If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to four of my favorite dads!  We are so blessed to have such dedicated men performing the most challenging tasks they will ever face. 

Mike and our sons

Mike

Bryan and son, Harris, and daughter, Linley

It didn't take Linley long to wrap this guy round her little finger!

Stephen and sons, Levi and Easton

Stephen and Easton

Corey and his daughters, Lillie, Lydia, and Luci

Corey

Hope today is a special Father's Day for you all!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Honk and Grin!

I spent over half the day cleaning and pampering earlier this week.  Oh, I wasn't pampering myself or even Mike.  I was pampering a truck...and it wasn't even the one I drive every day.  How does that happen?  I guess the concept of pampering a pickup was instilled in me long, long ago.

I remember as a little girl the day when my Daddy came home with a new-to-us pickup truck.  He came speeding down the hill toward our house and was honking the horn and grinning from-ear-to-ear the entire way down that hill.  Mama and I heard the ruckus and ran to the front yard to see what was going on.  As soon as he pulled into the driveway, we hopped in and he drove us around a bit.  Then, when we got back in the yard, I climbed all over it inspecting every square inch.  We were all so excited about that little red truck!

It was a well-loved vehicle when Daddy got it and he kept it for several years after that.  I remember climbing into the back of it to fill milk cans with water.  We would haul the water up to our old wooden milk barn when we first moved to the farm where I grew up.  I can see it and the rusty fenders in my mind's eye but I couldn't tell you much more about it - not even what make and model it was. 

When we cleared out all of Daddy's farming equipment a couple of years ago, one item did not go on the auction block - Daddy's 1969 pickup truck.  We talked Mama into keeping it just in case she needed a truck for hauling something around that wouldn't fit into her SUV.  It was rarely driven, though and was just something else for Mama to try to take care of.  She recently asked, once again, if one of us would take it and take care of it.  So, it made the way over here to our house.  It was parked in the hay barn and sat there for the past couple of weeks. 

Earlier this week I took some time to check into getting everything about it squared away.  I called the local insurance office and learned that it is considered a 'Classic Vehicle' and requires a bit of extra information when it comes to insurance coverage.  So, I did my homework to find out all the info I needed.  First, I Googled 1969 Ford Half-Ton Pickup to see if I could find something similar to put a value on it.  My expectation was that it would be worth two-to-three-thousand-dollars.  Boy, was I surprised to learn that I was dramatically incorrect!

The insurance company asked me to send them several photos showing the outside condition of the  truck and the motor.  Knowing that I didn't want to send them photos with dust and pollen coating the truck, I gave him a bath.  Then, I pulled him out into the lot and used my phone to take a few photos.  I emailed them to the insurance agent and checked to make certain that all I needed from that point was to provide them with a check and sign the policy paperwork. 

A short trip down the road and a quick signature and this little red truck is now protected.  The insurance agent was amazed at the condition of the truck, knowing that the Ranger had been Daddy's farm vehicle.  The agent could hardly believe that the Ranger only has a bit over 91,000 actual miles on him.  I told him that it was probably the newest truck Daddy ever bought.  I think there were less than ten miles on him when he picked him up from the dealership.  I also think Daddy was just as excited about getting that truck as he was that little red truck years earlier. 

Years later, Daddy got a ton pickup truck to use as the farm vehicle and for pulling a cattle trailer loaded with show cows.  This little red truck became our mode of transportation for my sister and I to get to and from school.  Then, after Daddy retired, he spent a bit of time replacing some chrome pieces on this little red truck and returning him to close-to-new condition.  He got antique tags for him and the Ranger became his folly, only to be driven for short joy rides.

Now the Ranger has become my responsibility.  I noticed that the cap for the windshield washer fluid is missing.  So, Mike and I will be on the hunt for that soon.  There is a bit more cleaning that needs to take place as well.  I don't think I should leave loose grass and the remains of a dirt-dauber nest on him.

As I was rinsing out the bed of the truck,  I thought about how many times I had ridden on those fenders and how my own children had also logged miles through the fields of the farm perched on those same humps with their hair blowing in the breeze.

This little red truck carries more than his own share of memories but he also hauls around memories of that other little red one that came before him.  I was very tempted to honk the horn and speed down the hill when I pulled him out of the barn to get ready for photos.
So, if you see us speeding down a hill some day taking a joy ride in the little red truck, honk the horn and we might just honk back and give you a casual wave while we motor and grin going on down the road!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Another coach in the family?

