rancherwriterpoet

Poetry, musings, reflections, life

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A Perfect Dad, II

As I post this, Father’s Day 2018, is upon us. Seven years ago, I wrote this to celebrate Father’s Day. Since that time I have become a Great-Grandfather to five fantastic children. The first four are boys with the last one being a girl.  What I wonderful feeling.  I am truly blessed. But so are the fathers of these wonderful kids.  I post this in honor of all the fathers in my family and everywhere.

While the great-grandsons are well past the “diaper” stage, the great-granddaughter is still in the midst of “change”. Obviously, the skills needed for girls are quite different than for boys. I am certain “Perfect Dads” have figured that out.

The children we father makes us fathers, the love we show them makes us “Dads”.

“A Perfect Dad”

I am a father of two daughters and one son, as well as a grandfather of four girls and two boys, AND a great-grandfather to a lad named Judah, A fine old biblical name. This year, I received my share of Father’s Day cards. As I read the little poem written inside one card, I could not help but feel very inadequate, for I am anything but a “Perfect Dad”.

Way back when my firstborn (she would dispute the “way back” part) made her initial appearance, I was based on an aircraft carrier in Japan and unable to be there for that ultimate experience.

Later, when my second born arrived, I was there, however, not allowed in the delivery room. I probably would have fainted anyway. She arrived with as much fanfare as did the firstborn.

I know for sure that I went through the burping, feeding, rocking phases, more so with the second child than the first. However, their mother attended to the diapering functions. You have to understand the times in which we were living during the early 60’s. Most men did not attend to such details. However, times, they were a’changing.

When children are born, they are like a piece of cloth. They sag in places, they have a lot of wrinkles, not much hair, at least not my children, and it looks like they were dyed red.

Wrinkled and red.  Skin so soft you’d think they were covered with silk. And everything needed support.

When my son was born, he was no exception. But, like I said, times were a’changing. Through a series of discussions (coerced, I’m sure), I was ready to accept my responsibilities of being a father. Except, my hands were not equipped to handle such difficult maneuvers. I was very deficient in providing this needed aid.

Later, when I felt I had acquired at least some of the necessary skills, I was allowed (?) to take on a few basic functions of caring for him. Feeding him at 2 A.M. was my first privilege. Burping him was another. Always have an extra cloth diaper handy for placing over your shoulder. Notice, I said “cloth diaper”. Disposable diapers had been invented some years before my children were born; however, they were not as prevalent as today. They were expensive, as well.  Thus, we used cloth diapers.

As my skills became more proficient, other responsibilities were given (?) to me. One task, though, was overwhelming. Considering the times when my poor child had to go around with a diaper halfway to his knees, it was obvious.

I laughed, not at the amusing sight, but rather at the very thought of my inexperience of placing the diaper on him in the first place. Of course, there were no instruction booklets attached to the “cloth” diaper. I often wondered how his mother did that. I think she wrote a book titled, “How to Change a Cloth Diaper,” which I of course, never read.

Intelligent as I am, I devised a special method for cleaning cloth diapers. (I’m not sure if I was the first one to use this method.) You simply place the used diaper in the toilet, and while holding to one end, very carefully, you flush. The way to do this is to use some sort of device to your nose or you may hold your nose with one hand, the diaper in the other and use your elbow to hit the flush handle.

However, when I received the bill from the plumber I surmised that the flush method for cleaning cloth diapers was not necessarily a proper decision of a “Perfect Dad.” But, trial and error will teach you the proper technique. It must be noted that “Perfect Dads” have a very sensitive gag reflex.  I often wondered if one could not use the same method for cleaning the child as well, but I was informed that it was not allowed.

Then, too, the cloth diaper method we used required two safety pins, one for each side. This was not easy. Making the folds while holding the squirming child down required a third hand, which I did not have. I never saw a third hand on his mother, but somehow she always managed to pin the diaper on the child without sticking the pins in his skin.

I might also mention that you need protective equipment, such as goggles when changing diapers on little boys. If I were “A Perfect Dad”, I would have known that. (I should have read the book!) As I said, times have certainly changed over the years. Child rearing in this day seems much simpler to me. How hard could it be to change a disposable diaper? Tape it on?

