A fathers pledge….

 

To my daughter,

I pledge as your father too;

Always do my very best at protecting your young eyes and impressionable mind from the cruelties this world has to offer you.

Prepare you for life as an adult by allowing you to fail with gentle guidance towards success.

Tell you no and mean it.

Dance with you for no reason at all..

Allow you to be a princess when you feel like it, while celebrating the moments your tomboy rules the roost.

Understand that crying isn’t just for girls but big dumb old dads as well.

Not punch the first boy who dumps you and makes you cry. Unless you want me too?

Take you fishing without your brothers.

Teach you to hunt.

Brag about you not only when you are not around but when you think I can’t see you.

Have tea with you, even if that includes your horse and the two goats.

Hold your hand.

Take you on ice cream dates once a month.

Embarrass you in public. It’s just good clean fun and lends you to developing an awesome sense of humor.

Teach you all the devilish, sneaky and sometimes cruel ways of the adolescent boy.

Teach you all the even harsher ways of the mind bending adolescent girl.

Remind you on a regular basis that before someone else can love you, you need to love you.

Remind you that I love you.

Always answer the phone when you call no matter what time it is.

Pick you and your friends up anytime day or night if you have partied a little to hard.

Always call you “my little girl”

Walk you down the aisle on your wedding day without crying in front of your future husband.

Support what ever career choice you make, it’s not for me to like or dislike your choices, only to gently give you my opinion as an elder man with many experiences under his belt.

Teach you no matter what some friend, boyfriend, or stranger may try to convince you, your father will always listen to what you have to say. I may not always have the answer but I will do my best to find one.

Let you see me fail.

Always tell you the truth.

Remind you there are evil men in this world, but none as ruthless as your father when it comes to someone threatening, hurting, or stealing his daughters innocence, self-worth or life. I will find them and I will make them pay.

Try my very hardest at being a good dad, I will let you down on occasion as you will I. We are human therefor mistakes will be made, but as long as you know in your heart I will always love you there is nothing we cannot conquer together.

Love dad….

 

 

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An Army of one….

Standing at the precipice a cool breeze blocks the warmth from my face.  Coffee in hand the heart rate raises unexpectedly, a trickle of sweat forms upon the rim of my brow; my face is flush and mottled red.  Fear; fear rises inside as an uneasy feeling erupts inside my gut.  I must travel these cold steps towards the gates of hell but my feet appear to have become frozen.  My knees tremble and knock as general weakness overtakes the ability to move.

I know I must go, I know I must make this journey into domestic bowels.  No person wishes for this, I never asked for it nor did I volunteer this assignment yet here I stand, chill down my spine, a tight feeling in my throat, and sweat trickling down my face and back, knees locked together like a Friday evening bankers vault.  Where are the troops?  Where is my back up, my support system comprised of willing individuals to help over take the monster that lay dormant in the dark cavern? Where are they? They are nowhere to be found, they have abandoned ship, left their posts for more enjoyable endeavors.  A Army of one, alone I stand, and a stand I will make. 

It’s not the journey mind you, I have made these travel many times in the past.  It’s like being hit by an electric fence. You know the fence is hot, you know it’s going to hurt, but you also know you have to get through the fence when no gate is present.  So with all that knowledge each time you get hit by the electricity it doesn’t hurt any less yet in some strange fashion it doesn’t seem quite so bad.

But this time it’s different.  I know it shouldn’t be yet it is.  The ball of fire in the sky has come and gone many times since last traversing this trail.  The wind coming from its belly has a particular smell that brings worry and fear to my soul.  It also brings a tear to my eye as it stings the senses. 

Again I stare downward, into its depths, a sip of coffee a deep breath, I exhale stand up straight and start my journey.  The breeze still present brings a more pungent sickly sweet scent to my senses, I continue forward.  A few more stairs and a silhouette of the creature is in the distance; its massive shadowy mound lying dormant for now.  It has not been awakened and that is a good thing for to wake this monster will bring nothing but heartache to all who challenge its existence.  Reaching the bottom of the stairs I find the temperature is cooler, moist almost sticky.  Ducking under a low lying beam the monster is suddenly before me! It’s large and I swear its moving, different colors, patterns and textures make up this abnormality of existence. 

