Tuesday, December 26, 2006

'Twas the Weekend Before Christmas

Friday December 22 I drove to Chicago. I left Vinemont at 8 o'clock sharp and exactly 642 miles later, at 5:40 p.m., I arrived at my sister's place on the north side. I spent Friday night and Saturday in Chicago with my sister before driving back to Alabama with her on Sunday. Other that wanting to visit her, one of the original reasons for this brief trip was because she has a nice drum set that she wanted to give the boys for Christmas but we had no other way of getting it to Alabama.

My sister and I had a great visit. Friday night we played Trivial Pursuit and listened to Christmas music. My sister has the Rhaposdy music service on her computer and we eventually made up a really fun game of name that artist. We would alternate playing a song that we looked up and the other persson had to guess the artist. We had so much fun doing this that we stayed up until 3 a.m. doing it, despite the fact that I had driven 642 miles for 9 hours and 42 minutes. The surge of caffeine left in my body from the drive probably didn't hurt either!

Saturday we actually slept in a little bit. After that we did a little Christmas shopping and ate at the Houndstooth Saloon, just down Clark Street from Wrigley Field. My sister bought my meal. The buffalo wings were great! That was a cool experience; a little taste of Alabama in the Windy City. After shopping, I wrapped presents and loaded the drums and the rest of the stuff in the car. We ended up staying up too late again playing muical trivia using Rhapsody.

Sunday we drove back to Alabama, We left at 9:15, stopped very little, and arrived in Alabama after 6 p.m. Christmas eve we hung out with Mom and Dad and looked forward to Christmas with the boys.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lately...

I don't know if it's writer's block, stress, or what, but I haven't felt as inspired as usual to update some of my blogs, including this one. I have kept up with my weather blog. The weather geek in me has really enjoyed the fog that we have seen in North Alabama during the past week.

I haven't updated the Alabama Crimson Tide Blog and the coach search seems to have been suspended pending the end of the NFL regular season and the college bowl games. The current thinking is that Alabama hasn't given up on Nick Saban (the Great Saban) of the Miami Dolphins. We'll see.

I have missed the boys. They have been with their Mom since last Friday. Last Thursday night I let them open some of their presents because I probably won't see them until Christmas day. I have never been outspoken about anything personal on this blog before, and I will not start now. Suffice it to say that I have been having trouble spending much time with the boys lately, whether it be on the phone or in person. Without going into the gory details, that is sad and wrong. I can't wait until Christmas!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Prattville 35 Hoover 21







Saturday afternoon I took the boys to Legion Field in Birmingham to see the 6A high school football championship game in which Prattville defeated Hollywood High (aka Hoover High) 35-21. Hollywood High was on one of Prattville's signs, obviously referring to Hoover's numerous appearances on MTV and CMT on the show, "Two-a Day's".

The best part of it all for me was telling the boys about my memories of the "old gray lady", Legion Field. The first time I saw a game in Legion Field was 10/25/75 with my Dad when we saw Bear Bryant's Crimson Tide defeat the TCU Horned Frogs 45-0. I saw many Bama games there through the years. The most notable was the 1985 Iron Bowl, when Van Tiffin kicked a 52-yard field goal to beat Auburn. Another one that stood out was Alabama's 1986 defeat of Notre Dame, which was immortalized in Daniel Moore's painting of "The Sack".

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Blog Roundup...

I have been unusually busy with my other blogs during the time I spend on blogging so I haven't written much of substance here in a while. If you are looking for substance you won't get it here today either. My boys are sleeping in but they are about to wake up.

We went to the rodeo last night. The boys, especially Joe, talked me into taking them. I was tired and had no natural inclination to go to a rodeo. But, as usual when I try new things, I enjoyed it. I think the thing I enjoyed about it the most was watching the boys have fun. Things like: Matt laughing his head off at the clown's antics, Joe's description and analysis of the animals and riders, and watching David take pictures. There were a couple of little girls behind us that were Matt's age, who, while watching the cowboy tie up the calfs' legs said, "Awwww...don't hurt him." We thought that was cute and funny.

One thing about the rodeo, it is definitely not the place to go if you are caught up in political correctness or animal rights. The boys and I had good time, though.

---


Two weeks ago we visited my parents and the boys and I must have gotten rid of a few million leaves. I climbed up on the house and cleaned out the gutters. I used to love doing that when I was in my teens and twenties. I didn't mind doing it in my 30's. Now that I am in my 40's I think my days of getting on the roof are numbered. My parens' house is a split level house. It is amazing how the human mind works. I do not mind being close to the edge on the lower level very much. But being close to the edge on the second level, especially the part above the driveway, freaks me out. The view is awesome up there, though. David and Joe wanted up there so badly but being the protective parent that I am I told them they would have to wait a few years. I do have a photo of myself, when I was about David's age, of me on the roof painting. Maybe they can take over when I am too old!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Tonight with the boys

David helped me cook. Actually he practically did it all, making macaroni and cheese and blackeyed peas. He and I ate some shrimp with cocktail sauce. Matt and Joe tried it again but were not too impressed. We watched two interesting shows on the National Geographic Channel. The first one was about the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier. The second program was about the man-made palm islands being created in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. We also talked to my sister on the phone.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Where I've Been...

You can go to this site and plot all of the states you have visited. Pretty cool.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving weekend

It was a great Thanksgiving weekend. The weather did not hurt, with highs around 70 all four days. On Thursday I ate a wonderful meal with my mom and dad. She made turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, and corn. She also made my favorite traditional strawberry gelatin cake.

Friday I hung out with my dad before going out to get some photos developed. I went to four places and wasted most of my afternoon before I finally found a place that had a machine that worked. That evening I got the boys and we ate and took it easy.

Saturday we watched the Clemson-South Carolina game with my dad and then we spent most of the afternoon playing football down at the park. During the evening the boys played cars, worked on their baseball cards and we watched a little football and basketball on TV. Before bed, I read some out of my old journals to David and Joe. They were pretty entertained by that and seemed quite interested. Especially the story about sleeping in class.

Today we spent most of the day working outside. We raked, blew leaves, mowed leaves, got leaves off of the patio cover, and I climbed up on the roof to clean out the gutters. I'm nearly too old to be climbing up on that roof, but not quite. Or as football broadcaster Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast, my friend!"

We got a lot done and then we watched the end of the Bears game with my dad. My mom made us a good meal. We had David's favorite macoroni and cheese, green beans, and hamburgers. We had our choice of mom's fruit salad, cookies, ice cream or strawberry cake for dessert. It was great. Now it's getting late and we are getting ready to go home. Thanks, Lord, for a wonderful time with a wonderful family.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Kica

This is the sweet kitten that travelled from Vinemont to Huntsville to Cincinnatti to Detroit to Chicago last July.

My sister has given "Kica" a good home.





Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sad News From Lee High

Yesterday a school bus carrying Lee High School students tumbled off the I-565 overpass near Church Street in Huntsville. As of now, four students have died and over 30 others were injured. This story made national and world news. It struck close to home with me, as I graduated from Lee. I can't imagine the anguish of these students' families and friends.

4th teen dies from injuries in Huntsville bus wreck

Special Report from al.com

Crystal Renee McCrary, 17
Christine Collier, 16, a sophomore
Nicole Ford, 19, a senior
Tanesha Hill, 17, a senior

---

Class of 83

Frosty Morning

The low was 25.6 here in Vinemont in northern Cullman County with frost.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Night - Local

The best part of this election night to me was the election of attorney Shelly Waters the District Judge in Morgan County. I have worked with her for over 10 years and she will prove to be an effective judge.

Here are a couple of articles:

Child support group honors Waters

Waters keeping position as district court judge

Election Night

On the National scene, the Democrat Party has regained control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 12 years. It also appears likely that they will regain control of the Senate, but that has not been confirmed as of this moment. This represents a significant change. Liberals in Congress will not allow Bush’s tax cuts to remain in place. Get ready for your taxes to go up. The President’s judicial nominees will stand no chance unless they are moderate to liberal. The Iraq policy and War on Terror will not be conducted the same way.

Either the President will compromise his principals so that he can get along with the Democrats and pass legislation or there will be gridlock. Gridlock is not always bad, but when it comes to national security issues, social issues, or taxes, gridlock may be very dangerous for the country.

