Sunday, February 03, 2008


It has been a long time since Katie Bug and I have had a ‘venture. When she was five, and until about ten, years old, she and I would hop in my truck and just head out without any real sense of where we were going. We would just come to a road and she would say, “Whur’s zat road go Papaw?”

I would turn onto the road and say, “I don’t know, but let’s find out!”

It was a wonderful time in her early life, and I’m thankful I got to enjoy it with just the two of us, and she often asked, “Let’s go on a ‘venture Papaw!”

So we would drive a few hours out on the back roads of the county, or end up out in the Catoosa Wildlife Reserve. Sometimes we never stopped, but other times we would have a little picnic on a rock or off the tailgate. I have many pictures of us hiking and of her down by some creek, and these are memories that will sustain me when she leaves for school and/or gets married.

She talks a lot about going to school these days and is pushing hard in school, evidenced by the fact she is complaining now that her chemistry teacher can’t teach! Her freshman year was a disappointment, even to her it seems, but this year she has focus. She hasn’t stopping thinking about boys; she keeps the text messages flying to around six or more guys. She is a bit of a “player”, and I’m so thankful she is smart enough to do that first! However, she seems determined now to do well and make something of herself.

By the way, her peers, and even a couple teachers, have dubbed her the fastest “texter” they know. I’m witness to that every time she is around – using one thumb she can clickie-clack a message out and flip the phone shut without even looking down!

She talks most often about the medical field and even forensics, and the latter is what caught my attention the other day when our local “Live at Fivepromoted a new exhibit at the Frank McClung Museum, which is part of the University of Tennessee campus.

Most of you, if you read mysteries and books about forensic investigations, know who William Jefferson Bass, or Dr. Bass, is. Dr. Bass was my professor when I took a series of anthropology classes back in my college days (’71-’72).

I decided then that this was ‘’venture’ material and planned to take Katie and Judy this past Saturday.

The Thursday night before, Katie and I sat in my computer room and talked straight for over an hour and a half. She was wondering about college and the effort she would have to expend in studying something as involved as medicine. I went through what college classes are like, what is involved in getting classes, majors and minors, what it’s like to commute to college rather than live on campus, etc. We looked up curriculums, requirements, and prerequisites for certain majors and career fields. We even watched some of the online video clips about the “Body Farm”.

I did not tell her my plans, and she did not know where we were going until we walked up to the front of the museum and she saw the huge poster/banner about the exhibit inside! What a wonderful thing to see her eyes light up with anticipation!

Inside she did not rush from exhibit to exhibit, but instead took time to read the information provided for each. You could tell she was fascinated by the photos of bodies in different stages of decay, skulls perforated by .22 and .45. caliber rounds, and even one by a shotgun!

She poured over the differences in ethnic and gender skeletal remains, and the full skeletons of a fetus and small children at different ages.

McClung Museum has other exhibits as well, and we toured them all. She and Judy also enjoyed the Egyptian, the early Tennessee Indian life, the development of mankind exhibit, the Chinese dynasties, and several other rooms before leaving. However, before leaving, we bought her two autographed copies of Dr. Bass’ books. If they stimulate her to push forward, then they were well worth the cost.

Judy has read about him for years, mostly through the Patricia Cornwell mysteries, and she too is fascinated by this body of work.

Outside, we walked the central portion of the UT Campus, where I showed her the traditional statues – “The Torchbearer” which symbolizes "the spirit of University youth and its ideal of service" and, of course, “Europa on the Bull”. I explained what I remembered of where certain classes are conducted and the hectic, almost frantic, walk between classes from the “humanities” to math or science classes on “The Hill!” And yes, I showed her the College of Communications (pictured above) and I explained the other traditions of my alma mater!

After over three hours on campus, we were famished and we headed for her favorite meal at “Wild Wings!” A friend, “He’s just a friend I hang out with,” she tells us, Zack met us and together we sucked down tea, water, and thirty-three wings, bathed in different sauces.

Unfortunately, the two friends didn’t get to sit and leisurely enjoy their meal…Tracy (Katie’s mom) called and wanted to pick them up for a hockey game on the other side of Knoxville. We requested a “to go box” and they were off, leaving Judy and I to clean up what was left, which is no problem for us!

It was a very special day that Katie gave us! She even turned off her cell for over three hours! Now that’s what I call giving a day up for Granny and Papaw.

Thank you Katie…and I pray you reach all your goals and dreams!


Buck said...

Katie is a very lovely young lady with a LOT on the ball. I think she'll do well.

Anonymous said...

I back up what Buck said ..and I am a fellow adventurer as well ..I love taking off down a road I have never traveled..I used to do it the truck and I still do it discover all kinds of things that way..

BRUNO said...

You might be jealous of my SNOW that I got to play in this week, dude---but I'm jealous of YOU, having family left that actually enjoys being with you!

I've never been too popular with the "kids" of my kin. Guess they know too much about me!

Yeah, I used to be a young turd once, too. And I also learned how NOT TO get caught "rolling my eyes" at those "stupid old people"! But most "juniors" don't have that knack today---or maybe they just don't care if you see them anymore!

"Young-adults" will always be independent---especially if YOU are there to show 'em HOW....

Hammer said...

Those sound like some great adventures. I need to take my girls on some before they get too old.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

That sounds like a wonderful time. I know how much it means to you, and I imagine to her too. Has she ever had the opportunity to take the sort of dual credit classes in high school that I teach (college classes for both college and high school credit)?

I was amazed when I went to my first graduation ceremony down in Florence that those kids, between me and the other teachers there, and the online classes they take, can get up to 40 hours of college credit in high school. If her high school doesn't have these classes, she can still sign up for online classes and get some of her basic stuff out of the way. I would have been lost taking college classes at that age, but you make her sound like she's a pretty good student. Float the idea to her, or tell her parents to ask the school counselor. Hell, isn't Cory the high school counselor? Dude, she's hooked up!

*Goddess* said...

You sound like a fun Papaw:)

Mushy said...

FHB - No, Corey is at Harriman High...she goes to Kingston. I'll tell her.

Goddess - I'm fun for all ages!

Hammer - Do it! These are memories that last a life time.

Bruno - I am jealous!

pat houseworth said...

Another good one Mushy!

katiebug said...

awww.... how sweet. You made me tear up when I read this. I am so glad you took me and I had so much fun, you have no idea how much it meant to me. We need to start going on our ventures again. I really enjoyed it and looking forward to our next one. Thank you papaw for everything I love you so muc.... ih p.s I am so loving that book it's AWESOME!! Almost as awesome as me but not quite. I love you

Mushy said... Katie Bug left a comment...will wonders never cease?

Thank you sweetheart!

Lin said...

Turns off her cell phone AND leaves a comment on PaPaw's blog?!? You've got to be something WAY up beyond numero uno!

Les Becker said...

SHE TURNED OFF HER PHONE?! No wonder you feel special!