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Fatherhood Moment

Our family took a long road trip to Michigan from Arizona for a family reunion. On our road-trip vacation, I got the chance to see the results of being a father. Our travels took us first from Phoenix, Arizona, to Shamrock, Texas, then Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, then a layover in Chenoa, Illinois, and finally to West Branch, Michigan. The second leg of the journey took us from Shamrock, Texas, toward Chenoa, Illinois, with a to-be-determined waypoint in Missouri. Somehow, coming out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, I had made a wrong turn and we were traveling north. We had to take an alternate route east toward Tulsa. We ended up on a two-lane road through rural parts of Oklahoma. The road weaves across hills and dales through rural farming areas. The sides of the roads are defined by wide gravel shoulders and shallow ditches. The ditch lines are broken by infrequent gravel driveways that access farm homes set back from the road.

Along our path, I saw a car on the opposite side of the road with its trunk open. It was oddly situated at the edge of a driveway but just off the road. Initially, I continued past the vehicle, but in my rearview mirror I noticed an older male retrieving something out of the trunk. I also noticed the passenger-side rear tire was flat. At first, I continued on my way, but my principles forced me to turn around and return to see if the gentleman needed assistance.

When we reached the disabled car, it was situated to not allow me to easily park behind it. To avoid completely blocking the nearby driveway, I parked in front of that car. When I got out of the car and approached the gentleman, he seemed put aback by my offering assistance. The stranded motorist was alone. He was a grey-haired, older man, appearing to be in his mid to late-70’s. He was not a feeble man; he stood about 5’ 8” to 5’ 10”, and likely weighed 180 to 190 lbs. The presence of perspiration on his brow disclosed some distress. He first declined and seemed to be annoyed at the offer. But, after a brief pause he griped about the modern automobiles complex storage of simple items like a car jack. I moved to the trunk of his car and insistently, but respectfully, offered to find the parts for the jack before I left.

As I was locating the pieces in his trunk, Dom and Aric approached from our car. I handed the jack to the gentleman. He attempted to locate where to place the jack based on the vehicle owner’s manual, but pointed out it was difficult to identify. He suggested the manual identified the corner of the wheel well and the body as the jack point and placed the jack as if he were going to use it there. I interceded and located the proper location for the jack, about 8 to 10 inches toward the front of the car. At this point, Dom pointed out the wheel lugs needed to be broken loose before lifting it off the ground, and he offered to do that. I handed the lug wrench to him. The gentleman stepped back and let Dom, Aric and I continue working on changing the tire. He did not intervene or suggest he was offended. Dom finished starting the lugs, and I jacked the rear tire off the ground.

After the vehicle was off the ground, I stepped back and began to chat with the gentleman. Aric joined Dom with finishing changing the tire. The gentleman and I exchanged introductions, and I shared our story of taking a road trip to Michigan. He expressed his appreciation for the assistance. And then he explained his circumstances. He was on his way home from Tulsa from the hospital. He had been there for three days tending to his wife. She had been hit on top of her head. The impact ended up fracturing her skull, forcing her to go to the hospital. As he shared his tale, tears formed in the corners of his eyes, but he fought off any significant tears or sobbing. Because of the swelling around her brain, the doctors had to place her into a coma, and extract fluid from around her brain. He was on his way home to pick up some clothing and other items for the both of them. He didn’t offer any prognosis.

The gentleman complimented Dominic and Aric’s chivalry. When the boys finished changing the tire, the gentleman thank them and me. We wished him well and offered our prayers for his wife.

My sons’ actions fill me with pride. They continue to show they have grown to be good young men. My sons are young, they make some foolish mistakes. That’s normal, but they also demonstrate mature and honorable actions. I hope they continue this path.

 

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2014 in Memories, Vacation

 

The Time Mom Was There

Remembering the times you were there for me.

The time I went to kindergarten.
The time I get hit in the head with a rake.
The time I learned self-defense.
The time I sliced open my toe at the lake.

The time I enlisted in the Army.
The time I learned to swim in the pool.
The time I fought against the boxer.
The time I graduated from high school.

The time I lost a favorite dog.
The time I went with you on a hike.
The time I rode on top of snow.
The time I lost my favorite bike.

The time I crashed outside your door.
The time I ran off to Oklahoma.
The time I was chased by the mean dog.
The time I ran off to Arizona.