So, why did the Republicans lose so much ground? It wasn’t the economy. Ethics is the first reason. Duncan Hunter, Tom Delay, and Mark Foley were poster children for the "Culture of Corruption" as Democrats called Republicans during the campaign. Many who lost races were guilty by association. The spineless Republican leadership (Hastert) repeatedly swept scandals under the rug, only to see the media and Democrats expose them later and blow them up in their faces right before the election. Another reason, somewhat related to ethics, is that they forgot why they were in office in the first place. What started as a conservative revolution in 1994 turned in to pack of wild spending RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only) by 2006.

Many pundits are trying to blame the President’s Iraq policy and defense policies. I honestly do not think this played as large of a role as many are claiming. How else can you explain why a pro-war Democrat (Lieberman) won and an anti-war Republican (Chafee) lost. Remember most of the new seats that were captured by Democrats were captured by conservative or moderate Democrats such as Jim Webb in Virginia or Tester in Montana. Just enough ‘Values voters’ in many of these races saw more to like in the Democrat candidates.

The problem for the President is that these "blue dog" moderate to conservative Democrats won’t be in positions of leadership. They probably feel as if they owe their election to Pelosi, Kennedy, Biden, Waxman, and other liberals will be calling the shots. Perhaps Republicans will learn that in most of the country, principled conservatism will still win in 2008. In 2006 voters decided that they might find that better in some new moderate Democrats.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Give It Away

I love this song by George Strait...especially the last verse...
She was stormin' through the house that day,
An' I could tell she was leavin'.
An' I thought: "Aw, she'll be back,"
Till she turned around an' pointed at the wall an said:

"That picture from our honeymoon,
"That night in Frisco Bay:
"Just give it away."
She said: "Give it away."
"An' that big four-poster king-size bed,
"Where so much love was made:
"Just give it away."
She said: "Just give it away."

"Just give it away.
"There ain't nothin' in this house worth fightin' over.
"Oh, an' we're both tired of fightin' anyway,
"So just give it away."

So I tried to move on,
But I found that each woman I held,
Just reminded me of that day.
Hmmm.

When that front door swung wide open,
She flung her diamond ring:
Said: "Give it away."
"Just give it away."
An' I said: "Now, honey, don't you even want,
"Your half of everything."
She said: "Give it away."
Just give it away.

Just give it away.
There ain't nothin' in this house worth fightin' over.
Oh, an' we're both tired of fightin' anyway,
So just give it away.

So I'm still right here where she left me,
Along with all the other things,
She don't care about anymore.
Mmmm.

Like that picture from our honeymoon,
That night in Frisco Bay:
She said: "Give it away."
Well, I can't give it away.
An' that big four-poster king-size bed,
Where all our love was made:
She said: "Give it away."
Well, I can't give it away.

I've got a furnished house, a diamond ring,
An' a lonely broken heart,
Full of love,
An' I can't even give it away.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Guilty!

Saddam, two others, sentenced to death

What a Day!

It was great hanging out with my friends Rob and Johnny, along with my son Joe yesterday, on our trip to Tuscaloosa for the Bama game...we talked about the following, and much, much, more...

Rick and Bubba: Dickie Nadmeyer, Dippin Dan, Dee and Dukes of Hazard, Willie and Wanda, Car Wash story, the event with Fox News this past week

Elections: tossing a coin this weekend, reading mail, surfing, researching

College Football: Shula, play calling, Finebaum, Auburn's chances, the game, losing to MSU, Bryant Museum

Old Classmates: Up to date with folks we've seen

Food at Work: too much good food that folks bring that is irresistable...doughnuts, cakes, etc

Medical Issues: hernias, surgery, rotator cuffs, high bp... I am getting old

School Lunches: pizza and corn, pears, mayo, and cheese

MLB, Cards win the world series, gold glove winners

I gave Rob CD's of the Cards and gave Johnny Bama programs

Joe's advice on nintendo

Electronics and growing older

FUN!!!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fairview 40 Vinemont 16

David's last football game was on Tuesday October 24. He got to play during the last play of the game. He said that Fairview scored 28 points in the first half and that Vinemont "won" the second half 16-14. That loss ended any hope that Vinemont had of making it to the playoffs this year. During the practice week prior to this game, David said his highlight was almost blocking a punt. It was his first year of organized football. He didn't get to play much but I think he enjoyed being part of the team.

World Series

I wrote about the first two games of the World Series in this space a few posts back. The Cardinals are World Champs for 2006. It was their 10th Championship in club history.



St. Louis Cardinals

1. Sat, Oct 21 – St. Louis 7, Detroit 2
2. Sun, Oct 22 – Detroit 3, St. Louis 1
3. Tue, Oct 24 – St. Louis 5, Detroit 0
4. Wed, Oct 25 – at St. Louis, Postponed
4. Thu, Oct 26 – St. Louis 5, Detroit 4
5. Fri, Oct 27 – St. Louis 4, Detroit 2

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

ACSA Conference



I've been away from blogging lately because of business. I had a trip last week to the Alabama Gulf Coast for the Alabama Child Support Association Conference. The ACSA includes State DHR personnel and District Attorney staff from all 67 Alabama counties. It was an inspirational and informative conference as usual. Plus it is the one travel "perk" that we get. Above is a photo of where the conference was held. I will include additional photos I took during this trip on the Alabama Weather Blog.

Monday, October 23, 2006

World Series

I am happy to see the Cardinals and the Tigers in the World Series this year. I've always been a Braves fan and I would have certainly preferred to see the Braves make it to the "Fall Classic", or even the Cubs, which is my second favorite team. But the Cards are my third favorite team and I've been following the Tigers all year. I knew that they would be much improved with some good young pitching, some really good acquisitions, and a new manager, Jim Leyland. The boys and I even got to attend a Tigers game in Comerica Park in July. I was really glad, also, that the Tigers and Cards knocked out the Yankees and Mets.

The first game was Saturday night in Detroit. St. Louis pitcher Reyes was the story of this game. He was one of only two pitchers to ever start game one of the World Series with an earned run average over 5. He was going against Tiger's star rookie starting pitcher Justin Verlander. Verlander won 17 games and was repeatedly being clocked at over 100 miles per hour in one of his playoff starts against the Yankees. The Cards, behind Reyes, won easily in game one. Pujols hit a two run homer for the Cards.

I watched game two Sunday night with my Mom and Dad. Kenny Rogers of the Tigers continued his pitching in this year's playoffs. He now has thrown 23 consecutive shutout innings this postseason. Behind Rogers, the Tigers won game two by a score of 3-1. Pell City, Alabama resident Todd Jones picked up the save for the Tigers.

The big controversy in this game was whether Rogers applied pine tar to his pitching hand. The umpire, at Cardinal Manager Tony Larussa's request checked him out and ruled that it was just dirt on his hand and he told him to wash his hands between innings. However, listening to "Baseball This Morning" on XM 175 this morning, the three hosts of the show, Mark Patrick, Orestes Destrada, and Buck Martinez all seemed 99 per cent sure that it was pine tar, not dirt. They cited Larussa's close relationship with Leyland as the reason that no formal request was made to eject Rogers. Tim McCarver, the Fox analyst made a great point when he said, "If it wasn't illegal then why did he clean his hand?"

It was probably a moot point anyway, because that happened early in the game and Rogers continued to pitch awesome after the "incident". The series is now tied 1-1 and it moves to St. Louis on Tuesday. The Cardinals have to be satisfied to leave Detroit with a split and some of their best pitchers available, in Carpenter and Suppan.

Caught Looking

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Out in the Yard

I spent the day working in my parents' yard. There were numerous branches and limbs down from the storm that rolled through here on Monday night October 23. After I cleared those off, I did some trimming and pruning. Then I blew some leaves and mowed.

I moved dirt by hand all afternoon, spreading out the remainder of the topsoil on the south side of the house. I spoke with our neighbor, Mr. Smart and borrowed his garden rake. After all of that I planted some grass seed. My parents seemed so very appreciative. My Mom made me a wonderful spaghetti meal!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Testimony of Gianna Jessen

I mentioned in a post below to provide links to an amazing story of an amazing young lady. Please take a few minutes out of life to read, consider, ponder, and allow the Lord to speak to your heart. Thank you for considering this amazing story.

