rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the tag “Children”

COUNTDOWN

There is something about the human race and time that intrigues me. Seemingly, we humans are always counting down for some event to take place in the future. Those awaiting a birth of a child face a countdown to a time that is somewhat difficult to determine, nevertheless, the countdown cannot come soon enough, especially for the one giving birth.

Those facing retirement count down the days until it arrives, then wonder how it happened so fast. The students in school count down until summer. Of course, the teachers are much more in the countdown mode than the students. Those waiting to experience graduation, whether it be middle school, high school or college, all count down until the fateful day. In each case there is a transition from one situation to a different development. The middle school graduate counts down to becoming a teenager, the high school graduate counts down to becoming a university student and the college graduate counts down to employment.

New Year’s Day finds most of America and the world enjoying the countdown until 12 A.M., although many cannot remember it the next morning.

I noticed that those in the know have advanced the doomsday clock to two minutes, thirty seconds until midnight. This is a symbolic clock that sends a message of nuclear oblivion when it reaches midnight. That particular countdown is unnerving to say the least.

This past year 2016, social media light up the airwaves with a countdown until the presidential election. It doesn’t matter for which political side you were rooting, it mattered when it was to take place. And the time arrived. One candidate surpassed the other. Certain individuals threatened to leave the country if a particular candidate won. The other side began the countdown as to exactly when that would happen. As I write this the countdown has to be reset each day for I have seen no exits from these personalities.

Then the countdown began until inauguration day. It arrived. Half the nation is happy and half the nation is not. I’m thinking someone should start a countdown as the when the two halves can come together on a common goal. Naaa, too much to ask. But God is in total control. His countdown is the only one that matters.

Until then I have it on good authority that the baseball season is upon us. As I write this, the countdown until spring training is 16 days, 13 hours, 39 minutes, 34 seconds and counting. http://www.springtrainingcountdown.com/#sthash.BcTqhy1P.dpb

Texas Rangers pitchers and catchers report Wednesday February 15. Opening day for the Texas Rangers is April 3, 2017 at home against the defending American League champions Cleveland Indians. 65 days 2 hours 43 minutes 35 seconds and counting:    https://days.to/until/mlb-season-opening-day

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.”

Songwriters: ALBERT VON TILZER, JACK NORWORTH

This countdown works for me. What countdown are you working on?

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Is It Christmas Yet?

Ever have that feeling about not wanting to get up in the morning? One day this past week, it was my desire to stay in bed a little longer than usual. But we have animals to take care of and they usually do not want to stay in bed. The dogs in the kennels do not seem to mind the cold or that it finally warmed up.  And the chickens could care less. They are ready no matter what. The humans, not so much! So out of the warm bed I arise. I stumble to the kitchen, turn the switch on for the coffee pot, (the “Rancherette” is sweet enough to prepare the ingredients the night before), put on my long johns and make ready to placate the aforementioned animals.  I do insist on having a steaming cup of coffee before I brave the elements.

Having a touch of the “I don’t wanna’s” this morning, I slowly began to move around. I am feeling the effects of a cold I contracted from a recent chicken show we attended in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  Then, the “Rancherette” comes bouncing from the bedroom full of vim and vigor. She wonders, “How are you feeling?” I mumble “OK”. Probably, not too convincingly I might add.

So after my jolt of caffeine, I make my way to the dog kennels. Recently, the morning temps fell down into the upper teens, and with that, their water dishes turn to ice. This was my first clue that winter is approaching. With the dogs fed, ice in their water broken and fully attended to, I turn my attention to appeasing the chickens. Ever try to appease a chicken? Good luck with that. The “Rancherette” usually comes along to save the day. She definitely knows how to appease a chicken. She is in the chicken appeasement business. I’m not sure but I think they understand the “bach,bach,bach” of my voice and I am convinced they really know what the “Rancherette” says. I am pretty sure she understands what they say, too. Me? I don’t think so. Now when it comes to the dogs, I am much more enlightened by their “voices”. I fully understand them. I speak dog, fluently. I practice every day. However, one could possibly acquire some of the characteristics of these fine feathered fowl (maybe osmosis).  For example, I catch myself crowing on occasion. Nothing out of the ordinary, that is until they crow in return. Scary!

