Tales from the Tall Grass: Short Run on a Long Walk or Gooses Deuces

In honor of Championship Sunday at the Women’s US Open and on the eve of The Open Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland, I offer a short tale from some long grass for your reading pleasure. I’m conflicted, as the title might suggest, as to what I should call this one. Both me running on a golf course and goose poop on said same course, figure so prominently in this story I could not decide. So I went with both. Enjoy Short Run on a Long Walk or Gooses Deuces.

In case it’s not clear from a few of the pictures on this blog or my Facebook and Instagram accounts that I actually appear in, I’m not at what you would call fightin weight. I am working on it, at least on a part time basis. Well, seasonally might be a better word there. Yes I’m working on my physical health and fitness on a seasonal basis, much like a college kid in a department store at Christmas. Anyway, after twice being called out by, and ignoring, my 7yr old son that I need to exercise, I inadvertently got a real life lesson in my fitness, or lack there of.

Now it may seem like I’m projecting or flat out blaming others for what happened that one terrible day on the golf course, and that’s because I am. Months ago I downloaded the Amazon app to my phone. That app is the absolute devil in disguise, but that’s another story. The real story is while at lunch with John, my friend, counselor, Friday golf partner, you name it, I noticed he had all his wallet stuff attached to the back of his phone and no wallet in sight. He was too happy to tell me how this little stick on pocket on the back of his phone would change my life.

Curse you Amazon App!

Curse you Amazon App!

Cue the Amazon app. Not 10 minutes later mine was ordered and through the beauty of Amazon Prime, already on it’s way to my house. The pouch and it’s life changing adhesive pad was 4.99 American for two pouches; one white and one black. You know, for formal occasions. Two days later it was on my phone. The irony here is I had to use my web cam to take a picture of my camera phone. Yes I need to upgrade my web cam.

But still, you can see the glorious-ness that is the credit card pouch. I have abandoned my Castanza Wallet (see below) for good. It all comes in one convenient easy to carry thing-a-ma-bob. And that’s where the problem began on a fateful day at Deadhorse Lake Golf Club in Knoxville.

In case you missed it or was not following Frank’s Place back then, (for shame!!) I wrote a little expose about how in love I am with my phone. Read it here if you dare: Naked and Afraid: Two Hours at the Mall without my Phone.  It does everything. For the importance of this story, my phone serves as my scorecard and range finder when I play golf. So I have it in my hands almost as much as a golf club when I’m playing.

Castanza Wallet No More!

Castanza Wallet No More!

When I tried to put in our scores on the 9th hole the phone was not where it was supposed to be. Then in panic mode I could not find it anywhere in my bag. Crap! Damn you easy convenient Amazon sticky phone pouch! Now not only is my phone gone, but all the things are gone too. Military Retired ID, drivers license, Kroger discount card, not to mention my bank card, all gone. Egads! I have to find this freaking thing. So I start walking, then a quicker paced hurry. By the time I got back to the 8th green and didn’t see it I was in a full on sprint, you know as much as a 48 year old fat man can sprint. But it was continuous so I was getting cardio benefit.

At the 7th tee box I was still running and sweating. Mostly sweating. But my mind was still sharp although deaf to the calls from my playing partner standing by my bag at the 9th hole. Not sure what he was thinking as he saw me disappear over hill and dale and out of sight but it had to be funny.

Still my mind was working. It brought to me images of my bag falling over at the 5th green. Right! The wind pushed it over and I just picked it up without checking to see if everything was still in it. So off I go, running on the cart path back to the 5th green. Golf courses can be dangerous enough, but when you are moving in the opposite direction of play like I was, moving from 9 all the way to the 5th green, it can be a suicidal shooting gallery. So I figured it best to stay on the path instead of trying to navigate across fairways and greens.

Along the way the kind golfers I passed tested my fitness and aerobic condition by asking me questions as I trundled by. Appreciative as I was of their concern for my well being, I had no time to talk or air to waste. Somewhere out there was my phone/wallet.

Cresting the hill on the 6th tee box, what had been a search and recover mission turned into a full on quest. I would make it to the 5th green, on the run without stopping, or the heavens will fall.

