Saturday, September 11, 2010

We Made It to the Ballgame Everytime

When I was a kid I went to pretty much every local ballgame with my dad. The rest of the family didn't care to go as much. Everybody would go once or twice a year and every now and then my brother or my sister would tag along but they weren't really interested in the actual game. They just wanted something to do.

I would be ready and waiting for daddy at the front door pretty much every Tuesday and Friday night in basketball season and Friday's during football season. Just when I was sure that he wasn't going to make it, he would swoop in and scoop me up kinda like Santa leaving presents under the tree. He barely stopped the car and we would be zooming off to the ballgame together.

He would pull up right in front of the fieldhouse and ignore all parking restrictions and we would rush through the door (we had season tickets and they knew us) usually just as the National Anthem was beginning to play. We would pause to pay our respects and hurry to our seats as soon as the song ended. Sometime we would be even later and we would have to rush to the floor to see the first tipoff of the game before we went to our seats.

When tournament time came (we made it to the tournaments every year in basketball) we would head to Charleston with the whole family in tow. Supposedly the games would be sold out and we would need tickets for 5 people. Daddy would just pull up in front of the Civic Center and usually in minutes would have 5 tickets that he bought from scalpers.

One time we went to Williamson to a ballgame. Somebody actually let off tear gas after the game. I was 10 or 12 at the time. Daddy had to carry me out of the fieldhouse. I heard him telling the other men he knew to hold his breath because of his military training. I was too young to know what happened but he took care of me like any father would. Nowadays there would be a big investigation into such a thing. I don't know if anything ever came out of it back then though.

What Happened on 9/12/2001

I went into work and the place was complete chaos! People were coming in droves because they knew we were one of the few places in town that actually sold flags. Unfortunately we sold out quickly. Then customers wanted ANYTHING red,white and blue or yellow. We even ran out of the homemade bows we were making. Then they wanted the scraps of ribbon that were left over, so we put those out and gave them to people. Everybody wanted to fly a ribbon from their car antennae or put out a flag.

We were taking up a collection for the Red Cross. Even small children were putting their change from their candy in the jar. (no we weren't asking them to do it) The little ones didn't understand what was going on, they just knew everybody around them was sad because a plane hit a building and they wanted to help. I had little old ladies telling me they were ready to "get the sons of bitches!" The level of ferver was quite amazing actually.

One man threw a fit on me because we were out of flags. He started yelling that the manufacturers should be cranking them out because they knew everybody wanted one. After a couple of minutes of him lecturing me (like I could personally do something about the situation) I stopped him cold. I told him that we had had the same flags for years, gathering dust on the shelves, because nobody was buying them. I pointed out to him that "some of us already had our flags BEFORE this happened!" He just looked at me and slinked out of the store with his tail between his legs.

It is a shame that patriotism has died down since then. Not many are flying flags and you don't see ribbons on cars anymore. I wish the war would have lasted as long as peoples enthusiasm did. I wish too that the other countries would listen when we declare victory! Things would be so much simpler if they agreed the war was over when we declared it was.

Where Was I on 9/11

I was in bed asleep half listening to Good Morning America. I heard Dianne Sawyer signing off and then I heard her say, "We have a breaking news bulletin, The World Trade Center is on Fire." That completely woke me up because I knew it had to be bad. Then they showed a picture of the top of the building with the flames billowing out of the sides. My first thought was, "Oh my God, there must be at least 5,000 people up there!"

I stared in horror at the tv and then I got up and went downstairs to Sis's bedroom because the tv upstairs didn't get good reception. I spent the rest of the day in Sis's bed crying in horror with each development. It felt like somebody kept punching me in the stomach with each piece of bad news.

I have to confess I didn't understand that it was a terrorist attack at first. I just thought something was going horribly wrong with the flight controllers or the airport or something - even when the second plane hit, I didn't think about terrorism. That was about the time the news media went nuts talking about it. I just couldn't fathom it.

Then the plane crashed into the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. You didn't have to knock me over the head anymore. Even I understood that it was terrorism by this time. Sis came home about the same time as the 2nd. plane hit. She didn't understand what I was even trying to tell her.

Then the first tower fell and I didn't comprehend what I was seeing. I just thought something exploded. When Peter Jennings said the tower had fallen, I thought, "surely, not. he's mistaken." He wasn't.

Then I watched a reporter grill a fireman because she was angry that the NYFD had ordered an evacuation of the 2nd. tower even though there were civilians inside. She was relentless and the poor fireman kept his composure as she treated him like crap. I still wonder if she has ever realized what a piece of crap she was sometimes.

Until that day I had always made fun of people who would tell you where they were when Kennedy was assassinated. (I was in my crib) Now I understand. I wish I didn't.

Best Pick Up Line I Ever Heard

One time I was leaving the 4th. of July fireworks. I was alone because I went after work. All of a sudden a man ran up to me - completely out of breath - screaming, "WAIT! WAIT!".

I stopped to see what was going on when he caught me and said, "I've been chasing you for two blocks. I saw you and I couldn't let you just walk out of my life without introducing myself."

It was the one time I gave a strange man my phone number...nothing came of it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Let's See Where This Goes

When I was 18 I graduated in the top 10% of my class. I don't remember the exact number but I know I was right at the 10% mark. I scored an 800 on my English SAT's (the highest score possible at the time) but I did so poorly on my math that I ended up with an average score overall.

