Sunday, October 3, 2010

To A Child Love Is Spelled T-I-M-E

The following story is actually an excerpt from
"To A Child Love Is Spelled T-I-M-E" by Mac Anderson.

It touched me, and I think it is a great reminder to us who have children and grandchildren that things might not always be as we think. It is a great example of what we might think as unimportant may be very important to someone else. I hope you enjoy it.

In the faint light of the attic, an old man, tall and stooped, bent his great frame and made his way to a stack of boxes that sat near one of the little half-windows. Brushing aside a wisp of cobwebs, he tilted the top box toward the light and began to carefully lift out one old photograph album after another. Eyes once bright but now dim searched longingly for the source that had drawn him here.

It began with the fond recollection of the love of his life, long gone, and somewhere in these albums was a photo of her he hoped to rediscover. Silent as a mouse, he patiently opened the long buried treasures and soon was lost in a sea of memories. Although his world had not stopped spinning when his wife left it, the past was more alive in his heart than his present aloneness.

Setting aside one of the dusty albums, he pulled from the box what appeared to be a journal from his grown son's childhood. He could not recall ever having seen it before, or that his son had ever kept a journal. Why did Elizabeth always save the children's old junk? he wondered, shaking his white head.

Opening the yellowed pages, he glanced over a short reading, and his lips curved in an unconscious smile. Even his eyes brightened as he read the words that spoke clear and sweet to his soul. It was the voice of the little boy who had grown up far too fast in this very house, and whose voice had grown fainter and fainter over the years. In the utter silence of the attic, the words of a guileless six-year-old worked their magic and carried the old man back to a time almost totally forgotten.

Entry after entry stirred a sentimental hunger in his heart like the longing a gardener feels in the winter for the fragrance of spring flowers. But it was accompanied by the painful memory that his son's simple recollections of those days were far different from his own. But how different?

Reminded that he had kept a daily journal of his business activities over the years, he closed his son's journal and turned to leave, having forgotten the cherished photo that originally triggered his search. Hunched over to keep from bumping his head on the rafters, the old man stepped to the wooden stairway and made his descent, then headed down a carpeted stairway that led to the den.

Opening a glass cabinet door, he reached in and pulled out an old business journal. Turning, he sat down at his desk and placed the two journals beside each other. His was leather-bound and engraved neatly with his name in gold, while his son's was tattered and the name Jimmy had been nearly scuffed from its surface. He ran a long skinny finger over the letters, as though he could restore what had been worn away with time and use.

As he opened his journal, the old man's eyes fell upon an inscription that stood out because it was so brief in comparison to other days. In his own neat handwriting were these words:

Wasted the whole day fishing with Jimmy.
Didn't catch a thing.

With a deep sigh and a shaking hand, he took Jimmy's journal and found the boy's entry for the same day, June 4. Large scrawling letters, pressed deeply into the paper, read:

Went fishing with my Dad.
Best day of my life.

"Life Is Good If You Let It."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Roughing It

A post on my son's blog, , made me think of the times that I have "roughed it" out camping.

The first thought finds me and a couple of friends out elk hunting North of Buena Vista, CO. It was the first gun season which usually opens up around the first of October. At this time in the Rockies the weather can be anything from temps in the 80s to many feet of snow. This instance is about the later.

We had watched the weather report and knew that we could possible get a couple of feet of snow in the high country. We were sleeping in my wall tent that was several years old but in very good shape. Our worry was that it was all canvass and would not shed snow very well. We decided to make a rain/snow fly out of a tarp. Those of you who tent now days know what a rain fly is. While this ended up to be a great idea it still did not shed the snow very well. I woke up early in the morning, or late evening, and noticed that the roof was sagging in about a foot or so. I went outside to about a foot of snow everywhere. All this weight on the roof was minutes away from collapsing the tent. Using a pine bow I scraped as much snow from the roof as I could. The problem was that it was snowing so hard that by the time I was done there was about 3 more inches that had built up. For the remainder of the night, we took turns going outside and scraping the snow off the roof. At least the tarp protected the canvass and we stayed dry. At least we all had good sleeping bags. Mine was good to 10 below 0. By day light we had a little over 2 feet of snow. Getting down the mountain is another blog.

