Kicked Back

I could be fishing or cutting grass or a million other things, but I’m not.
I am kicked back having a second or is it a third cup of coffee? Everyone needs a quiet place to sort their random thoughts; this is mine.
I did this one with my phone. Technology is amazing.
I hope your day is good.

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The Summer of ’77….

If their dad would have been good at what he did my girls might have kicked dirt and made memories at places like Cheyenne, Calgary, Pendleton, Houston, Denver, The Cow Palace and maybe even the NFR.

Because he was mediocre, and that may be stretching it a bit, they got to kick dirt and make memories and friends in Waurika, Greensburg, Hill City, Pratt, Yates Center, Hennessey, Carnegie, Okeene and Dodge City.

I’m not talking about my day job; I was probably just mediocre at it too but we’re gonna reminisce and rodeo a little bit tonight.

The rodeos held at the places in paragraph one are on everyone’s list of the best of the best.  The ones I dreamed of standing on the announcer’s stand with a microphone in my hand.  Those places in paragraph two are on the list of places I actually stood on the announcer’s stand with that microphone in my hand.

If I had been good the girls wouldn’t know about the world’s largest hand dug well in Greensburg or that huge ball of string; I think it is somewhere in Kansas.  They wouldn’t have that “god awful” motel in Paola, Ks to gage all others by. They wouldn’t know about that all night greasy spoon at Braman, Ok.

Some of those summer weekends were spent with the Lazy J (Sharon, Ks); Circle A (Guthrie, Ok) Flying (I think) W (Blanchard, Ok), Hy-Acres (Mulhall, Ok) and Carpenter Rodeo from Clearwater, Ks.  Their families became like our family.  We knew barrel racers and calf ropers and bull riders and bull doggers that seemed like family.

We knew clowns named, Jeff, Randy, Rex, George, Raymond and a bunch more. We knew bucking bulls named Popeye, Honker, V05 and Frankenstein to name a few.

The summer of 1977 may be the best “family time” we ever had, I know it is at the top of my list and it was at or near the top of Sharyl’s.  The girls still have fond memories of that summer.  We drove a lot of miles, met a lot of people, had a lot of fun and we did it together.

By the summer of ’78 Sharyl’s career was sprouting wings and my day job included airports and suitcases.  It took me a few more years to accept it but it was time to say good-bye to rodeo.

For the past couple years I have been scanning our old family pictures.  It not only preserves them for the girls and for future generations it sends me down memory lane.  This week I scanned some from ’77.  The quality isn’t good; they were taken with one of those Instamatic 110 cameras. Sharyl isn’t in any of them; it was her camera.  If it is OK I will share a few of them. You can see how we rolled.

We saw a lot of parades.  I usually had to announce them at no additional cost.

We saw a lot of parades. I usually had to announce them at no additional cost.

Participated in a few of the parades

Participated in a few of the parades.  Dodge City with the Lazy J

Almost showtime.  Makin' sure the arena is right

Almost showtime. Makin’ sure the arena is right

Lookin' good and double checking the arena

Lookin’ good and double checking the arena

Always fun.  Tom Ward Guthrie , Oklahoma.  I think

Always fun. Tom Ward Guthrie , Oklahoma.

I sure wish those Leisure Suits would make a comeback.

I sure wish those Leisure Suits would make a comeback.

A good friend, a good horse and a mud puddle.  It just don't get any better

A good friend, a good horse and a mud puddle. It just don’t get any better

Sharyl's bestie from the Lazy J.  Hope the golden years are good to you, Rosemary

Sharyl’s bestie from the Lazy J. Hope the golden years are good to you, Rosemary

You had to be there.  Hill City, Ks.  Frank was always good for a laugh

You had to be there. Hill City, Kansas with the Lazy J. Frank was always good for a laugh

A good hat, 2 pretty girls and a dog named Blue.  Nothing else needed.

A good hat, 2 pretty girls and a dog named Blue. Nothing else needed. Runnin with the Circle A in this one.

Two of the best, kept the Lazy J running and made things easy for the guy on the right

Two of the best, kept the Lazy J running and made things easy for the guy on the right

Sometimes you get a little dirty.  That's OK if you're having fun.

Sometimes you get a little dirty. That’s OK if you’re having fun.

Gotta start em young if they're gonna make a hand

Gotta start em young if they’re gonna make a hand

Cute couple. Runnin with the Circle A here.

Cute couple. Runnin with the Circle A here.

You're gonna be trouble if you don't leave little sister alone.

You’re gonna be trouble if you don’t leave little sister alone.

Just killin' time

Just killin’ time

Dodge City, probably as close to the big time as i ever got.

Dodge City, probably as close to the big time as i ever got.