Fathers, Grandfathers, relish in this day. In someone’s eyes, you are a “Perfect Dad.”

My Dad has long since passed on but I recall a plaque I once gave him for Father’s Day. It was purchased on the spur of the moment, a last minute decision.gift.  It featured a pair of shoes with the inscription, “No one can fill the shoes of my Dad.” My Dad loved that small gift. He placed it on his table where he could see this everyday. He was my step-dad but the only dad I ever knew.

On this Father’s Day, take a few moments to reflect upon your father, even as you celebrate being a father. Know that our Heavenly Father is the one truly, “Perfect Dad”, who produced a truly “Perfect Son. God’s Word tells us to “honor our father and mother, that our days will be long upon the land that God has given us”. Ex. 20:12

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” I John 3:1

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

June 19, 2011

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CHRISTMAS SHOPPING

Christmas Eve, Eve! That’s today. Have you finished your shopping? Well, you are almost too late, but not too late to fight the crowds. Time is fleeting! As I write this it is 10:11 AM, here in Fruitvale, Texas. We have one convenience store, a Post Office and a small school. Oh, and a Laundromat. There’s not much to pick from for Christmas Gifts. Of course we could drive to Walmart in the nearest town, but that would involve driving. And there is that traffic problem and the crowds. And all the handicap parking spaces are taken. There is, however, a Whataburger next door.

I ventured to the internet shopping malls for my gift buying. Since the “Rancherette” and the “Rancherwriterpoet” share almost all their experiences together, it is nigh on to impossible to purchase a gift in secret. So I did involve her in selecting her gift for Christmas. She was in agreement with my choice.

After losing our former spouses to illnesses, The “Rancherette” and The “Rancherwriterpoet” first met in December, 2008. It was a bookstore romance, (another story). Sparks flew and one thing led to another and we tied the knot in May, 2009. So this will be our ninth Christmas together. Each season brings a challenge for me in selecting a Christmas gift. I have purchased the usual items such as chocolate, jewelry, fragrances, etc. and I believe she was pleased. But this year I am in a funk about that.

You know you have settled in to a married life when the husband purchases anything with a cord or tools for the kitchen as a gift, be it birthday, anniversary or Christmas. Far be it from me to attempt to purchase any form of clothing by myself. I can offer my advice as to what she might choose when we shop together but one has to be either a newlywed or married a lot longer than nine years to be so bold, otherwise.  Although a see-through piece of lingerie or negligee would seem to be a perfect gift. I’m of the opinion that these items would look good on her, just saying. A husband can live with tools for the workshop but it is unknown whether a wife can fully understand the gift selections from a husband.

So I ordered an “As Seen on TV” item for Christmas. I saw it on TV. She saw it too. We both agreed we needed that. I ordered it on December 14, with delivery scheduled for December 20th. As I said above, it is Christmas Eve, Eve and FYI, still no delivery. And now they say it won’t arrive until the second week of January. Backordered, they say. You can guess what I did. I canceled the item. But the “store” is closed and will not confirm my cancelation or get back to me until working hours on the day after Christmas. I ask you, is that any way to run a business? No!

So, I ventured again to the internet shopping mall. I found the exact same item at another “store”. At this “store”, they say it is in stock. I placed the order but too late to arrive before Christmas. No problem, I wasn’t expecting it that quick anyway. The good news is, I saved $7.47 cents, that is, when I get my refund from the other “store”. But my Christmas shopping is done. We will celebrate the gift exchange in January when the package arrives.

I am thinking, anything that has to do with chickens, dogs, geese, or travel trailers would have been an ideal gift for the “Rancherette”. But noooo, I bought tools for the kitchen. Hmmmmm, that see-through piece of lingerie or negligee is tempting. Ahhhh, just a fantasy.

Hope your Christmas shopping is complete. It is now 1:09 PM. Christmas Eve, Eve.

Merry Christmas

IS THERE ANY…GOOD NEWS?

