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Letters to Cari, #3 August 25, 2014….

Your only 9 years old and you have done many things to make me very happy and very proud.  As you read these letters you will find they aren’t really in a natural progression, more so as they come to mind.  But I will try to identify as best I can when they happened.  Smiling and trust me, many of our shared moments come to mind open. 

This particular incident occurred at the Christmas Pageant during your 3rd grade year.  Your mom and dad told us you had a part in the pageant but didn’t go into specific detail. 

As normal we (your grandma and I) are quite early, but that did get us good parking. And because of it we got to participate in many of the Christmas activities going on.  In particular you sat and visited with me as I sipped the hot chocolate you had gotten me.  We chatted about numerous things none of which changed the world but I just enjoyed that moment.  By the way you were dressed to the “nines” and looked as cute as you could be (as the below picture attests).

 

3rd Grade Christmas Show
3rd Grade Christmas Show

  

At long last we were advised it was time to move into the cafeteria because the show was about to begin.  Much to your Grandma’s and my great astonishment as we walked into the cafeteria we found we had stepped into a full house.  There must have been 300 or 400 people crammed to the space, everyone was jockeying for the best possible place to take pictures of their beloved children.  Your grandma and I were trying as well, but we ended up be shoved into the corner far away from where you were performing.  The program was simple enough that allowed full participation from your choir.  

Of course I don’t remember the entire program, I do remember the trash can drums, and thinking that was pretty cool.  Then your group came up on stage.  If memory serves you were in the 2nd row, about 5 or 6 right to left across the stage, and I know your mom or dad will be able to tell me exactly where you stood.  Your group performed a couple of songs and I remember watching you from the back 40 of the cafeteria and thinking she is really into it tonight.  

After either the 2nd or third song there as a shift in the performers on the stage. You came down from your perch and took a position center stage before the microphone and waited as appropriate.  When the music again started you began reading your part from the script you before you on the music stand.  I was astonished by how clearly you read your part, the clarity of your voice, how you announced each word correctly, and with the changes in inflection of your voice as you read.  It was amazing to see such a young lady with so much poise. 

I remember thinking when I was your age I could barely say my own name without sounding even more childish than I was.  I also remember how surprised I was with your ease in front of all those cameras, the flash of pictures being taken, and how all the movement around you did phase you at all.  It was like watching a miniature anchorperson going thru the news. This picture shows you looking at the paper on the music stand, but as you “performed” you would look up from your page and make eye contact, a feat I didn’t feel comfortable doing until I was well into my 20’s.  Yet it appeared so normal for you. 

You are extremely photogenic, and it showed in how presented yourself before that large crowd.  Smiling I can almost see an actress in the making, the smiling a leading lady, or the anchor of the evening news. 

Cari, I had seen you perform a few times before this event, and while your were a good and active participate, you seemed to hold back a little. This time you were all in and  your performance was outstanding.  It was so much fun to watch, and even more fun to brag about you later.  Take care, Love, Grandpa 

Folks, as always if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to send them to me.  Take care, Bill  

 
 

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Letters to Cari #2 August 20, 2014

Today is your 2nd day of school.  Your 2nd full day as a 4th grader, I only say this to give you a point of reference when you read this.  Most likely I am long gone, and you have matured a quite a bit, this is just my way of staying a part of your life.

Today I am going to talk a bit about our relationship, and one of the key components of our relationship.  That being trust.  Below is a picture of you and me taking a walk.  It was at a football game. a Hudson High Homecoming.  The red tee-shirt you have is a Hudson High Cougar tee-shirt I believe.  Your mom at the time was the coach of the cheer leaders, and your dad was actively involved in the Home Coming program that would take place at half time.  Your grandmother and I had been invited to come to the game and sit with you as your mom and did their thing.

Grandpa and Cari

Your grandmother took this picture as we began our walk.

At the time this photo was taken you were getting bored, and I invited you for a walk, it was before my disease had taken full force, and I wasn’t on oxygen at the time.  But that is immaterial, we got up from our seats, and began our walk. I reached down, you reached up, and we held hands, you showed your trust in me, you knew I had your best interest in my heart, and you knew I wouldn’t let anything bad happen.  Of course you didn’t say any of this, you were a little over 3 years old at the time, and your communications skills weren’t nearly as refined as they are today.  But this simple act of holding my hand exhibited so much trust.  We walked in the middle of the track, I was about a ¼ step in front, just enough to offer a buffer of protection, as we sundered around the track.  To my mind this was the 1st time you truly showed you trusted me.  You let me lead you, and we kinda chatted, I don’t have any recall of what we said, but I am sure you pointed out things that interested you, and I am sure I pointed out things that interested me.  That day we ended up walking one half way around the track.  They were setting up for the half time show so we decided to turn around the way we came, we stopped in the bouncy room, and then took our seats for the game.

This moment of trust, was the start.  In the coming weeks, months and years, we would  countless times of exhibiting trust towards each other.  Sometimes it manifested itself when we would play “sit on me Grandpa.”  Where you knew I would indeed sit on you, but that I wouldn’t put my entire weight on you.  You would giggle like mad, screaming joyfully “sit on me” “sit on me” “sit on me” as I squished you.  But never were you totally squished.  Else you would be a pancake now.  In other times it manifested itself in the pool, as we played countless games, and I took part it either dunking you or throwing you.  It also showed itself when you were learning to jump into the pool.

As children we are given the greatest gift in the world we trust everyone unconditionally.  We never think anyone or anything will harm us, our trust is so complete.  But as we age, even as children, our trust begins to faultier, we don’t trust that dog down the street as much, we don’t believe that kid is going to be kind, that adult doesn’t quite seem right.

Today you’re 9 years old, you are beginning to develop your own sense of trust, and you’re looking at things with your own eyes, and making your own decisions.   Your mind is setting up the guidelines by which you will soon be making the rules by which you will live the rest of your life.  This is an important time for you.  You are blessed with 2 wonderful parents that are doing everything in their power to ensure you have a good foundation by which you establish those rules.   You have good grandparents that all are trying to help influence you, you have a wide range of cousins helping, and you have your church and the influence it provide.  You have all the tools before you.

As you have trusted me in our childish games, and our quiet times of softly spoken conversations in my office.  I am trusting you to continue to make the good decisions, I am trusting you to grow and be the good person you’re heading towards being.   Cari, again trust me, you will make mistakes, that is a given.  Some mistakes will seem unbearable, others will seem very trivial, and still other times you will be greatly confused by your mistakes.  But Cari, they are all opportunities to learn and grow.

Cari, the growing process never stops.  I am 64 as I write this, and I am learning each day, and yes sweet granddaughter I make mistake, some big some small, and I learn from them just as you will.

Love Grandpa.

Folks as always if you have any thoughts, comments, concerns or questions please feel free to ask.  Take care, Bill

 
16 Comments

Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Letters to Cari, Treasure Box Stories

 

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A Letter to Cari, July 2014….

Hi Sweetie, I have known you for just over 9 years and 2 months. I met you when you were about an hour old, and held you when you a little over 24 hours old.  You captured my heart the moment we met.  Cari you have been magically special to me since that very 1st day.  I am sure by the time you read this I will have reached the end of retirement, and probably by a good bit.  But I wanted to spend some time with you today recalling and recollecting. 

You are my only grandchild, and because of that I have done everything in my power to help spoil you, and I don’t care who knows.  Your grand mom and I have showered you with gifts and treats.  But don’t let your mom kid you, we did the same thing to your mother as she grew up.  She was just as much a princess at 9 as you are at 9.  But the similarities don’t end there. Your mom as a blond until she was 10 or 11, she enjoyed reading, she was tall for her age group, sports were something she did cause she was told she had to participate (much like you are told) she was good in school, but had to be pushed at some subjects just like you, she had a great enjoyment for music, and you seem to have inherited that as well, and heck even a tiny bit of me has rubbed off because you seem to like the “blues” when we are alone in the car listening to the radio.  Your mom and I also shared some tastes in music for years, but hers likes changed as she grew, while mine stayed rooted.  She, like you she was a beautiful little girl.  And Cari at 9 you indeed a beautiful little lady, dressed up or dressed down, your beauty can’t be taken from you.

I have found you to be much more respectful of my illness than I anticipated.  You have grown up seeing me ill, using oxygen, and being limited in how far I could go with my oxygen line.  You have grown up seeing the cannula in my nose and this wasn’t a reason for not giving me a kiss on the cheek.  You acceptance of my health issues will be of significance to you as you age.   The kindness and consideration you automatically displayed to me will be of great comfort to many folks during your lifetime.  Never stop caring for others Cari.

Since our earliest times we have played well together for the most part.  “Sit on me Grandpa” has always been one of my favorites.  Smiling we have played WII bowling numerous times and you have consistently kicked my butt, LOL I think you cheat at “go fish,” but I can’t prove it and you always win.  And the 1st time you did the “I Got Yahtzee” dance about made me pee my pants.  It was the cutest thing I had ever seen, but I did grow tired of it by the 3rd time that game. LOL LOL. Because your mom was also playing and getting her butt kicked also, she didn’t have a good time, and we both teased her.  You’re like me, my family, and your mom, you don’t seem to like to lose, and can be quite gleeful when you win.  Heck you might even rub it in a bit more than necessary.  But I can handle it, just be aware your mom is extremely competitive and will enjoy beating you a card and board games.  Then there is the XBOX360, and your love of the racing games, that just tickles me to death.  Nobody wanted to play my racing games until you showed up, and I love the racing games.  We have sat in my office for hours play Sega Racing, and now we are moving on to the more sophisticated racing games that use lifelike cars, on genuine racetracks from around the world.  I really enjoyed that. Smiling, we have had a ton of fun together.  We spent hours laying together in my and grand mom’s bed watching movie after move, or in the office, watching the Disney Channel until I thought my head was going to explode.  I remember the countless times you sat patiently waiting for me to finish up something on the computer before we began play.  I don’t ever remember you interrupting me to ask if I was finished, you always showed every bit of your patience.  Cari I have added a picture of us playing Wii when you were 7.

Playing Wii

 

Do you realize that it is because of you that your grand mom and I bought this home? It had to have a swimming pool, a place for our grand baby to play, to laugh, scream, jump, giggle, and have water fights, dunking, splash battles and learning to swim.  We knew you were coming long before you got here.  And we made sure that our home would be a place you always felt welcome, and knew you could always rest your head. 

Cari there is so much I haven’t even addressed, for instance your performances at dance recitals, or taking part in the Christmas pageant or your performances at school choir events.  We haven’t talked about going to the movies, or when I took you and your Mom and Dad up to Kentucky to introduce you to your great-grandmother, and your great uncles and aunt. Or how you are growing up in a digital world and adapting so well. I have a ton more to say, probably a lot you probably don’t even remember.  But I will share my memories with you so you can have mine.  This will be part of my gift to you.

Love, Grandpa.

Folks, as you know when I am not writing about my fight with COPD I write stories for my granddaughter.  It is my way of being here for her at the end of my retirement.   95 percent of the stories to date have been about me, my family, my adventures, my life, my daughter, and on and on, which will be great for Cari to learn about me, and I will continue to write those stories.  But I have decided, to write specific letters to Cari, where I will reflect on events that happened between Cari and I. 

As always if you have any questions, concerns or issues please feel free to contact me. Take care and have a good day.  Bill

 
34 Comments

Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Letters to Cari, Ramblings

 

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A Golfing adventure…. A Treasure Box Tale…

For anyone who has read a word about me, you know golf is one of my lifetime favorite activities.  I have spoken about it in countless posts, I have shared stories about my favorite 4some, and I have talked about the DIVES I have stayed in just to play.  I have admitted to sucking at golf, and being lucky at golf.  I have brag about this, that, and the other about golf, and have claimed that I have never not enjoyed a round of golf.  But one of the best memories of golf came from the time I played with Allison, the 1st time she ever played golf on a real course using real everything.  Today I will share that story.

But before I go any further I need to tell Cari, no matter why her mom says, her mom is one of the most competitive people I have ever encountered in my life.  She plays Yahtzee with the same go for the neck, killer attitude you do, she play’s Monopoly like she is a slum lord, and her days playing field hockey and Lacrosse, well, to say “she took no prisoners” is a vast understatement.   But and this is a very big butt, she was a true sports person, she always played clean and with respect.  Sure she would try to decapitate her opponent, but she did so with a smile, and at the end of the game she was the 1st to shake hands and congratulate her opponent. Win or Lose, but like me she has always enjoyed winning more.

For as anal as I am you would think that I would have written down the date this event took place, I do know where it took place, I know the week it took place, I just don’t know the year it took place.  The location was Phoenix, Arizona. The time frame; it was the week between Christmas and New Year; we were in Phoenix because Steph had to either attend a conference or make a presentation at a Conference.  I believe we flew out to Phoenix on the 26th of Dec and returned either the 1st or 2nd of January.  I know that Steph was only involved in her work related event for 2 or 3 days at the most.  Because the trip was filled with day trips to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Flagstaff, Scottsdale, and we had a ton of fun and I am extremely happy that the car had unlimited mileage.  Gosh here I go again 4 hundred words of setup.

All smiles the Round is just beginning

All smiles the Round is just beginning

 

This round of golf was only 1 of 2 times we played golf together, and it was the 1st time.  I want to believe that it was a Tuesday because the golf course was not crowded, which would allow Allison to spray the ball all over the place, and there wouldn’t be anyone behind us bitching about our slow play. 

We were joined on the 1st tee by a single; I explained that it was Allison’s 1st round of golf on something other than a putt putt course, and that I expected the round to be relatively slow.  He introduced himself and said he would rather play a slow round with folks than a quick round by himself.  Having played as a single before, I knew the feeling.  It turns out the guy was slightly better than me, and quite cordial.  If offered advice when asked, and didn’t step on my toes at all during the round. He kept an eye on the ball flight and had an eye almost as good as mine.  Because of this Allison only lost 2 or 3 balls the entire round.  Of course this doesn’t count the balls in the water, we could all see the splash then, and for a beginner this was a MAJOR victory.  And the more she played that day the better she got.  She was upbeat, the picture shows us at the 1st tee, she maintained that smile the entire round.  And like a true golfer she cussed (as well as someone not used to cussing at that age could) a bit when she screwed up, I was so proud of her. She truly nailed a few shots, enough so I thought if she ever gets even half way serious about this game, she will kick my butt.  It was clear she was having a good time, and we chatted the entire time about a variety of things not all golf related.  