I am out of pictures but I have one funny story to share. There is always an abundance of aluminum cans around a rodeo arena (imagine that). Some of the Circle A crew helped the girls get started in the recycling business. For about three consecutive weekends when we got home all the extra space in my equipment trailer was filled with cans; it sure smelled good in there.  We found time to take the cans to market; Lori and I unloaded them and gathered the cash.  The payoff was $8.50 when we got back to the truck I gave Lori the $5.00; I kept the $3.50 and gave Dava $5.00 out of my pocket.  I’ll do the math the deal cost me $1.50.  The next weekend the Circle A crew asked about the can business. Dava told them we had sold the cans but dad kept some of the money.  They never forgot.

Please consider a donation to the cancer research organization of your choice.  Keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

Just Need A Hug…

 

Photo by Lori Russell

Photo by Lori Russell

Sometimes a picture just grabs you.  This one did me.  I think it was the look of sheer joy.  Nothing posed or planned, just a big old happy hug.

Allow me to introduce the huggers. My favorite (only) grand daughter, Rylie, is facing the camera; her friend, Meredith, has her arm extended with the sign. The smile is real, Rylie’s mom is a photographer so she knows how to smile for the camera but she can’t fake that smile, it is from deep inside, one I haven’t seen in a long time. It may have been raining but not on their little parade.

The hug is probably the world standard for conveying feelings.  Those hugs range from the casual, just a little more personal than a handshake, to on rare occasion the extreme as you see in the picture.  They are popular at family gatherings; I think some of the old aunts have a competition to see who can hug the most people.  Sharyl’s family had a lot of huggers.

I think we all face those times when we need to offer words of sympathy or compassionate support and the right words just aren’t there or they hang on the lump in your throat; a simple heartfelt hug is an excellent alternative.

What should have been Rylie’s fun years, her high school days were filled with way too many of those kinds of hugs.  The hugs were many the smile was usually there but it was forced, it wasn’t the smile I see in the picture.

Her faith, toughness and a group of dear and loyal friends, yes Meredith was there for the hugs of sympathy and compassion, have helped her arrive at the next phase of her life.

She is a new student at the University of Oklahoma.  The picture was taken at the end of Rush week as she joined her new Sorority sisters for the first time.  Meredith is one of those sisters.

That was taken yesterday.  The feet were back on the ground this morning as she continued to get settled in the dorm, get class schedules and the other hundred things college freshmen need to do.

Rylie is a lot of things; naïve isn’t one of them.  She knows the road will still have bumps but she is excited and anxious to see what’s around the next bend.  She and I are confident she can handle whatever is around that bend.

I have seen a lot of hugs in my life. I have participated in some and have even initiated a few.  I don’t remember the second best hug I have ever seen but the one pictured stands alone as my all time favorite.

Love you Ry, I’m very proud to be the guy you call PawPaw.

Please say a prayer for me for obvious reasons and remember Rylie as she starts the next chapter.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

What Watt???

I think each generation likes to talk about “the good old days”.  I think the older we get “the better we were” and “the better our things and the times were”.  I can only speak for Dave but when I really analyze the good old days and the new days, I almost always prefer the good new days.

I started a love affair with the American automobile long before I could legally drive and I think that affair will last until long after the girls have confiscated my keys.  The cars I love to remember and talk about are the big heavy “you got some metal around you” go fast gas-guzzlers from the fabulous fifties.  You know, the ones that didn’t have air conditioning; the ones that required a trip to the local service station for a lube job every thousand miles and oil change every 2.000.  Did I mention the tune up every 15,000?  Those are the ones I like to talk about but I think I prefer the comfort, reliability and maintenance schedule of those rolling off the assembly lines today.

When I was a kid the air conditioning repairman never came to our house.  I think it was because we didn’t have an air conditioner.  When I was about ten we got a small box fan.  We didn’t even have indoor plumbing.  That one is a no brainer, I’ll take the “good new days” housing over the “good old days”.

A hamburger cost about a quarter and a gallon of gas about that same amount.  I was making about a buck an hour.  Considering today’s wages, it is close, but I believe the nod goes to the good new days.

There are exceptions.

When was the last time you shopped for light bulbs?

Was that just a little bit confusing?

Back in the good old days you just needed to know if you wanted 40, 60, 75 or 100-watt bulbs.  I started to say you just needed to know what watt, but I thought that sounded kind of funny.  This is a quick out of focus pic of one side of the light bulb aisle at Wal Mart.  I didn’t want to take time to focus for fear of being labeled one of those weirdos shopping at Wal Mart.  The big home improvement stores have an even larger selection.

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The popular choices are incandescent, CFL or LED.  You might even want to step outside the lines and get a halogen or a Vu1 ESL, whatever that is.  If you are replacing a 100-watt incandescent with a CFL get a 26-watt or maybe you want the 20-watt LED.  That 20-watt LED should last 22 years, I think it cost $27.95; I didn’t need one of those.

Here are three of the many charts I found via Google to simplify, yeah right, the decision making process.

