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
We saw the toddler boy with his parents waiting to board a tour of Mayan ruins in Mexico. That’s not normally where you’d take a toddler on vacation, but he was too little to care. Besides, it was his parent’s vacation.
The toddler was clinging to his parents, no one else. The mother even told a well-meaning worker trying to help them off the bus that he never, ever went to strangers.
Two hours later, standing a distance from the Chichen Izu ruins, the toddler pitter patted away from his parents right up to my wife, Janet. He looked up at her and held up his arms to be picked up.
She simply said, “Awe”, reached down and scooped him up in her arms. The little boy looked at her closely, then laid his head on her shoulder in peaceful contentment. Continue reading A Child’s Wisdom
His frail fingers trembled as he took the nickel from the missionary’s hand. The starving Haitian boy was wearing a pair of ragged shorts, threadbare t-shirt, and shoes that had worn out months before.
During the peak of the famine, homeless children and orphans looked for any way they could to survive. If they could get a nickel, they could get enough scraps of food to live another day.
So when the missionary was walking on a road in Haiti and came across the sickly orphan boy sitting listlessly on the roadside, he gave the boy a nickel. Continue reading When Did I See You Hungry?
Stillborn — that’s what the doctor said, but to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and extended family, you very much lived! Thank you so much for entering our lives, even if ever so briefly. It is sweet, yet bitter, to miss and love you so much at the same time. Goodbye seems impossible before hello.
Your mother knows you better than anyone. She loved…no, she loves you dearly, Emmitt! You made her really sick those first few months. She was miserable in the mornings, and certain smells, like baking brownies, made her really nauseous. By the third trimester though, she was talking about how much you moved and how hard you kicked. We knew you were there because sometimes your mommy would let us put a hand on her tummy and feel you move. You would roll and stretch big, then give a hard kick just for good measure! I think you got all that energy from your daddy.
Continue reading Dear Emmitt
Yesterday I talked to a man who passes out cold when he gets a shot. He can watch other people get a shot, like his kids, but point the needle his way… KABOOM! He’s gone! Out like a light! To top it off, he says he always has a nightmare about it that night, which in turn, wakes him up for hours. So the shot knocks him out, but results in a nightmare that keeps him awake. Hmm. It’d be fun to jump out from behind a bush one day with a hypodermic needle just to see what would happen!
Everyone has something that creeps them out. You usually just don’t know what it is. Unfortunately, this is the month everyone seems to face some kind of fear. There’s even a Halloween horror movie marathon running the whole month on cable. Non-stop horror movies is not my cup of tea! Continue reading Horror Stuck on Me!
My daughters wanted a cat several years ago. I put my foot down. Absolutely not! No cat! Zero! Zilch! None! Ever!
They kept on. I said no, no, no! They kept on. I said no kitten, no way!
They kept on. It was like verbal water boarding, so finally, I agreed to go look, but that’s all! Just look! Understand? No cat, period. Just looking!
We adopted Carl the next day.
Continue reading Carl, The Cat!
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
It’s one of the most popular burger places across from Stanford University in Palo Alto. I stepped in the long line to order and a woman with an 11-year old boy got in line behind me. She warned her son several times to be patient, yet she was a tad bit irritated herself. A mother-son verbal conflict arose, complete with that’s not fair versus a you don’t always get what you want speech.
At first, I just listened. The boy was on verge of a chaotic meltdown, and honestly, I thought she should make good on her promise to take him straight home if his impatience continued.
But then… Continue reading Help Me See The Invisible
You’d think it gets easier. Uh, uh. Not at all. Jessica’s the 8th, and final kid to teach to drive and officially has a learner’s permit.
“Daddy, can I drive through Houston?” she asks.
A parent hears that question and a swallow gets stuck between the windpipe and esophagus. The palms turn sweaty, the mouth dries, blood pressure rises and an immediate regret follows from drinking that big strawberry Coke from Sonic Happy Hour. Continue reading Driving Daddy Crazy