In the humdrum of everyday life, we often wonder about the circumstances of living and dying. As I spoke yesterday of the loss of a beloved pet in our midst, I am largely at a loss for words. Some have lost loved ones this past year. It is difficult to overcome the effects of death, whether a pet, a friend or a family member. Yet, life does go on. And for humankind, there is hope. I’m no expert on theology, however, I am confident that God is in control of our situations. He gives us peace and even joy to guide us through those challenging times.  Watching the evening news we often ask ourselves a question. This article tries to answer that question.

Malicious tyrants terrorize their people.
The news bears witness everyday,
Their cronies torment unwilling victims,
taking their freedoms away.
Lives are inflicted with shocking brutality.
Authority has blurred their vision.
Even good leaders turn from morality.

Mayhem fills the hearts of men…
Time… and time again.

From the ancient of days to modern day times
From Saul to Ahab to Herod of old
Nations and people have lived in fear
of kings and emperors and others so bold.

But God sent us His Son, Jesus, our King.
Who stepped down from His golden throne.
Good Tidings, Great Joy,
Oh, how the angels did sing.

And there were skeptics all around…
Because a Savior had been found.

And the authorities question;

“Can you not see the irony of this?
This child… a king…? Born in Bethlehem…?
Can anything good come from Bethlehem?
Is this some form of mockery?

I… am Herod the Great,
I will not step down.
I… am the ruler of this land.
Seek him out if you must
But know that I am king, not Him!”

And from more skeptics we hear…
Misguided… mostly from fear…

“From a lowly peasant girl…
You ask us to receive…
This babe— as our King,
This is what we should believe?

Surely, Yahweh God is more than able.
Our foes cannot be trembling at this sight!
Perhaps He could have come another way.
In kingly robes and a gleaming crown
Perhaps a chariot with eight white horses,”

Yet in this manger, a King is found.

for it is written:

“And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:12

“He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.”
Luke 1:32-33…

How many Kings stepped down from their thrones?
For you…? For me…?

Only One!

The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!

“Shout for joy to the Lord, ALL the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King”.
Ps.98:4:6

There IS Good News! JOY… to the World!

DENALI AND THE RAINBOW BRIDGE

Once again, we are faced with a piece of our heart broken. “Denali, Snow on the Summit”, a wonderful male standard poodle, has passed on. He was approaching 8 ½ years. I remember when he came to us as a 3 month old puppy. Although he was never shown, from the beginning he knew how to strut like a champion. He was a brilliant dog, very playful, a bit shy around strangers until he warmed up to you, but he could steal your heart. He had a stuffed duck that we called his baby. When I fed him, I would say, “Nalli”, time to feed your baby. He would pick up the stuffed duck and place it in his food dish. I regret I never got a picture of that. He loved to play ball. We have in our yard a Jolly Ball, typically used by horses, and several of our dogs play with that, but Denali was the best at grabbing the attached rope and swinging it around his head. He would stand there with it in his mouth and dare you to come and get it.

Once, our little black Cairn terrier, Grendel, got out of his kennel while Denali enjoying his run outside. Being the alpha dog that he is, and thinks he is Super Dog, this ten pound canine attacked this fully grown 40 pound Denali. This is where my instinct failed me. I reached in to separate the two dogs. Denali, fully, believing that he was biting Grendel, defended himself and bit me on the hand. The water hose did the trick, however. I have a scar that I will always treasure for it will forever remind me of this beautiful dog.

When Denali was growing up, he never quite mastered the technique of hiking a hind leg to “mark” his territory. Thus he constantly had yellow front legs. He most times “missed “his target.He would be embarrassed if he knew I told on him. But he eventually grasped the gist of the routine procedure.

Denali and his bottle

Twice this year we have seen beloved pets cross over the rainbow bridge. And now, Denali joins Munchie and Prada to play forever. I placed his “baby” beside his head. As I said before, I understand it, but I will never get used to it.

Go rest over the rainbow bridge, Denali, my Santa Dog

 

Denali as Santa

 

CHILDREN AND CHRISTMAS

Many years ago, too many to count, I became the father of three wonderful children. Not all at once, you understand, but one by one. The first one, a little red-headed daughter, we named Cheryl. I was a young sailor, far away in Guam when she was born. It would be several months before I met her in person for the first time. She was a delight in the life of her very young parents. Grandparents were so excited.