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light bulb

Light-Bulb-Comparison-Table

If I am shopping for light bulbs please let me return to “the good old days”.

Please say a little prayer for me. Thanks for reading the stuff that makes it to your side of the keyboard.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

To Kodi: Thank You and Good-Bye…

Today I turned the final page on another chapter of “The Life and Times of Sharyl and Dave”.  It was a short chapter, yet it was filled with memories and bounced off both sides of a wide emotional band.

After Sharyl was diagnosed with cancer she didn’t have much of a bucket list; about the only thing on it was the desire to see one more sunrise.  When something appeared on that list I tried to make it happen.

In the spring of ’11 she wanted to watch Cale and Conner play a little baseball.  By this time her illness had progressed to the point a 2-hour car ride was a struggle on a good day.  The guys were playing ball twelve hours away in Hanceville, Alabama.

The only logical way to get her there was in a Motor Home.  Yes, you can rent the things but you need to know when you plan to leave.  “When Sharyl feels like riding and the guys have a game” doesn’t work with the rental guys.  We decided to buy a used RV and try to make that trip and maybe with a little luck there could be other trips.

The search for one that fit our needs is probably worthy of it’s own post but I won’t go there.  I did most of my shopping on line.  I found exactly what we had in mind; the thing was in Nocona, Texas.

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Sharyl gathered her strength, got tough and we made a Sunday drive to Texas.  She enjoyed visiting with the owners and the fact that WE made the decision to buy it made us feel good.  We made big plans on the way home.  She was exhausted when we got home but it was a very good day by the standards in place at the time.  I went back a couple days later and brought it home, if I ever do one of these on “planes, trains and motor homes” I will include that day.

Shortly after we brought it home we decided calling it “the motor home” or “the RV” was too much trouble so we gave it a name.  We decided to call him (I think anything with a name should be gendered) Kodi; simply a short form of the brand Kodiak.  We all got onboard; I don’t remember him being referred to afterward as anything but Kodi.

On March 30th (I think) after much planning, stewing and worrying on my part we pointed Kodi toward Alabama.  Lori went with us.  Sharyl didn’t know about the stewing and worrying, she considered it just another run and she thought Lori was only going to see the guys.

In the old blog I tried to make it sound like it was just another day so I didn’t upset her.  She read some of those.  Here are links to the posts I did while we were there and when we got home. http://ourmom.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/on-the-road/  http://ourmom.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/made-a-round-trip/

Lori didn’t ride home with us.  We only stopped one time between Hanceville and our lake place.  I had been driving about 8 hours and had about 3 to go.  She was as serious as could be when she said, “if you are tired I’ll drive for a while”.  I lived with one tough cookie for 46 years.

That was the only long run we got to make.  We took Kodi to the lake a couple times and we did a few local trips

Kodi spent the next couple years sitting in his designated parking spot at our house.  I would do an occasional “around the block” run and the routine maintenance things; but mostly he just sat there.

The things I seem to have problems dealing with are the things we got or did because of the cancer.  Kodi was one of those things.  I didn’t try to sell him in ’12 but I didn’t seriously consider using him.  To use a cliché “I just didn’t want to deal with it.”

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Sometime late this afternoon Kodi should have crossed the Red river on his way to his new home in Waco, Texas.  Sharyl would have enjoyed visiting with the new owners; I think he found a good home.  I didn’t tell them his name was Kodi.

To Kodi:  A very serious and from the heart Thank you and Good-Bye.

To You:  Thanks for listening.  Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

A New Look..

Hey, don’t go away.  It is till the same senile old man; I just decided it was time for a new look.

More of the thoughts I share are coming from the top of my head and fewer from the bottom of my heart.  I think that is what I had in mind when I started writing again.  I believe we call that progress.

There are still some things in the bottom of the heart; I just haven’t figured out how to wrap them up and get them on the other side of the old keyboard.  I know there will be some of that kind from time to time.  Hopefully the majority of them will be of the lighthearted or goofy variety.

I hope some of the “top of my head” stuff is something you enjoy reading.   Over the past 4 plus years I have developed a writing habit.  I don’t like to admit it but I like to do this, however I think I could and would break the habit in a heartbeat if I thought no one was reading.

I decided to go with a more relaxed look to support the shift in writing style.

The photo is one I took at my lake place.  I have watched the old sun disappear many times from that vantage point.  I have always found it interesting that sometimes the sun seems to take a long time to set from the point it is in the pic and other times it just suddenly slips away.

I also used the sunset pic because I think it is an excellent portrayal of where I am in life.  Seventy-one years behind me.  Something fewer than 71 remains.  I think it will be one of those slow and enjoyable sunsets.

I better change direction or I will need to put the old format back up.

I hope you like the new look; feel free to comment either way.  I am going to make another change. I think it will be transparent. If I screw things up I may disappear for a day or two but I will be back.

Thanks for running down the road with me and please keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave