Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Christmas Moose Must Die – 2007 Edition

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Once again, Christmas is upon us. This can only mean one thing of course, the return of the Christmas Moose.

We have something of a family tradition here in the Pilgrim household. We give this magnificent beast:

the hallowed Christmas Moose. The Moose had a comfortable life at the pet store. He had his herd and other friends to frolic with when the lights were shut off and those pesky humans left. Poor poor Moose. He just had to be on the top of the pile when we made our selection. Now, the poor Moose is reduced to this:

We have the standard dismemberment(note the red hoof and Christmas Moose Guts) but this year we have an added bonus!

Dismemberment isn’t enough for 2007! Oh no…this year we must also dismember the dismembered members.

Oh the horror…

A REAL Declaration of Independence

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Here in the US we celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July. That is the day that we signed a piece of paper absolving our ties with the British Crown. It was a hard day for those who signed that document. As Benjamin Franklin said upon signing the document, “We must all hang together because if we don’t, we shall surely hang seperately”. Many of these men died for their loyalty to their new “family”. THAT is loyalty and love that knows no bounds.

There’s a stronger bond however. That of a mother’s love for her kids. Mothers, whether human or any other animal, are the most violent creatures on the planet when it comes to defending their children. Human mothers have another problem though. They are almost as loyal to the father of their children as they are to their children themselves. Almost.

Should there come an event or a behavior from the father that endangers a mother’s children, the mother is faced with a problem the likes of which I am frankly glad I will never face. The love of a husband, lover, and friend set diametrically opposed to the welfare of her children. To maintain her relationship with the man she loved enough to share children with she must expose their children to a behavior that isn’t “child friendly”. She must make a decision. Many MANY women fail to make the right decision. Only a few extraordinary women and exemplary mothers make the right call.

This one has just made the right call. She has made her Declaration of Independence. God Bless and Protect her during the trials that will surely follow.

You get a Half Horse-Half Gator for this call BTW….this is an honor I don’t just hand out to anyone. 😉 Love you in that Boss/Friend/Platonic kind of way. 😉

Thankful

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

Tonight while making another “last trip” to the grocery I ran into a couple representin’ the honored 101st ABN with jackets and caps. I had to ask…

“Excuse me, did you serve?”

“Yeah, I was a door gunner and now our son is in Iraq.” He said as his wife was selecting spices from the rack. Before I could thank him he continued. “He was shot yesterday but he’s going to be fine.”

His wife turned away from the rack and I could see the redness in here eyes. I was speechless. I shook the proud father’s hand and thanked him for his service and sacrifice. Looked again to the scared mother and simply said God Bless you.

I bet this Thanksgiving is one that family will never forget.

What am I thankful for? Obviously my family and extended family. Like Blackfive, I’m also thankful for the troops. Today, however, I am especially thankful for loving parents of boys and girls who stand ready to do violence on our behalf. The sacrifice these parents make, the tears of worry they shed, the holes in the heart created by two men in Dress Uniforms paying an unwelcome visit have to be as cruel as any battlefield. There are no ribbons for their personal war. No embedded reporters and for damn sure there isn’t a “time table for withdrawal”.

Thank you military Moms and Dads. It’s because of you we have the kind of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines that we have. God Bless you all.

I love my Dad

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

I really do. We have always disagreed politically. When I was a wild eyed college student(not a generalization, I was infact wildeyed) I made Michael Moore look like Bob Dornan. Dad was all about “If you don’t like this country leave it!”. We butted heads because I was…well…wild eyed. Now, here we are some 30 years later. I’m no longer a wild eyed college student. Now, some would say, I make Bob Dornan look like Michael Moore. Dad, on the other hand, has told me that Ted Kennedy and his buddies are the only thing keeping America from falling into anarchy.

In 1987 things were different. We were mildly concerned with the Red Menace(for those of you in your 20’s that’s the former Soviet Union) and their ongoing activities around the world. Abortion was the social topic d’jour with environmental issues coming a close second. We didn’t have to worry about barbarians flying planes into building or having our heads lopped off because we happened to be Americans. Dad and I could have these political conversations and even though they got heated, neither of us thought the other was part of a grand scheme to destroy the country. Tonight’s phone call was alittle different.

It started out with a little chat about the goings on in Frankfort where our ambitious Attorney General started a witchhunt about the hiring practices of the Governor’s office. This particular witchhunt has turned up some witches and a senior Cabinet official has been indicted and now faces 25 years. There are now rumors flying around Capital City of pardons, the AG announces press events and the mysteriously cancels them, and men are hovering in dark corners of the Capital plotting their next moves. I can’t remember exactly how we got started talking about the National political scene…I probably lobbed a grenade as I have been known to do.

Dad’s take is that President Bush is truely evil. That he knew and probably planned the 9/11 attacks so he could consolidate power. That he is single handedly responsible for the prices of gasoline. All Republicans are nasty greedy b@stards…I’m not sure if I fit into that category or not. 😉

The thing that really bothers me about Dad’s thoughts on the President and the country isn’t that he thinks that way. He can be a bit contrary and I’m certain would argue over the color of the sky if the mood struck him. He’s also been an anti-government type. Not a militia nut, just very cynical and skeptical of anything that comes from Frankfort or Washington. My guess is this comes from growing up in the hill country where hatred of “revenuers” runs strong to this day. Anyway, the thing that bothers me about his feelings about this particular President is the way he expresses it. It’s all just talking points. He can’t back anything up with ANY evidence. Bush had prior knowledge of 9/11? How? and he says, “Everyone knows that’s a fact!”. No…everyone DOESN”T know that or else we would have riots in the streets of New York and real people getting really dead. The thing that bothers me about this is the fact that he only watches one station for news. It’s been the case for as long as I lived under his roof and even now, lo those 20 years later. He watches CBS news.

My Dad isn’t an ignorant man by a long LONG stretch. He isn’t highly educated in the Ivory Towers of Academia but he is highly educated in the ways of the world. He’s truely a brilliant man. He has that rare brand of intellect that can only be found in folks that have lived their lives, fed their families, and run their businesses from the blood, sweat, and tears of honest labor. So the question is, how can a man like this come to sincerely believe such nonsense?

Several times tonight Dad asked me if I wanted to see the “working man” in America taken care of. Of course I do. Dad apparently wants to see the CEOs of American businesses take substantial, government forced, paycuts so that money can be used to help the “working man”. I have never got him to tell me just how that money is to be used to “help” the “working man”. We start talking about examples of which there are plenty here in Kentucky. Fruit of the Loom closed in south central Kentucky and the region STILL hasn’t recovered. Dad blames government for letting that happen. He says the lives that were destroyed there falls squarely on the backs of the government…the FEDERAL government. I tend to think those lives could have been repaired if they CHOSE to move to where the jobs were. Life is about choices. Putting food on the table and keeping the roof over head is about choices. If you CHOOSE to put your fate in the hands of a single company and the task they offer you then you have to accept the fact that you are bound to the business decisions made by those who run the company. If they choose to end the task you are doing then you are out of a job. There is no one to blame there. That’s business. What I tried to tell me Dad is that the answer to the problem is teaching people to fish for themselves. Give them SKILLS they could use ANYWHERE….even in business for themselves.

So…cutting to the chase here. My Dad believes a pack of lies that apparently “everyone” believes but me…and the rest of the country. We have these chats about twice a month. An hour and half later on the phone and we both agree to disagree, remind each other that we love each other, and hang up. Then I’m left wondering if he thinks I’m as evil as the President that I think will go down as one of the best of the Century.

I have to wonder if this same kind of conversation took place in the days leading up to the Civil War. Father and Son bitterly divided on the issue(s) of the War. Love him dearly. But I just can’t agree with him politically.

Dad

Sunday, June 19th, 2005

Happy Father’s day Pop.

My father comes from humble beginnings where keeping the farm working was far more important than the War, Politics, or even school. Before school every morning my father and his brothers and sisters had to take care of the farm first. Feeding the hogs, chickens, and cows. Gathering the eggs from the chickens and milking the cows. Checking the string beans and tomato cages for overnight damage and repairing said damage if some were found. Without the garden and livestock they would go without because a mechanic for the L&N Railroad (my grandfather’s job) didn’t really pay that much. He gave up on school at the end of the 8th grade because he had other things that simply had to be done.

Father left the farm at the age of 16 and came to Lexington where he drove a truck. He eventually found his way to the Maintenance department at Eastern State Hospital where he met a striking red headed gal who after 4 years he married. Another 4 years later I came along and Dad’s life changed. He sold the motorcycle that had helped define him and walked away from a wilder side. He was a father now and he took the role seriously.