I work my around it quietly, for on the other side stands the Machines of Justice. The mound guards the Machines of Justice ensuring no one can ever use them for what they are intended.  By growing in size when needed the mound can completely block ones path from reaching the Machines of Justice ensuring certain failure to all who try. If I reach the machines of justice successfully I can slowly terminate this life form without disturbing it from its slumber.  It’s a risky move for sure, but effective none the less.  I have had great success with this maneuver in the past and since there is no back up coming it’s all or nothing.  The smell is toxic and starts affecting my breathing, making it shallow and labored, at one point I begin to feel light headed.  I pace myself slowly picking pieces of armor from the monsters back.  The smelliest ones first then other pieces of color and texture are the next to meet their demise inside the Machine of Justice.

While focusing on the task at hand the monster moves! Hard to the left it rolls but I counter with a receptacle to the side! Hustling back to my left I grab a large section of the beast hurling it with great force into the Machine of Justice! Yes!! Success!! The monster, realizing it is out matched has laid down flat allowing me to finish it off by pulling it apart creating smaller piles for processing!  I have triumphed! I have slain the beast with little to no fight at all! The Machines of Justice hum a song exalting my superiority over this inferior adversary! I will rise up the Hero once again! I turn arms in air shouting towards the heavens above; YOU SHALL NEVER DEFEAT ME!!

Dad? 

I turn to see my 7 year old staring at me with a befuddled look upon his face holding another basket of laundry to add to the pile.

 

The monster lives again…..

“And that’s how you turn the simple act of doing laundry into a short story about a fatherly super hero who battles evil.”

My work here is done…..

A hunting we will go…..

 

SSSSSHHHHHHHHHH! Be very, very quiet……. I’m hunting (you fill in the animal here)!

Pull up your boot straps, put on your best camouflage, sight in your rifle and fill up your camel back! We are going hunting boys! That’s right 2 days two nights of hiking, scouting, hiking, climbing, hiking, crawling through the brush quietly, hiking, doing a lot of praying, and last but not least did I mention all the hiking!

Its deer season and my son wants’ nothing more than to bag one of California’s finest mule deer! He’s read the reports, checked on the weather and sighted in his rifle.  He has painstakingly watched every episode of any and all deer hunting associated shows on television and believes he’s ready for a serious case of “buck fever”!

“Buck Fever” noun

Nervous excitement felt by a novice hunter at the sight of game.

Yep he wants to feel buck fever bad and as his father I can’t help but sit back and reflect upon my childhood.  All the wonderful memories flooding back like it was yesterday! Seeing the want to fulfill another step towards manhood in a Neanderthal, me man, I provide sort of way is so emotionally moving.  Holding a rifle, staring down the sight tube at your intended victim, knowing there will be food on the table tonight! You need to be man enough, steady enough, and calm enough to lay down that one shot, the only shot you’ll get before that buck runs for the hills!  Ah the pressure, the excitement, the anticipation!

One problem…

I have never hunted deer.  I have hunted pigs; I have spent more than my fair amount of time and a considerable amount of money fishing.  But my youth retains no memories of ever going out into the woods to hunt deer.  The memories I hold revolve around horses, sheep, 4-H and working on our ranch! I have never felt the longing for hiking endless hours in the woods hoping to find one deer, all alone just waiting for me to kill it!  In fact every time I think of hunting deer, it’s not the prospect of delicious venison that awaits me, or the thought of a giant rack hanging on my wall as some form of testosterone filled pride for all to see.  Quite the contrary! I go to a much darker place when thinking about hunting deer.  A place so dark and foreboding that even the strongest willed man would not survive there without shedding a tear or feeling his soul shake to the very core!

For you see when it comes to hunting deer the message is crystal clear and has been for every man, woman and child since; August 13, 1942!

DON’T GO INTO THE MEADOW!!!!

