My Folks and Fried Chicken

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If you look hard enough, a bright spot will appear in your day. On a cloudy, wet, cool day here at the motorcycle shop, my folks stopped in to say hello. Both in their eighties and slow to get around, they came to town to pick up a few things. Mom doesn’t always get out of the car at every stop as it can be difficult at times, but today was an exception. Dad is great when it comes to helping her around and for me it’s not hard to find a moment to stop and sit down while at work and visit with them even if its only for a few minutes. Even though they live about 8 blocks from me, it’s always good to see them, and it’s nice to know they want to stop and see me while they are in town. The conversations aren’t usually too deep; it’s mostly about the how everyone is doing and the buzz around the community or where the gas prices are the highest. Dad will let me know where and when I should buy gas to save a penny or two and as crazy as it seems – I do it. After all, a penny is a penny.

This particular trip to town, my dad picked up some fried chicken at the local full service grocery store, and my mother was looking forward to getting home and having dinner. She’s very petite but a pretty good eater so dad felt like he couldn’t leave her alone in the car with the fried chicken. Although the chicken was safe in the back seat, he thought it better to bring her in. It’s always great to see them and listen to the banter they have going back and forth. It shows me that after all these years they both still have a great sense of humor. I can only hope to have the ability to laugh at myself at their age.

My folks are always amazed at the motorcycles on the showroom floor. We talk about how much they cost and who in the world would pay that much for something like that. They are always impressed by how beautiful they are and as I have ridden motorcycles for the last 40 years – my mom and dad have never ridden. Pretty amazing. While we were visiting, just five feet away from us sat a 2014 Harley-Davidson trike. Dad looked at mom and without any hesitation said “if I were to get one it would be this, and I wouldn’t let you eat fried chicken on it.” Like any new vehicle ever purchased, I guess there are always rules for drinks and food.

I love my folks. My mother is a dear and as in any conversation, she has a hard time keeping up. But if you listen real close to what she has to say, it will make you smile. I love my dad as well. I am lucky to be graced with his looks and I wish I had half the talent he has with a hammer. Good people and awesome parents. When I see them together I consider myself lucky to be their son.

A Letter to Miss Kylie

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My, how you’ve grown. It seems like just yesterday you were talking to us in sign language before you could put sentences together. Now look at you, smart, beautiful and all girl! And so this year you begin school and with that your life will slowly change and evolve into whatever and wherever you are destined to be.

You sure have a way about you. All “matter-of-fact” and funny, but you are also a very beautiful, independent young lady with an opinion and feelings that surface without warning. I look at you and I hear your mother saying the same things or acting in the same way – sensitive, compassionate and carefree throughout your day.  I also look at you and see your father. Stubborn and strong without a doubt, but that’s a good thing. You have the best of both your mom and dad, but you will also bring a little of yourself to the surface that defines who you are and who you will be. A head full of hair and big beautiful eyes with a hand that fits perfectly in mine.

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The one thing you don’t know about me is I can see the future. Very much like you are today, you will get through your worst days while every tomorrow gives you the chance to forget about what “has” happened and focus on what “will” happen. Nothing is so bad that you can’t get through it. Be yourself no matter what and do everything you can to make a difference in your life or someone else’s life. Some things you will have to find out for yourself and that is a part of growing up and you will never be alone even though some days it will feel that way. As you get older you’ll find that faith, family and friends are what really matter, and that a bad day at school, or the fight with a friend is temporary. And you will make friends. Lots of friends. You will find friendship in the most unlikely people, but more importantly, you will make a difference in someone’s life without even knowing it. You are that special. Like I always told your mother when she was your age, whenever there is a new student in school, always walk up and introduce yourself. If there is one thing they need at that moment, is someone to walk up and make them feel welcome. You might even make a life-long friend in the process. That also holds true no matter where you are in this life.

As you grow older, the answers to questions you have always had will be answered. Sometimes it’s not the answers you thought they would be, but realize that this is a part of life and we have all discovered it in our own way and our own  time. Don’t rush through it;  take your time to see the beauty of this world and witness all that God created. You will grow up fast enough and you will miss a few things along the way. But you will find as you get older, you will come to appreciate the wonders of this world and all the people who cross your path. It is a wonderful world and you are  just beginning your walk through it. When life gets hard to deal with, talk to your mother. She has an understanding of what things can be like when the world doesn’t turn your way. She’s had her moments, and still does, but she is funny and beautiful and only stronger because of it. Above all, keep a sense of humor.

I love spending time with you. You are very perceptive and it amazes me how quick you are with a smile and a laugh, and how much energy you have. When you are here visiting, it’s great to go for a walk to the park so I can bore you with stories of me growing up in this small town. I hope someday we can spend more time together, and we will, I know it. As you get older our conversations will change from “why” and “how come” to deeper talks about how you are doing at school and work, instead of me telling you about growing up in a small town. But I have a feeling in a few years you will again ask me how it was when I was growing up. Funny how that is.

There will come a time in your life when your daughter or son will become a living example of your childhood, and you will look back as a mother and realize how much your mom and dad love and care about you, even though sometimes it won’t seem like it. You can always come to me and tell me how you feel but I will always side with your mom and dad. I will do my best to listen, explain, hug and love you, because that is my job. I am here to give you perspective on things and life in general-all the while loving you with all my heart. You will understand when that day comes and you become a parent and grandparent.

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Just like your mom and dad, there is nothing better as a parent than watching your children grow. That’s where you and Casen come in – watching both of you grow is nothing short of a gift for an old guy like me. You have a way of making everything else seem a little less important and you give me the gift of allowing me to put my life into perspective. And when there is a smile on your face it puts a smile on mine. That is the difference you have made in my life, without even knowing it. See? I told you I could predict the future!

Miss Kylie, you are an amazing young lady with your life just beginning. You will do extraordinary things along the way, but first things first. Know that I love you and I always will and I am always here for you no matter how far away it seems. You are a joy in my life that nothing can replace.