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A Boy’s Life and Dad’s Memories

September 30th, 2010

We were up playing on a swing set the other afternoon, and watched the yellow lab nosing around – we quickly realized that our little persimmon tree already had ripening fruit this year.  In the past it only had a few persimmons, but this year there is a couple of dozen all over the tree.   The boy loves to gather persimmons!

Persimmons

I’ve read that a good rule-of-thumb is persimmons are ready to harvest around the time of the first frost.   That must be a more northern axiom because a bunch of these were early this year, and we gathered them from around the tree and even picked a few.  Hooray! We’re going to make persimmon jam this year!

Not to be outdone, the chickens are also doing great.  I managed to put a light with a timer in the coop now, so all we have to do is feed, water, open/shut their door, gather eggs… clean… ah, well okay- we’re still pretty involved in the chickens lives.  But they’re giving between 6-8 eggs every day, and the eggs just keep getting bigger.  The boy loves feeding and handling them… and getting the eggs!

Boy and chickens

He gets home later from school this year, but the first thing he does is run out to play with them.   It’s a lot of fun, and the chickens are fairly tame.   They cluck and fuss, but generally we can catch and pick them up.   A little scratch has them following us around like lost puppies.

Besides persimmons for jam and jelly, it was also time this week to harvest some autumn berries.   The boy and I went to pick them off the shrubby trees- he calls them “Diamond  and Ruby Berries” because they’re so pretty.  These trees are actually invasive, and grow like weeds.  But they certainly produce alot of berries.   And they do make for a delicious jam.

autumnberries

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On a different note, there’s something about birthdays, especially for our children.   We watch them grow up so quickly, and are amazed at the passage of time.  We’ve had that kind of week here, and enjoyed sharing a birthday for the young boy.  I thought I’d share a few more memories…

Once upon a time, a little boy went fishing with his Daddy.  They caught a nice little Bass and the boy was amazed.   After Daddy showed him the fish, the little boy looked at it and pointed to the water where he came from… maybe saying, “Put it back!”  They watched the fish swim in a little pool for a while and then let it go.

Dad and Son Fishing

Ever since that time, the little boy has grown up fast.  But one thing he really likes is to go fishing, or well… mostly catching fish!   Naturally Daddy doesn’t mind this at all, and looks for opportunities to help fill that desire.

Sometimes the boy acts silly when they catch a big one…  like the other night.

I caught a Big Bass1

And then he laughs.  Isn’t it great when you can do fun things together!?

Happy Catching Fish1

I hope he will always have some time to enjoy fishing.  I will never forget the brief times I spent with my grandfather, my father’s father.  We lived around the country while growing up, and only saw the grandparents a few times each year.   I was eleven or twelve when my grandparents came to visit.  My folks took us fishing at a local reservoir- and dropped off grandfather to watch us while my brother and I would fish.   He sat in something like a wheelchair, and just watched.  I remember showing him a tiny little bluegill, and he just smiled.   He had a strong love for the outdoors.

I remember visiting later at my grandfather’s 72nd birthday celebration… upstairs in a tiny 3rd floor rowhouse in Pittsburgh, Pa.   He was in a wheelchair, and my younger brother and I had picked out a special card with a picture of a fish on it- an outdoor theme about fishing.   He couldn’t talk or move very well, perhaps from a stroke, and we gave it to him and he just read it for a time with his head down.

I’ll never forget how he then looked up at us, with a difficult smile and he had tears in his eyes with a penetrating gaze that spoke volumes about how much he appreciated some measure of understanding for his love of fishing and the outdoors- and his family.

It may have been the first time I realized the connections and shared ideals we have within our lives and those we share them with.   I also felt a bond that was so strong in terms of our shared love for nature and the outdoors.  It was such a special moment, even now its hard for me to write about it without choking up a little.

He passed away within a year of that time, just short of their 50th wedding anniversary.   I still have a little prayer card from the funeral.  I felt sad for my father- we lived in California at the time, and he was called to come see his father in the hospital who was gravely ill.   He traveled across the country as quickly as could be and arrived five minutes too late.

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And now our little boy is growing up- family connections and threads that tie us all together.  We celebrated his 10th birthday this week.   His Daddy remembers when he was not quite three years old, living in Japan.  After months at sea in the Middle East the little boy was there waiting for me to get off the ship. :)

Navy Homecoming 2002

Memories… my favorite is the time I met them in Hong Kong.  The aircraft carrier pulled into port, and they arrived in an airplane from Japan.   I was waiting in the airport after several months at sea and wondered if he would still recognize me.

