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Fifty years ago today Sharyl and I followed instructions and either repeated after Reverend Burns or said “I do” or “I will” at the appropriate times.  I don’t remember all the words; there were things like:  with this ring . . .  and do you Dave take Sharyl . . .  I do remember, very well, a small part of one of those “repeat after me” things; the part about “for better or worse, in sickness and in health until death do us part”.

We got a little taste of the worse shortly after he said I could kiss the bride.  The car wouldn’t start.

Some of our friends made sure the thing wouldn’t start so they could have a little old fashioned fun at our expense.  We did a little wheel barrow ride down Main Street and some other goofy stuff.  We managed to escape and get back to the car.  I looked under the hood, expecting to find the coil wire disconnected.  No, they opted to pull the coil wire and all eight spark plug wires out of the distributor.  Those eight plug wires each have a specific location in the distributor, it won’t run if they aren’t in the right place, I think there is 512 possible ways the things can go.  Like most young guys, I didn’t know as much as I thought I did, but I did know the firing order for a 394 cubic inch Oldsmobile.  It took about thirty seconds to get the thing to breathe a little fire and we roared off toward the future. Suddenly we had some of the better the preacher spoke of.

Over the next forty something years we continued to experience a mix of better and worse. Kind of like the spark plug deal, when it got worse if we just relaxed analyzed it and got the wires all back in the right place pretty soon it was better again.  We were fortunate and the better far exceeded the worse.

For 43 years we had some bouts with the sickness and health part of those vows and we thought we knew all about that.  In ’08 we got a crash course about “in sickness and in health”.  That day in 1965 we had no idea Reverend Burns might be talking about this thing called cancer. Cancer suddenly controlled our lives; it was the driving force behind every decision we made and everything we did.  Forty three or four years after I said “in sickness and in health” I fully understood its meaning and why it was an important part of those vows.

That brings me to the part about “until death do us part”.  Sometimes I still struggle with that one.  This is one of those times.

I love you babe, and still miss you every day.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

PS:  The title is the firing order for a ’61 Oldsmobile.

From the Sharks to the Falcons . . .

One spring evening in probably ’96 or’97 Sharyl and I made another trip from Tecumseh to Norman. This time we came to watch Cale and Conner play a little baseball; it was their introduction to team sports and the grand old game.  The venue was an open field, with a makeshift backstop, out behind Perfect Swing Fun Center, in a recreational Tball league that didn’t even keep score.  They played for the Sharks, and yes Conner kept score, even at that age he saw no reason to play the game if you didn’t keep score.  He said they got a one run win, no one argued.

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Last weekend I made another trip to, my home away from home, the great state of Kansas.  I went to watch Cale play a little baseball; he continues to pursue the grand old game.  The venues: a doubleheader at historic Lawrence-Dumont stadium in Wichita and a doubleheader at, not so historic, Dick Peters Sports Complex in Ottawa, Kansas.  He plays for the Friends University Falcons in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.  They keep score.  The Falcons won three and lost one.

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During the, almost twenty years between the Sharks and Falcons, I have seen a bunch of ball games, traveled a lot of miles, made a lot of memories i.e. baseball became a much bigger part of my life than I visualized that spring evening at Perfect Swing when we didn’t even keep score.

The memories from all those miles and games bounced around the old brain for much of the five or so hour drive home from Ottawa Saturday evening.  If it is okay I will share some of those thoughts.

Over the years I cheered for Sharks, Rays, Yankees, Red hawks, Predator, Timberwolves, Lions, Trojans, BJs, Mountaineers, Stars, Heat, Falcons and at least three others, I just don’t remember their names.  I do remember one of them wore these god awful multi-color hats that should only be worn by true red necks at a NASCAR race: those hats were so bad, I think, only two of the dads wanted one.  The team wasn’t quite as bad as the hats.

I addition to the various venues in Norman, Davis Field in OKC, that old complex in Del City and about half the high schools and Colleges across the state, I have watched the game in: Kansas City, Longmont, CO, Phoenix, AZ, Bradenton, FL, Grand Prairie, TX, Hanceville, AL, Clarendon, TX, Morgantown, W VA, Hutchinson, Liberal, Hayesville, Derby, Wellington, Wichita and Ottawa all in Kansas. I’m sure there are others.

