Sons-in-law

Sons-in-law are different than daughters-in-law.

As I’ve said elsewhere daughters-in-law are God’s gifts to dads.

Sons-in-law are God’s quiet warriors,

that enter the family on the arms of my daughters,

And caretake everyone, quietly, with honor and greatness.

If, if, you are blessed enough to have discerning daughters,

And that is not always the case.

Some men are not more than sperm donors.

Some men abuse my daughters,

And leave them pregnant, alone and unsupported,

Only to return later to try to take the glory denied them by their denial.

But the good ones, like my sons-in-laws are superior men.

I have great sons, don’t get me wrong.

 But these sons-in-laws, of their own volition, married my daughters,

And helped in the raising of the family,

Providing a role model for the boys,

And for the girls too.

They don’s spend a lot of time boasting, preaching, being totalitarian

Heads of their families.

They work. They are at home. They argue with their wives. They hold their children and spend “quality time” with them.

I had no such father myself. So I really appreciate these men who fathered (really fathered) my grandchildren.

I have followed the line from Marco Polo (the TV series) in which Ghengis Khan said, “You have to become the father you wished you had.”

My son-in-laws help me with that.

Thank you Russel and George.

I. Love you.

– Small town boy

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Breath

I breathe.

Again.

I breathe,

And with each breath

My lungs extract life

In the form of oxygen 

And send it to refresh my heart.

My heart thus refreshed

Sends it on to my brain,

And the cloud on my spirit lifts

Just a little.

More breaths, more breathing,

More refreshing,

And I can go on.

Simple, slow recovery.

I just keep breathing.

Thank you Jesus,

And all those tiny angels

That I sent to my friend last year in her grief,

They have returned to me.

Their job is never ending.

Their job is to give us strength and courage

And hope.

Take a breath, take another, and another.

Recovery is slow 

But hope is eternal.

– Small town boy

 

In my grief

I grieve.

I ache with it.

My heart is broken.

I am at a standstill,

Unable.

Unable to think.

Unable to feel ought else.

Unable to breathe or swallow or sleep.

How must my daughter feel, my son-in-law, my grandchildren?

I grieve for them, with them.

I weep, in spurts .

When I think I’m safe again,

I am over whelmed with grief.

I long for wellness;

I am heartsick.

Where is my recovery?

In you? In You? In solitarity?

In time?

In activity?

I die with Christ this weekend in hopes of my resurrection,

From this terrible grief.

– Small town boy

Pedal faster

Pedal faster, he’s right behind you,

In his power chair,

He’s going to overwhelm you, again.

I’m at my gym, Fitness Over Fifty,

Pedaling the stationary bike, faster and faster,

Feeling feelings I don’t want to deal with,

About to erupt.

I thought I dealt with his death, but

He chases after me, laughing,

Because he no longer needs his power chair.

But it’s good for the chase.

It’s good because it still gives him power,

The power of love,

The power of his personality that overwhelmed his disabilities,

The power of God that dwelt within

Him and me.

Oh lord deliver me from the great sadness chasing me.

Let me weep again, let my heart break again, let my guts turn to jelly once more,,

So that he can rest and quit chasing me.

Pedal faster. Ignore him, if you can.

Dear God, he is yours now, running and laughing in the heavenly domain.

And we are left here

With our sorrows,

Pedaling as fast as we can.

I love you Terrae.

Thanks for your light in my darkness.

– Small town Boy

Awesome

I hate that word and the way people overuse and abuse it.

Awesome, dude!

That was awesome!

He/she was awesome.

Fuck awesome!

If everything is awesome, then nothing is awesome. We’ve reduced it to triviality.

But, then…

When you have the honor and privilege to know and love an awesome person.

Awesome because, though he was quadriplegic, he ran to you for a hug.

In his power chair.

Though his speech was difficult to understand, he spoke plainly

When he was on the phone with his girl friend.

Though he needed help with the meanest tasks,

His smile was AWESOME.

His love was awesome.

His humor was awesome.

