Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chicken Stories

(an email sent to my siblings)

Dearest Sibs,
As you can see below I have been chastised into participating in these marvelous emails. I really do enjoy them. I was just reading them when Diane came in and woke me up so I could finish. Not that the emails put me to sleep, it's just been a long day (Ward Youth Conference) and my computer is right by the heater vent and we just had dinner and I stayed up late last night and you know how it is... sometimes I just go to sleep!

So, I beat you all to the punch with this chicken thing... I think I sent you all this link (click here) about my favorite chicken recipe but you may not remember. Kind of like Crystal finding my blog (that she has read and even commented on several times in the past!!). What's up with that?!?!?

So, my memories of the ranch... I didn't like it. Well, actually, I didn't mind it most of the time, but I didn't like that I couldn't play football or wrestle because Dad said I had chores to get home to do. I mostly played on the ranch in Highland. I think the only chore I had there was keeping the water full in the turkey pen. And I think Dad did it too, Maybe it was just he would let me do it once in awhile. Or maybe I just wanted to play with the water and I remember it as if it was a chore! So, that and I had to pick up the rocks off the lawn before Dad would mow. But I am the one who put the rocks there so it was really just picking up after myself.

I do remember the Indian tribe in Highland that the girls invented. I think we did rain dances and I seem to remember we even had a language for them. They must have been strange Indians to live on a chicken ranch. I hope they enjoyed the eggs we rolled out to them in the grass because it sure made Dad excited when he found them!

In Yucaipa I did a little more work. Wasn't too fond of scraping the poop off the boards but it was honest work and kept me from being broke. If I recall, I started out at 25 cents an hour. And was I lucky to earn that! My boss had to work on his Dad's ranch for room and board!!! Ah, things were good when I was a kid.

I remember having to spread the feed in the evening and there was one chicken that would peck at my hand every time I went by. It got to where it made me really mad and one time when it got me good I stopped and grabbed her by the neck and slapped her up side the head. Now, I don't know how he did it, but every time I did something like that I'd look up and there would be Dad. Anyway, I explained that that hen always pecked at me and he said "what do you expect, you've got your hand in her supper"! And then he followed with something like "don't hit my chickens or I'll something, something you..." I don't remember the exact words, but you get the drift.

Once at the beach I found a rock that looked kind of like an egg and I brought it home an put it out with the eggs for Dad to find when he gathered eggs. He thought that was pretty funny. He had it sitting in the egg house for a long time.

I learned a lot about responsibility working on that ranch. When I moved my family back to Yucaipa in 1982 I built a little coop and put in about 6 hens and told the kids to keep them fed and watered or they would die. I wanted to teach them the same responsibility I had learned. You have to take care of animals or they will die! They don't just get mad at you, or pout, or go to their friend's house to eat, they DIE. I was sure my kids would be good chicken ranchers. After all, it was in their blood! Well it went pretty well for a couple of weeks. And then they started dieing. So I gathered up what remained of the flock and put them in the cab of my truck and drove up the street and threw them over the fence of some yard that had chickens. I talked to that guy a few years later and told him what I had done and said I thought he had probably been pretty surprised to find more chickens in his yard. Hahahaha... but he said "not really... it happened all the time. Even got a goat once that way". Guess I wasn't the only one trying to teach responsibility.

So, there is my entry for tonight. Thank you, Crystal, for getting me off my duff. It was a thrill to think of chicken stories. Now I have to go clean my office. My wife thinks I need to pick up after myself. But first I think I will sing a little to the clutter and maybe even do a little rain dance.

Love to all,

Friday, September 16, 2011

Scout Camp!

This was cool. I got to go to 11-year-old Scout Camp with Michael. We did a 6 mile hike and passed off a bunch of requirements in his scout book. We spent Friday night in a tent and Michael got to blow the horn a bunch of times that signaled time to move to the next workshop. I was especially proud when he carried the American flag in the flag raising ceremony.
(And no, I don't know what that red thing is under the picture)

The best job ever!

Grandparents Day

Last Wednesday was Grandparents Day at Taylor's school. She goes to a great school and once a year they have a day when Grandparents can go see a little program and then visit their grandchild's classroom. So Diane took the day off and I took a long lunch and off we went to see Taylor.

