Archive for Family

Who’d A Thunk It?

IMG_20171016_150100797_HDRDay number 25,202 started like most of the last 1000 or so; about three cups of coffee and some sweet cakes—always have to have something sweet with my coffee—been doing that every morning for about 35 or so years. That said, I then read our morning devotional, and Sherry and I talked about God and our many blessings for a bit. We’ve been doing that for almost 24 years now. After that, I did a four-minute plank, then Mom called and we talked about God, which is mostly what we talk about in our weekly chats. And then, I put on my shoes and was about to walk out the door and take a quick five-mile walk, when son, Bill called. We talked for a good while—we always do—but I had to smile after we hung up. I told Sherry I knew it was my birthday, because Bill let me talk quite a bit. We laughed, because she knows when Bill calls, he usually does most of the talking. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I love to listen to him and get the low down on what him and his boys are up to. When Trevor and Nathan were playing football in high school, Bill would call on Saturday or Sunday and literally give me a play by play of Friday night’s game. Being so far away was hard—never getting to see the boys play ball—but Bill’s account of the games took away some of the pain. So, anyway, after we talked, I went for that five-mile walk, then came back and fixed me and Sherry a PB&J on some of my grilled homemade jalapeno bread. (Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.) Now—it’s straight up noon—I’m going to run to the store, then come back and mow & trim the yard. Probably take it easy the rest of the day, then go out for a celebratory dinner this evening. Early evening, of course. I mean, after all, I’m 25,202.5 days old, ya know. Who’d a thunk I’d last this long?

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Time

Cliff Patterson, the father of my childhood and lifelong friend, Barry Patterson passed away yesterday, after a well-spent 92+ years. I only saw Cliff a few times after I left Buckeye, Arizona when I was about 18, but he always held a special place in my heart. He teased me mercilessly from the time I was 10, until I got out of high school, but he did it in fun, and I always took it as such. He was my little league coach for a couple of years, and he taught me to throw a change-up. He’d signal me to throw it at those times he thought it would work, by giving me a “secret” sign. And when it worked, twisting the batter into a knot, as he swung wildly at the floating pitch, Cliff would split a big grin. That’s what I remember most, that beautiful grin. Rest in peace, Cliff Patterson. You made us laugh, you were loved, and we will forever carry you with us in our hearts.sunset (4) poem

 

 

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The Tow-Head Gang

tow-head gang

A rare photo of the little known Tow-Head Gang in the early years. The gang was last seen looking out the back window of a red and white ’57 Ford Fairlane, as it sped west on a rural Texas Panhandle road. Rumor has it they settled in Buckeye, Arizona where they lived a quiet–though somewhat tumultuous–life before dispersing sometime in the late ’60s. You can read more about them in the book, “Just A Boy”, written by the surly, yet loveable, leader of the group, Charles. He’s the bad-looking hombre on the right.

CharlesLMashburn.com

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No Place Was Home

I discovered too late—it seems only moments ago—that there is a troubling downside to the wandering life I’ve led, where no place was truly home. A life that—in the end—leaves one feeling very much alone and truly homeless. For a tree cannot grow strong branches—branches being the friendships we develop in our lives—when it is constantly removing and leaving them behind. A tree, in fact, cannot be strong when it is constantly uprooted and asked to grow and flourish in a new place. Limbs die, and though they are replaced with new growth, the new ones seem never to be strong, easily broken, and in truth, receive not enough nurturing or care to ever survive. Which is of no consequence when the tree is surely to be moved again. Even the roots—the things that are family—grow weak from the constant transplanting. And so… the oft-moved tree is destined to be alone, supported and kept alive by the tap-root, which is self, and is enough to nourish existence, but in the end merely allows survival, not fruitful life.