The Pièce de résistance came on the 18th and final hole of the round.  Allison was giddy and getting tired, she had found out that 5 hours in the Arizona sun (even if it is a dry heat) will wear your ass out. Still smiling, still joking, still having a good time, she knew this was the final hole for the round. She didn’t many any wild proclamations, she wasn’t bragging, she was looking forward to that cold soda that was only 400 yards away.  Allison tee’d up the ball for her final drive of the day.  Driving hadn’t been her strong suit, (hell, get in a car with her and you can see it still isn’t her strong suit).  But she cracked her best drive of the day, smack down the middle of the fairway, and long.  Lord the girl was an athlete, and now she was smug because she out drove me.  My second shot was fair, short of the green, but close enough that I was happy.  Allison’s 2nd shot was as ugly a shot as you can imagine, rolling maybe 30 yards dead left, her ball came to rest near the trunk of a small bush like vegetation, but she had room to take a stance, and she again hit the crap out of the ball, her third shot hitting short of the green but with plenty of top spin the ball rolled up and to the very back edge of the green at least 45 or so feet from the flag.  I dumped my 3rd shot, and my 4th was about 10 feet from the flag.  I walked over to Allison gave her a kiss for getting on the green, and helped her line up her totally impossible putt. This was a 45 + foot putt, downhill all the way with at least 3 major breaks before reaching the cup. We discussed it for about 15 seconds or so, and she lined it up. My only real advice was DON’T HIT IT TO HARD! Allison struck the ball like a pro, I knew immediately that the ball had the right pace, and it was amazing to watch.  You could have put any PGA player in that position, and he would have had a 1 in a 1000 chance of making that putt.  OK OK maybe 1 in a 500 chance.  But this was Allison’s 1st round of golf; she barely knew which end of the putter to hit the ball with.  She hit the 1st break point perfectly, and was cruising towards the 2nd break point still on track and still at perfect speed, her ball made the next break, and was destined for the hole, it just had to maintain its speed, and damn if it didn’t, that ball dropped dead in the center of the cup.  Allison who had been walking kinda behind the ball, immediately dropped her putter, and when into wawa wawa wawa chicken dance, giggling, laughing, prancing all over the place.  The guy who had been playing with us all day just turned to me and said “I can see who the golfer is in your family,” In a laughing tone, walked over and shook Allison’s hand and congratulated her, then sunk his 15 birdie putt.  I on the other had 2 putted for a double bogey.  Yes we knew who the golfer was in the Hamilton family. 

Below is the scorecard from that round of golf, it’s one of a dozen or so scorecards I cherish, but none more.  I am 64 years old and during the course of my life I have played over 1200 rounds of golf, of all of those rounds this was by far and away my favorite.  Allison’s par has the box around it, and I don’t remember for even a second why certain holes have x’s below them.

Scorecared

 

As always if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to share or ask them.  Take care, Bill

 

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More about me than you would ever want to know….. A Grandpa Tale

Dear Readers, if this is the very 1st time you have ever read one of my posts, I am truly sorry to subject you to the following, I would suggest you look into the archives to find something interesting, this will just bore you to tears.  If you are someone who has followed me for a bit, you know I write a lot of stories for my granddaughter, to create memories of me for when my end of retirement comes.

For those of us old enough to remember AOL 1.0, that’s when I began my online experience.  It has been a wonderful experience to be sure, and over the years I have met and become cyber and real time buddies to a ton of folks. One of the ways folks learned about each other over the years where to send out questionnaires.  These questionnaires provided the answers to many commonly asked questions.  To be sure the online community has changed significantly since I was 1st online.  Sadly many of the changes have not been for the good.  But before I get way off topic, hardly a month would go by without a friend or chat room buddy or joke buddy wouldn’t be sending a questionnaire.  I think I was one of the rare ones, because every time I got the questionnaire, I completed it and sent it on. At one point I was only sending it back to the person who sent it, and my closer buddies (if the questions were significantly different).  What I have decided to do is take one of those questionnaires (from the wayback machine) and answer it again for my granddaughter only this time I will each question two ways, or maybe three. What the answer is now, what it would have been 10 yrs, and what it would be 20 years ago.  As you read you will find that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  The questions had definitive answers that the years don’t change.  So I am sorry now if that disappoints you. 

Already I have changed the ground rules I am using 2 different questionnaires and will be applying the answer as appropriate.  This 1st questionnaire is from the late 90’s early 00’s.  Just so the record is straight, this is being done on Wednesday July 2, 2014.

This is for your entire Life!    X=Yes  O=No

(X)       Gone on a blind date – several times but all prior to 1973 — Makes me feel old from the very beginning

(X)       Skipped school – yes, but not since 1980 (in 1980 I skipped college classes).  Yes I am dating myself lost count of the classes I skipped a long time ago.

(O)      Watched someone die – and I am thankful I haven’t.  

(X)       Been to Canada – the 1st time was in the mid 1990’s          

(X)       Been to Mexico – the 1st time while in Radioman “A” school 1969, have been to several Mexican ports of call since 2006, visits on Cruise Ships ports of call.         

(X)       Been to Florida – Move to Florida 2002 – had been here dozens of times prior to moving here.            

(X)       Been on a plane – My very 1st flight was when I left Louisville to go to bootcamp in April 1969            

(X)       Been lost – more times than I will admit                      

(X)       Been on the opposite side of the country – many times both during the service and as a civilian both working and visiting          

(X)       Gone to Washington DC – lived and worked in the DC area for almost 30 yrs                         

(X)       Swam in the ocean – yes and have been sunburnt on both coasts

(X)       Cried yourself to sleep – I believe we all have or will have at some point  

(X)       Played cops and robbers and I played cowboys and Indians

(X)       Recently colored with crayons – when I originally answered these questions the answer was no but having Cari in my life I can change this to a Yes

(X)       Sang Karaoke – at Joe’s in San Antonio, TX 1998 – it wasn’t a pretty sight   

(X)       Paid for a meal with coins only? – Christmas 1976 for Steph onboard the USS Independence – one of the best meals we ever shared

(X)       Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? – and said many things I wish I could take back

(X)       Made prank phone calls – I was making crank calls before there were spam calls     

(X)       Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose – it wasn’t a pretty sight  

(X)       Caught a snowflake on your tongue – but this was before I moved to Florida   

(O)      Danced in the rain – maybe this is something I need to do while I still have a chance.        

(X)       Written a letter to Santa Claus – yes and I will and have encouraged any child that may have thought I was him to do so 

(X)       Been kissed under the mistletoe – yes but would have enjoyed more opportunities

(X)       Watched the sunrise with someone [and the sunset too.] – Yes  

(X)       Blown bubbles – Yes Cari and I have done so out on the Lanai

(X)       gone ice-skating – yes it was in the early 70’s and my butt is still sore  

(X)       Been skinny dipping outdoors – I have a swimming pool in a private backyard, and while I may look like I am a whale, I look like a whale enjoying himself

Here is the second set of questions, clearly the going back 10 the 20 years isn’t working out, but as appropriate I will share that information.  Now on to a game of 20 or more questions;

 

1. Any nickname? – yes “Ham” has been my nickname for over 45 years, but I have also been called “Red” at various times until I was 40, and before I even got out of elementary school (3rd grade) I was called Camelskin  

2. Mother’s Name? – Ila   

3. Favorite Beverage?

non-alcohol – Ice tea unsweetened no lemon, Coke, lemonade (pink) and the most important of all Water – Coke and lemonade thru my high school years, Coffee during my Navy career – Water didn’t become truly important until I started coming to Florida on a regular basis, now it is my 1st drink of choice

alcoholic – Knob Creek Bourbon on the rocks – Greygoose on the rocks – a good Bloody Mary (do not use greygoose), and Corina for my beer.  Being honest my choice in alcohol have changed as I have aged, my normal go to Bourbon is Jim Beam and has been for 25 years. I didn’t discover good Vodka until later in life, so whenever I had a bloody Mary it was always with well vodka. 

LMAO as I am typing this, I am trying like the devil to figure why Cari would ever want or need to know some of this stuff. 

4. Body Piercing – None except for those made during surgery

5. Tattoo – No, but I have scars, and those have much better stories than tattoos.  Cari to my knowledge your mom has 2, by the time you read this she may have 3 or 4 for all I know, ask her, and please don’t get any, well maybe one.  

6. How much do you love your job?—before I retired I was quite fortunate, I almost loved my job.  I had a 39 year career working for the Federal Govt, I was extremely fortunate to have worked on some very interesting projects, that were of significant importance, and I may have already spoke of those in a different post.  But my last four years of my career was my favorite because I worked directly with my customers, that part, well love is too strong a word, but I really enjoyed my job.  I am now retired and I enjoy this as much as I enjoyed working.

7. Birthplace – Baltimore Maryland

8. Favorite vacation spot – Australia, we visited there for 2 weeks in November 2001, next favorite Hawaii in 1999, next favorite Disney Cruise 2013, before all of these and when I was Cari’s age we always vacationed at the Grandparents place.

9. Ever been to Africa? – Yes during the Navy years, most likely it was 1970.

10. Ever eaten just cookies for dinner? Yes, I bet it would be difficult to find someone who hasn’t especially when you add the LARGE glass of milk

11. Ever been on TV? – yes evening news December 21, 1999 in London England about terrorism and the Y2K fears, CBS interviewed us as we departed a double decker bus. I stood in the background looking like a dork while Stephanie talked.

12. Ever steal traffic signs? No, and Cari I suggest you don’t either that is extremely dangerous.

13. Have you ever been in a car accident? YES – Christmas night 1967, partiers ran a red light and struck the car I was driving. Then 6 months later I was a passenger in a vehicle where the driver lost control and we struck a telephone pole.  I was in the back seat, and the 3 friends in the front were all seriously injured.

14. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? – I have driven both, owned both enjoyed them both, 1st car was 61 Buick La Salle, 2nd 60 Chevy Corvair Spyder, 3rd was a 1960 Chevy Impala Convertible (my 2nd favorite car) and I still remember the 16 other cars I have owned during my lifetime.

15. Favorite Number – 55 that was my jersey number when I played JV Football

16. Favorite Holiday – Thanksgiving, always has been and I have written more than 1 post about the meal.

17. Favorite day of the week? Sunday

18. How do you relax – read or play video games, I used to golf and bowl but health issues has taken that off the table, now my favorite hobby my passion has become this blog. Cari hobbies are extremely important.  As a person you must be rounded and grounded.  All work and no play will not allow you to be rounded and grounded.

19. How do you see yourself in 10 year? hopefully alive, and doing things that give me some level of pleasures. Answered in 2007, hopefully it’s still a good answer. We will see.

20. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV – UofL Basketball or Football, have been a U of L fan forever and 2 days.  Now they will have an opportunity to kick some UVA butt on a regular basis. (For daughter Allison and son-in-law Stu)

21. How do I vent anger – internal explosion – Cari this isn’t the best way to do this. You will find plenty of reasons to be angry over the years, and you will find that explosions is not the right response.  Be careful in the one you choose.

22. What am I most afraid of – Not being able to take care of myself.

23. What is my favorite flower – Roses, Mom grew them, and I find the so very appealing to the eye.  Always have been.  Though Steph had a wonderful garden in Virginia that didn’t include roses. 

Okay folks that is more than enough information about me.  Remember this is for Cari, I may come back to it and refine it or update as I feel necessary.  Though I doubt if I ever publish it again.

As always if you have any questions comments or concerns please feel free to ask. My answers will be as honest as I can be. Take care, Bill

 

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Handprints

Not long ago Chatter Master wrote a blog titled “Is Will Be What Was” http://bikecolleenbrown.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/is-will-be-what-was/ which inspired me if of nothing else to draw Cari’s (my granddaughter’s) hand superimposed over mine.   If you go to Chatter’s post, you will inspired as well, maybe not to do the handprint thing, but inspired none the less.  Her perspective is a delightfully written little narrative that speaks to generations before and after, now and then and the joys and wonderment that come with it. Something, on even my best of days I couldn’t hope to replicate and this isn’t my intent. 

But I wanted to do something with that visual.  The impact of one generation laid over another.  Hands 2014Here at the Hamilton home we have a “brag wall”.  It is a wall that serves no other purpose that to display family photos. LOL the brag wall is located out of the normal public viewing area of our home, so are friends are not subjected to this on a constant basis. Some of the pictures reflect special moments, but most are of the family at various stages of our lives.  Our wall has pictures that span over almost 40 years of the Bill, Steph and Allison show. But also some of the displayed photos are actually even older because they show me as a child, that alone makes some of these photos 60 + years old, and without doing an inventory I suspect there are pictures there or should be there of our parents with their parents, so now I guess I should say some of the pictures reach back almost 100 years.  If they aren’t on the wall they will be.  

Right at this moment the “brag” wall has only 1 picture on it. That picture was taken last year when we took Allison’s family, on the Disney cruise.  The other pictures were taken down when we had the interior of the house painted, and we were too lazy to put them back up.  One of my missions between now and the end of retirement will be to get the “brag wall” back to its old self.   I want it to be a place that Cari can drag her mom and ask who was this, or who was that, or why do you look so goofy mom.  Because I am sure Allison will have a story or two to share, and if she doesn’t then she can drag Steph into the conversation, between them they can look, smile, giggle, or maybe cry.  Who knows? And then they can explain the picture together while they continue to laugh and giggle.  

The “brag wall” will be part of the legacy I leave behind when the end of retirement comes.  And while she doesn’t know it yet, Allison will be a big player in helping re-establish the wall. The handprints picture will be framed and a place set aside for it in the wall.  Shadow box photos of Cari and Allison (both taken at the approximate same age) which look almost identical will have a special place. The wall will claim its former glory. 

Many of you know I write the bulk of my posts for my daughter and granddaughter’s future enjoyment.  I write a lot about me as a kid, my adventures, my miss adventures, about things that were important (or seemed so at the time), or things not so important, by anyone’s measure. Most of my life history is wrapped up in these words.  These stories will be part of the legacy I will leave behind.  When other children are talking about their grandparents Cari will have her grandmother and these stories to share as she sees fit. 

The stories I write about Allison are a way of reverse revenge.  Cari will see what kinda of crap her mother tried to get away with, and either develop a different game plan or search for and find new and unique ways to get over on her mom and dad.  That is a child main purpose in life, to get over on the parents and grandparents.  LOL heck it is a war of wills whenever Cari comes to visit.  She has her agenda, and being a guy (even a grandfather) I for the life of me can never figure out the female’s plan.  But I will admit that I generally lose the war of wills, and in doing so love every minute of it. 

