Saturday, October 2, 2010

New Direction

Now hear this.

There's a new web page in town...make that online.

It Is What It Is

Had an offer I couldn't refuse and put a little something together to make it easier and not so confining as this here blogspot thingy.

Just for your information... the new web page...

It Is What It Is

...will be where all my concentration will be. I hope you will page on over and give it a try. The web page is bit more friendly and still will have all my archives for your favorite stories you love so much....

...the new web page will have an easier user friendly comment section for you to please make use of it..and let me know if anything in there puts a smile on your big ol mugg and brings happiness to those around you...

thanks for hanging in there with me, but please head on over to the new place where I will be a putting words into reading.

It Is What It Is

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's only been 21 years...

Finally, the day has arrived.

Our local university once again has football on its list of sports that fields a team.

Twenty-one years. Wow. A freaking lifetime it seems.

What has changed in your life in the past 21 years? Family, work, bought a new vehicle, discovered a new love or hobby?

The buzz that has been created with the bringing back of collegiate football to our local higher education campus is running rampant like a California wildfire.

Big Red mania is touching just about everyone and everything. Thinking back to the last college game I attended, I remember sitting close to the band in the sun soaked bleachers on the east side. The year, was probably circa 1974-75.

Tonight marks Lamar University's first home game in 21 years.

My oldest brother originally attended Lamar when it was known as Lamar Tech. Way back in the day. I remember him making it as a cheerleader for Lamar.

Now that I think about it, he had a pretty good thing going on...considering the benefits of jumping up and down with the female version of a college cheerleader....

The game is sold out. Standing room only. All the parking lots in close proximity to the stadium are sealed up with tail-gaters and LU supporters.

The stadium has been to bottom. New field house. Newly designed Big Red mascot, snazzy new uniforms, the marching band is back, local football players with a chance to perform at the college level in front of hometown fans.

I bought season tickets. Got plans to take in as much of the festivities as I can and still find my seat. Weather looks good, I'll have my red on and watch from my second level vantage point.

Let's Go Big Red.

The only down side to today... my son has been smitten with the hormone bug. Seems he has opted for a 'party' of a school mate that happens to be celebrating the magical Sweet Sixteen tonight.

Once again, the mystery of the female lure to a growing young man has surfaced. He and his mother even went as far to purchase the 'perfect' shirt for this gala event.

I completely understand.

I succumbed to the lure almost 30 years ago myself; but I DO have the 3 seats ALL to myself, to spread out on to enjoy the first home game tonight.

Support your local sporting venues...and the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.

Go Big Red.



Remember that day!

I am not asking you IF you remember the morning, it's more of a reminder to you to simply not ever forget that day.

Our lives, our nation was changed in an instant. Our security had been threatened and yet, our American neighbors, our American family became closer on that day.

All barriers became non-existent at that moment and continued for a short while. Barriers of our own making.






People lined up together in donor lines for giving of their blood.

People had a new found patriotism and joined our military.

People prayed to God.

And as history tells us, the American society has come together and are rebuilding their lives. Rebuilding our nation in particular, at Ground Zero there in New York. It looks to be a tribute to America and our stamina and intestinal fortitude.

Remember 9-11 as you wish.

It's a freedom you can enjoy. Say a prayer, remember the moment you heard the news, the way you felt, something you heard someone say that has burned into your memory.

Remember 9-11

Monday, September 6, 2010

Counting it a Blessing

Call it what you want, I will call it a blessing.

One of many divine interventions I have received that has provided for my family over the course of my married life and career.

A recent offer from another business unit at the plant site that I have worked at for the last 20 plus years will allow me the opportunity to finish my career with the same company.

A blessing from God to me and my family. Plain and simple.

It really has been a tumultuous ride since the announcement of the decision to 'exit' the business last year.

Some of the men I worked with, managed to find positions with a 'sister' plant in a neighboring county, while others secured new employment with a new employer and refinery. Only a couple actually will take retirement after the wrecking ball finishes its job of dismantlement.

All the while, I was thinking of taking the severance package and going on to quite possibly another field altogether. I have two good friends who are in real estate and I tossed the idea around to get into that field.

Or even going back to my roots of working in the electrical construction industry... but the more I watched my friends drift away to their jobs, I began to wonder and allow that emotion of doubt to filter in.

What if...

What about...

How will you manage that...

The rumor mill had it that the last standing business unit at the Beaumont Works site would be needing specific skill based individuals by years end.

Did you see the second word in that sentence above....'rumor'.

Finally one day, in an informational meeting I was in, the announcement was shared that the other business unit would in deed want to talk to any employees of specific skill sets (electricians, maintenance mechanics, & operators) for consideration in furthering their careers.

Furthering my career....all I need is another 4-1/2 years to finish to reach the magic number to get the 100% of retirement.

As it was, the other business unit had an immediate opening of... count 'em.. 1 electrician...and it just so happened that I was the last standing electrician that was in need of a position after the wrecking ball finished wrecking my existing unit.

Sounds simple right? Still the interview process and the nerves and stress until you finally get the official offer. This took a total of about 2 months..maybe less.

Any one of the guys that I mentioned earlier would of loved to have the opportunity to take that position, but they had to respond to what was in front of them at the time.

Divine intervention..? That's my take on it.

When I look back and see all of the times that God has put things together to provide for me and my family. I simply sit in awe of His power and His grace.

Reckon I am just a work in progress with Him...or maybe it's someone I've yet to meet and be a part of their life or for them to influence my life someway.

Thank you God for all that You have done for me. For getting my attention without the flaming bush or the parting of lake Sam Rayburn like you did the Red Sea a few years back.

Thanks for putting up with me and my weak attempts at being a child of yours. I will try to do better, but, You know that don't you....yeah, You know everything.

Not only do You know our needs, you know them before we do...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sir..Excuse me but...


I found it in the parking lot of our local Lowe's Home Center here in Beaumont. Wasn't even sure when I pulled up to the parking space that was about as in between the entrance and the exit as humanly possible, that I was gonna run smack dab, squared up, and eyeball to eyeball with justice, but I did.

Think back to the last time you were confronted with the guy at the intersection of Have and Have Not. You know who I'm talking about, the man with the sign informing you of his situation, only needing $20 to get back home, or his water pump is busted, or will work for food which usually gets him cash instead of food.

