The Beat Goes On……

About ten or twelve years ago Sharyl reluctantly agreed to let me fry our turkey for Thanksgiving. She didn’t like it; I think it was because it was fried and because it wasn’t our traditional Thanksgiving Turkey.

Thursday we had fried turkey again.  We liked it; I think it was because it was fried and because it wasn’t our traditional Thanksgiving Turkey.

We will probably have fried turkey again next year, maybe that will become a Thanksgiving tradition at our house.

Our day was good, it was not necessarily a day to remember but I am sure I will always remember it. I think holidays will always be a little difficult, especially Thanksgiving Christmas and Easter.  They (whoever they is) say the first time is the most difficult; we have done two of them.  I guess I need to see if I can find the Christmas tree and get ready to face the third one.

The long weekend is rapidly coming to a close.  Cale should be back to Morgantown in a couple hours.  Another Monday morning waits.

The Beat Goes On.

I have stopped to give thanks for my family, my friends and all the positive things going on in my life.

I hope your Thanksgiving was everything you wanted it to be.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

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Traditions Are Temporary….

When I think of traditions I think of sporting events, especially college athletics and their mascots. I also think of the family holiday traditions I have experienced.

Texas A&M is known as a tradition rich college.  I understand they even have yell practice the night before games, which seems unnecessary; I never met a Texan that needed to practice yelling.

Oklahoma State has this cowboy with a big head, imagine that a cowboy with a big head, he has been around a long time he has had the big head since about 1958. I believe that qualifies as a tradition.

The Oklahoma Sooners had this guy known as “Little Red” on their sidelines for about 15 years.  He had attained tradition status.  A national push to become politically correct banished him to the locker room about forty years ago. They also had this crazy dog, running all over the gym during basketball games, an administrative decision sent him to the pound a few years ago.  They do have this wagon and horses, approaching 50 years of age.  Not the same horses, I know horses don’t live that long. I think that qualifies as a tradition. The gym is not a good place for horse drawn wagons.  They replaced the crazy dog with a couple guys dressed as horses.  I don’t think they will attain the coveted tradition status.

It is almost 1:00 am and quite frankly college sports is not the reason I am wide eyed and pounding this keyboard.  Speaking of the keyboard, you should see this thing. It is covered with tear, coffee and Pepsi One stains, little bits of popcorn, peanuts, and other assorted food items.  I should clean it but I’m afraid the high strength stuff I would need to use would ruin it and keyboards are a little like old shoes, it fits and I don’t want to break in a new one.

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, life has once again made it necessary to modify or maybe even start some new traditions.  It happens every few years in all families.  This time will be a little more difficult at our house.

In the movies everyone goes to Grandmas house. Grandpa carves the turkey at the table.  There is enough room for everyone at the table.  After the meal the women all put on aprons and clean the dishes.  The men and boys including Grandpa go to the front yard and play football.  They then come back in the house and watch some football on TV.  It didn’t work that way in my family.

When I was a kid I don’t know who carved the turkey, because kids didn’t sit at the big table.  I think the women did clean the dishes, I don’t know about the aprons.  I don’t remember even having a football and the first Thanksgiving day NFL game on TV was in 1956; I was already14 years old.

My earliest memories of Thanksgiving are family gatherings with my dad’s parents and his siblings and a bunch of my cousins. We went to Grandmas house or Aunt Ruth’s house. That was a long time ago and I really don’t remember many details but the memories I do have are good.

My crazy years, late teen to early twenties, if I was in town and wasn’t working, Mom would make sure I was at her house at the appropriate time.  It is amazing how screwed up my priorities were during that time in my life.

During the first twenty-five years or so of our marriage Thanksgivings were pretty structured and traditional.  Not movie traditional, we didn’t play football, grandpa didn’t carve the turkey, and we didn’t all fit around one table.

We did lunch with her family at Aunt Nova’s. The number of family members varied from year to year but there was always a big group.  Nova knew how to do Thanksgiving right.

