Friday, October 31, 2008

Strange How God Changes Things...

Okay... so we are pulling into Scott and Tisha's drive way Thursday evening when my phone rings. It's Tish and she says... "Daddy, where are you?" To which I reply, "I am sitting in your drive way." She says... "Oh!" and hangs up. This wasn't all that unusual, nor was walking into the house to find her and Ashley laughing uncontrollably (or were they crying?). What was very unusual was to hear Ashley say... "I think I'm pregnant!"

Tish handed Jarrett to Brenda and she and Ashley dashed to Wal-Mart to purchase a more reliable pregnancy test than the dollar store special Ashley had just used. In a few minutes they were back, and in a few more minutes, Ashley emerged from the bathroom to proclaim that she was sure enough pregnant and her and Brenda embraced for a good cry right there in the hall.

Next it was time to figure out how to break the news to Shane. It didn't take long for the girls to work up a plan... they would place a onesy, a blanket, and a note reading "YOU'RE GOING TO BE A DADDY!" in the bottom of a gift bag and let Bree give it to Shane when he arrived. I called Shane and told him to come immediately to Tisha's house and... after about 30 minutes, he walked in the door and sat down in a child size chair and received the gift from Bree. He pulled the onesy from the bag and then the diaper. Then he looked up to notice Tish had a camera on him and we were all looking at him. He asked Tish why she was videoing him, looked at his mom and then looked back into the gift bag, this time seeing the note. I can't describe what happened next, so I'll just say he was overwhelmed. I'm thankful I didn't miss out on this moment.

In the Summer of 2007, Shane was told that he would never be able to father a child. It was a difficult time for him and Ashley... for all of us. I've probably cried a thousand tears... not for me, but for them. Shortly after learning this, they found out Tish was pregnant again and that two of our neices were pregnant again as well. I watched the two of them handle this difficulty of life probably as well as it it could be handled. I have been proud of them and now I am proud for them.

This morning Shane sent a text to his mom... "Guess what? I'm going to be a dad!" I just had lunch with Brenda, Tish, Bree, Jarrett, and Ashley... couldn't help but notice a glow about Ashley I have never seen before.

Strange how God changes things...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cherry Peppers and Tator Chips

In early 1983, while visiting my parents in Arapaho, Brenda developed a craving for cherry peppers and potato chips. I didn't think much about it. We finished our visit and traveled home. One day shortly thereafter, upon arriving home from work, I was greeted with the words "I am pregnant." The cherry peppers and tator chips offered a clue but... I totally missed it.

Honestly, I wasn't real excited about the news. It wasn't that I didn't want another child because I did. The problem was that Brenda had been terribly sick nearly everyday of her first pregnancy, had a very difficult delivery, and I couldn't stand the thought of living out chapter two of that book. But time marched on and Brenda did just fine with the pregnancy.

From early on, we knew this baby would be different, but we didn't know how much different. Unlike Tish, who was rather passive while in the womb, this baby was active and the more he grew the more active he became. I think he nearly kicked us both out of bed a couple of times!

September 9, 1983 was a day like any other day. I went to work and Brenda went for a check up. Neither of us had any idea that this would be the day. My superintendent called the site and told my foreman (father in-law) that Brenda was having a baby and I neeeded to get to the hospital. Long story short... I didn't get to the hospital in time... Brenda had to deliver the baby... alone. I missed the birth of my son!

Since that day I have strived to miss very little of his life. When he was a baby, before he could even walk, I took him places with me... with out a car seat (don't tell any one). One of my fondest memories is of him crawling under the house to be with me while I replumbed our bathroom and kitchen. He couldn't have been more than the age Bree is now and he stayed with it all day long. I remember him learning to ride his bike without training wheels and picking gravel out of his wounded knees when he would wreck, carrying him on my shoulders for 36 holes of golf and getting him sun burned, picking splinters out of his feet and hands, holding him when he was hurt, and taking him deer hunting for the first time. I sat him under a tree, told him not to move until I came back for him, and didn't return for probably two hours... it was 19 degrees and he was only 7 or 8 years old! I know... I was an abusive parent... but he loved it.