And don’t forget yesterday,
the day before,
and all the other days in between.
You are always there for me.

Mom, I love you.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Memories, Poetry, Writing

 

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Emotional Days Reflection

Imagine the most emotional time in your life; a time where everything was in upheaval. A day that involved such emotional swings, you had no idea what was going to happen next. It didn’t start that way.

The time began when, like many other great day, you blurt out to your friends, unprompted, that you are looking forward to a wonderful day, and you wish them all the same. Subsequently, you experience humorous moment which solicits stifled giggles about someone’s peculiar happenstance. And as you barely finished that glee, you find out an Old Friend is dealing with a traumatic loss of a pet. You express sincere condolences to the Old Friend. Their trouble brings back the memory of a similar event in your life. You move from that earlier lightheartedness to a heavy-hearted sorrow.

As you absorb that moment and reflect on your past experience, a quote from a historic scholar comes to mind. It coincidentally matches, in some tangential way, the circumstances you observed. The quote brings you some relief and gives you some hope in life, people, and the world. You even release a heavy sigh of relief.

A loud Obnoxious Voice screams out, insistently, some claim that blames all the worlds problems on some sports figures thoughtless rant. You don’t understand the relationship of those topics. The irritation eats at your gut, and you spout off some condescending remark to them, with little thought. While you are still dwelling on that outrageous claim, the Old Friend thanks you for thinking about them as they fight their way though the emotional loss they had. Your heart pauses for a moment and you politely reply, “You’re welcome.” You again feel that camaraderie for the shared loss; and it pulls at your heartstrings for moment, maybe brings water to your eyes reflecting on your similar loss.

Your Mother happens by and inquires about your plans for the weekend. You’re not sure, but you check with your Spouse. She reminds you about a school event you are supposed to attend for the kids on Friday evening, and the yard work that was postponed from last weekend. You think, why can’t she clean up after the pets once in a while; but you know it’s your responsibility and just let it rest. But it is still irritating. She says Saturday for dinner with family would work good.

While you are thinking about the weekends plans, a Family Friend tells you this hilarious joke about two men and a priest walking into a bar. You laugh hysterically and repeat it to other people next to you. Some of them interject with other wise cracks that make you smile even more.

Thinking back to the meal, you remember a dinner, long ago, when the whole family gathered. One of those never-forget times with family. You pull out some old pictures from the event and reflect on how happy things seemed to be back then. It’s was a long time ago, but you remember it like it was moments ago. It brings a gleeful tear to your eye.

Finally, you respond to your Mother. You let her know you have a few things planned, but you invite your parents over for dinner. You ask if she wouldn’t mind bringing a side dish, specifically, your favorite sweet potatoes she always makes. You grin; knowing she’ll not let you down.

Out of the blue, a high school friend shouts out a joyful “Howdy!” You are astounded this New-found Old Friend is still alive; after all, some of the things you two did back in the day would kill most people. You exchange a few where-you-been inquiries, and highlights after high school. You two laugh reminiscing over some of the silly things you use to do.

The Obnoxious Friend from earlier interjects about something you said last week; uses it to point out how it seems you have no idea what you are talking about. You are astounded as his shallow view on the world and society. You quickly pull out some reference material and find documented proof those two items from earlier are not related. You highlight the evidence you found. An argument ensues. Your blood boils. You don’t understand how he could continue on the dead-end path he seems stuck on. The Obnoxious Friend blurts out he’s sick and tired of listening to your one-sided rants and lack of understanding. He spews off on a long tirade, and culminates by proclaiming he will never speak to you again.

Oddly, after a long exchange of memories, the New-found Old Friend, suddenly seems to be non-responsive. You suspect he must have had to run off.

One of the comical friends asks if you and your Spouse have made plans for the weekend; they are having a party and hope you could make it. Although it would be fun, you regretfully decline, knowing you’ll have family over; and family comes first, especially when you committed to hosting dinner… with Mother’s sweet potatoes.

Your Spouse asks if your Mother will be bringing a dish. You still hadn’t heard what your Mother will be bringing to dinner. So, you ask her again. Your Mother apologizes; she had missed your last question. But because she didn’t get your response, she went ahead and made plans with some other friends. For an instant, despite the relationship, maybe because of the ongoing emotion from earlier, you feel betrayed. You think, “it would’ve been nice if you’d reply….” But before you put it into words, you accept the apology and apologize for not being more responsive; with the bad communication, it is understandable.