Money was tight and Dad was determined to keep me from the life he lived in the depression. We kept a garden but it was he working the garden in the mornings and not me. Having no recognized education, dad had to do what he could do to keep the mortgage paid and food on the table. He drove trucks as a small business owner for many years. During the summer he would win contracts from the city and state to haul for the various road projects. During the winter he would remove the dump bed from the truck replacing it with a fifth wheel so he could haul tobacco. One winter he kept the dump bed on the truck and spent weekdays and nights in West Virginia hauling Coal. That was the winter that Mom and I played monopoly every night. I knew why dad was hauling Coal and respecting him more and more for that decision as I get older. I will never have children have to feed, nuture, and protect. I think that just amplifies my respect for him because I know that if I had a child it would be almost impossible to leave them for any real length of time. Yet there he was.

Many years later, I was married and had a home of my own. My salary was more than he and mom combined had ever made. Still, when I would leave from a visit Dad felt compelled to give me alittle money. “You may need this.” or “You got some money?”. I learned that there was no point in saying, “No, Dad…I’m fine”. That both hurt his feelings and pride.

There is nothing in the world I won’t do for this man. He has given me more than I will ever fully know or understand. As he said when I was a child I will repeat it. He will never go without and he will never even want for anything. If I have to work 24/7. He did at times work 24/7.

I love you Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

Memorial Day

Monday, May 30th, 2005

Every year when this day comes around I get alittle misty eyed. I confess I get alittle irritated by the focus on picnics, barbques, and parties. That’s not at all what this day is about. It’s about our fallen military folks.

I marked this year’s Memorial Day much like the original celebrants marked the day. By decorating and memorializing a fallen Civil War soldier. To make this day even sweeter, this particular soldier was surrounded by his living descendants who proudly served in his burial detail.

Corporal James B. Dooley served honorably in the 4th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, US. He joined Company G of said regiment in Mt. Vernon Kentucky following a local community leader, Richard Myers, who was elected Captain of the company. Corporal Dooley ultimately found himself at Andersonville Prison where, after his release, he began the long walk home back to Kentucky.

I was honored to participate in this memorial in ways that I can’t quite describe. This is the third such memorial I’ve taken part in and everytime I leave with more respect for these soldiers. While we were waiting for the ceremony to begin, one of the lads in the burial detail came to me and asked if he could sit out. I guess I should say I was “commander” of the burial detail. He said he wasn’t feeling well. I’m almost certain that this kid wasn’t at all ill but perhaps alittle bored. I looked back at the grave site and pondered how many times THAT young man had been bored and wanted to go home. Perhaps at Lebanon Kentucky in 1862 where the 4th had just settled into their garrison. Perhaps in the rain at Mill Springs wondering if the Confederates were ever gonna come over that hill. Definately at Andersonville Prison where he ultimately caught TB which after two years claimed his life. I thought, “You fellas were made of much sterner stuff than we.”.

Today, as I recovered from a freak allergy attack, I watched the history channel as they played show after show about the soldiers we remember today. The Marines at Guadal Canal. The men on the Oklahoma, Arizona, West Virginia, and other ships attacked and sunk at Pearl Harbor. The Seals and Rangers at Robert’s Ridge in Afghanistan. My friends in Camp Fallujah in Iraq. It’s silly and I laughed at myself often as tears of pride rolled down.

Thank A Vet. Praise a Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, or Marine. Pay for their lunch. Mow the lawn of a wife who’s husband is serving YOU. Appreciate them.

I hope he was a Believer

Sunday, January 23rd, 2005

Johnny Carson from IMDB

I first learned about Johnny Carson from my grandfather. If he was home, it didn’t matter what was going on around the house Papaw was going to watch Johnny Carson. Papaw died when I was 9 so all those years laying in the bed with him watching Johnny was just that to me…laying in bed with my grandfather watching TV. I had no idea what Johnny was and missed the point of all of his jokes. It was years before I even knew that the name of the show wasn’t “The Johnny Carson Show” but rather, the “Tonight Show”.

I continued the tradition of watching Johnny after Papaw went Home. The years adding to my knowledge and the wisdom of his comedy came within my reach. I cried on his last show just like much of America. Now I mourn his loss.

Papaw was the first person to expose me to the Faith. It was 20 years later before I accepted the Faith and I’m certian he was celebrating. I hope Johnny Carson was a believer…and if he wasn’t I pray that God gave him just one last chance although I know that’s not how this game is played. I hope Papaw gets to meet Johnny in Heaven. Papaw gets to laugh his infectious laugh again. Johnny gets to meet one of the greatest men who ever lived. Win. Win.

Another Moose bites the dust

Friday, December 24th, 2004

We share the house with a being of unquestionable brilliance and stunning beauty:

Spice, our dog

It has become something of a tradition that we supply a Christmas Moose to the viscious killer above, who we call Spice, every year around this time. She welcomes it into her home and plays with it for a while. And then

Killer in action

Oh the horror…