Most of us keep cash or change in our truck consoles or the ash tray, but never is there a spare hamburger or chicken basket in the passenger seat when you really need one.

Back in June of this year, I stopped on the way home from work to buy a replacement ice cream freezer. Upon exiting the store and finding my truck, I was confronted by an individual with these words..

"Sir...excuse me but could you help me?"

The man didn't mind getting up and into my personal space with his request which was short and to the point.

Seems he had car trouble. The water pump had gone out and it was gonna take $75 to get a replacement. He had his wife and their 12 year old son with him and were from out of town.

No kidding, out of town. Actually he said they were from a little town northwest of Houston called Tomball, Texas.

Beaumont is 88 miles east of Houston. The story was a good one but there was that doubt creeping in.

Being the good guy that I am, I dug into my front pocket and gave him all my change that I had. Nothing but coins which probably totaled up to about $3 or $4 dollars.

On my trip home, I kept thinking about his plight and wondered if I had done enough.

Don't you hate it when your conscience kicks in and makes you feel like you know you could of and should of done more. I almost turned around to go back and give him some of my hard earned folding money, but I didn't.

Fast forward to today. Lowe's Home Center parking lot. Me and my son are making a few runs across town, picking up stuff we need. Dog food and dog bones from the pet store. Checked out a couple of items at Academy, then over to Lowe's for the wife's light bulbs she needs for her bathroom.

Pulling up to the chosen parking space, I notice a thin and aggravated looking woman leaning up against the metal catch pen for Lowe's shopping carts.

Man, did she look out of place. We no sooner got out of our truck, than this guy walks right up to us and says...

"Sir..excuse me, we're from out of town...that's my wife who is 5 months pregnant over there and we need some help getting back home. We live in Tomball...a little town northwest of Houston and our car is broken down...."

Hold it right there mister...that's the same story you told me a couple of months ago across town at the other hardware store. Where's your son today?

Me? I don't have a son. We're from Tomball...

Stop the lies buddy. You came up to me 2 months ago with the same story, only your water pump was busted and you needed $75 to get a new one.

Me? No sir, that had to be someone else. I swear to God it wasn't me....

You swear to God...? I don't think so pal. Do you need some help getting out of my way right now and finding your car to head back to Tomball which is northwest of Houston??

Instant justification. The look on his face said it all and put it right back on him in about as quick a time as it takes to answer the question...

Hi, how are you?

Fine, and you?

In a nutshell. I had scored a direct hit. He began to backtrack and gather himself and his 5 month pregnant wife.
Do you remember me saying how 'thin' she looked leaning against the cart storage pen, texting away on her blue berry wireless thingy?

When we exited the store, we made a quick scan to see if they were still around but didn't see any gathering of folks anywhere around.

Score one for the good guys today.

I found justification and loved it. Sure made up for it being a rainy day Monday as we drove away with his words echoing in my head...

I swear to God, it wasn't me.....swear to God.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Just relax will you?

Well, I am trying to..really I am. Seems like I just about forgot how to really relax. But with a few more days like today, the total memory recall should kick in shortly.

This has only been my second weekend off that I didn't have to lead into with taking vacation since early this year.

Yeah, I know, I should be thankful to be employed, and I am. I give God thanks everyday for providing for my family through HIS blessings that include our health, our home, our friends, my job that provides so many benefits, and last but not least a Native Texan.

I have found that every Saturday in August, cable TV's American Movie Classic channel plays John Wayne movies all day and night....and in between movies I have seen, I get to watch the Little League playoffs for next weekend's schedule of the Little League World Series. Talk about some good baseball...take a look see and become a fan of tomorrow's big league stars.

I have almost become one with the couch through the course of the day. Relaxing while watching the Duke, baseball, and even finding time to give you a little posting.

I hope to be a bit more diligent in my writing in the coming weeks as my work situation calms down and isn't quite so intense for another month or so. We shall see shant we?

Have an interview next Tuesday for an opening with another unit at my plant site. It's been years since I have been stressed over doing a job interview so I will let you know how it goes as soon as I know something.

There is a possibility I may be upgrading to my own web page in the near future. One of my nieces is getting married in the near future and her husband to be is an IT tech and offered to help me get my own web page....which would offer a lot more to do with a personal page than this type I have now.

Will let you know as it gets closer.

Take care folks, I appreciate your being here, whether it be by complete mistake OR you actually punched in the address to see in fact.... is what it is.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Memory Triggers

How many times do you hear a phrase that takes you back to a specific event?

Do you have any catch phrases that secretly mean something to only a few of your closest friends or family? Do you remember specific details and how this phrase or single word came to be that triggering mechanism of your memory?

One single word comes to mind that quickly takes me and my wife back to an occurrence while on a belated honeymoon to Florida.

In our attempt to find the interstate highway that would take us to our next destination, we passed a roadside vendor selling peaches. Not just any peaches mind you, these were being hailed as genuine Georgia peaches.

The sign that stated this proclamation read with a southern accent that matched the deep southern twang of the old country boy that was in charge of selling these here same genuine Georgia peaches.

To this day I am not certain just how close we were to the state line of Georgia, so we just took it for the truth and pulled over to see about getting our hands on some of them peaches.

Within just a matter of minutes we had made our selection, paid the man in cash money as was requested and stated on another sign that simply read 'Cash Only', and then we were ready to get on down the road.

Seems like there may have been some banjo music in the background but I wasn't certain.. but then never mind.

The man insisted on carrying the peaches to the car for us to complete the sale and being the good salesman he was, noticed our Texas license plates on our recently purchased, brand new, very first 'newlyweds' car; a 1981 Buick Regal with dark blue crushed velour interior that was highlighted by the then popular landau vinyl roof.

"So y'all from Texas are ya..?" he asked.

"Yes we are." And without missing a beat he replied to us,

"You know, I'd trade all my peach trees for just a one your oil wells...yes sir, every single one of my trees...for a single oil well."

"Well, if I had one to trade you, we might be able to work out a deal..." I replied.

As I was opening the passenger side door, he kind of stopped when I said that, but then quickly continued to placing the two small baskets of peaches on the floor mat behind the front passenger's seat when he remarked to us:

"You know, that's some mighty fine upholstery you got in that there car of yourn, yes sirree, mighty fine it is....well, I thank ya, thank ya kindly now."

We thanked him for his help and told him we would be thinking about his offer and we just might be back one day.