Folks, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to take some of your time. I do appreciate it greatly.  If you have any question or comments please feel free to ask. Take care, Bill

 
 

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Our First Halloween…. A Treasure Box Story

Halloween has been a special holiday for kids and adults alike.  In both cases it is celebrated in costume and over indulgence. This is a Halloween story about kids, in particular my daughter Allison’s first where she was going to be the one going to the door, ringing the bell, and saying “Trick or Treat.”  She knew those words were the key, and she truly understood the concept of tons of candy. This was also the first year that Allison understood the concept of a costume, and voiced a significant rant in what she wanted to be. Smiling, she chose to be a cowboy, not a cowgirl, but a cowboy.    In the past she had always gone as a princess, or lady bug, (actually that sums up her past Halloween experiences) and the reality was Allison didn’t really have a say. Steph and I had chosen what she was going to be, and Allison didn’t argue, smiling, she really didn’t understand the concept.  Her prior experience with Halloween was to put on something funny (and most likely she didn’t realize it was funny)  and take a walk collecting stuff her parents ate. Also it was just a walk around the block with Mom or Dad or both, at every open door hold out her bag, maybe mumble something, and an adult would put candy in the bag.  A kid’s concept of heaven I am sure.  I think preschool was a real boost to her Halloween educational process.

For the kids the Halloween costume is something they either painstakingly pick out and create or have their parents do all the work, by either going to the store buying the costume and making the necessary adjustments or by creating something from the tons of cloths and stuff around the house.  Allison is pictured here in her cowboy costume, barely able to contain herself, and about 45 minutes after we got her dressed and the makeup refined to something that Allison could/would tolerate.

Revised Makeup LOL

Revised Makeup LOL 

 Smiling, the effort we put ourselves thru for our lovely children. 

This is round two for the makeup.  Being honest this is 30 years ago Allison was probably 4 or 5. Not the sweet looking cowpoke she looks like in the picture. And you can’t even see the gunbelt she had on.  We couldn’t get a shot of her in the original pre-toned down cowboy make-up, because Allison wasn’t having it. During the first application of makeup, Steph had her more made up as a rough and tumble kinda cowboy, the beard was fuller and not a goatee, the mustache deeper, the eyebrows more arched and much darker. And I think there may have been a scar or two.  I know Steph put a ton of effort into this costume, and even more time and energy putting that makeup on Allison.  

When I carried her to the bathroom, and Steph and I 1st showed Allison her appearance, she totally freaked out, she when totally bonkers, screaming, crying, trying to get out of my hands, looking in the mirror moaning, wanting to know WHO’S THAT, screaming that’s not me. Allison was having nothing to do with the Cowboy she saw in the mirror and she was PISSED because her DAD was smiling and so proud and lovingly at the cowboy.  It was truly like a small thermo nuclear device had gone off in the bathroom.  It took 20 minutes to remove the original makeup and get her calm enough to try again.  If you look closely at the picture, you can kinda tell she is still not comfortable.  But the power of persuasion is amazing.  We told Allison no makeup, no trick or treating.  That was the final hurdle we needed to get over and it worked.  It also helped significantly when everyone we encountered told Allison she looked like a great Cowboy.

I will be going thru the photo albums, and picking out single pictures to share a “Treasure Box” story.  Some will be purely for Cari’s entertainment; others will be for my entertainment.  But no matter when you see them I hope you’re entertained.

As always if you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to ask.  Take care Bill

 

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Fifty years of Searching…

On Sunday Easter April 20, 2014, I reaffirmed my faith in God, and that his son Jesus died for me, so I would be forgiven for my sins and poor choices.  It wasn’t an easy choice, yet it was very easy.  It only took me 50 years to get to this point.

I was born on October 25, 1949, the 1st child and son of William and Ila Hamilton. I was the 1st of 5 boys and one girl.  Warren, my third brother died of what was termed “crib death” before he had a chance.

As a child I remember the “church” being a very important part of our growing family, I remember having cloths that I only wore on Sundays for church.  I remember before Easter each year we kids would always get a new outfit for Easter Sunday service.  I remember going en mass to church each Sunday.  I also remember going to Sunday school, I remember going to Sunday evening services, and I remember going to Wednesday evening services.  Also if there were a youth sponsored event, you can count on the Hamilton’s kids being there. If the church had a gathering the family attended in mass, and there were no excuses.

This practice of church attendance started before I had memories of such things.  But I know I was a regular in Church in: Baltimore MD, Easton MD, Reynoldsville PA, Norwalk CT, York PA, Dover PA, Shelbyville KY, and of course Grandpa’s in Waynesburg KY.  I was baptized into the Southern Baptist Church, in a creek not far from the Pilot Baptist Church (before my 10th birthday).

The Southern Baptist Church was the only religious organization I was even remotely aware of until I was 15 years old or so.  Going to a Sunday church service was Hell on earth.  The preacher stood at the pulpit and screamed and pointed his finger at you and told you all the reasons you were going to hell, his voice carried for miles, his rant was always the same. Each Sunday he picked out your sin and screamed at you until he was blue in the face.  The message was always the same, you are going to hell, and you’re going for this reason or that, and the only way you could get to heaven was through the church, and it was a message about being at and in the church so your fellow brothers and sisters could see you for the Christian you were, that without the protection and guidance of the church you were on a direct course to hell.  But by attending church at each opportunity you would be graced with access to God and Heaven.  The message when on still ranting that while Jesus may have died for our sins, he only did so for those that came to church to prove they were worthy.  This was the message that I received from every service until I was about 14.  To this day I don’t ever remember hearing a preacher speak (during this phase of my life) in a quiet tone, speaking of God’s love and the joy one receives from that love.  The pulpit was a place where anger and wrath, a place where condemnation was spewed.  At this point in my life I was tired of the church, tired of hearing what an evil person I was, and tired of the formula for being saved.  But I couldn’t do anything about it because it was a family event.  Dad taught Sunday School (or so I have been told). Being at church was a requirement not an act of Joy.

But it all came to a stop when we moved to Louisville KY.  I do remember the 1st couple of months of going in mass, but the Church wasn’t convenient to our home, and soon as a family we stopped attending.  I am sure there were other factors involved, but for me to even speculate would be pure fiction on my part.  But I remember the great relief I felt, no more screaming, no more blame, no more belittling, that was a pure Joy.  In my mind I knew there had to be a gentler God, that Jesus was a kind soul that lifted your spirit. But I thanked God for putting the family in a position were going to Church was not convenient.

Our house in Louisville was located about 150 yards from active railroad tracks.  For the next 2 years, whenever I needed alone time I would go walk the tracks. During these walks I would get my head straight, I would sort out what I needed to sort, and I would pray.  I prayed for family and friends, I prayed for good results on upcoming tests (those never came thru until I learned to study), having recently being quite ill prayed that didn’t happen again anytime soon (that one was answered), and I just spoke to God and Jesus, addressing each or both depending on the conversation.   Sometimes these conversations were in my head, but usually I spoke out loud in a conversational voice.  It was a comfort to speak to Jesus.

During these walks I watched a new Baptist Church being built right on the other side of the tracks from where I lived, and that I could access the Church by existing pathways, and it was no more than 7 or 8 easy minutes away by foot. One summertime afternoon I got the courage up to visit that Church.  I was ready to become an active member of a Church. This place was new and fresh, my memories of the sermons I heard were not as pressing as they had been a couple years earlier, and I really wanted to join a group of fellow Christians. I walked into the Church and followed the signs to the Pastor’s office.  I gently knocked on his open door, and asked to speak to him.  He smile, bid me to enter, introduced himself and asked all the appropriate questions about me.  We were all smiley faced.  Then he said where do you go to church now.  I told him that I had not actively gone to church in 2 years, but that I had spent that time talking to God and Jesus right there on those tracks behind his church.  And like every other Baptist Preacher I had or remembered hearing he when right into the spiel that as a Baptist you needed to be at church every week, you needed to be seen there, and you needed those in attendance to witness your love of God and Jesus.  I looked at him and said something like “no sir, I disagree; I believe God and Jesus listen to me as I walked the tracks.”  His face got red, his voice got louder, and it was like being back in the country.  His finger pointing and screaming just exploded.  I got up and walked from his office with him screaming at me as I did.  I left the church, and I walked away from the church for the next 50 years.

While I was away I visited a variety of churches and listened to a variety of sermons.  None really set with me.  Sometimes it was the rituals, sometimes it was the message, but mostly it was the people in the church.  As Forrest would say “Stupid is as Stupid does.”  I have seen a lot of hypocrites at the churches I have visited over the years, and these were all reasons which in my mind justified my feelings.  That I believed strongly in God and Jesus, but I didn’t believe or trust the church to have my soul’s best interest at heart.

But this started to change about 5 years ago, my wife had joined the First Presbyterian Church of Brandon Florida.  Kicking and screaming she got me to attend more than just the Christmas and Easter services.  I had the opportunity to listen to the Pastor Rebecca and the Associate Pastor Tim.  They preached of a caring loving God that didn’t find fault, who didn’t activity seek out fault in his followers, and his son who is nothing but Love and Kindness.  There was never a raised voice, always a warm smile.  And from where I sat it was genuine.  They did care. Over the next 5 years I believe I have met about 100 different people, actually closer to 200, and to a one, they are what I have always expected a Christian family to be.  The message preached each Sunday is of a loving caring God, the scriptures are to the point and make you think and feel.  Rebecca has moved on to preach at a church closer to her children and grandchildren, and First Presbyterian has an interim Pastor Lucian, whose message is similar and as powerful as Rebecca or Tim.  These three have delivered the message without screaming, or pointing fingers, or blaming the fellowship of the Church. They along with the members of the church have made me feel the way I thought I should feel at church. My belief in God and his Son has never wavered.  This church made me feel I belonged not only to the Lord but to the church.  

I had decided to join the Church before I found out my end of retirement date had been pushed forward.  At first I was hesitant to join because I didn’t want to appear to be the Church going hypocrite I had seen all too many times during my search.  But I overcame that because of the folks that make up this Church, and I knew in my heart, it was where I belonged.  April 20, 2014 I stood before the congregation and reaffirmed my faith.

 As always thank you for taking the time to read my post, if you have any questions, concerns or comments please feel free to ask, I will answer.  Take care, Bill

   

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

Good Morning, and Happy Mother’s Day

Each morning as I take my meds, I sit and respond to the many notes, comments, posts, or other mails that fill my in box like pedals of (fill in the blank).  I respond directly and on target to what I have read or thought I read, or answer a specific question. But today is special, and in my responses I failed to take the time in each response to say Happy Mother’s Day in some of my responses. So I want to take a moment and extend to each of you mothers a wish for a wonderful day, filled with love and joy, a warm smile, a tender kiss, and the thought in your heart that you did good.  

Mom’s we love you, we thank you, we will never forget you.

Love Bill

 
19 Comments

Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Observations, Ramblings

 

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The Brothers not so Grim…. A Grandpa Tale

This past weekend and while my wife was away having the time of her life, and checking off another bucket list trip, I spent entertaining and being entertained by my three brothers.  I should use the names of the seven dwarfs to protect the not so innocent.  But I have spoken of them by name in the past and I will continue to do so.  But if I were to use the 7 Dwarfs names, I would claim and take full credit for being the one referred to as “Grumpy”.  It is a self-promoted nickname I gave myself shortly after moving to Florida.  See link for https://dealingwithcopd.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/old-and-grumpy/

Pictured below from left to right as you look at the picture are Jim, Grumpy, Ed and John.  Each of us has many redeeming qualities and each of us has many not so redeeming qualities.  And I could go on for words and words and words about each of them, but as they would all say “Payback is a B…. “

DSC01204

I will say that at one time I was the heaviest, but from appearances that may not be the case anymore.  But I am the one with all my original hair, and the best looking of the lot.  Ed did try to pretty himself up at the last moment running into the house to grab a Golf shirt.  

Immediately upon arrival at the house, as Ed was sipping his 1st beer, he tried to establish a “Judgment” free zone on the Lanai.  As place of peace, without the normal razor-sharp blades we normally use to cut each other to ribbons.  But even with a “Judgment” free zone, the barbs flew back and forth all weekend long.  It didn’t matter where we were or what we were doing, we were slinging barbs.  To see the smiles and grins throughout would have been a lot of fun to the fly on the wall.

But it wasn’t all about kidding each other, or sticking the knife in gently. We shared a lot of stories, reminiscing about incidents, each with a different perspective depending on the time and place in the family history.  We shared stories grandpa’s farm and about close encounters of the worst kind with Dad. We spoke of or marriages, our kids, the good and bad times.  I suspect they realize this will be one of the last visits we have together.  So we talked about more pleasant things.

The menu was quite simple.  One night we had pizza, wings, and garlic knots, another night we had bbq’d pork chops, another hamburgers and hot dogs, and steaks.  Surprisingly salads were also served during some to the meals.  And I will admit that the boys did graze right thru most things editable.  And we shared more than one drink over the weekend.  Nobody got drunk, no one got fired up, but we did talk loud, hell when we were kids we were considered the loud family.  It seems it is something we haven’t been able to shake as we have grown older.  Of the four of us I am the oldest; Ed is the youngest, with 13 years separating us.  If you think back (or at least for me) I had absolutely nothing in common with my youngest brother when I was 20 or 30, we started to become close as I reached 40, and have grown closer as more years pass.  Families are that way mostly I think, of course there are dysfunctional families, and I am sure that from time to time we were indeed dysfunctional.  But for the most part we have been able to maintain a good relationships and friendships, as we have grown.

No earth breaking disclosures were made, and while we spoke only for the fewest of moments of world events we couldn’t find a solution or come to an agreement as to a solution, sometimes we couldn’t even agree what the problem was. But we were taking to talk, to share, to be together. We managed a lot of reflection. John and Jim would sit in the corner of the lanai after dark smoking cigars, LOL that kept me in the house and out of the conversation, but what little I did catch seemed to be the quiet friendly conversation brothers can have.  One afternoon they wanted to go to the casino, I was more than happy to take them, and pick them up, but I didn’t venture into the casino.  There wasn’t much in the way of bragging, so I suspect there wasn’t much in the way of winning either.  In reflection I guess I could have taken them on a field trip to Dunedin or Clearwater Beach, but they were satisfied with the pool, and not having to venture far for a drink or the bathroom.  I can say with total honesty I am so so glad they came, I am glad we got to spend the time together we, and that we had to opportunity to share moments and time together.