Coming over the hill on the 5th fairway, now able to peer down to the 5th green, my spirit was torn asunder. No phone/wallet, at least that I could tell from about 200 yards out. But I soldiered on. Getting to the 5th green there was no sign of my wallet. Hmmm I wonder if those other gofers were trying to get my attention to tell me they had picked it up. So much for my mind working. About face. And I’m on the quick time again back up the 5th fairway.

Funny thing about golf courses, the hills run in both directions. By the 7th tee box, still running, I was seeing scenes of the after life. I always thought I might buy the farm right after hitting my first hole in one, or breaking par. Of course that would be the case, so I’d have no time to enjoy those events. But now it seemed for all the world my ticker would blow trying to run up the cart path at the 8th green and get back to my bag.

Secretly I had hoped John, my playing partner, went to get a golf cart to come rescue me. A blasphemy I know, we always walk when we play golf, but this was as desperate a time as there was. The golf gods would just have to understand. Descending to the 9th green and into a dark, now mile long run inducing delirium at the same time, I noticed John standing by my bag. In a moment of clarity I can see something in his hand. Could it be my wallet/phone! Huzzah! All is saved! But what is his other hand doing? His other hand appears to be pointing to my bag for some rea…. Oh crap.

Yep, I just ran a little over a mile to find my wallet/phone that was apparently in my bag the whole time. I panicked so quickly after doing just a cursory search in the bag that I looked right at the phone and completely missed it. John is pretty gracious. He explained where and how he found it and how he tried to summon me back. But it appeared I was on a mission so he just waited by my bag figuring I would return some day. Not much ball busting. But he did say something that caught me completely off guard.

“I dropped it in goose poop.”

Ah wut? On purpose?

“No. I dropped it and it fell in a pile of goose poop.”

Well I guess that’s the icing on the cake for this saga, if you’ll permit my strangling of a wholesome metaphor.

As I said, we walk when we play golf. Even in the blinding heat of a day like the day I lost/didn’t lose my phone. Charity tournaments and really expensive courses that won’t let you walk are the only times we are forced to ride. So week after week we essentially walk and carry our clubs 2 to 3 miles every time we play. That walk usually precipitates a hearty nap in the afternoon. Add in a mile long run in sweltering heat and another 9 holes to play you can imagine my afternoon slumber. Safe to say I felt like goose poop by the time we finished.

Golf: the struggle is real people.

 

 

Tales From the Tall Grass: A tree falls in Knoxville

Casino’s have the infamous reputation of always winning. If you take money from them, whether from a table game or hitting on a slot machine, some other poor slob loses twice that much two seconds later. The House always wins. It has to be that way or the House ceases to exist. It’s there for one reason, to make money. More to the point they are there to take money, your money. As diabolical as that sounds, there is a place on earth even more so.

You’ve seen it, you may have been on it, it may have made you a widow. Regardless, for sure you know of it. It goes by many names but you probably know it by its original name, its worldly name, its biblical name, Satis Tractus – The Golf Course. My friends you can have your casinos. For pure viciousness in the gutting of a man’s soul, no place on earth compares. Don’t think so? Well my man, let me count the ways.

Golf courses, much like Honey Badgers, just don’t care. Unlike casinos, golf courses aren’t after your money. In fact you can lose a mortgage payment in a casino in a blink. It could take you five years to spend the equivalence of one month’s mortgage payment at a golf course. No my friends, Satis Tractus has no need of your money, it wants your tears.

When you are out of money the casino bars your admittance. The Golf Course will take all your tears, and then entice you back with a good round, or just a single good shot. All for the singular purpose of breaking your spirit.

Then, when you think you have nothing left to give the Golf Course, it alerts you to your club house rewards points, with enough built up for a free round. You’ve now put your soul in the pot. And unlike a casino, there is absolutely no chance of getting it back. For every badly dressed schlep who loses his soul on The Course, everyone in the foursome behind you loses theirs too. Unlike a casino where the house always wins, The Course never loses. There is a difference.

So it’s a rare day when The Course gives ground, when it weakens just for a nanosecond, allowing golfers everywhere a glimmer of hope. Tales like these come along once in a millennia. I believe my purpose for being is to tell this tale.

A Tree Falls in Knoxville 

In the summer and fall of 2013 a strong wind came down from the north west of Knoxville Tennessee. Caused by my consistent missing of the ball with my driver, this unholy wind continued for a season. And yes I mean missing completely, total whiffing of the ball. Follow through complete, golf ball still resting atop its tee, flipping me off.