For those of you who do not know, the “Rancherette” raises show chickens. Silkies and Bantam Cochins are her favorite breeds.Both breeds are also very funny birds. Most of these birds have names, such as Mick (after Mick Jagger) Bella, Cowboy, Cowgirl, Smoky Bear, Miss Peggy, (she has a peg leg) and so on. Thus one can become attached. (Her name shall remain anonymous).

However, when it comes to our kennel dogs, that’s another story. They are retired show dogs, from the Standard Poodle line, living out their retirement days. Apollo, Ty, Denali, Grendel, Prada, Andora, Stella, and so on. They all have a very extended name, fitting the royalty of the breed, but way to much for this post.Then there is Alfie, a hitchhiking female Airedale. “nuff, said.

.So I am up and “at’em” this morning. This Christmas Eve, Eve! Got all my presents wrapped for the “Rancherette” and placed in a conspicuous space where she cannot miss them and this in turn tempts her a bit. No shaking the packages or X-rays allowed. This is premeditated on my part. Now that the gifting is completed (and a day early, I might add), I turn my attention to checking my social media pages.

I see numerous and varied accounts of people and their activities on social media pages. Hidden among the many postings, I see some with treasured memories of years past. For others it brings sadness and a dread this time of year. Still others delight in the many celebratory events of Christmas.

I see posts from a varied assortment of people, from my friends and others I do not know. First and foremost are the many varied posts from all of the chicken friends on social media. There is a considerable amount of “chicken speak” in these posts. (i.e., the “Rancherette”) I have not yet learned much of that language.

Then others are depicted wrapping Christmas gifts and sharing their experiences. Some are wondering if other family members will make it home for Christmas. Some are showing the results of a toy-drive for kids. There are pictures of children sharing their love through homemade Christmas gifts with nursing home residents. Some use the social media pages to outline their Christmas list. (Personally, I’m not sure this works well, but give them credit for ingenuity) Let me know if it does.

I see posts of young children sitting on the lap of Santa, some crying, some in awe and others readily sounding off their wish list. Obviously, they have all been good, wink, wink!

I see posts describing recipes for Christmas Delights and I admit they all look inviting. These are very interesting.

Then there are still a few who either challenge the presidential election results or laud the outcome. To these very involved people, I say, Merry Christmas to both groups.

The closer it gets to Christmas, the more posts we see about the event. Not all will be about a religious phenomenon and yet it is my opinion that it was never about a secular circumstance. It was and always will be a celebration of the birth of Christ, whether one chooses to believe that or not.

I find it fascinating that our animals depend on us for their survival while many humans do not depend on God for anything. In their own way, these animals say thanks every day, a tail wag here and a “bach,bach, there. Would it not be great if the human race could acknowledge a better understanding of peace and joy on this earth?

I grant you that we live in a free society and thus are completely free to agree or disagree. However, I for one am proud to say I believe the Biblical account of the Christ Child born for the salvation of mankind.

Thus I can say unequivocally,

Merry Christmas.

The County Fair, Part II

County fairs are so much fun, with all the vendors selling everything imaginable. The sideshows, the rides, (which I do not attempt) and , of course, the food, which I clearly DO attempt. There were concerts each night with several name stars performing. We were only there for Friday night, and the concert featured The Triumphs, a band from Rosenberg, Texas. They were an outstanding band and starred B.J. Thomas, with special guest, Roy Head. Roy is old school, very popular in the 60’s and 70’s. We were pleased to visit with him at the hotel where we both were staying, even meeting his wife. They also enjoyed holding one of the “Rancherette’s” little Silkie chickens. Later, we attended the show. Since we are of that generation, it was very entertaining for us. The “Rancherette” was fortunate to get a “selfie” with him.  It has been difficult to live with her ever since.

jennie-and-roy-head

While the entire fair is exciting, I think the main focus is on the kids, the youth who participate and show their animals. These young people work very hard to care for these animals and reap the rewards for such endeavors. If you have never been to a county fair, you can only imagine how many sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, ducks, geese and chickens these kids have entered in competition for various awards, scholarships and sportsmanship trophies. They receive  medals, belt buckles, plaques and other prizes. They experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, yet they hold their heads high and show good sportsmanship to each other. Time and again I watched these youngsters compete with their animals. The judges for these premier competitions are extremely helpful to the young people. They explain different aspects of their particular animals and always in a helpful manner with words of encouragement for each one. I am in awe of the maturity of these youngsters. I think the country is in good hands when these young people reach adulthood. I also want to commend all the adult volunteers who help make this a great time for these kids. And hats off to the Fayette County Fair officials, great job.

The segment that inspired me the most and gave me particular pleasure occurred when a very young girl entered the show ring leading her heifer as her grandfather walked beside her. It was a very moving picture. I spoke to her grandfather after they finished and he told me that “they like to start them young”. A lack of wisdom on my part, I did not get their names.
grandaughter-and-grandfather-2

For me, however, this was the sparking event of the fair. That is, except for the awards the “Rancherette” received for her birds. She did well, but then she was not up against the youth either.

Our part of the show ended and you know what that meant, a four hour drive back home in North Texas with harassing among chickens. It has to stop. If I could have just send these birds home via FEDEX or UPS, then I would have had a quiet ride home.Should have stopped at Walmart and bought a pair of ear plugs. because you know the birds in the back discussed all the way home, cackling, squawking, and crowing about how some birds won a ribbon and some did not.

Just take a look at the gloating after we arrived back home. This may be the Silkie that Roy Head was holding at the hotel. Regardless, she definitely has a big head, flippant little chicken!

just-a-strutin-2

Check out the county fair where you live, you will certainly enjoy it.                                               Have a great day.

THE COUNTY FAIR, Part I

Many of my readers know that I have experienced some heath issues these past few months. Thankfully, I can say that I am recovering nicely and beginning to hold my own, partly, thanks to steroids and definitely thanks to God. So, in a manner of speaking I was able to take a side trip this past Labor Day weekend from our North Texas home to La Grange, Texas. The “Rancherette” was showing her prized Silkie and Cochin bantams at the Fayette County, Texas Fair. La Grange is a great little town. This was our second trip to La Grange and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
So we began our trip with a pickup load of chickens. Let me assure you, they ride in their custom made chicken containers in the back seat of the cab. The seats fold up, thus creating room for these spoiled fowl. They have the air conditioner vents spaced in such a fashion, that each bird practically has their own personal vent. Wonder how all this fits? Well, the ice chest with all the drinks and snacks for humans, along with the expensive luggage, rides in the bed of the truck. Obviously, if one needs a drink or any other personal item, I pull over and climb in the pickup bed to obtain such creature comforts. One can probably identify with the priority.
The trip was fun, if you can understand chicken language. Because space is limited, some birds must share their crates with each other. The hens are cackling, causing one to think eggs are being laid. Wrong, they are communicating with each other, discussing the pros and cons of traveling to a chicken show, like which chicken is going to win and squabbling and arguing with each other. I’m thinking that we were not 10 miles down the road before they began asking, “Are we there yet?” Sometimes, they quarrel and fight and then blame the other for starting it. “You started it”, did not, did too”. When this happens they must disciplined. The “Rancherette” is in charge of discipline. I suggested she use the code words, CHICKEN NUGGETS!, however, she disagreed. If you have children, you will understand the personalities of fowl.
When the “Rancherette” scolds them, most of the time it doesn’t work. When it seems to make a difference, they cease cackling and begin pecking on the bottom of their crates. You may think they are only pecking, however; they actually are speaking in Morse code. It is a trick to confuse us humans, thinking, of course, we do not understand. They do not know I was in the military and can understand every utterance. Then, if that is not enough, the roosters get in on the act with their crowing. The “Rancherette” encourages it even farther by pitting Cowboy, the bantam Cochin against Zorba, the Silkie, in dueling squawks. First Zorba crows, then the “Rancherette” says, “your turn, Cowboy”. And back and forth, they crow. Meanwhile, the hens are still engaged with their Morse code. Reminds me of the movies where the incarcerated rattle their tin cups against the bars and pass notes from one cell to another. The “Rancherette’s” chickens are very smart, but they do not possess the skills to write notes. Therefore, they use codes so the correctional officers will not understand.