Two years and four months later, another little girl came into our lives. We named this little bundle, Kimberly. Kim, as she became known, was a delight in the life of her older but still young parents. Experienced in parenthood, or so we thought, we doted on this new baby in our family. Grandparents were excited at the arrival of their second granddaughter.

Thirteen months later, a little boy was born into this growing family. We named Him Charles. Charlie, as he is known only by family, was, as his older siblings were, a delight in our young family. Now we were really parents with a great deal of knowledge of parenting skills. NOT, but, proud of our family unit. Of course, his older sisters were very proud as well. And his grandparents were thrilled at a boy coming into our lives.

That was then, this is now. My children are now grown with children of their own, the girls with grandchildren as well. It is only a matter of time until my son becomes a grandfather, too. As for this great-grandfather, that makes me so very proud.  I am so proud of my children, my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren.

I wish I would have written a book about all these years as they came and went, back when my memory was much more lucid. I could talk about vacations we took back and forth to different states, about bus rides for hours on end, and back to their childhood when clothes flew out a window. We could talk about those teenage years, of wrecked cars, yes, each child experienced that predicament. We could talk about band and baseball, good grades and not so good grades. We could talk about what they THOUGHT they got away with. Probably not those deeds they actually did get away with. We could talk about the cats and the dogs and Christmases past.

God willing, this will be my seventy-eight Christmas on this earth. I write this to say how much I treasure my family, how much I love each and every one of them.  The distance between our families is only in the miles and not in the love we have for each other. We spent many Christmases together and some were even in hard times.  As adults, we do not always get the opportunity to spend every Christmas together in person, but we always have each other in our hearts. The family has grown by leaps and bounds and I feel very gratified by their love. And now my children entertain their children and grandchildren in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.They make their own traditions and customs. That is how it should be.

Wanting this to be a very public announcement of how much I love my family, I post this enthusiastically and say;

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY CHILDREN. I LOVE YOU

AND MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY READERS

RIP, DEAR PRADA

Yesterday was Father’s Day. It turned out to be an eventful day around our house. I received the customary phone calls and the usual assortment of Father’s Day cards. And I am so grateful for my children and grandchildren. So, thanks to all my family and especially to my “Rancherette” wife.    However, there was a moment of sadness yesterday. If you are a pet lover as we are, then perhaps you may understand. We have many animals around our home. Chickens, geese, dogs, and they all seem to cohabitate with each other, within certain parameters of course. We love each and every one of them. So it is with that certain sadness we grieve a bit over the loss of one.

Prada, a beloved standard poodle, lost her bout with cancer. She was two weeks shy of her 10th birthday. She was an exceptionally sweet dog with a like disposition. In all of her days, I never heard her bark. She never growled. If there was ever a dog that smiled, she was the one. She was shy, yet playful in her own way. Never a cross word with any other dog. She was small for her breed and never had puppies.  She loved peppermints as do all of our dogs. However, she was terrific at “helping” to unwrap the mint. When we let the dogs run from their kennels in the afternoon she would hang around in order to get an “extra”.  It was almost like a game with her. I’ll miss that.

I do not know God’s plan for animals. He certainly must have enough love for each. It is with a certainty that dogs bring about a sense of belonging in the world. They serve a purpose. In my life I have had many dogs and a few cats. I have loved each and every one and each has brought joy to my life in one form or fashion. The remaining dogs in our kennels must sense a loss in some sort of way. I suppose they grieve a bit as well. So this new day breaks and our lives continue and the days move forward.  This will happen again and again. I will never get used to it. RIP, dear Prada.

INSCRIPTIONS

Can you imagine sweethearts putting their initials inside a heart carving on the trunk of a tree? I believe that young people have been doing that since time immortal.  Perhaps, you have done that, etched your initials on a tree. It isn’t just for lovers. But it can be.