Upholstery. That's our trigger word right there, yes sirree, and a good one too. Clean up to today, some 29 years later. But you gotta say it with emphasis on the first syllable, UP-hole-stree...say it out loud now...UP-hole-stree, Georgia style.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thought I heard something behind me

Are you scared of the dark?

Do you like to watch scary movies? Does your imagination play tricks on you when you are alone? Have you ever heard noises that defy common sense?

Are you alone right now reading this...? Are you sure you're alone....? Is the door locked?

Was that a strange car sitting in front of the neighbors a couple of doors down...?

There was a time when my imagination would run rampant and bring the eerie sounds to my ear. Like the time I was preparing for a hunting trip. It was opening weekend of deer season here in East Texas and I had my checklist of items that would be necessary to make it as comfortable as possible for the next couple of nights.

As those nights would be spent in a tent there in the piney woods of East Texas. Not minding having to rough it, I welcomed the bad could it be.

The night before I left for the weekend, I was talked into watching the movie, and some of you will remember this one...

The Blair Witch Project.

Talk about a really bad idea. Talk about a wild freaking imagination. I heard voices all night long. Even having my loaded shotgun laying next to me wasn't enough to allow sleep to come. I am sure I heard the scratching on the nylon walls several times during the night.

Thought I heard something behind me....

Then there was the time I borrowed my brother in law's pop up camper. Finally off the ground....and safe from the boogie man.

Yeah right. Those style campers have slide out beds that are covered by mere canvas. The boogie man can slice right thru that stuff and get you quick. That night I dreamed the canvas had collapsed on top of me and I couldn't even scream for help.

Fine shape I would of been in if the boogie man and his buddies had shown up. Seems like I was packing my shotgun and my grandpa's old pistol he bought way back when he was running for constable, but that didn't help much against the imagination that was having its way with my mind.

Walking to the deer stand one morning, I thought I heard something behind me... oh crap.

Did I load my rifle? Did I put a round in the chamber? What the hell was that noise..?

Sounded like footsteps behind I spin around, the noise comes from the direction I was just heading....double crap...there's more than one.

I just freeze and hold my breath, figuring dawn is about an hour away and I won't be missed until at least 10 A.M. My entire body would be ... could be ... that noise again is at my feet.

Then I realize that the noise is the small leafless twigs of an indigenous plant that was rubbing against my insulated overalls.

I knew it all along. Yeah right, imagine that.

Then on the walk back to the camp after not seeing anything pass by your stand, you notice just off the path your taking, a rather large collection of animal droppings....and some really big paw in a big cat with big paws that leave big droppings ... and your mind tells you that all cats cover their stuff with dirt so it won't be seen....OR do they?

I thought I heard something behind me the other day, as I was coming in thru the garage... but I realized it was only my rear end that was dragging behind me. These extended hours I am working are taking a toll on me. A two day weekend is just enough to make me want to sleep with a loaded weapon, but the voices keep telling me differently. Hit the snooze button, it's gonna be okay.

Did you hear something just now...? Is the patio door locked? Was that something outside your window?

Must of been the wind.

....or was it?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Amazed...simply amazed

This afternoon finds me chilling under a ceiling fan, watching Wheel of Fortune game show, checking my Facebook page, reading emails, and looking to see how many if any new visitors there have been to this old blog.

Again, I stand...make that... sit before you amazed. Simply amazed. Either you folks have an amazingly docile life like mine, have minimum outside interests, OR just love reading about someone who has it worse off than yourself.

Now hang on a second...don't go and click out of here... that right there was a touch of humor. I really do appreciate your taking the time to come in and check in. My little visitor meter keeps a tally on where you folks are from and that really amazes me. I go on about this fact simply because of the ease that our world comes together.

Really a small world we live in, unless of course you walk everywhere you have to go. I was cleaning out stuff in my office the other day...stuff that my former boss left behind. What a treat I found. Try and follow me with this.

It was a framed collection of post cards, photos, and a program from a museum in Poland. All of these items were pasted on top of a map of Poland and set under glass suitable for hanging.

Curiosity got the best of me with the one envelope facing backwards. There had to be an address on the other side, so I went to work at opening the framed work of Polish heritage.

Amazing enough, the name and address was in English and was actually a local person that lived in my home town of Beaumont, Texas.

Turns out the online service of Google helped with a few of the Polish words and told me the arrangement was about beekeeping. That's right beekeeping and their beehives.

Seems the lady's name was listed in our phone book and from a quick conversation with her husband, she was a certified beekeeper and had traveled all over the world working with bees.

At the plant site where I work, this lady had kept several beehives and had maintained access to the bees for several years with the chemical units springing up around the compound.

Just a heads up, I understand that I will be getting a digital recorder for Father's Day this know one of those things that help with taking notes without having to write it down, so I plan on contacting the woman next week, and see about getting a story from her about the bees and the collection of Polish beehives and the style of hives common to Poland.

You can bet that I will putting this story together for you kind folks that keep coming back for more. You know who you are, all of you...or as we say here in Texas.... all y'all. Which is in the plural tense. Singular tense would just be..... y'all.

So you peeps from Mississippi, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, New York, Delaware, California, Louisiana take a listen right here....we got real life foreigners making their presence known.

There's been a couple of folks from the Ukraine and Leeds, U.K. How sweet is that?

Take care girls and boys, come on back and I promise to have a decent beekeeping story up and running soon.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What a ride this has been...

Hey you're wondering where the heck has ol Jake been huh?

To still a line from an old Mel Brooks film, it's simply been busy...

"Work work work work work work work.."

Current status has me working 7 days a week and putting in 10 hour days. By the time I get up and get to work, take care of business which now includes the duties of a detail foreman, since my boss has taken an 'early' retirement, I moved up a a little bit of paperwork, smooth all the wrinkles out for one work group, hold the hand and tell my electrical engineer that all will be OK, leave for home and maybe even get something to eat, I pretty much don't care to sit in front of a computer like I am doing right now.

But I stumbled back to this here ol blog after paying a few bills that were screaming at me for attention and thought I might give you an update.

Not sure how much longer these crazy hours will continue, but as one friend refers to the overtime....keep making the long green for as long as you can, then worry about getting some rest.