The other time I think about was deer hunting in western ND. As you ND people know, this takes place in November where you again can expect any kind of weather Mother Nature wants to throw at you. This particular trip finds us camping out in a tent trailer equipped with a furnace. WOW, you might say, this isn't roughing it! Well let me finish. After a day of hunting and eating our dinner it was time to turn in. The temperature was somewhere South of the 0 mark and the wind was blowing as it can in ND. My hunting partner and I proceeded to get ready for bed. Both of us had sleeping bags that were good to about freezing and that was it. So,,,, with this in mind, we undressed, added another layer of underwear, a pair of jeans, T-shirt, long sleeve T-shirt, 2 sweatshirts, snowmobile suit, 2 pair of socks, stocking cap, and finally our hunting jackets. I now had on about twice as many clothes as I had hunted in that day. (In fact I didn't have many clothes left to put on.) Now some of you may think that it couldn't have been that bad with a furnace. Let me explain. On top of the furnace was a counter. On top of the counter we placed our dirty dishes in a pot with a bottle of dish soap and water. Keep in mind that this is the warmest place in the camper. The next morning the water was frozen along with the bottle of soap. We were so cold that we didn't even bother to cook breakfast. We just jumped in the truck, thanks to the Lord it started, and we proceeded to warm up. Needless to say, we did a little road hunting that day. Thinking about this one still makes me shiver.

Soooooo, say what you want about my RV now that comes with insulation, furnace, and TV. I paid my dues. Been there done that!

"Life Is Good If You Let It."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Green Desert

I am very blessed to live on the edge of Tucson Mountain Park. Just at the end of my street is one of the many gates that allow access to the park. Tucson Mountain Park is part of the Sonoran Desert. I know when people come to visit us the first time they are usually amazed that a desert can actually be green. The Sonoran Desert is just that. While the soil is mostly rock and sand all of the plant life is green.

My battle of the bulge requires me to get out and do some physical exercise once in a while so come and join me as I take an early morning walk in the park in April of 2010. I usually make a loop that takes me behind the ridge you see in the above photo and then down through a wash and back on another trail that comes out just a couple of hundred yards from where I went in. The walk usually takes about 45 minutes. I walk to the end of the street and enter the park on the "John Krein Trail". This is named after a neighbor who used to walk these trails with my Dad.

While I am not an expert on plants I will do my best to explain what we see as we take this walk in one of God's amazing places on this earth. While there are a few plants blooming right now the desert is pretty much green like this all year around. The main trees you see are the Palo Verde. The leaves are so small that you need to be within a foot or so to see them. What is amazing about this tree is that the bark is green. This tree has the same ability to create chlorophyll through its bark like most trees do through their leaves. The leaves are small so that they don't need as much water to survive. This is true with a lot of the plants here as we get little rain. One of the next fairly large plants that we see is the Ocotillo. This is also known as the Hummingbird Bush as it always blooms in April when the majority of the hummingbirds are on their way up North.

The Ocotillo is the plant in the right side of the picture with all of the whip-like looking branches. During a year when it gets plenty of moisture it will sprout leaves plus the red blooms at the end of each branch. During dry years it will not grow leaves but will always have blossoms. The leaves again are small but larger than the Palo Verde tree. The Ocotillo branches are very thorny. Much care must be taken when getting close.

In this next picture you can see the leaves and blooms but you can't really see the thorns.

The next plant we see a lot of is the Prickly Pear Cactus. There are many varieties of the Prickly Pear. (Clock-face, Beavertail, Tuberous, Purple, and the list goes on.) These haven't started blooming yet but will have very pretty flowers when they do. The flowers are different colors depending on the variety of Prickly Pear.

You can see the buds of the flowers on the top edge of the petals. After the flowers are done blooming these buds fall off. They are red in color and almost look like a flower also. We have friends that boil these up and make the best prickly pear jelly that I have ever tasted. We are currently on our second pint of jelly. (Now you know why I need to exercise.) If you look close at this picture of a Prickly Pear you will see that it has a plant growing in the middle of it. It is a Fairy Duster and is currently blooming. It has light pink flowers that look like a duster. Its real name is Calliandra eriophylla and now you know why everyone calls it a Fairy Duster.

The next plant we see on our walk is the Creosote Bush. Where it got it's name, I don't know. When I think of creosote, I think of the black smelly stuff we used to treat fence posts with so they wouldn't rot off in the ground. As you can see this bush is a lot prettier than that description. It reminds me of a yellow daisy. These are in full bloom now and you can see lots of them from the trail, as you see in the next picture.

We are now at the highest point of our journey and we have walked to the back side of the ridge in the first picture. This picture was taken from the trail looking across a wash. A wash for you non-desert people is a dry river bed. We have lots of these that are usually dry but during the summer monsoons they can fill with water. That's right, monsoons. During July and August we get the majority of our yearly rain. The rain storms usually will only last 10-15 minutes or so but we can get close to an inch of rain in that time.