Imagine an Hour of a day in your life where these events occurred. It is happening, right now, to you.

Welcome to social networking and online media.

It is no wonder the world today suffers from such psychological turmoil. We go through this emotional roller-coaster on our social networks at an untenable pace. Somehow, we think we can engage in meaningful conversation in 140 characters. We don’t draw parallels between the citations, but we proclaim others should understand our intended meaning with only an unexplained reference to a historic writing. We bounce through these emotional highs and lows at a pace that cannot be sustained.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2014 in Politics, Writing

 

Missing the Ghosts of Christmas Past

n0dakbud:

If every paragraph were a separate post, I would Like them all; every sentence, and every Word. Wow, talk about bringing back memories. I still make sure everyone gets pajamas for Christmas. Seems so ridiculous when you think about it; but it’s instinctual. So many memories… I hope my grandkids can feel such strong emotions remembering growing up.

Originally posted on robintessier:

In this crazy, hard-scrabble and difficult world, we need to embrace every good, lovely, wonderful, warm, happy memory we can manage to stuff into our human, cranial computers! So, enjoy my loving gratitude to God and loving memory of:  Grandma/Grandpa Finazzi – the makers of childhood Christmas dreams come true. I hope this will cause you to relive happy memories and plan to make the newest ones for this fast-approaching, special family time. 

Setting:

Christmas Eve on Clunie Street, Saginaw, Michigan: THE house to be in on the night before Christmas. It’s cold and maybe a foot of snow on the ground. Dark early. The white sided house with the charcoal gray trim; third on the left from the corner. Big picture window in the living room, through which a lit Christmas tree is visible through the sheer curtains. 

There is a ball of artificial mistletoe hanging from the archway between…

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Posted by on December 11, 2013 in Repost

 

When I Think Of You

home and away,
here and there,
north and south,
east and west,
land and sea,
kitchen and bedroom,

sunny and cloudy,
humid and arid,
asleep and awake,
quiet and loud,
hot and cold,
gentle and rough,

happy and sad,
calm and anxious,
peace and strife,
agree and disagree,
cheery and grumpy,
relaxed and stressed,

day and night,
before and after,
now and later,
together and apart,
yesterday and today,
always and forever,

This is when I think of you.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in Free Verse, Poetry, Writing

 

Reflecting on “Lake Margrethe: Innovative Thinking Is The Key To Unprepared Fishing”

Today, I was reflecting on this old blog post about my Dad. I realized I omitted a secondary facet of the story. Our family friend in this story, Bob James, had a special way of introducing his tales of yore. He would begin all his woeful with “Back in ’02.” He would then explain what was missing, “we didn’t have …,” and how those barriers were overcome in the old days, “we had to ….” The stories were dramatic exaggerations, but entertaining and maybe frightening to children. For example, Bob described how we should be grateful to ride the bus to school, because back in his day, back in ’02, they didn’t have buses; he had to walk 20 miles to and from school, uphill, in the rain and snow, in both winter and summer.

I always wondered how horrible life must have been way back “in ’02” without all the simple things we have today. Of course at that time, the simple things were automobiles and electricity.

I wonder, in the future, if I should explain to my grandkids that back ’52 we had to research using an archaic printed systems of card files and numeric cross-reference lists called the “Dewey Decimal System.” Of course, it would also have to occur in the rain and snow.

Lake Margrethe: Innovative Thinking Is The Key To Unprepared Fishing.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in Memories

 

Great comparison – great recession, great depression

n0dakbud:

Very interesting comparison of Great Depression and Great Recession.

Originally posted on NR Market Watch:

Cheryl Russel’s work is always some of the most insightful I read. After you read through this you will want to sign up for her newsletter. and buy her books.

demographics@newstrategist.com

Score One for the Great Recession

How do you measure bad times? Specifically, how does the Great Recession compare with the Great Depression? Economists typically use GDP as the measuring stick. During the Great Depression, GDP fell by a stunning 27 percent. During the Great Recession, GDP fell only 4 percent. Using the GDP measure, then, the Great Recession was only 15 percent as severe as the Great Depression (4/27 x 100 = 15).

Something is missing from the GDP comparison, however: a human face. GDP and other macro-level economic statistics fail to capture the human experience of hard times. We need something that measures the personal dimension of economic downturns. One way to measure the personal is with…

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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Politics

 
 
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