This letter is for my Grandpa Hale, who passed away in 2018:
Nobody is perfect, but you were great. You always tried to make us kids happy. Some of my most memorable moments with you were when you would randomly ask me about math problems. We wouldn’t get to your house until around midnight sometimes, but you still gave me numbers to work through, and I solved them. You were so impressed by my quick solving mind that you began teaching me how to play sudoku. It was hard at first, but I got the hang of it and loved it. It was a fun numbers game. Numbers were one of my main bonds with you, Grandpa.
Something else I did with you, along with my sister, was the TV show called Chopped. You started a” Family Chopped”. I don’t know if my readers have watched that cooking show, but basically it is about judging different people’s food and eliminating the contestants until only the best is left. Grandpa, you would give my sister and I a main course of food, and we had to make a meal using it with our own choice of a side dish. We did it for three years. It was a lot of fun. I used to watch that show all the time, so it was cool to feel like I was in it. We had so much fun at your house, it felt like another home. I was always cozy and comfortable there.
You always tried to give my sister and me money. You would give us math problems, riddles, etc. My great- grandfather, Grandio, does the same. I will not lie, it is fun getting money by doing challenges. On Christmas, or my birthday, you also gave us money and always asked us later what we did with it. Sometimes I saved it. Other times I spent it quickly. You always tried to give us an extra helping hand.
Another game you taught me was chess. I wanted to know how to play, and everyone told me that you were great at it. I then went to you and asked to play. you showed me what each piece did and then we played a match or two. Let me tell you that my family was not lying when they talked about how good you are. I cannot remember if I’ve ever beaten you, I might have once, but it would not surprise me that you let me win.
I remember you would come and stay with us at Christmas sometimes and that was awesome! One year you gave me my first chess board, and we played on it together. I had bunches of fun with you while you were with us. I would go outside and sit with you in the garage, and we played hangman, or just hang out, or just talk. We did the same at your house under the car cover in front of your garage. You always had Life Savers there too.
I want my mom to pay close attention to this part. I want her to know that when she struggles and misses you; she does not have to hide it. I want her to come to me. I do not want her to feel sad, or alone. I want her to know that I miss you dearly too, grandpa, and she can come to me and talk about it. She can cry and laugh with me over the memories we have of you. When Mom is sad, I go to her and if she does not want me around, then I will pull this story up on my phone and hand it to her. No matter what, I will try to comfort her when she is alone. I do not want Mom to be sad, and I hope I can help her stay on the positive side of things. I love you, mama and I will always be here for you.
I hope you see this in Heaven, Grandpa. I hope you can be here with all of us. Lord, please lay a hand on my mom, all my aunts, Grandio, Mamaw, and the rest of my family. I love you Grandpa ❤…Taylor
This is dedicated to my Mama. My Mama is very special to me. She has helped me
through so much in my life while helping others at the same time. People go to
her when they need help because she is very easy to talk to about personal
problems. She always knows what to say, that is why I go to her all the time. For
example, when I broke down and had a panic attack because I was so upset by
basketball, I went to her. I was so sad, but after she wrapped her arms around me
tight and talked to me in her soothing and comforting tone, I knew I was okay. She
prays over me when I’m anxious and sad. She picks me up when I’m down. I don’t
know what I would do without her.
She means the world to me. I know every kid says to their mom that she is the
best in the whole wide world, but Mama, “You are the best in the whole wide
world!” I mean it with all my heart and no other kid can mean it as much as me! I
love you, and I want to help you like you help me. When you are down and trip
over a stump, I want to help pick you up like you do me. When you are scared and
see a pot hole ahead of you on the road, I want to help you move around it like
you do me. I want to be someone that you can talk to and get help from like you are
No one can replace you Mama. Know that that will never change! I love you and
always will no matter what! Never forget that! You mean the world to me. You try
to make me happy even if it causes you trouble.
I appreciate you and everything you do. You fight for this family, and you fight for
me. You try your best to get me where I need to be, get my two siblings where
they need to be, and get yourself where you need to be. I do not know how you
do it but you do.
I for one am proud of you. Might I just say that I am a fan of your work. Also….
just so you know… I love and miss you the most, no backsies.
P.S. Many of you reading this will not know what that means in my family.
My journey with basketball has been a great one. I have played it since around 3rd grade. I love it and it will always be something I love and have a place in my heart.
When I was younger, I started off playing at a church. I had a lot of fun. As soon as I started playing, I knew it was my thing. It was my main sport, and I thought it would always be.
My dad was my coach when I was younger. He loved coaching and watching me play. He used to play it when he was younger. He still coaches me till this day. I was not super good when I was younger, but I was pretty average. I remember one game I was the only kid who didn’t score. My dad set up a play so that after one kid shot a free throw, they could chunk the ball across the court to me. I was wide open but still nervous. I made it, though.
After Upward basketball, at the church, I started AAU travel ball when I was in elementary school. I had a coach named Heather. She was absolutely amazing! I love her and always will. She is like a close friend. Actually, she is one. She has taught me a lot. She prepared me for my future with basketball.
Once I got in Junior High, things got harder, but I got better. I was always nervous before games, though. I would also get nervous in practices. I would be too hard on myself, and I still am. I stuck with it, though. I knew I was doing well, but still focused on what I messed up on. However, I love the sport, so I didn’t want to let it go. Later on, I started to think about whether or not I still wanted to play. I started thinking like this around 7th and 8th grade. I never officially settled on quitting.
I decided to keep playing. I did not hate playing or anything like that. It just started to become something I did not always have fun doing. I will say that those moments when I made a great shot or game changing move felt amazing! One time, we were playing against a team at their gym. I was in 7th grade at the time. We were tied 30-30 at the last 10 seconds. I got fouled and had a chance to put us ahead of them. If I made at least one free-throw then we would be up by one point. I made both! We were then up by 2 points with about 10 seconds left. I felt so good, yet nervous, at that very moment. We tried our best to guard them, but one girl got the ball and dribbled down the court to their goal. I could not let her win the game. I was determined. I ran as fast as I could and tipped the ball right from her hand. She still managed to get it back before it went out of bounds, but she did not have enough time to get off a good shot off. She just threw it up and completely missed. I was so happy! I made the winning shots and defensive play to win the game! That was one of my happiest moments while playing basketball.
Now, I am in high school. I decided to keep playing basketball. I was extremely nervous and anxious. When we started practicing, coach did not cut anyone off the team. If you wanted off, then you would just quit. I didn’t want to quit exactly at the time. The head coach, Wilkins, was starting to really like me, and coach heather, the assistant coach, already loved me. It felt good that they loved me and how I played. I am a really great shooter. That’s what I love to do. I was not that good at handling the ball, but I sure could shoot it. Later on, I started to think different though. After about halfway through the season I was not having fun playing. It started feeling like a job rather than a fun sport or hobby. After the season was over, I broke. I started to really think about how unhappy I was playing every day. We never got a break. We played all year round. I finally decided to quit.
Now, I feel free. I feel like I can do what I really want to do. I want to help animals when I’m older. I am going to take classes that will help me learn more about them. I still love basketball but just as something I do on my own for fun. I do not want to do it all the time and at my school. I am much happier now and glad that I made that important decision in my life.
I used to have a dog named Cupcake. She was a shih-tzu. She was absolutely adorable, but she could be troublesome. Cupcake was white with big black spots. I was just a baby when I got her from an elderly woman that had a shih-tzu of her own with about 3 puppies. Cupcake was the runt of the litter and I fell in love with her. I would take naps with her, eat with her, and play with her. I even remember sharing my food with her like you see on television shows.
I literally remember sitting in my highchair and taking a bite of an apple and then leaning over to give her a bite. She loved it when I did that. Then I would take a bite again. I know that’s gross, but that was just her and I doing our thing.
We were inseparable. I used to walk around the house at 3-5 years old and carry her in a Walmart sack. She would just stick her head out and let me. I liked to play with her. She wasn’t rough with me and let me do whatever. When I got older, I would tease her and mess with her so that she would chase me around the room. It was so fun. She would run really fast. I would start running in circles, then jump on the couch. She would jump up with me and get over it.
One of her favorite things to do was sun- bathe. She will do that all day, every day. If I wasn’t playing with her, then she would lie on the floor, or her favorite spot, on top of the back of the couch, basking in the sun. That was her thing to do when she wanted alone time. She looked so cute and calm just lying there. She also loved to lie down inside our old futon. There was a hole in the back underneath it, and she would just climb right in it.
One problem we had with her though was potty training. If we did not let her out when she had to go, then she would just go wherever. We would lay peepee pads down in multiple rooms before we left to go somewhere and come back to see that she only peed partially on the pad and some on the floor. It was so embarrassing one time she literally peed on a table when we had a guest over. I mean, I was just standing there in such awe and embarrassment.
Besides that, when we let her outside, she had to have a leash on or else she would run off. She would also just run out the door if she had the chance when it was open. I would get so scared sometimes. Most of the time she only went to the neighbor’s house and I would go get her. I will say I loved walking back with her to the house because I would hold her belly up like a baby. But as she got older, she ran further than just the neighbor’s house. She started running a couple miles to find a male dog she liked.
He was black and white also, but too big for her to be with. If she got pregnant because of him, then her puppies could have ended up too big, and that would have ended badly. One time she was gone, like half a day, and I almost lost it. One day we left for Church, around 5 or 5:30pm, and as we were backing out of the driveway she showed up. I felt so much relief. Cupcake also ran off one time and came back with that male dog. I was happy she found another dog, but I was not happy that it was causing her to run away. That eventually came to a stop.
She stopped running off one day, and I remember we looked at her and thought she was pregnant. Her belly was enormous. So that was the first thing we thought. I was ecstatic at first, but then we all thought about how dangerous that could be for her. Also, mama and daddy did not want any puppies. They took her to the vet and came home with bad news. She had diabetes. I was very upset when I found out. I hoped she would be okay, and she was a fighter. We had to give her one shot every day. She would get bloated, but the shots helped with that.
Then the hits just kept on coming. She went blind. It hurt me to find out that she also was turning blind. One day I was playing or something with her and noticed her eye looked different. She had some weird bump on it. I took a good look at it and went to get my mom. She looked at it and took her to the vet. The vet told her she had an ulcer on her eye. The diabetes caused her to go blind. On top of that, she always rubbed her eye on the carpet floor. There is no doubt that made it worse. Once she couldn’t really see anymore, she had some trouble getting around the house. She might run into something every once in a while. She got the hang of it, though.
Now outside was a different story. She would go outside and use the bathroom like normal, but had trouble finding the door to get back in. I felt so bad for her. Cupcake would get goopy stuff around her eyes all the time. I wanted to start help to clean her eyes, so my parents showed me how to wipe her eyes with a baby wipe. I did not feel comfortable giving her shots on my own, so I left that to them.
One day, the worse happened. I left for school one morning and did not know what news was coming ahead of me. Cupcake was gone. My dad was off at work, and my mom told me she must have run away when she opened the door. She didn’t know at the time because she was busy with my little brother, trying to get him out the door. It devastated me! It really hurt me deep down inside. I didn’t know I could become so attached to an animal until I met her. Especially at that moment, I didn’t know how to handle the situation in my head.
My mind was going a million miles an hour, thinking about finding her. I had nothing but her on my mind. We started off just shouting for her outside. Then my mom drove off to look for her. Then I really started thinking about her not coming back. I vividly remember standing in the middle of the road yelling my heart out for her. I was sobbing. My voice cracking as I yelled. I felt like the world stopped and I couldn’t do anything. All I wanted was for her to come back to me. My mom came back home and saw me and helped calm me down. I never stopped thinking about her. How could I? She was like my own child. I didn’t want to give up. We looked around in the nearby field and yelled and shouted for her. Our neighbors saw us and wanted to help. We still didn’t find her, though.
My mom told me something that her mother told her: Sometimes when a dog knows their journey on earth is ending, they run away so their owner won’t see them. It helped me feel better knowing that. It’s hard to explain how. I like to think she died a peaceful death. I love her so much. I know she is waiting in Heaven for me though.