Happy Birthday, Dad

Today would’ve been my dad’s 92nd birthday, if he were still alive. Though we lost him 24 years ago, I still miss him terribly. He had a way about him that made you want to be him. Maybe because he really didn’t care what other people thought of him, though he’d bend over backwards to help you out if you were in need or trouble. Or his yuk yuk laugh. Or that he always wore blue jeans – long before it was cool.

He loved boats – I think because secretly he had a wanderer’s heart and always wanted to travel the world. In fact, the last day of his life, he had gone to the harbor to watch the boats with his wife. Later that day, he passed in his sleep. But I’m glad that it was in a safe and loving place.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I hope there are boats, Budweiser, and country music, wherever you are.

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Fourth of July in a Small Town

I have lived in my little town for several years now and although I was aware that we had a parade on significant holidays, I never attended any. This year I resolved to attend the 4th of July parade and I’m glad I did.

It was not a fancy parade, with shiny, big bands and Hollywood celebrities – no, it was just a slice of Americana in it’s most humble attire. Flags of course were everywhere and a few thousand of us (which would be most of the town) lined Foothill Boulevard to watch the official kickoff of the celebration under the hot July sun.

I found a perch outside the local Starbuck’s, ready with travel-mugged coffee and a bottle of icy water. Camera in hand and really feeling like a little kid, excited and proud.

The crowd donned all manner of headgear, carried mundane and imaginative seat options and vendors pushed carts filled with cotton candy, popcorn, ice cream and cold drinks.

I ended up taking almost two hundred pictures, so into it was I that I hardly knew which pictures to share. But after much deliberation I chose about 20 that should tell you how the parade proceeded:

       

     

 

             

 

 

 

 

Now, I don’t know about you or your town and whether you have a parade for the 4th but I have to say it was fun, even getting sprayed by the water truck was a hoot and I most decidedly felt proud to be an American afterward. We are a unique country and unique people who by and large are proud of their hard-fought heritage and parades are a fun and cheery way of showing it. Now there are studies that say if you attend such parades you run the risk of growing up a Republican – oooh, now that’s scary isn’t it? Puleez – on this day of all days we are simply Americans, one and all and celebrating the birth of our wonderful nation.

God Bless and Happy 4th –

I’m heading home to fire up the barbie.

WC

Copyright 2011

This Father’s Day

Every year around Father’s Day I get a little weepy because my dad is no longer with us. Put frankly, I miss the hell out of him. I wish he were still here. I wish today I was taking him out for a pancake breakfast and a round of mini-golf, or trekking out to (God forbid) Disney Land so we could go It’s a Small World and the Pirates of the Caribbean a bagillion times.

I think about times we could have spent together but didn’t because we lived 3,000 miles apart. I still can’t listen to Johnny Cash without getting teary-eyed because Cash was one of Dad’s favorites. Ditto with Budweiser commercials, Rodeo movies, and soft-serve chocolate ice cream.

I think my dad was my very first friend. I suppose I am like millions of other daughter’s who were daddy’s girls. And my memories of him are like a crazy mixed-up collage of lessons learned, laughs shared, reflections, realizations, simple pleasures, weird adventures, heated debates and knowing that I was loved.

Dad wasn’t perfect – far from it and I have no desire to idolize him. He was a man with many flaws and could be stubborn as hell. But he was real and he was honest. He knew who he was. He took his responsibilities seriously but he never took life too seriously. He wasn’t politically correct, subtle or fashionable. He was just Lucky. He was just a man who worked hard, loved his family and did everything he could to help and he was my dad.

Happy Father’s Day Dad – hope all is well where you are – that you’re having fun and finding lots of things to laugh about – that the coffee is hot and strong, that the sun is shining and you’re spending time watching the boats in the harbor. That your camera always has film, your radio has a country music station and calories don’t count in heaven.

Love,
Me

Christmas for the Troops

While we are still just beginning to plan Christmas and work out our lists – there are thousands of troops halfway around the world standing the watch. And while I believe we all want them home for Christmas, that’s not happening yet.

If you would like to send some Christmas cheer to the troops check out the following organizations below:

Operation Enduring Christmas

Trees for Troops

Operation Care Packages

For as little as $10 you can give a little bit of Christmas to our troops – funny how so little can mean so much, isn’t it?

God bless our troops, their families and loved ones and Merry Christmas.

WC

Why do Twitter and Facebook hate me?

Puleeze can someone tell me? Am I the only one who can rarely if ever get onto FB or Twitter –  much less do something once I get there? It’s a wonder to me. Apparently social networking is the thing of the 21st Century. I mean for cripes sakes where would we be without it?  Probably like me – continuously frustrated and probably somewhat inept at all the many apps.