During his elementary and middle school years, he and I were attached at the hip. He was more than a son, he was a helper and might I say a dandy helper he was. Like many boys trying to find their way, he drifted during his high school and college years. I didn't handle this well... it hurt. But knowing this transition was necessary, I adjusted accordingly, and welcomed his return.

Last month Shane turned 25... I must have blinked. He's married, has a good job and works hard. He's tough on the outside but tender on the inside, moody, fun loving, likes to laugh, loves it when he can make others laugh, has a need for speed, loves the outdoors, and loves kids... especially Bree and his little fishin' buddy Jarrett. I pray that God will one day bless he and Ashley with a child because he will be one incredible dad.

Looking back, cherry peppers and tator chips were not only a pregnancy clue, but a fairly accurate indicator of the temperament type of the man the baby we were about to have would become. I never would have guessed it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Girl

I decided I might as well GO FOR three in a row...

It hardly seems possible that a little more than 26 years have passed since the cold winter midnight Brenda woke me up to inform me that she was going into labor. Since we had been through a couple of rounds of Braxton Hicks, I told her to wake me up when her contractions got closer. I know... I wasn't real sensitive, but if this was another false alarm, I still had to leave for work at 4:30 am and needed all of the sleep I could get. She was quite patient with my insensitivity and at about 3:30 0r 4:00 she woke me to inform me that this was indeed the real deal. I scurried around, got dressed, and called my boss (my Father In-law who lived just acrossed the street) to inform him that I wouldn't be going to work because Brenda was in LABOR. And then to my dispair, I couldn't find my car keys which, if you know me, you know I always know where my keys are. After searching rather frantically for several minutes, I located them... they were in the car!

We headed for the Shawnee Regional Medical Center... more than likely at a high rate of fuel consumption (over the speed limit). After signing in somewhere around 6:00 am, Brenda was assigned a room in which she would labor, with much pain and great difficulty, until about 2:30 pm... I thought she was going to die! Then it was off to labor and delivery, in came the doctor and out came the baby. Yep... LeTisha Dawn Allen, all 9 pounds of her, was born a little after 3:00 pm.

A few days later, we loaded up the car with our little bundle and headed for our breezy (literally) little house in Paden. I remember holding her and rocking her and not wanting anyone, including the grandma and aunts, to hold her... guess I was a little over protective. She was my girl.

Now she's grown and has a couple of children of her own. Where has time gone? I have watched her transition from a cute little girl to a beautiful woman. I have watched from a distance as she has handled difficulty with grace and maturity well beyond her years and I have observed her handle life's good and easy times with the same grace and maturity. I am a proud dad!

To Scott, she is a loving helpmate; to Bree and Jarrett, she's mommy; to her friends, she is loyal; to her God, she is faithful; to her family, she is special; and to me... well... to me, she's still MY GIRL.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

She's Got It All

Our dads grew up together... her's stayed in in his home town and mine moved to Arapaho. In May of 1979... the day after I graduated from High School... I moved to her town. I first noticed her while sitting at an outside table at the Dairy Boy. She drove up in her dad's Jeep and walked to the window to place her order... time has not diminished the memory of that moment... I can still see her today.

A month of so later, I blew up the engine in my 1970 Road Runner... stayed on the throttle a little too long. The door of my uncle's shop opened up to the town's main drag and one day, while I was in the shop working on my car, her and two or three of her cousins walked in to say hello. Now I had not only seen her... I had talked to her.

Our lives were really on different tracks. She, a junior in high school, was doing what high school girls do... school work, basketball, friends, etc. and I was working long hours and wasting what little time I had off running with a serious party crowd headed no where fast. Really... no one thought we would ever become an item.

A year, maybe longer, passed before fate (providence?) would bring us together. A friend of mine was dating a friend of her's and the two of them decided the two of us needed to go on a double date with them. So... to the Seminole Pizza Hut we went. Thus began our unlikely relationship that has now spanned nearly 28 years.

I know her. Brenda is beautiful inside and out, kind, caring, compassionate, considerate, helpful, funny, fun, faithful, charming, playful, entertaining, talented, organized, smart, industrious... I could go on but perhaps I should just say... she's the BEST PART of us! She loves Scott, Tish, Bree, Jarrett, Shane, and Ashley with an intense, incredible love. She is loyal to her friends, leads the ladies who attend her Sunday school class, longs to help people connect with God, all while enjoying the simple things of life... gardening, mowing, hunting, fishing and camping. She's got it all and she's my wife. I love you honey!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Hunting We Did Go!

