Monday, August 20, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Meanwhile, a few other random thoughts, as Alissa would say. There was supposed to be a painting of Flathead Lake on this post, but after 3 tries at uploading the image and being kicked offline, I decided to wait with it for another time. Such is life, I guess. I wanted some feedback on this one, too, so I will definitely try again when blogger isn't being so temperamental.
School is back in session again, and the neighbors have all parked out in front of our house to wait for the bus. Seems their middle schoolers can't walk a half-mile down the road to get home. We will be "blessed" with several cars parked out front and people out of them chatting for 30 or more minutes each school day until June, I guess. For some reason, this bothers me, and it doesn't bother the old guy. It used to be the other way around, but we seemed to have changed on that front. I just don't like people parking on the grass which is right-of-way, but that we maintain and then settling in and blocking traffic. Guess I'm the old curmudgeon now.
We are having a heat wave and drought right about now, and we have had an average daily high of 98.1 degrees since Aug. 1. And no rain, either. Today it's 105 out there. They keep predicting a break in the weather, but it hasn't happened so far.
Belated happy birthdays to Alissa and Chip. Chip turned 30 on Aug. 9, and Alissa became 33 yesterday. We haven't had a chance to celebrate with either of them yet, so we will be having a joint celebration on Aug. 25, when we can all get together. Chip is now sharing his birthday with his new baby cousin (Welcome to Grant and Congratulations to Matt and Whitney!), so celebrations will probably be combined more often in the future. It seems that as the kids grow older and other family members join us, it is getting harder and harder to find a time when everyone can get together and celebrate. Again, that's life, I guess.
Our grandson started first grade this year and was very proud to do so, but he is having some beginning-of-school adjustment problems. I feel sure things will settle down soon, but I do remember dealing with those kinds of problems, both from a parent's perspective and from the teacher's. All there is to say about that is that I'm glad my kids are grown and that I'm retired. Someone else can fight the good fight now!
Guess that's enough randomness. As always, life is good...
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Yesterday was my dad's birthday. He became 84 years young . This is my dad when he was a young boy and this year. He had that steel guitar, but I don't think he became very skilled at playing it. He was an only child and was pampered, but not too much, by his mom. She did stuff like cut crusts off his sandwiches and fix ONLY Franco-American spaghetti, but he did not turn out to be a spoiled brat. He graduated early from high school and married my mom when he was not quite 20 years old. Shortly after that, he joined the Navy during World War II. He served on a radio repair ship in the Pacific. When he came home, he was a father as well as a husband and son, and my family settled into a post-war life. He began working at GE, where he worked until he retired. He always regretted that he didn't get a chance to go to college, but he worked hard and earned himself a professional engineer certification.
During the time I was growing up, Dad was the main breadwinner while Mom took care of the household. However, when he came home from work each evening, he had plenty of time for us. He would do things like lie on the floor and fly us like Superman or get into our little wading pool and cool off with us. Every year he and Mom took us on a neat family vacation, one week to someplace we hadn't visited before and one week to Erie to visit our grandparents. I looked forward to those summer trips, and it's probably where I developed my love of travel that I still have. He was a strict disciplinarian, but a loving one,and we toed the line. No matter where we were playing in the neighborhood, when he came outside and whistled, we came running. It was suppertime or time to go somewhere.
Once all of us grew up and left home, it was just Mom and Dad, and they got along just fine without us. They traveled together, settling finally on winters in Panama City Beach, Florida, in the mid-1980's. Dad still winters in the same spot now. Mom and Dad were each other's support during the health crises they both suffered and during the time following my grandparents' illnesses and deaths. Dad saw how much his father had depended on his mother for everything and how he deteriorated after her death. Without knowing he would later be in the same situation, Dad vowed then not to let the same thing happen to him. And it didn't. During the time of my mom's illness, Dad picked up the slack and did all the household chores and took care of her, in spite of having such painful knees that he could hardly walk himself. He became very adept at caring for her and for his own needs, which would serve him well after she died.
After Mom died, Dad made a conscious decision to go on and try to enjoy life, and he has done well at it. He has had his knees replaced and remains healthy and clear-minded. He does things that will keep his mind active, and he doesn't seem anywhere near his age. People hear that he is 84, and they immediately think of him as nursing home material, but he's not. I just think of him as Dad, the go-to guy he has always been. I don't worry about him driving or going places by himself. He is very capable of taking care of himself, and he is justifiably proud of it. Of course I wish him many more happy years of traveling to Florida and enjoying the company of his friends. Happy Birthday, Dad!
P.S. I forgot to say that I admire and love my dad ever so much. I hope I age as gracefully as he has!