Wednesday, October 29, 2008

There's mud in your eye

I'm so completely sick of all the hateful remarks and accusations that have been thrown this way and that this past election season. And not from the candidates, surprisingly, but from the voters.
If you are not able to state your opinion without using some kind of dirogatory term or obscene language, then please refrain.
I don't care if you think that my candidate is a "f------g idiot" or if you think the other party are a bunch of "conservative morons" or "liberal pansies". Please hold back on the name calling and give me a reason as to why you think that. And if your vocabulary is not large enough that you are able to use proper adjectives to vocalize your opinion than I would rather not hear it at all.
But if you can calmly state your ideas without making sailor's blush, then we can talk. I don't care if I disagree with you completely, as long as we can have an educated discussion devoid of rude comments and false accusations.
I love to talk politics but there is absolutely no point, for me, to argue with someone who can't go through an entire sentence, much less a conversation, without mudslinging.
There are times when I feel like we are all in the middle of a huge mud pit and we can't even tell who's who because we are in it up to our eyeballs!
I'm sick of people repeating rumor after rumor. Most of them are obviously not true and if you aren't smart enough to realize that (especially if you repeat them) then maybe you aren't intelligent enough to vote. I know that sounds harsh, but seriously folks, stop acting like children who tell blatent lies.
Neither party is innocent of this. I have heard terrible remarks from all sides and I'm completely disgusted.
I've had people call me names because of the candidate that I choose to support. I have had them berate me with hateful comments. They have attacked my candidate's platform with utterly false statements. And they have attacked me as a person verbally because of what I believe.
If you have to get defensive and start calling names then maybe you aren't so sure of why you are backing your candidate and should do a little more research as to why you stand behind him. Hmmmm...?
Tuesday is the big day. Whatever the outcome, I truly hope that we will all carry ourselves with some dignity. I pray that there aren't a bunch of 18-70 yr olds running around saying, "nananana boo boo! My candidate won and yours didn't! hahah!"
If you know me, you know my views and how I will vote. If you don't, then I will be happy to tell you and why. But I will not get into a battle with someone just for arguments sake.
I love this country and am proud to be a US Citizen. I am proud of where I come from and who I am now. I am proud of my beliefs and my ideals. I will not lower myself to defend them. But, I will defend them.
I encourage everyone who is able, to vote. It's an amazing priveledge to be able to do so and I hope everyone understands that.
But please, do so wisely. Don't vote just because someone told you to or because you are angry at a particular party. Don't be spiteful. That doesn't get anyone anywhere.
So, on November 4th, be smart and GO VOTE!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Forget Mapquest!

I recently took a road trip with a few friends of mine to Texas to visit another friend to help her celebrate her birthday.
The trip to Dallas started Friday night around 6:30pm. Yes, I know that’s a little late to start a four and a half hour drive but with the excuse that traffic wouldn’t be nearly as bad by the time we hit Denton, we were off. I usually drive on these trips but we were taking Maggie’s car so she had the privilege of driving and the honor of my backseat driving. We decided not to let Kim driving, knowing that since she ALWAYS drives at least 5 miles UNDER the speed limit, we wouldn’t make it to Dallas until the next day.
Maggie drives a little over the speed limit, and I, on the opposite end of the spectrum from Kim drive, well, let’s just say, I drive well OVER the speed limit. And no I will not advertise what type of vehicle I drive so that you law keepers can watch out for me.
Anyway, back to the story.
So, off we went, trying not to make too many stops at random gas stations knowing that we would get held up at all the fancy cappuccino machines, thus creating more stops after all the coffee drinking.
We made pretty good time, although I did urge Maggie, gently, to speed it up and quit driving like “an old lady” when she would only go 79. Like I said, I’m a mover when I’m on the open road!
We easily made it to Denton, where I must add there was no traffic.
I have made the trip to Dallas numerous times, so getting to Denton was the easy part.
Before we left I printed out a map from the Internet. It’s supposed to be “easy” to follow the directions so we weren’t expecting that we would have any trouble. We were sadly mistaken.
We were looking for Hgwy 121. Let’s just review the conversation that took place:
Carrie: Kim, you navigate since you’re in the front seat.
Kim: Okay, take exit -----….and then get back on? What? That doesn’t make sense. Surely not.
Carrie: Are you sure you are reading that right. Maybe we should just go straight.
(So we tried going straight.)
Kim: Hmmmmm….well, maybe we should turn around and get back on the highway and try again.
Carrie: Give me that. Oh I see! We aren’t supposed to get back on, we are supposed to follow the curve…maybe…Now follow BR 121. What’s BR 121? Ohhh…BUSINESS ROAD 121! Why didn’t they just say that!! Okay, here we go. Now look for TX 26…where in the world is TX 26?!!! Surely it’s just up a few more miles…. no wait that’s the way to the airport.
Maggie: We DO NOT want to go to the airport!!!!
(Now picture all three girls breaking into hysterical laughter because we are soooo lost.) Kim: What’s that up ahead. Oh please be TX 26.
Carrie: Where in the heck is TX 26?!
Kim: TX 26! TX 26! That’s it!
(Girls celebrate loudly)
Carrie: Now find Grapevine drive. Wait, Maggie why are you turning?
Maggie: You said….
Carrie: NO Maggie not …drive! Grapevine Drive! Yes, that’s what I said. Okay turn around again and we are there! Nope, still lost.
Maggie: Maybe we should just turn around and go back to where we started. What do you think Carrie?
Carrie: I give up. I quit. I hate this map.
Kim: I say that we go this direction. It just FEELS right.
Carrie: Whatever, I don’t care anymore.
Maggie: What do think, where do we go?! You just tell me and I’ll go.
Kim: Let’s go this way.
Carrie: sure. Why not.
Kim: It’s the Texan Gaylord Resort. It’s huge. There’s no way we can miss it! There’s a big building! Wait….nope. Not it.

But suddenly after just a few more seconds of driving there we were…in the service entrance of the Texan Gaylord Resort.

Kim: I just knew it!
Carrie: I’m so glad we listened to you. We would have been in Waco by now if we had listened to me. Stupid map.

Well, we ended up getting there only 45 minutes later than expected and we had a fantastic weekend. And honestly, if it had not been for that little mishap we wouldn’t have come up with our great idea. So I guess we are thankful for the crummy old map.

And now, we are going to start a company, creating maps specifically for woman. There won’t be any of that TX 26 junk or BR 121 stuff. Our maps will read a little something like this: Go to the Starbucks on the corner and go a couple of blocks to the Old Navy and turn left (the hand with the ring on it or lack there of). Okay, keep going straight until you see Pottery Barn…
What do you think? I think we are on to something! I think we could make millions!
Now if I could just get some financial backers…anyone? Anyone?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Try a little Patriotism on for size

I recently read this and it struck a chord. These words were spoken back in the 80's by, in my opinion, one of the greatest President's the US will ever see. Whether you are Republican or Democrat or don't know or don't care, I would think that if you are an American you would agree with this bit of his farewell speech. If you are an American then I would hope that you have some pride about it and realize what a priveledged person you truly are. I think pride in our nation is something that people have lost and that saddens me a great deal. You can blame it on the President or the Politicians because you say they haven't given you anything to be proud of lately. But honestly, the only person who you can blame is yourself because you have allowed yourself to lose sight of the greatness of this amazing country we live in. You have lost hope in the people. You have forgotten what this nation was built on and what it stands for. You can be apart in bringing all of those things back if you so choose. I challenge you to do so.
You know, I miss the speeches that brought inspiration and hope. All we seem to get now are the ones that tear others down and build the candidate up. How about building up the country and the American people? What happened to that?
I hope and pray that as this year's election approaches that you will seek the truth about the candidates. That you will vote for the man that is striving to better the nation as a whole, not looking to simply promote themselves. Cast your ballot for the man who is proud to be an American.
I hope this little portion of this incredible speech inspires you as it did me.
"An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn't get these things from your family, you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed, you could get a sense of patriotism from popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-'60s
But now, we're about to enter the '90s, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren't sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven't reinstitutionalized it. We've got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom--freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It's fragile; it needs protection.
So, we've got to teach history based not on what's in fashion but what's important: Why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. You know, four years ago on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, I read a letter from a young woman writing of her late father, who'd fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, "We will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did." Well, let's help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let's start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual. And let me offer lesson No. 1 about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven't been teaching you what it means to be an American, let 'em know and nail 'em on it. That would be a very American thing to do."
Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