And one other thing, the next trip I am going to record some chicken songs on a CD for these birds to listen while we travel. Songs like, “Ain’t Nobody Here but us Chickens, or Ray Steven and the Hen House 5’s version of “In the Mood”.  If you wish to hear their favorite ditty, click on  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PENJxl-THS8. The chickens just love this version.

The last thing I need in the back seat of my truck is a flock of chickens dancing to the tune of the “Chicken Dance”, so that one will not be included. And to think, this is only the first leg, we must still travel back home with these bickering little birds.

Have a great day and Stay tuned for Part II

Lest We Forget

Mother’s Day is almost upon us. This is a day set aside to honor mothers. Not every woman is a mother, thus, not every woman is afforded the opportunity to celebrate this day as a mother. Perhaps the choice was not theirs. Perhaps it was. It is not an inconsequential decision. For whatever reason, they should still be celebrated for who they are, and I for one, choose to honor them as well.

I no longer have my mother with me today. My biological parents were killed in a tornado in 1946. For the first six years of my life, I enjoyed all the benefits of being an older sibling. I was well fed, clothed properly, maybe not exactly fashionable, but clean. I was treated well, had a bed to sleep in and as I recall, an ice cream cone every once in a while. To the best of my memory and from all accounts of my childhood, my mother was a wonderful mother. It was a good life, until tragedy struck this young family; a tornado destroyed all semblances of the J.C. Morrison family, killing my mother, father, brother, and an uncle. I was the only survivor.

As I write this, I have in my hand my 1st grade report card from 1946. It describes the academic grades for my first year in school. Just so you will know, my average grade for the year was an A-, but who is keeping score. However, the front of this card is not the story. On the back, there are lines for parents to sign after each six weeks period. And at the bottom, it says I was promoted to the second grade. The first two lines are signed by my mother, Mrs. J.C. (Mae B.) Morrison while the middle two lines are blank.

The last two lines are signed by my mother, Mrs. N.R. (“BB”) Robertson.  Curiosity got you. yet?  “BB”, as she was called, was Mae B.’s sister. She became my adopted mother. She was the loving, caring mother who raised me. Even in my rebellious times, she continued to love and care for me and she disciplined me, obviously. Ever have a peach limb across your bare legs? Trust me, that was love. That is what mothers do, love their children.

I am sure I must have been a handful at times. Recalling, a stupid decision I once made when I was thirty-seven years old, she flat out asked me, “Son, when are you going to grow up?” I was thirty-seven years old!

She has long passed from this life to her rewards. It is amazing how I never dwell on all the times we disagreed and the times I surely must have disappointed her. Yet her love for me never wavered. I think of all the people who no longer have the presence of a mother in their life. There surely must be good memories you can recall. I hope so. I am blessed to have had two mothers in my life. Mae B. and BB.

I choose to celebrate Mother’s Day, for both my mothers, for the mother of my children, for those who have given me grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and for my wife and her daughter, my stepdaughter.

I lose count of all the mothers I know, but mothers, know this, you are a gift from God. Lest We Forget, thank you, Father, for the mothers in my life.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Two Peas in a Pod

That famous idiom conjures up the imagination of most when they see twins. Supposedly, the two are indistinguishable from each other.  I beg to differ.

