A Little Love

When I was in fourth grade at R.C. Andrews school in Floydada, Texas, I had a teacher who didn’t like me very much. From day one she scowled at me and never let up. She might also have been scowling at the other students in my class, but her disdain felt pretty personal to me.

She was the first teacher who did not praise my early attempts at writing. I cannot recall a single positive word she ever wrote on a paper I turned in, only criticisms in bright red marks across the page.

Too LONG!

Not long enough!

Too silly!

Too serious!

You used the word love to describe your feelings for your dog and your new shoes. We only use that word for people.

Heck, I know I loved my dog, and those shoes were certainly P. F. Flyers that made me run faster and jump higher. Who wouldn’t love shoes that could do all that?

She once criticized me for using a word that she said was too big for me to understand.

Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.

Of course I later learned that Mark Twain said that, and it makes perfect sense. But in my defense, I did understand the word: voluptuous. I used it in context, too. Perhaps that was the problem.

Floydada was, and remains, a small town. As an adult and a retired teacher I’ve speculated that perhaps this teacher held some grudge against one or both of my parents. Maybe even against my grandparents. And I received the brunt of it.

All I wanted was a little love from her, and if not love, just a little respect.

Take it away, Ms. Aretha Franklin:

https://youtu.be/JzqGZjFnYnA

More to Love

See these three? They are my Illinois grandkids. That’s our oldest grandson, G, our middle grandchild, M, and our youngest grandchild, H. The older two are in high school where G is in his junior year, and M is a freshman.

G has a part time job working at a local movie theater, and he’s active in Quiz Bowl. He is also the lighting director for the school’s theatre productions. Occasionally he has been persuaded to take a speaking role, and he’s quite good. He’s also in the band where he plays oboe and tenor sax (like me!)

M is a cheerleader (totally unlike her klutzy Nana) and takes tumbling classes. She’s also assisted her big brother in the theatre’s lighting department. He wanted someone smart to take over the reins after he graduates next year, and she’s the first one he thought about. Oh, she can write, too, and she’s a strategic genius. I think she’s beaten me in every game requiring strategy that we’ve ever played.

Honestly, I thought these two were all the children my daughter would ever have. When she announced that she and her husband were thinking about having another child I wasn’t all that encouraging. In fact, I might have asked, “Are you out of your freaking mind?”

What I lack in diplomacy, I make up for in crudity.

I brought up all my concerns about the cost of raising three children: Putting them through college, providing for them, etc., never mind the emotional energy a third child would require. I did my best to discourage her.

Then along came H. Bright, funny, honest, adorable H. From the first day we held her all my concerns went out the window. She would be loved, and loving, and nothing else really mattered.

She’s a second grader now, and is taking tumbling lessons like her big sister. She’s a movie buff and likes the music her daddy does, namely the Foo Fighters and Led Zeppelin. She thinks her big brother is the bomb, and she keeps her Mama hopping. She loves to read, like I do. I can’t imagine a world without her or any of my grands.

It’s funny how there’s always enough love to go around, isn’t it. And how many times in my life I’ve been absolutely wrong. It’s a reminder to keep my mouth shut and my negative thoughts to myself.

Peace, and love, people!

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Tina Turner sang the song of the summer in 1984, and no matter where one went it seemed that her hit, What’s Love Got to Do With It ruled the airwaves.

Studly Doright and I were coaching a girls’ softball team that summer, and our all-star team had qualified for the regional tournament in Weatherford, Texas. On one of our off days, we took the girls to a water park in Arlington, Texas, where Tina’s hit seemed to be playing non-stop. Our son was tagging along on the trip and we couldn’t get enough of the tune.

The song begs the questions, “what’s love, but a second-hand emotion?” and “who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?” Both are fairly deep topics for a pop song. I can’t address the first question, but in regard to the second one, a heart is absolutely necessary to survival. Perhaps I’m being too literal, though.

https://youtu.be/oGpFcHTxjZs

It’s still a great song, even if we’re not sure of all the answers. Love’s like that, you know.

Peace, and love, people.

Love Lifted Me

I grew up in the small Texas town of Floydada. My parents were Baptists, my maternal grandparents were Baptists, my great grandfather was a Baptist minister. So of course, I was Baptist. Honestly I knew of only two other choices: Methodist and Pentecostal. Like I said, it was a small town.

The Baptist church shaped much of my life, and while it isn’t perfect, being comprised of human beings with all their prejudices, frailties, and hang ups, it taught me many good things: Love one another, do unto others as you would have others do unto you, and God is love, among other things. Too bad it’s become so political these days. I no longer think of myself as Baptist.

But the hymns! Oh my goodness did I love the hymns. Modern day worship music doesn’t come close to matching the hymns of my youth. Among my favorites was the hymn, Love Lifted Me. It’s so uplifting, so happy. It transcends denomination and religion.

https://youtu.be/mEsgA_TgDas

While there were several versions offered in my google search, none of them quite lived up to my memories of the song, but at least Alan Jackson did a reasonably good job of singing it.

