Archive for Family

Family Reunion

boy and watermelonWe’re in north central Alabama this morning to attend a Henderson family reunion. My paternal grandmother was a Henderson, and I vaguely remember attending the reunion when I was six or seven years old. The main reason I remember it is we stopped somewhere on our way from Texas and bought a huge watermelon. Dad said it weighed fifty pounds, but he was always pulling my leg, so… who knows? He put it on the floor right in front of me—I loved watermelon—and I rode the rest of the way with my feet on the gigantic melon and a grin just as big on my skinny little face.

I wonder if folks will remember me if I walk in carrying a fifty pound watermelon? Well… the fact is, I’m not a skinny little boy anymore, and they might think I have a fifty pound watermelon under my shirt!

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Cousins

And, here it is, the real deal hanging in our new living room! And, it’s only fitting that the smaller pictures to the right of the clock are of Ma and Pa, my maternal grandparents. They were a huge part of our lives when we were young.

This painting, “Joy Ride”, by David Uhl—brother to our precious friend, Paula (Polly) Uhl Snyder, spoke to me the moment I saw it.

Joy Ride by David Uhl 1

Memories of my childhood with my cousins roared to life in my mind, especially some of those with my best friend/cousin, Eddy Madden. The joy we shared—all my cousins—as one big family when we were growing up is etched in my memory and never fails to make me smile—and often laugh—when I recall the times we spent together. How lucky were we to grow up in a simple time where simple things—just being together—could live in our minds and hearts forever.

Joy Ride by David Uhl

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Little Brothers and Others

brothers quote

That’s why I like the Internet. It has brought many of us closer, and though things still aren’t the same as they were back in the good ol’ days, it beats the way it was before the Internet came along.

It’s also true with friends—some I’ve yet to meet in person. The Internet has caused my family to not only grow closer, but to grow larger, and I like it!

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Buzz Cut!

Hair cuttin’ ain’t changed much in the last fifty or so years. They still cover you with that sheet thingy to keep the hair off you, the chairs are pretty much the same, and they still use those darn clippers. I don’t like hair clippers, mainly because the noise they make when you turn them on makes me nervous. They make a loud clacking noise then settle into an electric hum, but it’s the initial “clack” that gets to me. The sound tends to summon up some real bad memories that get my eyes wide and my old ticker to thumpin’.

Okay. Some of you are out there snickering and saying, “Oh? This is the dude that ain’t afraid a nothing?”

Well let me tell you something: I used to be afraid; I used to be scared to death. The situations that made me afraid varied, but the source was always the same… my old man. One of the times he scared me the most, was on those Saturday mornings he’d set me down in a dining room chair in the kitchen for what he called a “hair cut”.

The problem was, he wasn’t any good at cutting hair, and that, combined with the fact it scared the daylights out of me just being in the same room with him, made for one gut-twisting Saturday morning.

Dad was a crew cut, flat top, kinda guy, and boy when the Beatles hit the States, you shoulda heard him cuss them boys. He didn’t like long hair on a boy. He was a red neck all the way.

My brothers and I should have been so lucky as to be able to sport a nice crew-cut or flat-top, but due to the old man’s lack of expertise with the clippers, we spent the majority of our childhood with what’s known as a “buzz-cut”. He always set out to do a regular cut, but it just never quite worked out. Seems it always came down to that last little finishing touch, an “oops”, a cussing fit, then… buzz cut.13162050_10208195540359540_322867260_n

Many times, sitting in that chair for thirty minutes or longer all tensed up with fear was almost more than I could take. The guy meant well, and I’m sure he would’ve sent us to the barber if he’d been able to afford it, but I wonder sometimes if he knew, or cared, what he was doing to us. Sometimes, I think he knew full well the fear he instilled in us, and I think he enjoyed it. And, I don’t think that was a good thing. A kid shouldn’t have to live in constant fear of a parent.

Things have changed; not for all kids, but I’d say for the majority of them. Parents today give their children a lot more say in what happens in their lives. It’s a two edged sword though, and I’m not so sure the way it is now is better than the way it was then. It seems to me there is a severe lack of discipline, which has led to a generation of young people who have little and many times absolutely no respect for their parents, or, for that matter, adults in general. I think we might have gone too far the other direction, if you know what I mean.

 

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Then the Moth Showed Up

Did you ever have to hold the flashlight for your dad while he worked on something? Man, I hated that! When you’re a kid, flashlights seem to want to point everywhere except where they’re supposed to.

I was about twelve, the old man was working on his old truck, and when dark-thirty settled in, he yelled for me to bring the flashlight. Oh, jeez. Here we go. Read the rest of this entry »

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There It Is!

One Saturday afternoon a few summers ago I was taking a walk around the small lake at the RV park we were staying at and came upon an old boat. It looked as though it had been there for a while; leaning precariously to one side, weeds grown up around it, paint chipped and faded, and the body spider-webbed with cracks.

boys water skiing

We were pretty good skiers, but no, this is not me and Ed. We weren’t THAT good!

As I looked at the boat, Uncle Marvin came grinning into my thoughts; I can still see his big smile. Some of my best childhood memories are of the times he took us to the lake. Those summers and trips to the lake were awesome.

I can still envision me and my cousin, Ed; huddled shoulder-to-shoulder on one side of the back seat, staring intently at the landscape whirring past. We were filled with anticipation, and around every bend in the road we’d search anxiously for that first view of the lake. And then, finally, we’d shout in perfect triumphant harmony, “There it is!”

Yes, that old boat leaning to one side there in the weeds might seem like just an old boat to some who pass by it, but to me it holds a boatload of memories.

Uncle Marvin and Cousin Ed are no longer with us, but the wonderful memories of them and the times we spent together at the lake on those glorious summer days will never leave my mind.

 

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One Ringy Dingy

Mom and Ray are back in Oklahoma again, but that doesn’t mean Mom intends to do without the goodies I got her hooked on while they were living with us. Such things as apple bread, all kinds of cookies, homemade jalapeno cheese bread, homemade jam, and so on. So, Monday morning, as I was deciding what to fill the box with for Mom’s twice monthly shipment, I thought she’d probably appreciate it if I included some of my world famous pecan waffles. We freeze them, and then toast them; kind of like an Eggo, but oh… a THOUSAND times better! I ship the stuff to her priority, so she gets them in two days, and puts them in the fridge or freezer.

Here’s the weird part; I put the package in the mail around noon on Monday, and Mom called me at about 6:00 P.M. that evening. She says, “When you put my next package in the mail, there’s something I want you to include.” I said, “Too late, it’s already on the way.” Mom said, “That’s okay, but next time, would you send me some pecan waffles?”

one ringy dingyWow! Mom and I have always had a “connection”, and it seems we read each other’s minds quite often. But, this instance of it was maybe the most amazing one yet! It was as if she called it in!

 

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