neighbor's tree (2) quote

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I Can’t Stop the Bleeding

At that moment I was twelve going on twenty. I’d jumped so far forward in life my head was spinning but, in a strange way, it was all starting to make sense. But it was making sense in a way that made no sense at all. As I looked across the table at my mom, her tears dripping onto the Formica-topped kitchen table, I wondered about love, I wondered about God, I wondered what life was all about. And as all these things raced around in my mind, they began to form the new me—the soon-to-be-a-man me. I suddenly realized, and I admit a tinge of fear accompanied the thought, that I had to—somehow—protect my mom, my brothers, and my sister. From my dad.

~~~~~

The above is an excerpt from a book I began writing last November. I abruptly stopped writing the book, due to a very unexpected circumstance. Most of you are aware of what happened but if not, you can read my post, The World Stopped Turning, for the details. But there’s more to it than that. I simply didn’t, and still don’t, know if I can write the rest of this story.

But, a few days ago, I began reading a book, not by but about, Ernest Hemingway. As I read it, I was inspired, not by his talent, or his person, but by his pain. He was a tormented man, and he was not afraid to display his frailty to the world. He said this about writing:clouds and mountains HemingwayI’m certainly no Hemingway, but I bleed, and I cannot stop the bleeding. I’ll let you know when the book is finished.

Just A Boy

 

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The New Normal

My friend, Diana Preston, recently used the phrase “new normal” regarding life after her battle with cancer and life after my wife, Sherry’s, recent medical emergency. I didn’t like it. Another friend used it a few days later, then Diana said it again in a comment to one of my posts about Sherry’s road to recovery. The post is entitled, “The Same Thing… Only Different.” HA! Imagine my surprise when it hit me that “the new normal” was indeed, the same thing only different. The following is Diana’s comment, and my response:

Diana said

February 2, 2019 @ 8:33 am · Edit

I have a new normal after cancer. I think it’s true you can’t totally go back … as a person is changed after such an event…. As life is even more priceless… I have become more thankful…

charlesmashburn said

February 2, 2019 @ 8:47 am · Edit

I agree, Diana. Things like cancer and traumatic events change us–sometimes in an instant–and our lives will sometimes be altered forever. But I also believe the new normal can be an even better normal than the previous one. An example being your words, “I have become more thankful.” Sometimes the calamities of life bring us to a fuller appreciation of it, and we’re able to focus on our blessings. I’ve also learned that when we are on the outside watching our loved ones go through these things, we too are changed. We learn to appreciate the blessings of the friends and family we’ve been given to share our lives with, and we see them as the precious and valuable gifts they are.

~~~~~~~~

Yes, life throws us fastballs, curves and change-ups. The key is to know nothing can be thrown at us that we cannot handle. We might have to take a pitch or two, and we might sometimes swing and miss, but we must never give up.  We should dig in and get ready to knock the next pitch out of the park. And, hey, if your new normal is a single… nothing wrong with that. You’re on base and in the game. Maybe one of your friends/teammates/loved ones will knock it out of the park and you’ll both score.

wherever you are

 

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Thank You, God, For Her

In the spring of 1995, I was just winding down from a period in my life when I had severely tested the boundaries between right and wrong. I look back on those days and wonder how I survived, much less became the somewhat decent man I am. I credit God for both, but he has a co-star in the latter; He sent a beautiful lady—an angel, I believe—to show me what love is all about.

I wrote the following, rather clumsy, amateurish poem a few days before the first anniversary of the day I met Sherry, and today, almost 24 years after that first meeting, the words I wrote are truer than ever. Except that is, I can truly say I no longer worry about her, because I know God will always bring her home safely to me; and I no longer have to hope it’s her, because now, I know it’s her.

Sherry will be home soon, and at the end of what’s been more than three of the most trying weeks of our lives, I know when she walks through that door I’ll say, “Thank you, God, for her.”  

God, I Hope That’s Her

 I remember when we met

It seems like only yesterday

You walked into my life

I knew I wanted you to stay

 

And it still makes me smile

Every time I picture you

As you walked up to me

In that pretty dress of blue

 

I spent my whole life searching

And wondering where you were

And the first time that I saw you

I whispered, “God, I hope that’s her

 

grin-big-earsOur love grew so fast

We couldn’t stand to be apart

We were meant to be together

We knew it from the start

 

I wanted to be with you

Every minute of every day

Every time you left me

I wanted you to stay

 

I thought about you all the time

And I wondered where you were

Every time the phone would ring

I whispered, “God, I hope that’s her

 

I promise that I’ll love you

For the rest of my life

I want you with me always

I’m so happy you’re my wife

 

Now, when you’re not at home

And it starts getting late

I sometimes start to worry

I walk the floor and wait

 

I tell myself, when you get home

I’ll ask you where you were

And every time I hear a car

I whisper, “God, I hope that’s her

 

Copyright © 1996 C. Mashburn

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