Home News Archives November 12, 2014

Columns

My Two Cents

by Stephen Scalf

Changing Perspectives

Twenty-one years ago, to celebrate our tenth anniversary Cindy and I packed up the kids, flew across country from California to Washington, D.C. to visit my brother and his family - then "abandoned" the kids (let them stay with their cousins) and ran away for a second honeymoon.
It was all very romantic. We went back to the Mormon Temple on the north side of the beltway - the place where we were married - and then spent time where our honeymoon began.
We were still so young; but even then, we couldn't believe where all the time had gone and all the changes that had occurred. We still felt the same way we did 10 years earlier, and we didn't really look much older, either; but there we were, three children later - having a hard time believing so much had happened in such a short period of time.
That was really what our tenth anniversary was all about: Celebrating the fact that although 10 years had elapsed, and we now had three, wonderful children (Max hadn't arrived on the scene, yet), in many ways we were still newlyweds, still celebrating the newness and freshness of our life together as a happy couple.
My how the sands of time change everything!
Last week, Cindy and I celebrated our 31st anniversary - and how did we celebrate? Let's compare it to anniversary number 10. Once again, we packed our bags and headed across country - this time instead of east to Washington, D.C. we flew down south to Sulphur, Louisiana - and instead of eagerly leaving our kids behind for a romantic getaway, the main purpose of our trip was to visit our grandchildren.
I don't want anyone to misunderstand what I'm saying; Cindy and I are still very much in love. And even though she spent our anniversary working the polls, and I was equally occupied putting out the newspaper, we both knew where our hearts were that day. The romance is still there, but the love has transformed as it has grown deeper. And part of celebrating our life together is enjoying the time we have with the children and grandchildren that have grown out of that life together.
Our oldest granddaughter, Iris, will be turning four next month. We were able to spend a great deal of time with her during her first three years, and so she remembers us very well and welcomed us with hugs and kisses immediately.
With Lily things were a little different. She was just a few months old when her parents packed up and moved from Paris down to Louisiana, so we didn't really get the chance to bond with her the same way we had with her older sister.
There is something incomparably wonderful about winning a small child's affection. We arrived on Thursday evening, and already before bedtime, Lily was crawling around on her Papa, laughing and giving me hugs. She knew her Papa loves her beyond words.
Saturday, we headed up to Fort Polk where our second child, Sam, is stationed. The plan was to be there for his 27th birthday - except as often happened during my time in the military - the Army had plans of its own and decided to send Sam out on a military training exercise for about three weeks.
Sam was stationed in Korea when his son, Daniel, was born so we didn't get to see him in person until this past August - shortly before Daniel's second birthday. Daniel is extremely shy and it took him some time to accept us and warm up to us during their visit; however, just as it was with Lily, during this visit it only took a few minutes for Daniel to get comfortable with us again and to start roughhousing and wrestling with his Papa.
Daniel doesn't talk much, yet. Really, not much at all. Even though he is two, he still doesn't say Mama or Dada. His first real word, spoken just a few weeks ago, was "what!" Since then, he has added "cat" to his vocabulary, but for the most part Daniel just doesn't talk yet.
Saturday evening, I had been wrestling around with Daniel on the sofa and didn't realize that my phone had slipped out of my pocket. A few minutes later, we were getting ready to walk out the door to get some dinner when Daniel picked up my phone from the sofa, handed it to me, and said, "Here's your phone."
"Thank you, Daniel!" I beamed at him... And then it hit me. Daniel doesn't speak yet, but he just spoke a complete sentence as if he had been talking all along.
This past weekend gave us the opportunity to share some incredible experiences with our grandchildren - moments that filled our hearts with such joy and satisfaction. As we returned home late Sunday evening, the one word that best describes how I felt is "blessed" - blessed to have such a great wife, and blessed to have such good kids, and especially blessed to be able to love and be loved by our grandchildren.
Happy Anniversary, Cindy - and thanks for thirty-one-derful years!