52 Sundays

It was as if suddenly a light came on in my mind as I looked up from my seat in the living room at the dining room table. There sat 4 woman eating Sunday dinner as they always do. Why it didn't hit me sooner I don't know. They gathered as normal--dishing up the plates for the children, then serving themselves. I went to sit in the adjacent living room so that there would be room at the table as I usually do. But this time, when I looked up from my plate, I saw a very different setting. Each female was missing a partner. We were a house full of mainly woman this afternoon. It had happened before, but this time it seemed much more empty.

My heart sank as I looked at these 4 brave woman. Their husbands have been gone on several Sundays but this one was different. This Sunday was the first of 52 consectutive Sundays they would be gone.

I've been in denial for the past year about the boys leaving for training and then on to Iraq. Oh sure, I wrote about the day they got their letters and I've remembered them on patriotic holidays. And I knew they were going, but I think that I just pushed the thought aside thinking that I could actually push the time away.

My mother measures time in Sundays. Anytime I was gone for weeks at a time she would count the Sundays rather than other days because that is when we all gather together. Sunday is when you realize someone is missing. I guess that's why it hit me so hard this day when I looked up to see the remaining 4.

Their strength inspires me, these young wives and mothers, who have now taken on the father role as well. They will be the disciplinarian as well as the carer of scraped knees. They will cook the meals and take out the trash. They will tell the bedtime stories and check the closet for monsters. They will tuck the tiny ones into their beds and tell them everything will be alright and then go to their own beds and pray that it really will. For the next 52 Sundays, they will dine at the table alone, together.

It's going to be tough. There is no doubt about that. There will tears, worry, great fear, and at time anger at the absence of our boys. We will wish they didn't have to miss babies births and anniversaries. We will wish they could be here for holidays. We will wish they could be here for Sunday dinner.

But we will also realize how blessed we truly are to have one another to lean on and to have an already existing support group like we have.

We will count down the Sundays together. We will continue to gather and hold eachother up. We will make sure we laugh together and if need be, cry together. We will pray that God holds our boys safe in His loving arms and that He gives us the comfort that only He can give.

I don't think that I will ever get used to seeing the 4 empty chairs. And I know that their wives and children won't. And I'm thankful that we don't have to.

That is when I thank God and remember, it's only 52 Sundays--1 down, just 51 to go.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Do you get it?

It was your typical Sunday afternoon baseball game. The players stood in their positions, the crowd sat in their seats. We were sitting in the cheap seats. You know the ones where you need binoculars to see who's on first. My friends and I were just there to watch the game. Nothing special, just your average old baseball game. And as the stranger began to sing we all knew the drill.

I thought to myself then that to too many, that's what the singing of our National Anthem has become-a drill or a routine. You get a hot dog, you stand through the song, you watch the game and you go home. Many people don't get all the fuss about that tri-colored piece of cloth or that oh-so-well known song.
But as I stood there with my hand over my heart, listening to the stranger's beautiful voice echo through the stadium, watching Old Glory wave in the summer breeze, tears welled up in my eyes and I got it.
This is truly what America is all about. We were all standing in unison because we all knew deep down what that flag and that song meant. Sure, some don't really care anymore, but they still KNOW. They can't deny it no matter how hard they may try.

We CAN go with our families to this great American past-time and watch two teams play their hearts out for the love of the game. And even though only one team wins, everybody virtually goes home happy.
We have that ability, that privilege to do so. We have that freedom.

