Derby Day

The eldest of my two younger brothers attended a Kentucky Derby several years ago and never once saw a horse at the event. That was his goal, in fact. He stood in the infield, sipping some fine Kentucky bourbon, and enjoyed all the festivities except for the actual race.

I really thought I’d set a better example for him during his formative years. Shouldn’t he at least have had a mint julep or two whilst watching the three-year-old thoroughbreds pound the track? Maybe I’m just jealous. He’s been to a great many more big events in his life than I have.

This year, I’m going to a derby! Not the derby, mind you, but my eldest sister-in-law is the director of the Senior Citizens Center in Hereford, Texas, and this year she and her staff are putting on a Kentucky Derby Gala to raise funds for the center. It’s such a big deal that I flew in for the event.

We’ll watch the Derby on big screens while coyly sipping mint juleps beneath festively decorated hats. Afterwards we’ll have a gourmet meal followed by an auction and our own horse race with pint sized mechanized ponies:

Those pictured above are just a sampling of the horses that will grace our paddocks.

I’m so excited! I purchased two hats for the evening, but accidentally left the smaller one, a fascinator, at home. Since I only have one head, it won’t be a problem.

Yesterday afternoon I got a sneak peek at the decorations, and the place looks fabulous. We’re in for a fun evening.

And I’ll at least see a horse or two.

Peace, people!

Lazy in Dallas

I didn’t post anything yesterday morning because I was hanging out with my son and grandson going to estate sales around Dallas. None of us bought a thing, but we had fun looking at stuff we didn’t need or want.

After a light lunch some of us napped. I’m not saying I was one of the nappers, but about two hours of my life passed without my knowledge, so chances are I was.

We had a pleasantly low key evening watching television. The guys watched the movie, “Tag” in one room, while my daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and I watched the British series, “Safe,” until my eyes would no longer stay open.

Not sure what’s in store for today, but whatever it is will be just right. Tomorrow I’ll start driving home to Doright Manor.

Peace, people

Making the Case that My Mom Would be a Democrat

As far as I know my parents weren’t terribly politically active. They always voted, but I never heard them declare for one party or the other. They tended to vote for the person and ignore party affiliation.

Now I do recall their amusement when, as a fifth grader, I campaigned for Richard Nixon in the R.C. Andrews elementary school mock election. Texas was still primarily a Democrat leaning state back then, so my choice cast me as a bit of a rebel. Apparently, I was ahead of the pack in supporting the GOP candidate. I sure hope I’m not the reason that Texas is a red state nowadays. That’s a burden I’m not sure I could bear.

My mom died more than two decades ago, in late October just after I turned 39. She wasn’t old, but younger than I am now. She’d lived her entire life in Texas. Her peers are now in their late seventies and early eighties. Many have been brainwashed by FOX news and believe that Donald Trump was selected personally by God almighty to be president of the United States, while a few have maintained the dignity of independent thinking and have a healthy skepticism regarding 45.

It bothered me for a while to think that had mom lived into her 80’s she might have succumbed to the FOX News propaganda machine. However, I recall several pieces of evidence that indicate Mom would not be a Trump supporter:

1. She was never a Ronald Reagan fan, even when much of the country was mesmerized by the former actor. Early on she warned me that he was capable of exerting great harm on the country. She had never trusted Nixon either.

2. Mom worked for Planned Parenthood in the mid-70’s and firmly believed a woman should be the final decision maker in matters concerning her own body.

3. My mother was wary of organized religion. She had no use for the likes of televangelists, always scornful of their dramatic public prayer that was more about garnering dollars for their private coffers than about caring for the poor. Mom’s beliefs were private, and she didn’t need to attend a particular church to be a good Christian.

4. She taught me to think for myself, to weigh the good and the bad, and to make informed decisions. And trust me, she could smell a lie from miles away.

Who knows what the years might have wrought? But I’m fairly sure Freida Hall would’ve told Trump to kiss her ass. If she were still living, we would do it together.

That’s Mom holding baby me. Well, it might be me, but I’m certain that’s my mom.

Peace, people.

Foul Weather Friends

Get ready to say “awwwww!”

Match, a chihuahua, is the elder statespet of my daughter, Ashley’s, home having been adopted several years ago. When the family added another adoptee, Snuggles, a couple of weeks ago, Match wasn’t all that thrilled.

Snuggles, a pastel calico, tried to make friendly overtures towards her canine sibling, but Match was having nothing to do with her. Of course sometimes Snuggles’s efforts at forming a friendship were a bit aggressive–the dog’s wagging tail was just too intriguing to resist attacking.