Now, let me say, I have had a lot of jobs in my life. I've worked as a janitor, copier repair man, a salesman, a grunt, a manager, and in construction. I could probably not even list all the different jobs I have had. There were many years in my life that I had two jobs and sometimes even three!

You could even count 4 at a time if you counted the job of daddy. And until a few years ago, I thought the job of daddy was the best. It was really annoying when the other jobs got in the way of the daddy job. But I had to pay the bills so the other jobs got done. Well, I'm finding that the older I get, the more annoyed I get at the interruptions in my life from this bothersome thing called a job. I'm thankful for the money and free car and benefits and paid vacation days, but wanting me to come in to work every day is just getting out of hand! Oh well, retirement is, unfortunately, not around the corner. So I will continue to go to work.

But that will not stop me from enjoying the best job ever:


When I think about it, I did have a little training on how to be a grandparent. I used to watch my dad as his eyes sparkled around the grand kids. He was not as rambunctious as I am. He would not have jumped on the trampoline or gone to Scout Camp with the grandkids. But he did ride them around the ranch in the electric egg cart. He liked to take Pug for a walk and have a grand kid along with him. He liked to watch TV with them, especially if it included a nap! He took the grand kids fishing and made sure they got a big orange from his tree when they came to visit. My mom used to cook and sew and do crafts with them. This grandparent thing can take up a lot of time. And though it's not time yet, I am ready for just one job. I want to be a full-time grandpa!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


This is Andy. He's my buddy. Last February we went to Scandia with him and his family. He wanted to ride the Tilt-O-Whirl because it was included with the wristband we had bought him. It wasn't included with ours, so he rode alone. It brought back a lot of memories for me. When I was a boy we used to go to the Orange Show in San Bernardino. I remember walking through the midway wanting to ride all the rides over and over. The Tilt-O-Whirl was one of those. To be fair, my Mom and sister would ride it once, but I liked it and wanted to ride more so I usually took another turn or two by myself. Watching Andy reminded me of a fun tradition we had as a family when I was young. I didn't think of it as a tradition at the time, but looking back, I guess it was. I can remember riding over in my Dad's big Buick. We would park in the dirt parking lot and I would hold his hand as we walked across the street. He would squeeze my hand and I would squeeze back. We'd do that over and over. I thought my Dad had very big hands. And he always had dimes in his pocket for me to throw to try to win a dish or fish. But the best part was the corn dogs and lemonade. Dad thought that corn dogs were the best invention for kids. And fair corn dogs are the best. I don't even remember sitting down to eat them. We just kept walking through the fair. We would walk through all the buildings with displays. It wasn't as fun as riding the rides, but for some reason I liked it. Maybe it was because I was with my family. And there was always that big hand to squeeze.

The legacy assured.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Silhouettes On The Beach

Sometimes we see life in silhouettes,
Though the light beyond is as bright as it gets.
But shadows follow close behind,
And bring tender moments to our mind.
Of quiet times in beautiful places,
And our children's warmth and their happy faces.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.

Tonight my grandson Michael and I finished Douglas Southall Freeman's seven volume set biography of George Washington. In 2008 when Diane asked me what I would like for Christmas, I suggested this long out of circulation set (first published in 1957). Well, she found it on the internet and it is one of my all-time favorite gifts. I had also received, some time that year, a bookmark with a picture of Michael on it. So, for 2 years as I read thru this set, I had Michael with me all the while. TeriLe, Michael, and Daniel lived with us for a few years and I miss them all the time. But with this bookmark, it was like Michael was sitting with me every time I read of George Washington.
Washington was eulogized by many. Perhaps the most famous words (forming the title of this blog) were by Henry Lee, his long-time friend and fellow Virginian. But I think my favorite were by Thomas Jefferson: "His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives or interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good and a great man".
And so, somehow thru osmosis or something, this is what I wish for Michael. He's a good kid. I hope he learns well how to be a good man. I know TeriLe is teaching him how to work on the "farm" and that will help.
Michael, I hope you study hard in school, listen in Church, and mind your Mom. These are all things that George Washington did. I can't wait to see you again so I can tell you some of the stories I remember of George Washington. And, yes, I wish this for all my grand kids, but Michael's picture is sitting here looking at me! I hope they all learn to have integrity that is most pure.

Now go look up consanguinity....