Somebody fought and possibly died for that freedom. Somebody left their family and fought on enemy soil so you and I could go sit in a stadium and watch other people play a game, while eating a $7 hot dog and drinking a $4 coke.

This next fourth of July my baby nephews and two other men in their family will be fighting somewhere overseas for that flag, and even though some have chosen to forget, the values and freedoms it still represents.
Those boys get it. They know what that flag means. They understand what a special gift it is to go to a game with their wives and kids. They know what they fireworks truly represent.

I talk about my nephews, their cousin, their uncle and all those men and woman a lot, I know.
I realize I ramble on about it incessantly. To most people around me it probably gets really old. They are more than likely tired of hearing "Carrie's Political Rant of the Day".
But hey, when you believe in something and you are proud of someone, that's what you do. You stand up and you tell others about those people and those beliefs and you don't back down. You don't let other's influence you.
And when you go to a sporting event and it comes time for the Star Spangled banner you don't care how long you have to stand, you just do it, because you know it's the right thing to do. When everyone else around you is looking to see if they can find themselves on the big screen or whispering to their buddy next them, you are standing with your eyes on the old Red, White and Blue and you are singing along, word for word.
So you see, when my family or myself go to a game and the band starts up or the group begins to sing, it's not just a routine to us. It's one way that we can pay homage to the men and woman who have done so much for us without even knowing that we exist.
We jump to our feet, put our right hand's over our heart's and we look at that beautiful flag through misty eyes and we get it.
"Oh say does that Star Spangled banner yet wave, or the land of the free and the home of the brave?"
I get it.
Do you?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Western Oklahoma in June

if someone would have blindfolded me and drove me around and then just dropped me off, i could have still told you that i was in western Oklahoma in June. just by the feeling in the air surrounding me, i promise you, i could have told you.
the air was heavy with the sweet scent of fresh cut wheat.the wind was whipping my hair around my face.there's a certain sense for a farm kid or maybe it's just me, but if for some reason i couldn't see and lost all track of time, i could tell you by the smells and feelings what time of year it was.i love western Oklahoma in June. heck, i love western Oklahoma all the time, but especially in June.i had decided to drive out to my old house south of town one evening. i hadn't actually been out there in two years. as i pulled up the front drive to that old house, tears began to stream down my face. this was not the house that i had known. the yard had grown up wildly. the barn had been blown down by one of last year's wind storms. the shingles on the house were coming off. it just looked sad, this old abandoned homestead.i sat in my air-conditioned car for a few minutes, letting the emotion pass over me as if i had just found out a long-time friend had passed away. i think i actually heard my heart break as i looked at that place. it just wasn't the same.finally, i shut off the engine, stepped out of the car and walked to the edge of the yard.the damp air rested on my skin.i closed my eyes and took in a long deep breath.and suddenly, i was home again.the sweet scents of budding fruit trees and wheat grass, the mustiness of the nearby canyon and freshness of red dirt filled my nostrils in that one breath and washed over me like flood waters.memories flashed through my mind like tidal waves.images of daddy in the garden and of him working in the field.i could see dozens of kittens, dogs and chickens in the front yard and cattle in the pasture.the laughter of my sister's and my own voice rang faintly in my ears.with that one breath, everything was just the same as it had been all the years i had lived there.i was afraid to open my eyes, knowing what i would see when i did.i just wanted to stand there with the tall grass brushing against me in the breeze and breathe in the aroma forever.i wanted those memories to keep coming. the ones of my nephews and i playing in the hay loft of the big red barn. the ones of my sister singing and dancing on the back porch and me being a member of the "audience".the one's of my momma "playing" in her flower beds.but, i couldn't. eventually i would have to open my eyes and i would have to get back in my car and go back to my new home.so i opened them. my lids were heavy and they raised as if from a long sleep, although it had only been seconds.i looked around at the land and whispered an apology to the house and the barn for leaving them and promised that i would be back again to visit.a gust of wind hit me with the essence of western Oklahoma in it.if i could bottle that scent i would. i would spray it in my house so as to serve as a reminder of the wonderful place that i was raised in.i would share it with everyone; those that had experienced it first hand and those who grew up in cities far away and never did. i would want them to know how beautiful life is where i come from.i would try to sell it, but to be honest it probably wouldn't sell to anyone but people like me. people who grew up in the country. people who have experienced the same joys that i have in a place like this.people who know what June in western Oklahoma smells like.people who, although they desire travel, know in their hearts that this will always be home.i've journeyed to many a place and have enjoyed each of them immensely. and at each new destination i say, "i could live here". and i could. i could go anywhere and be content there. i could breath in the air and settle in and be just fine. and i probably will, to be truthful. someday, i'll leave this area.but, i can't deny that there will never be a place that i love as much as western Oklahoma.especially in June.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunday Dinner