Smiling here are the names of the 7 Dwarfs, let’s play a game, if you choose to comment on this post, tell me which name fits which brother best.  Remember “Grumpy” is taken: Bashful, Doc, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy and Happy.

As always if you have any questions, comments, concerns or issues please feel free to ask.  I will respond. Please take care and have a great day. Bill

 
18 Comments

Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Pictures, Ramblings

 

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The Difference between Rich and Poor People

A friend on AOL shared this with me, and I felt it was simple and good enough to share with you’ll.  Most have probably seen it, many probable live a life with these appreciations.  I know I try, sometimes I am much more successful than others.  Take from this what you wish, I am just offering it because I liked it. Take care, Bill
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Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
Shangrala's Rich VS Poor
 
17 Comments

Posted by on April 15, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Observations, Pictures, Ramblings

 

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 It’s a Matter of Music…. A Grandpa Tale

Good morning folks, I hope your Wednesday is starting off great, mine has.  Per my normal daily habit I was up and about at 6ish this morning. I was nebulizing this nebulizing that, and taking the rest of my morning medications.  As usual during this morning ritual, I was scanning my email accounts and Facebook. As I was scanning Facebook, throwing out some likes, I stumbled upon a post by a dear friend (Huntmode). She shared the following YouTube video.

http://www.thisblewmymind.com/street-musician-tipped-girl-happened-next-blew-whole-city-away/?fb_action_ids=10201782776426970&fb_action_types=og.recommends

Of course it was one of those staged flash mob video’s which I truly enjoy, because they just make me so damn happy.  So I am nebulizing and blasting this flash mob video, it comes to an end I am smiling, already it’s a great day, and I begin to explore.  Originally my intent was to find some more orchestra (flash mob) video’s and just sit and immerse myself in some classical music. So I jumped on YouTube, and immediately encountered the 2 Piano Guys, which if you haven’t discovered them I would strongly suggest you give time a listen. I just wasn’t in the mood for the Piano Guys this morning, but…… if you have spent any time on YouTube, on the right side of the page is a column of what could be related or similar video’s kinda if you like this you may like that…   Well I was going down the column and there were a bunch of 2 Cello video’s available, I had never heard of 2Cellos, but I recognized the title of one song from the get go, “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, and for those that know me, know that AC/DC is one of my favorite bands (maybe you didn’t know cause I do have hundreds of favorite bands), so of course I had to give it a view, and from that view grew this post.

I have attached (besides the inspirational video from Huntmode Facebook post) 5 additional videos from 2Cellos.  Two are from AC/DC, one from Guns & Roses, one from Michael Jackson, and finally one from Jimi Hendrix.  I know as sure as I am sitting in a black chair, in my office, that some of you can’t stand any of the bands I just listed, some of you love all of them, some of you are too young to appreciate Jimi Hendrix, and some of you are a mixture of all of the above, or for that matter none of the above. I know I now have a new appreciation for Guns and Roses LOL.  But if I could beg your indulgence, please do me this one favor and watch the “Thunderstuck” video. Angus Young (lead guitar for AC/DC) must be beside himself.

If you have any level of vivid imagination you can see the roots of rock: hardrock, grudgerock, acidrock, puckrock, in this video and besides it’s just fun, considering the setting, the music and most importantly the audience.  If this is the direction that elevator music is taking, I may ride elevators the rest of my life.

Thunderstuck – AC/DC – as covered by 2Cellos  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT3SBzmDxGk

Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze – as covered by 2Cellos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae23y2D8VSI

Welcome to the Jungle – Guns and Roses – as covered by 2Cellos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V7EugoweM4

Highway to Hell – AC/DC – as covered by 2Cellos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfGggAGITwg

Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson – as covered by 2Cellos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx0xCI1jaUM

Sometimes as adults when we listen to the music our children enjoy we scratch our heads and know exactly why the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Other times we are filled with joy, the fact is, it’s their music.  If for every Foo Fighters, we discover a group like the Piano Guys or 2Cellos, we are all gaining and we are all part of the every growing metamorphosis of music.  I know when I was a kid, my dad had a conniption fit whenever he heard us play the Beatles, or the Rolling Stones, or SteppenWolf (Dad destroyed my copy of their album when he heard the song Pusher Man).  I know I looked at my daughter in sheer wonderment when I found out she enjoyed rap, and even gangster rap, music I detested then and even now, though I will admit I have become a fan of Kid Rock.

Quickly jumping down from my soapbox. The point is I am offering you six videos for your enjoyment, if you don’t like any of them that is your business your choice, and I completely appreciate it.  I get it, I am just saying discovering 2Cellos has made my day, and has satisfied an itch.

As always if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to ask them and as always your comments are greatly appreciated.  Thanks Bill

 

 

 

 
29 Comments

Posted by on April 9, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Music, Observations, Ramblings

 

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Movies with Allison…. A Grandpa Tale

This story comes to mind because yesterday my wife and I when to the movies, us going to the movies is a rare event, but the movie (Monument Men) was great, and I give it a solid 2 thumbs us.  But sitting in the theater with Steph reminded me of the hundreds of times I went to the movies with Allison.  Allison and I love movies and truly enjoy going to them together, though we haven’t been able to coordinate a movie together in months and months.  But this grandpa tale isn’t about today it’s movie or the wonderful date with my wife, it is about all those other movies I saw with Allison and I am sure more to come.

 

I can’t begin to tell you with any degree of accuracy what movies we saw together. But here is a partial list, Terminator 2, Harry Potter 1; Lord of the Rings 1, there had to be a drama or 6 and a few dozen comedies, and a sprinkling of horror (Maybe Scary Movie 1).  I can’t say how old she was our first movie date.  Though to be honest I suspect it was while she was in junior high that it really began in earnest.  Our movie dates always ensured we got to the theater in plenty of time to get some junk food and a soda’s before the flick, it allowed for perusing the billboards for coming events, making initial determinations of which movies struck our fancy, and finally going into the theater so we had 1st choice in seat.  Sidebar – today at the movie theater I most often use they have assigned seating, which is the single biggest piece of crap idea I have ever heard, especially when only 5 people are in the theater to watch a given movie.  Allison was of an age that we normally saw PG-13 movies, I don’t believe we saw our 1st “R” rated movie together until she was at least 16 or 17, that’s not to say she didn’t see them at home when we rented a blockbuster or 4 for a weekend, or managed to see one or more with her friends.

 

Folks, my daughter Allison is a giant chicken, she is the 1st one to cover her eyes when the blood starts to flow, if you pinch her at the right time in a movie she will come a foot out of her chair (I know, I have done this to her successfully dozens of times), blowing on her ear makes her shiver likes someone is walking on her grave, and saying BOO! Works real good even to this day.  It is for all of these reasons that I love going to the movies with her.  Another truth is that she acts the same way now (at 34) as she did when she was 12, she just slaps me harder now, when I get her.

 

Smiling, but if there is a downfall to taking my daughter to a movie, she has this single nasty habit, which is probably payback for all the antics I play on her. I have this one nasty, despicable, horrid, unscrupulous, and nasty, let’s just say bad habit when I go to the movies, I hog the armrest, and I am not a good sharer.  Allison doesn’t really care if I am hogging the armrest or not, she makes her claim, and will put her arm directly on top of me if she finds it necessary.  She also plays with the hair on my arm, twirling it or softly pinching it, just to let me know that she is not in total approval of my hogging the armrest.  But the minute she becomes intense, or feels something is about to happen that she will not appreciate, she does two things.  One she immediately takes her free hand and covers her eyes (like that’s going to help), and two (and much more important to me) is that soft twirling or pinching of the hair on my arm where her other hand rests becomes ten times the level of intensity.  And that soft twirling and pinching ends up being the Vulcan Death Grip on the hairs of my arm.  I will swear on a short stack of bibles that over the years I have most likely lost 4 square inches of hair on each forearm    from my daughter pulling it out during intense parts of movies. Hell she will do it during the credits LOL LOL.  Also trust me slapping her hand away does not save you.  Yes I always get that “gee Dad, I am so sorry!” line of BS, and you can tell its BS because of silly her grin on her face as she says it.  But I love her so I tolerate it; probably even relish it a bit.

 

In past years we have shared a meal after the movie, and chat like dad and daughter, these are the moments father’s live for, and I have been so fortunate to have shared so many with my daughter.  I hope you have enjoyed this story.  I am sure that when Allison reads this she will call and tell me for the umpteenth time how my memory differs from hers, and I will respond for the umpteenth time “that’s because they are my memories.”

 

Folks as always if you have any comments or questions please feel free to ask, you know I will answer each of them.

 

Also I have an announcement to make my daughter Allison Poindexter has started her own blog, Burning Candles, Perspectives from a wife, mother, and teacher who burns candles at both ends. She will be launching her blog on April 1, 2014 (how appropriate). If you get a chance, give her a look-see.  She is a hell of a lot smarter than me, she has written a book, and she spells and proof reads tons better than I do.  It should be quite good if I do say so myself.  Here is the link for her upcoming blog. http://burningcandlesblog.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Ramblings

 

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Beast, Beauty and she has Brains! …. A Grandpa Tale

In so many of my posts to date I have poked fun at my daughter, I have told stories about teaching her to drive, about her college friends invading our home, about her tattoos, and about our boating adventures at Disney.  I know I have accused her of being beautiful (cause she is), and I have talked about how smart she is. Now I want to just say she was a beast in High School and her freshman year at college. 

Allison is an only child, and she has enjoyed all the trapping of being an only child.  Yes she was spoiled and still is, but not as badly as some.  But this isn’t about being spoiled, though I may have to write about that at some point.  This is about her being a beast.  Allison got her brains and beauty from her mom, there is no doubt about it, she is as lovely as her mom, and just as smart.  But she got her competitive edge and desire to win from me.  She plays Monopoly like she is a slum lord.  And competitive doesn’t even begin to describe how she tackles Yahtzee, especially a friendly (ha) family game.  My wife can barely stand playing me Yahtzee one on one, but if Allison is involved the wife runs and hides.  But this isn’t about that. It’s about her just being a beast.  My daughter played basketball her freshman year in High School, she was so so at best and it pissed her off, she was taller than 95 pct of the girls she played against, but she didn’t have any natural talent, and she sure didn’t inherit any from me.  So after her freshman year, she chooses to move on from basketball.  Out of the blue she choose Lacrosse, I had never seen a game played, I didn’t know what the equipment looked like, I didn’t know the rules, heck at the time I didn’t even know it was played outside. Allison moved me completely away from my comfort zone, I knew basketball, I loved basketball, but like Allison I had no skills. Unless having the ability to foul out in less than 10 minutes is a skill, because that was my specialty. 

But Allison wanted to play Lacrosse, and both my wife and I became her biggest fans. I remember taking Allison to the sporting goods store to buy her 1st Lacrosse stick, I let her choose which one, but probably steered her away from the most expensive.  We also got her the cleats and the pads, which I probably didn’t steer her away from the most expensive.  We wanted her protected, and were more than happy to eat those costs. 

Before 1st season started I remember playing catch with Allison in the backyard.  I had my ball glove on, and Allison was equipped with her stick.  Remember that sound in baseball when you hear the ball pop as it was caught.  That was the noise my glove made. I always tried to catch her throws in the web of my glove because if I caught in my palm, my hand would sting for days. Allison was firing the lacrosse ball at me sometimes I thought faster than the speed of sound, because I felt the sting long before I heard the pop. I remember manning up and throwing that ball as hard as I could, throwing my best fastball and Allison snatching it out of the air like I threw it under hand to her. Then she would whip it back at me, yes I said at, not to, and sometimes I just had to duck and let it bounce off the fence.  She scared the crap out of me.  It was so natural, so fluid; she was beauty/beast in movement.  And I remember thinking and she likes me, what about those poor slobs she doesn’t like.  Her passes were pinpoint, and made me look a fool, but it was worth it. I could throw it anywhere in her general direction, and she caught it, I could bounce it to her, she caught it, I could try and throw it over her head she caught it. She was a beast.  She worked as hard at learning how to be a great player as she ever worked at anything before or since (well maybe she has worked a lot harder being a great mom).  But all of her efforts paid off. Did I say she was a beast at lacrosse, well let me say it LOL.  She was a beast. 

Allison was not a good Lacrosse player she was GREAT.  When Allison started lacrosse it would be fair to say I didn’t know squat about Lacrosse.  But I would be the 1st parent hoarse screaming at a game, cheering her team on in the loudest voice I had.  One time her coach a very fine lady name Amy Newell came into the stands to tell me the referee was going to call a bench yellow card on her team if I didn’t shut up. So I bit the end of my tongue off and the team didn’t get the yellow card. Allison played “attacker” for her team, and damn was she good.  She played the game with such intensity, such determination, and with skills I only dreamed of having. She played Lacrosse for 3 years in high school and one year of college.  She made the all-county teams all 3 seasons she played, one year she made second team all-county and spent the last half of the season on the bench with a broken leg. I can only imagine how great she would have been had she played a year without a significant injury.  Another season she sprained her ankle so bad that it kept her from performing at her peak but it didn’t prevent her from playing.  I was so damn proud of her, hell I am still proud of her.  In college (she made the team as a walk on), but she broke her back playing Lacrosse and that pretty much ended her Lacrosse playing days. 

During the 3 years Allison played Lacrosse, I think I missed maybe 3 games, four at the most.  I went to home and away, I was the passionate one about half way up the stands.  I would watch Allison race, back and forth, I would watch her carry her stick high, and pass sharply; I would see shots on goal and be amazed.  Then I would see her race to play defense.  Folks to this day I don’t know the rules of Lacrosse, but I will say it is more intense, more physical and more demanding than any other team sport I have ever watched with the exception of field hockey, her other choice in sports, which she was also a beast. 

Folks, I imagine that somewhere in the way way way back of her brain Allison would consider coaching Lacrosse.  If she were to choose that there is no doubt in my mind she would be a damn good coach.  But she has chosen to be a Teacher, and your kids would be damn lucky to have her.  I call her a beast because of what a great jock she was in High School and in College, but now folks she is a BEAST because of how she teaches, for the care she  shows her students, for the skills she passes on to them, for the encouragement she provides and for the love of teaching she clearly displays.  She takes great pride in her abilities, and her kids reap the benefits.  They don’t have all-star teams for teachers but maybe they should.  Allison would be a 1st team all-star every year.  Smiling proudly, she has been nominated for Teacher of the Year several times, and has been awarded that for her district.  