Back when the days were still chilly and the skies were grey and there were no leaves on the trees, a certain little fellow signed up to play a little T-Ball.  This grandmother asked his dad whether he was planning to help coach and got this as a response, "I think I'm going to just watch and see how things go. It might not be the same here as it was where I grew up playing and I can learn how things are done here this year."  This grandmother smiled.
Then, ball practice started.  This little fellow had a bit of early coaching at home from dad.  So, he sort of knew a wee bit about what to do on the ball field. 
However, when all of the team gets together, that back-yard coaching sometimes flies out the window and chaos ensues!  Players rolling in the grass, fighting one another for the ball, and other general preschool fun takes over.  So, even though there is a head-coach and an assistant coach, other auxiliary coaches are needed to step up. 
When this grandmother asked the ball player's dad how practice went and called him Coach Dad, I was immediately corrected with, "I'm not coaching, Mom.  I just help out a little bit during practice."  Once again, this grandmother just smiled.
Call it what you may.  But, I think I see Coach Dad out there on that field giving a little instruction and playing catch with the team.
Look at that pair in the background.  I'd bet somewhere in there is a phrase about squaring up your feet and your shoulders as you face the ball.
Now, I know Coach Dad feels a responsibility toward this player as seen in the background but I really had a little suspicion that the coaching didn't stop there.
Somehow, I really believed the coaching went a wee bit beyond this player and improving his fielding and his batting. You know, maybe Coach Dad might be helping some of the other little sluggers as well as our own favorite.
Maybe it was just a gut feeling on my part.  Somehow, in my mind, I kind of thought the other little players might be getting just a wee bit of Coach Dad's coaching as well.  But, this grandmother just smiled as Coach Dad protested.  Then, the first game came along...
I called to find out how things went and talked to Coach Dad.  I was told that our little slugger walloped the ball!  This grandmother just smiled and listened to all the details.

I asked how the ballgame went when the little players were executing defense and who was out in the field with them during that time.  The response went something like this, "Gosh, Mom.  We all were out there.  It was just chaos.  There were three or four of us standing in the field with them and nudging them into positions and telling them to get baseball ready. Then, the batter would hit the ball and we would have to tell some of them to stay near a base or to go cover home plate and nudge them in that direction.  It was sort of like a three-ring-circus.  They would fight over the ball and everybody ran after the runner no matter whether they had the ball or not. Then, it was nudging them back into position to get ready all over again for the next batter and be baseball ready...  It was a lot like herding cats!"  And this grandmother just smiled.
I asked about a couple of our little slugger's friends whose names I could recall.  Coach Dad's response was, "Aw, she did pretty well.  She has a lot to learn but she is just the sweetest little thing!"  And this grandmother just smiled.

So, I said, "Sounds like Coach Dad is doing a pretty good job." And the response I got was, "I'm NOT coaching, Mom.  I'm just helping out a little bit."  And this grandmother just smiled.
Me thinks he doth protest too much. 
We are glad to have another coach in the family!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Springtime!

Like lots of other folks, we've had a busy spring!

The oldest grandson kicked off spring in early April playing baseball.  I've trekked over to watch them play a couple of times and it is pure entertainment!  There was a big opening day jamboree with a kick-off ceremony introducing the teams.
We were excited to see this cute little Cubs T-Ball team - especially that little slugger on the far left in front of the girl with the red hairbow.  To us he was the All-Star Player!
The head coach really did a good job of teaching the little ones the fundamentals of the game - well as much as you can teach a group of four-year-olds! 
When playing defense, before every batter, the little fellows would be sent to a position with the instruction to get, "baseball ready!"  
Number six had played some back-yard ball with his dad and his cousins and he knew that when he heard those two words, he needed to get that glove down and watch for the ball.
Baseball ready!

The batter on the other team would hit the ball and off they would go after it with all the energy pent up in those moments of baseball readiness.
On contact they all headed for the ball.  And, most of the time, I do mean ALL of them ran for the ball!  They would run from all over the field toward the ball and even wrestle with one another to get the ball.  
After all of the opposing players batted, it was time to head to the dugout to play offense!
Boy!  Let me tell you, that dugout is loads of fun as well.  This fellow seemed to like to stand on the bench and goof around with all his buddies.
Look at that face!  Can't you tell that dugout time is pure joy?
I don't know if it was all the back-yard ball, the fact that he had a huge cheering section, or if he truly is a slugger, but our favorite usually served as the clean-up batter.  Nope.  That doesn't mean he was fourth batter in the line-up.  That means he was the last batter on the team.  
You see, if anybody was left on base, the last batter in the lineup had the task of hitting a long ball and running like mad.  The last batter simply hit the ball and tore out running and kept running till he was tagged out or crossed home plate.
Sometimes it might seem like a close call but with fast running legs and a bit of cunning, the runner might zig and zag and wiggle by the defensive player with his charm and make it all the way to home plate!
Of course the cheering section is important and plays a vital role in the game.
Everybody has an important part toward playing the game.  Cheerleaders are just as much a part of the action as players on the field and this little one really did her part cheering for big brother.
After the game, the slugger had to pose with the prettiest girl at the game.
Of course, a little public relations with some of the other fans is always a good idea as well.
At the end of the day, it is off to the team bus we go with all our gear!  We headed home in the sunset in order to play a little back-yard ball each afternoon to prepare for the next week's game.  Ah!  Springtime!