Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Magik of the Internet Part Deux

I've shared before about how much I love the connectedness of the internet - finding distant relatives, making new friends, having the answer to any question right at my fingertips. To me the world wide web is magik. Oh, and that part deux? Homage to one of my favorite commercials - the woman who finds her French model boyfriend on the internet. Bonjour! ("They can't put anything on the internet that isn't true.")

Recently internet connections helped Bud return the loss of something of value to its rightful owner. It was while on his morning run he found a Samsung tablet and nearby its case. It was along the highway so he expected it to be broken, but picked it up anyway. Once home he found that it was a little scratched but otherwise okay. At first there was little discernible to identify the owner. I noted that the default weather was set to a town in Texas. Bud noticed that many of the marked pages had to do with Disc Golf. Then he found something with a name on it. I entered the name on Facebook and had several hits, one of which was in the same town as the Texas location set for weather info. Bud noticed all the likes concerning disc golf. We decided there was a very good possibility we had found the right person. Bud found the man's e-mail information and sent him a message along with our phone number. At 9:30 that same night the guy called - it was his tablet. He hadn't even missed it yet. As I had suspected, he had put it on top of his vehicle, forgot about it and then took off flinging the tablet to the side of the road. The man was working on a crew that traveled to various locations around the state. When he returned to town a few days later, he got his tablet back. Without the internet we would never have found the owner.

The other recent connection is much more personal. Several months ago I received a Facebook friend request from one of my son's cousins. I accepted the request. It was interesting to see the man's pictures and read his posts. Then one day he commented on one of my posts and referred to me as Auntie. Oh, how that warmed my heart. It had been 47 years since his uncle and I had parted and he was no longer a part of my life. The little boy I remembered was a grown man and still thought of me as his aunt - so maybe not everyone in my former husband's family hated me?

When my son planned a camp out to celebrate his birthday, he posted a general invitation to all on his Facebook page. I was happy to see that my former nephew planned to attend also. I was looking forward to seeing him again.

We arrived at the campsite and there he was. He goes by Al now, though it is hard for me to call him anything but Alan. We walked up to each other and into a big hug. The first thing he told me was how he remembered when I went to their home in Kansas City to take care of him and his younger siblings while his Mom was in the hospital having a baby. He said I packed the best lunch for him to take to school. I told him what I remembered most about that week was how exhausted I was taking care of so many little kids (five counting my little boy). When his mom got home she berated me for doing everything for them - said the kids were supposed to pick up after themselves and do other chores around the house.

Here is a picture of Al on the left and my son, Doug, on the right. You can certainly tell these two are related.

Funny thing about getting older, at least for me, the things that tore apart families and even other friendships don't seem nearly as important. What you remember is what those people once meant to you, how you wish you might see and talk to them once more.

My little nephew Alan was so sweet. I loved him and his siblings. His hugs touched my heart.

The grown up Al hugged his Auntie and I felt those same heart tugs. The magik of the internet.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Wonderful Wonder Horse

First-born Douglas just turned fifty-two which means he was a little more than sixteen months old in this picture - Christmas, 1963 - taken in the living room of the old Methodist parsonage in Brooks. The 'Hanzie house' we had been renting in south Brooks was sold to Gene & Carolyn Dixon so we 'moved on up' across the RR tracks where we rented the old parsonage. It was a cute house too, but cold; hard to heat.
Christmas was coming and I wanted it to be a good one for our little boy. He was big enough to play with toys. I wanted in the worst way to buy him a wonder horse but they were expensive - somewhere in the thirty dollar range if I remember right.
I don't remember now how I managed to buy his horse. I might have put it on lay-a-way and paid a bit each week. However I did it, it was there next to the tree on Christmas morning. I can't decide what the expression on his face is - more "Hurry up and take the dumb picture so I can get off this horse!" than "Whoopee! Ride 'em cowboy!" If Doug ever had a name for the toy I don't remember it. I always just referred to it as the wonder horse.
The horse served many riders over the years including siblings Kari and Preston as well as cousins Andrew, Lorrie and Christine before being 'put out to pasture'...... (Stored upstairs in my parents' house.)

..........Until the next generation came along. This is Doug's first-born, Brock, riding the wonder horse in the living room of the house on the acreage we rented from Mrs. Elliott south of the Fairview Church. Brock looks as though he was enjoying the ride more than his Dad did.
Those wonder horses must have been well built because we now have a third generation riding this same old pony.....

....Brock's second-born son, Sawyer, turned one last month. At his birthday party Grandpa Doug presented him with the wonderful, only slightly faded, wonder horse. Sawyer's mommie, Paullina, labeled this picture "I'm a cowboy, Mom. Cowboys don't smile." when she posted it to FB Monday.
Just knowing that three generations have ridden the wonder horse and having these photos of them makes that original purchase price very well worth it!

Out of curiosity I looked up the present price for a wonder horse and this Radio Flyer "Blaze Interactive Riding Horse" came up. It says the list price is $269.99 on sale for $149.99. Glad I'm not debating buying one today! Of course the Blaze version has three stages of riding sounds - walking, trotting and galloping - and includes brush and feeding carrot accessories.
Sawyer might like Blaze's sounds, but since he already makes his own shifting sounds while playing on his riding car, I'll bet he can make his own horsie sounds on Grandpa's original wonderful Wonder Horse.

Friday, August 1, 2014

"And It's Too Late, Baby, Now It's Too Late..."

Carole King's lyrics reflect how I feel about some of the things I'd still like to do but don't feel able to. Things which require physicality and stamina.

Then there is Jim Valvano's famous quote, "Don't give up, don't ever give up!", which I hear on a regular basis because it is one of Bud's favorites.

I'm starting to think about our upcoming trip to Oregon to see Kari and Ken and their new home which makes me think of previous trips and sights we've visited along the way. Waterfalls come to mind. There were all the waterfalls along the Historic Columbia River Scenic Byway we saw as we left Portland after our first visit there a few years ago....

including, of course, the famous Multnomah Falls.

Then there was our 2006 trip to the West Coast beginning with seeing almost all the waterfalls in Nebraska.

Yes, there really are waterfalls in Nebraska most of them along the Niobrara in Northern Nebraska. Smith Falls is about 18 miles east of Valentine.
And the next time we head east, I still have experiencing Niagara Falls on my 'bucket' list.

But these are the falls I really want to visit that I'm afraid I have left too late - Ramona Falls in Mt. Hood National Forest. You see, even though the trail is classified as 'easy to moderate' the distance is 7 miles. I don't think there is any way I could do a seven mile loop hike. Even to see my falls.

Then I think about that 'don't ever give up quote' and remember that I made it all the way to the top of Seven Falls in order to see where Helen Hunt Jackson was inspired to write her novel Ramona. And that I made it all the way to the top of Temple Mound at Moundville Archaeological Park in Alabama last April after looking back and realizing I was already halfway to the top.

Maybe if I started training now I could work myself up to seven miles and seeing Ramona Falls could become a reality. As Confucius said: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

"It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them."  George Eliot