The movie Bambi has held a polarizing grip upon all of our heart strings for 70 freaking years! If you think for one second you can sit there professing how you didn’t cry when Bambi’s mom died at the hands of the hunter! Then I can sit here and call you a fat faced liar!!! Every person I know cried like a baby when Bambi’s mom was shot! The sound of a rifle firing, any rifle firing flashes me back to that very moment when it was assumed she had been killed.  Like a bad case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder the images are all too real! As full grown adults our stomachs get tied up in knots while watching Bambi with our children for the first time because we know! We know she is gonna die and we know that a very detailed explanation of life and death are going to proceed after the hysteria and Kleenex party is over! But what message did Bambi send us self centered human beings? What has Bambi’s legacy taught us all?

Bambi taught us all about respecting nature! Bambi also taught us that animals like humans have families who depend upon them for love and guidance.  Bambi allowed us all to glimpse into the life of a fledgling young buck.  From the joys of birth with birds singing all around to the struggles of a young lad making friends in a new somewhat rough neighborhood! Bambi taught us that it doesn’t matter what kind of animal you are, we can all be friends! It also taught us about the emotional toll taken on a young boy who has just lost his mom! But best of all (this one was a real shocker for yours truly) did you know all animals can speak English? It’s true! Oh they hide behind their wiggling noses, and teeth grinding grass burning jaws, but don’t let that blank stare fool you! They can communicate and will not hesitate to do so the minute your back is turned!  But even with all these revelations about the animal community, one thing remains true! Bambi gave us the lesson of a lifetime! You see; by going into the meadow you will die! Simple as that! Step one foot into the meadow, any meadow and meet your fate at the hands of a plaid wearing, gun toting fool who will kill anything on site!  Lesson well learned Mr. Disney, lesson well learned!

As humans we are supposed to love all creatures big and small no matter how tasty they may be smothered in mushrooms, onions-garlic and barbecue sauce!  No sir, we must all wake up, putting away our blood lust, welcoming all forms of vegetation for nourishment like the great Brontosaurus or Giraffe!  For you see a plant doesn’t hurt, a plant doesn’t feel, if you cut the plant does it cry? If you shoot the tree does it bleed? Plants don’t have families curled up sleeping with them out in the open or like the rabbit live in a fully furnished five bedroom hole in the ground complete with kitchen and dining room table! The message is clear, share the earth with all things great and small but don’t eat them.

So by following Disney’s obvious wisdom and not wanting to offend the spirit of the late great Walt Disney himself, how then do I support my son and his venture with a clear conscience? How do I let my son walk into the wild, hide in some trees, then kill some poor Buck, some deer’s husband, some little deer’s father who happened to wander out into the meadow? How? How I ask you?

I know, I’ll pretend we are a family of T-Rex’s. Problem solved! Even Walt Disney can’t look down from heaven and fault us for that!

 

P.S. No vegetarians were harmed in the writing of this post.  Being a vegetarian is a choice and as with all choices made in life to be respected.  Eggplant for everyone!!!!

Singing in the rain…

 

0230 hours

Sleeping lightly wondering why I can’t trail off into a good old-fashioned deep sleep.  Tossing turning, hearing every creak, rattle, and moan from within our old farm-house.  Frustration setting in…

0245

The sound of Parker (our littlest one) stirring about has my radar on high alert. I wait, anticipate the inevitable, but there is nothing. So I attempt drifting off to sleep again…

0305

Dad? Dad? DAAAAAAAAAD!!!!! Huh what? Crap I finally fell asleep! Its Parker, he is holding his blankie while quietly mumbling into my ear. I wet the bed dad.  (heavy sigh here). Ok buddy; I tell him. Go get into the shower and please be quiet, others are still sleeping.  Parker looks straight into my eyes (acknowledgment) and whispers; ok.

Begrudgingly I start stripping the young lads bed. Thank heavens we still wrap his mattress in a plastic cover for just such an occasion.  A little Lysol disinfectant, some fresh sheets and this little sprinkler will be back into slumber land in no time. I can’t say the same for me as I know this will be the straw that broke slumbers back.