Just in case you missed the big announcement on Facebook, I now...make that WE now have a brand new 'lake-house' on wheels a-sitting in the driveway. Yep, we went and bought us a brand new travel trailer for those close encounters with them slimy green fish up at the lake. It's always fun to get plum bone tired from a day of chasing them critters around Big Sam, my favorite Texas impoundment...and then retiring to a shower and a bed only a couple of blocks from the boat ramp so we can do it again the next day.

But for now, the camper just sits and waits for the maiden voyage to the north country. It sits and waits just across the driveway from the boat that will float me and my stress related woes...the woes from working so dang many hours....float them woes right down to the level of those bottom dwelling, mud and sand creeping, itty-bitty thangs that we don't hardly got names for...that survive without sunshine and fresh air.

Glad you stopped by, I've been checking in on you regular visitors that keep a-coming back for whatever it is you get by reading my writing. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy kind of...almost like Charlie Brown once said about peeing yourself in your dark pants.

" It gives you a warm feeling but nobody notices you...what you did."

Later Tater... see ya in the funny papers.

Monday, May 10, 2010

An Irish Blessing

Had the opportunity to take part in an after school activity with my son last week. Some of you that are fortunate enough to live here in our little corner of Texas may have seen the local news reporting on this story, but you missed out on the best part.

James T. O'Brien, better known as Mr.O'Brien to the huddled mass of students at West Brook High School here in Beaumont, Texas; is what is known and described as a 'permanent substitute' teacher.

That in itself is a new phrase to me. A permanent substitute 'anything' rings of an oxymoron; several of which we have in our world today.

Take for instance the couple of examples I have here.

Jumbo shrimp. Calling someone a shrimp usually refers to the smaller stature of the individual. Putting jumbo in front of shrimp, are they now extra small?

What about a near miss. C'mon folks...a near miss is just wrong. If you nearly miss something, did you not actually hit it?

Getting back on track and as I understand it, our story's subject today has a new challenge in his life. Mr.O'Brien has been diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer. Quite honestly, the news made a stir among the student body and resulted in a form of benefit for their favorite permanent substitute.

The idea of a t-shirt sale highlighting one of many traits that Mr.O'Brien shares daily with the students. At the start of every class he subs for, he gives the class an Irish blessing in writing on the chalk board or dry erase board, whatever they use nowadays. Now mind you these blessings are written in the traditional Gaelic language and widely unknown are the definitions of each blessing. As does every t-shirt that was sold, each has a specific blessing emblazoned across the chest.

Last week on a Wednesday, all the students that had purchased a t-shirt were asked to wear them to class so that a group picture could be taken for the yearbook. Well over a hundred students were prepared for the event which also was covered by a local television station that was aired later that day on the 2 nightly news casts.

What you didn't see was the well organized cross-town trek of about 40 or 50 students, all clad in their green t-shirts to pay an unexpected visit to Mr.O'Brien's home. The intent was to show their love and respect for the man as a mentor and to present him with the proceeds from the t-shirt sale.

Now this cross-town trek would cover maybe 10 miles or so. We would be faced with several different obstacles like traffic lights, getting caught by a train, 5 o'clock traffic, and a line of twenty or so cars and trucks trying to stay in a single line so as not to get lost. My son and I brought up the end of the line and to my best guess as we witnessed the caravan snaking across town, there were probably at least one or as many as sixteen different traffic violations committed but the end result, we all arrived safe and sound at the designated point.

Upon arrival at the LZ (landing zone) the group was instructed as to just how and what they would do from this point on.

When was the last time you saw 40 something teenagers together and actually listened to the instructions and were talking just above a whisper? Yeah, thought's been a while.

Being the only parent in the vicinity, I tagged along the right flank of the group, not realizing that I was about to witness an historic event. From a close distance (oxymoron) across the street I watched the group as they crossed the parking lot, enter into the street all along walking quietly, and into the yard of Mr.O'Brien.

The leader while walking backwards held up a few fingers in a muted countdown to the group and on key began shouting out the mantra to draw out their target of the day...

"O'Brien, O'Brien, O'Brien" The normally 2 syllable pronounced name became at least 3 and sounded like they were saying... oh-bry-enn, oh-bry-enn.

Shortly after about the fourth or fifth shout, Mr.O'Brien appeared at the door of his patio. The meeting would last about an hour which only an innocent bystander would have noted.

There were one on one conversations, laughter, and probably a few tears, oh wait, those might have been mine due to watching our youth of today, taking time out of their afternoon to exhibit the love from the student body to an individual who happened to have chosen a career so many years ago to reach out and make a difference in the lives of children.

As time elapsed, each one of the students were sent off with yet another Irish blessing written across the shoulders of their personal O'Brien t-shirt. Only to be told, that upon each student's graduation, would they learn the meaning of the phrase, no make that the definition of the blessing Mr.O'Brien gave each one.

I am not sure who received the blessing that day, the students, Mr.O'Brien, or myself.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Section, Row, Seat

My brother-in-law offered us his tickets to Friday night's game between the Houston Astros and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Being as I was not planning on working the weekend, I jumped at the offer and had a great night of baseball with just the boys, me and my son Russ.

Since Cindy, my wife & Russ' mom decided not to go, we had the choice of all four seats. Called a good friend of mine that had recently moved just north of Houston, but he and his wife couldn't make it. Maybe another time.

Figured we could spread out if we wanted to just in case there was some big guy sitting in front of us and we needed the angle...which worked out good, since there was a couple of big guys sitting in front of us.

Which leads me to the seat sizes. Now these seats were field seats, yet in the outfield. The area is known as the in real terms not the Field Level seating but the Bullpen. I guess the seats in the Bullpen area are about 4 inches more narrow than those in the 'real' Field Level seating area because I had to hold my cell phone in my hand all night due to the fact that my body mass wouldn't allow the cell phone to remain. No, my shirt didn't have any pockets either.

Speaking of body mass. I recently had an appointment with the specialist doctor that would determine the permanent impairment to my shoulder from the injury I experienced last May. The good doctor did analyze and project me to be 1% permanently impaired. Reckon I will have to live with the pain in the shoulder and the slap in the face description he alluded to in his summary, and I quote:

"I examined Mr. Chambers, a 56 year old white male who appears to be fully developed and well nourished...."

Fully developed AND well nourished?? What are you trying to say doc...just spit it out. Geeze.