I left for Ohio State one week after I turned 18. This meant it was now legal for me to drink liqueur in WV and 3% beer in Ohio. I quickly became the pipeline for interstate transport of alcoholic beverages for all my friends. Everytime I came home I would go back with a trunkful of spirits - and I was too dumb to make a profit on it! I just did it for the sake of the party.

I quickly discovered I was in trouble scholastically. Problem number one was that I had never had to study for a class in my life - I had a photographic memory at that point. That photographic memory was no good to me because I was too busy having fun to study. You can't memorize it if you don't read it in the first place. Problem number two was the partying. I had never been allowed to go out and get "wild" and I went overboard as so many do. The theme of our dorm suite (12 girls) was "perpetually high".

I realized at the end of the 2nd. quarter I needed to change something. I was on a path to nowhere. I wrote a "persuasion" paper for a professor on "Why I Should Quit College". He called me to the front after he read it and he said, "I thought no one would ever convince me that they needed to quit have done it." He gave me an "A".

So I made plans to transfer to Marshall University (an instate college). Unfortunately my parents didn't understand why I was leaving Ohio State. (I couldn't tell them I was partying their out of state tuition away) They didn't see it as a transfer. They saw it as me quitting school.

I was determined to prove to them that I would start school in the fall. In the meantime I got a job at Burger Chef (again). That was the summer my brother threatened to kill me. I don't mean the usual idle threats of a brother and a sister. I mean a bona fide threat on my life. I went to my parents and I got kicked out because my dad said I was only trying to cause trouble.

It really didn't phase me too much I thought at the time. Looking back I can see it was the beginning of the end. That's another story... (that is actually blogged about somewhere in here already)


A friend of mine suggested that men need to get manograms - just like women need to get mammograms!

The thought of a PENIS going SPLAT throughly appeals to me at the moment!!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fun w/Becca and Arny

When I was driving around the park yesterday I went up to the pond. Do you remember when the pond was drained and I took you guys up there and we played in the bottom of the pond? When you see it now there is about 5 foot of the tower sticking up. Unless you have seen it when it is drained, you wouldn't know that the tower is at least 40 foot tall. That means that the pond is at least 30 to 35 foot deep. I had fun that day and I think you guys did too.

I wanted to go on a trail yesterday, but of course I can't do that anymore. I had alot of good times on those trails. Bobby and I would cook out in the park at least 4 days a week when we first got married. Usually we would go on one of the trails before we left. I have been on every trail in the park (mostly the ones around the pond). I don't see where they have put anymore of them in since then.

One of the greatest days ever was when my mom took us and dropped us off in the park one morning. You could do that kind of thing back then. We played in every inch of every creek in the park. (a couple of miles worth) I duplicated this with you guys when you were 7 or 8 and Arny was little. I didn't leave you guys though. Unfortunately the world is a different place now.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

10 Bad things about West Virginia

1. Mountains - they tend to isolate people and the construction costs are trememdous for any undertaking

2. reputation - I get sick of all the hillbilly comments

3. Food - down home country cookin' that is fattening and unhealthy

4. The best jobs are working for the State for the average West Virginian.

5. Mountain Top Mining - It is far too destructive. People used to complain about strip mining - it is strip mining on steroids.

6. poverty - there are pockets of poverty in this state that surprise me when I run into them. Many people pretend they don't exist.

7. There are still people who don't have access to good drinking water - yet I see millions wasted on the waterfront here in Charleston.

8. Gotta go

Monday, September 6, 2010

10 Great Things About West Virginia

1. Mountains - we still have plenty of rugged mountains left to enjoy

2. People - are friendly and go out of their way to help

3. Food - down home country cookin'

4. White Water Rafting - is a blast

5. Hatfield and McCoy Trail System - around 1000 miles of trails through WV and Ky for 4 wheelers mostly but also for horses and hikers.

6. West Virginia University

7. Coal mining - when done properly is a boon to the state, the nation and the people

8. State Parks are like nature preserves

9. Festivals - there is some kind of festival every weekend (apple butter, coal miners, arts & crafts, ribs...)

10. Snow skiing - rivals that of anywhere in the nation

I watched him wheel himself through the hallway of the hospital...

He didn't know I was there. I had just stepped off the elevator and I saw a tired little man in a wheelchair. He was bowed over, grasping the handrail. I waited patiently even though I was in a hurry because he was in my way. I watched as he started to pull himself along the hallway to take himself to his hospital room. He was using the handrail instead of the wheels of the chair. "I guess it is easier that way", I thought to myself. It was so obvious that he was so tired.

Then I recognized the man. I was horrified with myself for not recognizing him and at him for being so sick. "When did this happen? How did this happen?" This frail, little man was my dad. He was not recognizable to me as the man I had always known. I watched as he pulled himself down the hallway and I wondered what I should do. My dad had never needed my help for anything. To say he was a dynamo would not be an exxageration.

"Daddy," I whispered under my breath. It was a moment in my life that I knew everything had changed. I walked up and said with a smile on my face and my heart breaking, "Hey Daddy, do you want some help?"

He looked up at me with the weak, pale, scruffy face of a little old man who was happy that a voice he knew was talking to him. "Sure," he said, "give us a push." So I pushed him to his room and I watched as it took all his effort to get out of the chair. I didn't know if I should offer to help, so I didn't. I was in shock.