But last night as a thunderstorm passed through their area, my daughter snapped two pictures that melted my heart. Poor Match was frightened by the storm, and Snuggles came to his rescue:

Ashley said Snuggles calmed and comforted Match during the storm. Maybe this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, or maybe the two will only be foul weather friends. Regardless, this made me smile.

Peace, people and pets.

Cold is Relative

Studly Doright is playing in a golf tournament today while I’m home taking care of the cats and doing laundry. Any thoughts I had of getting out and running around town for a bit were dashed by the weather.

It’s “Florida cold” outside, not to be confused with “Michigan cold” or “Wisconsin cold” but trust me, when you’re accustomed to 70° weather with sunshine, a cloudy 40° day is a real bummer, and our night time temps are going to dip below freezing this week. Brrr.

My daughter in Illinois has no sympathy, though, and I can’t blame her for that. Their weather forecast makes me want to cry for them. If they cry for themselves, their tears will freeze on their rosy cheeks.

Studly Doright and I are no strangers to bitterly cold weather. We did our time in the cold white north, four years in North Dakota and another eight in Illinois were plenty for me. Perhaps our little cold snap here in the Florida panhandle is just a reminder to count my blessings. Or maybe it’s just cruel and unusual punishment for some unknown offense. Whatever it is, may it be gone soon. I’m also wishing warmer weather for all those impacted by Winter Storm Harper.

Here’s our own force of nature, also named Harper.

peace and warmth, people.

Studly Doright Gets His Own Post

Today marks Studly Doright’s 40th year with the same company. He started out on the very bottom rung in the maintenance crew and steadily climbed to the position of Area Director. We still are slightly amazed at how far he’s come with only a high school education.

The rise to AD included multiple moves, first from Texas to North Dakota, then to Kansas, followed by our first stint in Florida, an 8-year detour to Illinois and finally (we hope) back to Florida.

He shared with me the email from his Vice President announcing this anniversary and I got teary eyed reading it and all the follow up emails from the folks he’s worked with over the years. I’m married to a special guy, but I didn’t need to get that information from others. Still, it’s so nice to read all the memories others have of his time with them.

So here’s to Studly! Thanks for being the hardest working, most consistently trustworthy guy I know.

Peace, people!

Memory Glitch

Memory is an odd thing. There are happenings from my past that I remember with certainty, and I’d argue vehemently with anyone who suggested that my memories might be corrupted by time or experiences pre- or post-event. Or even that the memory wasn’t even my memory.

The truth is, though, that memories are subject to outside influences. Perhaps we’ve heard a story so many times that we believe we actually were part of the story. We’ve incorporated the ideas into our own psyches. I knew of this phenomenon, I just never had real evidence of it until recently.

Studly Doright and I were reminiscing the other night about an event that occurred twenty years ago when we lived in Great Bend, Kansas. Our dog had developed an infection in one of his toes and I walked him over to the veterinarian’s office just around the corner from our house. Our daughter, Ashley, accompanied me.

The vet took us back to the examination room immediately and looked at Snapper’s puffy paw. Apparently the dog had gotten some sort of seed embedded in his nail and it had become inflamed and contained a hefty amount of pus that needed to be drained. I held Snapper while the vet swabbed the dog’s paw with antiseptic and Ashley looked on, the scent of alcohol heavy in the room.

All went well until the moment the vet lanced Snapper’s paw and blood-laced pus came pouring from the infected area. I heard my daughter moan and watched her eyes roll back in her head as she began falling to the floor. I was holding the dog and grasping for my daughter’s arm to keep her from hitting her head on the floor. Meanwhile, the damned vet stood there laughing!

Somehow I managed to slow Ashley’s descent without dropping Snapper, as the vet calmly told a story about watching a big strong cowboy faint watching his horse undergo a similar procedure. Ashley still ended up on the floor, but not at full velocity. The vet bandaged the dog’s paw as poor Ashley lay unconscious. She was only out for a few seconds, but woke up thinking she’d overslept and missed a band concert scheduled for that evening.

We paid the vet (who I never took any of my pets to again) and slowly walked the block and a half home. Ashley, other than being a little disoriented, didn’t seem to have sustained any injuries, and we related our story to Studly Doright in full gory detail when we returned home.