On occasion I confess to being somewhat of a romantic. A recent download caught my eye about writings on trees. I composed this poem for my own enjoyment and decided to share it on my website in honor of “The Rancherette”. I hope you enjoy it.

INSCRIPTIONS

Under the canopy of a weather-beaten old tree
stands an antiquated little wooden bench.
I sit serenely on this small resting place
studying the engravings on the bark of the tree.

I ponder the originality of those etchings
and wonder of the hands of these crafted designs.
It is a unique process that guides my thoughts,
mesmerized by the inscriptions of expression.

The impressive creations imprinted upon this trunk
were carved with great expectations.
It is the intuitive genius of the illustrator
to seek approval from the intended.

Immersed in the hush of my surroundings,
I am intrigued at the theme sculpted into the wood,
From my vantage point on this little wooden bench,
I derive inspiration and contentment.

My imagination runs the gamut.
Songbirds warble melodiously and pleasing.
Such creatures of tuneful sound and splendid beauty
should not remain hidden or dissuaded.

These charming feathered friends
submit that romanticism’s in the air
and from the little wooden bench
I perceive that love is written everywhere.

bird-singing

The carvings on this weathered tree of sublimity,
portray the many natures of relationships,
from the corny to the poetic to the sensual,
as I see it from my  little wooden bench.

tree-carving  Pete Robertson
i-love-you-heartFebruary 2017

The Peculiarities of Nature

I sometimes feel the need to explain myself. No matter what course of action I take, it does not always seem illuminating. I wonder if you ever feel that way.
In writing this poem I was influenced by the weather of late. Temperatures hovering in the teens and a smattering of white fluffy stuff drifting about the surface of a frozen earth. Living here in North Texas, we occasionally experience varying degrees of weather. Snow, ice, cold temps, makes one want to stay in bed. Well at least when one gets to be my age. Maybe I should not generalize.

Let me put it this way, I, at times, want to stay in bed and can’t. I find the circumstances to be exasperating. The occasions that come to mind are those in which I find myself with a serious motive for rising early. On these occasions, my desire is to stay there however, the circumstances prevent that desire.

On the other hand, some mornings I am not obligated for any particular project and have the freedom to stay a bit longer. However, I awake at an early hour and find myself unable to go back to sleep. Such is the revolving degrees of slumber and I have no solution.
So here are The Peculiarities of Nature. Perhaps you may see the motivation in this poem.

The Peculiarities of Nature

The early morning sun rises daringly
through the slits in the venetian blind.
Peering timidly from within, I resist approval.

I battle its domain;
He, not willing to retreat,
Me, not ready to abandon my comfort.

His actions imperil my sense of slumber.
As the darkness retreats, I stare helplessly,
Even as my vision flounders in the shadows,

Events of pretend still fresh
Of faraway places in my mind
I struggle with consciousness.

I feel bewildered.

I seek authority; there is none
I seek motivation; there is none.
I seek insight; there is none.

The whims of nature are tenacious.
The glimmer of his powerful rays
overcome my illusions of self-possession.

His persistence is overwhelming.
The venetian blind, raised to the limit,
my eyes are focused distinctly.

The morning ritual is bright and cheery
and I reap the reward of full satisfaction.
Good morning, Morning!

                                                                                                                                       Pete Robertson
© January 2017

Stay warm, wherever you are.

 