Moving with the gate of a zombie, my room service maid duties begin to flow when suddenly I notice a noise coming from the bathroom. Ok maybe a “noise” is being polite. Its more like an out of tune wail? Or maybe a cat has slipped into the shower? Either way its loud, and is certain to wake up one or more of the slumbering beauties residing under this roof! Blundering towards the bathroom, swinging open the door, young Parker crooning away some unknown collaboration as if he was Frank Sinatra pulling a little wind down after a successful night at the Sands! In my loudest whisper I remind him to please be quiet, for others are sleeping! He pulls the curtain aside and screams WHAT, I CANT HEAR YOU DAD!

Are you kidding me! Quiet down son others are sleeping! He says sorry, closes the curtain and resumes showering.  Before I can clear the hallway into his bedroom to resume my duties as head maid, he breaks into a full mantra of songs.  All original renditions mind you! But a mini concert none the less has unfolded within the confines of our upstairs bathroom.

I turn on my heels as if preparing for inspection from R. Lee Ermy himself! Fists clenched I start back down the hall with a snappy military gate! Little bodies begin rustling from the noise which only increases my blood pressure and helps grind my teeth tighter. Grabbing the door handle yet again I have full intentions of squelching someones musical creativity with the ferocity of a grumpy elderly next door neighbor banging on the door yelling  “keep it down or I’ll call the police”!

Now in Parkers defense, I am sure he believes his version of Ave Maria is concert worthy to the point Luciano Pavarotti would shower him in rose pedals and praise. But at three in the morning after being told to please keep it quiet, the critics are miffed and the local daily revue will not have nice things to print about his performance!

Opening the door I realize all noise has stopped, along with the shower.  I am greeted with a very hearty “good morning dad”! As a little giant marches past wrapped in his best robe, smile on his face its obvious the only thing he hears is the roar of his adoring fans! Following him down the hall into his room the prima donna promptly throws half his clothing from the dresser to the floor in an attempt to find the perfect outfit! A star of the bathroom opera must, after all look their best after a performance! Settling on a dapper pair of shorts and night-shirt he gazes my direction as if to say; you may go now and with the flick of a wrist flops into a freshly wrapped bed!  Head hitting the pillow the lad is asleep before I can clear the threshold.

0430

Still awake, can’t sleep, wondering whose child he really is and strangely wishing for another performance from the bathroom opera! Oh well maybe I’ll read a little bedtime story….

What my father never taught me about life… cont..

What my father never taught me about life or at the very least I refused to listen too….

Now that we have covered the dating scene lets take a moment to cover marriage and friends.  Most people would never correlate the two but I see them as being very similar beasts, almost controlling every emotional aspect of your life.

Side by side the similarities are mind-blowing! Marriage being the ultimate friendship, the very top of the ladder, the creme de la creme of relationships! Its you saying “hey friend, we are so good together that I really can’t see myself living life without you so let’s get married” yep legally best friends till death do us part!  Whats even better is after the courthouse contract is signed, the two of you get together and seal the deal! No prick of the finger blood buddies pact here, oh no! Just a good old-fashioned, we are in this for the long haul let’s get naked sex!!  Don’t you dare frown or lift a Vulcan eyebrow at this tidbit of information, its true! Not a married couple I know hasn’t consummated the deal that night after toasting, and drinking copious amounts of alcohol! Yep legal in the courthouse, signed and sealed with a romp in the hay! Best friends for ever!!!!

Ok, lets take it down a notch, mellow it out a little, a cold shower if you will.  As far as rating relationships go everyone has a “best friend” you know the one person who is like a sibling! Always there when you need them, you have done everything together, the two of you were inseparable before the “better half” walked into the picture! That emotionally available someone who gets you! That one person you can shop with, see a movie together, visit male strip clubs with, shoot at a gasoline tanker then jump off a cliff while professing your undying love for each other! That best friend.

Here is the thing about these relationships, (BFF & Spouse) one can’t survive without the other.  If your best friend doesn’t like your better half, life sucks! If your better half doesn’t like your best friend, life sucks.  If your better half complains about all your friends, you guessed it, life sucks.  If you can’t stand her best friend or the myriad of other friends she has, life sucks! So as you can see the two are very much the same emotional animal!