Testimony of Gianna Jessen Hearing on H.R. 4292, the "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2000" House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution July 20, 2000
http://www.godandscience.org/doctrine/jessen.html


The following is based on an interview 28 year-old Gianna Jessen gave to the Independent, a newspaper in the UK.
http://www.abortiontv.com/Glitch/AbortionSurvivors.htm

WORLD PRAYER MOVEMENT
HOSTS A SPECIAL TEEN
http://www.marys-touch.com/testimonies/jessen.htm

Gianna Jessen, a hero
http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?idCategory=34&idsub=127&id=3799

"This is the White House calling. You need to call us." These are the words Gianna Jessen heard as she listened to her voicemail.
http://www.afajournal.org/2006/march/306abortion.asp

Disability is a 'gift,' abortion survivor tells Fort Smith youth
http://www.arkansascatholic.org/article.php?id=657

Blood From a Turnip

First a disclaimer: None of the following events are necessarily real. But they may be, since I was in court tonight until 6:30 p.m.

What do you do with a person who has 6 children by four different women in two different counties? What if he has four separate orders to pay child support totaling $1008 per month (which includes both current and arrears payments), but his gross income is $1300 per month?

If you don't know the answer, join the club. We had a judge, two attorneys, a caseworker, and supervisor try to figure this one out and none of us had an answer. I am guessing that we had a combined 115 years of experience.

The good news is that the guy is paying most of what he owes.

I just post this to give those of you who live a sheltered life a tiny glimpse into the cesspool into which our culture has devolved.

I wont even go into the case involving an illegal alien mother on welfare with six children and even mre alleged fathers!

Lord have mercy!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Vinemont 24 Holly Pond 12

Monday night David's football team won another game.

Gianna Jessen...

Last Sunday 10/8/06, I saw a program on the Catholic Channel, EWTN. I stopped immediately and listened because I heard the most beautiful voice singing Christian hymns. I was cleaning and doing chores in the house, so I decided to listen while I was working. As great as the singing was, I had to stop what I was doing when this young lady began sharing her testimony. As I sat on my living room couch, I listened to a 29 year old describe how she survived a saline abortion. It was such an amazing story told with such heartfelt, childlike sincerity, it caused me to cry. I wish her testimony was heard by all Americans. It is a story that needs to be told and heard by every one of us. The written word cannot do justice to what I saw and heard on my television last Sunday afternoon. Nevertheless, I will post a few links I have found about her amazing story.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Thurs-Sat...

Wednesday October 4, 2006

As late as Wednesday night I had no idea what I would be doing on Saturday. However, I got a call that night from my friend Mike who had a friend who was trying to sell two tickets to the Alabama vs. Duke game. I had long since sold my four Tide Pride tickets because I knew my boys were not scheduled to be with me that day. Later that night I called the boys' mom and asked her whether David could go with me. She said that she would think about it. Thursday morning, I had driven about 22 minutes on my way to work. Their mom called and ask if I could take the day off to be with David and Matt, who were sick. I called in to work, turned around, and spent the day at home with David and Matt. They really were not feeling well. David had been to the doctor the day before and was diagnosed with a sinus infection. He was very sluggish, congested, had a sore throat, and was feverish. Matt was also sluggish and he had a bad cough. The three of us slept most of the morning after I fed them breakfast. The rest of the afternoon, we sat around, played some games, and they did some school work. Joe got home from school at three. The boys and I watched the baseball playoffs a good bit of the time on Thursday afternoon and evening. We pulled for the Cardinals to beat the Padres, the Tigers to beat the Yankees, and the Dodgers to beat the Mets. We didn't really have a preference on the A's / Twins series. The Cards, Mets, A's, and Tigers have advanced to the league championship series. Thursday evening I called the boys' mom again and told her that I needed to know if I could take David to the game, because I had to call about the tickets. She finally agreed. I called Mike's friend and agreed to purchase the tickets. Friday I bought the tickets.

Saturday October 7, 2006

Saturday morning David and I left the house at about 9 and arrived in Tuscaloosa a little before 11. We stopped at the Chevron and grabbed a burger and a burger and frosty at Wendy's. After parking a block off Hackberry Lane, we walked over to the Bryant Museum and picked up some programs from prior games. After going back to the car we walked across campus to the Ferguson Center and watched the Auburn-Arkansas game with some friends, including Tee and Gary. That place was rocking with Bama fans cheering on the Razorbacks, who defeated the Auburn Tigers 27-10. David also wanted to shop in the Supe Store. He got the book, "Bloodfeud", about the Alabama-Auburn rivalry. I got a new Alabama cap. It is a white cap with "U of A". Gary gave us two tickets for some good seats, which was real nice. David and I walked across campus and sold our other two tickets for $20 each on the street corner behind the Tutwiler parking lot. We walked back across campus and watched the end of the Auburn loss. We then ate Mexican at the Bama Dining center at the Ferguson Center. I had the burrito and David had a cheese quesedilla. I bought him a strawberry shortcake for dessert. He was real nice to share it with me. After dessert we walked over to the Quad where we watched the band warm up and perform on the steps of the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library. After the band finished, we walked back to the car, got some drinks, and walked to Bryant Denny Stadium.

The game itself was a huge letdown. Alabama came in 3-2. They have looked good at times, but inconsistent. With a little luck they could have easily defeated one of the two games they lost. Both of the teams that defeated Alabama, Arkansas and Florida, were predicted to win. Despite that, Bama dominated both games and could have won. Duke brought the nation's worst offense to Tuscaloosa Saturday night, ranked 119 out of 119. David and I were expecting a blowout, perhaps something along the lines of 42-0. After all, Duke had been shut out in three of their first four games. The way it turned out, Bama had to mount a comeback in the second half, outscoring Duke 20-0, to finish with a 30-14 victory. Boos were reigning down in Bryant-Denny throughout the first half. As a fan, it appeared to me the boos were directed primarily at the Bama coaching staff. Many of the fans have been very vocal about the team running up the middle on third and long. The team was very flat and uninspired in the first half. Today the sports talk shows, such as the Paul Finebaum Show, are fielding calls from disillusioned fans. Even though I was really down on the coaching staff during the game, maybe we should sit back and take a deep breath before asking for Shula to be ousted. After all the team did win, and this happens every Saturday and always has. I know that even Bear Bryant had games that he had trouble winning against poor opponents. Bama (and Shula) is not as bad as people think. Now if the Tide plays like this against Ole Miss and lose, Shula may be digging his own grave. On the other hand, if the Tide wins the games they are supposed to win, and then wins one or two of the games they are not supposed to win, people will change their tune. College football is very interesting. Parity rules in the SEC. The top 7 or 8 teams in the SEC can all defeat each other on a given day. Anyway, back to Bama, I sure hope that Shula gets a grip on this team. Alabama need to come out and have a decisive victory against Ole Miss. Then, if the Tide can upset Tennessee, they will potentially be in real good shape for a decent season, because after the Vols, Bama has two more easy games before facing LSU and Auburn. Alabama then could go into those last two games with an 8-2 record, which will be basically what was expected of this team at the beginning of the season. Alabama then would have a chance to exceed expectations with a victory over one of the Tigers. On the surface, he team's performance against Duke does not give much reason for hope. Nevertheless, we can only hope that the scare that Duke put into the team (and hopefully the coaches) will provide the added motivation needed to reel of a long string of victories.

David and I were frustrated, but he said over and over what a great day that he had. He enjoyed seeing the Tide win. We left the stadium with about 4 minutes left in the game. We missed the final touchdown that came on Lionel Mitchell's interception return. We got out of town and beat the traffic. After a stop at the Gardendale Wal-Mart, we got home around 11:30. We were pumped up and stayed up until 2:30 watching some of the replay of the game, reading, and playing on David's Xbox. All that really mattered at the end of the day was hearing David say this, "Dad, it's been a great day!"

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More Than a Name on a Wall

Here are the lyrics to an awesome song by the Statler Brothers about Vietnam Veterans and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. As far as I'm concerned this also applies to all of those who are sacrificing for us in the War on Terror as well.

I saw her from a distance, as she walked up to the wall
In her hand she held some flowers, as her tears began to fall
She took out pen and paper as to trace her mem'ries
She looked up to heaven, and the words she said were these.

She said, ''Lord my boy was special, and he meant so much to me
And Oh, I'd love to see him just one more time you see
All I have are the mem'ries and the moments to recall
So Lord could you tell him he's more than a name on the wall.''

She said, ''He really missed the family, being home on Christmas day
And he died for God and country in a place so far away
I remember just a little boy, playing war since he was three
And Lord this time I know, he's not coming home to me.''

She said, ''Lord my boy was special, and he meant so much to me
And Oh, I'd love to see him but I know it just can't be
So I thank you for my mem'ries and the moments to recall
But Lord could you tell him he's more than a name on the wall.''

''Lord could you tell him he's more than a name on the wall..."