During the pre high school years I would do almost anything to avoid going to the restroom at those little league parks; had to be real careful or you would be tagged “it” in a game of pee tag with some 8 year olds.  I think there is an unwritten rule that the first guy to arrive is supposed to stop up at least one commode and sometimes they only have one.  My worst bathroom award goes to Davis Field and it really isn’t close.

During the early years we always took a quilt for Rylie, she was about 3 or 4, one of the coaches had a darling little girl about two years old.  She was ALMOST potty trained, but she always and I mean always came untrained during the game and she always peed on Rylie’s quilt.  On a good day she would make it until the late innings.

May 3rd ’99 we were in the 4th inning of a close Tball game at Griffin Park here in Norman when the tornado warning sounded and the game was suddenly over.  Lori and I loaded the kids in the backseat and started to devise a plan to keep them safe.  A calm backseat would have made our tension filled task a little easier; nothing about that backseat resembled calm.  Conner was trying to convince himself and anyone who would listen that we had played enough innings to call it a complete game and give us the one run victory.  Cale was wailing because we had to leave before he got his post-game snacks and Rylie was just upset and really didn’t know why.  An hour later, the storm had passed, and we were safe but Conner was still seeking confirmation that we had won the game and Cale was still moaning about missing the snacks and, by now, Ry was probably just trying to get them to shut up.

A couple years later, still playing the recreation league at Griffin, our first base coach was a prominent Norman physician. One late afternoon game, he either made a call or received one on about 5 minute intervals; I think it was the bottom of the 2nd inning he got someone to replace him and he left in a bit of a hurry.  He came back in the fifth inning with the good news.  It’s a boy and mother and baby are doing fine.  He had driven the mile to Norman Regional, delivered the baby and made it back to coach first base the last inning.

We moved from Griffin to Reaves, started doing some travel ball and taking the game a lot more seriously.  We played with one bunch that had spent too much time around the softball parks.  They tried to bring those softball chants and cheers to the grand old game.  I just moved my chair out by the outfield and tried to ignore them.

They did national tournaments in Kansas City, Hutchinson and Longmont in ’03 ’04 and ’05.  Triple digit temperatures made Kansas City an endurance test, Hutchinson must have been kind of mediocre, because I really don’t remember anything other than we went.  Longmont was a fun trip, nothing major but overall just a good trip.  They never won a national title, but this post is about what happened outside the lines.

The next year they became Norman North Timberwolves.  Probably the best run we had with the Twolves was to Phoenix for a spring break trip in ’08.  We watched some very good high school baseball and took in a couple of major league spring training games.  Later that summer we made a good run to Bradenton, FL to watch Cale in some kind of an Under Armor all American deal.

Prior to the ’09 season, the game of baseball dropped way down our priority list as we had encountered this thing called cancer and were in a fight for life.  There were a few times on a good day we managed to find a parking place and watch a few innings from the car.  We even made it to Grand Prairie, TX for a couple games of the ’10 spring break tourney.

We realized how lucky we were all those other years when we just got in the car and went to the ballgame. I guess we kind of assumed it would always be that way.

The guys’ first college stop was with the Wallace State Lions in Hanceville Alabama.  Sharyl wanted to go see her guys play a little baseball.  That trip, was by far the most difficult, baseball trip I ever put together.  The first thing I had to do was buy an RV, then we did a little trial run, then I made a list and checked it 5 or 6 times and what ifed the thing to the ridiculous point.  In April of ’11 we made that trip; we planned to stay three days and watch three games.  We stayed one day and saw one game. Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat.

WE went to watch THEM play more times than I recall; I remember like it was yesterday the first time I went to watch HIM play.  It was three years ago, he was playing for the Trojans, had recovered from some arm problems and was finally going to take the mound. The game was in Clarendon, TX out by Amarillo.  I don’t know why I didn’t spend the night, I guess I just thought it wasn’t a problem to drive 5 hours watch a doubleheader and come home.  Honestly it took about all the emotional strength I had to go there and I probably just needed to come home.  That trip took more than a little RED Bull and peanuts.