After finding our seats in Section 154, Row 6, Seats 19-20-21-22 and finishing watching the visiting team take batting practice, which is always fun since it's almost as good as watching the home run derby prior to the All-Star games, we knew it was going to be a good night.

Section 154 is a pretty good area to catch a fly ball during batting practice we soon found out.

Weather was perfect in Houston last Friday. They began to open the roof in preparation of the evening's game which always is followed by Friday Night fireworks, especially if it's Friday and weather permits.

Incidentally, lots of folks from other areas of the stadium, found their way to Section 154 after the game to get the good seats that were emptied for the fireworks.

But now I must tell you about the guy behind us.

The guy in Section 154, Row 7, Seat 24.

The aisle seat...with a microphone.

Do you have a stereo system in your car or truck that adjusts automatically with the road noise as you drive? Then you will understand this part of the story.

This individual proceeded to drown out all the other noises of the game within a radius of about 42.5 feet. Literally, the couple of big guys sitting in front of us, reacted to the sound of his voice.

Now it may have been the fact that in order to talk to his buddy next to him, he had his sound projection orifice or pie hole...pointed in our general direction.

Which is probably a good thing, because if he was looking the other direction, I am certain the Astros pitching staff would of had the guy removed due to the obnoxious level of sound emitting from this guy. The Astros bullpen was just a few feet away and I am sure the echo of his voice would of been deafening like yelling into a canyon or towards a mountain range...had he been facing that direction.

He was obviously a fan of the game. Everyone around us knew that he was involved in a fantasy baseball league and had been for years and in essence kept the same group of 'team owners' in their group to keep it interesting and most of the group was from his work and only a few from outside of work and that he without sounding like a know it all had won at LEAST 60% or 65% of all his games which is the best by far to date....

Then he started talking about the NFL draft that was happening this weekend and how all the players and teams were going to benefit from the choices while in between the short gasps of oxygen he needed to continue his self proclaimed position of color analyst he was giving a play by play of what was happening on the field of the game we were all trying to watch.

Man oh man what I would give for the mute button...

It was almost comical listening to this guy talk and pound his chest in sharing his knowledge of the game while expounding on the strengths and weaknesses of each player.

I was thinking of getting him some popcorn to see if he could eat and talk at the same time, but then it wouldn't have been fair to the lady that was sitting right in front of him and his sound booth. To have the smaller particles of uneaten popcorn spewing into her hair and her adult beverage as he would have surely choked on with the speed of singular conversing that was taking place.

But he did have the matching seat.

Row 7 Seat 24. He must of thought it meant being able to talk 24 / 7 about sports in general.

Fortunate for us and the rest of the peanut gallery, he and his buddy left to go somewhere else. They were gone for at least 2 or 3 innings.

Totally pleasant it was. Then they returned. With a vengeance.

Russ was sensing my ire and asked to go get something to eat around the 7th inning stretch. Gladly my boy, gladly. Let us walk until we find the finest personal pizza we can discover at the ballpark and we did.

Upon our return, the sound machine was gone and hoping against hope, never to return. We re-captured our seats and watched the end of the game.

Pirates 3
Astros 4

The Friday night fireworks show was worth the price of admission.

Even with the talk show we experienced, we Americans still are able to enjoy the freedom of speech. I just need to have access to the mute button every once in a while.

Thanks to my brother-in-law for the tickets and the wonderful seats. It was a night to remember.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Quiet Passing

A quick check of the folks that frequent my blog...IIWII ( It Is What It Is) always amazes me of the fact that our world seems to be getting smaller as we become closer through technology. The world events can and do effect everyone of us as humans.

Take the volcano in Iceland. It has touched lives from probably every continent on the face of the earth. A gentle reminder that we are simply guests here on this earth and the Creator, GOD Almighty will and can cause us to have an opportunity to examine our emotions and priorities.

It ain't all about us any it?

Just an update to my list of IIWII blog visitors for your casual reading. Some of you are becoming regular readers...OR you're bored to tears and have no life....and I welcome you and your comments anytime. Drum roll please.......(make the drum sound in your head now)

Netherlands, Amersfoort Utrecht
Netherlands, Ten Boer Groningen
Russian Federation, Moscow Moscow City
Paris, France
Worcester, Worcestershire UK

Mountain View, California
Brattleboro, Vermont
Tyler, Texas
Flower Mound, Texas
Flushing, New York

There are others, but I won't completely bore you out of your skull. Actually, I find the visits from the Netherlands a connection to my story today. A small town that sits just south of my hometown of Beaumont, TX is a settlement by the Dutch. It has great heritage to the Netherlands and even boasts of its own windmill in their downtown area. The town, it's called Nederland. (with a long EE sound at the front end)

The chemical plant I have been employed at for over 20 years is closing the doors. Or to put it in corporate terms..."we have decided to exit the business." I give to you my sentiments entitled:

A Quiet Passing

I would wager a guess that most of the residents that pass by the numerous area industrial sites have no clue as to what is actually being produced inside the fences. Oh sure, the refineries make the fuels and lubricants that touch our lives, but what about those smaller facilities that are hidden by a stand of Chinese tallow trees and the entrances marked by overhead signage that eventually goes unnoticed.

There's one chemical plant that takes several different types of solution, solvents, and a base polyethylene to make a product that has touched virtually everyone that ventures by.
As a matter of fact, this single unit has been the primary site that supplied the entire world and has been safely located inside the same set of fences for over 52 years. The product is called HYPALON®.

The DuPont unit between Beaumont and Nederland has quietly been making great strides in the elastomers industry for years and for your information, the product has probably touched every one's life that is reading this. Oh really, you say. Let's do a quick checklist of a few items. Automotive belts, hoses, spark plug wiring insulation. Today's popular athletic style footwear finds our product being used in the adhesives. Inflatable boats, roofing, water treatment facility holding pond liners, snow shoe bindings, and fishing rod grips.

Have I named an application that touched your life? Surprised? Well that's okay too. Just so you will know our corporate management has made the decision to 'exit' the business and production has now ceased and the last bag of product has been boxed. Yes, another local business is quietly passing by and I wanted you to know that we were actually here.

Thanks neighbor, for allowing us to use the small two block area inside the DuPont Beaumont Works Industrial Park.

It's been a good run.

