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
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!
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.
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
He’s says it was on his bucket list, but most people don’t have jumping on the back a wild alligator in water over their head on their bucket list. Yet, he did.
Two of my sons, Blake, who was 24 at the time, and Todd, who was 21, were night fishing in a Gulf Coast bayou. They noticed the red glare of eyes near their 15 foot flat bottom boat. The fish weren’t biting, so they started trolling up to and around the glaring eyes that belonged to different sizes of alligators.
Todd, we call him Einstein for short, decided he needed to bare handed catch and release an alligator, but not a ten foot or bigger one, because that would be foolish, right? And not a four foot or smaller one, because that would be too easy. Uh huh, yeah. Continue reading Little Bitty Gator
The natives were restless. It was the fifth day of no power after a hurricane knocked out power lines throughout East Texas. It would be several days longer before electricity was restored. The only power came from a generator that ran a freezer, fridge and a couple of fans, nothing else.
The boys were getting a war-torn look in their eyes. They were bored.
One of life’s formulas is: Bored teenage boys = dangerous ideas divided by stupid actions. It’s just a fact of life.
They boys played all the games they knew, even invented new ones, but it was Jared, who was 16 at the time, was the first to cross the “throw down and fight line”. He ambushed his three brothers from behind with an air soft gun. Continue reading Brotherly Love Through Air Soft
~~I was driving and a bluebird flew into my windshield today. Feathers went everywhere as the little guy toppled lifelessly in the road behind me. I feel terrible about it.
I think it went down like this:~~
Several months ago, Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird worked daylight to dusk to build a nest. Mr. Bluebird made sure the structure was strong enough for a brood of growing, rowdy chicks, while Mrs. Bluebird was sensational at finding just the right lining to keep her chicks comfortable.
Once the eggs were laid, Mrs. Bluebird took a two-week sabbatical to sit and keep the eggs warm.
When hatching day finally arrived, each egg started shaking within hours of each other. From inside the shell, each hatchling broke loose and used all of its energy to escape the hard shell. After breaking free, each hatching laid wet, exhausted and gasping for air. Continue reading Cobalt Didn’t Listen
It’s official! The old 96 GMC pickup has been driven solo by all eight of my kids!
My Dad would be proud! Or maybe, just maybe, the floors of heaven opened up for just a minute so he could see Jessica, the last of my Mohicans, drive the truck he bought new before he died. In that case, it’s safe to say he IS proud!
It’s a wonder the ole white beast truck has survived at all! Clocking in at just under 200,000 miles, it has seen better days, but it’s still a solid truck. It’s just good to have solid metal surrounding a teenage driver, ya know? Even with no radio, air conditioning, fan blower and a tailgate that won’t open without a pair of pliers, the old fellow just putts along. And besides, who needs air conditioning in Texas anyway??
Continue reading The Old White Truck
I’d never heard this story from my four sons until a few years ago, but here’s the true talking points of an ever changing set of “official facts”, depending on who you talk to. The bottom line was they were playing Cowboys and wanted to rope calves. Since we didn’t have calves, they told Clark, who is the youngest and only four years old at the time, that they would give him candy if he would run wild while they chased him down and roped him. “It’ll be fun Clark”, they told him, “It’ll be fun”.
Most of the time when mischief was involved, there was a common thread of how it went down. Blake, the oldest, was the mastermind. Jared, the second born, did it. Todd, the third, got blamed. This time, however, they were all in it together. They envisioned themselves as a hard riding, straight shooting, rough and ready band of true blue cowboys…at least in their imaginations. But in reality, they were a barefooted, t-shirt and shorts, backyard, band of boys 12 years and younger. Continue reading Calf Roping Little Brother