I have adjusted and I am now emotionally comfortable going to watch him. I don’t go every time he plays but I try to make it when we know he is going to pitch.  Is it as fun as the days when WE went to watch THEM play?  Of course it isn’t, but I enjoy the game, he appreciates me being there and the quieter two of the old foursome get to spend a little quality time together.

If I had to pick my favorite game of all of them, I don’t need to give it much thought.  That Sharks’ game at Perfect Swing all those years ago.

Disclaimer:  I normally do a little research to verify what I have to say.  I believe this one is factual, but it is strictly as I remember it.  Kind of like the Blog title “Random Thoughts”

Sorry for the length of this one, Thanks for riding along.

Good Night and God Bless

Dave

See You Guys Next Year. . . Maybe

I started this about a week ago, kind of forgot about it.  I had one of those “sleep won’t come” nights tonight; I sometimes try to write when i can’t sleep.

My nachos were in my left hand, my right hand was over my heart as we honored America and Old Glory, with some vocal group’s rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.  I was standing in front of the aisle seat in row 12, Section LS5 (behind the south backboard) in the LNC (Lloyd Noble Center).

My Oklahoma Sooners were preparing to take on the Iowa State Cyclones: the student section was overflowing and a little bit crazier than I had observed in recent years.  The rest of the place wasn’t full, but it was close and the students’ enthusiasm kind of spread and even had old guys like me a little bit excited and ready for some basketball.  The game was close and the crowd remained extremely vocal, reminded me a little bit of the way it used to be.

As the evening progressed I caught myself literally and figuratively glancing over my shoulder at row 18.  For about 25 years our seats were in row 18, I always sat on the aisle.

I moved down a little this year; just thought a change might be good; I think it is good, but I have some great memories of those years in row 18.

We made some good friends in row 18 and the surrounding area; not the kind of friends you invite for dinner or the kind you spend time with in May or July or September. The kind you see at the LNC fifteen or so times between November and March. Guys and gals like Hoot, Dave (the other one), the professor, Bernie, Sandy, Hayden and the Seminole county used car dealer and there were others.

The common bond is Sooner Hoops, but you get to know and care a little bit about their families and what goes on in their world, then when the clock winds down, and the final buzzer ends another season, everyone exchanges nonchalant “see you guys next year’s” and just assume it will happen.

I never knew the professor’s name, I believe he taught history, we visited across the aisle when his wife was pregnant and looked forward to seeing his little girl each November; and then suddenly his little girl was all grown up and gone.  I remember the ugly red sweats he wore before he was a dad and I remember the same red sweats as he and his wife adjusted to the empty nest.  Sometime between ’08 and ’12 he and the red sweats failed the “see you next year” test; I hope he is doing well and I really hope he burned those sweats.

Hoot and Betty (I think) sat behind us for a few seasons.  Hoot had been around Norman forever, he was a loyal Sooner fan and a name dropper, and he always had some interesting stories and was eager to share them.  I still remember some of the stories but they are a little too personal to share in a public blog.  Hoot was a diabetic and had to miss a lot of games because of the illness.  We were disappointed and saddened but not surprised about 15 or 20 years ago when “see you next year” didn’t happen for Hoot.

Dave and his son Tyler sat in row 17 for a few years.  I think Dave carried Tyler in until he was about six so he didn’t have to buy a ticket.  They were both true basketball fans; they understood the game and didn’t hesitate to openly disagree with referees’ calls and coaching decisions and game strategy.  I think Tyler became a pretty good player and his season conflicted with the Sooner season.  You guessed it we didn’t see them next year.

Sandy and Hayden sat at the other end of row 18, down past Sharyl, Luke, Braxton, Dava and Rick for a few years.  Hayden grew up and went away to college.  Sandy got tired of looking through the backboard and found a more desirable place to sit.  We still saw them once or twice a season; they dropped by row 18 last year, to say hi and make sure the old man was doing OK.  Thanks guys, I’m down in row 12 now.