Peace, and love, people.

Heard it in a Love Song

What’s the first song that comes to mind when you think about love songs? Do you have a favorite? Do you and your significant other have your own song?

Studly Doright isn’t much of a music person, so any romanticizing of a song for the two of us has always fallen to me. In the early days of our marriage, Afternoon Delight by the Starland Vocal Band was “our” song. It was a playful look at sex, and Studly liked that, but it didn’t really focus on love.

During the 80’s I gravitated towards Stuck With You by Huey Lewis and the News. Still not a terribly romantic song, but it seemed to fit what we were going through as a young couple with two young children. Stuck, but happy.

Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing came along in the 90’s, and I couldn’t stop singing it (badly). That’s how I felt about our relationship. No matter what we’d gone through, and we’d gone through plenty, I still didn’t want to miss the stuff to come.

I could name dozens of other love songs that meant something to me: Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney, This Kiss by Faith Hill, Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You, I’ll Make Love to You by Boyz 2 Men and on and on. If I had to pick just one song to choose as “ours,” though, it’d likely be this one by Vince Gill.

Look at Us

https://youtu.be/uSfjp1ky4Mw

Yes, it’s sappy, but it fits. Maybe I should tell Studly it’s our song. He’s still fond of Afternoon Delight, though. Some things never change.

Peace, people.

Love in the Time of February

During the last week of January I had the thought that I should write something about love every day in February. We need a lot of love right now. Love for our family, our friends, ourselves, even for complete strangers. And with Valentines Day sitting smack dab in the middle of the month, it seemed the perfect time to express feelings of love each day.

Somehow, though, I became distracted and forgot about the love theme. Is it okay to begin a month-long theme on the fourth day of the month? Of course it is. The only rule for blogging is: There are no rules.

So, to kick off my month of love, here’s a photo of two people I love:

That’s our beautiful daughter, Ashley, holding her nephew, our youngest grandson, Jackson, on her wedding day. Jackson is now a handsome teenager. This photo makes my heart happy. I love them both so much.

Peace, people.

Get Thee Behind Me, Friend

Does your mouth sometimes work independently of your brain? Afterwards do you wish you could crawl into a hole and emerge only after everyone who heard you say what you said was stricken with total forgetfulness of your faux pas, a sort of word specific amnesia?

If you haven’t already deduced that I uttered one of the stupidest phrases ever then you will now.

Yesterday I took a good friend who, along with her husband, had spent the last couple of days with us at Doright Manor, to lunch at my favorite vegan place in Tallahassee. She is not vegan, but was willing to sample what I’d been talking about. Now, this friend is one of the nicest, sweetest, most considerate people in the world. Maybe in the entire universe. I can only aspire to be as kind as she is.

We stood at the counter to order and she proffered her credit card at the same time I did. She and her husband had bought our dinner the night before and there was no way I was allowing her to pay for her own lunch. So I physically blocked her, and to my ever lasting horror said, “Get thee behind me, Satan!”

Satan!? Had I completely lost my mind? My friend, and the clerk at the counter looked shocked, and I just wanted the floor to open up and swallow me.

Now, the only thing I have to offer in my defense is that I’m reading a sci-fi novel about satanic possession in space. Oh, and that one of the regular specials at the vegan place is “Hail Seitan!* Although, it wasn’t on the menu yesterday.

I apologized, even as my friend laughed it off. But holy cow, I’m thinking of having a surgical procedure called a tongue-ectomy. I’m not sure it exists, but it should.

Have you ever done anything remotely as awful? Please tell me you have. I need to believe I’m not the only one. Heck, make something up if you need to.

(*Seitan, made from wheat gluten, mimics the taste and texture of meat.)

Big Game Day 2020

Super Bowl Sunday is my favorite day of the year, and now that I’m retired, it’s even better because I can sleep in on Monday.

I still maintain that the day after the big game should be an actual holiday; although, perhaps the NFL championship game should be decided on Saturday instead of Sunday, thus solving a multitude of problems. I have a feeling that work and school attendance suffers on the Monday after the Super Bowl.

Since things aren’t likely to change in the near future, I’ll just make my prediction for tonight’s game and be done with it: Patrick Mahomes, who played college football for the Texas Tech Red Raiders, will lead the Kansas City Chiefs to a decisive win over the San Francisco 49’ers.

Go Chiefs!

And if they lose and Patrick needs consoling, I’m here.

Peace, people!

I Can’t Get Up

There’s a cat sleeping on my lap.

I need to rise and shine, but I cannot do so. My legs are numb from the weight of her. In fact, it’s possible that everything from my hips down has atrophied. I’d likely topple over if I tried to stand, so for now I’m snuggled in bed with a cat on my lap.

There are far worse predicaments to be in. Maybe I’ll mediate while I’m here. Ommmm. Or call it yoga. I’ve heard of goat yoga, why not cat yoga? The Sleeping Cat Captive pose.

Peace, people.