Life Lessons

MUD & Harvey at a Walmart Store in Bentonville, AR

In today's Sunday paper Magazine, a father with a bone tumor selected five friends to help be a father to his twin girls if he dies from the bone cancer he had in his leg. That's an interesting story, but I think in his situation, I would have gone a little closer to home and picked family.

Lets start with the sister that I have known the longest. Myrna Sue taught me to read at an early age. I think that my being able to read is one of the main reasons I survived in school. Had my third grade teacher tried to help me read more instead of putting me out in the hall, we both could have had a better go at that year I turned 8. Sue worked hard her entire life and finally when she met Ray, found a soul mate for her life.

My sister Carol Lee, caught the same music bug I did at Minneha and loves music. I attribute that to Mrs Holloway, but Carol went on to teach the love to a whole generation (or two) of kids. I hope that she continues to share with others that love. Me, I just sing as loud as I can.

My brother Rick, went half way through life and one day stopped and turned his life around. From a worker in an Aircraft plant, he stopped and invested his retirement fund into a whole new career. In fact he went back to college and then KU Med school to become an Occupational Therapist. I am not sure that I envy his travel schedule but I'm pretty sure that it beats working in a factory wondering when the next lay off will happen.

My mother was like the earth mother. You knew that no matter how bad your day was or is, you could go over there and get a hug. Oh sure, you could get a swat if you weren't good but then it would be over and she would love, laugh, sing and move on.

What marriage would be complete with out two people. Barb has always been a down to earth solid planner that worked hard and valued education. After being married to me for a while it must have been a normal reaction for her to get a Masters Degree in Special Education. If she could keep me on track, her kids would be a breeze. For 42 years we have been together and right now is a pretty god time in out life. We finally have a coincidence of the money and time to travel. Her finding a Ford Crown Victoria and helping me think it was all my idea worked. We can cruise down the road and arrive in comfort. It is also a tribute that most all of her long term plans worked and we got to a grand place in life.

For the time being, I will leave my father out of this. I think the lessons I learned from him I'm still working on.

What do we learn from our children. I think watching the sheer joy of life through their eyes is one of the greatest thrills. Being a pretty typical father, I feel that taking them to the edge of the nest and being thrilled about how they fly away is important. Mothers tend to want to worry more about them but in the long run there is a lot of merit in both approaches.

Of the friends I had as a younger man, several of them aren't here any more. Ron and Harvey are still on my must call list and I enjoy visiting with them as much as I can. Wayne, John, Whitney and Dennis L are all gone now. Illness and injury has played a rough part of the lives of my friends. Whitney survived a couple of tours in Vietnam as an infantryman and died in a traffic accident in California. Someday I hope Ron will be able to open up and talk about his time in Vietnam. I once saw his ribbon rack and he was pretty highly decorated but wouldn't talk about it back in the days right after his return.

I guess we all have our community and we depend on them for different reasons. This wasn't a deep analysis, just a theme that came to mind after reading an article.


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