Sunday, May 31, 2009


In 1977, I had just completed two semesters of college/technical school and was home on break before returning for the summer semester. The annual Tri-County Fair was coming up and I took the opportunity to earn a few bucks by painting "window splashes" announcing the event. Actually, this was what got me started down the road of sign painting, but that's another story.

I don't remember how much I charged for each window, but I could knock out about two or three of them in a day. A cartoon character barnyard animal and large bright letters "Come to the Tri-County Fair" was painted on just about every business window on Main Street. I was raking it in, doing something that came naturally. People would stop, watch and ask questions: "How do you make those lines so straight? Did you take drawing lessons to do that? Is that all free-hand?" Invariably, someone would tell me a story about a man they knew who painted signs. "His hands just shake like crazy until he gets a couple belts in him. Then, he can paint a straight line without even using a ruler! Do you drink?"

I had been painting for several days when one afternoon, a group of high school students came by. One of them lived behind us growing up; we had also attended the same church, so even though he was a few years younger than me, Raymond and I knew each other pretty well. There were about five or six boys and girls with Raymond, but he did most of the talking. He/they asked the same questions everybody else had; no one had a drinking story.

At one point in the conversation, I turned to face the group...that's when I saw her. She wore her blonde hair in a very short style. Her green eyes twinkled and that smile... For some reason I have it in my head she was wearing red shorts-very SHORT red shorts, which I'm sure helped in catching my attention. I actually knew her in name only because she had dated the brother of a former girlfriend, but we had never actually spoken to each other. I wasn't going to pass up the chance to talk now. I noticed she was wearing some of those "short socks"--you know the kind that barely come above the top of your shoes--so I blurted out what I thought would be a great opening line: "Hey, your socks fell down." Pretty corny, eh? As soon as I said it, I thought so too, but she laughed and that's all that mattered at the time.

The group stood around for a few more minutes and then left. I don't recall if she and I carried on any kind of conversation that day, but I vowed I was going to find out if she was dating anyone and if not, get her phone number. She wasn't (dating anyone) and I did (get her phone number). I called her some time later and she invited me over to meet her parents. You can read that story (in part) here.

Fast forward to May 31, 1980 -- our wedding day. By now, her parents had come to grips (resigned themselves) with the fact that we were getting married. I was 22, Dana was 19; just a couple of dumb kids madly in love. It's not that her parents disliked me; I think they just didn't like the idea of Dana getting married so young. Undeterred by theirs--or anyone else's--misgivings, we purchased a 900 square foot house in our hometown shortly after becoming engaged. I moved into the house, while Dana still lived with her parents. Dana and I would go to work everyday and then every night, she would come over and we would paint, hang wallpaper, etc. getting the house ready to become our "first home."

The Saturday of our wedding finally arrived. I had a couple of buddies over the night before just to hang out; no big bachelor party. We all fell asleep in the living room. That morning, they all went home to get ready for the wedding. I was home by myself...and that's when it happened: my ADHD kicked in. I was getting ready to go to the church--had my tux all ready, luggage packed and had a couple of minutes to kill, so I turned on the TV. Big mistake, because the St. Louis Cardinals were playing that day! I thought, "I'll just watch a few minutes of this, catch the score and then head out." Didn't happen. I sat down, became engrossed in the game and the next thing I knew it was SEVERAL innings later and HER DAD is knocking on the door! He had come looking for me when I didn't show up at the church. Not a good way to start a wedding or a relationship with the future father-in-law! I grabbed my stuff, rushed out the door and drove to the church in record time--her dad followed me, probably making sure I made it. He seemed to be very angry or concerned; I wasn't sure. I just knew I was late!


I arrived at the church in time to change and be ready to walk out with the preacher and groomsmen at the appropriate time. And the the rest is history! She said "I do." I said "I do." And "we have" ever since. Twenty nine years later, I still love her smile, and that twinkle in her eyes. She still thinks I say stupid things. I don't remember a lot of the details of the ceremony, but I do remember that our favorite song at the time was "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg. We had it played right before the ceremony started. It's still one of our favorites.

Longer by Dan Fogelberg
Longer than there've been fishes in the ocean
Higher than any bird ever flew
Longer than there've been stars up in the heavens
I've been in love with you.

Stronger than any mountain cathedral
Truer than any tree ever grew
Deeper than any forest primeval
I am in love with you.

I'll bring fire in the winters
You'll send showers in the springs
We'll fly through the falls and summers
With love on our wings.

Through the years as the fire starts to mellow
Burning lines in the book of our lives
Though the binding cracks and the pages start to yellow
I'll be in love with you.

Longer than there've been fishes in the ocean
Higher than any bird ever flew
Longer than there've been stars up in the heavens
I've been in love with you
I am in love with you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Supreme Court Nominee

PBO nominated appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court on Tuesday, making her the first Hispanic in history to be elevated to the high court. Judge Sotamayor is quoted saying:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.