This zephyr blinded me and those with me to the evil growing in the west, specifically on the Par 5 tenth hole at Dead Horse Lake Golf Course. You see, because I was unable to connect with the ball from the tee box, I was never in position to notice this… this ruination waiting in the distance; hungry for a fresh helping of tear soaked souls.

Fast forward to the spring of 2015. After a rib muscle tear and rehab in the back yard with 100 swings a day I was back, recklessly offering my soul to The Course. Only this time, my rhythm true, the ball no longer smugly mocking me, my offer left the tee with great velocity, finding the short grass. I know, crazy right?

Standing over my tee shot, dead center of the fairway on afore mentioned #10 at Dead Horse, I get a glimpse of what was to become my nemesis for hundreds of rounds.

To say it was an ill placed tree is a gross underselling. The Course knew what it was doing. A giant oak standing guard in the middle of the #10 fairway rendered every straight tee shot impotent. An approach to the green, a lay up to a desired yardage to make a higher percentage approach, no matter, The Tree made it impossible. Unless your ball had a seeing eye dog for an escort or was somehow guided by GPS technology, the next shot would require the skill of a PGA Tour pro. And not some journeyman either. It would take a seasoned veteran with several wins under his/her belt to navigate the Oaken Sentinel.

My supplication was the first comment,  alas went unrequited.

My supplication was the first comment, alas went unrequited.

I ain’t shamed to say I wished irreparable harm to said tree. I even pimped the course folk on FB as they were redesigning, begging them to accidentally on purpose hit the tree with some large course redesigning equipment. No such luck. So I had to pull up my big boy golf shorts and deal. How did it go you ask. Well, think of the bible story David and Goliath, but Goliath wins. And he doesn’t just win, he destroys, demoralizes, and otherwise eviscerates David.

Perfectly struck shots gobbled up, deflected, denied, and outright rejected from their intended path. I once hit a ball that hit the base of the Oak Tree. It ran up the trunk and was launched into the air, backward, over my head. After hitting the ball forward it was now 40 yards behind me. Goliath v David, yeah that comes close to our battle.

But no more my friends! A stronger wind, from the east this time, has purged this peril from our path. Torrents of rain, streaks of dancing lightning, and thunderous.. well.. ya know… thunder, brought the misplaced misfit to its knees, or stump, or whatever a tree uses instead of knees. Word came by way of a runner of the vanquished foe. And the word was only a stump remained, not even the carcass could be found. Dragged off no doubt, by the gods, as to avoid further embarrassment.

No trees were harmed in the writing of this blog post, Well except that one.

No trees were harmed in the writing of this blog post, Well except that one.

Behold!

My playing partner and brother of the bearer of the great news, standing aside the fallen sentinel. We took care not to mock for too long, but we got our jabs in. Now while the stump has been removed, the footprint in the grass remains. The once mighty behemoth is all but vanished.

He will not be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

Tales From the Tall Grass: Hey where did ya get that?

So I’ve been thinking of starting something a bit new here at Frank’s Place. Bearing in mind that I’m of the lazy sort, this was a decision I’ve been mulling (read procrastinating over) for a while now. Tales From the Tall Grass hits a few key buttons for me. It combines golf and writing. It occurred to me as I walk the fairways of the myriad of course I play, I run into and meet a lot of people.

As it turns out those people have stories. Even if they don’t think they do. And as I said I’ve only been mulling the idea of writing those stories. For one it would require some actual skill. I appreciate the compliments I get for writing Frank’s Place, but that’s just personal stories about the life of my kids and my role in their lives. Writing and articulating another person’s story is something all together different. Needless to say I was on the fence about all of it. Yeah I know, we should all have such tough decisions.

Well today cinched the deal for me. I played a rare Saturday round this week and met a pretty cool dude. What he was carrying finally convinced me Tales From the Tall Grass should be a thing. This thing won’t really be about golf aside from the rare bragging about my own game and some back-fill when the story requires it. No, these stories will hopefully be about the people I meet as a result of golf. And you’re in luck. The first installment begins now. Hope you like it. I know I do.

Tales From the Tall Grass: Hey where’d ya get that?

So a Saturday round of golf due to Friday rain allowed me and my weekly golf partner, John (his story coming in a later installment), to meet a fellow walker named Tom. Of course I’m not referring to walkers as in the zombie apocalypse, but to the rare breed of people who still walk the golf course instead of ride a golf cart.