His strength in the face of disability was awesome.

His love for his young nephew, yep, awesome.

It is not hyperbole when you are talking about him.

You have led the way for the rest of us.

Today I will try to be awesome too.

I guess awesome isn’t so bad after all,

When applied to the right person.

– Small town boy

Dedicated to Terrae O’Neal, 

1/6/80-4/6/17


Awesome!!!

Where does the flame go?

Where does the flame go when the candle goes out?

Where did it come from?

It’s a zen question like:

“You know the sound of two hands clapping; what is the sound of one hand clapping?”

The heat, the light, the flickering,

Where do they go?

A flame is not what you think it is,

While it dances there in the melted wax,

Hiding the wick it relies on,

Forgetting the required spark that got it going,

Regardless of its pending demise.

It is merely energized molecules,

Vibrating so,

That we are able to see that part if the spectrum it displays,

Light. The light.

And to feel the heat it radiates when we hold cold hands to the flame,

And feel it’s life.

Flames can join other flames,

Till there is a conflagration.

Is that where it went?

When life was snuffed?

Did it join the conflagration 

Of the universal flame?

Energy is neither created nor destroyed,

Nor are you, my love.

You have been,

We shared your brief life,

And you are 

Still, resurrected.

I know. I feel your warmth yet.

I bask in the light of you.

I love you.

– Small town boy

Today is the next day

Since I decided to live out each day I have been given,

My life is much simpler and anticipatory.

After experiencing grief over the loss of my eldest grandson this weekend,

I realized this morning that today is the next day

In a series that is ongoing 

Despite death, and grief, and sadness.

The moon still shines and becomes full again;

The sun rises; the rain falls; flowers bloom again.

Even as they will when I am gone.

Even as they have since my father, my mother, and my sister have gone.

One day after the next.

So, each day holds the promise of a next day.

And this is it.

I still love you, even in your absence;

I still have those around me who love me;

I await the gifts you have for me today,

With great anticipation.

Thank you.

– Small town boy

Grandpa’s field trip

This was the second field trip I have  gone on with my grandchildren.

The first was to a fishery with Dashawn, the third grader.

This trip was to a play at the restored Whiteside theater downtown,

With Angel, the first grader.

The teacher was confused when  I showed up. 

Had I checked in to the office computer that  confirmed that I was approved to volunteer?

Was Angel’s aunt Becca going to come?

Yes, no, and when do we go?

I must say right off that going with Angel is different than going with Dashawn.

There is much more touching, hand holding, and chatter. Chatter. Chatter.

So we got onto the school bus, eventually, having loaded two boxes and buckets of lunches,

And rode two miles to the theater.

I was not able to sit on the bus with my three charges: Bianca, Angel and Maecy (only three to a seat),

So I sat behind them next to Emma,

Who began to tell me all the people in her family who were dying or going to die.

Someone had brain cancer, an aunt had died last week, and the new born twins weren’t going to make it, etc.

Emma’s mother was in charge of the Whitside theater.

So we we’re dropped in front of the theater, en masse, two bus loads, plus others from other schools.

The hike up to our seats in the balcony was as far as my hike up Austen stadium to the 80th row at the University of Oregon.

We climbed three flights to the balcony, and I was beginning to feel faint.

I didn’t take  my charges down another flight when  we got into the balcony,

Choosing to sit halfway up on the aisle we came in on. The girls were fine with this.

Angel had my hand the whole way and held  it during the performance.

I dug out a bar I had brought to regain my energy, but it didn’t help.

My stomach felt queezy.

The play was great and we learned that girls could be swordsmen instead of princesses.

Upon leaving I received two hugs from Tavin, my grandson in kindergarden, who was also at the play with his mother, Becca.

After the play we walked three or four blocks to the gazebo in Central Park.

I had to stop and sit part way. My bloodsugar was plummeting.

And I had nothing to eat.

So the two girls (Maecy had been taken by another adult because she was constantly ahead of us) went to get their lunches which both had brought from  home.

I eyed them hungrily.