I thought the Supreme Court was supposed to APPLY the laws of our land, not filter them through their personal experiences. Silly me.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day. I never served in the military; the draft had been done away with by the time I turned 18 and I didn't feel compelled to volunteer. There have been many times I wish I had. I love America; she's not a perfect country, but she's mine. I cherish the freedoms we have (for now) and the heritage we have in the this country. I love singing the Star Spangled Banner...REAL LOUD.

One thing I like about Memorial Day is watching the ceremony of laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington. We got to see it in person a couple of years ago. It was awesome. This year, however, I don't think I'll watch.

I don't like BO and what he is trying to do/is doing to our country. I don't like the way he has treated our service men and women. In my opinion, he isn't worthy to shine the boots of those valiant men and women who put themselves in harm's way to protect our freedoms and keep the peace around the world. The image of him on the same hollowed ground as those heroic, fallen soldiers is more than I can stomach. I won't watch--I can't. Instead, Dana and I are planning on going to a local cemetery where the local Civil Air Patrol will be reenacting the Changing of the Guard at a replica of the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Thank you to all of our service men and women. You are GREAT AMERICANS!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Giving as I Say, Not as I Do

PBO and Mrs. PBO spoke to college graduates this past weekend, basically encouraging them to get involved and give back to if these were NEW ideas. They may be with Democrats/Liberals and people like BO, but I've got news for the President and his wife: people have been "giving back" for quite a while!

Organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters (to name a few) didn't just show up on the map yesterday and people have been giving their time and money to these organizations longer than BO ever thought about being a "community organizer."

Don't get me wrong--I'm all about giving, but not because someone TOLD me I should or have to. My parents modeled that attitude all during my growing-up years and they still do today. I grew up knowing that everything...EVERYTHING I have is because of God's grace and goodness toward me. Consequently, my life has been filled with giving to others in the form of my time as a volunteer coach for little league sports, youth sponsor at church, participant in community projects for those less fortunate--as well as consistently giving a predetermined, conscious portion of our family income to our church, as well as many other benevolent organizations on a local and national level. I do it because I want to. I'd do it even if there wasn't a tax break for doing so. I do it because it's right. Sadly, doing what is "right" seems to have fallen along the wayside for many.

The Obama's spoke to the graduates as if the concept of giving rested entirely on their shoulders and that through THEIR giving and participation in community affairs, the planet would be saved. Hallejuah!! It's actually sad to me that graduates have to be encouraged to "give back." I guess that means they (a) haven't been giving all along and/or (b) their parents did a bad job instilling a more generous/thankful attitude in their children. Obama talks a pretty good talk, but according to this source:

Up until recent years when their income increased sharply from book revenues and a Senate salary, Obama's family donated a relatively minor amount of its earnings to charity. From 2000 through 2004, the senator and his wife never gave more than $3,500 a year in charitable donations -- about 1 percent of their annual earnings. In 2005, however, that total jumped to $77,315 (4.7 percent of annual earnings), and to $60,307 in 2006 (6.1 percent).

The old saying "do as I say, not as I do" comes to mind.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Great Quote

"From my own experience visiting the troops in the Middle East, I can tell you this...Despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden, there's a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled."

(Attributed to golf announcer David Feherty)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This post is absolutely void of political correctness.
It will most likely offend some people. Tough!

There's a lot of talk/questions these days about torture. Should we do it? What defines torture? Is it effective? I have never been in the military, so from that perspective, I cannot speak from first-hand experience...much like most of the people that are asking all the stupid questions. But, here's how I see it, and like I already warned you, it ain't pretty.

The UN (not a fan, but their definition works for me) defines torture as:

Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. (Source)

In the case of war, whether against another country or organized group of terrorists (Al-Queda isn't a country with an official army, so I'm not so sure I'd afford them much to begin with):

  1. If we capture a run-of-the-mill-soldier, I say treat them decently. A couple of meals a day, a place to sleep--nothing fancy, and medical attention if needed. They don't need a country club; we reserve that luxury for convicted rapists, murderers, child molesters, and politicians in our own prisons.
  2. If we capture a known terrorist leader or commander of an army that has--what we believe to be--crucial information that could ultimately save American lives, stake them naked, spread eagle to the top of a fire ant hill and alternately poke them in the eyes with lit cigarettes and waterboard the dog snot out of them!!! Once we get the information we need, smear their sorry butts with honey, and unleash the three black bears that have not been fed for a week, that were conveniently brought in to "witness" the interrogation. Post the video on YouTube for good measure.

For those that would scream--"my gosh, you are sick/cruel/[fill-in-adjective here]," let me just say: You are right. That is sick and cruel, but "nice" doesn't seem to be working all that well. It's war. It's ugly.

The problem with Americans is that we are too stinking nice in war. Even more so in the way we deal with criminals and/or those who don't seem to think the rules apply to them. Case in point: remember the name Michael Faye? I'll give you a minute...