Saturday’s are much busier and Tom, a walker, was paired up with me and John, also die hard walkers. We exchanged the typical pleasantries before teeing off and away we went. Tom and I hit uninspiring shots that missed the green to the right. As we approached we noticed the two golf balls in close proximity to each other. As is customary in this situation you ask the other guy what ball he’s playing, as in what brand. So you don’t hit his by mistake.

Tom says “I’m hitting a Titleist Pro-V1 #6”. For clarification, the ball is made by Titleist, the type is Pro-V1 and it’s stamped with a #6. And that was very odd in that I was playing the same ball, #6 stamp and all. Tom said “Well I’ll switch so we don’t confuse them all day.”

No need I said, mine has a Frank’s Place Logo on it so we should b…. “So does mine.” came Tom’s reply.

Ah wut?

Be like Tom.

A lifetime memento to be sure.

“Yeah see? Frank’s Place franknfran.com.” Tom said very nonchalantly, as if balls with that logo are so common it was no surprise to him that we both had one. Well it was a surprise to me. I had those balls made in January with a gift card I received for Christmas. I had a dozen made and up to this point had only lost two or three.

When Tom saw mine with the same logo he asked, again in a matter of fact tone, “Hey where did ya get that?” I had them made bro. Frank’s Place is my web site. It’s a blog I write about being a stay at home dad, and now a back to work dad.

“Well what do you know I just met Frank!” Tom was so excited I almost hated to mention it to him. No bro, you just met Frank’s dad. He was still enthused. John and I looked at each other for the next two holes with the same What are the chances expression. So now it was my turn. “Hey Tom. Where did ya get that?”

“Right here on number 15. It was behind the green just into the tall grass.” The right here he was referring to was Dead Horse Lake golf course in Knoxville. It’s sort of our home course. As soon as Tom said where he found it I knew when I had lost it and the plethora of vulgarities that followed my exhaustive search and subsequent penalty shot.

So started the conversation with Tom the walker. It’s a great story to lead off with because Tom is also a talker and has an interesting story. The least of which; in the 80s he used to work at they very place I just started working, Y-12 National Security Complex. He worked wit people in the 80s who are still there today.

Ok

Ok

Now Tom builds energy scrubbers. It sounds like an extremely complicated process. Here’s a diagram just for your own edification. But don’t ask me. I tried to listen to the explanation right up until my head hurt. Needless to say the world needs these things and smart dudes like Tom build them. So it’s safe to say the world needs guys like Tom. And not only is Tom producing for society, he’s passing that legacy on to the next generation.

An engineer by trade, Tom’s son and only child followed in his footsteps. Tom’s son is on the robotics team at his stem school and is due to attend the University of Tennessee next year. I showed my intelligence for the robotics world when Tom relayed a story of the robotics competition his son is in, for the third year running. The competition is basically a skills, agility, and capabilities test for the robot and a challenging gauge of creativity for the robotics teams who make them.

Gettin it on Battle Bots style!

Gettin it on Battle Bots style!

The robots must navigate an array of obstacles and either assault or invade a castle. Here is where my genius comes in. I blurt out, “Like battle-bots!” You know, that show on Saturday mornings, where all these teams bring their killer robots into the arena, close them in a plexiglass cage and let them fight to the death. It was an awesome show. But, Battle-Bots is sort of like what WWE is to the sport of Greco-Roman wrestling. Kind of the same but not really close to the same.

Tom’s kid was on a team making robots that actually accomplished something other than bludgeoning another robot into the scrap heap. Once the castle scenario was done the robotics teams would join forces, trying to match their weakness with two other teams’ strength’s and continue the competition. I’m clearly not doing the topic justice. I can’t get the theme song from Battle-Botts! out of my head. I should have included it so you could be enjoying the endless loop yourself.

Anyway, Tom was thrilled about it as he should be. He had some good stories from the golf course himself. He’s experienced just about everything from a torn muscle that came completely detached from the bone to a hole in one; the holy grail of golf and golfers everywhere. When Tom tore his hamstring clean off the bone, his bros marked their balls right there in the fairway, got Tom to his car, pointed him in the right direction and went back to finish their round. Eight months later Tom tested his busted hammy on the ski slopes. That is an awesome story right there.