Sunday dinner with my family is complete chaos. People are scattered everywhere-from the living room, to the dining room, to the kitchen, to the porch. There are literally people everywhere.
And it is loud. Really, really loud.
But it's happy. And totally entertaining.
It's confusing and strange to outsiders, this Sunday tradition. Not because we all have dinner together, but because of who attends.
My nephews and their wives and children are there. My nephew's aunt on their mom's side(who is no longer married to my brother) and her husband and kids show up. People who aren't really family but "are", such as a friend of the family who all the kids call Pops but is of no actual relation is always present. The best friend of my sister and her family randomly visit and her kids don't know that Granny J and Pa Carney aren't really related to them. My sister and her husband come down. And of course mom and dad and myself are always present.
Sunday Dinner is one of my favorite times of my week.
It's usually pretty relaxed, except for the occasional "Stop jumping on your brother!" or "Where's Zoie" panic attack. But none-the-less, even at those times, it's basically relaxed. Everyone pretty much takes care of themselves. Well, mom DOES cook for all of us EVERY SINGLE WEEK(and we are eternally grateful for this!).
There are kids and dogs and cats always under foot. The adults are discussing this Sunday's sermon or talking about hunting/fishing. We talk politics and then move on to who's gonna be in charge of cleaning out the lily pond.
My mom always, ALWAYS, has a job for the boys to do. And it usually involves them cleaning up something gross or lifting something really heavy. Which, in turn, involves the other girls and myself standing around watching them and laughing at their strained faces. For example, the previously mentioned cleaning of the lily pond. It had been all winter and the pond hadn't been drained, so the water was a bit, stagnant, to say the least. And Mom said(like always), "I have just one thing I need done." And it was cleaning the "schmootz" out of the lily pond. So, out go Dusty, Lance and Jeremy to clean and the kids, Kesha and myself to watch. Now, this water was really disgusting and it had this smell, ya know? Like this putrid dirty, old water smell. There was lot's of gagging involved. And laughing. Oh there was indeed laughing.
And there was also a lot of deep thinking involved when trying to remove all the mud and the liner. Such as, "What if we tie this really big rope around it and pull it out?" or "Maybe if we hook it through it and then connect it to the back of the pickup and drag it out?" And when it finally worked, after Dusty was nearly killed by the first attempt the huge rope/army thingy(that's a technical term right there) coming lose and flying at rapid speeds towards his head, Lance looks out the window of the pickup and says with utter amazement, "Holy crap it worked!"
It's those events that make Sunday dinner so much fun and absolutely enjoyable.
It's the times that everyone is gathered on the porch and you look towards the edge of the yard and there sit Micah and Alexia(2 of the babies)just talking. Not playing or fighting, just talking to one another. And when you ask them what they were talking about, Alexia says, "I was just telling Micah about roots and how they work."
It's those times that make your heart hurt with love and joy.
My baby nephew Lance, who will soon have a baby of his own, said once, "Sunday dinner with our family could be a sitcom. And people would watch!"
We might seem a little out of the ordinary, but that's probably because we are.
And we may seem like we a have a lot of problems and issues, but that's probably because we do.
But we love each other. And we learn each day to be more compassionate and forgiving of other's faults because we probably have the same ones.
There are times that I think that the world's problems could be solved at those dinners. I mean, we have some great ideas! Granted we don't always completely agree with one another, but come one, neither does our government.
But seriously, I think that if more people had Sunday dinner like my family does, this world would be a better place.
I never laugh as hard as I do when one of my nephews and I are going back and forth picking on each other or others.
I never feel as loved as when one of the "babies" runs up and hugs me for no reason other than they just felt like it.
I never feel as safe and as secure in myself as I do when my mom and my dad and the rest of my family are there to support me and encourage me.
And I never feel as blessed as when we can all talk about, together, what an amazing God we serve.
If the rest of this crazy world had a support group like mine and a meeting every Sunday to hash out their problems, I think it just might make a difference.
At the least everyone would laugh more.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Moving On