The Seminole county or maybe it was Hughes county used car dealer and his wife sat directly in front of Sharyl and me for a lot of years.  They were almost always at the games but they were kind of quiet.  He always had an unlit cigar in his mouth and his wife always had candy for Luke and Braxton.  I am not sure why we didn’t see them next year; probably about ’06 or ’07.

Another family that was kind of fun to watch a game with took those seats.  We really never developed any more than a speaking acquaintance with them.

Bernie and Yulanda replaced Dave and Tyler in row 17.  Yulanda was quiet and reserved but seemed to enjoy the game of basketball.  Quiet, reserved and Bernie don’t belong in the same sentence, at least not at a Sooner game.  He understood the game, but he didn’t understand nor accept that his Sooners sometimes lost.  He also fully believed that anyone on the floor with a striped shirt and a whistle didn’t like his Sooners. At halftime he always came and sat in the aisle and we reviewed the first half and put together a second half game plan.

A couple games before the final buzzer of the ’07 ’08 season Bernie was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Yes, we ended the season with the typical “see you guys next year” but it was probably more of a question.  Like so many, Bernie gave it his best shot but Cancer won.

That same final buzzer was also the last time Sharyl would watch her Sooners from row 18.  My trips to the LNC became very infrequent and not very fun for the next few years.

So far row 12 isn’t what row 18 used to be, but it is better than row 18 was last year and the year before that.  There is only one group that appear to be season ticket holders.  Two couples sit in row eleven; I have attempted to establish a “see you next year” friendship with them but they don’t appear eager to expand their social circle.  Oh well, it’s their loss.

We sat in row 9, same section for almost as many years for Sooner women’s basketball.  I think Sharyl is the only one missing from that group of “see you guys net year” friends. I think some of them read what I write; so all I will say to or about them is, thanks for the support during the difficult times.

To all of you, please consider a donation to your comfort level to the Cancer research organization of your choice.  We need to whip that god awful thing.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

Tailgates and Other Stuff…..

Last time I was here I complained about having the winter time blahs.  I didn’t mention I also came down with a good case of car fever.  Spring like weather or maybe just a little sunshine cures the blahs, but the only known cure for car fever is, shall we say, expensive.  You can’t let an illness like that go untreated so I blew the budget.

I didn’t just run out and buy something, I did a lot of research and assessed my wants and needs, ignoring the fact that I didn’t need a new car, I reached a compromise.  I wanted a new SUV with lots of bells and whistles.  I had a perfectly good SUV, a perfectly good pickup and an old fun to drive Jeep.

A one person household really doesn’t need three vehicles. I seldom haul anything bigger than a sack of groceries and I have a trailer or two for the occasional big load; the pickup was the odd man out.  I really don’t need that old Jeep but did I mention it is really fun to drive.

I found a good home for the SUV and traded the pickup for a new Jeep Grand Cherokee with lots of bells and whistles.  I am now a one person two Jeep household, I know one of them is a real Jeep, the other one needs to live with me a while and pass a few tests.  It has only been here about three weeks but I believe it has found a home and can proudly wear the Jeep nameplates.

I am a little nervous about life without a pickup; I have had one for the past 45 or 50 years and it is just kind of understood that a redneck needs a pickup.  So far I haven’t missed the pickup.  I wish I could say the same for the tailgate, I have already needed that thing two or three times.

If I would have included the tailgate in my assessment I probably would still be a three vehicle household.  Tailgates do so much more than just keep things from falling out of the back.  I needed to clean the mud off some shoes, I always sat on the tailgate and did that.  The next day I needed to change from some muddy boots to clean shoes: I missed that tailgate again.

Those two little incidents started the wheels turning.  I always do my chainsaw and weedeater maintenance on the tailgate, over the years I have used and abused tailgates for untold numbers of projects.

I have spent many pleasant hours sitting on the tailgate with good friends or maybe just casual acquaintances, swapping stories and enjoying life.  I have even spent some time there alone reflecting on the past and envisioning great things for the future.

I have heard, the perfect redneck summer evening is to get a six pack, sit on the tailgate with your significant other and watch the bug zapper.  I never did that but many years ago we had a bug zapper.

