Tag Archives: my dad

That happy summer magazine

With kickoff to the new season of football starting…today! (we’re talking college football, ya bums, which is the only football that really matters!) I thought I’d yak about it a bit.

NewMadridEarthquake1990Some years ago—long before the internet and email—I used to receive regular packages from my dad full of newspaper clippings of assorted stories of interest and sports pages. Now, he didn’t just save me all the sports pages, but only the ones that had news about the Arkansas Razorback football team. Back in the pre-internet days, it was very difficult to get news of my favorite team because I was outside the state of Arkansas. In fact, when I was living in California, during football season I’d get a vhs tape around Thursday that had the game from the previous weekend in addition to the sports pages.

I absolutely loved getting those packages. I’d read up the papers, watch the game…and often I’d call dad. This was in the day when you had to pay for your long distance call by the minute, so our football conversations were often brief.

Dad used to send me the summer preview edition of Hawgs Illustrated, which is loaded with roster/player/coaching info to get Razorback fans hyped about the upcoming season…after he was finished. Somewhere along the way—and I don’t remember exactly when—I got a copy in the mail addressed to me! And it was NEW! I called and asked Dad if he’d sent me a copy because I was confused why the publisher was sending me one…and he said he’d ordered me a copy when he ordered his copy. One year my magazine even came with a post-it note attached that said something like “From Dad.”

He’s been doing that every year since.

My happy summer magazine, courtesy of my dad!

My happy summer magazine, courtesy of my dad!

And it’s STILL a happy surprise to get the magazine in the mail…mostly because it reminds me that my dad was thinking about me when he ordered his copy.

Thanks, Dad!

Here’s to a fun football season! Go Hogs, WPS!

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That little contraption

I’ve got this little tray-contraption chock full of nuts and bolts and screws. It’s something I got several years ago when I realized that tossing every little piece into a Tupperware bowl just wasn’t working. Plus, the bowl couldn’t hold them all anymore. One of the trays has so many screws in it that it’s hard to open. So why is it that when I need a certain sized bolt or screw I don’t have the size I need?

It’s true. Just this last week I was re-attaching bathroom cabinet doors, drawer knobs, and the hardware that goes along with them. Without getting into my wife’s method of UN-attaching them, I discovered I needed 10 screws to reattach the doors. I could put the hinges back on the doors, but couldn’t attach the hinges to the cabinets themselves.

So I went to visit my little contraption.

Notice the duct tape at the bottom and the plastic "hand cuffs" holding the handles together.

Notice the duct tape at the bottom and the plastic "hand cuffs" holding the handles together.

It’s not that big; about 18 inches tall. There are 3 “doors” across and 4 down, giving me a total of 12 doors (see Mom, I can do math!). One latch at the top releases all the doors so that they fold down opening the trays up to me so that I can remove the necessary piece and then close it back. I’ve got an exact duplicate attached to back of it, making the contraption seem 2-sided.

Which reminds me of a time my Dad asked me about my little contraption. Once on the phone shortly after I’d purchased the contraption, Dad asked me where I got it. He said he’d seen it during his last visit and wanted something similar for himself. I told him I’d purchased it at Sam’s and it wasn’t one, but was two. He insisted that it was not. He had seen it very closely and examined it and it was one solid piece which had trays and opened up on both sides. I assured him he was wrong…but he’s my Dad.

During his next visit, he wanted to see it. I took him to the shed, showed him the plastic “handcuffs” that still held the handles together…and then pointed out the duct tape across the bottom. I had to promise him that I had indeed added the duct tape after the bottom “handcuffs” broke and that the tape didn’t come as part of the purchase. I offered to buy him 2 contraptions and tape them for him.

He returned to the house.

Anyway, I had one screw the size that I needed. I rifled through for a minute but couldn’t find any because they’re so small. So I dumped them all out…on the ground. In over 100 screws, not one…NOT ONE…was the size I needed. That’s just hard to believe. What in the world, then, do all those 100+ screws I have go to? Why do I have them?

I didn’t want to go to the store, so I did was all good Southerners did.

I used duct tape.

No, not really…I got the next size up, but I sure thought about using duct tape!

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On the treadmill

About a year ago, my son Brett asked if he could get on the treadmill and walk. He’d seen me do it a lot…okay, not a lot, but some. Anyway, he wanted to do it, so we let him. This happened at my parents’ house in Arkansas and the treadmill is kinda behind Dad’s chair. I hooked him up to the abort string—the little string that if you fall, the treadmill stops so that the user won’t go around and around like George Jetson—and set him walking.

So he’s walking at a decent little pace and the rest of us go back about our business, which was probably just chatting, solving all the issues of the world.

Unbeknownst to us, Brett was playing with the buttons on the top. We should have noticed the treadmill sound, but didn’t. What we did hear was Brett say—in a VERY calm voice, mind you: “Uh. Can somebody help?”

When we look over at him, he’s running full speed hanging on to the side rails, having accidentally cranked the speed all the way to the top. I wish I’d had a camera to capture the look on his face.

About a month ago, I started walking pretty regular on the treadmill. I’d gotten reenergized because of a “challenge” by a group of ACFW writers. While I don’t know what my cholesterol is now (I haven’t had it checked in some time), the last two times I’ve had it checked, it was high. I was even prescribed medicine at the last doctor visit. He said, however, that I could help myself a lot by losing some weight.