Folks, thanks for taking a few moments and listening to me brag about my kid.  Someday Cari (my granddaughter) will read this and have a great conversation with her mom, and they both will smile. 

As always if you have any questions, thoughts, concerns or comments please feel free to share them.  Thank you, Bill

 

 
29 Comments

Posted by on March 5, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Ramblings

 

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MS T

Folks for over a year I have enjoyed countless wonderful stories about pets; about cats, dogs, parrots, and all other manner of “pets.”  To a one, these stories have been heart-warming carefully crafted, tributes to your wonderful pets.  I must have seen maybe a hundred different pet video’s and seems like it is a push between cats and dogs as the top (get it) dog of pets.  Being honest I have had 4 pets during my brief time here on earth, btw this count does not include gold-fish, I am sorry Gold Fish just don’t count.  Also, before you get the wrong impression I LOVE PETS, I love yours; I love the one’s I have had.  They are a wonderful addition to the family. They bring warmth, fun, some protection, love, and just a totally unflinching friendship, and they are totally forgiving.  We humans could and would learn a lot from this alone.

 

As I mentioned earlier I have had 4 pets during my life, I doubt very seriously if there will be another. So I do want to talk about the 4 I have had.  The 1st pet I h had was Snowball; she was a stray, a mutt, and as cute as she could be.  Whatever her lineage, it included a lot of short long dogs. She came to us went I was in the 3rd grade living in Easton Maryland.  At the time my dad was the manager of the local McCory’s 5&10.  About 2 weeks before Christmas that year he brought her home from the store.  She had been either; left behind, lost or abandoned.  Dad posted signs at the store and ran an ad in the local paper for the required 2 weeks, and we got to keep her.  She became a part of the family about 3 days before Christmas, that year.  She had the run of the house and ate leftovers.  Snowball was a hunter, and would bring trophies home from her hunting expeditions.  She left them at the front door.  She was a runt dog; I was always surprised when she brought home something half her size.  She was also a great watchdog.  She would go to the door and bark and bark and bark when someone would come to the door.  Her sense of smell must have been off the scale.  Because once a person established themselves to be part of the friends group (and she recognized their scent, even thru closed doors she could smell them) that visited regularly, she didn’t bark, she paid them no mind.  And gosh was she friendly, she was everyone’s friend.  As I said earlier she ate off the table, but one of the things that solidified our friendship is that she would not eat beans.  Mom would make chili with beans, on a regular basis, I hated beans then and even more so now.  The leftovers went into Snowball’s bowl, Snowball would lick the bowl clean, except for the beans, she even licked the beans clean, but she never ate a bean, God bless her. Snowball was killed when I was in the 10 grade, I cried like a baby at her lost.  I guess in dog years she would have been 350+ by now.  I have wonderful memories of her, and she really lives on in my mind.   

 

Within a year of Snowballs death, my parents got a new family pet.  Pepper was a 100 pure breed Dalmatian.  Her complete name was Rustic Rails Suzette Ann Pepper Pot.  One of the prettiest animals I ever saw, dumb as a bag of rocks.  We didn’t have Clydesdale’s or a beer wagon, and the firehouse was miles away, but that doesn’t matter, Pepper was dumb.  Pepper wasn’t a replacement, she was the next pet.  The folks had hopes of making some money from her litters, and I think they made enough to pay for her.  Pepper was also a house dog, she also ate scraps (and anything else she could get her teeth into) like furniture or rugs or lamps, she would eat anything.  She didn’t hunt; she just kinda sat around and looked good.  She wasn’t much for being a watchdog, she would bark at anything and everything, including family.  Eventually she became my sister’s dog. My sister and Pepper had a good long relationship.  Hopefully I told you she was dumb, and yes she was quite friendly.  My sister has become the Dalmatian lover of the family, and even today some 40 yrs. after Pepper she still has 2 giant Dalmatians.

My next pet was a black lab, his name was D  –  O  –  G, if you let it roll off your tongue, and don’t think about it, it’s a damn good name.  I was in the navy (stationed at Saclant (shore duty)) at the time, and living with my 1st wife.   I should have had better sense, I was not in a position to take care of a dog, and my 1st wife while enthusiastic in the search for the “perfect” dog, didn’t have clue as to what having a pet would entail or any desire to take part.  I assumed (yes it made an ass out of me) that she (the wife) knew there were going to be responsibilities involved.  We had D-O-G for several months, and the longer we had him, the less involved my wife became.  I was months away from deployment, and realized a problem was quickly coming to a boil. I knew my wife was ill prepared to take care of D-O-G, and she admitted it, as well as, admitting she didn’t want the responsibility of caring for him.  We had to take D-O-G to a shelter, where he was adopted into a family that loved him and could and would take proper care of him.

 

My final pet was a cat, for years I hadn’t been fond of cats, when I was a child I was overwhelmed by a litter of the little furry critters.  As a boy growing up there was never a cat in the house.  And, by the way, I am allergic to cats.  But my present wife is fond of cats, and my daughter really really really Dad, can we get a cat, please please Dad, wanted a cat.  Allison promised to keep the litter box clean, she really did promise. I’ll give Steph credit she never made that promise.  So we went to the local shelter, and saw Ms. T.  She (Ms. T) was skittish, she was not even close to being friendly, but she was a beautiful cat.  The Volunteer at the shelter explained that Ms. T was about 7 months old, and had grown up  (to date) on the streets of Washington DC, and apparently in one of the worster  (I know it’s not a word, but it works), to the sound of gun fire and mean people.  DC could and was like that back then.  The Volunteer went on to say, that Ms. T would grow into a loving friendly playful cat.  A cat the entire family would love and cherish.  As it turned out the Volunteer was about 1 percent correct.  Ms. T turned out to be the cat from hell.  She was never playful, she was never friendly, she was a hunter and a killer.  A little background here will help. Steph (wife) wanted a mouser; she had seen a mouse and wanted a hit cat around to resolve that problem.  What we got was Jason with 4 paws, the Freddy Krueger of cats, the Mike Myers of cats; oh hell you get the picture. MS T (T = Terminator) was indeed a mouser, she love to torture the mice she caught, never an outright kill, but a slow evil kill.  And she always left the pieces of her victory on the kitchen counter. In a short time that stopped because Ms. T had killed all the mice in Alexandria.  The entire time she lived with us, she never made a personal appearance, she never took a bow.  Ms. T had a very definitive way of expressing her displeasure with us, when we offended her, she would piss on the offending person’s bed, or part of the bed. No one the family was immune to her anger. After we had her for about 3 years it was discovered that she had diabetics, and we spent several hundred dollars to treat and care for her.  But Ms. T’s attitude did little to change.  She never got friendly, she never became playful.  When we moved to Florida, Ms. T made the transition; we had to give her kittyludes to calm her enough to get on the plane.  But even in Florida, she maintained her crappy attitude.  None of our neighbors ever saw her. They would hear her, when we had guess’ she would hide and hiss at the guess’, once Laura volunteered to feed and clean her litter box while Steph and I were away.  Laura would come each day to put out fresh water, food, and clean the litter box.  Ms. T would make those horror cat noises the entire time Laura was here.

 

We had Ms. T for about 8 years, her diabetics became so bad, we were tasked with giving her daily insulin shots, that was more than either Steph or I could handle.  Thanksgiving week 2003 we had Ms. T put to rest.  As nasty as Ms. T was we still loved her.  But the decision was for the best. 

 

But both Steph and I admit that we would have another cat into our home if we thought she or he would be the kind of cat we see so often at other folk’s homes.

 

That folks is the story of the Pets that I have had.  Please take care, if you have any thoughts or comments you want to share please do so.  Take care, and be safe. — Bill

 
23 Comments

Posted by on January 6, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Observations

 

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About My Dad

I have been remiss over the last couple of weeks, the only original thought posts I have created have been the “How I Feel Today” posts, and while informative, and sometimes light-hearted, they don’t reek of my normal talkative self.   I guess it’s a case of writers’ semi-block.  I have reblogged a couple of emails, and some dynamite posts from other bloggers (with some heartfelt prologues) but again nothing original.  This first paragraph is an effort to get my motor up and running.  I feel kinda like an ice breaker, I am just churning away, breaking up big chunks of thoughts into paragraphs, only to throw them in the mental trash can. Kinda like how an Ice Breaker will just plow thru the ice breaking it up and leaving the broken ice in its’ wake.  Just not as productive.

I have music blasting in my ear as I write this; Nickelback’s Next Contestant is slamming into my Dr Dre headphones. I am sure that will help stir up the creative aspect of my head. Soft sad smile, I do believe the music has done the trick, I now know what this post will be about (though it took 7 songs to get to this point). I want to write about my Dad, and you will be the ones’ I will share my story. Over the 18 months that I have been blogging I have read at least seven different Tributes to Fathers.  Some of these tributes were about fathers’ still with us, some of the fathers have passed on, some had divorced the mothers’ of the blog author,  one was written about a father the author didn’t know, and her mother didn’t know either and that was one of the most touching tributes I have ever read. 

Dad (William Joseph Hamilton) was born on Dec 1, 1925 in Herrin Illinois, where he lived pretty much until he joined the Navy during the latter part of World War II.  From all that I clearly remember and stuff I can surmise, Dad was a great student (the Honor Roll all the time) and was a big time track star.  I remember one time going thru a box (of his stuff) that had a ton of memorabilia from his youth.  He must have gotten it from his mother’s house after she passed.  But the box had several years of his report cards, some newspaper clipping from his track star days, and a clipping of when he joined the navy, a few snapshots, and other collectables that his mom must have kept. I have no idea in the world if any of this information exists today, and if it does, who has it?  My sister remembers an album with all manner of photos and other collectibles of dad growing up, but she has no idea where this may be or like the box of collectibles I found, if it still exists.

Dad was discharged from the Navy in Baltimore Maryland, where he worked a variety of factory jobs in the post war environment, while also attending college.  He also met Mom in Baltimore and that is where they were married (on 02/24/49).  Mom was a nurse who graduated from John Hopkins College of Nursing.   I was the first (of 6) born I came 9 months and a day after they were married. 

I am going to share what few positive memories I have of my dad.  The single most important memory I have of my dad goes back to when I was a tiny person, no more than 4 or 5.  We were living in Baltimore, MD and it was the middle of winter, it was very cold.  Dad had taken me to an Auto show, we were coming back from the show, and on the icy street my dad (who was carrying me) slipped and fell, there was so much ice that I began to slide toward a drain at the curb.  My dad scrambled to grab me before I slid into the drain.  He had done this with a broken arm, which happened during the fall.  The most important thing my dad did for me was not naming me William Joseph Hamilton, JR. he had been called Billy Joe, all his young life and hated it, I truly can appreciate that, just as I truly appreciate him not sharing his name with me.  I also remember dad coming to every JV football I played in. Dad loved golf, and we would play together though these aren’t all positive memories because I too loved golf.  He loved going to the stock car races, another thing I love, and those were all positive memories.  Sometimes it was just him and I, sometimes it was the entire family, and sometimes it was just us boys.  One of my brothers remembers him going camping with him several times, these were Boy Scout events, but the brother has positive memories from those trips.  Dad loved to read, and was very well read. He was an intellectual, and knew it and bragged about how smart he was.  

As kids we play two-hand touch on the street in front of our home, from time to time one of the neighborhood dads would join the game, and dad did as well.  Our fifty yard line was marked by a fire hydrant, it was 2 feet in bounds, and you avoided it at all costs.  One afternoon dad forgot, and ran dead into that fire hydrant, he busted the hell out of his shin, he never played again, and nobody missed him.  Another trademark experience with dad, were the car rides to nowhere.  He would draft any available kid to go on a car ride with him.  These rides lasted 2 or 3 hours and dad just drove around, no destination, the radio on his favorite channel, no talking, no explanation, and dad was the worst driver on record.  Sigh, those were some of my favorite memories of dad.       

Folks, it kinda goes off the rails at this point. I am sure that as you read that last paragraph, maybe even read between the lines, but you most likely were thinking, something along the lines, wow that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun.  It wasn’t. Those were the good times.  Dad was an abuser; he physically, emotionally and mentally abused each of us kids.  He was much more physical with us boys, but my sister paid as well, from the emotional abused reaped upon her. Abusing was what he did quite well, he couldn’t keep a job, he couldn’t be there when he was needed, and he ran through money like he won the lotto, but damn was he good at abusing.  I am not going to go into any of the horror stories, it would serve no purpose and it wouldn’t make me feel better, and to be perfectly honest I only remember in any detail a couple. Also being honest, I thought that was how it was supposed to be in the 50’s and 60’s.  I did spend a couple of hours talking to 2 of my sibling about this, and those conversations confirmed thoughts that had been running thru my head for a long time. 

Dad passed away on Feb 16, 2001.  I didn’t shed a tear during the viewing or the funeral.  I have sat in my office many a time thinking about dad, and why I wasn’t upset with his passing.  Part of me understood why, now even more understands. 

Thank you for taking the time to allow me to get this off my chest, has it done me any good, I hope so.  As always your thoughts, comments or questions are always appreciated.  Please take care, Bill

 
32 Comments

Posted by on December 29, 2013 in Grandpa Stories, Observations, Ramblings

 

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A Healing Quote

Sometimes when you’re out of thoughts you get inspiration from unexpected places.  I have been floundering about trying to think of a good topic for my next post.  I was visiting Kate is Rising at http://kate1975.wordpress.com/ and came upon Healing Quotes Teens 242.

“Give yourself up to the moment. Dare to see it. Now look down at your feet; slip out of those invisible tethers. Then ask: Where would you take yourself right this moment if you walked toward your most heartfelt dream? What would your life look like? What would your body look and feel like? What level of energy would you have? What might be your favorite activity? What would your daily life include? Imagine happiness — the sweet glow of inner contentment, the way it tastes and smells and feels”  — Chris Downie 

I found my inspiration in this quote. Many of you know I have COPD, for those of you that don’t, it is a terminal disease, and it takes its sweet friggin but not joyful time.  There is no cure, and all you really can ask for is endurance, a sense of humor and a strong will.  I believe I have these attributes.  But I also dream, many of my dreams center around a cure being discovered that gives you back your lungs, and cure happens during my lifetime, and the cure isn’t worse than the disease.  Then I live to a ripe old age and die in my sleep or ______ (you fill in the blank).