I never considered removing the tailgate from any of my pickups.  I won’t tell the entire story but I knew about a cantankerous boss that didn’t have a tailgate in his pickup, he also had a safe with wheels on it.  He had two real smart eighteen year old employees.  He sent those guys in his pickup without a tailgate to get the safe with wheels.  It was a long time ago but I still remember one way to bust open a safe.

I think I will add a tailgate to my possessions and it will be attached to a pickup; probably just an old clunker.

Did you ever lose your keys, wallet or purse, or maybe the family pet?  Remember the search and the feeling of accomplishment and relief when you found the lost thing?  Finding what you lost isn’t always a happy occasion.

EXAMPLE:  I don’t know if I mentioned it but a year or so ago I lost a significant amount of weight (OK, I bragged about it to the point of being ridiculous).  Well I have found all that weight I lost and I am not happy about it; guess I’ll just have to find a little willpower and lose it again.  I promise I won’t brag this time and just maybe I will be smart enough not to find it.

For the past week or so I have had the lyrics (actually the title) of an old Kris Kristofferson song on my mind.

“Lovin’ You Was Easier than Anything I’ll ever do again”

5-25-’47 to 1-22-’12

Love you babe, still miss you every day.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

Random Redefined…….

When I was a kid one of the songs we listened to at 1520 or 930 on the AM dial was Summertime Blues by Eddie Cochran; at the time I not only liked the sound but I understood and could relate to the lyrics. As I have matured (sounds better than, gotten old) the lyrics no longer apply and the seasons have changed, I get through the good old summertime ok; the cold grey days of winter are sometimes difficult. By definition I prefer blahs to blues. Merriam-Webster defines blues as a feeling of sadness or depression; blah is defined as a feeling of boredom, lethargy, or general dissatisfaction.

A whole paragraph just to say I have a bad case of the wintertime blahs.

It has been a while since I have been here, oh I have had some thoughts I wanted to share but as I approached the keyboard it just didn’t happen. I could blame this new keyboard, if I could just remember what I did with the old one . . . no that’s not it, it’s gotta be the wintertime blahs.

The last time I was here was the night before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving and Christmas are behind us and we are a few days into ’15. Very briefly, we had some quality family time and I believe “they” were right it does get a little easier each year. Please accept a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Our extended family experienced the worst kind of tragedy a couple days before Christmas. “Rest in Peace” Shereatta Tarbox. Gus you remain in my prayers.

One of the things I have done to help me through the long winter nights is attend Oklahoma Sooner (men and women) basketball games. We have had season tickets for the past 20 or 25 years and have spent a lot of fun evenings at the Lloyd Noble Center. They always have some kind of halftime entertainment, sometimes it is a couple fifth grade ball teams scrimmaging or maybe a group of 5 to 12 year-old cheerleader wannabes. Most of the time it is some form of professional act; yesterday and today it was 5 young men from Seattle WA. These guys jumped rope, let me just say they did it with a great deal of precision and gusto.

As I watched these guys, I thought how fun that would be for maybe a couple years. To hit a different town or arena every weekend and put on a show for the fans. Some of my favorites or some that I remember are: Red Panda, the Chinese lady, she rides a unicycle and catches bowls on her head (it is more entertaining and exciting than it sounds). Sharyl’s favorite was the quick change lady. They sometimes have Frisbee chasing dogs or guys jumping on trampolines. All those people were very good at their specialty.

I think the only thing preventing me from doing something like that is, I don’t have a talent. I can’t ride a unicycle, it takes me 15 minutes to put on my socks, and the only thing my dogs ever chased was cars or chickens. Any form of physical activity that requires speed, balance or coordination is out of the question. If they only wanted a grumpy old man to just show up and make sarcastic remarks.

I had another subject I was going to bore you with but this one is getting a bit long and if I work at it I can probably make a complete post with that other thought.

Thanks for reading what I write and the prayers are still appreciated.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

I Thought I Broke It!!!!

Last time I was here I mentioned spending a lot of time with my doctor.  He and I have been somewhat concerned about my blood pressure, he assured me it would be in my best interest if I shaved 40 to 60 points off the top side and 30 to 40 off the bottom.  We had gotten in a habit of discussing this bi-weekly.  I don’t know if he gave up or was just tired of seeing me every other Wednesday but we took a couple months break.  I go back in January; I promised to lose some weight and to closely monitor the BP at home.