We slipped in a short visit with Sharyl’s grandparents and her dad’s family on the way to my parent’s house for dinner.

Most of the time all my siblings and most of their kids were there. Mom and Dad didn’t have a very big house so it was pretty crowded. We always enjoyed the visit and I could write an entire post on my mom’s kitchen escapades.

By the time we got home Sharyl and I felt like we had ran a marathon, especially when the kids were small.

My mom’s death in ’91 brought that tradition to a close.  The girls were grown, in fact Lori was married, and we were brand new grand parents. We started doing thanksgiving at our house with our immediate family.  Cale and Conner went to Grandmas or I prefer Maw Maws house for their first Thanksgiving.

We continued to go to Nova’s for a few more years, and then about ten years ago suddenly we were the old generation.

The marathon days were over for Sharyl and I.  The girls were learning about marathons and traditions and keeping everyone happy.  Sharyl and the girls did all the cooking, however Grandpa or I prefer Paw Paw carved the turkey. I didn’t do it at the table; it is much easier to carve a turkey on the cabinet with an electric knife. The ladies cleaned the dishes but I don’t remember seeing an apron, if there is one in the house I haven’t found it.  We didn’t play football but we usually watched a little.  We tried afterward but really 2007 was the last traditional thanksgiving at our house.

Thanksgiving day ’08 Sharyl and I came home from the hospital with this thing called cancer.  She felt pretty good in ’09 and if the elephant hadn’t had a place at the table we would have had a traditional “Dave and Sharyl” Thanksgiving.  Elephants at the dinner table are hard to ignore. I will just say we went through the motions in ’10 and ’11.

Our plan for Thanksgiving 2012 is for the immediate family to be at our house.  The girls and I have the menu planned, we are changing some things and know who is responsible for what; I am confident the food will be good and there will be plenty of it. Last year there were eleven of us; this year there is nine. The elephant this year will be the two empty chairs. We will each handle it in our own way.  The mission is to enjoy the fellowship to the extent possible and to focus on the many things for which we are truly thankful.  Maybe some new traditions can take root.

I hope you and your family enjoy your kind of traditional Thanksgiving.

I could probably use an extra word of prayer this week.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

Four…..

OK I know, give me a break; I couldn’t think of a title.

On November 4, ’08 Sharyl cast her ballot for her choice to lead this great nation for the next four years. It is a secret ballot so I don’t know if her guy won.  One week later on November 11 she made the drive to Seminole for just another routine day at the office.  It was the last time she would do either of those things.

I also made that trip to the voting booth in ’08, I returned again this week.  I think I only voted one time in between, which was in the general election in ’10.  During that four-year period I didn’t really care who was elected sheriff or senator or mayor or whatever.  But one of the 15-year-old kids that I coached in summer softball more years ago than the kids or I care to recall was trying to become governor of the state of Oklahoma. I had to help Mary see if she could govern better than she could play softball; thank god, I believe she can.  We weren’t very good but we had a lot of fun.  If any of you girls read this stuff, thanks for the memories.

Sharyl and I almost always voted, not just for president or governor, we cared who was mayor, school board member, councilman, or county treasurer.  Our political views were usually the same, neither of us was vocal or actively campaigned we were just members of the silent majority.

My first presidential election was ‘64; the choices were Lyndon Johnson or Barry Goldwater.  Barry’s campaign slogan was “In Your Heart You Know He’s Right”.  We didn’t get to find out but, in my heart, I still believe he was right.

Sharyl’s first ballot was in ’68 the choices were Richard Nixon (Tricky Dick) or Hubert Humphrey.  I am just proud to live in a country where it is OK to call the President “Tricky Dick” or “Slick Willie” or “Peanuts” or “Dubya”.  I have kind of been out of touch, I don’t know if the guy we just reelected has a nickname or if he is OK with that sort of thing.