Over the history of HYPALON®, this small unit has produced well over 1.9 Billion pounds of product. It began in 1957 at the flagship facility in Beaumont, Texas. The very name of HYPALON® rings of quality and characteristics as a benchmark for the competition. HYPALON® has proven over time to resist the effects of ozone, heat, chemicals, and also its unique ability to withstand the elements of weather to maintain its coloring.

It is my humble and personal opinion, that the product is still viable and useful in our world, but other factors obviously figured in to the decision of DuPont to simply...exit the business.

Over the tenure of HYPALON®, the team dedicated to operations peaked at 160 employees. Today, just on the edge of extinction, that number stands at 81. Some whose careers will cease with the 'exit' of HYPALON® while others will continue in new directions.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The end is near

Here it is almost the end of April and I have posted just one time this month. Sorry about that, I have been a bit busy...working every day since before Easter...yes, seven days a week. Either days or nights, the whole month has run together.

I only worked 4 hours today and start nights tomorrow. It's really a wild ride out at work. Today actually marks the last day of production and then the product will be bagged and boxed for some customer across the globe.

More than fifty-two years of a run for this little unit near my hometown of Beaumont, and I will have close to 21 years with them by the time we turn the lights out later this year. Maybe in tomorrow's post I will tell you about the little article(s) I penned for the end of the run my management asked me to write.

One thing that keeps passing through my head is the last time I badge out of work, enter into and complete the final rotation of the turnstile leaving work...not sure how that may feel to me. We have been knowing that the 'end' was coming since May 7th, 2009...and here it is almost a year later, and we are still kicking and breathing.

First it was the end of, better make that September...oops, we still have customers that need product. Absolutely and no way in hell will anyone be here past the end of 2009...


It's April, 2010...who the heck is in charge here anyway? Talk about having your emotions jerked around like a rubber ball attached to a paddle. Geeze Louise.

Stay tuned, I will tell you a bit more about the wonderful little product that existed and provided for most everyone reading this post...yep... everyone.'re coming back again ....yeah...thought so.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

If I could ...

I never know where my next idea for a posting is likely to come from. This one is from a comment I added to a column I read regularly on a bass fishing web page I frequent.

Ken Duke, Senior Editor with B.A.S.S. posed the simple question to one of the many audio-video technicians working for B.A.S.S. while having lunch one day.

If you could watch any sporting event in history, what would it be? The technician responded with the first Super Bowl between Green Bay and Kansas City. I guess the fact that the individual was/is a die hard Packers fan may have swayed his decision.

One of the few times, Ken was caught off guard as he was asked the same question in conversation.

Being the avid bass fisherman that Ken is, he kept his selection to a top 3, with the number 1 slot going to the day that George Perry caught the world record bass in Georgia. A record that has stood for better than 77 years since Mr.Perry boated the 22 pound 4 ounce bass in June of 1932.

As I scanned my memory of an event in history and keeping to the lines of my favorite past time of bass fishing, I stumbled upon a slightly different event.

Not one of actual fishing, but the beginning of a historical landmark.

Sam Rayburn Dam & Reservoir.

Or as I like to refer to it as simply, Big Sam.

Lake Sam Rayburn is the largest man-made lake that is situated completely inside the boundaries of the great State of Texas. Named after the political giant known through his tenure as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Samuel T. Rayburn.

My dad moved us to Jasper, TX in the early part of 1965 as I was finishing 5th grade. Little did I know of the event taking place a few short miles northwest of Jasper and the role it would play in the shaping of my life.

Going back to the main topic of this article, I would have loved to seen and document the Angelina River creeping along, leaving its banks and laying claim to the surrounding rural area. Timberland, hay fields, roadbeds, creeks, and homesteads to name a few. To visualize the humps and drop offs the flooding would produce along the miles of shoreline.

There are several places around Big Sam that anglers refer to as landmarks. One that comes to mind is a set of 40 plus year old concrete steps that led up to and inside an old country church. We call this place simply, 'church steps', and depending upon the lake level at the time of any given day, will it be determined if Big Sam will let you see the actual steps of long ago.

I can only imagine the white clap board building, standing on the top of the rising knoll as the faithful members made their way to congregate and celebrate their Easter Sunday sunrise services of so many years ago, because today, the sunrise from this point looking just fabulous. From the front of the church the landscape was a rolling valley down to the river and up to the now far side of the lake itself.

The actual 'deliberate impoundment' of water began in March, 1965 and initially reached the full pool level sometime the next year in 1966.

Big Sam has a mystical draw on me still today. The sights and sounds are truly nature at its finest.

I have seen deer playing near the waters edge. Caught glimpses of otters playing along the shallow water near their home. Photographed alligators sunning themselves on a hump of dry ground in the secluded backwaters of coves.

Watching our National Bird stand watch over his feeding ground. The bald eagle is a treasure in itself. Strong and unmatched in beauty. Majestic and proud. An American symbol of liberty and freedom.

Being able to have and enjoy the freedom of catching the early morning sunrise over the pines as the sun's rays stretch to reach the smooth as glass lake surface, as you clear the end of your cove to turn your boat towards your favorite morning fishing hole.

An osprey dives to take his breakfast from the lake.

The fishing has begun, and I think back to the morning in 1965 that my brother and I drove along the unpaved surface of the earthen levee that runs over 17,000 feet along the south end of the lake...looking out over what level of water there was to see. Not quite knowing the effect the lake would have on me and how life would bring me back to Big Sam.

Yeah, that would of been something to see, don't you think?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Murphy was right

It's been a long seven months since my surgery.

Last Monday was the day of release without any restrictions. Back to full duty at work and play.

Dr. Shoulder Fixer Upper did a fantastic job doing what it is that he does so easily and using those big words while describing the procedure makes it even more profound. Especially since it was MY shoulder and MY bicep tendon that was being re-attached.

Then somewhere along the line, I met up with Murphy.

Everyone has met Murphy at least once or twice in their lives. Some possibly more than others. For me, it's been a lifelong relationship. We are old friends.

Changing gears. Aluminum. The lightweight alloy that touches every one's life in some form. Be it aluminum foil, aluminum cans with adult beverages, aircraft aluminum for the planes we fly in, or even aluminum conduit from the electrical industry from which I consider myself to be reasonably knowledgeable of.

The biggest and simplest trick with working with aluminum products that make contact with other aluminum pieces is simply... lubrication.

You learn this real quick when you run aluminum conduit in the electrical trade.