The weight loss part of the agreement isn’t going well at all, I think I have gained about four pounds since I saw him last. Thanksgiving and Christmas are about the only things between now and that next appointment; the odds aren’t in my favor.  Maybe, with a continued effort and just a little luck, I will only be about ten pounds heavier when I see him again.  He won’t be happy but he probably won’t be surprised.

Per the agreement, I have monitored my BP very closely.  I check it at least once each day unless I forget and some days I check it several times.  I have one of those fancy home units; all I have to do is put it around my arm and push a button.  It pumps up and slowly releases the pressure then alarms sound and lights flash and I read the numbers on the screen.

Today, I thought the little machine had malfunctioned.  The pressure released but there were no sirens or flashing lights. I glanced at the thing these numbers were there.

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It didn’t look like my numbers but there were numbers, then I remembered, if the numbers are low enough it doesn’t do the bell and whistle thing.  Probably just a temporary thing, but I feel good tonight and I may not check it again for a few days, just assume . . .

I spent some time last week with a book on nutrition, exercise and dietary supplements.  Actually the guy that wrote the book was the same guy that had the supplements for sale.  About half the book was about diet and exercise and the other half was about how great his dietary supplements were.  I hope he sells lots of supplements because he will never make it as a writer.

If I followed his recommendations my diet would consist of raw vegetables, and I would do more calisthenics than I did in basic training in 1963.  He went so far as to insist you completely eliminate, not only the obvious, sugars, fried stuff, etc. but also to totally give up all dairy products and foods containing dairy, about the only cheat he found acceptable was to occasionally cook the vegetables.

As soon as I finished the book I did one big push up out of my chair, went to the kitchen and got some cheese and crackers for a little midnight snack.  I am actually using some of his supplements and kind of like them but I will never know about the diet.

I thought tomorrow was Thanksgiving, I just glanced at the clock, it is already Thanksgiving.  I have been known to get deep down in the heart and share some serious thoughts and personal feelings when I do these holiday things.  I am not going to go there tonight; I have accepted the fact that Thanksgiving will always remind me of a difficult time in my life; I am also reminded of the many things I am thankful for.  A new one this year, I am thankful I don’t live in Ferguson, Missouri.

Wishing you and yours a great Thanksgiving.

Please consider a donation to the cancer research organization of your choice.

Keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

Joe Has Been Here !!!!

I know, I’ve been gone a while.  I didn’t plan to be, it just kind of happened.  I have had a visitor in my home, I never saw him but I just know he was here; I could feel his presence.

A few of you may remember him but most of you, I am positive, never heard of him.

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Allow me to introduce Joe Btfsplk, the proper pronunciation is to extend the tongue between the lips and blow.  He was a product of Al Capp’s imagination and appeared from time to time in the Li’l Abner comic strip.  Nothing good ever happened when Joe was around, he jinxed everything and everyone he came in contact with.

Yes, I could have written about the untimely car repairs but I didn’t have the talent to make that interesting or entertaining.

I could have told you that I have spent more time with my doctor than I have with the wait staff at my favorite restaurant and I eat out a lot.  I think we have those issues headed in the right direction.

I could have written about the Roto Rooter guys visiting during the height of an intestinal disorder, and their estimate somewhere north of 5K to really fix the problem.

I could have shared the details of the two hour drive home from the lake with the severe kidney infection.  Just a simple “thank you” for not sharing will suffice.

I could have given you a detailed report on the death of my trusty old computer: the one I blogged on for almost six years.  I sure miss that old tear, coffee, coke stained keyboard.

Bill Gates has brought us a long way from the cee colon backslash (C :\) days to this stuff he calls Windows 8.1.  I think it will be ok but there is a learning curve, and those curves get more treacherous the older I get.

I even splurged and bought a 24 inch monitor.  I remember when TVs were only about half that big.

I could ramble some more about the “if it can go wrong it will” stuff but I think you get the idea.

When old men can’t think of anything else to talk about they talk about the weather (god this new keyboard is noisy), so I will talk a little bit about the weather.