My heart hurts. I feel like someone has died. I feel like I'm mourning. And, in truth, I am mourning. I'm mourning such a great loss. The loss of family and friends.

I never thought it would end like that. I always knew that someday I would leave; that I would move on. But I never thought it would be so ugly and abrupt.

I also never thought that I would be one of those people that left a church over a dispute. I've stayed at that congregation through many hard times. I've tried to get along with others that were mean and contradicting, because, honestly, I can be just the same way.

But, it did end. It is over. I couldn't stay, not any longer. I couldn't sit there anymore while ugly things were going on.

I look back now and I realize that it was just so silly how it all started. Something like that should have never even been an issue.

Aren't we supposed to be loving? Aren't we supposed to welcoming? Isn't that what the church is about?

It's not about what the people want. It's not about the traditions. It's not about being "old-fashioned" or "contemporary". I believe that when you love, it covers all things. That when you love, it doesn't matter if someone moved a pulpit or if the flowers are different. It doesn't matter if the kids are a little too rowdy.

What matters is if we are welcoming to those that come in the door. What matters is if we are serving Christ. Because if you serve Him, you see the true meaning of His love and realize what a precious gift He gave and you want everyone to have it too.

You don't try to make people just like YOU. You want them to be just like HIM.

That congregation was my "home" for years. They were my "family". And it breaks my heart to know that I won't walk in those doors again. But, a home is where there is love and peace. A family is loving and kind. And I don't find that there anymore.

I'm not a quitter. I used to be. I used to give up when it got too hard. But I don't, as a rule, do that anymore. I don't just give up.

Some say that that is what my family and I are doing. But I don't see it that way. We are not giving up. We are moving on. We are trying our best to grow and to become better. And if we have to leave some dearly loved things behind to do so, then that is what we must do. We know that we are not perfect, but we want to serve the Father in a way that it pleasing to Him, not man.

But, knowing that doesn't make it hurt any less.

I know someday it won't hurt as much; that someday I won't feel anger or sadness.

But, it will take time. And I pray that good things come out of this. And I know that there will. He tells me so.

"All things work for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

I just have to trust and beleive and walk in His love. I have to move on.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dear Doctor Buller

I didn't write this. My mom did. But it was just too beautiful not to share.