Statlers "Teacher's Day" Story

I recently purchased a DVD of my favorite country group of all time, the Statler Brothers. It is a video of their farewell concert in Salem, Virginia a few years ago. I love their music, but one of the best things about the Statlers is their incredible sense of humour and the funny stories and interaction among the guys in concert or on TV.

Here is my version of one of Harold Reid's classic stories (Harold is the funny one, Don is the straight one) This is my written version, which wont totally do it justice...

Harold has a friend who is a teacher
she tells him about teachers day
teacher's day is when the students bring gifts to the teacher
the first boy's dad owns a candy shop
he brings a huge gift and she unwraps a huge box of candy
the next kid's dad owns a flower shop
she opens a box full of beautiful flowers
the third kid's dad owns a liquor store...............
she asks the boy...is it champagne
no
is it fine wine....
no
brandy
no
then she notices that it is leaking so she puts her finger in it and tastes it....
so she asks the boy what is it.....
he said....................
drum roll.............













puppies!

Vinemont, aka South Vinemont, AL


South Vinemont Trail


Vinemont-Providence Fire Station


Water Tower


Vinemont Town Hall

Joe and Matt's School


Vinemont Elementary

David's School


Vinemont Middle School

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

West Point 33 Vinemont 6

David's team lost last night. They are now 3 and 2 on the year.

Ailments

About this time last week I began a tough time with my right shoulder. Actually I've struggled with pain in my right shoulder on and off for several months. It usually flares up when playing catch with my boys.

I'm not exactly sure what triggered it last week, but I think it may have been when I was trying to reach my back with soap in the shower. I have a tendency to push myself and I reached harder than I should have because I didn't want to limit my range of motion with my right arm.
Ever since then, I have had intense pain in my right shoulder. I cannot do normal activities without intense pain.

It is amazing how much we take for granted things like: reaching over to grab something out of the back seat of the car, tucking in our shirt, reaching up to grab a book off the shelf, drying off after a shower, sleeping on our side, reaching into our back pocket for a billfold, and the list goes on and on and on!

If you know me, it had to be bad for me to actually visit the doctor for the first time in years. He thinks I tore my rotator cuff. He prescribed Celebrex to help easy any inflammation. He said if that worked, great! If not, I probably have a tear and will need to have an MRI and surgery.

As if that's not enough, I had to start taking medication for high blood pressue, which costs me $50 per month. Whew, I feel OLD!

There goes any hope of a Major League Baseball career!

Wait, I can throw a mean spiral with a football using my left arm. Just ask my boys!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

My Wish

Here is a song I heard on the Nashville XM Radio station by
Rascal Flatts...cool song!

I hope that days come easy and moments pass slow,
and each road leads you where you want to go,
and if you're faced with a choice, and you have to
choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
and if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window,
if it's cold outside,
show the world the warmth of your smile,
more then anything, more then anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that
you want it,
to your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more then you can hold,
and while you're out there getting where you're
getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the
same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.
I hope you never look back, but ya never forget,
all the ones who love you, in the place you left,
I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
and you help somebody every chance you get,
Oh, you find God's grace, in every mistake,
and you always give more then you take.
Oh More then anything, Yeah, and more then anything,
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that
you want it,
to your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more then you can hold,
and while you're out there getting where you're
getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants
the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.

This Weekend

The boys and I watched the Vinemont varsity football team defeat Falkville 33-6 Friday night at their homecoming game.

I defeated David on XBox football but Joseph, my 10 year old, beat me twice lately. As Auburn, he crushed my Buffalo team, which should not be a surprise. The bad thing is his #1 USC team crushed my #2 Oklahoma team by over thirty points.

Saturday, we travelled to my Mom and Dad's home. We watched Bama lose to Florida down in Gainesville on CBS. Bama hung tough, and I think they gave it their best shot, but they were just outmanned by a superior Florida team. I won't even complain about Shula's play calling like I did last week after the Arkansas game. I think he did all that he could.

Today we watched the Braves defeat the Astros behind 16 game winner John Smoltz. The Braves knocked the Astros out of the playoffs. I'm sur my friend Rob was watching with glee knowing that it put his beloved Cards into the playoffs again.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Vinemont 22 Union Hill 8

Vinemont Middle School is officially now 3-1 on the season. They did lose in their preseason scrimmage with Danville, but they have done well since. David is new to playing organized football. He did get in the game for one play!

Big Spring Jam

I took the boys to the Big Spring Jam music festival in Huntsville on Friday night. We went straight to the WDRM country stage. We enjoyed listening to Jeff Cook, Blake Shelton, and Sugarland. The weather was a concern, as tornadoes were touching down in Marshall and Blount counties. By the time we arrived at the park, however, the weather was purely awesome! The temperstures were in the seventies with a brisk breeze out of the south. We enjoyed watching the low clouds speed by, the lightning in the distance, and cool music.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Good Hope 34 Vinemont 22, 9/21/06

Watermelon Harvest 2006


Thursday we harvested the two watermelons that survived the long, hot, and dry summer in our garden. All credit goes to the boys who faithfully delivered water from the tap to the watermelon vines all summer. The boys and I enjoyed two of the sweetest watermelons I've ever had while sitting on the on the front porch. Life doesn't get much better than that!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Catching Up...

I know it's trite, but I've been so busy living life that I haven't had time to blog about it much lately. I suppose it's time to catch up. Last Monday, 9/11/06, it was good to meet Matt and Joe for lunch at school. It did indeed bring back memories of eating with David and Joe on the same date in 2001.

Also last week was special because a teenager was welcomed to the family. Friends and co-workers have been warning me about the difficulties in raising teenagers for the past few years. I guess I am about to find out what they are talking about. I will be the parent of one or more teens during the next 13 years. David will be my only teen during the next two and one-half years. I will have two or more teens simultaneously for the following seven years. I will actually have three teens simultaneously for about one and two thirds years out of those seven years. Then I will be back to having one teenager three and two thirds years. Yes, as you can tell, sometimes I have to figure out way too many details!

Anyway, David seemed to have a great 13th birthday. I gave him his gifts, including a new digital camera, an autographed book by Winston Groom entitled "Illustrated History of the Crimson Tide”, numerous baseball cards, an autographed Greg Maddux card, an Alabama football media guides from 1984 and 2006, and a few DVD's that I made for him. We all had fun together that night.

Friday night we went to bed early. I would guess we all were asleep not too long after 8:00. It was a good thing. My alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. so that we could leave for Tuscaloosa by about 5:30. It was really easy traveling to an Alabama game that early in the morning. It was dark most of the way to Birmingham and the sun didn't actually rise until we were around Bessemer.

We parked across from Farrah Hall and "tailgated" in front of Moore Hall on the southeast side of the quad all day. We did visit the Bryant Museum. We also enjoyed watching the team arrive at the stadium at about 3:00. The boys played football with some other kids much of the day and I did all of the grilling. We left the game with about 5 remaining. Bama was winning 41-7. It was a great decision. we walked fast over to the car and beat most of the crowd out of Tuscaloosa around 9:00. We drove all the way to my parents' home in Huntsville and arrived there around 11:45 or so.

Sunday we hung out with my Mom and Dad. David organized his baseball cards and watched the Cubs game and I watched a lot of the Braves game with my Dad. David washed my Mom's car and Joe washed mine. Joe also mowed the front yard. We played a little football down at the park and enjoyed a wonderful meal that my Mom prepared. She made baked chicken, baked potatoes and green beans.

Yesterday I got to take David and Joe to the Cullman County Fair. I had fun watching them on the rides. We also enjoyed looking at the animals and prize vegetables. The weather was perfect for a fair. The air was dry and cool. Someone either threw or dropped a plastic bag with water and a goldfish from the top of the ferris wheel. It missed us by about a foot. That would have been bad! This has been one of those rather boring narrative chronological entries that I submitted mainly to supplement our memories. Someday I hope the boys and I will look back fondly at these times.