When I read this quote it really was an extension of my dream, it made me stretch my thoughts and fill in many blanks my dream always leaves behind. So in keeping with the quote, I am going to try to use this forum to fill in those blanks, to make my dream more complete.

I have slipped off those invisible tethers and have asked myself: Where would you take yourself right this moment if you walked toward your most heartfelt dream?  This is probably the simplest aspect of the dream to fill in.  All things being equal right here in this house, in this neighborhood, with all my current friends, and because this is a dream, I would also have Mike back.

 

What would my life look like?  The view would be fantastic.  I would be as healthy as any 64-year-old guy who exercised on a regular basis and had quit smoking 20+ years ago. I would be recently retired, but fully engaged doing things I had thought about during my career such as Habitat for Humanity, or other volunteer work. I would have endless time to watch my granddaughter grow up and become successful.  I would watch my daughter and son-in-law achieve their goals, both professionally and at their church.  I would have the perfect vantage spot to see my wife complete her career and move on to the things she wants to do in retirement.  Maybe I would find myself as an active member of the church. Also included in this perfect dream world would be time to travel. To go to all the places I haven’t been, and to visit some places for a 2nd or 3rd time. 

  

What would your body look and feel like? I would be a trimmed down version of myself, wearing slacks with a 40 inch waist rather than the 48+ (depending on the manufacturer). I would have one chin instead of two, and my desk draw wouldn’t have a ton of medicines in it. My hair and beard would still be my trademarks, and I would still have the scars from my knee replacement surgery.  But I wouldn’t have the scars from my heart surgery, because in this dream those problems never happened.  Overall I would be in better shape because in the dream world I would have taken better care of myself.  Sure I would still be 5’9” (on a good day), I would still have a ton of freckles, I wouldn’t be ripped but I wouldn’t mirror the Pillsbury Doughboy either.  Overall I would feel great both mentally and physically.

 

What level of energy would you have?  I don’t know how to define this other than to say I would have more than enough energy to live my life to the fullest, without having to short sheet other activities.  Of course I wouldn’t have the energy of a 20-year-old, but maybe at the level I had when I was 40.  I sure as the devil wouldn’t have these respiratory problems. 

 

Smiling, what might be your favorite activity? This is a no brainer; I would still be playing golf, most likely at least 2 times a week. I would also still be bowling in the Tuesday Night Mixed league that I have participated in for the last 10 year. When I wasn’t doing volunteer work, my days would be spent reading and working on my blog. And I would always have time for that other activity, which is probably more strenuous than golf LOL.  Notice yard and pool maintenance are not among these activities for a reason LOL LOL; they aren’t on my list of activities now, why would I burden myself with them in this dream.

 

What would your daily life include? Most importantly time would always be available for my granddaughter. But in this perfect dream world my day would start with a round of golf, with friends or someone I just met at the course.  It would also include time for my blog and reading, and yes even my chores. Even in a perfect world I would still have chores. On the days I chose not to play golf, I would do volunteer work, at Habitat for Humanity, or some other needy organization. 

 

Imagine happiness — the sweet glow of inner contentment, the way it tastes and smells and feels” Not so surprisingly it is easy to imagine what you don’t have, but I am happy, even being ill I feel a level of contentment. Fortunately for me I have had a good life. I have been graced with a wonderful daughter and granddaughter, and I have great wife. I have friends and friends and more friends, again being graced. I have been successful beyond my wildest dreams, both personality and professionally.  If I had to put a smell to my life I would choose honeysuckle, it would taste like richly buttered and salted popcorn, and it would feel like the finest linen imaginable.  Without the dream, I am still happy, sure I could do without the disease, but even that has provided hidden value. Again I have been graced with a wonderful life. I have made tons of mistakes, and have had more than my share of lucky breaks.  In reflection I don’t know how it would be otherwise.  I know the outcome of the first 64 years, I don’t know what the outcome would really be in my dream world, and while I have a vivid imagination it isn’t quite that good.

This has been pleasurable, creating this post.  It caused reflection, and forced me to think without being ill as part of the process.  I hope it gives you food for thought, and I hope you look at the quote as I did, and let your imagination run wild.

Thank you for taking the time to follow along with me as I dream.  If you have any questions, thoughts or comments please feel free to ask.  Take care, and Merry Christmas, Bill.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2013 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Ramblings

 

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Go Cart Racing….. A Grandpa Story

Back on the 31th of August I did a post on my love of stock car racing.  When I started that post my love of racing was supposed to lead into a post about racing go-carts.  But I got so involved in writing about Stock Car Racing that I never had a chance to talk about go-carts.  So today I am going to talk about all the fun I have had over the years driving and racing go-carts.

The last time I was on a go-cart, and actually got to drive and race against friends was several years ago.  A couple of times since then I have tried, but as I stated previously, the owners of the go-cart tracks, really and I do mean really frown on a guy with a portable oxygen concentrator trying to ride and race one of their carts.  Not to mention there really isn’t wasn’t easy to squeeze my fat ass into one with the concentrator in hand LOL.

 But back to better times, when I was skinny and could fit into just about anything, especially go carts.

I have vague memories of riding go carts as a kid because they were a pretty big thing. But I never raced in organized racing.  One of my neighbors was a master mechanic, and if he looked at your car it was be faster and quicker.  He built dragsters and hot rods as a part-time job. But he had 3 lovely daughters and no sons.  But he brought out a bit of tomboy in each, they all loved fast cars.  Anyway, he built a go-cart for his daughters.  And it was quick real real quick, and I got to drive it a couple of times, and that really got me hooked.

Here is a list of all the states I have ridden go carts: Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, California, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona and Iowa.  Outside the US, I have ridden go carts in the following cities, Tarquinia, Finale Lijure, Naples and Genoa Italy.  In Spain I rode in Barcelona, Valencia, and on the island of Palma de Mallorca.  And finally in Greece I carted in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Smiling, I have been very fortunate, I have been to a million places because of my service to our country.  The Navy was a 24/7/365 job and when the ship was underway it wasn’t uncommon to have 4 or 5 sixteen hour days back to back to back. During that period of intense work, of unbearable schedules, and coupled with all the minor bullshit things you had to do (in your spare time) you were totally ready to let loose a  ton of steam when the ship was in port and you had hours and hours off before your next watch.  We all did, well many not all, may a dozen or so guys, we contained enough they didn’t need to blow off steam, but I wasn’t one of them.  I will not lie, I drank a lot, and let me be candid, when I say I drank a lot, I mean A LOT.  I also found many a mom and pop restaurant for a local meal (which were always great and always cheap). I also got post cards for loved one’s back home, but when I was off I drank played cards, and found the local go-cart track.  I knew a couple of guys (onboard the ship) that were as enthusiastic about going carting as I was and together we would actively seek out the local go-cart track.  Of all the places we rode carts, my most favorite was just outside of Genoa, in the hills.  BTW we always used the local USO club to locate the tracks and figure out transportation.  So the 3 of us headed to the track.  And it was so cool, nestled in a little gully, the track was probably no more than a sixth of a mile.  We arrived just as they were opening (11am), and we stayed until they kicked us out.  One of the coolest things about this track was cart motors had governors on them that were easy to adjust.  We were allowed to run the carts flat-out.  Because of the layout of the track we spun out a lot, and we bumped a lot.  I never had so much fun.  But the coolest thing about this track was they served ice-cold beer and great sandwiches.  At 9pm we were standing on the side of the road hot, sweaty, stinky, smelling of beer, and with no way to get back to Genoa. It was really too far to walk though if forced we would have, but we stuck out our thumb, and the 1st car that came by picked us up. The driver an older lady, who asked us what ship we were on, and said she would be happy to take us there.  Along the way she explained that she was American living with her husband there in Italy.  We found out that she was in fact the wife of the former Ambassador to Italy.  She took us directly the ship.

The next day 13 of us invaded that go-cart track from 11am to 10pm, and we spent a ton of money that day, and a bunch of locals sat about watching the Americans race and drink beer, and then race some more.  Then eat sandwiches and drink more beer.  A lot of us were driving carts quite drunk.  And while some of us may have drunk there wasn’t a single ugly American in the group. We had a great time, we supported the local economy, and the embassy provided us a bus to get back to the ship.  It was a great day.  While myself and a couple of others always found go-cart track, there were no other experiences in Europe that would compare to those 2 days.

Navy guys would/will bet on just about anything, that is just a fact of life.  While stationed in Norfolk, VA it was a payday ritual for several of us to go out to VA Beach, to one of the 3 go-carts tracks and race for dinner.  The rules were simple we had 3 races, and the winner of each race got his meal for free, so if there were 3 winners the others would have to pay for those 3 additional meals.  If there was only 1 winner of all three races, that turned out to be a cheap night.  The other simple rule was you had to change carts every race.  We tried to do it every payday, but schedules, weather, wives, ship movement, and a variety of other reasons kept from being an every payday thing.  Over the years I think I broke even as for paying for dinner or having mine paid for, it was a ton of fun. The was always a lot of haggling going on before the race, we would go so far as to draw lots to see you got to get into line 1st, rarely did we go to the same track twice in a row, and we always tried to bribe the starter kids to jack up the governor on the cart we were driving.  In the US drinking was not allowed at the go-cart tracks (go figure), so we would always have a couple beers before racing began.  BTW this does prove that not all sailors (single) spend all their and money at those other places for adult entertainment. LOL LOL  We did manage to diverse ourselves so we could do both LOL LOL.  Cari, ask your mom what I am talking about, and see how red she gets.  Love grandpa.

In Louisville, and for that matter several other cities in the late 70’s early 80’s had a track called Gran Prix.  Their cars (they were not carts) looked like miniature F1 racing cars.  Only one was allowed on the track at a time, and you raced against a clock, I will say that generally I had the quickest time.  The Gran Prix cars were fun, but I really liked the wheel to wheel racing.  But Gran Prix, the distinct advantage of looking like a real car.

My ex-boss, who was 12 years older than I loved go-carts too, like me he was a kid at heart, for years we did an annual golf outing, and several times during those outing we would find a go-cart track to play at.  We found that greatest cart track that I have ever been to at Lake of the Ozarks MO.  It was craved into the side of a hill, and was almost 3/8’s of a mile, which is quite long for a go-cart track.  We couldn’t wait to go again, and then a third time.  LMAO, he probably was one of the most important people in telecom for the government, and he was a kid at heart.  He was a great man and a great friend, he was my mentor, and we shared the same disease. God do I miss him.  It took him before he was done, most likely it will take me before I am done.

I haven’t raced with friends in over ten years, the last time was in Corpus Christi, TX. I was there to take part in the National Bowling Tournament. Spent 5 days there, and being honest that was enough.  The track was non-descript, but it was still fun, there must have been 6 of us there that night racing for beers, which we would and did consume later.

Over the years racing go-carts in all the places It was a great deal of fun, it was an adventure, and it has given me a touch of joy to write about it.   Not sure if Cari will get a lot out of it, and I do wish I had taken Allison go carting more often.

LMAO who would have thought I could write damn near 1700 words on go carting racing.  Still LMAO I suspect many of you that have read my stuff before, are not in the least bit surprised, more shocked that I didn’t stretch it out as I am doing now LOL LOL. Heck if I keep this up I t will damn near be at 1800 words when I am done.

Thank you again for going on this journey with me.  If you have any thoughts or comments you want to share please do.  Take care, Bill

 

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Humor, Ramblings

 

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Untitled for a Reason….

It has been a pretty good week for me, no real special reasons just a good week.  And heck, it’s only Wednesday.  Is my last post I have been bouncing things around in my head as to what I wanted to write about next.  I have a post that is about 60 pct completed in my brain where I talk about stock car racing and my love for it.  I have another post written in my head about music I love, which was caused because a friend shared a music video with me, which I in turn shared with some of you.  I have yet another working story purely based on a telephone conversation I had with Cari.  Then there is the leftover aspect of my recent post about the college kids visiting on weekends, where I am going to drop a dime on Allison and her wonderful roommates for being the slobs they were (at least during their college days).  I have also considered writing a post about some of my military time, about what a 6 or 8 month long cruise was like in the early 70’s for an enlisted man, mainly me LOL.  From the darker reaches of my mind I want to share how it is to never really feel good, how my disease has robbed me of that simple pleasure (but I am not in the mood to write that), so you are being spared for the time being.  I also have in the works (mentally incomplete) posts regarding my childhood and my brothers and sister.  Of course I have thoughts about posts where the thought doesn’t even exist yet.  Strange how my mind works sometimes, isn’t it.

I thought about a post where I wrote a sentence or two about one subject, then would write a sentence about a different subject, then jump back to the original thought for a paragraph, only to switch again to a third subject. But even trying to explain the concept is too hard.  So I will spare you all that.  And while I have been rambling along I have decided to write today about my daughter’s dorm room.  By the way this has not been cleared by my Daughter, she would almost deny she was ever a slob, and that would be her right, even though she was wrong.

I LOVE my daughter; I love her with all of my heart.  But that doesn’t change the fact that she was a slob back in the day.  Note to Cari, I don’t care what your mom tells you, she was a slob when she was your age.  Just a few examples of her slobness, she would hide (or dispose of) the cokes she drank by putting the empty can under her bed, or the couch, or wherever she was at the moment she was done with it.  It wouldn‘t matter if there was a trash can 8 feet away, under the couch it went.  Sometimes dirty cloths ended up on the floor of the closet rather than the laundry hamper.  None of this really changed even when she went off to college.  Sidebar note: being a slob seems to be a generational thing, already Cari (my granddaughter) seems to be showing signs of neatness.  I don’t know if it is a show she puts on for grandpa, but so far so good.

Which brings me to the post for today; my daughter lied on her college application when she claimed to be neat.  But she was extremely lucky.  In my post last week I talked about the 2 fine young women that became her best friends in life, by 1st being dorm room mates.  During that post I said something along the lines that college rooming offices must have a BS detector went it comes to evaluating housing applications.  How the three of them ended up together is one of God’s little miracles.  They truly have complimented each other.  And they truly suited each other and lived well together.  And they all must have told the same lies on their applications.

