Archive for January, 2010


Recently I visited my mother.  Since we live a little less than 150 miles apart these visits are planned.  They usually include shopping, a trip to the library, a nice lunch, a ritual of an ice cream cone and great conversation which includes historical information.  The ice cream is important because it is my mother’s way of testing fate by consuming a cold treat after she had her heart attack in 2007.  During my last visit we went to our usual grocery store hangout, Barnes Foodland in DeWitt.  I was pushing the cart and helping my mother find the different articles on the list.  She was walking behind me and we were approaching the end of an aisle looking for what else but prune juice.  As we reached the end of the aisle a woman, I’m guessing in her middle thirties, was also going in the same direction.  I’m sure she was not looking for prune juice.  Anyway, the two of us made eye contact, we smiled, and she started to go ahead of me.  At that moment without turning my head I said something to my mother about prunes.  The thirty something woman while smiling said, “pardon me what did you say?”  Since I usually shop with Linda I quickly responded, ” I’m sorry I was speaking to my wife.”  She looked at me, twisted her face like she was in some pain and said, “huh?”  With that, she appeared to me to go quickly went down the aisle and thankfully I did not see her again.  I made sure of it.  Now that was cool, it was smoooooooooooooth.  Fortunately I’m married because with those kind of lines I would be pretty lonely.  A bigger question is how did I get married with conversation like that?

When I was ready to return to my home after my visit with my mother, she gave me my dad’s baseball glove that he used when he played ball in high school.  I thought the glove was long gone but there it was.  I immediately put it on my hand remembering all the great times my dad and I had playing catch in the yard those hot summer nights, throwing the ball until it was dark and sometimes turning the yard light on so that we could play longer.  We would laugh and I think that is when we felt most comfortable sharing our thoughts and ideas with each other.  Sometime he would throw the ball hard and it would sting my hand.  For some affect, I would hop around, waving my arm to try and relieve the pain, all the time laughing and happy to have the attention from my dad.  At times when I threw the ball he also felt the sting through his glove and he would laugh and suggest to me that I had thrown a real stinger.  Since I was the oldest child I am sure he was trying to figure out how to be a dad to this kid who was trying to figure out who he was.  However, by age eighteen laughter and good times was not always the case and we struggled to figure out how we were going to work together on the farm.  By the time I was twenty one there was very little that dad or I could say to each other that we could agree upon and we ended up going our separate way for awhile.  Dad continued to farm with his father and I left for college.  But I believe that old glove and those nights of sharing laughter and ideas, helped to bring us together again.  I wish I could show you the glove.  Maybe you have an old glove.

Have a wonderful day and enjoy every moment, taking nothing for granted about ourselves and those around us.

Music recommendation:  Blue October, Eighteenth Floor Balcony a song he wrote for his child.

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I have written some poetry over the years and with few exceptions have only shared it with my wife, Linda.  Putting my poetry aside, two years ago I began sharing some thoughts and observations in letter form with my daughter-in-law Tammie, and my two sons, Tate and Ryan.  I tried to integrate some of my history and present and past experiences into some stories and ideas to share with them.  I attempted to interject some humor while explaining my thoughts and actions of the past fifty and more years.  In October, 2007 I retired after thirty five years of working with children and families who were having troubles.  Retiring did not mean that I was done communicating.  Instead, it was a whole new venture from only being a verbal open book with my family to writing in book or story form.  I was motivated to write to Tammie, Tate and Ryan because I felt I had things to share that otherwise would be difficult, unusual or awkward to bring up in normal conversation.  These writings have given them the opportunity to understand and in some cases to catch up through these history lessons.  You can figure things out better if you have more information and these stories hopefully eliminate the so called, “inside joke” that if you don’t get it you can’t move ahead.  Writing has also offered to me opportunities to reflect on my life both past and present and where I might go from here.  It underscores the nuance that promotes the love, recognition and importance in my life.  My posts will be versions of what I have already sent to Tammie, Tate and Ryan.

One quick note.  The Awesome Russ thing is one of those inside jokes that I will share with you.  Linda and I gave a card to Tammie and in the card we had each written a line to her and I had used the word awesome.  When we each signed the card, the way the words lined up, it read Awesome Russ.  It got a huge laugh from all of us when Tammie pointed it out.  It got an even bigger laugh from all of us when I chose awesomeruss.com as my blog address.

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