Friday, September 15, 2006

9/11/06

Monday was 9/11/2006. I sure do wish that was just another "plain old, regular day" on the calendar like most other dates. Unfortunately, as you know, it is not. The events of 9/11/2001 profoundly changed the way most Americans look at the world around us. When I was growing up during the Cold War, there was always the threat of nuclear attack in the back of my mind. I had always heard that the town in which I was born and raised was one of the Soviets' highest priority targets in the event of a military confrontation. Despite all of this, however, the reality was that there were never were Soviet attacks on America during this time. Between 1979 and 2001 there were incidents involving terrorism against Americans, but the vast majority of those were against military personnel stationed overseas. That all radically changed on 9/11/01. In a series of attacks, 2948 innocent people were murdered here on American soil. I remember that morning like it was yesterday. I was on leave from work that day from 7:30-11:45. I was at my home in Good Hope and was listening to the Rick and Bubba radio show out of Birmingham. When I turned on the radio, they were beginning to describe the first attack. In a matter of minutes I realized something had gone terribly wrong. My first reaction was that it was just a really bad plane wreck. As details began to emerge, it was apparent we were under attack. We had no idea of the scope, but a wave of fear and dismay seemed to roll across the country. Both of the twin towers were attacked by terrorists who hijacked airplanes, as was the Pentagon, and another plane crashed near Shanksville, PA. Was it going to end? I felt an impulsive desire to be near my children. I drove to the school and ate lunch with them. The teachers and parents were all talking with disbelief about what was happening. David was old enough to understand the basics of what was going on. I don't think Joe understood very deeply what was happening. It helped me to be there to reassure my children that they would be ok. I remember the uneasy feeling I had, wondering if there was an extensive network of other attacks that would be happening that same day, even close to where I live. I remember that my sister had to evacuate the office building that she worked at in Chicago because it was next to the Sears Tower, which was also threatened. One of the images that sticks with me the most that day was of President Bush. He was speaking at a school in Florida when he was interrupted by an aide that whispered something about it into his ear. It seemed that just like the rest of us, it was impossible for him to fully process immediately the scope of what was happening. I remember the feeling of unity and spiritual bond that seemingly all Americans shared during that time. I remember the Wednesday night church service at Seventh Street following the attack. David was drawing something on the bulletin and prayer list. Toward the end of the service he showed me what it was. He had sketched a picture of an airplane crashing into a skyscraper. I still have that sketch. On 9/11/2006, I ate lunch at school with my boys and reminded them of that day. I asked them if their teachers had mentioned it in class, and they had. Flags all over the country flew at half-mast in remembrance and memorial. It seemed like that for one day at least, most Americans paused and took a few moments to remember what happened on 9/11/01. Ever since that fateful day Americans have had a renewed sense of the dangers of living in America in the 21st century. Thank God that we have not been attacked again. I pray in the name of Jesus that we will never be attacked again. We should never forget those who lost their lives. We should never forget the heroes such as the New York firefighters and the passengers of the plane that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. We should remain vigilant to protect our country. We should stay on the offensive against the groups that continue to vow to attack us and kill us. To do any less would dishonor the memory of our fellow citizens who perished that day.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Vinemont 44 Cold Springs 6

David played in his first football game ever last night as his team won big. I was so proud of him!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day Weekend

We went to bed early Friday so that we could drive to Tuscaloosa early in the morning for the Alabama-Hawaii game. Even though we didn't get up as early as planned, we still got a good start and we arrived in T-Town around 8. I made the mistake of parking in the parking deck behind the Ferguson Center. It was nearly impossible to get out of there after the game. I think that next time we will park on Hacberry and set up on the SE end of the quad. Anyway, we set up our canopy, chairs, and grill. A real nice guy helped us set up our canopy. We were near the northwest corner of the quad, directly behind Barnard Hall.

The boys made some new friends playing football on the mound on the quad. I grilled hamburgers, polish sausage, and hot dogs. For breakfast the four of us scarfed down a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts. We also had mandarin orange cups, chocolate chip cookies, and A&W Root Beer. I bought a program and we read that and other football material. I finished reading the book, Tales of the Tide. We also walked around and saw the sights around the quad.

A friend of mine, Tee, along with a friend of his, Ralph, came and sat under our canopy and chatted awhile. WTTO, Channel 21 out of Birmingham filmed the boys and I cheering, "Roll Tide" and the lady in charge said that we would be on the air next Saturday after the Auburn game. We watched and listened to the trombone section warm up on the mound before the game.

The game was fun for the boys and I. We met the season ticket holders who sit in front of us. One guy was named Paul and the lady was named Jessica. Paul was really getting into the cheering. He was urging my boys to keep cheering louder throughout much of the game. The decibel level must have been very high in Bryant-Denny that night. Bama won the game 25-17. I posted links to the stories about the game and photos of our gameday experience on my 2006 Alabama Crimson Tide Blog.

Sunday night and Monday we spent visiting my Mom and Dad. My dad taped the game for me and the boys and I watched it. David, my Dad, and I watched the Cubs lose another game on Monday afternoon. David and Joe mowed the lawn and the boys and I washed my vehicle. After I made supper, we went home Monday night.

It was a great family weekend!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Great Song Post

I heard this song on XM tonight. I absolutely love it!

If Nobody Believed In You


by Joe Nichols

I watched him take the two strike call:
He hadn't tried to swing at all.
I guess he'd had all that he could take,
He walked away, for goodness sake.
His father's voice was loud an' mean:
"You won't amount to anything."

That little boy quit tryin',
He just walked away.
There were teardrops on his face.
Tell me, how would you feel?
You'd probably give up too,
If nobody believed in you.

That old man said: "One more try,
"I know I'm not too old to drive.
"I promise, son, I'll do my best,
"This time, I'm gonna pass the test."
"Give me the keys, Dad, an' get in."
His father never drove again.

That old man quit tryin',
He just turned away.
An' there were teardrops on his face.
Tell me, how would you feel?
You'd probably give up too,
If nobody believed in you.

We take His name out of the schools.
The lawyers say it breaks the rules.
Pledge of allegiance can't be read,
An' under God, should not be said.
I wonder how much He will take.
I just pray it's not too late.

What if God quit tryin',
He just turned away?
There were teardrops on his face?
Tell me, how would you feel?
You'd probably give up too,
If nobody believed in you.

Tell me, how would you feel?
You'd probably give up too,
If nobody believed in you.

Danville Hawks 28 Vinemont Eagles 14


This was David's first game of organized football. He is number 71. He didn't get to play. The coach sent him at the very end and then time ran out. I am so proud of all of the hard work and improvement he has made.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Facts of Life

Last night I spoke to David about the facts of life. I asked him some questions to see what he already knew. Very little. Good! I warned him that, like me at that age, he would probably find this gross. I explained both the biological and sociological aspects of this issue. Not to mention I also talked about the spiritual.

I asked him, at the end, if he was glad that I told him about this, he said, "maybe." Well, he needed to hear this and I'm glad it's been explained the right way to such a nice young man.

I really know that it was time. This week at work we interviewed a 15 year old client who already had two children.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Last Night...

Last night David spent the night here with me by himself. I enjoyed our time together. I cooked hamburgers and did a little cleaning around the house while he read his early birthday gift, a new Alabama football media guide. We had chocolate chip cookies and milk for dessert. After eating together we played a game of MLB 2005 baseball on Xbox. I was the Mets and he was the White Sox. I won 7-6 in 13 innings. I was trailing 6-5 going into the 9th, when Andres Gallaraga hit a solo home run for me with two outs to tie the game. Pedro Martinez started for me, but only lasted four innings after giving up six runs. I brought in Tom Glavine in the 5th and he pitched nine shutout innings for the win. My strategy with Glavine was to paint the outside corner. David and I watched a special on Fox Sports South about Cal Ripkin between nine and ten o'clock. He went to bed listening to Christian music on XM 32. It was a really good night.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

This Weekend...

The boys and I had a great weekend. Friday night we attended the "Meet the Eagles" scrimmage and introductions. Saturday we drove to Tuscaloosa and went to Alabama's scrimmage. There were about 12,000 people on hand to watch Alabama practice.

Prior to practice I took the boys to Dreamland BBQ in Tuscaloosa. I told David he could choose where we ate as a birthday dinner combined with a celebration of him reaching the 100 pound milestone. The funny thing about it was that he was not quite 100 pounds yet. We were just doing it early. He liked Dreamland so much that I joked that he might be 100 when he finished eating. Lo and behold, he called me upstairs Sunday afternoon and said, "Dad, you've got to see this!" He was 100 pounds for the first time!

It was a great weekend with the boys. I have continued to have some problems with headaches and my blood pressure has gotten a little high for the first time in my life during the past month.
Tonight David is with me so I will keep this short. We are going to play a game before bed.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

After Work the Past 3 Days...

Last Wednesday night I visited my Mom and Dad. It was nice visiting with them, reading the paper, and I also mowed their lawn. I told them that I think theey need to have a dangerous poplar tree removed that was leaning over the house, so we talked about that for awhile. My Dad made ribs and a baked potato. Yum! Thanks Dad!