Oklahoma provides an abundance of conversation worthy weather; ranging from triple digit heat to wind to tornados and an occasional blizzard. Oklahoma also provides us with an abundance of absolutely gorgeous fall days; my favorite season.

Recently I took advantage of one of those days and drove the open air Jeep in to town to do some errands. As I was leaving my neighborhood I looked up to admire the cloudless blue sky.  I saw two buzzards high above the trees, wings spread effortlessly gliding and they appeared to be enjoying the view and the day.

As I made my rounds in town I became a little frustrated with the heavy traffic, I had to wait for one long train and it seemed like I caught every traffic light red.  While waiting for some of those lights to turn green I looked up at that blue sky and thought of those buzzards, they didn’t have traffic or traffic lights.

When you drive an open air Jeep and you shop a little bit you kind of need to stay with the vehicle for theft prevention, so I stopped at Del Rancho for lunch.  I don’t even need to check the menu, I just automatically order the Steak Sandwich Supreme with Onion Rings and lots of ketchup.  As I munched on the healthy and wholesome lunch, I continued to look at the sky and again I thought about those buzzards and I guess I was just a little bit jealous.

I looked skyward as I approached my neighborhood, all I saw was clear blue sky, about the same time I noticed a foul but distinct odor, yes I smelled a skunk and over on the right shoulder I saw my two buzzards.  I still had the pleasant taste of Steak Sandwich Supreme in my mouth and those buzzards were having skunk for lunch.

Life is filled with tradeoffs; I decided the traffic really wasn’t that bad.

It feels good to be back, I missed you guys.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

Baseball Anyone???

Seventeen years ago on a rainy August evening at The Ballpark in Arlington; Maw Maw, Paw Paw and two adorable little blond headed five year-olds were ready for our first major league baseball experience.  Our seats were front row but way out in left field.  Out there with Rusty Greer; Bobby Witt was on the mound and some kid they called Pudge was behind the plate.  In the visitor’s dugout were the mighty Yankees.

In the top of the first inning the young Yankee shortstop only in his second full major league season stepped in the batter’s box; his uniform number was 2, the name JETER above the 2 in block letters.

Conner said with confidence “Maw Maw, he’s good” Cale agreed.  No one told them he was good, they came to that conclusion based on what they saw on TV and from reading the sports page every day.  The guys learned to read and picked up their basic math skills from the sports page before they started school.

Last night at Yankee Stadium in the bottom of the 9th number 2 stepped in the box; the score was tied there was a runner on 2nd base.  Jeter hit a clean single to right field, the run scored, Yankees Win. A fitting end to a great career, it was his last appearance before the home fans at Yankee Stadium.

I think Conner and his Maw Maw watched the game and Conner probably looked at her, smiled, and said “remember a long time ago I told you he was good”.

I have never been a Yankees fan, in fact when I was a kid I hated me some Yankees, I outgrew the hate but never became a fan.  Over the years I became a Derek Jeter fan.  In my opinion number 2 is a class act.

To Derek: You have been good for the game, baseball will miss you.  Enjoy whatever is next.

To Conner: Your time here was too short to build the following of the Yankees #2, but those of us fortunate enough to know you still love you and miss you every day.  Give your Maw Maw a hug for me.

Thanks for listening, keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

Last of the Pics; I Promise

Just a few more pics and I won’t mention Alaska again; unless I go there again.

I think the longer we were gone the fewer pictures I took or maybe the quality just declined.

We start tonight in Fairbanks.

Our ride north of the Arctic Circle to Coldfoot and Wiseman

Our ride north of the Arctic Circle to Coldfoot and Wiseman

A good look at the Yukon river

A good look at the Yukon river

Yes, it is the Alaska Pipeline near Coldfoot

Yes, it is the Alaska Pipeline near Coldfoot

About as peaceful as it gets; Wiseman, Alaska

About as peaceful as it gets; Wiseman, Alaska

Some more Wiseman

Some more Wiseman

They wanted to name the place Ptarmigan, no one knew how to spell it. They just called it Chicken

They wanted to name the place Ptarmigan, no one knew how to spell it. They just called it Chicken

