Well, here I sit………another day in the ‘stan. This last week marked the 22nd anniversary of my dad’s passing. As I spent extra time this week thinking about him I also had the opportunity to think about how my life might have been different had this accident not happened. For those that don’t know my dad was killed in a tractor accident when I was 14. It is unbelievable to me how certain events are ingrained into your memories…….I can remember exactly where I was sitting (computer room at Calvin HS), what I was doing (making posters to run for FFA Sentinel). I remember seeing my uncle Jerry’s car parked in front of the school with the passenger door standing open and thinking, that’s odd. I remember being taken to Mr. Turpin’s office and being told by Jerry what had happened. I remember everyone crying……..except me. I just don’t think I knew how to process it……..at least that’s how I remember it……
We didn’t have what I’d call a normal father-son relationship…….I mean, I knew he loved us but he never said it……..he had expectations for us and held us accountable to them. There was never any excuse for not having chores done…….but there were consequences! They usually involved the belt or paddle that was kept hanging in the kitchen! Lord forbid if we were outside because all manner of “corrective attitude adjustment” tools were available…….just use your imagination! By the time he passed I was getting big enough that when I heard something like “this hurts me more than you” I’d think REEAALLYY…….somehow I doubt that. While I am a proponent of a good butt whipping now and then, my kids have never had one. It might sound strange but we really have never had a reason to spank them……besides, I have at least one that would much prefer a good old fashioned butt whipping instead of the punishments the Mominator comes up with!
First of all, let me be perfectly clear. I certainly wish my dad was still here. One of my greatest sources of sadness stems from the fact that he never got to meet his grand kids……..nor they meet him. While my dad was nowhere near perfect, and far from it by most standards, he would have been a great grandpa and absolutely loved kids. While he was more apt to not “spare the rod” I know that he was simply trying to make us better than he was. He was a black sheep that did his own thing without much regard to what people thought. He never graced the doors of the church but made sure we did. He would spend time putting a new roof on it but would never be attending. He loved to fish…….I loved running trot lines with him in Caney creek……he was also maybe the most impulsive person I ever knew………totally random. If there was any planning in his life I never saw it…….not unusual to have him come home from work and say, pack a bag, we’re going on a trip. I guess that is maybe where I inherited this trait……..it is one that drives my wife crazy…..in case you didn’t know I am a people person……….I love being around people and going non-stop. A relaxing weekend at home? No thanks………give me 47 things to do and no time to do it and I’m good. Household 6 on the other hand loves nothing more than chilling at the house all day…….every day……makes me tired just thinking about it. Guess I’m just too easily bored. I love my family but have to be on the move…..
While thinking about my dad I also spent some time thinking about my mother. I’ll preface these comments with a warning: Please don’t think I’m cold or uncaring. My mother died when I was 4 years old. She had a sudden case of Toxic Shock Syndrome. My biggest concern is this: If I didn’t have pictures I wouldn’t even know what she looked like……..does that make me broken? The #5 is 5 years old……..if something happened to me I can’t imagine that she wouldn’t remember who I was. But I don’t have a single memory of my mother…….I don’t know her birthday, or the day she died…..(I mean, I have them written down but don’t KNOW them)…..I don’t know the sound of her voice or things she enjoyed doing….…it seems like that would make me a terrible person but I just don’t FEEL anything there………so odd. While I’m not an expert on anything I guess it just a way that the mind blocks, i.e., protects us from tragic events.
These tragedies also forced us to cross paths with Jenny and James that offered us the opportunity to become who we are today. They absolutely put their lives on hold and finished raising us. I certainly wish I could go back and do some things differently……I was not the easiest teenager to deal with. No crazy stuff but it was hard to go from basically having no supervision to a lot of supervision……I regret I was hard headed and caused them any grief…….
While I know that everything happens for a reason, (God’s Will) I can’t help but think what my life would be like had these events not happened. While I don’t understand why they did, I’m grateful for the life I have now. I have an eternal companion that loves me when I least deserve it. I have 6 great kids who try to live their lives to a standard that others cannot understand. They are my greatest joy. I have found the Gospel of Jesus Christ in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This gospel allows me the opportunity to be sealed as an eternal family to them, as long as I keep the commandments and covenants I make with Him. I wish I could be a better missionary. To be able to open my mouth and tell my friends and family what blessings are available to them would be a great tool. I don’t know why it is so hard to do this seemingly simple task. Deep down I think it’s because I don’t want to offend anyone. Belief in God is a powerful subject that can easily create division between those that believe differently.....trust me, I have first hand experience with this one.... I mean, we all, regardless of our religion of choice, think we have it right……I guess I just hope that the example we set will help to plant seeds that others will be curious about. I also think that it is hard to share because I understand the level of commitment required to change…..it is not easy. We don’t “practice” on Sunday and “play” the rest of the week. The church is who we are……..it defines us. We try to live as an example of Him every day. And it’s hard……..but is so worth it. The best people I’ve ever met, and the lives I most try to emulate are those friends I met in church…….average, hard working folks that live every day to the best they can……..they never have a bad word to say about anybody and will drop everything to help out someone else………while I haven’t made much progress on the “never a bad word” thing I do try……ok, enough about that…
I’m down to 10 weeks left is this hole………am so ready to be home. Making some plans for some summer travels (assuming my leave gets approved). Shaping up to be about 3 weeks’ worth of road tripping…… good times. Be better if I had a big motor home instead of the mini-van but such is life.
Going to see some family……..both blood and church :-) family……..hit some church historical sites, D.C, NY, KS, CO, OK then back home……..good stuff. After 3 weeks on the road in a minivan with 6 kids I probably better bookmark this page so I can remind myself that it is good times…..
Well, ‘bout all for now……..I need to get to work and try to earn some of my check.
Somebody needs to remind me just why we are here in this crap-hole country……….
God bless and love to all,