Okay... so it's been a while since I've posted. In fact, it's been a while since I have even looked at my blog. I clicked on this morning and noticed Tish, Ed, Sherri, and Kara had commented a couple of weeks ago. Here's a late "Thank You" for the encouragement!

For several weeks I have been planning a brief hunting trip with Shane, Tyrel, and Andy (my nephew who lives in Paden, OK). Really they have been planning the trip, I just tagged along. We left town Thursday evening headed for Kaw which is near Newkirk. After stopping by Walmart in Enid to get our groceries, and eating at Taco Bueno, we continued on to our destination and arrived about 10:30. After checking out a couple of camping areas, only to find them a little more occupied than we preferred, we found a good spot just off the beaten path and began setting up camp. Since the grass was high and the sticks and small trees were many, I went to work with a machete and cleared a place for our tent while Shane and Tyrel used their tree saws to clear a spot for us to set our portable table and chairs and carried rocks to build a fire pit. After about an hour or so we had a fire burning and camp was set. We hung out around the fire for another couple of hours and turned in for the night.

Friday morning Shane and Tyrel headed out to do some scouting and I stayed in camp and kept the fire stoked. When they returned I cooked breakfast... bacon and fresh eggs... not much better than this when cooked out in the open. We lazed around awhile and then it was off for more scouting. Andy arrived by late afternoon, Tyrel warmed up some Green Chili Stew (which I highly recommend) that he had cooked up, and we ate until we couldn't eat any more. Evening came, the sun went down, and we sat around the fire telling stories and laughing for several hours before hitting the sack for a few hours sleep.

Saturday morning Shane, Tyrel and Andy headed out before sunrise and I slept till about 7:00am. When they arrived back at camp, I cooked breakfast again and Shane began cooking his famous Gumbo, which we were eating less than an hour and half after we had eaten breakfast. Do you get the idea we like to eat? I packed up about 11:00 am and headed home leaving the camp to the fearless threesome.

As soon as I arrived home I took a hot bath, knowing all the while that it was a day too late to prevent poison ivy. Yep... I got it! But having poison ivy is a small price to pay for the memories that were made and fun that was had. Thanks Shane, Tyrel, and Andy for letting 'Ole Dad hang out with you for a few days. I love you guys!

Oh yea... did I mention that I haven't been on this kind of camping trip for... let's say... 25 years? That's why I Went For It!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Here Goes!!

After several months of enjoying the blogs of family members and friends I finally decided to give it a try. I don't really know what I am doing... but I am going to Go For It!

Speaking of Going For It... maybe I should begin by blogging about something I have recently gone for. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to fly. But like so many other things in life, flying seemed to be something other people did... not me. So, for too many years I was a victim of what Zig Ziglar refers to as "Stinkin Thinkin". Though I often dreamed about flying, I really couldn't see myself ever actually doing it. I didn't really believe I would ever fly.

In the Spring of 2004, while driving near an airport, I decided I was going to fly. I didn't know how or when it would all work out, but I was going to Go For It! Instead of thinking "I can't" I would think "I can!" First, I bought and read "Your Private Pilot License." Then I went and parked under the flight path of a local airport and watched the planes fly overhead and land. I said to my self... "I will do that!" Like the little train that could... I would!

Saturday morning, September 27, 2008, after doing a couple of touch and goes, my tremendous instructor, Randy Shultz, told me that I didn't need him in the plane. After taxing to a designated place on the airstrip, he told me he had full confidence that I was ready to solo, told me to do a couple of touch and goes and then a full stop landing, and he got out of the plane. I taxied out to runway 1-7, made my call to West Woodward area trafffic, and departed in Cessna 5453 Mike.

It has been over four years since that fateful Spring day decision and many are the circumstances and people that have contributed to my progress. I still have a long ways to go but... I will Go For It!

What have you been dreaming of doing? Read "Get A Life!" by Reggie McNeal and... Go For It!