Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Back in the fall of 2010, I never would have thought I would still be alive!  

What with two stomach operations and surgery for kidney cancer, it seemed doubtful at times, especially those two weeks following my first Nissen fundoplication, when the doctor inadvertently stitched a nerve that controlled my diaphragm!  I could hardly walk across the room, and showering made it necessary for my wife to towel me off.  I would almost pass out from lack of oxygen.

With the help of God and a little retraining of my diaphragm muscle, I overcame that, and lived to have the same surgery again!

Just about the time I got over that, I discovered that I had a tumor on my left kidney.  Other than the pain drugs I was given, I made it through that pretty well.

So, yeah, honestly, when I look back I thought 2010 would be my last year on earth.  This September, it will only have been two years since the cancer scare, but it seems so much longer.

Now, I sit here, knowing that tomorrow morning I'll be again put to sleep for a "green laser" procedure on my prostate.  Not a real serious thing, but enough to give me pause to reflect.  I was once told that every time you are anesthetized, and put to sleep, you lose a little something!  Whether or not that true remains to be discovered, I just know I can't afford to drop off any brain power!  I guess that bothers me more than anything, but it has to be done.

So, this past week, knowing what I'm facing again, I tried to lose myself in the real life going on around me.  

Take last week's sixth birthday party for Lily!  What a day I had.  Again, I was on a t-ball field watching a granddaughter learning and playing the game.  How wonderful it is to be alive and having the privilege again of experiencing what I did with Katie Bug.  The best part, I still have Kinsley to go!
Lily will learn the game and teach her younger sister the ropes, and ol' Papaw will be on the sidelines grinning all over himself!

Lily also turned six on the same day.  To be with her, her sister, and my son and his wife, is pure love from above.  My heart gets so overjoyed that tears come to my eyes.

Right in the middle, came Mother's Day.  I love fixing the traditional hamburger for my mom, even if this year I had to stand in the rain to do it!  As you can see, I was successful, and it was all worth it to see that big smile!

I also got to be with Tracy, Katie, and Eddie to share a laugh or two.  Since Katie is off in school most days, it's always good to be with her every second I can.  She was the first, and we connected deeply in those early days.  We went on "ventures", finding out together where little overlooked roads led, and just talking about everything.  I miss much, but now she's off, probably soon making a family of her own...more kids for me to spoil!
Lily also, it's been a good couple of weeks for her, graduated from kindergarten.  One Papaw, one Pop-pop, and one Baboo, along with one Gramby, one BeeBee, and one Momma Judy sat in the audience with huge grins and hearts, with eyes focused on her alone.  It probably was special for mom and dad too, but grandparents realize what is going on.  We are calling back all the days gone past when we really didn't pay close enough attention, and we don't want those moments to get away from us again.

It's like when we notice that the new puppy has grown up, we wish we could have kept it at that small and tender age when they had that beautiful puppy breath!  We know we can't keep them young forever, but grand children let us relive all those lost moments all over again.  Forgive us when we encourage you to have another child...that's all we're trying to do, to keep you young forever!

So, my prayer is that I'll again have more tomorrows and more Katie, Lily, and Kinsley to have "silly-time" with.  It's all I ever wanted...honestly!  

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

New Sun Room Finished

Back in '95 when we first moved to our current home, the deck was split between screened and open deck.  The open deck was for grilling, and the screened area was for sitting and looking out over the cove.  It was also a place where I spent some night hours smoking cigars, listening to the blues and blues-based rock, while enjoying a couple of my favorite beverages!  Sometimes with family, or with my good friend Jeff, but most times it was just me and the night sounds.

It took me a long time sitting out there, sometimes wrapped up like an Eskimo, trying to determine which brand of beer, scotch, whiskey, stogie, and blues (Delta, Memphis, Chicago) I preferred.  Well, I got all that settled!  I found out I liked all the matter where it was created.  As for the other things, well, they are done in moderation these days, sometimes months go by, but I still like sitting out on the porch.

Sometimes, sitting out there in the dark is the best thing.  On the 4th of July, I usually sit out there around 8PM, and listen to the distant "wamp, wamp" sounds the holiday fireworks show in Kingston, some 8 miles down river, makes as the ordinances are fired and then explode; lighting up the southern sky.  

It always forces me back to March 1967 (I've written about it before), sitting on a sandbag at DaNang, and watching the southeastern sky light up in the same way.  Then, several seconds later the humid night air carried the "wamp, wamp" sound of mortars, and probably rockets, hitting an outpost, some 30 miles away, reached my ears.  Any attack in our area always put us on a 12-on-12-off shift.  Every post, every hole, was manned, and the SAT Teams were doubled until an all clear was issued.

Sorry, didn't mean to get side tracked, but once you've been under fire, you can't help but step back inside that reserved space in your mind from time-to-time.  That space is forever blocked off...nothing enters to overwrite it, and it can't be erased...ever!

I wanted to tell you that the screened portion is now a "sunroom".  The screen has been replaced by insulated windows with screens.  The windows are large and let in plenty of air if opened.  However, around these parts, the summers are always humid, so now I can sit out there more often in comfort.

The windows will be opened on beautiful, low humidity, days, and those comfortable days during the winter.  Most importantly, the windows will be closed during the time the trees make love!  No more will we have to cover up the furniture or take it to the basement to protect them from the yellow pollen.  It can stay in place year around...ready to be enjoyed at any time.

Judy is out there right now reading her Kindle!  She made me turn off the music, so she could concentrate, so I'm sitting here listening to my tunes and writing you.  When I finish, I will take my iPad out there and join her.  Maybe there will be a nap!

The installer finished the carpet just an hour ago, and we are now alone to enjoy it.

So, if you drop by, you'll probably be invited out there instead of our living room.  It's a wonderful place.  We've been truly blessed, and this is just one of many.

BTW Jeff, Judy says we can't smoke our cigars out there's now part of the house, so we'll have to step out onto the deck!  But, the music will be blasting loud and clear in stereo!

Gone is the "tree house", but it's actually not that different!