Saturday, January 30, 2010

the pros and cons of being Katie and Becca....


When they were about two years old they had a theme.... Explore, Play and make messes of a biblical scale....

There were three things they did that summer....

One fine Saturday afternoon they were some how able to TEAR OFF the lid of a nearly full five gallon bucket of corn oil. so what do a pair of two year olds do with approximately four and a half gallons of corn oil?

They spread it evenly over 78 square feet of linoleum in the kitchen.....what else.

Terri heard a thump followed by several others in quick succession.... It appears the new sport of oil skating would have to wait for introduction in America.

It took 27 oz. of liquid dishwasher soap to loose enough oil to hold on to them, without having the little greasy gophers, slip through you fingers like the wind in silk running pants.

A few weeks later the same experiment was tried with a five gallon bucket of white the same kitchen, at least the second foray sopped up what was left of the oil....

I'm not sure if the statute of limitations has run out on the third incident.

But i will say that even to this day, every deer living in valley forge state park in Pennsylvania will flee at the approach of a golden ford tempo....

Over the years their strength and fearlessness has shown them great adventures and some sorrow. And the inter-twin competition is regionally famous.

Still together they are formidable.


In eighth grade a fight occurred between two young men who were not well matched at all. Within seconds one boy was on the ground while the other. (a stout fellow who was born to a family from Tonga) Began to pound him mercilessly and if I recall correctly a few of his cousins joined in to make a point about family unity...or gang warfare.

The boy on the ground had no allies in the gathering crowd, and no teacher was to be seen.

Kate and Bec had no plan or agreement as to what to do, on instinct, they simply acted.

Katie ATTACKED the aggressive parties with animalistic enthusiasm.

Becca attacked at first, then seeing Katie was fully sufficient for a rear guard upon retreat PICKED UP the injured boy and carried him away. With Kate starring down any possible pursuit.

Leaving the stunned poly's unwilling to chase..... These young men are to this day unsure as to what had actually happened.

Someone in the crowd who was holding his bleeding face in both hands, said to a nearby friend...

" Damn white girl hit like my momma!" Then they tried to decide weather or not, to seek medical attention.
There is a deer or two in valley forge who can testify to that as well.

They will wonder how I know of this. I will just say I have met many young men and women who still remember them from Orem Jr high, and some of them need help in chem and anatomy, and I am collecting stories.

I could tell you a few that would surprise you. Testimonies and tussles, sad things and wonderful things.

I told you that to tell you this.

My daughters are:

full of life
full of common sense
smarter than the average bear
scarier that the average lion.

These are the descriptions of Friends and acquaintances.

To me, they are still my baby girls, and sometimes I wish I could hold them in the palm of my hand as I did when they were born.

Instead now, I ask God to do it.

If they stay close to him.... I know he will.

If you do stay close to him nothing will ever overcome you.

Happy birthday girls.


Friday, January 1, 2010

the silver shadow.

This is one of those stories, that is personal.

I write this more for my kids. some of whom have asked me a question or two about the big silver dog I mentioned in my last story, and about my attitude towards dogs in general.

This is one of those things that penetrates deeply into my center....

My dad once showed me a tree that had been burned but not killed in a forest fire. It was displayed in cross section and had continued to grow for fifty years past the day of the fire.

He pointed out the burned section buried deep inside the fifty layers of annual rings that followed the event.

People can be like that with both good and bad things.

I have a pretty good memory of being little

I remember my second birthday. I remember the chocolate frosting on yellow cake with two white candles burning in the center.

I remember my oldest sister holding my hands in hers to keep me from diving into it.

I remember her helping me to blow out the candles and how quickly the cake was whisked over to the kitchen counter and making a royal mess of the piece they gave me.

I also recall my blue eyed Friend who would sit still as a statue next to me and when my mom wasn't looking eagerly got his share. his name was Regal, my mom called him "Shawn's shadow"

He was a few years old when my dad got him. We were living in Marysville, California.
A Friend of my dad was moving to Sacramento and couldn't take his prized weimeriner with him and asked my dad to take him.

We had a farm and it was thought the dog would be comfortable on 120 acre's. He told my dad that the dog loved to play with kids, my dad and mom had four. I was four months old at the time.

He was about ninety pounds, he had a prefect coat and great confirmation for the breed.

During the first week we had him he just lay on the ground out near the chicken coup for two days, from that spot he could watch the long drive that lead to the highway below our home.

Our chickens had quit laying just recently and my mom wanted to blame the dog for upsetting them. But that night my parents heard a huge commotion out in the yard and ran out with my dad's big metal flashlight and a shotgun luckily for Regal my mom had the flash light.

He had something pinned to he ground and was in dog fashion killing it....
My mother hollered "Shoot him, he's got a chicken!"
My dad whistled for him he trotted over and instead of a chicken, dropped a mortally damaged red fox at my mothers feet.