The next plant/tree we will talk about is the Saguaro. Pronounced "saw war o". It is probably the most famous cactus and one of the most filmed. We all remember this cactus in a lot of the old westerns. They grow very slowly and can live to be over a 100 years old. They are protected and only grow in two areas of North America. From Tucson South into Mexico and there is also another area outside of Phoenix. No one really knows why some of them have arms and some don't. Supposedly they have to be over 70 years old to grow arms. They are a true example of a desert plant that stores water. If you look close you can see the the skin on the outside looks like an accordion bellow. This is so when the cactus fill up with water it can stretch out and as it uses the water it shrinks back again. Under the skin are actual wooden ribs with a pulpy type center.

The above picture is of a Saguaro that has died. You can see the ribs that are left. the Saguaro has white flowers when it blooms. While they are not blooming now I did take a picture of one that has buds on it that will become flowers when they open. These are the little wart like looking things on the top of the Saguaro in the picture below. These will be blooming in a couple of weeks.

Just so you can see what the flowers look like, the picture below is one Brenda took last year of one of the Saguaros in our front yard. It was the first year that they had flowered so we were kind of excited about it.

They have to be several years old before they flower. While the Saguaros are protected, developers can acquire a permit to move them and then replant them. The two that we planted in front of our house were two of those. They were about 3 foot and 4 foot tall when we planted them in 2001 and are now about 8 foot and 9 foot. Everything I have read says they don't grow this fast but our growth rate is probably due to the fact that they are getting water from other plants around them that are on my irrigation system. They say that if a Saguaro is over 5 feet tall the chance of surviving a transplant is slim. Their root system usually expands from the base a distance twice the height of the cactus. This means that when they get transplanted you lose most of this root system. If the cactus is large it will not survive. This fact is also why you should not water them by hand. If you water just the base of the plant only certain parts of it will get the water. that part of the plant will then think that it has plenty of water and the parts that don't get the water will die off.

The next couple of pictures are just scenery as we start to walk towards home. Those of you who like the outdoors should understand why I love this area so much. The more I read and learn about the plants and animals that live here the more amazed I am.

While I wasn't able to get any good pictures of the wildlife in this park there are many. Mammals consist of: Havelina, bobcat, mountain lion, mule deer, desert hare, and coyote. Reptiles are of course the diamondback rattlesnake and many various lizards. Other than the mountain lion it is not uncommon to see most of these on a walk. I have gone early in the morning and counted up to 25 mule deer on one walk.

The next plant we come upon is the Strawberry Hedgehog. This is a small cactus where many tubes grows out of one base. This one is blooming and has has some pretty cool flowers. It is amazing to me how something so full of stickers can be this pretty. Don't get your nose too close when trying to smell the flowers!

This next picture shows a Teddy Bear Cholla. Its real name is "Opuntia bigelovii". (I know, who ever came up with these real names, what were they thinking?) Don't let the name on this one fool you either. It is also called the jumping cholla because you can walk by it and it seems to jump out and latch on to you.

Once impaled to your arm, back, or what ever it is almost impossible to get rid of because it will then stick to what ever you grab it with. What really happens is that when you walk by one, the wind or breeze you create when walking by can be enough to knock one of the small branches off. This is why it is said that it jumps on you. I always take a metal dog comb with me when walking. This works really well when dislodging one of these cactus from your arm, leg, or whatever. You will see a few of these laying on the trail and you want to make sure you don't make the same mistake most people make, including yours truly, and kick it out of the way. It will impale itself into your boot. If you have sneakers on or some other light shoe you are really in trouble as it will go right through and find your toes, guaranteed.

This picture doesn't really show what I hoped probably because the photographer wasn't that good. When the Octillo's leaves start to turn they become a light orange/red. When the morning sun hits them they just glow. Anyway you can kind of see the color but the glow does not show up in this picture.

Well if you look close in the middle of this picture you will see the roof tops of houses. Yes, that means our walk is coming to it's end. I don't think I got as much exercise as normal stopping to take all of these pictures, but it was sure more fun. I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as I did. Thanks for coming with!

I will leave you with one last picture. To me, this Saguaro seems to be giving us the Peace sign. So from me to you.... God's Peace and Blessings......

"Life Is Good If You Let It".

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Great Fishing Adventure

I know I have a few friends that monitor this blog and don't read my son Randy's blog. I have purposely not written about our fishing trip because I knew Randy was going to and he does a much much better job of writing than I do. So....please go to:

The first blog has posted and he has more to come. Please read about our trip. I am sure you will enjoy the read.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Humorous Bathroom Stories

I wasn't going to write this because I was to embarassed, but I figured what the hey. I thought of a couple of humorous stories when I read a friends blog, "Whose Roll Is It Anyway" from (Steve at Random). So here goes.

