Thursday, January 14, 2016

Jake and The Milk Cow

A long time ago in a land far, far away (but curiously much like our own), there was a boy named Jake.

Jake and his mother lived in a cabin at the edge of the woods, and they were poor. They weren't so poor as to be starving, but they were poor enough to know they weren't far from it.

The only thing Jake had of value was a magic bean.

"One of these days," Jake would tell his mother, "I'm going to plant that bean, water it, and watch it grow tall to the sky. And who knows what good luck that will bring us?"

Jake's mother thought it a silly dream, not very practical, but since dreams didn't cost anything, she let him keep it.

Jake kept the magic bean in his pocket. He got it out sometimes, rolled it around in his hands, thumped it into the air and caught it, but he never got around to planting it. Oh, he talked about doing it, but he never did.

One morning, after eating a bowl of thin gruel that didn't quite ease their hunger pains, Jake's mother said, "Boy, I want you to go to town and buy us a milk cow so we can have milk and cheese."

"But Ma, we don't have any money to buy a milk cow."

"Then sell that magic bean you're always talking about," she said. "Surely a magic bean is worth a milk cow."

Jake protested.

"But Ma, one of these days I'm going to plant that bean, and it's going to grow to the sky, and I'm going to climb it into the clouds, and if there's a giant up there, I'm going to steal all his food and gold, and we'll never have to worry about starving or being poor ever again."

"That may be so," she said, "but we're close to starving now. So do as I say and go buy us a cow."

Back in those days, a boy didn't argue much with his mother, so with a heavy heart he travelled into town and did the practical thing: he traded his magic bean for a milk cow.

Jake and his mother were still poor, but at least they had milk and cheese with their gruel and they never starved.

As for the bean?

I'm sure the old farmer who traded his cow for Jake's magic bean never believed his wife was strong enough to throw a cast iron skillet so accurately.

MORAL: Some dreams don't seem practical but could grow to the sky if planted and nurtured.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Frosty Haiku

May be chilly out
but no Jack Frost can keep me
from a root beer float.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

First hike

My baby girl and I went on our first hike of 2016 to Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose, Texas. Unfortunately, the river was too high for us to see any dinosaur tracks.

But we still had a good time.
  First hike. 1 Jan 2016. Dinosaur Valley State Park.

Sunday, January 3, 2016


I guess I never really knew my father.

Yes, I knew where he grew up, I knew he'd been in the Navy, but a lot of other things that I should've known about him, I just didn't.

For instance: back in the late 50s, my dad was at a drive-in restaurant with some of his friends -- boys and girls mingling about, laughing, having a good time -- when he spied a young lady sitting alone in her car.

He got up the nerve, walked over to her, and the very first words that came out of his mouth were:

"You sure are stuck up."

One thing leads to another, he buys her a shake, takes her out for a few rounds of Putt-Putt, then BAM! -- 57 years of marriage.

I never knew he was a guy who could use a lousy pickup line, and actually make it work.

*   *   *

He was also a big teaser, but everybody knew that.

I have memories of him taking us to restaurants, and when the bill came, he would reach into his pocket, and with a shocked look on his face, he'd say, "Oh no. I forgot my wallet. I guess you boys are gonna have to do some dishes."

I don't know about my brother, but my heart was beating 90 miles per hour.

But just at the last moment, he'd pull out his wallet and say, "Oh, here it is. I guess you boys got lucky this time."

He even pulled that trick on us when we were kids.

*   *   *

I knew my father loved to play Santa Claus, and games like 42 and Chicken-Foot, but I never knew he was The Monopoly Man.

Now, if you don't mind, and even if you do, I want you to take out your phones and Google Monopoly Man. Look for an image. I'll wait.

One of his students at school noticed the resemblance and called him The Monopoly Man. Then more did. Then he "cashed in" on the idea and started to use the Monopoly cards as an incentive for them to act right. And I want you know, just a few weeks ago, one of the meal servers at the retirement center where my parents moved to, one of the meal servers came up to him and said, "Has anybody ever told you, ya look like The Monopoly Man?"

Can you imagine?

My father, The Monopoly Man, Santa Claus, a Navy veteran, a big teaser, someone who loved to travel, make wooden toys, fish, play golf, go bowling, watch movies, grill hamburgers, read Westerns, go to church, a hard worker, a good listener, kind, gentle, loving, caring, funny, a man who always had a smile on his face, and a lover of cappuccinos and root beer floats.

I didn't know my father well.

But I knew enough.