Showing posts from April, 2021

I Love Hero Stories!

I love hero stories! I grew up with a lot of guys who inspired and entertained me as a kid living in a small town. Jim Carter lived next door to me and was my dad’s age. He taught me how to use a rifle and 410 shot gun to hunt (and yes, clean!) small game. Jim also played catch with me after school when Dad was busy servicing cars in our backyard auto repair shop. It was perfect for a kid to have so much attention! One of my favorite summer past times was to walk the half mile down the “old shoe factory hill” where we lived to the park next to the town branch. The park had two ball diamonds which drew some large crowds of sport’s enthusiasts during the evenings. I’d hustle down there to watch Jim and a couple of my uncles play softball for their respective teams.  Many evenings, Jim would be pitching in one of the games and my uncles in another. Uncle Charlie and Kenny (Junior) Keppler, drew some considerable attention as they formed a family battery of pitcher and catcher. Both Charli

Symbols Connect Us Too!

Many stories have been told about the importance of relational connecting during the Pandemic days of social distancing and isolation. However, there are other levels of connecting that link us to each other. Symbols can also be a tangible way we connect with the memory of loved ones and friends. Recently, our daughter, Michelle, wanted to "connect with her grandmother" by making a blackberry cobbler from her grandma's recipe book. Since my mother passed away nearly three years ago, Chel sought the help of some beloved family members in obtaining a copy of the cobbler recipe. Image credit: Calls were made to aunts about this need, but there was some misunderstanding. We think now that the request was not all that clear after analyzing the suggestions that were offered, "Can't you just buy the box of tapioca and follow the directions? Why don't you come and visit soon? You can watch me make one!" Even grandpa tried to get in on the acti

A Three-Score-and-Ten Celebration!

  70th Birthday Rib-Fest with Dad! I went home to Vandalia the day before my 70th birthday. It had been more than a year since I had last been with my Dad. While we were faithfully keeping up with each other during our weekly Sunday evening phone calls, there is nothing to be compared with "laying eyes on a loved one" in person!  During the days of the 2020 Pandemic, we had been trying to stay in our place to model for our loved ones and to some extent, protect them as we all were managing very different responses. Now that I have received two doses of vaccine, I am feeling a lot more comfortable in reconnecting with my extended family near and far.  Dad and I went over to Effingham to eat baby-back ribs at Fridays. We have been doing this for years during our mutual birthdays and have logged several special memories from these experiences. Based upon those previous years, we were fixated on one particular entrée, the dry and perfectly crusted, delectable fall-off-of-the-bon