Thursday I purchased groceries on the way home, helped Matt with his homework, and supervised David and Joe's mowing while I heated up frozen pizzas. David also had a good bit of homework. I showed them our Bama tickets and asked them if they wanted to go to Tuscaloosa for Bama's scrimmage on Saturday. "Yes!"

Friday David had team inroductions at the football field. The band played, all of the football players, cheerleaders, volleyball team, and others introduced themselves. The little league football players got to go out on the field with the high school team and do stretching exercises. Then the high school team had a scrimmage. We came home, ate, played some games, and cleaned up before we went to bed. David said, "You know what I like about Fridays?" "What," I said. "No Homework!" Can't say that I blame him!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lost Glasses

David hung his glasses on the fence at the middle school football practice field. I enjoyed watching his practice tonight, but he was upset that he couldn't find his glasses. After walking along the fence several times I finally found them. Joe and I drove up to the field house where David was trying to talk to the high school football coach and looking around the locker room. Joe decided to play a trick. He wore them. I told David that, "we looked as hard as we could, but..." Then he saw his glasses on Joe's face and he grinned like a cheshire cat. Mystery solved, and hopefully a lesson was learned.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hey BBQ Fans!

Here's my plug for Whitt's Barbeque. I get lunch from Whitts probably between 75-100 times a year. I love it! If you visit Decatur, Athens, East Lawrence County, or Ardmore give it a try. Tonight I stopped at the new East Lawrence location on my way to Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Wren, south of Moulton. The "half of chicken" with thick sauce was as good as ever. Their sandwiches are awesome and unique to North Alabama. You can choose beef, turkey, or pork. Unless you ask for something different, they come with mayo, vinegar slaw, pickles, and your choice of thick sauce, mild thin sauce, or hot thin sauce. I also have a card for a free drink that saves me over $50 dollars a year.

As Dad used to say, "Try it, you'll like it!"

More Weird Stuff

In court today, I looked out into the audience and saw what looked like a yellow pencil resting sideways on top of a lady's hair. I turned to a co-worker and said, "Why is there a pencil on that lady's head?" She didn't know either. Then another co-worker said that it was a comb. I looked over there several more times and it still looked to me like she was trying to balance a pencil on the top of her head. Then the worker who said that it was a comb commented, "That's so ghetto." Whatever...

A Master at Work

Last night I decided I'd take an opportunity to watch a master at work on the baseball diamond. If you know anything about baseball, you would have appreciated the effort turned in by future hall of famer Greg Maddux for his new team, the LA Dodgers, last night. What a treat. Here are a few links with the details:

AJC.com

Yahoo Sports

Sad News

My children's great grandfather, Laco Childers, died on Friday August 11 around 8:45 p.m. He was 92 and would have turned 93 on September 7. He had been diagnosed with leukemia recently. Joe and Matt got to see him that afternoon and he was alert enough to recognize them. David was at football practice at that time. David did get to see him later that evening before he died but he was not conscious at that time, according to Lisa. I think the boys were sad but I don't think they have spent a great deal of time with him. Lisa did make sure that they each took something home with them to remember him by. They each got a knife and David got one of his walking canes. Interestingly, Lisa said that the property where he and her grandmother lived was purchased in 1968 for $2000. It was 17 acres with two houses. She said that they found the deed. I would think that was an amazingly low price, even for that time period. "I started all of this." Laco Childers, on his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

From the Cullman Times:

Laco Childers

Funeral services for Laco Childers, 92, of Vinemont will be at 1 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 14, 2006, at Cullman Heritage Chapel, the Rev. Greg
Wilbanks officiating, with burial in Lawrence's Cove in Morgan County.

Cullman Heritage Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Mr. Childers died Friday, Aug. 11 at his residence. He was born in
Morgan County on Sept. 7, 1913, to Monk Oliver "M.O." and Vera Drinkard
Childers. He was self employed in the sawdust and shavings business.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two sons, L.C. Childers and
Bobby Childers; two brothers, Berlin Childers and O.Q. Childers; and two
grandchildren, Amber Wren and Brian Wren.

Survivors include his wife, Corine Childers of Vinemont; six daughters,
Patricia Shields, Rita Sizemore, both of Cullman, Faye Raney, Sandra
(Randy) Wren, Gwendolyn (Steve) Sherrill, all of Vinemont, Renay
Johnston of Good Hope; two sons, Gary Childers of Cullman, Randall Childers of
Vinemont; daughter-in-law, Paula Childers Knighten; five sisters, Ruby
(Hop) Bailey, Susie Childers, Lizzie (Millard) Holmes, Angie Veal,
Bernice (Raymond) Chesser; a brother, Billy (Sarah) Childers; two
sisters-in-law, Gail Childers, Mae Childers; 25 grandchildren; and 32
great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. today.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Relient K - High Of 75 Lyrics

I heard this song by Relient K on XM 32 yesterday and really liked it...

We were talking together
I said, "what's up with this weather?"
Don't know whether or not
How sad I just got
'Cause on my own volition.
What if I'm just missing the sun

And tomorrow, I know,
Will be rainy at best.
And the forecast, I know,
Is that I'll be depressed.

But I'll wait outside
Hoping that I'll catch sight of the sun.

[Chorus:]
Because on and off,
The clouds have fought
Their control over the sky

And lately the weather
Has been so Bi-polar
And Consequently so have I

And now I'm sunny with a High
of 75
Since You took my heavy heart
And made it light

And its funny how you find
You enjoy your life
When you're happy to be alive

[Chorus]
And the temperature is freezing
And then, after dark,
There is a cold frost sweeping
In over my heart

And we might break up
If I don't wake up to the sun

[Chorus]
Sunny with a High of 75
Since You took my heavy heart
And made it light (made it light)

And its funny how you find
You enjoy your life
When you're happy to be...
Alive

Friday, August 11, 2006

Thoughts from the past few days...

I always enjoy getting any "extra" time that I can with the boys. I was especially glad to be able to do that Wednesday. I picked the boys up from school after their first day of school. I also picked them up from school yesterday. This morning was tough at first but ended sweet. David was a "bear" at first. He was so hyped up last night that he was not able to get to sleep before 11. This morning he was nearly impossible to wake up. He was nearly in a coma. After I finally got him into a semi-conscious state, it was like pulling teeth to get him to actually get up on his feet. And was he ever grouchy about it. I was being as patient as I could, but my warnings seemed to go unheeded and his back-talk was getting on my nerves. This "teenage" stuff is not fun.

Actually he's not usually that bad if he gets enough rest.Anyway, he ended up helping without too much argument. He took out the garbage and straightened up his closet. Fortunately, we had time to read the Bible and pray together. I usually pray out loud and they repeat what I say out loud. I did this today and also we prayed silently together for a few minutes. Then I prayed out loud again for a few minutes. I am so very thankful for David, Joseph, and Matthew. They are the greatest joys in my life. Have you ever had one of those times in prayer when you really felt strongly that God's presence was with you and that He was helping you and the people with you? This was one of those times for us. I even shed a few tears of thankfulness as I pondered how blessed that we are in so many ways. As we prayed, Matt cuddled up next to me and all of us seemed to have much more positive spirits after we prayed. I gave the boys each a dollar for break and watched them cross the street to the school. They all turned around and waved. It was special to me.

A few more random thoughts:

David was so very excited to tell me all about football practice. When asked which class he liked the most, he said that all of his teachers seemed equally "nice" so far. David blew me out in an Xbox baseball game. I beat him the other day. He really likes it when he beats me in a game, because it is still not the norm. Last night before he fell asleep, he told me some funny things that happened in school. He laughed about one boy who farted out loud in class and another boy who thought Kentucky was a city in Tennessee.

Joe has expressed several times lately that he would rather be outside than inside. He truly has all of the makings of an outdoorsman. He spent a few minutes each of the last two afternoons shooting his bb gun at various objects in the backyard, including a katydid. He blew me out in an Xbox football game. He was USC and I was Alabama. He got an early lead, so I had to gamble, and lost. He always wants to wait out on the front porch in the morning before we leave rather than in the house.