While I never really considered myself overweight, I figured it had to be an issue if the doctor was telling me to lose some. Truth of the matter is that I’m about 50 pounds heavier than when I graduated high school—oh so many years ago! Frustrating thing is that when I was a junior and weighed in a 170, I tried everything I could possibly think of to gain weight. As an offensive tackle on the football team, it wasn’t unusual for me to go up against guys 220 or more. I desperately wanted to get to 190.

Now, I’d love to get DOWN to 190.

I got out of the habit around the time I went to Minneapolis…but I’ve been back at it for about a week and a half now. I had a preacher once remind us that if you did something for 30 straight days, it was a habit.

I’m not sure about that. I hate exercising. Oh, I like to participate in sports activities, but just to exercise. I can think of 100 different ways I’d rather spend my time!

I’ve tried all sorts of things to help pass the time: watching TV (I have to turn it up so loud and even then I can barely understand), reading (I just can’t focus on the words) and other things. But this time, I’ve found a little trick this latest time around: Playstation.

Yep, I play NCAA football while I’m walking. Hey—I’m closing in on 2 miles per day, so it’s a victory—a minor one maybe, but a victory nonetheless!

On another happy note: The kids brought their report cards home on Thursday and they both made straight A’s! Mom and Dad are very proud! J

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Dear old Dad

Okay, before you read any further, you need to clearly understand I love my Dad. I need to make sure I’ve got that out of the way upfront here so there’s no mistaking it. For the most part, I’ve always had a good relationship with Dad—with the exception of this short period before I moved out of the house…and we couldn’t agree on the proper length my hair should be. J

But Dad has a knack for fixing things up. Well, mostly. If he doesn’t understand it, he’ll tackle it and try to understand it. He’s very mechanical-minded, too.

I’m not.

In spite of the fact that he tried very hard to pass that mechanical-mindedness down to me, it just didn’t take. It was just one of those things I never really had an interest in. Yeah, I like my car. I want to put gas in it and I want it to go. I don’t really care what happens under the hood as long as it gets me from point A to point B.

When my sister, Angie, and I lived at home, he would always do stuff for us, sometimes on the sly to see how long it would take for us to notice. Keep in mind, before he retired, my Dad would wash the cars once a week—whether they needed it or not.

Once, when my sister was having tire-problems of some sort (brakes? I dunno), Dad worked on them and then decided to go with her to buy new ones…or something. As Angie was driving down the road, she suddenly looked out her window and saw her tire passing her by on the road! Yep. Dad forgot to tighten the lugnuts and it held for a while, but the tire eventually came off and rolled right past her while she was driving on the road!

Throughout the process of our move down to Mississippi, most of our stuff has been stored in Dad’s big (new!) shed for some time. Once we bought our house, it was time for us to get all the outside stuff, too: lawnmowers, etc.

As I loaded up, Dad let me know that he’d worked on my riding lawnmower while we were in Oxford and the mower was under his shed—something I was very grateful for. He’d greased it and all that sort of stuff—tuned it up.

Well, the other day, I was mowing and suddenly noticed the grass was cutting funny. No, my tire didn’t sail past me. But as I got off the mower to look at the grass, I noticed a lawnmower blade sitting pretty as you please in the path behind me. Now, I would have thought if the blade came off, it would have shot out. But I think I’ve figured out that it simply just “unscrewed” as it cut…and then just dropped off. I found the nut right beside the blade.

That’s my dear old Dad!

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April fools

April Fool’s is always fun

The recent uneventful passing of April Fool’s got me to thinking about April Fool’s past.

Before I go there, one of my favorite “hoax” stories wasn’t even intended as a hoax. On October 31, 1938, Orson Welles performed a live radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ famous War of the Worlds. Residents in the tri-cities/New Jersey area believed the broadcast to be real and mass panicked.

Just like a bunch a’yankees to believe the Martians are invading!

April Fool’s is always fun around the Mann homes. Though I’ve never asked, it must be extra special to my Dad. For more years than I care to admit, when I was a kid, Dad would come running into my bedroom and holler for me to look at the snow. He did this to my sister also, and since this is my blog and not hers, I’ll say that she was by far the most gullible.

Now when you’re a kid (and some adults fall into this group), snow is one of the coolest things God created. The right amount of snow would get you out of school, but a big snow would let you get outside and allow you to do all that fun snow stuff like sledding, building snowmen and having snowball wars… something we don’t get to do a lot in the South.

So when Dad would run in and say go look at the snow, I was excited. I’d hop immediately out of bed and run to the window, only to be greeted with the dreadful “April Fool’s” words right about the time I opened the curtains. Of course, I would always be immediately agitated and hop back in bed—because it was invariably always early. Dad is (was) an early riser and I’ve always been a night owl.

But, you know what they say about payback, right?

I was around eleven, not sure my exact age, but it doesn’t matter. At this time, Dad was working the second shift at work; I’d wave to him from the school bus—I was coming home as he was leaving to go to work.

That particular April Fool’s morning Dad was still in bed. I ran in and told him the calves were out. We had a small farm just south of Memphis and Dad kept a few cows to help keep the pasture down and for beef. We also had a pony. For some reason that I can’t remember now, the cows frequently got out.

Upon my announcement, Dad dutifully and sleepily got up and got dressed. I waited in anticipation near the back door. He walked out the back door with me hot on his heels. After five or six steps, I hollered out the famous words “April Fool’s!”

Without saying a word, Dad turned around, walked past me back into the house and went right back to bed.

I returned to the house to find Mom standing in the kitchen with a big grin on her face. I remember that I told her that I thought Dad was mad. She laughed and said he’d get over it.

I don’t think I ever told Dad it was Mom’s idea in the first place.

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