In my family, I have four of the greatest great-grandsons. The first and oldest is Judah, at the ripe old age of five. He is quite a funny little guy and an astute individual. He adores his young brothers. Next in line is Zayne. He is a little fellow, I think pushing four and he pushes the envelope with his intelligence. Rounding out the four great-grandsons are Enoch and Ezra, the young brothers of Judah. Each of my great grandsons is special in their own right.

Enoch and Ezra, are twins. Although not identical, they are similar enough to be recognized as “Two Peas in a Pod.”

However, there is where the similarity ceases. For these two are destined to be recognizable in their own right. I am not any sort of prognosticator of the future because of any special knowledge. I can surmise, however, that when God moves into their young lives, great things will happen.

This Sunday, a baby dedication will occur at the church where their parents attend. Enoch and Ezra will be presented to God and their parents will acknowledge that these boys are a gift from the Almighty. In His goodness, God offered these two sons to their mother and father, to be raised in a manner of speaking, as children of God. It is an awesome responsibility. In Luke, we are told that Mary and Joseph presented Jesus before the Lord. What a sight that must have been. Enoch and Ezra, you will have that same experience. of being presented to the Lord.

Enoch and Ezra, I am your great-grandfather. I am not nor have I ever been any special kind of person, just a grandfather. I am entitled to write what I feel. These are words from my heart. In the years to come, there will be bridges to cross, paths to take, choices to make, and doors to open. The world will be at your doorstep. You will make many decisions during your lifetime. It is important, I believe, to ask for guidance from God, our heavenly Father. Because you also have Biblical names, (both were men of God,) it  seems to me that you would make sense of that as well.

When your mother turned thirteen, I wrote her a thirteenth birthday letter. Each of my grandchildren received such a letter on their thirteenth birthday. Thirteenth birthday letters were a way of me acknowledging that my grandchildren were no longer children, but in fact had become teenagers and as such, deserved that recognition. In each of those letters, a theme is prominent. That God is the Source of Life and He should be at the forefront of yours. That is what I want you to take from this. I may or may not be around to write your thirteenth birthday letter. And, just in case I am not, then you may substitute this.

Enoch and Ezra, you both are a gift from God. I treasure that. May you each have a wondrous life. May your dreams be such that you will honor God in each instance. May you never forget that it is He who sustains you. And when the time is right, may you make the decision to follow Christ with a personal relationship.

For me, “Children’s children are a crown to the aged…” Proverbs 17:6.

This is the legacy I hope you will remember. You may be like “Two Peas in a Pod” but you are NOT just any two peas in a Pod. You are special.  You are a gift from God.

Just a proud grandfather

February 24, 2016

I Confess

I confess. I’m not a mother. I am not qualified to be a mother. I have no idea of what is required to be a mother. I do not have the grit a mother has. As a father, I can relate to a connection with my children, however, only a mother can truly understand the bond between themselves and their offspring.

This bond has endurance. It reaches to the depths of their soul. It has a tenacity that goes beyond this world. Time cannot erase it. Circumstances cannot dictate it. It is there, it is permanent. It is indelible.

Mothers have a strength that goes beyond the flexing of muscles. It is an inner strength. Taking multi-vitamins will not acquire it. No B12 shots can fortify it. No muscle-relaxers can decrease the resolve in their heart.

Mothers have a resilient spirit and a buoyant toughness.  Necessary attributes required of such an individual. They have the flexibility to administer discipline in whatever fashion the misdeed deserves, but always in the name of love. When all else fails, a mother will say, “wait until your father gets home,”   upon which when he does he will promptly say, “Whatever your mother says.” If a crisis erupts, they can quickly spring into action. If obstructions pop up, she can shove them out of the way.

This is supposed to be a day of honor and tribute for mothers. Picnics are planned, events scheduled, worship services at your church, all to celebrate a mother. Maybe you have a special moment to wish your mother a great Mother’s Day. Go visit her, call her, I hope you at least sent her a card.

Lest I forget, it is also a day of remembrance for those who have passed on. My mothers (yes, I had a biological mother and an adopted mother) have both passed on. I miss them. My children miss their mother. There are mothers around the world who miss their children. No matter the circumstance a mother’s love for her children is forever. It cannot be deleted or edited from the equation. Life is not always what we expect or desire. On Mother’s Day it is much more significant than any other day of the year.

I am not a mother. However, somehow, I am going to try to think like a mother. I admit it is probably impossible, but I am going to try. Until then, I take my hat off to mothers everywhere and especially to the mothers I know. We who surround you love you.

Happy Mother’s Day.

The Three Stages of Life (In our Backyard)

Shortly after the first of every New Year, many writers sometimes want to stop and reflect on the happenings of the past year. Me, I have a problem with remembering the events that happened the past twenty-four hours, let alone the previous 12 months. Now, I am not one to pick on the mature generation, after all I am a charter member, (of an elder generation, not a maturity level).
So we will dispense with the reflections of yesteryear and focus on what is happening today, January 2, 2015.
I call it “The Three Stages of Life (in our backyard)

Around our home, we have varying degrees of maturity. For example, yesterday, the hatchery introduced a “peep” of ten baby chicks. Newly hatched chicks are called a “peep” or “clutch”. Quite ingenious to name a group of birds “peep”. Wish I’d thought of that. They had just enough “maturity” to break out of their shells and begin the process of life in the fowl world.
At this stage, we do not yet know which birds are cockerels and which are pullets. It isn’t like determining the difference between a male and female puppy. One cannot just roll the bird over and look underneath.
Baby chicks must be taught how to eat and drink and since the Mother Hen (AKA, rancherette) is good at teaching old dogs new tricks, I believe she is very capable of teaching new birds old tricks. It is my privilege to allow her that discretion. That would be a bit of maturity on my part, you know, old dog, new trick. So, this is our nursery and the First Stage of Life (in our backyard).

On to the kindergarten group. There are nine birds in this group. They are not yet out of the “peep” stage, but not into the “big chick” flock, either. Sort of like a youngster turning thirteen going on twenty-one. (Where they think they know everything). These birds range in age from five to six weeks and are beginning to feather out nicely. Because they are Silkies, their skin is black and you can see their flesh through the feathers of the lightly colored chicks.
They are like five-year-old children; do NOT want to share anything. And they will NOT take direction from anyone. Of course, there is dissension among these birds however; the “Mother Hen” is still the mothering type. I can hear her now, “You two stop that fighting; wait ‘till your father gets home, etc…” Have you ever heard that before? Hmmmmmm, maybe I do remember some things from my past. That counts for maturity, doesn’t it?
Soon these birds will be ready to move next door to the “big chick” pen. It will be like a middle schooler moving to high school. (where they think they know everything) While in this pen, they can observe the happenings of the “big chicks”. They should learn from their elders, as if that ever happens.
But such is the Second Stage of Life (in our backyard)

And speaking of the “big chick” pen, there are six hens and one rooster in that group. We can officially call this group a flock. This is when a chick becomes an adult, (where they think they know everything,) and is now past the age of thirty-seven. I’ve noticed this trait in our kennel dogs as well. In fact, this even sounds a lot like human characteristics. Maybe it hits closer to home than I imagined.
Most of these “big chicks” have names and are quite proficient at laying eggs. Well, obviously not the rooster, he is so busy annoying the hens that he wouldn’t take the time to lay an egg even if he could. However, he does “lay” it on pretty thick. He also does a good job of protecting his harem. He encourages them on egg-laying procedures. He wards off evil spirits; you should see his voodoo dance, and he makes sure they have an abundant supply of mealworms. Occasionally, he mistakes the legs of the “rancherette” for a wayward hen and has to be brought back to the real world. That, perhaps, is a lack of maturity on his part.
So, those are the Three Stages of Life (in our backyard) for today. I’m thinking of making a video of these happenings in our backyard. I am going to call it “The Big Chick Flick Trick.” Sounds a bit mature, don’t you think?

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