The real reason I am at the keyboard tonight is not to talk about politics.  Politics is one of the four things I don’t seriously discuss with friends.  The other three are religion, family doctors and motor oil.  Maybe I will explain the motor oil deal later.

The four years following that final routine trip to Seminole is the real reason I’m here. Sometimes it seems like yesterday.  Sometimes it seems like a very long time ago.  I use the word routine because she continued to go to the office occasionally until last November 4th but those trips were not the “love you babe, have a good, day I’ll see you about 5:30” kind of trips.  I almost always took her and, if she was having a good day, 3 hours was a long stay.

The past few weeks I have struggled with my inability to get better.  I shared that struggle in a recent post. A few days ago something drove me to read the original entry to the “ourmom” blog.  I kept reading, not because I wanted to.  I read it because I needed to or had to.  I read every word of the 312 posts and every word of your 1084 comments.  I won’t share that experience; it is much too personal.

When I finished what Lori and I wrote, from Dec 10 ’08 through Jan 29 ’12, I was a basket case, I am proud you weren’t here.  I took a little break, regained enough composure to see the monitor again and read the final 11 posts.  God I’m glad I wrote those last eleven.  I think I have taken another small step back up that hill.  I know I feel better; at least for a little while.

When I was a kid I hung around the corner gas station a lot.  There was always a bunch of old men sitting around drinking RC Cola and talking about life, politics and sometimes they talked about motor oil.  I thought there might be a fistfight to determine if Gulf Pride was better than Havoline or Trop Artic or Pennzoil.  If they would have listened to a kid I could have settled it because Dad didn’t hang around the gas station but he knew about cars and he always used Gulf Pride.

I decided not to risk a friendship over motor oil; as I got older I added doctors, religion and politics to the list.

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

Thanks for coming along; please keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

No War Heroes, No Pulitzer Winners…

Each of us has two biological parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents then sixteen and thirty two; I don’t want to hunt a calculator so I’ll quit there.

If you read what I write you knew it was coming.  The genealogy bug has bitten me, I am now a dues paying member of Ancestry Dot Com. That looks kind of funny with Dot appearing as a word instead of just a . doesn’t it?

Most of the people I have encountered, that are anxious to share their genealogical research with me, have found a Prince, a war hero, a Pulitzer winner or some other type of fame or royalty in one of those many branches. They normally don’t say much about the other branches.  So far I didn’t find that guy and quite frankly I don’t really care.

Two things tweaked my curiosity enough to take a peek up among all those branches.

I have always been a little curious about my Native American heritage. I have no desire to put my name on any tribal rolls. Kind of like the war hero or royalty, it wouldn’t change who I am.  I have just always wondered, after all I was born and raised in “The Home of the Redman”.

I had the pleasure of spending time with three of my grandparents as I grew up. I spent more time with my mom’s mother, we always called her gram’ma; I know it is spelled grandma, but we didn’t use the N and P when we said it. I have always wanted to use her picture in a blog.  I don’t know when this was taken because she always looked like that.  I also don’t know if she had knees because I never saw them.

If she looks familiar, just think about Sylvester and Tweety Bird, and yes she always had a bird and some cats.

 

That fourth grandparent is the other reason I have joined forces with ancestry.com. I didn’t even see a picture of him until I was almost 70 years old.

The only thing I knew was that he went after that proverbial “pack of cigarettes” when my mom was about 7 years old. Leaving the sweet little lady pictured above to care for five kids, the oldest was about 10 or 11, the youngest about 2 and severely physically handicapped.

He came back (I don’t know if he found the smokes) about 7 years later.  He only stayed a short time. This time my uncles, now in their late teens, sent him for cigarettes and suggested a one-way trip would probably be in his best interest.

What I have learned: He was born in Fannin County, Texas in 1882.  I think I know who his parents are but I’m still looking for proof.  The 1890 Fannin County census would provide that proof, but those documents were destroyed by fire.  I suspect his parents may have burned the evidence and changed their names because I haven’t found them since 1884.

