Simpler Times – Water Sports at Grand Lake St Marys

Once Upon a Time

I had said something to make Nicole crack up

My wife and I have three children, all boys.  The day I am starting this story is the 37th anniversary of our marriage.  Due to our schedules, she’s in Ohio and I am in Arizona.  Tomorrow I am driving to Los Angeles to watch one of my favorite rock bands, (Garbage), perform at the Greek Theater.  My dad once remarked that he never thought he’d have a kid who was 30 years old.  I now know that feeling as our oldest is now 34, our boys all spread apart in years.  Because there are a number of years separating our boys, it’s easy for me to compartmentalize the child rearing into ‘eras’.  Early Ohio, early marriage is the Mitch era.  Louisiana belongs to Corey.  Tim then gets our California years.

Continue reading


Eating Cigarettes – Child Abuse or a Gift of Life?

Yes People, the 60's were really like this

Yes People, the 60’s were really like this

In a number of previous stories like Willows do not Always Weep (link) and The Cats (link), I did a little dad-bashing.  My dad does deserve some credit, however.  I am not a cigarette smoker and I owe it all to dear old dad.  True, I did imbibe a  bit on that feistier leaf for a spell (link) but I never acquired a taste for, nor have a desire to try tobacco.

I am (too) quickly approaching the 60th year of life on this fragile planet.  Like you I suspect, I have seen in my time a number of relatives suffer from and/or die from cancer.  All of them were smokers.  Both my dad and my step father were smokers for multiple decades and both of them died of cancer in their late fifties to early sixties.  My Aunt, Dad’s sister, same thing; she was a three packer.  Continue reading

My Boy Mitchell is a Grownup

My wife and firstborn toasting

My wife and firstborn toasting

Do you have a major, overriding life goal, one that guides your actions above all others?  I hope so as it can really help to drive your focus and attention to your long term planning activities as well as your contingency actions.  Mine was relatively straightforward; be a better dad than my own.  To me, this translates into working hard to provide them with options in life, options I never had, and trying to leverage my own life lessons in order to help my boys succeed, (or at least avoid some failures).

When my youngest boy graduated from a private liberal arts high school, I had felt that I had accomplished my life goal.  They each had attended college on my dime and now my youngest had the benefit of a Waldorf education and could go to college on my dime if he chose to.  Sometimes though, I have my doubts – did I really do the best that I could, did I give them each the best advice I could?  Continue reading

I Love You Dad – Corey the Wanderer

Fairly recent pic of Corey

Fairly recent pic of Corey

When I write these little true life adventures, I try my best to relate them to any event or thought that’s going on in the present.  Sometimes it doesn’t always work, but most of the time it does.  When I first began writing these, I did it on a whim, not thinking that I would still be writing them more than a year later.  I thought, how many stories can I write, fifty maybe?  At some point, I began to get excited over the prospect of leaving behind a compendium of my life, something my kids and grandkids could possibly enjoy reading after I’m long gone.  Continue reading

Going Ruppert on Easter Eggs in LA

Our kids would have gone crazy had ours broke open like this

Our kids would have gone crazy had ours broke open like this


Well, here we are – another Easter.  A time for reflection and celebration.  Different images are conjured up for me when I think of Easters past.  As a kid I am reminded of a scratchy suit and tie, sitting through grueling long sermons in church and trying very hard to stay awake.  As an ex-Hamiltuckian, unfortunately I am reminded of a brutal Easter massacre.  This marks the 40th Easter anniversary for the James Ruppert murders of 11 family members.  As a kid, the event spawned a favorite saying – “going Ruppert” on someone preceded “going postal”.  If you’re interested in that type of thing, I found this interesting video on YouTube.

Mostly though, Easter conjures up memories of Easter egg hunts with my kids. Continue reading

The Places We Lived – Houses and Apartment Life

Prytania - Where the Growing Up Began

Prytania – Where the Growing Up Began

As mentioned briefly in Camaro and Firebirds (read me) we all remember quite vividly the places we’ve lived and the many memories that are forged in those places.  Indeed, our paths in this life, the things we do, the things that happen to us, they are all strongly linked to the choices we’ve made for the places we’ve chosen to live in.  The tiniest change could have impacted so many elements of our past and future.  In our case, had we not moved to Louisiana, we might not have a third child, who knows?  I do – everything would change, everything.  Everything we see, everything we do, every choice we make is linked to every future action and choice.  It is a spiderweb, so choose wisely. Continue reading

Everybody Loves Tim – Part Two

Our Little Man

Our Little Man

And now, the exciting conclusion to Everybody Loves Tim Part One.

And here we are, some 20 years later.

For awhile, during high school and a few months after, I was doing the ‘normal Dad thing’ with Tim.  You know, coaching him to go to college, offering him up with various alternatives for the future, etc.  I kept running into a brick wall until I finally realized – “Tim” needs to push himself.  Tim needs to be the one to figure out what it is he wants to be, what he wants to do to earn money enough to finance whatever lifestyle he wants to live.

Let’s do a big flashback and go back to the beginning.  Continue reading

Everybody Loves Tim – Part One

Everybody Loves Timmy

Everybody Loves Timmy

No one knows your weaknesses, your strengths, your vulnerabilities like your spouse does.  With that said, anyone who’s been married for a number of years knows then what a fair fight and an unfair fight is.  An unfair fight is one of harsh words, words that cut beneath the skin.  Words are more harmful than a smack in the face.  A smack leaves a mark but it always goes away within a few days.  Harmful words pierce the heart – they can take years to heal, if ever.  Continue reading

Breaking Commandments 8 & 9 – Stealing and Lying

Mmmmmm....yummy, especially with dry ice

Mmmmmm….yummy, especially with dry ice

Growing up, I didn’t attend a lot of church.  On Goodman Avenue, (ages 5-10), I attended Vacation Bible School (VBS) a few weeks in the summer.  I don’t think church was Dad’s thing and Mom’s thing was doing whatever Dad said.  When Mom got divorced and married to Joe, she discovered that she had quite a bit more freedom to do as she pleased.  Finding her church was one of those.

Even though we didn’t attend church on a regular basis when I was young, we were raised under a Christian roof.  As such, we were taught the Ten Commandments.  Well, ok…we were too young to discuss half of them, but numbers 3, 5, 6, 8 & 9 – those we knew.  If we broke them, we knew we’d meet up with a belt or a switch.  Eight and Nine, those two I was scared to death to break because my Dad warned us about them on a regular basis.

8 & 9?  Stealing and lying; never steal and never lie.  One day I did both.  I did both, was immediately found out and then immediately punished for my crimes. Continue reading

Our Little Picasso


Ours was slightly less attractive than this one

Ours was slightly less attractive than this


Go forth and multiply – procreation.  Procreation implies parenting.  Parenting is perhaps the toughest job on the planet.  It’s often thankless but now that I have the benefit of hindsight, I can honestly state that I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Just because my kids are grown and out of the house doesn’t mean that the job’s over either.  Occasionally, they still need guidance.

You could have a dozen kids from the same two parents, raise them in the same city, the same house, the same rules, same schools, same everything and every single one of them could turn out entirely different from one another.  Like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolate, you really do never know what you’re going to get.  If you’re keeping your eyes peeled and paying attention though, your kids might give you a glimpse early on as to which way they lean.  Will they be musicians, will they be scientists, will they be good with their hands and become mechanics or plumbers?  How will you know?  Shouldn’t we watch for signs when they’re very young so we’ll know which side of the brain to stimulate? Continue reading