Near Chicken

Near Chicken

A mostly gravel but worth it beautiful  180 mile drive

A mostly gravel but worth it beautiful 180 mile drive

Fixed a flat (almost) at this little self serve in Chicken

Fixed a flat (almost) at this little self serve in Chicken

A typical view along the "Top of the World"

A typical view along the “Top of the World”

Our hotel in Dawson City, Yukon Yerritory

Our hotel in Dawson City, Yukon Yerritory

Sunset on the Yukon River at 11:05 pm

Sunset on the Yukon River at 11:05 pm

Looking down on Dawson City and the Yukon

Looking down on Dawson City and the Yukon

The next three are of Emerald Lake between Whitehorse, YT and Skagway AK; it had to be the “Oh My God” look at that view of the entire trip.

7006 (Small)

7005 (Small)

7015 (Large)

These three are just outside Skagway; near the abandoned gold rush town of Dyea.

7066 (Small)

7029 (Small)

7063 (Small)

On our way to Sitka

On our way to Sitka

A little of the Russian heritage in Sitka

A little of the Russian heritage in Sitka

Another look at Sitka

Another look at Sitka

Chasing Salmon, we saw a lot of these guys

Chasing Salmon, we saw a lot of these guys

One more look over the stern

One more look over the stern

The sun sets on a great trip.

The sun sets on a great trip.

Thanks for riding along; I hope I didn’t bore you too much.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

Just a Few More Pics…….

Allow me to bore you with a few more pictures of our 49th and the Yukon Territory. I promise I’m going to put his Alaska deal to bed soon and write about something else or don’t write. At least if I do it this way you don’t have to be nice and pretend to pay attention and enjoy the things.

I think we were running around the Gulf of Alaska on that tour boat when I quit last time. We will continue from there.

Ah, a Humpback finally got in range of the 300mm telephoto.

Ah, a Humpback finally got in range of the 300mm telephoto.

More Humpback, these guys put on quite a show.  I probably have 40 pics kind of like this one.

More Humpback, these guys put on quite a show. I probably have 40 pics kind of like this one.

Probably the highlight of the day.  Three pods of Orcas, about 30 of them, traveling together.

Probably the highlight of the day. Three pods of Orcas, about 30 of them, traveling together.

Another of about a million shots of the pretty stuff

Another of about a million shots of the pretty stuff

Harbor Seals, living the good life.

Harbor Seals, living the good life.

Just some more glacier

Just some more glacier

One of my favorites

One of my favorites

See the pretty little Puffin

See the pretty little Puffin

The Harbor at Seward

The Harbor at Seward

We said good bye to Seward and went north to Talkeetna and Denali.

Our ride for 27 miles down the Chulitna river

Our ride for 27 miles down the Chulitna river

A good look at McKinley from my seat in the raft

A good look at McKinley from my seat in the raft

The big guy "McKinley" or "Denali" if you prefer says goodnight

The big guy “McKinley” or “Denali” if you prefer says goodnight

A '53 Dehavilland Beaver, our ride to a glacier on McKinley

A ’53 Dehavilland Beaver, our ride to a glacier on McKinley

On our way there

On our way there

More on our way there

More on our way there

Patty, on the glacier

Patty, on the glacier

On the way back

On the way back

Welcome to Denali

Welcome to Denali

Our ride.  It was clean when we started.

Our ride. It was clean when we started.

The pic doesn't do it justice.

The pic doesn’t do it justice.

Look Ma, no guard rail.

Look Ma, no guard rail.

More scenery

More scenery

Don't need to tell you.  It's a mama moose

Don’t need to tell you. It’s a mama moose

Just a pretty little lake deep in Denali

Just a pretty little lake deep in Denali

It had character and the food was good, that's all you need.

It had character and the food was good, that’s all you need.

A mama and her babies.  I know, but I was shooting a 300mm out a bus window.

A mama and her babies. I know, but I was shooting a 300mm out a bus window.

A little farther down the road.  Papa bear

A little farther down the road. Papa bear

Good bye Denali, It was fun.

Good bye Denali, It was fun.

I still have about 25 or so but i am going to quit tonight, I’ll do the rest of them in a day or two.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave