseless, and silently absorb any words, jokes or laughter directed his way. Continue reading The Other Table

Dance On

She smiled, flashed her big brown eyes open wide in anticipation, before scooting over and asking what I knew she would ask.

“Daddy, will you dance with me?”

Dancing. It terrifies me. On the other hand, I don’t mind looking like a fool on the dance floor because other than a slow dance, I know that’s how I’ll look.

Now my oldest daughter, Shawnna, who was 14 years old at the time, was asking to dance with me at her basketball fund-raiser in the school cafeteria.

There’s only one answer. “Absolutely!”

There were lots of girls there, only a handful of guys, and even fewer fathers.  If you lined all the other males up and rated them from first to last on the dance floor, I would by far be last, dead last.  I didn’t, no wait, I still don’t know how to two-step.

Shawnna is a very kind, observant daughter and knew I would dance, but also knew I didn’t like dancing because quite frankly, I don’t know how.  As if our roles reversed, she smiled, took my hand and said, “Come with me. I’ll teach you.” Continue reading Dance On

Flea Market Flea Bag

Seven years ago, my oldest daughter wanted a little pet.  An inside cat was out of the question.  So was a dog. At least until I had a momentary lapse of sanity.

We went to a flea market to look around. If I’d known how things were about to play out, I would’ve walked right by the old woman sitting under a shade tree selling puppies.

She was selling little breeds. Without hesitation, all four daughters zeroed in like heat seeking missiles to a cage with four puppies, half Chihuahua, half Japanese Chin.

Half Chihuahuas!  God made Chihuahuas as a practical joke on rats. They’re noisy, obnoxious, cranky little animals that on their best day look genetically defective.

These, however, looked like the furry Japanese Chin part. Before I knew it, the heat seeking missiles exploded.  Shawnna was holding the runt of the litter, all nine weeks old, in the palm of her hand talking to it like it was a little baby.

I’m convinced now the old lady selling them set the hook right then. I just didn’t know it right then. Continue reading Flea Market Flea Bag

Yella One!

I had a car full — all four daughters and wondering wonder why I never remembered ear plugs for a road trip.

There was a noise lull, which is usually a sign something’s about to happen.  I was obliviously enjoying the semi-peaceful, kinda quiet moment, when a screeching, high-pitched voice shrieks, “Yella one!!!”  Then she hit me in the arm, frogged me right in the muscle!

Being the strong, hard as a rock muscles, manly man that I am, I whimpered, “Ouuuuuuch!”

Wincing in pain I rubbed the muscle while bent over the steering wheel like an assignation victim.

“What did ya do that for!?” Continue reading Yella One!

What Words Cannot Say

I put the rose from his garden in his rigamortis hand.  It didn’t look natural.  A snap of the stem to shorten it, then working it under his cold fingers and folded hands made it presentable.

Yes, that’s better.

I slipped a note I had hurriedly written, almost as an afterthought, and slipped it inside his suit jacket, hidden from the world, never to be read by anyone, not even the one it was written to. Continue reading What Words Cannot Say

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!

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

Little Bitty Human

I posted Little Bitty Gator several days ago and, as crazy as it sounds, it’s an absolutely true post! A blogging friend, Judy at (theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com) suggested a fictional follow-up story from the alligator’s point of view! Thanks Judy! This post is fictional…just in case you wonder…  Here goes:

Weird things happened to Buck. He’s an 8 foot long, adult alligator that lives on the Texas Gulf Coast near the Louisiana border.

When he first popped out of the egg, Papa Gator immediately noticed his teeth were all messed up. All the other hatchlings had nice, straight teeth. In a fit of anger he told Mama Gator, “That buck toothed, crooked smile, cross-eyed thing can’t be my son!”  Papa called him Buck from then on.

Papa and Mama Gator had it out more than once over Buck! Papa Gator accused her of going several miles over and visiting one of the Louisiana riff raff gators when Papa and some of his buddies were on vacation one week trolling for house cats in golf course ponds. Continue reading Little Bitty Human