I would expect no more or no less treatment from the dudes I golf with. Hell it ain’t like I’m a surgeon and can fix him up. That’s what hospitals are for. But I am a golfer and the round won’t finish itself. I won’t show you a pic of a torn hamstring cause damn! I just googled that and now can’t un-see it.

All in all a good time was had by the three of us.

Tales From the Tall Grass. Yeah this might be a thing.

Sound off with thoughts on the first installment or the whole idea in general.

 

 

Growing up: It sucks man.

Daddy they’re Triangles, not Tri-angu-lees! That’s silly!

How long before she graduates to the real thing?

How long before she graduates to the real thing?

Thus marked the moment it all started. She’s growing up. Can’t stop it. Don’t really want to stop it. I don’t think. But I was hoping to hold onto the vocabulary for a little while longer. I mean she’s pronouncing things properly now. How long before she’s a know it all teenager who hates her parents?

I will say we are finally to a place where the experiences with Anne Marie are starting to be similar to that of her older brother. Her early entrance into the world, subsequent 6 month stay in the NICU and another 6 with a heart monitor, followed by a year of isolation from germs sort of robbed us of all the experience we built up with Frank.

And I will say his transition from Panfer! to panther and from Hippothomas! to hippopotamus marked the beginning of the end of his toddler-hood. So this isn’t without precedent. Still sucks though.

A friend even warned me about it. Preschool will cause them to speak properly he said. They’ll lose that fun, funny way of saying things he said. They’ll seem older he said. He was right on all counts. Is there anything cuter than Hippothomas? No. Not even close. The only difference here is Frank never has corrected me when I say it the old way. Once he started to pronounce it correctly he just moved on.

The girl on the other hand… The first time we read the series of books called Bob Books it was a level 1 set where I was introduced to Seth the Square, Sally the Circle, and Tanner the Triangle. Although with that literation you would figure Sally the Circle would be Cecily the Circle. But hey who am I to judge.

Anyway these are the books she wanted me to read to her for nighttime. I gotta say after the first run through I needed to spice things up a bit. I mean not for nothin but the Bob Books are very short, zero plot lines, devoid of suspense, and almost no character development. Sally was the only one who got to stretch her story line a bit when she got upset during a game of hide and seek. She got so flustered she held her breath and lost her circular shape and was thus indistinguishable from the rest of the foliage.

It wasn’t until Seth and Tanner broke down crying because they couldn’t find Sally, (even though they were so close had either one of them sneezed Sally could have handed them a tissue), that Sally released her breath and returned to her circular shape. She then became visible to Tanner and Seth.

Not to go all Sigmund Freud here but Sally clearly has some self worth issues coupled with a need for attention bordering on the pathological. Who the hell can hold their breath until they lose their shape? If it was that easy to not be round I’d still be holding my breath. And don’t even get me started on the shallow brain pans of Seth and Tanner.

Won't need me for this much longer.

Won’t need me for this much longer.

Regardless, save that one particularly interesting volume, the rest of the books are quite boring. So I would amuse myself by reading in different voices, attempt to do it in a few different languages where I know some words. As it turns out, Ach tung! Seth kommen zie hier!, which is my father’s loose German for Come over here Seth!, doesn’t go over well for bedtime stories.

I did try singing one of them once. But my voice makes Jesus cry so I had to stop. Then I struck comedy gold when I began changing the syllables of the words or pronounced them phonetically when I could.

So Tanner the Triangle became Tanner the Tri-angu-lee. Sally became Sally the Circ-u-lee. She roared with laughter. The kid has a phenomenal belly laugh. Even at two years old she could bust a gut laughing. And it only took one time for her to start calling any circle or triangle by my made up phonetics.

The kid is a riot. Well I should say, was a riot. I used the tri-nagu-lee on her the other day and got, “Daddy they’re Triangles, not Tri-angu-lees! That’s silly!”

My little girl is not very little anymore.

Kommen des Alters, es saugt. 

(Growing up man, it sucks.)

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Work: Don’t they know it’s Masters Week?

So as y’all may or may not know, I went back to work in October of 2015. It’s been an adjustment for sure. Aside from leaving the kids I’ve been raising for six years in the hands of Mrs Frank’s Place, I had to learn new stuff. After all, these people are paying me. With American money no less. I feel obligated to at least learn my new job. So I started adjusting.