Federal Holidays

Today is January 2, 2017. Considering that yesterday was Sunday, January 1st, 2017 and New Year’s Day, I decided that if the Federal government can take the holiday on Monday, I will too. After all, I mostly do what my government says to do, especially when it comes to holidays. I observe every single one. That’s my right. I drive the speed limit, use my turn signals, (that’s a novelty), pay my taxes, (reluctantly), do not text and drive, nor do I miss a Dallas Cowboy game. I voted, (cried over my choices, but still voted) paid my mortgage on time, bought stuff on line, attempted to clean out the garage, but failed miserably, and helped “the Rancherette” with her chickens. The government did not tell me to do that. I volunteered.
As for Federal holidays, there are officially ten in the year 2017. I plan on taking every one of them. If the holiday falls on a Saturday, then it is observed on Friday. If it falls on Sunday, it is observed on Monday. Rest assured, I will observe them. I also noticed that certain holidays have been shifted to a Monday in order for observance of a three day weekend. Eight of the ten holidays for 2017 actually fall on a Monday or Friday. That accounts for twenty-four days (three day weekend x 8) of the year that can be non-productive. I plan on being non-productive for at least, oh say, twenty? And these do not even account for snow days or early dismissals. Living in Texas, we probably won’t be able to use any snow days or early dismissals from our government job. The school kids will dream, though.
I did not have black eyed peas and greens yesterday. I have tried it for, lo and behold, many years and the so-called good luck and prosperity that comes with this tradition has never materialized yet. So I skipped the southern delicacy. I settled for Mexican food. That type of food never gives me any good luck or prosperity either, but sometimes it does give me heartburn, especially the re-fried beans. Had the Barbeque joint been open, I would have opted for some good smoked BBQ brisket. There is nothing like a brisket dinner with beans, potato salad and Jalapeno peppers. Well, maybe a little heartburn. Sadly, no good luck and prosperity with these foods either.
I read that George Washington’s favorite food was Cherry pie. Martin Luther King’s favorite was pecan pie (That’s Puhcon pie, not Peecan pie) and July 4th is famous for baseball, hot dogs and Apple pie.(And of course, Chevrolet). Notice that these are also federal holidays.
Looks like pie makes my list of good foods. I am in favor of eating good food. Being from Texas, we have a very interesting assortment of good foods. Southern Fried Chicken is one of my favorites, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, another and cornbread. (Leave out the sugar, please) The list is endless and I like them all. I suppose my favorite is BBQ, so I am choosing to make one New Year’s resolution this year; I resolve to eat more BBQ, to heck with the heartburn. I think I can keep this one.
I hope you resolve to experience this New Year in good health and an abundance of happiness. I hope it will be an enjoyable one for you and your family. 2016 was a heck of a year. It certainly had its ups and downs around our backyard. But we experienced it and are moving on to 2017. I hope you do as well.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, FOLKS.

Christmas Dream

I had this weird and crazy dream again,
about an old grey-headed mirthful man.
he had a hoary look upon his placid face
yet not one whisker twisted out of place.

In my dream, he called my name
Curious to know was I to blame?
He said my name was on his naughty list
This Christmas, he’s sure my house he’ll miss.

In my dream I wonder, “Just who is this guy?”
I’m pretty all-fired sure we don’t see eye to eye
There’s no naughty stuff to which I will confess
And if my name is on your list you need to reassess.

In my dream, this stout and rotund chap
has caused a bit of anguish and somewhat of a flap.
These so-called naughty things he has inside his file?
nothing more than lies and frankly…, it just makes me smile.

it’s time to put this stupid dream on pause
What’s your name? I ask, He said…, it’s Clause.
First name’s Santa”, “just to be exact
Your numbers up, your Christmas bag’s not packed.

In my dream, I wonder can I fix this matter
Maybe leave some treats on a silver platter?
Perhaps a glass of golden chardonnay
would make this awkward crisis fade away.

But wine’s not guaranteed to fix your elfin case
You’re naughtier than me, he’s not coming to your place.
‘Cause in my dream, I see the lengthy “naughty” list
My name’s erased, but your name still exists.

So, here’s a plan that might not be too weird
go sit in Santa’s lap and smooth… his bushy beard
Check out the gleaming in his sparkling eyes
And if that doesn’t work, then simply improvise.

I won’t be describing all the intricate details
I can tell by observation, your tactics did prevail
I don’t know the tricks in your repertoire.
Somehow your name’s erased, and that was no small chore.

So, it looks to be a Merry Christmas after all.
with Christmas trees decked out in shiny Christmas balls
Be sure to leave him cookies, he’ll surely wear a smile
since he wiped our names from his lengthy file.

Merry Christmas
Pete Robertson
December 2013

P.S.

Glad we made it through this year and so we bid adieu
but Old Man Santa’s list will soon begin anew
I’m starting out from scratch to mend my naughty stuff
I hope you do as well, and hope that it’s enough.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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