When you’re in the military, little kids see so many other parents on base in uniform that they often think they see Daddy or Mommy.  I’ve watched other young children run up to a complete stranger and begin hugging their  legs, quite startling the adult.   The look on those kids faces when they see that it isn’t Daddy (or Mommy) is heartbreaking.   They came through the gates amidst a throng of passengers, and I saw a little boy walking with his Mom… he saw me and yelled “Daddy!” and came running.  I’ll never forget that moment.

Or these ones…  we’ve spent so much time working and playing outside together- the boy loves it.  This was a couple of months ago in the garden.

On Daddys Shoulders1

I have to say he’s an amazing kid, and I’m so proud of him. And so is his Memaw! He loves to visit her house just a few miles down the road. Yesterday when we went to watch a cross-country meet where he ran (he did great!), and his eyes just light up when he sees her.  This was last Christmas… the time passes so quickly.

Visiting Memaw at Christmas

He knew my father for a time- a few short years before he passed away over five years ago.  I love this picture… it’s from around 2003.

Memaw and Bepaw

 The boy’s memories will be brief, but I’m glad they had some time together.

One of these days I’ll share more about our journey.  For now the boy is loved and I know will grow into a fine young man.  I hope his experiences will help him learn and develop so that he makes positive, constructive choices in his own life.

Cub Scouting1

He’s a Webelo Scout this year, and as the den’s leader I take such pride in watching all the boys grow up.   It’s the stuff of God and Country, but in scouting they learn so much more, especially about character, sportsmanship, leadership and the values we share in life.   I have about 12 boys in our den this year- and most of them have been together for the past three years.   When I see the littlest ones, I can hardly believe they were ever that young.

The next decade is a big one… I pray the excitement, challenge and exploration that he’s bound to experience are tempered with sound judgement, courage and faith.   And a little common sense along the way :)

I suspect my writing may slow down a little as we catch up on priorities at home.   I’ll try and get around a little more, and be back here when I can…   Best wishes for a wonderful Fall season.

 

8 Responses to “A Boy’s Life and Dad’s Memories”

  1. Edon 30 Sep 2010 at 8:11 am

    The only wild persimmon grove in Iowa grew just up the road from our farm in a neighbors fence line. I used to stop by after a late fall bike ride to ‘steal’ a few. But like most people, our neighbor didn’t realize the significance of that grove and bulldozed the trees out when clearing the fence line to stretch up a new fence. I’ve missed them ever since.

    Excellent post on your family. With my wife essentially on ‘leave’ for three years, I’m guessing she knows the feelings you felt when seeing your family after an extended absence. I’ve only been away for a month of my daughter’s life and that was horribly long and empty. I can’t imagine longer.

  2. R. Shermanon 30 Sep 2010 at 9:05 am

    Great post. It is amazing how quickly our kids grow up. I miss the innocent 10 year old in my elder son and daughter, though I’m kind of reliving it with the 11 year old younger son. He’s always been a little beyond his years though, just because he’s been the youngest and always want to be with the older kids.

    Cheers.

  3. Sageon 30 Sep 2010 at 8:31 pm

    A wonderful post–just this afternoon I had a conversation with a man about our similar experiences with our grandathers… May you have many more such memories. And speakign of persimmons, I can’t think of them without thinking of my grandma’s persimmon pudding. She’d always freeze persimmons and make pudding all year long.

  4. Vincenton 01 Oct 2010 at 8:11 am

    This is a post that really cannot be commented upon, it has that well rounded completeness about it.

  5. Kathleen Scotton 02 Oct 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey, and your son’s. You’re preparing him well for life.

    Texas persimmon grows wild in our ashe juniper woods–one of the few trees that will grow along with the juniper. There was enough rain to make fruit this year. It ripened in the heat of August. The birds get most but deer, foxes, raccoons and skunks get fallen fruit. I love having plants that provide for everyone.

  6. annieon 05 Oct 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Great post!! thanks for sharing so many photos.

  7. warrenon 11 Oct 2010 at 8:02 am

    Fantastic memories and ponderings…gotta keep straight what’s important!

  8. Monteon 22 Feb 2013 at 10:52 am

    Well, I haven’t responded in a while. I remember before you went to serve. Those swim meets, the hunting in the fall, blackberry cobbler and good times. Now, we are watching our children go through those same phases of growing and maturing. Hope that they remember those special times and places the same way we did.

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