The ten foot lengths of conduit screw together to make a raceway for wiring which runs from the power source to the field device (night light) so you can turn it on when you're scared at night because your spousal unit is at the lake fishing for the weekend.

Are you following me here? Even the smallest devices made from aluminum need to be kept oiled up while in storage to eliminate end of service of such devices from the galling effect.

Case in point: spare boat plug

Greatest invention known to mankind: WD-40 spray lubricant.

And from what I have learned about WD-40...there were 39 attempts at the right combination and the 40th one worked best....thus the name. Cannot tell you what he WD stands for though.

Now mind you after a long lay off from any fishing, all your gear needs some type of attention. Re-spool your reels with fresh line, charge the boat batteries, run the big outboard with water hose attached in the drive-way (so you don't over heat the big motor) to see if it will even crank, gather all the new lures you got for Christmas, buy your license, check the weather a week ahead of desired day of choice, take vacation if necessary to coincide with the son's spring break, and promise the wife you want let the boy fall out of the boat while running at break neck speeds across the lake to your favorite spot while the sun is just beginning to make a crack at becoming a picture perfect day of a fishing sunrise of a dawn.

We saw the beginning of the sunrise from the parking lot of the boat launch.

The morning couldn't have started any better. Left on time, traffic was minimal, and unknowingly, we picked up an extra passenger when we stopped to get ice.

Say hello to Murphy. He rode along real quiet like with us to Caney Creek Park last Wednesday morning. Never knew he was there until the pre-launch check list was pressed into service.

Case in point: boat plug was found to be 'faulty'...leave it at that. Go to little storage box where the 'spare' is kept. Attempt to install in boat. Note to reader and refer to word.....attempt.

Spare boat plug is/was a model that is manufactured from aluminum. No lubrication and just sitting it the storage box allowed the surfaces to become 'one' with each other.

I am now holding 2 boat plugs that are worthless. Not 30 yards from the water. Almost two hours of driving, after 7 months of anticipation, and no boat plug.

Head to nearest town....

Thinking to myself on the much are you willing to pay for another boat plug. The amount of $20 came and went without a lot of discussion. Amazingly enough, the first store we came to in little Zavalla, Texas had two or three plugs on the shelf...and for less than $4 bucks, we were headed back to Caney Creek Park on Sam Rayburn.


Picture this, boat on trailer, trailer on boat ramp, surrounded by water, and I do not hear any sound of the big outboard running. Get out and ask my son what the heck is going on?

In his attempt to start the outboard, the 'kill' switch had been activated and the motor will not run under any circumstances with this switch in the OFF position. What it will allow you to do is run the battery down and flood the motor with fuel...creating a lot of smoke upon final internal combustion.

Had to jump start the outboard motor battery from the trolling motor battery to get the outboard cranked to get the boat off of the trailer.

Did I mention that I ripped my jeans while stepping from the truck tailgate to the boat...? Murphy!

Remember the sunrise on a picture perfect morning reference earlier...? Not sure what the sunrise actually looked like, since it came up while we were driving to town for a new boat plug.

Instead of the break neck speeds across the lake, we idled to allow the big motor battery to charge a bit, which incidentally didn't give us an ounce of trouble the rest of the day.

Hey Murphy, where's your life jacket?

Somewhere around noon thirty, the trolling motor battery gave it up. High speed on the trolling motor was like low speed. The two real life occupants of the boat made a corporate decision to leave and head back home. Murphy didn't get a vote.

No fish in the boat. Not one stinking battle. No lost lures, only Russ got a couple of 'swirls' at his top water offering.

2010 Status: Fish - 1 / Team Chambers - 0

Murphy was sitting back there on the motor cowling just a laughing away at us. You remember Murphy now right? He's the one most noted as the law of the least in my world.

I now have a new compliment of boat batteries. Sorry Russ, looks like your college fund will take the hit for these and the next time we are at Academy, we will most likely pick up a couple more boat plugs and some WD-40 in the small handy dandy storage box size.

Murphy's Law. If it can go wrong, it probably will.

Murphy was right.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Because I Said So

NO! Not today.

Remember hearing that answer from your mom or dad when you were a kid?

The answer could have resulted from a quickly mounted onslaught of reasons as to why you couldn't live without the new yo-yo, the latest style of sneakers, the new release of your favorite song on 45 rpm record single, or that fixed blade hunting knife on display at the hardware store. But no matter the excuse you presented as to the need for the item which was just a waste of hard earned money in your parents eyes, the answer remained a resounding no.

NO. Not today. Well, when then?

These moments in our upbringing could be considered as character building blocks. Couldn't tell me then, that I would learn from the situation and grow to a better understanding of not getting something on a whim.

This is the general idea and feeling I get when I hear about the special interest groups wanting to ban my recreational fishing.

No. Not today.

Who are you to take away a freedom that every American can enjoy today, simply because you and a few friends think it is hurting the fish when you hook one. There are lots of causes in the world other than the one you choose to attack, assaulting me and millions of other American citizens, who love the fact that we can go fishing whenever we want to.

So you ask...just how bad can it be? You're not a weekend angler you say. Let's look at it this way. Someone out of nowhere decides to try and ban your interest for no better reason other than it just doesn't make sense to them.

Favorite hobbies will now demand purchasing a state license. Sports will require monthly dues being paid to a national organization linked to the environment.

Making quilts, collecting salt & pepper shakers, stamps, rare coins, glass insulators from electrical power lines, or sewing thimbles to name a few will be outlawed.

Reasons...quilts require goose down. Geese are protected now. The other items could be suspect for containing lead.

Do you watch NASCAR racing, baseball, soccer, golf, football. In order to watch these on the weekends or Monday nights, you must go to the local outlet and purchase a one time use special chip to allow the signal to pass thru to your television or satellite.

We have freedoms people. Our veterans have fought for the very freedom of speech I enjoy while you read this. Freedoms many citizens of this world do not even get to experience. To walk across their cities and towns without the fear of car bombs. To cross state lines without check points and to return to our homes at night.

The special interest groups are out there, walking to and fro among us, looking for the next objective, and their next choice just might affect you and your interests. You will have to make a stand for yourself and your friends and tell them...

No. Not today.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Stop the Nonsense

It has come to my attention that some basic freedoms that not only I, but many of you also have...are under attack.

Your God given rights are being threatened.