I have lots of friends and family just wild about this stuff. Downloading tweetdecks and twitter apps for their blogs and all sorts of stuff. Me? Like I said just waiting for the endless loop of trying to download the page.

I even get notifications from both sites – saying I’m being followed by so and so or so and so wants me to join a cause or see their new pics. Hey, I’d love to follow you back or at least find out who the heck you are and why you are so bored you would follow me but… And I guess I wouldn’t mind tweeting from time to time but…

Forget about the FB apps. Farmville, MafiaWars, Family chains, circle of friends, virtual roses, pizzas, children, awards, automobiles, produce, etc..

Frankly folks, for the most part it’s all beyond me. The fact that I can barely get onto either site is a drawback I’ll admit but really how do so many people have so much time on their hands? Maybe they have secret plugins that allow them to actually get something done on either of these apps but I just can’t seem to spare an hour to simply find out who is following me and why much less tweet about something.  And growing virtual produce seems rather silly to me – why not just play a video game?

I definitely like the concept of staying in touch and having an easy platform to do so…but I guess that’s my point. Neither facebook or twitter make it easy – at least for me.  Mostly they just make me curse under my breath. I suppose I should just pull the plug on both of these sites – I mean I’m not really contributing anything to speak of and the whole virtual aspect makes me a little dizzy – but then I think to myself, at least somewhere somehow, long lost friends or family can find me. Still, it’s hard to network on sites that hate you. That taunt you and just won’t let you play.

Anybody else out there have this problem or should I start taking it personally?

WC

Dear Dad (happy father’s day)

Dear Dad,

Here we are once again. To say I miss you doesn’t begin to state the absence I feel.  Every day I think about you and wonder where you are. In heaven? In another life? In some paralell universe? Do they have Budweiser and country music there?

What bothers me is that lately  I’m forgetting. Not you. Not the events of that past life. But the sound of your voice. The lines of your craggy face. Your presence. The connection. I fight it but maybe it is time to let go. Maybe that is the way it is supposed to be. Maybe I’m not letting  you move on and you need to. Still, it’s hard to open my clutching hand. It’s hard to set you free. It’s hard to let you have a life without me.

You will always be my hero. You will always be the most important person in my life. I will never forget the lessons you taught me. I am proud to be your daughter. The morning sky will always make me think of your eyes. And summer tomatoes and Wheaties and black coffee and chocolate ice cream cones.

Thanks Dad – for being you. For being there.

Love,

Me

Oh Mother – Theme Friday

Oh Mother…

you gave me birth

but I often wondered why

I never pleased you

I often made you cry

I was too sullen

too fat, too shy

Too quiet, too noisy

too low, too high

Neither the baby

nor first-born

I tread in the middle

Feeling forlorn

Professing maternal love

with tears and supplication

and criticized my actions

with promised damnation

Oh Mother…

I sought your praise

in everyone I met

left feeling needy

from that foolish sucker’s bet

copyright 2010

Christine and her mother….

Teapot – Theme Friday

I’m a little teapot, short and stout – here is my handle, here is my spout…” Before I ever knew what those words meant, I sung them to amuse grown ups. Mommy…Daddy…aunties and uncles.  The words gave me a fleeting power to command the eyes, ears and attention of adults. For those few moments, I ruled, cavorted, made them laugh and praise me — using my blond ringlets and fetching dimples to their maximum power.

It wasn’t long though before I connected the words to the vessel that made tea. A wonderous liquid with healing capabilities far beyond touted claims. The power to comfort. The power to reassure. The power to warm. The power to make a sick little girl feel not so sick, not so lonely.

And tea had its greatest power when I was ill. Mama always made me tea and toast whenever I was sick. Oddly, when I was sick and Mama went through the tea and toast ritual it was the only time I felt unconditional love emanating from her. Bringing a tray into my darkened sick room, Mama spoke softly – felt my forehead and smiled at me as though I were the center of the universe. Truth be told, there were times when I wasn’t as sick as I pretended to be. I craved her love so—to be the owner of all her attention and care. To remove my siblings from the equation…

Granny’s teapot, a relic we inherited, was once grand and lovely. All the way from County Cork Ireland it traveled to find its new home in America. I don’t much remember Granny because she left us when I was very small.  Eyes the color of jade, clear and unmutuable—hands white as milk with fine blue veins pulsing beneath the skin.

That teapot became Granny in my mind – fine structure, but ancient in its wage against time.  Pale and edged in faded gold and a spray of faded pink roses front and back. And from it came comfort, strength, love and reassurance. And I cried the day it finally died by suicide from a high pantry shelf. Tea never tasted the same after that and I spend my weekends looking for another Granny teapot and the curative powers it imparted.

copyright 2010

What powers does Christine’s teapot have?