Over the course of twenty years, Ashley and I both have told the story dozens of times. Never once has Studly Doright been at that vet’s office with us, that is, until he told the story during our little trip down memory lane. According to him, he was the one holding the dog. He was the one who kept Ashley from hitting the floor. He was the one who became exasperated by the vet’s silly nattering. No amount of arguing with him could convince him that his memory was false. Hell, I began wondering if I was the one with the faulty memory.

Then while at Ashley’s home in Illinois for Christmas I asked her to recount the story. She did, almost word for word the way I wrote it above. Studly couldn’t believe his ears; although, in the face of such strong evidence he began to realize that perhaps he had internalized the details of our story to the point he’d convinced himself that it had happened to him. He won’t quite admit that he was wrong, but he is no longer adamant that he was there.

It’s kind of fascinating, isn’t it? That the brain can trick itself into believing something. It makes me wonder what memories I have that aren’t accurate, or that aren’t even my own. Like that memory I have of Han Solo and me kissing on board the Millennium Falcon as we evaded Imperial ships on our way to Cloud City. Don’t you dare tell me that never happened!

Peace, people!

Christmas Climb

Studly Doright and I celebrated Christmas with our daughter and her family in Port Byron, Illinois. We laughed, exchanged gifts, watched the grandkids’ delight as they explored their new acquisitions, and ate way too much. Our daughter’s in-laws came today, and we really enjoyed our visit with them over lunch. I am so happy knowing that our grandchildren are loved so much by so many people.

I could’ve shared a great many photos from today, but my favorites, by far, were these taken by our son-in-law:

That’s Studly and our youngest grandchild exploring in the woods behind our daughter’s home. The two took off on a walk, crossed a creek via a fallen tree, and climbed the steep banks rising from the creek bed. When they returned to the house their cheeks were rosy and one of them was severely out of breath. I’ll let you guess which one that was. (Hint: It wasn’t the one wearing the unicorn bike helmet.)

We’ll start our trip home tomorrow. I’ll be sad to leave, but we’ll take with us wonderful memories of time spent with the ones we love. I hope your Christmas Day was filled with love and laughter.

Peace, people!

Still More Photos from the Road

Technically, Studly Doright and I weren’t driving today. We’re staying at a hotel in Le Claire, Iowa, across the river from our daughter’s house in Port Byron, Illinois. Still, though, we are away from Doright Manor so any photos I take are fair game. Plus, I’m worn out, so coming up with a new title was beyond my present capabilities.

Our hotel is right on the Mississippi River, and our room has a river view.

We have a lovely balcony, but the weather is a bit too chilly for hanging around outside.

Last night my daughter, granddaughter, her friend, and I attended a dinner theatre production of Annie. The evening was part of our granddaughter’s birthday gift–her big day is December 26, and often it gets kind of lost with all of the other holiday activities. The dinner theatre was a perfect way to celebrate.

Today is Christmas Eve, and we plan to bring the grandkids to the hotel for a swim while the parents take care of other important stuff.

In other news, this kid loves bacon.

More Pictures from the Road

On Saturday Studly and I traveled the second leg of our Christmas journey, driving from Clarksville, Tennessee, to Port Byron, Illinois. We made good time and soon were hugging our daughter and three of our five grandkids.

This is how the youngest one dressed to greet us in 33° weather:

After getting the grandkids all riled up we headed to a pizza place across the river in LeClaire, Iowa, where we played pinball and Pac-Man, tried our luck with the claw game and the fortune telling machine while the pizza was being cooked. I was too busy playing to take any pictures, but I took this one of the granddaughters posing as the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who in front of a shop in LeClaire.

There wasn’t nearly as much NASCAR style driving going on today, so my sanity isn’t in question as it was last night. I didn’t take many photos from the passenger seat today either, but we did pass a truck carrying its payload in an unorthodox manner:

Studly called my attention to this odd sight as we approached the truck north of Springfield, Illinois. We pondered for many miles how this little car was loaded onto the bed of the truck.

Other than these two pictures I only snapped a few others:

Studly got a bit excited when he saw snow on the side of the road. I hope that’s the ONLY snow we see this week; although, the forecast is calling for a white Christmas.

That’s part of the Peoria, Illinois, skyline, above. Not a great photo, but Peoria is kind of a cool river town.

As I type this, Studly and I are unwinding in our cozy hotel room with a view of the Mississippi River outside our window. We’re watching the Kansas Jayhawks play basketball while recharging our batteries for tomorrow’s activities with the grandkids. We’re going to need all the energy we can muster. Wish us luck.

Peace, people.