Just rambling thoughts about anything that happens to be on my mind and that usually isn't much!
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Monday, May 29, 2006

The Day I Became Dad

There are always a few tremendous experiences that stand out in a guy’s memory. I truly think the one experience that is above all in my foggy memory was on this day 32 years ago when I received the title of “Dad”.

I did have some prep time in that it was several months from the first indication of pregnancy until birth. There were times of holding my hand on the Warden’s stomach and feeling the baby move; my 110 lb. wife looking as though she had swallowed a basketball; strutting around like a rooster because the Warden was pregnant (as if it took some sort of specialized skill to get her that way); picking out just the right name for a son (Calvin Carl after our own fathers) and turning the extra bedroom into a nursery. And even after all the prep time and planning, the Warden’s water broke in the middle of the night and all logic was replaced with panic.

We got to town early in the morning, just after sunrise and went straight to the hospital and checked her in. We then went to the “labor room” and begin the wait. Finally after all day of sitting in the most uncomfortable chair the hospital had to offer me, they took the Warden into the delivery room. Now in 1974, we were still kind of in the stone ages as far as birthing babies. The husband was allowed in the labor room but not in the delivery room, so I was shown the second most uncomfortable chair the hospital had to offer which was in the waiting room.

Finally a nurse showed up late in the evening and said if I would come to the window of the nursery, she would show me the baby. As she rolled this little bassinet full of blankets up to the window, I noticed the blank pink name card on it. I tapped on the window and pointed to the other bassinet with the blue card, but she shook her head and indicated that this one was mine. I figured there was no use arguing with her, we’d just get it straightened out in the next day or two.

The next day I went in to be with the Warden and she asked what we were going to name the baby since it was a girl. Now I was in a little bit of a shock that they could have so easily convinced her that she had a girl. We had always planned on a boy. Just then the door opened and a nurse entered pushing that blanket filled bassinet with that blank pink name card on it.

In one swoop, before I could even begin to ask questions concerning what they had done with my son, she laid this mass of blankets into my arms.

“What do you think of that Dad?” she asked as she pulled back the blankets to reveal this mass of black hair, squinting eyes, pink skin, long little fingers and stubby toes.

She was perfect! We named her Rebecca Diane (her mother’s middle name). And we called her Becky because of the tomboy Becky Thatcher in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

About that initial feeling of being called “Dad” for the first time, it will never be repeated or replaced. So you see, even though Becky was born on May 28 it was the next day that I became “Dad”.

And now you know the rest of the story.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

On this date, 1972

Saturday, May 20, 1972 was the day the Warden and I started out. My older brother, Gary was Best Man and the Maid of Honor was the Warden’s best friend Nene. It was in a little town called New Deal, just 13 miles north of Lubbock, TX where the Warden and I were both senior college students at TTU.

Now I reckon that was a good place for a newly wedded couple to start out in. You stood out like a sore thumb because New Deal was the typical farming community made up of middle aged and older couples. Most of them knew your business better than you did; most were ready with their advice for a long happy marriage and if you had a “spat” every one knew it.

Sonja, our next door neighbor knew things were a little tough financially around the “new household” and was always asking for the Warden to help to pick the garden, butcher chickens or can corn. And it seemed there was always something that “won’t fit in the freezer, so you take it home” or “I fixed a little too much can you use this?” I was always glad when she baked too many pies!

Corky, who farmed up north of town, told me that to keep a woman from running off you had to “keep her barefoot in the winter and pregnant in the summer”. And it had worked pretty well for him, last count I knew of, he had 6 kids and Rollabee was on the nest again. However, the Warden is still hanging around even though she has 34 pair of shoes in the closet and a hysterectomy!

Suzy, who was the postmistress, told the Warden one day, “Now you make that man share the work around the house. No man is worth keeping who won’t do dishes once in a while!” The Warden has heeded Suzy’s advice for the last 34 years.

I remember one Sunday afternoon, when the Warden and I had a fight. Now it wasn’t just a couple words type, it had been pretty well all afternoon. When we went to services that night I am sure we still showed the bristles. Everyone was eyeing one another out of the corners of their eyes with those “knowing” looks and giving each other little nod or a “questioning” look with a shrug of the shoulders.

When it came time to start the song service, Ron (the song leader) got up, gave a nod to Bill (the preacher) and we sang all the verses of “Angry Words”, “Love Lifted Me” and “Wonderful Story of Love”. Bill then said he was going to change his sermon from what the bulletin said. He had decided to preach on 1st Corinthians, 13 commonly known as “The Love Chapter”. We then ended services with all the verses of “Bless Be the Tie That Binds”.

Yeah, the people of New Deal kind of watched over us.

Well since then there has been a lot of laughter, heartaches, worries, promises, tears, sweat and even a few threats but I reckon we’ll make another year. And if I were to give any couple-to-be a “word of advice” it would have to be to marry your best friend. (Assuming of course the friend is of the opposite gender!)

Saturday, May 6, 2006

New glasses won't help

Well I got to tell you what happened at the Stockman café yesterday morning. I walked in, grabbed a cup of coffee and took an available seat with the rest of the real cowboys. The main topic of discussion was how much rainfall there had been over the last day or so.

The general consensus was that there had been between one and sixty-five to one and eighty-five hundredths of an inch. There was even great discussion and verifications of emptying previous amounts, time observed and even the procedure involved in reading the gauge before they settled on one and seventy-five hundredths of an inch with much discussion and fanfare! (I really think the United Nations negotiators should take some lessons from a cowboy coffee shop on how to come to an agreement!)

The room then quieted since an agreement had been reached.

About that time Neil (who is somewhat younger than the rest of us) walked in and sits down. After a moment of silence, he nodded toward the bulletin board on the far wall and said, “Looks like they are going to sell the old feedlot again.”

Everybody at the main table looked at the bulletin board mumbled an agreement. Neil then mentioned some of the things on the sale list.

Well now I am setting there looking at the bulletin board and can BARELY see the sales flyer, let alone read any of it at this distance. I slyly look at those setting at the table and notice they too are either squinting or adjusting their glasses for a better view of the flyer.

To kind of hide the fact that I am apparently going blind, I make the statement that I thought Laue owned that.

Neil nods in agreement and states, “yep, that’s what the sale bill said.” I notice Doug readjusting his glasses trying to find the right tri-focal to look through as he scans the sale bill on the far wall. Skip and Dale are both squinting at it.

At this distance, I can only read the top line on the sale bill. Below that, I can see nothing but little dots.

Neil continues on describing things on the sale bill, time to start, how the parcels will be sold, different articles to be sold that day, etc etc

I take off my glasses and begin cleaning them. (I notice Doug is doing the same thing.) I also know that if I hold my glasses at a slight angle it has a magnifying effect. So as I clean them I turn toward the sale bill and try to find the correct angle but that doesn’t seem help either at this distance.

Now Skip and Dale neither need glasses except for reading but I notice each rubbing their eyes. Skip says, “my eyes are kind of watering this morning.” Dale agrees that there must be something in the air because his are too.

None of us want to admit that our aging eyes have prevented us from reading the sale bill.

I decide to test Neil and ask who is holding the auction. Neil answers right off.

Well, proof is in the pudding, so I finally admit that I need a new pair of glasses since there is no way I can read that sale bill. Doug, Dale and Skip all mutter an agreement sighting somewhat different reasons.

Neil has a look of amazement on his face and says, “Heck, no way could I read that one. I read the one in the paper last night!”

There is a collective sigh of relief from the table as I pay for my coffee. I can head out now without feeling I am totally over the hill.