They shared a room slightly larger than what 2 students would share.  And they shared a bathroom with another room (so 5 girls sharing one bathroom, I am sure there is a story there, but thank GOD I don’t know it).  The neatest that room was the entire time they shared it was the day before any of the three of them moved in.  PLEASE understand I don’t have a neatness fetish, I am not a germaphobic, but I was in the navy for 9 years, and the military requires a high level of personal neatness.  You have very limited space, and you had a ton of crap you had to neatly place in this limited space.  The work spaces were treated the same way.  It was a way of life, that even after 35 plus years I am still relatively neat and orderly, I fold my underwear as taught by the Navy, my shirts and pants hang in the same direction, one might suspect I am anal about something’s LOL

The girls were lucky in that their room was on the 2nd floor, and there was no elevator in the building.  At the time this was going on I was about to have my 1st of 2 knee replacement surgeries, and I didn’t climb stairs unnecessarily.  Steph and I help her get into the room; we meet her roommates and their parents, and bid the kids good luck.  Over the school year Steph and I would drive down and visit, take Allison and her roommates (whoever was there) out to dinner, and then go home.  After the 1st couple such visits, I mentioned that the room could be picked up a bit.  Sometimes at dinner I may have made more of it that was appropriate.  Who knows? But the place looked like a pig pin, well that’s not really fair to the pigs.  The dorm room just wasn’t the neat and orderly environment I was used to.   The girls took me real seriously, and my gripping about their room became a standing joke.  They were laughing and I wasn’t.  But it was easily resolved, I just waited in the dorm lobby for them to come down, that way I didn’t need to see the mess, and because of the ongoing issues with my knees I wasn’t expected to climb the stairs to visit their room.

But from time to time, I would suck it up, and do the manly thing and climb those damn stairs.  On one such occasion I found that the girls had made a major concession to me and my need for neatness and order.  They had collectively gotten together and created a clean space for me.  In the middle of their dorm room, they and taped off a 2 ft. by 2 ft. square, and marked it “Mr. Hamilton’s Spot.” There in the middle of all the normal dorm room chaos, the shell shocked residue of a 3rd world country, was my spot, clean rug and all, I believe the girls signed their names to the masking tape they used to mark this spot.  Of course there wasn’t enough room for a chair, but it was still my spot, in an otherwise cluttered world.  Through the remainder of the time these three lovely young women shared a room, there was always a clean spot for me.  Yes they would laugh and giggle about it; they would tease me into visiting the room just so I could stand in my spot and view the carnage.  I believe one time Steph stopped me at the door so my spot could be cleaned before I came in the room.   So here ends the tale of my story about neatness in a college dorm room.

I hope you enjoyed the journey.

As always if you have comments, suggestions, or concerns please feel free to contact me.  Take care, Bill

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2013 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Observations, Ramblings

 

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Visits from the Kids in College

With many schools in session, and with many kids getting ready to head off to college (most already there) I thought I would share some of my experiences when my daughter Allison went off to college (University of Mary Washington).  My daughter started college in August 1997.  The school she choose was about 50 miles away from home.  There was never any doubt she was going to live on campus.  She was close enough that we could get to her very easy if needed and she could get to us, or come home for weekends when she wanted.  She was happy and so were we.

Housing put her in a dorm room which she was going to share with 2 other human beings.  My daughter up to this point had never shared space with anyone on a regular basis.  I remember when she was filling out the student profile, the questionnaire asked pointed questions about her, her habits, likes and dislikes.  I watched as she claimed to be organized as she filled in the form, and laughed inside. Giving Allison credit, she was quite honest about her likes and dislikes.  But in other areas of the form (like how neat she was) she just plain lied, claiming to be neat, and my lovely daughter was anything but neat.  Even after hearing me laugh out loud at her response, she stayed true to her answer that she was “neat.”  Clearly the folks that work in the housing office of colleges have a ton of experience with weeding out BS.

Allison was hooked up with 2 of the finest young women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  One became a Doctor (Chrissi), the other a world traveler (Casey), my daughter for those that haven’t read many my post’s has gone on and gotten her Masters in Education, and is now the English Department Head at the school she teaches. To this day they are still the best of friends, they are in almost constant contact, and share all the important events, of their lives, with each other. All three of them were exceedingly studious and well mannered.  But I swear not a one of them had a neat bone in their bodies.  I will address the lack of neatness in a different post.  Let’s say concessions were made for me.

What I really wanted to talk about in this post is when Allison came home for a weekend.  In honesty Allison came home on a fairly regular basis, but not so much as to give up any of the independence she was gaining living in the dorm. Weekends at home always included laundry (well 95 pct of the time), and family time.  Of the 3 ladies living there together Allison’s home (ours) I believe, was by far the closest to the school, and soon the 3 of them would visit for the weekend. It wasn’t long after that Kim started to join the group of folks visiting the homestead for the weekend.  Let me be clear here, the gathering at the Hamilton’s wasn’t because we were great hosts (though we were), or that we had a big house (it wasn’t), or that we served the best meals (those we did serve were great), one of the prime reasons that the Hamilton’s were visited so often was because we lived so close to Alexandria Virginia (old towne in particular) and Washington DC. The kids would come to visit so they had a crash pad for their visits to these locations.  We also had a policy, that if you drank too much, I would come get you, there would be no questions, no explanations needed, and no yelling or screaming, and no lectures in the morning.  We just wanted the kids to be safe, and realize they could play and be safe as well.  Being honest the kids never called for a ride home, they truly believed in the designated driver and it worked.  Also being honest, you were given no pity if you had a hangover the next morning, which was extremely rare.

Over time the group that would come to visit grew and grew.  After Kim started joining the group, Keith and Charlie became fixtures on these weekends at the Hamilton’s. And this became the core group Allison, Chrissi, Casey, Kim, Keith and Charlie.  Steph and I loved it.  Over the 4 year period that Allison was in college we hosted weekends at least 12 times.  The smallest group would be 3 the largest group we hosted over that period was 10 for sleep over purposes and 12 for a meal (more than once), but generally it was 5 or 6.  But it needs to be said that  we were honored by their visits.  The fact that they felt at home, and that we treated them like family made these visits so much fun for all concerned. I am going to speak to meals in general and two specific group meals.

I also will take a moment to define the sleeping arrangements.  Our home in Northern Virginia had, 2.5 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, one ours, one Allison’s, the guest room had a brass trundle-bed, and the den had a couch and lazy boy recliner, the living room had a couch and the basement had a hideaway.  On the night we hosted 10 for the sleepover, we had every conceivable space plus a couple sleeping bags taken. It was amazing. The night before, they must have gotten back between 230a and 3a.  When I got up at my normal time it was no later than 7am. I made a pot of coffee and took it out to the back deck to relax.  Walking thru the house was an effort avoiding all the corpus’s laying about.  I only waited an hour before I started cooking breakfast for the masses.

When invaded (when the kids came to town) I started cooking breakfast at 8am everyone knew this, and as I started, I would get a ton of help.  The morning that we served 12, the menu included: eggs cooked to order, bacon, sausage, hash brown potatoes, French toast, regular toast, juice, milk and coffee.  Sounds simple enough doesn’t it.  Now we are going to talk about the sheer quantity of food these kids consumed on this particular morning.  We went thru over 3 dozen eggs, 3 lbs. of bacon, a pound of sausage, because I don’t know how to measure the amount of potatoes, let’s say (for purposes of discussion), a crap load.  We also consumed 2 loaves of bread either toasted or French, 1.5 gallons of juice, and 1.5. gallons of milk.  Then there was the coffee, I suspect we must have made 5 pots.  If truth be told I suspect a couple of the guys were still hungry when the meal was done. It was a riot of fun cooking for the starving hoard.   But let me also say, that the kids were as polite and as nice as can be.  They volunteered to clean the mess and they did a great job.  They were appreciative of the effort and very thankful.  By noon they were out of the house.  If we (Steph and I) knew they were coming back for dinner, the kids were timely in their return.   This was the single largest meal we served during Allison college days.  As I said earlier normally we only got 5 or 6 for a weekend.  When Sunday afternoon came, the kids were scrambling to finish laundry, and picking up after themselves. I don’t remember the time when the kids left a real mess behind.

Now I am going to talk about one of the very best dinners that Steph and I hosted for the kids.  It wasn’t the largest; there were only 6 kids plus Steph and I.  We had cooked dinner for more, but most of those suppers were cookouts, serving the normal cookout meal; hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, sometimes corn on the cob, salad fixing, sodas and milk, milk was a mainstay, and we come to have on hand at least 2 gallons when we knew the kids were coming.

Now getting back to the meal in question.  Steph is a wonderful cook, and as she has matured she has become even better.  Italian food has always been one of her specialties; if you didn’t know better you would think she is part Italian.  The menu was quite simple for this meal; salad, bread and Lasagna.  Steph made her own sauce for the lasagna, and it took all day to prepare.  Per normal if the meal is to serve 8 she cooks for 12 or 14.  In this case it was the right thing to do.  Steph made two pans of lasagna.  Each pan was 12 x 18 x 3, so we are talking large amount of Lasagna. Normally one pan would be sufficient for a party of eight.  But let’s not forget that six of the 8 were college kids, kids used to campus food, at campus facilities (several steps below a military chow hall), served by campus employees, and cooked by someone only interested in getting the meal over.  Also keep in mind that this was probably the 1st time that Steph really pulled out the stops for a meal for the kids.  I had met Charlie and Keith, and both are nice guys, both are still part of the core group of friends; both have gone on to be successful.  Charlie teaches and while I am not 100 pct sure I believe that Keith also teaches.  Anyway about the meal!  One pan of lasagna should have been enough, but it wasn’t. LOL LOL The ladies each had a nice salad, bread and a single serving of lasagna.  That single pan would have made 2 complete meals for the ladies, but add 3 guys to the table (I am adding myself to the guy part) and the one pan wasn’t enough to serve us.  I don’t know how much they (Charlie and Keith) ate, but I stopped after the 2nd serving of lasagna.  When Charlie and Keith were done, Steph and I barely had enough for a snack later, there was no salad left, and the bread had long since bite the rock.  I will admit that I probably ate more than my share of the bread, and I will take the fifth from this point forward.

But once the meal was complete, cleaned up, put away, and garbage out, Charlie disappeared, then Keith disappeared. Sometime later I went out on the back deck, and while standing there I heard a slight noise.  Charlie and Keith were laid out on the lawn, arms spread wide, starring into the moonlight night.  They had ate themselves unconscious.  Allison had one of the cutest saying when she was a child and ate too much, she would say “she was having a food baby!”  I truly believe both Keith and Charlie felt the same way.  In the years that followed I don’t believe I ever saw them eat like that again, don’t get me wrong they consumed a ton of food at our house, but never again to the “food baby” extent.

As usual I have consumed way more of your time than I had intended.  And it would appear each time I write I have a “food baby” of sorts.  Thank you for taking the time to get thru this post.  I do appreciate it, as I appreciate your thoughts and comments.  Please take care, Bill

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2013 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Observations, Ramblings

 

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How I Feel Today 08/17/13

Good afternoon folks, today is Saturday and I am a day late posting my “How I Feel Today” post.  But I am sure you don’t mind.  Today’s post is going to be extremely brief, because I feel FINE.  I am a solid 3 – 3.25, I had an appointment with Doc Lungs early in the week, and he said I sounded pretty good (but he is tone-deaf), and that he said he didn’t need to see me for 6 (count them) whole weeks.

My INR is now therapeutic, it being 2.2 this week, and that been two tests in a row where it has been in the therapeutic range between 2 and 3.  Dosage of my cumidin is settled, and I will not be re-checked for 2 weeks from my last test.  Should I continue to be therapeutic, I will be moved to a once a month test.  Doc Lungs also reduced the amount of prednisone from 15mg to 10mg daily, which is a clear sign that he feels I am doing pretty good.  Only a month ago I was taking 20mg daily.

Other than the normal monthly IVIG infusion and seeing Doc Head on our scheduled appointment my calendar is quite free of medical related appointments.  Damn I like saying that.  I

Well folks it looks like I will once again beat the midnight deadline for this post, but only 24 hours late.  But when you have good news what’s a day make. Though I did have the best intentions to be timely, as we all know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  But I did keep my promise that this would be a short report.

Well folks I hope the rest of your weekend is pleasant. Thank you for your continued good thoughts and kind words. As always your comments are encouraged and welcomed. – Bill

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2013 in How I feel on a particular day

 

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Photos from the Disney Cruise

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This is the Fantasy, you have the fantail view, and that would be Dumbo there.

Disney Group

This was our group photo from “Formal” night.

Bill and Mickey

At this point Mickey didn’t know about the Kiss. LOL

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Scenes from the Pirate Party

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The girls and their turtle.

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Bill and Brass Mickey

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This is our dining partner’s Dave, Amy and their daughter Lilly. Along with our Waiter/Server Pete and Amelia. Of course the Hamilton’s and Poindexter’s round out the group.

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Cari after her pirate makeup session.

 

Folks thanks for taking this trip with me it has been a pleasure sharing it with you.  Take care and be safe, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to do so.  — Bill

 

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Pictures, Ramblings

 

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The Cruise Report …. Final Part

When I last left you, we had completed our visit to the Grand Cayman Islands, where the kids and Steph had visited the turtle farm.  It was a great visit to the Cayman’s and the Cruise was off to a wonderful start.  The Fantasy departed the Cayman’s at 5pm Monday night, with our next port of call being Costa Maya, Mexico arriving there at noon Tuesday.

 

Steph and I didn’t have dinner with the group Monday night because we had reservations to eat at Palo’s onboard the ship.  Palo’s is the upscale Italian Restaurant on Fantasy, which requires an addition fee and reservations.  I made our dinner reservations a month before the cruise and we were lucky to get them.  But it was worth it, the meal was one of the best experiences I have had.  I have already bragged about how good the meals and service was in the dining rooms where we normally took our meals.  If those meals and the associated service was rated a 10, then on that same scale the meal and service at Palo’s was a 14.  It was that much better.  Our table was at a floor to ceiling window overlooking the ocean, and while it was cloudy evening those clouds made for a spectacular sunset. We enjoyed a quiet evening meal, where we could speak in a normal tone and be heard.  The wait staff was extremely attentive and as I said the food great.

 

To digress for a moment, in parts one and two I had described in painstaking detail how Cari and Stu chased after autographs and picture opportunities.  I need to make a clarification here.  Cari had her picture taken multiple times with each character because the characters changed outfits, and each outfit called for another picture opportunity.  During the course of the week Cari had her picture taken with Minnie Mouse 5 different times, once in her Officer Uniform, 2 times in Princess outfits, once as a clown and once in her Party outfit.  She had her picture taken with Goofy in 2 different changes of cloths and Pluto twice, and then with Mickey himself in two different outfits.  So you can see there was a great deal of scurrying about to get to all of these photo ops.  And Stu was the Master at it.