In 1900 he was 17, still in Texas, and listed as a “lodger” with a family.

In 1910 he was In Oklahoma married to my gram’ma, they had two of the eventual five children.  He was still there when he registered for the draft in 1918.

The 1920 census shows him in Newkirk, Ok married to a lady named Nora; gram’ma’s name isn’t Nora.  For the record he and my grandma never divorced.  He was living in California with the Nora lady in 1924.

There is no documentation to prove this but I believe it was about 1926 or 27 when he came back to grammas house for the short stay.

The 1930 census lists him as an inmate at San Quentin Prison in California; maybe he stole some cigarettes.

In 1940 he was living in Arizona with a lady named Gerta, again this wasn’t gramma’s name.

He died in California in 1946.  I’m sure his side of the story would have been interesting.

I have learned a couple things. If you can’t handle the answer, don’t ask the question (I already knew that) and just maybe some of my problems are genetic.

If I happen to find that super hero I will share that with you, just remember I shared the rotten branch first.

I think I have the initial answers to the Native American questions.  I always thought I was 1/8 Chickasaw. I based that on what I thought was good and logical information. Based on the documents I have reviewed recently I now believe I am 1/16 Cherokee.

I plan to spend some long gray winter days running the various branches of the tree.  I promise I won’t use it as blog material again anytime soon.

I had a good run to the lake last week.  I think life is getting a little better, but it is still up and down kind of like the Yo-Yo.

Please keep me in your prayers; I know the next few months are going to be a real challenge.  Thanks for all you do.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

 

File It, Pitch It or Just Pile It….

The title could apply to many things, just so the imagination doesn’t get out of hand, I’m talking about the massive amount of paper required to run a household.  Prior to her illness, Sharyl took care of that stuff at our house; while she was sick we helped each other do it her way. It is now mine to deal with.

I know the amount of mail hasn’t increased, but I don’t remember ever seeing piles of paper all over the house.  I’m not talking about junk mail; I’ve learned to recognize that stuff and pitch it or shred it immediately.  I always pitch the “Resident” stuff and shred or pitch the other stuff as appropriate, or at least put in the garage near the shredder.

I think I talked about this in a previous blog and didn’t know mail could be considered “clutter”.

Sharyl either pitched it or filed it almost immediately, and she didn’t pitch much of it.  I am a little more, I looked hard for another word but the only one that applies is, indecisive.  It is easy to say someone else is indecisive, but to say that about me takes some real effort.

The problem with pitching it too soon is obvious.  The only problem with filing it is, there comes a time when it should be “unfiled” (spellchecker doesn’t know about unfiled).  I Spent some time this week shredding some bank statements, cancelled checks, credit card statements, medical statements, etc.  I know on the 3rd of August 1992, we paid Texaco $41.56 with check #596.  That same week Sharyl spent $4.37 for lunch at her favorite sandwich shop, the next day she apparently entertained a client because lunch was $13.87.

I actually got rid of most of the old stuff a couple years ago I had just overlooked a little of it.

I don’t know if my system is better because at this point I really don’t have a system.  A few months ago I converted one of our bedrooms to an office with a small desk from which to conduct household business.  Things were getting lost on my computer desk, way too much going on there to stay well enough organized to run the household.

This week I started to pay some bills.  I didn’t have room on my new desk to write a check; I had to go to the den and use my computer desk.  That served as a wakeup call; I now have room on that desk to write a check.  I pitched most of it, filed some of it and yes there is still a small pile awaiting my decision.

I am doing more things online or paperless and I have implemented some new rules for the paper things.  The only problem I see is someone needs to make me follow the new rules.  I am seriously considering going completely paperless by scanning everything and keeping a digital copy, then the new question.  Scan it and pitch it or just pitch it?

I really do have bigger problems.  I just felt like sharing a little of the light side tonight.

Please keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave