Tag: animals

My Hero… by JoAnn

Summertime was a time to be free from shoes, homework, and schedules when I was a little girl. My older sister and I would spend as much time outdoors as we could. We had a beautiful property to run and play on as much as our hearts desired.

When it got too hot, we would go into the woods surrounding our home and play in a cool, shady spot. We would play house in the dirt, pretending to bake pies and cakes. We always had a grand time. It saddens me that today’s children will never experience such a simple activity. It made us better human beings by allowing us to be more appreciative of the little things that life can offer.

Along with the fun of being outside all day, there were also learning experiences. The occasional wasp sting would undoubtedly slow our fun down. A lightning storm would send us running for cover as well. But the most fun-busting thing of all was the unwanted guests that would cross our paths.

I have loved animals all my life. But when I was little, I encountered a big Ground Hog standing up on his hind legs, which scared the beans out of me. This happened to me several times one summer. My Mama & Daddy finally made me realize that if I just shouted loudly, I could scare the Mr. Ground Hog away. I still was not amused when he made his appearance.

Our mailbox was down the mountain, at the end of our long, gravel driveway. It was a little steep walking down and even steeper climbing back up. The walk provided some good exercise for sure. I loved having the chore of checking the mailbox. I never received mail, but that didn’t keep me from dreaming that maybe something would be in the mail for me.

One day while making my way back up the steep driveway, I was greeted by yet another critter. This one was not big and furry but instead long and slithery. You guessed it, a snake. It was lying under the wild blackberry bushes that grew on the fence line. The moment I saw Mr. Snake, I screamed. The loud noise must have disturbed him because he began moving towards me. I began to run as fast as my chubby little legs could take me, screaming for Daddy as I ran for my life. Daddy was always outside working when we were out playing.

The snake began to chase me. I ran so fast to the top of the driveway. By then, not only was my Daddy there, but Mama had run out of the house too. Daddy already had a hoe in his hands. He began hitting the snake with that hoe until it was no longer moving. I was still crying and inconsolable. Both parents kept trying to assure me that the snake was dead, but I did not believe them. So Daddy took the snake up with the hoe and down toward the pig pen he went, telling me to watch what he was doing. When he reached the electric fence around the pig pen, he slung the snake onto it. The snake immediately started sizzling and smoking. I calmed down.

My Daddy became my hero that day. I saw him as a superhero in a comic book. I thought he was the bravest, strongest man I could ever know. He went above and beyond for me that day. The story may sound gross to some, but it is a story I keep tucked away in my heart. I know a lot of people who weren’t raised on a farm or in the country would say that Daddy shouldn’t have killed the snake. What else was there to do if it were chasing a child and about to strike? This is just one of the many stories that explain why I loved my Daddy so very much. He wasn’t perfect by no means, but the things he did right out-shined all the bad!

Thank you, Daddy, for being such a great hero to me.

Just Mousing Around

😊 I remember as a nine-year-old boy (1950), going to church on Sunday, and how special that felt. It was the only day during the week our family got “dressed up,” so it was an important day. In the afternoon, we would pile into the car and head off to Grundy, about 15 miles away, to see the latest movie at the Lynwood Theater. Kids under 12 could get in for 25¢ and you could buy a bag of popcorn and a coke for another 25¢. It felt so wonderful, sitting there in front of that big screen and seeing what was going on outside my own little world. I saw beautiful women, handsome men, fast horses, expensive homes, all for the lowly sum of 25¢. It is quite likely that when we are young, all of our senses are more pronounced than they are as we grow older. I still remember the “new-car smell” in dad’s 1952 Hudson, the first new pair of dress shoes he bought me and the first fan he brought home during a hot summer to help us get a little relief from the heat. Today (2018), I have difficulty remembering things, unless they are very unusual, like my granddaughter Christine graduating from college, or helping my daughter-in law get set up in her new home. We recently bought a new truck, and it didn’t feel as unique as that brand spanking new Hudson parked outside our home in 1952. I struggle to figure out why that is and have not been able to come up with an answer. Thomas Mann said, “No man remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself.”

😊 Well, my 77th birthday rolled around a few days ago.  I arose early because I had a doctor’s appointment at 10:45am and needed to visit my dentist shortly thereafter because a filling had dislodged itself from one of my teeth.  I expected both appointments to be fairly quick, and that I would be home by 1pm.  I arrived for my 10:45 appointment and was calmly informed that I was mistaken. I was not on the schedule for that day.  They would gladly schedule me for one in 3 days.  I had a printout of my appointment at home and the lady, who was going to reschedule me, was the same person that did it before.  I must admit she was courteous while informing me I was mistaken about the appointment, but she left no doubt that she felt I was wrong in showing up on that day.  It is a well-known fact that if you want to make someone mad, tell them they are wrong.  I could feel resentment and anger start to rear their ugly head, but I was determined not to criticize this nice lady.  As I left her office with a new appointment for another day and feeling good about controlling my anger, she yelled as I prepared to exit thru the door, “Thanks for being so understanding Mr. Hale!”  I am  glad she was unable to see what was in my heart.  Saint Frances De Sales said, “There was never an angry man that thought his anger unjust.”Yup, that me!

😊 My next stop is to visit my dentist and get that filling replaced. I figured it had been in place for about 40 years and just got tired of staying in place and decided to exit stage left.  My dentist took an X-ray and politely told me the tooth needed to come out because it had a crack.  He doesn’t pull teeth, but he called another dentist and scheduled me to arrive in his office in two hours.  I arrived at the appointed time and thirty minutes later I am in my truck headed home, minus one small tooth.  I have lost several teeth in my lifetime, and I remember the removal of each.  I work hard at taking care of my teeth (brushing, flossing, waterpik) and resent the loss of each one.  Kin Hubbard said so wisely, “there is one advantage of being poor – a doctor will cure you faster. “That is so true.

😊 Researchers are saying that Americans, on average, touch their phones an astonishing 2,617 time each day.  I may touch mine 100 times per day. I am thinking less, but I will guess at most that number.  I would say that, until age 18 (1959), my total touches since my birth was probably 100 times.  During that time, I had to stand in front of the person I wanted to talk with to communicate with them.  Now days, you can have a friend in Russia and communicate by video several times daily at absolutely no charge (except for your monthly phone bill).  Would I have wanted to have today’s technology during my teenage years?  Absolutely!  I doubt very seriously that my parents could have afforded to provide me with a cellphone/laptop/desktop device, but if they could’ve, I would be in the 2,617 touches daily group.  I’m thinking that one of the easiest things to do on this earth is to criticize those lifestyles that are unusual, less organized, or appear nonsensical.  If there is one thing I have learned it is this, “Let people be different.”

😊 My wife and I recently attended the musical, “Mamma Mia”and sat with a friend of ours (Darleen) and two of her friends (Marsha & Lynn).  It was a wonderful play about a young 20-year-old woman getting married and wanting her dad (whom she never knew) to walk her down the aisle.  She located her mom’s diary and discovered she had sex with three guys the month she got pregnant, so she invited all three of them to her wedding, betting that she could figure out which one was her dad. As the play ended and the actors were taking their bows, Lynn bursts out in tears that caught all of us by surprise.  She tried to explain why, but the noise was so loud we could not quite piece together what she was saying.   It wasn’t important that we knew the reason for her tears, all we needed to understand was that she was touched deeply by what she had witnessed.  Her friend (Marsha) put her arms around her and held her closely, letting her know she understood.  I wish I did more than stand there with a blank look upon my face.  Sometimes, it is hard to determine the right way to react when things happen unexpectedly.  I was unhappy with my lack of empathy. I need to work on that shortcoming.

😊 “True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.” – William Penn.

I believe our society has become one that dislikes true silence, that being one in which we are not actively engaged in doing something.  I raise my hand and admit to being one of those people.  Where I differ from my fellow no-silence cohorts is that I know it is wrong to be that way.  Just like them, I find it exceedingly difficult to do nothing at all, just sit alone with my thoughts and enjoy my own company.  Many years ago, I asked myself this question: “If there was someone else precisely like me, would I want to be a friend of his?” My answer back then was a firm yes, but I am not so sure I would answer that way today.  I seem to have become consumed with always doing something, to wit: clean the yard of debris, repair something, practice guitar, call a friend, do something on my PC, anyway you get the picture.  Do I really want a friend who is so consumed with having a to-do list every day and trying to get as much done on that list as possible?  Or, do I want a friend who is kinda laid back, taking each day in stride and trying to milk as much enjoyment out of it as possible?  Yeah, I think that’s the kind of friend I want.  Maybe I need to start making a change, but wait a minute, I do not have the time, I have things that need to be done 😊.

I hope wherever you are on this wonderful planet, your life is good and your friends and family treat you with the love and respect that mine show me…. Tommy

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