Then Alexandro came over by us, on the bench, to throw his lunch in the trash.

I asked if  he had finished it? He said no.

I asked if he would get it out of the trash can for me?

He was hesitant.

Another adult asked him what was going on and volunteered to retrieve the lunch, but I said no; I would do it.

It was a school packed lunch. It had an apple with one bite out of it, a P B&J sandwich (half eaten) and a bag of small carrots.

I was saved! Not only had I been  provided lunch but it fit with  my NutraSystems diet (having just lost 20 lbs).

The girls looked askance, and eagerly told anyone who would listen that grandpa was  eating Alexandro’s lunch which he  had dug out  of the trash barrel.

I felt it was a life  lesson about those less fortunate that went “dumpster diving” for food.

I think there was divine providence here.

The girls wanted to play on the playground at the park, and insisted that I had  to go along with them.

I agreed, since my blood sugar had recovered and I could be human again.

They had a wonderful  time building sand temples, with dndelions on tlhem.

We got on the bus and returned to the  school.

I’m home now and resting.

Phew, what a day!

-Small town boy

A Barking Dog

Oh, would that I were a barking dog,

Free to woof and growl,

I’d bark at kids on the way to school,

And on their way home again.

I’d bark in the day and awaken

So I could bark at a sound in the night.

If you think my bark discordant,

And it bothers you so much,

Just remember, as a dog, I’m immune.

I bark because I have to, my ancestors barked and barked,

And now it’s compulsive, like lightening and thunder.

The UPS driver, and the FedEx guy too, understand my dilemma,

So why don’t you?

I want not to bark, but as it is uncontrollable, so I will simply

Run to your side, as if to say, “I know, I know.”

You’ll be sorry when I’m quiet and gone,

You’ll wish I were there to help you carry on.

Just remember, if you will,

I’m just a dog,

And I love you still.

– Small town boy

Horses

My father was a vetrinarian, but

I don’t remember him treating horses,

Just piglets.

Though I never owned a horse,

I rode.

I rode at church camp and scout camp in the Colorado Rockies.

The wranglers often gave me the hard to handle riding horses, because I could handle them.

Except for the one who tried to brushing me off by going under a low hanging tree.

Although he was unsuccessful in this attempt, I had to eat Jello for dinner because of a bloody mouth.

We were charging, like wild Indians, and I couldn’t slow him down.

Five years later I worked in the kitchen of the Rawah Dude Ranch in northern Colorado, where the help was not permitted to ride the horses. Mostly they were work horses uses to pack into Rawah Lake in the Rawah Wilderness area, or as log pullers when timber harvesting was done.

He had a pair of horses, one black and one white to pull the logs.

But they had to hitch up the black one first and get him started, then the white one.

As she (the white) worked up the hill passed him, he would come to life and struggle to beat her to the top.

One of the largest pack horses, Tom, many hands high, was nortoriously spooky. One day as I was holding his reins after he was packed with camping and fishing gear, he spooked and tore off through the brush destroying the fishing gear and spreading camping gear everywhere..

The owner of the Rawah Guest Ranch raised Arabians, and provided stud service to interested mares from nearby ranches.

However, all the college kids on the ranch were required to be in the bunkhouse, so as not to see the stallion do his job.

It was thought by the owner that he didn’t want his employees behaving in a manner like those college kids in Estes Park, who came from all over the country to party.

The owner had bred his own Arabian mare, with the result being a beautiful colt, named Rawah.

However, Rawah got into the barbed wire and cut himself badly, but since the owner was a Christian Scientist, he would not call the vet, and the colt died.

Thirty years later, my wife and I decided our ten year old bossy daughter needed something large to boss around, so we signed her up at a nearby stable in Portland, Oregon, where she rode and cared for her horse.

I decided it looked like fun, and since I only knew how to ride western, that i would learn English as well.

When I fell after a stirrup broke, it was a soft landing in the bark feathers in the arena.

My instructor said that it takes twenty falls to be an expert.

Words to live by.

– Small town boy