Matt and I played an Xbox baseball game that was older and more "juvenile" than the one I played with David. His "players" were actually clowns. I blew him out but he enjoyed every minute of it. I haven't heard him laugh so much in a while. He liked beaning my batters because he wanted the players to fight on the mound and do all of their spastic antics. I have been teasing Matt (and his brothers) a lot lately about the stuff that they watch on the Disney Channel (i.e., "Hannah Montana" and "That's So Raven") as being girls' shows. We all tease Matt about having girlfriends. If there is ever a cute girl on television, we say, "Ooh, Matt, look!" When he does, he makes this angry face at us for teasing him about it. He's so cute.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

First Day of Football Practice

Today was David's first day of middle school football practice. He has never played before, but he's pretty excited about it. I picked Joe and Matt up after school then we watched David practice. We celebrated by getting some Domino's pizza for supper. The boys still haven't had any homework, so I played games with them tonight.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

First Day of School

It was great picking the boys up from school today. We walked home and sat down long enough for them to each tell me about their day, their classes, teachers, and classmates. They all seemed tired. Matt actually fell asleep for a little while as we were talking. We drove over to the Dollar General and picked up a few things, cleaned up a little, watered the watermelons, cooked and ate fried chicken, played some games, read some stories, and I put them to bed at about 9. Since them I've been catching up with some weather and sports stuff on the internet. I had a nasty headache today at work that finally went away this evening. Thanks Lord for another good day!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Back to School 2006

Yesterday was open house at the school for the boys. The boys met their new teachers, saw their new classrooms, and found out who was in their class this year. David starts seventh grade. He will be dressing out in PE for the first time this year and he also plans on joining the middle school football team.

After open house, which lasted from about 5-6 for us, David and Joe came over to the house awhile until about seven when their mom arrived.

Tomorrow is the first day of school. David was the only one of the three tonight who told me he was looking forward to school. Summer vacations are not as long as they were in the "good old days"!

Monday, August 07, 2006

What's Up With This?

Here's the court question for the day: If you are charged with contempt of court for failure to pay child support (facing the possibility of jail), and furthermore, you are wearing a t-shirt that says, "UPS - United Pimpin Service", are you wearing appropriate court attire?

Answer: Yes or No?

Comments anyone?

Just another day in court for my co-workers and I.....

How did America ever get to this point?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Weekend

The boys and I had four really good days.

Thursday evening: We worked our tails off in the heat. We mowed, trimmed, picked up sticks and trash, watered and harvested in the garden, and sweated in 97 degree heat. After all of that I cooked breakfast for supper. I made bacon, eggs, and we drank chocolate milk. Yum!

Friday evening: As a reward to the boys for all of their hard work, I took them to the local roller skating rink. We were there for about three hours, from 7:30-10:30. They were a bit rusty, not having skated that much. There were a lot of bumps and bruises, but they had a large time. Their muscles were a bit sore, too, from all of the exercise. David did not want to stop. Joe was ready to quit a few minutes sooner than Matt.

Saturday: We travelled to Mom and Dad's. We watched the Braves lose to Cincy with my Dad. After that we played touch football at the park. David and Joe went up against Matt and I. The game concluded with a 7-7 tie. We gave one point for each touchdown, so we did a good bit of running in the heat. It was extremely hot out there and we were sweating like crazy. As if the football game wasn't enough, we all ran the bases several times. Yes, I even did it with my 40-something body. I think I needed the exercise.

Sunday: We mostly hung out with my Mom and Dad. David and I looked at some of my old baseball cards. We watched the Braves degeat the Reds and the Cubs win behind the solid pitching of Rich Hill. We saw Hill dominate the Memphis Redbirds when he was with the Iowa Cubs a few eeks ago. I gave each of the boys about 65 baseball cards. Mom made an awesome meal; peppered ham, corn, and baked potatoes. The Blue Bell ice cream finished it off just right. Joe opted for the chocolate chip cookies, as usual. We did a little grocery shopping. On the way home we talked to Cara on the phone and got an update on the kitten.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Catching Up

I guess it's time for a little catching up on the blog. Since we got back from vacation I have been trying to play catch up on so many things. We drove back from Kansas City on July 24th and we spent the 25th at my parents' home. I washed clothes all day that day and the boys helped as we organized all of our things. Joe and Matt washed the vehicle and David mowed my parents' lawn that day. On the morning of the 26th, they went back to their Mom's. Boy did I miss them, even though they were with me again on Thursday the 27th.

I have spent the last week catching up on things at work and by today I have recovered pretty well from being out so long. I don't hate my job like so many people seem to do. I did need the break, though, and it felt better coming to work after having two weeks off. It's always good to recharge the batteries.

Sunday evening I did some weed eating. I hate using the weed eater. The string always gets caught up in the spool and I have to turn the thing off, respool the string, and start again. That must have happened 10-12 times Sunday evening.

I have been spending some time writing updates on previous posts about the vacation as well as posting some more photos, so I haven't made as many "new" entries as usual during the past week. Things are starting to fire up in the tropics so I will be watching the weather closely to see what Chris will do. I will be posting some updates about Chris on my weather blog.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Terry's Pizza is Gone

My Mom informed me earlier this evening that Terry's Pizza is closing in Huntsville. Too bad. Terry's has been a Huntsville institution and family favorite since 1959. Here is an article from the Huntsville Times.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Monday 7/24/06 - Back to Bama

We left the Wyndham Hotel in Overland Park, Kansas at about 9:05 a.m. We had a long drive ahead of us to get to Huntsville, AL. Joe rode in the front at first. David read Joe's book about Davy Crocket. Matt took a nap and played with toys. Joe read the KC newspaper some. We got six coupons for kids to eat free at Bob Evans restaurant when we went to the Royals game. The boys were disappointed when I passed the first two Bob Evans restaurants because they thought we wouldn't see another one. Actually, going east on I-70 through Missouri, there are no Bob Evans restaurants between 30 minutes outside KC and Columbia, MO. I turned it into a joke. Every time there was an exit I said, "Bob Evans, this exit." They caught on and we had a lot of fun with that. When we finally saw the Bob Evans billboard heading into Columbia we all got excited. In fact we had a loud chant going as we approached the exit, "Bob Evans, Bob Evans, etc." I had egg beaters and link sausage and the boys all had the french toast. We stopped from 11-11:45.We then continued eastward toward St. Louis. I listened to Rush Limbaugh talk about the current state of affairs in the Middle East; in particular the conflict between Israel and the Hezbollah factions in southern Lebanon. Rush has taken a lot of hits. He refuses to be politically correct and he makes himself a target of the liberal media. But pull away all of the hype and the criticism and you will still find that he is a brilliant man. Anyone who can think on his feet that well for three hours a day deserves some respect, whether you agree with him or not. Anyway, I digress.We traveled on through Missouri and bypassed St Louis. We got to Festus, MO, south of St. Louis on I-55 at 2 p.m. It was time for another stop at Bob Evans. The boys were given free meal tickets in KC, but they each found a second coupon on the ground in the stadium. Therefore we stopped at Bob Evans again. This time I had the potato soup. Joe had fruit and strawberry yogurt dip. David and Matt had grilled cheese and a fruit bowl. We ate until 2;40, then continued south.We drove to Cape Girardeau and stopped there at the river walk by the Mississippi River. They have constructed a flood wall along the river and painted a mural along the wall that tells the history of the town . If you are ever near there it is certainly worth a look. I placed a quarter on the railroad track for Matthew to see how it could be flattened by a train.We then crossed the bridge over the Mississippi into Illinois. We traveled along the river to Cairo, IL, then to Paducah, KY, where we hopped on I-24. Other than a Frosty stop at Wendys in Kentucky, it was non-stop driving until we arrived in Huntsville at my parent's house at 10:45. We had all kinds of fun, listening to ball games, Radio Disney on XM Radio, and David's Shania Twain CD. We actually got a little silly and I really made the boys laugh when I was bobbing up and down in my seat to the music. We hung out with my mom awhile and kind of unwound. Unfortunately, she had just undergone some unpleasant dental work, but she was a good sport and glad to see us. After nearly 14 hours in the car, a lot of fun, a few fights, some good food, music, and laughs, we finally made it. Not a bad ending to an awesome vacation!

Sunday 7/23/06 - Kansas City





















Again we had to wake up early. We awakened at 6:20 and were out of the hotel by 6:40, headed southward to Kansas City. I kept having the song "Kansas City", written by Wilbert Harrison, going through my head on the way there.

I'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I comeI'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I comeThey got a crazy way of loving thereAnd I'm gonna get me some.I'll be standing on the cornerOn the corner of Twelfth Street and VineI'm gonna be standing on the cornerOn the corner of Twelfth Street and VineWith my Kansas City babyAnd a bottle of Kansas City wine.Well I might take a trainI might take a plane, but if I have to walkI'm gonna get there just the sameI'm going to Kansas City, Kansas City here I comeThey got a crazy way of loving thereAnd I'm gonna get me some.I'm gonna pack my clothesLeave at the break of dawnI'm gonna pack my clothesEverybody will be sleepingNobody will know where I've goneCause if I stay in townI know I'm gonna die.Gotta find a friendly cityAnd that's the reason why,I'm going to Kansas CityKansas City here I comeThey got a crazy way of loving thereAnd I'm gonna get me some.