God given that is, providing that you believe as I do, that the Holy Bible is the sacred Word of God and is to be used as our instruction book for life. And most of my family and friends are members of that congregation...Bible believers.

There is a movement taking place in this great nation that just absolutely astounds me and the fact that people will use their position to further the beliefs of a few, no matter how slanted it may seem or how many it will effect.

I know, you're thinking what is this old country boy rambling on about now. Let's cut to the chase okay?

Animal rights activists.

Not you few tree huggers out there, just the animal rights activists.

Let me clarify that I do not condone animal cruelty. No way, no how, that is just wrong. As a matter of fact, one of our dogs came from the local Humane Society Shelter and I appreciate what job those folks do to in assisting in the care and protection for dogs, cats, horses, and any other domesticated animal we humans decide to try and care for.

However, when it gets to the point that a group of celebrities, tells me that my recreational angling is causing pain and suffering to the fish I manage to catch, is wrong and should be banned; I have to draw the line.

Stop the nonsense. Your ideas give me a head ache...not to mention a few other aches in some well defined areas.

Are you listening to what you are saying? Do you fully understand the effect a 'ban' like this would have on our economy, not to mention the number of jobs alone that are supported by the fishing industry?

Believe it or not, our right to fish was granted to mankind way back. Way, way back. Well before either one of us had the opportunity to participate...and it's documented as well.

As a matter of fact, He had it recorded by Moses in the first chapter of His've heard of His book haven't you...the Holy Bible..and just in case you don't have one handy, here are a couple of the verses I refer to:

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Now these verses are from the New American Standard version. My research shows a different wording He used in the original King James Version...and it is as follows:

Genesis 1:26 And God said , Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful , and multiply , and replenish the earth, and subdue it : and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Isn't it obvious that our Creator has it all under control? Who are we to question His authority and His decision to allow ourselves the right to provide for our family with the food He has provided for us from day 'SIX' of His creation.

See, I told you this went way, way back. Day 'SIX' mind you. So stop the nonsense and let's just get along okay? Besides, when was the last time you visited one of your anti-fishing web pages? Did you realize the google ads on there were all slanted towards fishing?

Yes, you read correctly. Go ahead and go to Peta or google up anti fishing, click on their websites and have a laugh. Those little google ads that pop up along the site content or along the borders, will take you to fishing charter businesses, lake fishing lodges, or something along the line that SUPPORTS the fishing industry

As for me, I will support the likes of recreational angling by going to the lake and spending my money on gas, lures, licenses, food, fish cleaning supplies, sun screen, freezer bags, and ice. Oh and I plan on teaching all of this to my son and each and every grand kid too.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Met my Dad through a friend...

While sitting and reading my backlog of emails, I experienced a sort of epiphany. No, it wasn't of the spiritual type, more like something that makes you say, "ah-ha".

Can't really explain why the subject entered into my mind and thought process, but it did and I figured I would capture it on paper before I got busy and lost it among the sloughed off brain cells lying scattered all around the floor of my cranium.

Just one of those times when you remember something without trying or being prompted to fire up a search engine to search the stored memory sticks of your past.

Strange to say the least.

But there I was and suddenly I realized that there was a person, a co-worker actually from in my immediate circle of friends that reminded me of my dad. This particular friend I can claim as a GFFN...(good friend for now) until he probably sees this and realizes that he reminds me of my dad...but he honestly has a lot of the personality traits that parallel my father's.

Having not 'known' my dad as a friend, simply because I was always busy doing kid's stuff and staying out of sight, out of mind, and he was doing what dads do. Providing clothing, shelter, food, guidance, and a pretty fair meat cutter when it came time to cut up what ever it was that was on my plate that needed to be a smaller bite size for me.

My father was a kind and generous man almost to a fault. One of the strongest Christian men I was blessed to have watching over me. He taught the knuckle headed teenagers at our little Baptist church in the south end of Beaumont for years. Emmanuel Baptist Church on Terrell Street, just off of South 6Th Street, if memory serves me correct.

It was here at EBC that I made my decision when I was about 8 years old, to accept Christ as my Savior and began the journey as a child of God and the ever watchful eye of my dad.

Dad worked several different jobs to keep all the things a family needed coming in. A few of the jobs I remember him working as were a butcher, cookie route salesman, gas station owner, newspaper delivery (entire area in and around Woodville, Texas), not to mention with him being the oldest of his siblings, he began driving a truck for his dad, the Old Man Himself at Roy's Trucking Company in Alvin, Texas.

One of my older brothers went as far as to define Dad as meek. Not timid, just a non-confrontational individual that took care of his business the best way he knew how. With the skills that God had given him to handle the challenges of life that he faced, day in and day out.

Dad was loyal, compassionate, and a friend to all. Unless you messed up and crossed him at some time or another, then he would maneuver around you, avoiding having to deal with you and your spiteful ways.

These are some of the same traits that my friend at work has as well. He is loyal, one of the most compassionate men I have ever met, and a good friend to all. He often ends up being the butt of a joke, only to have a good laugh at himself, along with all the others that may have been in on it from the beginning. He has had his share of knocks and punches that life throws at us, with more landing solidly, like on an opponent of the great Sugar Ray Leonard, the boxer. Any yet, he maintains an even keel so to speak and his ship is usually upright.

Reckon it's true about nice guys finishing last, but isn't 'finishing', a big part of the race of life as we know it? Having to make decisions with nothing but the current information in front of you and with your personal gut feelings you have grown to trust.

Isn't remembering the fact that an individual was in the race at all, something to revel in and celebrate when you recall the adventure? Now don't go thinking the race is over. It is far from being over. This leg of the relay race is currently rounding turn number 3 and heading towards the finish line. There are lots more races to be run, and my GFFN will be in the race of his choice, shoulder to shoulder with his buddies, awaiting the sound of the starter's pistol.

I suppose what I am trying to get across here is this.

I just realized that this good friend of mine portrays the same traits and personality of my dad. A side of my dad that I never got to know while growing up or at least took time to notice and recognized as a friend.

Dad's can be friends too, right?

In fact, if my dad was anything like my friend is, and you have opted not to claim him as a friend, you're totally missing out. And to think that God allowed me to have a chance at recognizing both of their friendly characters.

Personally, I thank God for friends like him every day and the blessings they bring into my stumbles on and along life's speed bumps and S-turns.