Michael Faye is the snot-nosed American brat that was caned in Singapore in 1994 for vandalism. Haven't seen his name in the papers recently, have you? Know why? HIS BUTT STILL HURTS!!!! See, a little pain goes a long way, and I bet little Michael doesn't get his jollies tagging cars anymore.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Road Trip

Eight days and a little over 2200 miles later, I'm back home. The past few years, I've taken the first week in May and gone to visit my parents in Florida. My mother was raised there in a small town, northeast of Pensacola named Baker. The first weekend in May is the family reunion for my mother's side of the family. This was the 24th year for the event, which has dwindled in size because of several factors: many of the family have died and quite a few have moved away from the hometown. I was one of only five cousins in our generation that made it to the reunion. One woman in attendance was over 90 years old!

It was good to see everyone--and as usual at those types of things, if you left hungry, it was your own fault. I hadn't seen one of my uncles since I was in Junior High. He traveled from Houston to be there. He has the beginning stages of Alzheimers, but he has such a positive attitude. He said something like: "This is what I have. I know what I'm up against. I'm grateful for the time I have left." Pretty powerful and humbling words.

When I've gone to my parent's lately, I've gone by myself. The time of year I go would mean the rest of the family missing work and/or school. Also, there's really not a lot to do there since they live in a pretty remote area, mainly agriculutural--not all of Florida is BEACH. They live about 30 minutes above the Fort Walton-Destin beach area, but I really don't care that much for the beach. So, I make the 14+ hour trip by myself, although this year, my younger brother flew in a few days after I arrived and we rode back home together. I like road trips like this because:

  • I like to sing real loud. When I travel by myself, I can crank up the sound and sing real loud. I am hopelessly stuck in the 70's and Dana isn't real fond of some of my musical tastes, so this is the opportunity to rack up the volume! Great "road songs" are anything by The Eagles or The Doobie Brothers--especially Rockin' Down the Highway. The route I take doesn't have a lot of decent (my opinion) radio stations, so I usually take the iPod and plug it into the auxiliary jack. My own personal "road mix" at max volume. Dana would hate it.
  • John MacArthur sermons. I have tons of MacArthur sermons on CD, so I will grab a handful and listen to those for several hours of the trip. Strange mix, eh? JM and 70's classic rock. This time, I took quite a few of the sermons he preached through the book of Luke. Good stuff. Also, a couple of sermons on the importance of expositional preaching. This is definitely one of those things you can't do with my whole family in the car.
  • Short and infrequent pit stops. I don't like to stop once I get on the road, but Dana can't go more than an hour or two without "going" (know what I mean?). Me? I'm a "urine camel;" I can hold it for a long time if I have to. When I finally do stop, it's run in--run out, back on the road. I don't stop to eat either, i.e. dine in. I zip through the drive-thru and get right back on the road. No need to waste time. Mental note: Pizza and tacos are hard to eat while you're driving.
  • No griping or complaining. There is no one asking: "Are we there yet?" or "How much further?" No one says: "This is boring. Why do we have to drive so long? Why can't we fly? Why does Grammy live so far away? When are we gonna eat (again)?" AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!
  • Time to reflect. For part of the trip, I turn the radio off and just reflect on my life, the blessings God has given me. I pray, thanking God for the incredible family he has given me. I ask God to grant me a safe trip. I ask God to watch over Dana and the boys while I'm gone. I think about the projects I have going on at work and at home. I take the uninterrupted time to mentally work through some things that have been on my mind lately. I've got 14 hours behind the wheel--there's plenty of time and plenty to think about.

It was a good trip. My brother and I got to spend some quality time during the week working on my parent's house--they're hoping to sell it and move back to Oklahoma. I also got to see my youngest brother that I hadn't seen in several years; he lives in Alabama. And I sang REAL LOUD...a lot!!!! And no one complained.

Mother's Day

Twenty-one Mother's Days ago, we were sitting in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa. Our oldest son was only five weeks old, and nearly too late, had been diagnosed with pyloric stenosis. For the previous two weeks, he had been projectile vomiting nearly everything he ate to the point that he weighed less than his birth weight when then doctors finally pinpointed the problem. The condition is detectable with a simple x-ray, but our pediatrician, for whatever reason, didn't do one until Dana insisted.

Approximatley 15 percent dehydrated (not good for a five week old infant), Ryon was immediately admitted to the hospital with instructions for us to "call your pastor if you have one." They gave him a 50-50 chance of living due to his severe condition--definitely NOT good odds for new parents! For two days, we anxiously waited in the PICU while doctors and nurses worked to save our little boy. On Dana's first Mother's Day, it was determined that Ryon was sufficiently hydrated to handle surgery; he and and the little "plastic bubbly" that had been his bed/home for the past two days were wheeled out of the room. That was tough! About an hour later, we got the news: the surgery was a complete success!

Since then, Ryon seems to have been making up for those five weeks. That kid can EAT!!! We have two boys now and they are both the best kids a parent could ask for...most of the time. They got Dana a card and a gift--all on their own. After church, they'll take their Mom out to eat (I get to tag along). This will be a much less stressful Mother's Day than Dana's first one.