We actually heard a few weird songs that stuck in our heads on XM Radio. Most of the way we listened to the XM Christian station, 32, The Message. When we got near KC, though, we listened to the 80's station. One of the weird songs we heard was "I Know What Boys Like" by the Waitresses.

I Know What Boys Like
I know what boys like
I know what guys want
I know what boys like
I've got what boys like
I know what boys like
I know what guys want
I see them looking
I make them want me
I like to tease them
They want to touch me
I never let them
I know what boys like
I know what guys want
I know what boys like, boys
like, boys like me
But you, you're special
I might let you
You're so much different
I might let you
Mmmmm would you like that
I might let you
I know what boys like
I know what guys want
I know what boys like
I know what's on their minds
I what what boys like
I know what guys want
They talk about me
I got my cat moves
That so upset them
Zippers and buttons
Fun to frustrate them
They get so angry
Like pouty children
Denied their candy
I laugh right at them
I know what buys like
I know what guys want
I know what boys like,
boys like, boys like me
Na, na, nya, nya, nya, nya..............
I feel sad now
I will let you
Sorry I teased you
I will let you
This time I mean it
I wil1 let you
Anything you want
You can trust me
I really want to
You can trust me
How would you like it
You can trust me

Sucker. Hmmmmm....
I know what boys like
I know what guys want
I know what boys like, boys
like, boys like me
Gny, nya, gna nyah nya....

Another weird one was "Take the L" by the Motels. If you listened to pop music or watched MTV in the early 1980's you would recognize it.

Watching my head, holding my face
One more evening gone to waste
No longer do I know my place
Killing time and missing my cues
Watching her belong to you
Tears could only change my view
Take the L out of lover and it's over ((x2))
Growing up has always been tough
Good intentions never good enough
I would take you far away
Do anything to make you stay
Take the L out of lover and it's over ((x3))
Every drink and cigarette
All those hands we never met
There are things we should forget
Now its over
Over
Take the L out of lover and it's over ((x3))
((music))
Take the L out of lover and it's over ((until fade))

How's that for the epitome of 80's banal entertainment. I wont even talk about Bow Wow Wow! Anyway, that's enough music for this post.

David slept a lot of the way to KC and Matt slept quite a bit as well. Joe rode with me up front and we talked most of the way. When we got near Kansas City I realized I needed cash, so I tried to go to an ATM at a bank and a gas station, which were both out of order. I then decided to go to Wal Mart, where Joe got a good deal on a Kansas City Royals tee shirt and I got cash back on the transaction. I prefer to get cash that way anyway because there are no ATM fees. We drove on to Kaufmann Stadium. The gates were set to open at 11:10 and the game was to begin at 1:10. We got there just in time to buy tickets and walk in right after the gates opened without having to wait in line. I bought tickets that the lady said were in the shade. It was a warm, but not hot day, unless you were in the sun. The boys got free Royals bears, kid's meal coupons to Bob Evans Restaurant, and vouchers for free hot dogs and Cokes at the game. They immediately got their hotdogs and Cokes. After that they got in line for their autograph from Royals player Estaban German. We then went to the Royals store. David purchased a KC cap, Matt purchased an Angels batting helmet (adding to his growing collection of plastic helmets), and I purchased a Royals tee shirt (as in, been there, done that, got the tee shirt). We then found our seats and really enjoyed the game in the shade. The Angels won 3-1 behind a strong pitching performance by Jerrod Weaver. (Take the 'p' out of "pitching" and it's "itching" - sorry about that; couldn't resist). Kauffman Stadium is in good shape even though it has been in operation since April 1973. I like the waterfalls in the outfield. Kansas City is known as a "small market team" in Major League Baseball circles. It's no wonder, then, that with the team in last place their attendance was only about 14,000, which was only 2,000 more people than paid to see the Iowa Cubs AAA minor league game the night before in Des Moines, Iowa.

After the game, we were stuck in traffic. Apparently there was an accident of some kind on the way we chose to exit the stadium. Fortunately for us, this was one of the few times we were not fighting the clock. Our next destination was one of the highlights of the trip to me. When I was planning the trip and decided that Kansas City was one of our destinations, my thoughts turned to food, specifically barbecue! I decided that we should find the best barbecue in Kansas City. A quick Google search gave me Arthur Bryant's. It was awesome. We went to the original location. I ordered a slab of ribs and plate of fries. It came with pickles and white bread. They have two kinds of sauce and they are both delicious. This is a must stop if you like barbecue or ribs and you are travelling through KC.

After satisfying our tummies we headed to the hotel. The boys jumped on the beds (where do they get that energy?) while I rested (but not slept) for a few minutes before unloading the car. I also took a few minutes to call back my friend Tom. We then went to the pool and we all swam for a while. I took some cool photos of the boys jumping into the pool. After that it was time for bed so we prayed and conked out without any problem!

Saturday 7/22/06 - Iowa







































On Saturday I woke up early and prepared for our trip to Des Moines, Iowa. I had to clean out the vehicle, pack, and reorganize. After I got most of the work done, I woke the boys and everyone got a shower and got dressed. The boys had been asking to go to Dunkin' Doughnuts every day since we had been in Chicago. Cara and I couldn't understand what they thought was so special about the place. Cara had taken David and Matt there last year when I too Joe to Wrigley Field. Anyway, I decided to take them before we left town. Joe and I both received a free coffee coupon at the Cubs game we attended. We each got a doughnut and shared the two coffees. There was a long wait. Combining that wait with the slow traffic on the interstate in Chicago, it seemed like we would never get out of town, despite the early hour that I awakened to pack.

I also had a problem getting gas on the southside of Chicago. The pump wouldn't come on, the attendant had trouble understanding me, and the price was outrageous. I bought $5 worth of gas at over $3.50 per gallon, but they also charged my credit card an extra dollar. I didn't hang around to argue. We just got out of Dodge.

On the way to Iowa we stopped in Marseilles, IL and Ottawa, IL, which are my Mom and Dad's old stomping grounds. I enjoyed driving through those towns and passing on a little of my heritage to the boys. Joe made a comment about how many people were outside working in their yards and doing things compared to Alabama. He said that they made Alabama people look lazy. We saw people out mowing and trimming their yards, having yard sales, stores had outdoor sales, the parks were full of families playing together, and the local emergency responders were collecting donations at the main intersection in town. I almost pulled a real good one. I was getting money out to donate to the responders and I thought the car in front of me had pulled out. I almost wrecked with him when I was about to pull up to drop my donation in the bucket. I actually touched his bumper, but not enough to do anything to either of us, except cause me some embarrassment.

Driving through Ottawa I was able to show the boys the house that I grew up in on Marion Lane as well as McKinley School, where I attended first grade.
We drove on to Iowa, where we saw corn, then some more corn, followed by corn, and a little more corn. We saw some real interesting cumulus clouds and rainshafts because the visibility was so good; much better than we are accustomed to in Alabama. We went through a brief but intense rain storm that ended as abruptly as it begun.

We all liked the hotel in Des Moines. We checked in around 4, got our stuff into the room, then walked to Principal Park from the hotel. We were able to see the end of an Iowa high school baseball tournament game before the AAA Iowa Cubs played the Memphis Redbirds. We were all given free baseballs as we entered the park, which the boys got autographed by Cubs pitcher Jerome Williams before the game. We also stopped by the gift shop. I got an Iowa Cubs tee shirt, David got an Iowa Cubs can hugger, Joe got a green Red Sox cap, and Matt got Iowa Cubs wristbands. Jerome Williams, while signing autographs for the boys, was joking with Matt that he wanted his wristbands.

The game was great. It was a pitching duel that lasted a little less than two hours. Cubs starter Rich Hill struck out 14 batters in 7 and one third innings. The game lasted a few minutes less than two hours, which I think is the shortest nine inning game I can remember seeing in a very long time. I think I saw Greg Maddux pitch a shutout for the Braves against the Cubs back in the mid 1990's that lasted less than two hours. After the game, they handed out loaves of bread. We got our bread and walked back to the hotel. The boys swam in the indoor pool of the hotel for about an hour. We then headed up to the room, got ready for bed, told stories, said prayers, and got some much needed sleep.