The first one is on my favorite Uncle, Marvin. People who know me, know how jumpy I can be when startled. I think I inherited my jumpyness from Uncle Marvin but let me first say that I think he is worse than I. Anyway My Uncle, Aunt, and his mother-in-law were all traveling together to AZ. Of course being three, and all in the same family they shared a motel room. (Seperate beds of course.) One night my Uncle gets up some time in the wee hours of the morning because mother nature is calling. Not to disturb his wife and mother-in-law by turning on the light, he preceeds to work his way to bathroom by walking his hands along the wall. Little did he know that his mother-in-law was on her way back to bed doing the same thing. Well you can imagine the noise and screams when their hands met in the dark along the wall. I still laugh at this one until I think of what I might have done if it was me instead of him. Might have been an accident.

The next one is on me. When I was working, I traveled a lot. On one of my business trips I am getting ready early one morning. My hotel room is one of those where the sink and mirror is out side of the shower and toilet. When I finished my shower I closed the bathroom door so as not to fog up the mirror so I can complete my morning ritual. Now I have to explain that the door swings from the sink area and has been open all the time I have been in my room. When I closed the door I didn't notice, at first anyway, the full length mirror on the back of the door. I was digging something out of my shaving kit so my back was to the door when I pushed it shut. As I turned to face the sink I noticed movement to my left. I looked, and here is a naked guy standing there. I don't think I have to explain what happened. I checked out that morning and I wasn't notified that I had disturbed anyone with my scream. No police showed up either.

You may want to quit now cause this next one is worse. We all know, at least those of us who need to get up in the middle of the night, the way to the bathroom. There is no need to turn on any lights because you know the way. This time I am at home, it is again in the wee hours of the morning, and the urge has appeared once again. I get out of bed and work my way to the bathroom. In our house the throne has its own little room, no windows, so it is extremely dark. I walk into the room, turn 45 degrees and prepare to drop my drawers and sit. Low and behold, and unknown to me, the throne is busy. Out of the dark comes this perturbed voice that says rather loudly, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?. All I can say is that it is a good thing my heart is in good shape, because why I didn't have a heart attack is beyond me. My comment to my wonderful wife, who I didn't think was so wonderful at that moment, was, WHY DID YOU WAIT UNTIL NOW TO TELL ME YOU WERE HERE? Her comment back to me was DO YOU THINK YOU LIVE HERE ALONE? Anyway, once I got my heart back into my chest and regained my composure we both got a good laugh. In fact I remember coming back to bed and she was still giggling.

One last one. Myself and two friends had just completed a round of golf. After a beer at hole 19 we went to the bathroom before departing. As usual, me being a little slower, I was the last one out of the bathroom. I followed Bob one of my friends out of the bathroom and our other friend had his back turned to us, with his foot up on a bench, tieing his shoe. Bob took his hand and was going to swat him on the posterior and then at the last moment held back. Me, being not as nice, let go with a good slap across the old backside. When my friend stood up I realized why Bob had held back. I did not know the name of the guy that I hit and he didn't even give me time to explain what happened. In fact he left in such a hurry I didn't say much at all. The stranger didn't say anything either. In fact, I am not sure he had a voice. It was probably best anyway as both Bob and Roger, the guy who I thought I hit, were laughing so hard he wouldn't have believed me. Please know, in my defense, that this guy could have been Roger's twin, at least from the rear view. Bob said he saw what was happening also but didn't have time to stop me. I bet!

Well I think I have said enough.

"Life Is Good If You Let It"

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Idiosyncrasies of Time

WOW, here we are and June is half over with, and July is just around the corner. This also means that the year 2009 is half over. Where does Time go? When this came to mind the other day I started thinking of all the ways we use not only Time but the word “Time”.

“You have too much Time on your hands” – How many times have we all heard this one? It seems that when I hear this phrase is when I have been working on something very diligently and constructively, and someone comes along and does not appreciate the importance of the project and the skill one must have to complete it. My only thought is that they are just jealous and they would really like the Time to do it themselves.

“Time just ran out” – I have used this one a few times. Here again we make it sound like Time is the problem. We usually use this one when we failed to complete something that was supposed to have been done. Funny how it is Time’s problem and not the fact that maybe we just didn’t plan well and allow enough Time to complete. We also may not have started the project on Time.

“I didn’t have enough Time” – Here again someone didn’t give us enough Time so we could finish what we were doing. Please see above for the real problem here and the resolution for it.