The next morning our new dog got fresh biscuits and raw milk for breakfast, courtesy of my mom.

He had a tendency to lie near things that we valued, my mothers chickens, my dad's truck.
He would patrol the farm looking for what, we didn't know.

He and I got to be friends on the day that my parents moved me out of their room and into my older brothers room. I was still pretty little and my mom needed to sleep thru the night so they moved me upstairs to a room with a view of huge live oak trees, that were outside the window where my crib was placed on the floor.

Since I had kept her up most of the night gibbering and making noise like most little kids in a small wooden cage (crib). might do. My mom felt it was best that we both take a nap, she in her newly quiet bedroom and me in my newly assigned headquarters.....

That went over like a pregnant pole-vaulter.

I screamed and cried and threw a world class fit.

I can't say honestly that I remember this day, but my mom does and she told me about it eight years later. It is not time to tell you about that day yet though...

He some how got into the house and quietly made his way up stairs and into my room, he had never been in the house before, but somehow he found me.

my mom found him a few hours later lying outside my crib (the crib was on the ground without legs underneath it)

He lay next to me on the other side of the bars like a friend visiting me in prison, and I was asleep.

My mom, who hated the very idea of "dogs in the house" just said "good dog...." and quietly walked out.

He was four legged Ambien! He stayed and slept next to my crib from that time, and eventually on my bed.

From that day on he followed me everywhere I went. When I was older I would walk up the hill across from the pond that I wasn't allowed to wade or play in, following my mother to where the diversions were that controled our different irrigation ditches. These ditches were small and shallow and I would try to jump in and play in the water, but the minute my mom would yell at me for trying to drown myself, the dog would jump in and drag me out of the water by the seat of my pants.

I hated that dog that day

I told my mom that I could swim in these small ditches. With my dramatic protestations she eventually relented and let me.

In my attempt to swim I figured the dog might try to drag me out again so I asked her to call him away. she tried, he wouldn't come, he would howl, and bark, and throw a canine fit!

I cured his interference by a proper application of public nudity!
he didn't like that much either. In frustration he lay on the bank and watched me.

these ditches were three feet wide and about eighteen inches deep. i started by just stretching out in them floating on my belly holding on to the muddy bottom with my hands and kicked my legs as the water would slowly flow past me. eventually I was able to let go and use my arms.

My mother was a little amazed but she would let me go "swim" when we had water running.
I eventually got swimming privlages for the pond too, the dog would run to the point nearest to where i was and bark at me...

when I went out to swim he would go along. when I played in the barn, he went too.
when I crawled thru the blackberry bushes he was there. when I got older and started school in the cold autumns of western Montana. he would wait for me on the porch or at the first stop sign down the road or across the street from the school...he actually got into the school once or twice...but it was Montana in the sixties.....that's normal..

There are as many stories about Regal and I in my family, as there are gabby stories in the one my wife and I have now.

There was one day that I heard all of them, one after another, from the time he was left at our California farm until the day I sat in the kitchen with my mother.

In the eight years we were together he went from being a powerful, swift, silver furred guardian

To an old dog, one that I now looked for, instead of the other way around, and often found him lying on the garage floor on a cushy bathroom rug that my mom bought for him at an auction.

For some reason he had really slowed down in the last few months of winter. The summer before he had been just fine, but during the winter he just lay on the basement floor near the furnace and didn't move much.

Late in the spring my dad took him to the vet.....

he didn't come home...

My dog had prostate cancer and was in pain.....My dad explained as best he could thru his tears.
Then he got in his truck and went for a drive.....

There was in my back yard a cattle rack that fit my dad's truck. My friends and i played on it sometimes. So i climbed on top of it and sat there. it was spring but it was a cold cloudy day.

I looked down expecting to see my dog....He wasn't there...... I climbed down.

There was a big elm tree in the back yard I climbed as high as I could.

50 feet off the ground I looked east across our side of Missoula.

Then I looked west, over open Fields, stacks of hay left over from last year, horses and cows, with creeks crisscrossing from the mountain in the distance.

I kept looking back at the ground below me.

I wanted to see blue eyes looking up at me.

I wanted to see the blue eyes that looked into my crib.

I wanted to see the blue eyes that watched me learn to swim.

I heard my mother call my name....I didn't move. She was gruff at times and I hoped the new small leaves would cover me.

I didn't want to be reminded of a chore that I had tried to avoid, right then.

But she called again...She must have seen me climb up .....

There was a softness to her voice, almost pleading with me to come down.

When I came in, I sat at the kitchen table with her, and she told me stories, some I had forgotten, some I didn't know, some had been told so often and for comedic effect that they needed to be oiled before the telling.

I looked into her blue eyes and we talked about him.

We laughed alot and i cried a little.

So to answer your question, my beloved child.....why do I treat my dogs like they are children.

Because of a big silver shadow that treated me like a puppy....

That's why....

Sometimes I still think he is next to me...

See you when i get there bud......