First there was the time thing. I went from thinking about getting up around 7am to bolting upright at 4:30am so I can shower and be rolling to the J.O.B. by 5am. Then there is the whole not staying up till 1 am anymore. It’s not like I didn’t foolishly try that. But I keep passing out around 9:30 in the pm. I mean what’s next, taking my place in line at the Shoney’s early bird dinner buffet trough. As I write this at 11:30 in the pm on a Friday night, I am struggling to stay awake. And that’s as I’m actually hitting the keys!

Of course there was driving again, in traffic, in the dark. I had forgotten about the skills, or more accurately the lack there of, Knoxvillians posses behind the wheel. Gas pedal on the right, fast lane on the left, lets get it straight people.

If that wasn’t enough, I had to adjust to working and playing nice with people again. Well, if I’m being honest, I never worked and played well. So it wasn’t so much adjusting again as it was initiating adjustment. And surprisingly it turns out people are pretty cool. In fact it may be the main source of satisfaction of the job. (Yes some of them read this.)

But as it turns out the largest adjustment would involve, not surprisingly, golf. Going back to work would mean an adjustment to my golfing. Although not as much as I had anticipated. One of the things that made this particular job attractive was the 4/10 schedule. Friday’s off! Golfing would be unharmed. Golf watching on the other hand…

C'mon Frank, keep practicing. I'll make this look good.

C’mon Frank, keep practicing. I’ll make this look good.

This would be the first time in 7 years I would not be home for Masters Week. I know! The horror right!? No scheduling would save that. I could watch the Drive, Chip, and Putt competition on Sunday but then would be radio silent until Friday. That would mean missing the player interviews on Monday and Tuesday, State of the Game speech by the Pres of Augusta National on Tuesday, the Par 3 contest on Wednesday, and the ceremonial tee shot and entire first round on Thursday.

I may have to quit. I mean, do they know it’s Masters week at work? Worse even, do they care? Not sure I could work with a bunch of godless golf heathens.

Now I know what some of you are thinking. Just take the week off. Look I’m an addict, but I ain’t stupid. No way I could justify taking 4 days off to sit around and watch golf. I can justify it in my mind all day long. But I don’t live alone. Burning my vacation for golf watchin may not be good politics currently. Someday…

No an adjustment had to be made. Since there is no way to watch a millisecond at work (Don’t they know it’s Masters Week?) DVR would be my friend. Well more like a step-sister I can’t stand really. I’ve never been one to watch live events on tape after I know the results. Also the advantages of DVR, mainly buzzing through commercials, is lost on The Masters. There are only two sponsors, usually AT&T and Coke. The commercials are very limited.

In 2003 Martha Burke and the National Organization of Women (NOW), protested Augusta National’s men only policy. To do that they targeted AT& T and Coke. Augusta responded by shielding it’s main sponsors by having no sponsors for that year’s Masters. You know what that meant? Yep, a commercial free telecast. Almost 12 hours of uninterrupted golf at The Masters. I’ve been a big Martha Burke fan ever since. My e-mails to her asking for another protest go unanswered to this day.

But if that little episode doesn’t make you love The Masters then I imagine you must be a communist. Augusta National literally said, “We don’t need outside money to run the biggest tournament in the history of the sport. Watch if you want or don’t, but we still playin golf.” It’s one of the endearing aspects of The Masters. Meanwhile The Masters has expanded to Sunday to Sunday coverage and an app that shows the entire week including a live camera on the driving range. Martha Burke on the other hand… She Gone.

So no buzzing through commercials and I already know who won the Par 3 contest. Alas better than nothing. Plus I did have a floating holiday to spend, so I was home on a rare Thursday to watch the broadcast on ESPN and the 3 live streams on themasters.org. Yes 4. And yes I had a monitor going for each one. Peep a little glimpse of golfing greatness.

The struggle people, it is real.

The struggle people, it is real.

Yeah that’s my setup. I ain’t ashamed. We all need a hobby. But now I have a J.O.B. too. So I’ll have to adjust. Maybe not for too long though. Presidential candidate John Kasich, Republican Governor of Ohio, has offered that the Monday after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday. He now has my vote.

I mean how long before Master’s Week is declared a National Week of Jubilee?

 

 

 

Sometimes words fail.