“I wish I had more Time” – Why should Time be left out of all of the things that we would like more of. When we use this do we really think of what we are saying? There are only 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day. We get this each and every day. It is all there is to hand out. It is all we or anybody ever gets. What do we really mean by this? Here again I think the problem is poor Time management on our part.

“If I could just put Time in a bottle” – This reminds me of an old Jim Croce song, “Time In A Bottle”. Wouldn’t we all like to be able to do what he suggests in the song. For just a moment lets say you can have this power. What Time would you save? Keep in mind the bottle is only so big. When you come up with your answer, maybe you should just spend more Time doing that.

“You can do it in your spare Time” – Here again is another phrase in our wonderful English language that doesn’t make sense. When looking at all of the above phrases, is Time something we have extra of or spare? Why do we run out of it then? Why do we want to save it? Why don’t we just use our spare Time? I guess spare Time is just something else we don’t have enough of.

“Time heals all” – Here is a statement where we are giving Time the power to do something. Here again it isn’t really Time that is doing the healing. It is asking for forgiveness. It is saying your sorry. It is saying “I love you”. I think you are getting my drift here. Now as Time passes without doing these, is Time doing the healing?, or does the person’s hurt just become less severe. I don’t think this is the way to heal anything.

“You just have to make Time” – Now wouldn’t this be great! We would always have as much Time as we needed. Here again though I think the meaning behind this saying, is to schedule and plan better. As I said before we only have a certain amount of time and we need to make the best of it.

“My how Time flies” – Well no wonder we can’t find Time. It flew away. Now where did it go? I guess we will have to make Time.

“Time is money” – Wow, if this was really true and we could make Time, I guess we would have plenty of money. Course these is always the possibility that it would run out.

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and Time.”-Leo Tolstoy- What does he mean by this? I think we all can figure out patience but what does he mean by Time being a warrior. Maybe he is talking about how we use our Time, what we do with it. Or maybe he just wants us to think about it.

“Time is of the essence” – Now of all the one liners used here this is the first one that really makes sense. Time is very important! We just need to remember that. Once Time is gone it can’t be retrieved.

Well my Time has about ran out for this Blog. I will close with a quote from an unknown author. It goes along with the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day and it is up to us how we spend them. Think if this when you rise each morning.

“This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind….let it be something good.”

“Life Is Good If You Let It”

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm Back

WOW! What a whirlwind the past 1 1/2 months have been. I have not only been unable to blog, but I have not been able to follow the blogs that I love to read and follow. Let me explain. About the middle of May my Dad was taken seriously ill with a perforated colon. I cannot describe the thoughts and feelings as I see the ambulance transport him to the hospital with my Mom and Dad inside. Then listening to the surgeon tell you that surgery is the only chance to save your Dad but his chances are not good. His exact words were, "We will do our best to save him, but I must tell you that your Dad is dying."

The once beautiful sunny day, quickly became one of those dreaded days you know will come, but that you are never ready for. Then being the only family here, there were all the phone calls to make while trying to keep all of your emotions in check. I will admit it, I was a wreck! The picture to the left is my Mom and Dad taken last year. To look at this picture and think back to him laying in the hospital is still hard.

I suppose I should cut to the chase and say that he is now home and doing very well. While it was touch and go for about a week after surgery he amazed everyone at the hospital that attended to him. His fight to live overwhelmed all of those other factors trying to bring him down. He was truly amazing!

My family and I also know that another important factor was prayer. There were people all across the states that were praying for him. I know that there were times I was praying that I really did feel other prayers being lifted up for him. It is times like this that you can really feel the presence of God.

After a months stay in the hospital and rehab he came home a couple of weeks ago. He is using a walker but does take short trips from the chair to the kitchen without it. He has a nurse that comes by twice a week and a physical therapist that comes 3 times a week. This not only helps Dad but kind of gives Mom a break also.

This summer Brenda and I have decided to stay here in AZ and help my Mom take care of him. Now as I assist my Mom in being caregiver it is really true that we eventually come full circle. Mom and Dad took care of me for 18 + years, so now it is my turn. It is really great to see him make the progress that he is making.

This will also be the first summer that we have spent in AZ. It will be fun to experience the Monsoons. I am also enjoying the quiet. When you live in a place where a lot of people vacate in the summer it really gets quiet from what you are used to. I have also quit some of my extra curricular activities. I basically was too busy and needed to slow down a little. Now I have to get used to being relaxed so I can quit feeling guilty when I am not out busy doing something.

This just reminded me of something that I do have to do so I must go. I also know there are some followers of this blog that were praying for my Dad. My family really thanks you for all of the prayers you offered. God Bless you all!

"Life Is Good If You Let It."