 

The second stop on the cruise was in Costa Maya, Mexico.  We arrived at 630am Tuesday morning and departed at 530pm. Costa Maya is on the Yucatan Peninsula, the area was a major center for the Mayan population between 200 BC to 900 AD. Stu, Cari and I stayed on board. Stu and I took care of doing laundry and other domestic God like chores, while Steph and Allison were off to the Chaccohoben Mayan Ruins. It was a scenic bus ride to the ruins, with hundreds of photo opportunities.  The girls took advantage of many of these opportunities bringing back pictures of themselves on the steps of the ruins, and majestic views of the ruins. Steph and Allison were very excited by this adventure, with tons of laugh filled stories to share with Stu, Cari and I, and they were quite stinky upon their return.  Apparently the bus wasn’t as air-conditioned as they would have liked.  After Steph had an opportunity to relax and cleanup we were late for dinner in the main dining room, so we went to one of the less formal more relaxed areas for dinner, again having ocean view seating and a great meal.

 

Our next was in Cozumel Mexico, we arrived 730am Wednesday morning and departed at 530pm.  Allison and Stu excursion that day was a Jeep ride thru the dunes, beach and landscape.  They left Cari in our care, so I had the opportunity to seek out characters with her before she visited the Mickey Mouse Club for activities.  Also while Stu and Allison were Jeep riding we got to take Cari to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, getting her pirate costume and makeup for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” Pirate Party and fireworks, to take place on the 11th deck amidships at 930pm that evening.  So Cari was dress and ready to go at 1pm, for a 930pm party.  Bless her heart she managed to stay in costume, and presentable all day long.   In addition, we played “Go Fish” and she beat me soundly.  Though there was a mirror directly behind me, she may have peeked at my cards LOL LOL, but I doubt it.  She just beat me.  The kids got back from the jeep ride adventure with plenty of time to spare before dinner.  So we had dinner as a family, it was very nice, and Stu and Allison regaled us with stories of their adventure throughout the meal.

 

After the meal those of us not in costume doffed our costumes and prepared for the on deck Pirate party.  Dancing and singing, and Jack Sparrow had to walk the plank.  Once Jack managed to avoid the plank, the fireworks began.  The fireworks were noisy and cool at the same time.  Though not a long show it was still a very good fireworks display.  By 1130pm the decks were cleared and most of the party goers had moved on.  Steph and I to avoid the rush to the elevators chose to go up to the 12th level Martini Bar where we conversed quietly for about an hour.

 

Alcohol wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be, or as expensive as I remember from other cruises on other cruise lines.  Disney ran a daily drink special, that was good at any bar or restaurant on board ship, during the entire course of the day.  I forgot what the day  one special was, but day two was the Bahama Mama, day three was the Yellow Bird, day four Key Lime Margarita (damn good), day five Sunken Treasure, day six was the High Tide, and day seven the Stingray.  During the week I consumed my share of Wine (both white and red), Wild Turkey 101, and a variety of Margarita’s.  My daughter had her share of most of the daily specials, and some beer drink that mixed a darker beer with I believe a fruit juice, I just really don’t remember.  Stu seemed to favor beer most the week, and Steph’s drink of choice was coffee, and then wine (red or white depending), and Cari’s most sought after drink was hot cocoa.

 

Thursday was spent at sea, and the kids had the run of the ship.  There were a ton of onboard activities to keep everyone occupied and smiling.  The restaurants, dining places and snack bars were all running at maximum capacity.  But part of the under lining current was we were headed towards home.   You could almost feel it in the ship that everyone knew there was only one more stop before going back to the Cape.  Big events for the day included Family Superstar Karaoke (which we didn’t take part), Mega Jackpot Bingo, and a variety of tasting including wine and Tequila. On the pool decks folks were soaking up that last bit of pool side fun and burn.  The water activities were at full throttle. And the water tube was getting a major work out.  I would have loved to have done the water tube, but good sense and my portable oxygen unit prevailed.  For those that might not know, the water tube is about 200 feet of water slide in a (for the most part) clear tube.  From the 12 deck of the ship you had to climb another 20 feet to get to the beginning of the slide.  There you got on a raft, and were flushed thru the tube.  The tube itself was at the least always 20 above the 11th deck, it was kinda like a roller coaster but not as severe. The ride lasted maybe 25 seconds 35 at the most, and it was used 16 hours a day.  During that last day at sea, it was like any other normal Disney ride, there was always a line LOL LOL.  It did look cool and if I could I would have been just like the kids, riding it over and over.  No one got bored on board and if you did it was your own damn fault LOL.

 

I believe it was this evening that Allison, Stu and I met at the Tube Bar and played 80’s musical trivia.  It was really “name that tune.”  The DJ played a minimal amount of the song, (and I mean minimal) and you had to properly name the song and artist, for each correct response you got a single point.  80’s music is not my strong suit, nor Allison’s either for that matter, but of the 25 songs played, between the 3 of use we managed 28 points.  I was impressed with our effort.  But the fun started when extra points were awarded for doing extra stupid things. From playing air guitar (which I am Champ) to dancing, and just all manner of silly but fun things.  We were really too far from the dance floor to get any extra points but we laughed our asses off watching others do all that stuff for a Disney Key Chain.  It was a great evening.

 

We arrived at Disney’s Castaway Cay (Disney’s private Island) at 730am Friday morning, and we departed at 530pm that evening.  The kids spent the entire day on the beach at the island, doing all manner of beach things, including the character beach dance party, swimming, eating, snorkeling and the like.  I watched them come back onboard with the hoards of others all savoring the last moments of the cruise.  Everyone knew (even the little ones) that the cruise was over.  We had a wonderful dinner with our group, and said our good byes.  We had a group photo of the three families with our wait staff, and said our goodbyes.  Everyone had a ton of packing to do, and our bags had to be in the hall way by 1030pm. Steph and I managed to get our bags packed and out into the hall way before the 1030pm deadline.  We ended up carrying one additional bag off the ship than we brought onboard so we had a place for all those things you must have.

 

The Fantasy arrived back at Cape Canaveral at approximately 600am on Saturday the 27th of July.  Our last meal was a feast at breakfast that morning.   Our group was called to depart the ship at 8am.  We were met by a baggage handler who grabbed up our bags (all 10 of them) on a single cart, escorted use thru customs and all the way to the curb, where we were met by our shuttle back to Marriott where our car was parked.  The shuttle driver unloaded our bags at our vehicles and the cruise was over.  Allison, Stu, Cari, Steph and I all shared hugs and kisses, and all exclaimed how great the cruise was, and how we didn’t want it to end.  And we all dredged thinking about going back to our “normal” lives.  With one final kiss and hug, we jumped in our cars and headed home.  The cruise of a lifetime over, and an item on the bucket list checked off.

 

As always your questions and comments are greatly appreciated.  Please take care, Bill.

 

 

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H e ‘s B a c k ! ! ! !

Folks,

After a 7 day cruise with a couple thousand kids, it is nice to be home safe and sound.  The cruise was everything I hoped it would be for my family.  The ship and ship’s crew, on a scale of 1 to 10 were an easy 15.  Of course I have a couple of stories, and now that I am  home, the creative juices are ready to flow.  This is us a quick HI ! !  and a note saying I missed my blog friends.  Much more to follow.

Take care, Bill 

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2013 in Humor, Ramblings

 

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MY Sibling ,,,, Three Brothers and a Sister

My brother Jim called today (7/15), and as always we chatted for about 30 minutes.  We didn’t say a lot we asked about each other’s health and spoke of our families and what was on our respective agenda’s and teased each other as we are and always have been prone to do.   But during this conversation, Jim admitted that he has been reading my blog and has found it interesting, but complained (maybe a touch strong a word) there wasn’t anything in my blog regarding my sibling, to which I blew him off, saying I wrote an entire blog about my sibling. Well apparently I wrote that blog in my mind, because a quick review of the posts I have done so far would indicate a mind is a terrible thing to waste (and doesn’t transfer well to blogdom).  So this blog will be dedicated to my sibling.  Probably one of the topic’s I know the least.

First I need to introduce the guilty.  James Robert, (Otis) born 8/52, John Howard (John) born 10/53, Nancy Ellen, (Nanc or Nancy) born 8/58, and Edward Connell (Ed) born 10/61.  I didn’t add the exact date because they need some privacy but not much.  I was born 10/49 ergo I am the oldest.  As sibling go, I have very good brothers and a very nice sister, and I love them all. We are different in so many ways and similar in even more ways.  As we have aged my feeling for them has grown, from them being sibling to having a very good friendship with each of them.  It wasn’t always this way.  The living arrangements as kids had me, Jim, John and then Ed sharing a room, which probably made Mom think of the mess of the century.  Nancy had a room to herself, and of course Mom and Dad shared a room.  I don’t remember us fighting in the room (we did that every place else), but we were certified pigs.  As far as size goes, I am the runt in the family (even my sister is as tall as I am).  But I have better nicer hair (and all of it).  Mom was shorter than me but trust me, she wasn’t the runt in any litter.

 

Jim, Ed, and I, all had minor brushes with the law.  John was an Eagle Scout, and Nancy was the daughter, never having been a daughter I never understood the special treatment they are afforded.  As kids, Nancy never EVER got into to trouble, but I did numerous times for allowing her to involve herself in mischief.   Each of us boys all turned out to be fantastic dads and providers for our families. Nancy hasn’t married but I suspect she would have been a good mom.

As I proceed with the post you will notice a lack of detail.  It’s not because I have a need or desire to leave out a lot of detail, I just don’t have it.  My family moved to Louisville in 1965, once there, the family settled, and has lived in Louisville, KY since.  I left Louisville in 1969, and except for 10 days here, 20 days there I haven’t lived in Louisville in over 40+ years.  Yet Louisville KY is home.

Being the oldest I found many ways to test the patience of our parents.  I was very good at this.  I learned many lessons, and passed them on as best I could.  Each of brothers and my sister learned from my mistakes in the way of their own choosing.   One of my brushes with the law, presented me options.  I have spoken of this at length in my post titled “A decision that changed my life.”  In the spring of 1969 I joined the Navy, and left Louisville, never to live there again.

Thru my Navy years I was lucky to see my brothers and sister once a year and then it was normally no more than 7 days at a time.  As I grew and matured in the Navy, my brothers developed their own lives and worlds.  John married right out of High School, Jim and Ed went on adventures together or separately, and Nancy off to College to become a nurse.  When I was home it was very rare to see my sibling more than in passing.  Our paths didn’t cross that often, but when they did cross we shared time together, caught up, and then went back to our own lives.  Thank God for phones and the internet, or I would never have communicated with them.  From this lack of communications grew to a lack of knowledge.  But for the last 15 years we all have made significant efforts to communicate, and visit.   I am not saying that me living in Florida (for the last 10 years), with a nice pool has anything to do with it, but it sure hasn’t hurt.   But reality of what has helped us the most in growing together after so many years is the passing of our parents, and our own issues (health or otherwise).

Jim a few years younger didn’t really learn a thing from me, and being of independent mind, tested our parents in ways I hadn’t thought of.  Jim was also a good student and high school track star, btw Dad had been a track star as well, so there was some level of comradeship between them.  Jim being a fair student also stuck a positive cord with Dad.   Jim listened to his own drummer, and followed his own heart.   After HS he became an adventurer of sorts, travelling all over the US, sometimes by bus, sometime by car, and a lot by thumb.  He has seen many sights and had many experiences.  There have been many a time when we chatted, I wish I had taken part in some of his adventures.  Jim married his wife and they have been together forever.  While Jim and his wife have had no children of their own, Jim had been a great dad to the children his wife brought into the relationship.

John was/is the good son.  I was in the Navy during his HS years, but I understand he was a good student, he has been involved in scouting since his earliest day, becoming an eagle scout, and having both of his sons become eagles as well.  He married his HS sweetheart right after graduation from HS, and when to work for the city of Louisville.  He had a very successful career, he has since retired and works part-time because he doesn’t know how to sit still.  He and his 1st wife had 2 boys, both of his boys graduated from Univ of Louisville with honors, and are both on their ways to successful careers.  Both also followed John’s path thru the scouts and have become Eagle scouts.  John’s 1st wife passed away after a long long illness, and he has since remarried.  His current wife is a very lovely lady. John and I talk on a regular basis, he enjoys taking cruises.

Nancy is the only daughter in the family, she has no completion, and was clearly dad’s favorite.  Nancy was another I didn’t know much about when she was a kid, she was so much younger and was a PIA.  Most of our interaction was me taking heat for allowing her to cause mischief.  Nancy has been a nurse since graduating from college.  She has worked in pediatrics for as long as I can remember, and seems to love her job.  She also has loves dogs and has Dalmatians for as long as I can remember.  Her dogs are spoiled but loved.  Most likely had she married her kids would have been spoiled and loved. Mom and Nancy played scrabble, one on one, and very cut throat.  When I was home visiting, I would be invited to join the game so Nancy could snicker at me.  Most of the words I could spell were not in the accepted Scrabble Dictionary, I rarely won any game of scrabble against either Mom or Nancy, but I would find way to annoy Nancy during the games, just to annoy her.  And while Nancy’s vocabulary was larger than mine, I was never afraid to challenge her words.  It didn’t matter if I lost the turn or not, it was the messing with her that was fun.

Ed, he is the youngest in the family, and I believe he followed my example of displaying a lack of effort during the HS years, like me he barely got thru HS.  It wasn’t until a couple years after HS that he applied himself and worked his ass off to become a master electrician.  He now is the inside and outside plant manager for a small hospital outside of Louisville.  I don’t know what kind of athletic he was or if in participated in HS sports.  He and his wife have decided to go their separate was after 25 yrs of marriage, but they raised 3 wonderful kids.  Two girls and a boy, both girls have joined the workforce and are doing well. Ed’s son excelled in HS and has gotten an academic scholarship, and is well on his way to a successful future.  Ed and I have grown extremely close over the last few years.

I have limited knowledge of other family dynamics, but in what I see, I find many similarities between myself and my sibling, and those of other families.  My brothers, sister, and I have grown closer as we have aged.  We have grown closer with the passing of our parents.  And other personal issues have helped us continue to grow closer.   I am grateful that I have such good strong relationships with my siblings. And I am happy we share the love we share.

This post was a long time coming, and one I enjoyed writing, you now have a little more info on me and my family, I hope you enjoyed this journey.  As always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to offer them.  Take care and have a pleasant day.  — Bill

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in Grandpa Stories, Ramblings

 

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