I have no real advise here, but this little tid-bit does come to mind.  If it’s too hard, as in; if you feel as though you have to work really hard all the time putting out emotional fires between any and all parties.  It’s not worth it, move on.  there are 6,973,738,433 people on this crazy sphere we call earth. Move on make new friends, bond with a new better half, they are out there, just move on…

Friends  

Through your life they (friends) will come and go. I have had many wonderful people walk in and right back out that friendship door.  Some of them I miss greatly, others I wouldn’t cross the street to piss on their burning ashes.  But because of all these people I have developed a sense of worth, as in what’s my friendship worth to you or visa-versa.

A true friend.

  1. Never complains (joking aside) that you haven’t called or stopped by, they understand how hectic life can become and cherish that very moment you are able to reconnect with them.
  2. Will drop what they are doing to help no matter the reason.  Yes there are extenuating circumstances, but over a period of time this person will show their true colors.
  3. Will tell you when there’s a booger hanging from your nose.
  4. Lets you borrow the car unconditionally.  Yeah that’s the way we roll..
  5. Knows when to “leave it alone” and also knows the exact moment “not” to leave it alone.
  6. Never judges you, but isn’t afraid to tell you what they think about your choices.
  7. Always has a couch for you in a time of need.
  8. Knows your birthday
  9. Hates your boss with you!
  10. Will bail you out of jail, but not before tagging you in Facebook “places”.
  11. Lets you fart.
  12. Will watch your kids and parent them as their own.
  13. Thinks your funny.
  14. Will help you move.
  15. Knows the difference between a weekend in Vegas and a VEGAS WEEKEND!!!
  16. Will fly with you to a foreign country delivering aid to people they don’t know.
  17. Shares your love of beers from around the world.
  18. Will hold your hair when you puke while posting a picture of you doing so on Facebook.
  19. Can pick up a conversation 20 years later as though it ended yesterday.
  20. Still sees you as young no matter how old you become.

The perfect spouse

  1. All of the above!
  2. Plus sex.

Marriage

Marriage is a unique commitment between two people saying we are in this for a lifetime.  But I believe today’s society has not allowed most couples to fully grasp the commitment portion of this pact.  Marriage is romanticized in society as this easy-going love affair that never ends between two people.  Always filled with happy endings, puppies and kisses on the veranda at dusk.  (Thank you Hollywood)

In reality marriage can become like the aforementioned description with the exception of an occasional disagreement that sometimes goes on for days leaving you sleeping on the couch because there is no way in hell you are sleeping next to queen stubborn!  Sorry I digress…

Marriage has all the qualities of a great friendship combined with an overwhelming attraction both mentally, physically and emotionally between two people.  The phrase; My soul mate, comes to mind. The key (in my opinion)  to a great marriage is compromise.  That word alone is one of the hardest for most young couples to grasp! At an early age most of us are overly educated (both scholarly and from the school of hard knocks) very sure of ourselves and refuse to be proven wrong.  Throw a like-minded partner into the mix and even the simplest of disagreements can become toxic with discontent in a very short time.  What couples need to know is there is no right or wrong.  Both of your opinions are valid, both of your reasoning’s are sound, by refusing to see your partners side of an issue you are the reason for discontent in the situation.  Compromise.  Sometimes you agree to disagree while laying validity to another point of view.  Both sides walk away happy, marriage intact.

Last but not least; and I can’t stress this point enough, when it comes to marriage and compromise, never-and I mean NEVER, go to bed angry.  Its easier to say you are sorry, (truthful or not) let it go and forget about the issue, then it is to hold your ground allowing the issue to fester overnight creating an emotional monster that will take an army to bring down. Trust me, I am very stubborn and opinionated (no kidding right) I have recognized on numerous occasions my inherit ability to come across as a giant pain in the ass! By just dropping the subject, changing my tone, then politely saying I am sorry, many nights resigned to the couch have been avoided.

So there it is, marriage and friendships are basically the same thing.  Trust me, there are some friends I should have treated more like spouses and a spouse that I thoroughly enjoy having as my best friend.