A FARMER

Something a little different that I wanted to share… I know it’s a Super Bowl commercial for Dodge Trucks and this is in no way an endorsement for them, but the message is awesome, important and worth 2 minutes of your time. I remember my high school Ag teacher, Mr. Get Watson, playing a recording of this speech by the late Paul Harvey for us and not really knowing what the importance of it was. Tonight, while sitting on the couch, I come across the video below, listened closely, replayed it 4 times and as I watched, tears welled up in my eyes and that importance hit me. KEEP READING THE RAMBLINGS AFTER THE VID

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Mr. Watson was by far the most influential teacher I had in all of my schooling (next to my art teacher, Ms. Meaker.) He took an interest. He lived down the street I grew up on. I was friends with his sons. He taught me how to weld. Use a hacksaw. Wire the taillight of a 1971 Ford Truck. Make a right angle on the ground using the 3′ -4′-5′ method. Deliver baby pigs. Take care of said pigs. Break the ice in a water trough in 10 degree weather at 6:30 am on a school day. If you open a gate, close it behind you! Accept that death / loss is really just a part of life. And that a new life is a miracle to behold, be it a cat, dog, pig, cow or human…Hell, I look back on it and most of what I am today can be tracked back, in some way, to him. I was interested in his Ag classes. He taught me stuff that I still use to this day. He tried to teach me that what my Grandad (a farmer) did was important and that I should take notice. Through him, the FFA taught me rules, regulations, how to judge a chicken and dammit… Parliamentary Procedure. And most importantly, If you screwed up, he knocked on your front door when he knew you and your mom were at home! Thanks for being there mom!

I sat in a dark room and cried on the day my mom called to tell me that he passed away.

He tried to instill the importance of being a “Farmer!” But for all of his might, somewhere around the 1st day of life after high school graduation, I strayed from his direction and spent a few years careening down a path that was neither productive or healthy. I was still around and still involved in my Grandad’s farm for several years after. But, I never fully embraced the importance of being a farmer. I watched my Grandad, Dad and Brother work that small farm in the Texas Panhandle, throughout the first 23 years of my life. While my mom busted her a$$ to raise us kids…alone! Then I met a great girl, I married her, we had some furrkids, I helped on the farm when I wanted or thought I could, but still, never fully embraced it. My Grandad passed away in late 1999 and the farm was sold not long after. A barn, an irrigated crop circle and memories are all that are left of the farm I remember.

I’ll tell you straight up, that not embracing my families, long standing farming heritage is one of the biggest mistakes of my 41 years on this rock…

Maybe it’s the wisdom that comes with age. Or watching acres of productive farmland being consumed by what we now call progress. Or the fact that not many people walking today are the likes and character of men and women such as my Mom, Grandad, Mr. Watson or Paul Harvey (some reading this won’t know who that last one is, so do your research and give him a listen). But, I think we’re all kind of lost…

I think that all this started manifesting on our trip to the homeland last Thanksgiving and certainly set in when my Father in Law passed away on New Years Eve. These men worked hard, their wives worked harder, their kids worked, they suffered, they survived, they asked for help only when absolutely necessary, but would do anything for anyone that needed a helping hand -without hesitation, got by on a meager existence, had “party line” telephones, didn’t grow up in a techno filled world, or did they…I could go on, but I’m tired.

What’s the moral of all this, you ask… I’m not sure there is one. I feel better for having said what I did… So, watch the video, call your mom and tell you love her, hug a farmer, thank a teacher, go fly fishing when you can, enroll your kids in 4H or FFA, do something creative everyday, find what you love to do and do it on nights and weekends, be open and embrace change, try not to judge unless you would like Old Karmas baseball bat to smack you in the face with the same reality…

Good morning, good afternoon and in case I don’t see ya, thanks for playing along! Good Night…

MERRY FISHMAS

I just want to take a short minute to say Merry Fishmas to all my family and friends! I would also like to drop a big THANK YOU for all the support, that this wonderful, online community of otherwise complete strangers has shown over this past year! I know my art is not considered “fine art” by any stretch of anyone’s imagination, but your admiration and inspiration, has at least got me started doing something that I love and enjoy. Thank you for that! I hope and wish that your 2013 is filled with “whatever” it is, you love to do…

and remember –

NEVER BE AFRAID TO PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE! GET OUT IN IT…

THE DOBLAR

This weeks art entry has nothing to do with fish or flies:

This is our Doblar Dog that passed away earlier this year and I drew this as a present for my wifes birthday. Doblar was our 100 pounds of love that everyone should have access to everyday. This boy adsorbed a days stress like a ShamWow sucked up a 2 liter bottle of Pepsi. I would write more, and will later, but I would start crying and it’s Saturday morning and that means a walk in Doblars favorite park with Maddy and Boomer, not crying!

Never be afraid to put yourself out there! Get Out In It

STAYCATION DAY 4 – GIGGIN’ FROGS

Giggin' Frogs
Giggin' Frogs

Doblar the dog on his quest to catch a frog at his favorite frog giggin’ pond. This top secret giggin’ location is somewhere within the confines of West DuPage Woods forest preserve outside of Winfield, IL. Just before the frog pond this big guy found a big pile of poop that he just had to roll around in. Needless to say a bath followed shortly after we got home. Dogs Rule!

See the Fliker Pics Here

OUR DOG GUS

Our dog Gus, passed away one year ago today. He was 14 years old and had lived a life a lot of dogs can only dreams of.

Since Gus went away I have read that there are 3 days one truly remembers in a pets life. The first being the day you meet your new friend and soon to be trusted lifelong companion. The second being the day you see that he has grown old, when his youth turns to age and the inevitable signs of slowing down appear. The third being the day he goes away to sleep on the fluffy pillows in the sky so that they can watch over you and wait until you can be together again.

Well, for Ena and I there are 5210 +/- days worth of memories we remember. Every day filled with stories, most are happy some are sad. There are days we regret that we weren’t around. The countless days we know you spent just waiting for us to come home so that you could give us a welcome kiss and a hug. The walks in the park. The trips to the vet. The emergency trips to the vet at 4:00 in the morning. Paying the vets bill. Playing tug of war with a new toy. Wathcing your curiosity with everything around. Knowing your love and concern for kids. Knowing your lack of love and concern for cats. His willingness to accept a stray dog that needed help. Those blue eye’s. Your missing tooth from getting kicked by a cow. Your broken tooth from that fight with Doblar. The fact that you were “King Dog”. The days you got out and our hearts dropped when you weren’t there. The long day you got shot, which was the same day we got the phone call telling us that you got off of your death bed to chase a cat. The day we found you had cancer, you didn’t really seem to care. All the days you were sick. They way you protected me, mommy, Red and Doblar. All the days that you made our life better just by you being there.

Gus was more than a good dog, he was the BEST dog ever. We miss you!

Some Pics of Gus