Through so many important
events in my life, his
gentle, calm voice was there.
"It's a little boy and he is
just fine."
"If there is pie, Mary Belle,
I'll make a house call."
"Okay, Stephen, now say,
'Proceed to precipitate on a
perpendicular point of projection."
(That means, "Go
sit on a tack," and that kid
said it to everybody he met
until I made him stop.)
"Someday you'll be glad
that Amanda is so strong
willed."
"Now Amanda has that
little sister she wanted."
"I'm sorry, Joyce, your
Mommy's gone."
"Carrie is out of surgery,
and she did great. She is such
a good girl."
"Dear Doctor Buller," as
daughter Amanda has always
called him, was a part
of so many lives and such a
part of mine. As a teenager,
I was a babysitter for the
Bullers1 daughter, Brenda.
Dr. Buller was there when
my son, Steve, was born.. .the
first child he had ever delivered
outside a hospital. (I
was young and thought having
a baby was supposed to
REALLY hurt, but it didn't
and it only took me 30 minutes.
Thank goodness he
lived right up the street.)
After that, the two of them
had a special relationship,
with Dr. Buller often taking
Steve to play with his son,
Nathan. Years later, Dr.
Buller was the one who had
to tell Steve and our family
that Steve's newborn daughter
Nicole, had a severe birth
defect. Dr. Buller's tears
flowed right along with ours.
My Mom, Mary Belle,
worked for Dr. Buller for a
number of years, and they
were great friends, along
with office staff, Claudina
Baker, RN, and Sis Eakins.
There was a full-size plastic
skeleton in one of the back
rooms at the office, and one
evening, my Mom put a lab
coat on it. The next time she
went back there, she found
that Dr. Buller had put a
cigarette in its mouth. After
that, there was no telling
what that skeleton was going
to be wearing or doing.
My Dad was hardly able
to get around, so when he
was sick, Dr. Buller would
come after office hours, then
would stay to visit and have
a piece or two of Mom's pie.
Doc was right when he
declared that Amanda's being
"strong willed" wasn't a
bad thing. She might have a
tantrum all the way to his
office, but the moment he
appeared, that little girl
would turn into an angel.
"Dear Doctor Buller," she
would say, and he couldn't
understand why I was so
completely frazzled. But that
strong will saw her through
breast cancer, surgery, and
treatment, all the while keeping
her sense of humor and
spunk.
The man who had delivered
Amanda's little sister,
Carrie, was the man who
later held Carrie and rocked
her as she came out of anesthetic
after he set her broken
arm. He was the man who,
while giving physicals at
school, saw Amanda get hurt
on the playground, literally
picked her up, took her to his
office and sewed up her cut
leg, and she didn't even ask
for Dad and Mom.
He was the man who babysat
Am anda while Rusty and
I took classes before Carrie
was born. His wife, Lorraine,
must have been dismayed
when she arrived home from
teaching the classes to find
he had let Amanda play with
anything she wanted to and
the house was cluttered with
toys.
He was the man who gave
five year old Steve a shot to
lower his fever in the middle
of the night, saying, "This is
going to hurt, Stephen, and I
am so sorry." To which Steve
replied, post-shot, with tears
running down his face,
"Thank you, Doctor Buller."
Many years later, I took
Steve's four year old son,
Dusty, in with a bad cough.
Dr. Buller concentrated on
reading the chart, while trying
to also entertain Dusty.
"How old are you," he asked.
"I'm four," said the kid.
Minutes later, as he
looked into Dusty's ears and
then gave him the little flashlight
to take home, Dr. Buller
asked again, "Now, how old
are you?" Dusty gave me a
puzzled look, then said, "I'm
still four."
The man whom my Mom
thought of so highly was
there when she breathed her
last breath. My Dad had died
six months before, and she
had just given up. I confessed
to him that I couldn't forget
that her last words were
"Help me.I'll always rememberwhat
he said then. "Joyce, I have
seen a lot of people die. She
wasn't asking you for help.
She wasn't even looking at
us. She was looking across to
the Other Side, and she was
talking to someone there. I
truly believe she saw Jesus,
your Daddy, and your two
little babies, and the rest of
her loved ones, and she is
there with them now."
1 have known many a
preacher who hasn't had as
much effect on people's souls
as he did.
So,I truly believe he is
now "on the Other Side," and
maybe he and my Mom are
having a piece of Heavenly
pie, while he says to my Dad,
with that twinkle in his eyes,
"Ernest, I toldyou those cigarettes
would kill you."
He was an extraordinary
man, was Dear Doctor Buller.
We will all miss him.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Daddy

His hair is silver. When did that happen? As he walked along the canyon helping me search for a Christmas tree, I watched my daddy, and I wondered, when did he age? I’ve watched him all these years and never noticed the process of him getting older. He’s not old, but he is older. You can see the difference when you look at pictures or watch home videos. This once dark headed man now is gray and thinning. The lines on his skin show the years. Yet, he can still out walk any of us in that old canyon.
Not only has he changed physically, he has changed mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I have watched my daddy all these years but never noticed how much he has changed. He has evolved into one of the most amazing men I will ever know.
When you are growing up you think your dad can do everything, cuz he’s your dad. Through your teen years you begin to doubt that he can anything, cuz he’s your dad.
And then when you get older you know that he can’t do everything, but that that’s okay…cuz well, he’s your dad.
When we were little we rode with daddy on the tractor and we watched as he turned the ground and made things grow and thrive. We thought he was the most amazing man ever! One winter, it came a beautiful snow. My nephew went downstairs and looked out the window at the snow-covered ground and said, “Look what Pa do now!” He really believed that my daddy could make it snow. And I thought, “That’s my dad!”
My daddy has always worked hard. He took over the family farm at the age of 15. He didn’t complain. He just did what he could do. One of the things my dad is famous for saying is, “Well, it’s not the best in the world, but it’ll do”. He usually says this after he has pounded on it with his pliers or wrapped it up in duct tape.
I have always been a daddy’s girl. I would rather ride the tractor or check cattle with my dad than go shopping. He used to let me play in the shop while he worked. I had my very own hammer and as many nails as a block of wood would hold.
My dad has many sides. He’s your average farmer; taking care of cattle and working ground. But he also has a softer side.
He was and I think, given the chance would still be, the best braider in the world. He could braid my hair when I was younger in seconds.
When I was sick or sad I used to lay my head in my dad’s lap and he would comb my hair. It was such a comfort to have a daddy who was compassionate.
When I was much older and was having a hard time deciding what I should do with my future and felt like a complete failure, I sat down in the living room and put my head in my daddy’s lap and cried once again. And just like he had done all those years ago, he combed my hair and comforted me.
This might sound strange to some, but to us kids, it’s just what daddies do. Daddies are tough when they need to be but are kind and gentle too.
Don’t get me wrong-he was a disciplinarian. We got spankin’s and we deserved them! But he never spanked us with anything other than his hand and I think, honestly, that it hurt our little ego’s more than anything.
When I was in junior high school my dad would pick me up so I didn’t have to ride the bus. There were a couple of the foster-home boys that had got to know my dad through the newspaper. They were good athletes so he would come up to take pictures for the paper. They started calling him dad. He would often give them a ride home from school if they needed it. You would hear all kinds of kids say “hey dad” when he would walk down the hall. It was at those times that I would think, “That’s my dad. The guy that everyone loves is MY DAD.” And it made me proud.
My dad has grown so much in the past years. He has gone from this quiet, shy guy who would never even dare get up in public and speak, to this confidant man who goes around to churches speaking the gospel of Christ.
He is a song leader at our church. He works with the youth. He even witnesses to the guys at the coffee shop.
One Sunday, as my dad delivered the Communion Meditation, I just sat there and thought to myself, “That’s my dad. That amazing man up there is my father. How blessed am I?”
I was born into a family with two wonderful parents who love each other and their children. And I realize that most kids aren’t as blessed as me. And frankly, that breaks my heart.
But my daddy has become a father and grandfather to many of those kinds of kids. He doesn’t care who you are or where you come from, he will be your friend if you need one.
My daddy is quiet at most times. It takes a long time to get him angry but when he gets to that point, you should watch out. He is not a violent man, but with one look he can straighten your attitude immediately.
My daddy gives respect and deserves respect.
He will probably never be famous outside of our family.
But he is the kind of man that can change the world around him.
This world is a better place for having had him it in.
He is still quite young and as he continues to get older, he continues to do more. He doesn’t slow down and I don’t see him starting too anytime soon. In fact he is accomplishing more and more each new day. And we are learning each new day from him. He has shown us how to be a parent, friend, leader and well, just a good person.
And that day as I watched my dad walk along the canyon, dressed in his “stripy overalls”, tears filled my eyes. Not because I was sad, but because my heart overflowed with joy and love. And once again I thought to myself, “That’s my dad.”