It is at the same time unbelievable and absolutely horrifying to me that I’m even typing this. Obviously it goes without saying it’s not something anyone should ever have to deal with. But they are. In a way we all are.

By They I mean neighbors of ours. They also includes Frank and his classmates. One of Frank’s neighborhood friends and elementary school classmates has been diagnosed with cancer. The fight will be long and exhausting. When we heard we all breathed deep and now secretly hope but… Words just escape me.

This is Lucas.

Why?

By We I mean our neighborhood. Lucas is in what we in the neighborhood affectionately call the Sac Gang. A group of kids that roam our neighborhood and our cul-de-sac and our yards in-particular due to a rare East Tennessee characteristic. They’re flat. When our house was finally finished in the fall of 2004 we met Diego, Lucas’ older brother. Lucas would not be born for 5 more years. Diego was part of the original Sac Gang. He’s in high-school now and is a great young man. But Lucas’ Sac crew is bigger and more active. They are running the streets, making up games, and being kids whenever the weather permits.

Frank lights up and drops me like a hot rock when Lucas and the Sac Gang comes rolling through. Running for hours on end, using sticks as light sabers, and playing games unknown to me, apparently is much more fun than hanging with dad. Lucas is a big reason Frank gets to run with the Sac Gang.

We haven’t told Frank yet. Not really sure how to. Sometimes words fail.

If you know me at all you know what’s coming. Click the link. Do what you can.

Lucas’ Fight Against Child Cancer

Preciate ya.

 

One Year Gone: If I could make it to 30.

Memories

Memories

A rare mid-week post for me. I’m usually way too tired or too busy for posts during the week. Hell I can barely get one out on the weekend. But today is different. Today, March 1st, is one year gone.

When I was a kid I remember contemplating death and how that would be when someone I knew passed away. When my grandmother, my mom’s mom, died I think I was 11 or 12. I remember thinking what my mother must be going through. But she was older, in her 50s, so it couldn’t be that bad. I mean fear and all that was supposed to go away when you’re an adult.

So I figured if I could make it to 30 before my parents died I wouldn’t be afraid. I might still be sad but I could survive sad. It was the fear that gripped me. For some reason or another I got it in my head that 30 years of age was the line of demarcation. No clue why, other than I was 12 and that seemed like a long way off. But yeah, make it to 30 and life without my parents won’t be so scary.

Well I was lucky. I was 47 1/2 when my father died last year. A year ago today as a matter of fact. And my mom is still a spry 82. So I’m doubly lucky in that regard. But I was wrong in another.

Apparently there is no age a person can reach, no level of maturity, no amount of worldly experience that can assuage the fear of losing a parent. The sadness is strong as I figured it would be. But the fear of it all is there too. Fear of what? I don’t know. I guess if I did know I wouldn’t be afraid of it. What’s the old saying, I’m not afraid of the dark, I’m afraid of what’s in it.

But there was one thing I never counted on when I was morbidly calculating all this way back when I was 12. Memories. It never dawned on me how vivid my memories of my father would become. Even more remarkable, the farther along I get from the day he died the more vivid the memories become and the more impact they have on me.

Francis John and Francis Allen. Two Franks 80yrs apart.

Francis John and Francis Allen. Two Franks 80yrs apart.

When I was young I would fight tears, fight them hard. Now, as a softened 48 year old retiree with two kids, a good plot from Doc McStuffins can send me over the edge. So even though these vivid memories get the waterworks started, it’s good. It’s good. As it turns out this particular weirdness runs in the family.

Frank has been doing some mortal calculations on his own. He has figured out that when he’s 20 years old I’ll turn 62 a few months later. I know what he’s doing. What I don’t know is what age has he picked out as his line of demarcation. What age has he figured it will be safe for him to deal with my passing. I won’t ask him and I won’t tell him it’s folly.

That’s for his own piece piece of mind right now. And I’m absolutely not going to attempt to reassure him. The minute I tell Frank not to worry cause I’ll be around for a long time, I’ll drop deader than a hammer the next day. That’s an absolute, like the firmness of the earth.

Not much I can do about it anyway besides get regular check ups and eat better (working on it), and give up diet coke (done, yes I have gone cold turkey on that magic elixir).

Poolin and coolin!

Poolin and coolin!

Most of all, be sure he has memories. Just like my dad did for me.