And that's my two cents,
Steve Scalf


Sharing a Smile

by Tom Metcalfe

With Six You Get Eggrolls

There was a movie back in 1968 about a widower, played by Brian Keith, who was a father to a teenage daughter. He meets a widow, played by Doris Day, who has three sons. In the end they all get together. The total of the crowd is six. At a Chinese restaurant, one in the crowd observes that, “With six, you get eggrolls.”
My family of five (two sons and one daughter) rarely agreed on the kind of food that we wanted to eat. Believe it or not, we all liked Chinese food. While dining at one such establishment, Wings in Lexington, we had one of the most memorable dining experiences that the family ever had. We were seated and we placed our order and that was when the fun began.
After the appetizers were delivered, we started sampling the cuisine. First, Bonnie picked up a barbecued rib. While biting into the meat, the slick greasy bone slipped from her fingers and it shot across the room. Next, I reached for a morsel, from the selection of hors d'oeuvres, and knocked over a glass of tea. Our 12 year old son, Neal, was mortified by his inept parents and started to moan. After a long wait, 8 year old Jason, who was never patient when it came to having to wait on anything, started to make a fuss about being hungry and was loudly proclaiming, “Where is my food?”
About this time, 4 year old Megan, who refused a booster seat because, as she said,“I am not a children”, was sitting on her knees in an adult chair. She leaned forward and slid through the hole between the seat and the back of her chair. She started yelling because she was now stuck and could not, on her own, remove herself from the snare in which she now found herself secured. When I tried to remove her from the chair, she tensed up and caused the snare to be even tighter. Bonnie and I started laughing and Megan, being frightened, stared screaming. I was finally able to extricate my beautiful little daughter and return to my seat.
By this time, the food was being delivered to the table. Finally, we were going to get to eat. Suddenly, Bonnie and I realized that something was missing – Neal. We looked around and he was sitting alone at another table. He was embarrassed by his crazy family, and had removed himself from this shameful chaos.
I remembered this episode in my family’s history, when recently Bonnie and I were dining with another couple at a Chinese restaurant. I also remembered another thing I like about Chinese restaurants – the fortune cookies. Some of these are prophetic, some are funny, some are thoughtful, and some are just ridiculous. But I have noticed that everyone loves to read and share them.
Here are some interesting fortune cookie sayings I found on the internet:
“A closed mouth gathers no feet.” “A conclusion is simply the place where you get tired of thinking.” “A cynic is only a frustrated optimist.” “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” “Do not mistake temptation for opportunity.” “He who laughs at himself never runs out of things to laugh at.” ” He who throws dirt is losing ground.” “The greatest danger could be your stupidity.” “Some men dream of fortunes, others dream of cookies.”
Has anyone seen Charley Chan and his number one son?

Last week’s question - How many votes are required to pass a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives or in the U.S. Senate? A simple majority in either branch – House -270, Senate – 51

This week’s question – In 1931, Fox Studios produced the movie, “Charlie Chan Carries On.” They would produce 15 more Charlie Chan movies. Who played the part of Charlie Chan?


And On That Note...

by Ross Haney

School Projects

Do-at-home school projects are a great way to gage how well a parent – I mean, a student – can display their knowledge of a certain academic subject through the construction of a visual aide. Although I’m sure most students go into the planning of these projects with the best of intentions, if they’re anything like I am, that due date their teacher has been reminding them of for the past three weeks at the beginning and end of every class just sneaks up on them, and they’re faced with a choice: having a really awful looking project, or enlisting the help of their parents.
Now although my parents have many great skills for which I am extremely thankful, I’m not really sure that school projects were or are now one of their many fortes.
My mom was always the helper – the “let’s get this done and get to bed” parent. My dad, well, he liked to pass into the living room occasionally and repeat, multiple times, “Why didn’t you tell us about this earlier?” Both played crucial roles on the project committee.
I have to admit looking that back that some of the projects my mom and I worked on late into the night before their due date turned out pretty well. But others, well…they looked like an artistically challenged teenager completed them. That’s why my teachers always bought the story that it was done with only minimal help from my parents.
My mom seems to recall a completely different version of this whole story – that projects she helped with were near perfect. And although I think a couple of our masterpieces turned out all right, some of these late night projects were a little – How do I put this? – troubled.
Although Mom was usually a good reliable source for helping with projects, if I was every really sinking fast, it would be straight to my nana Nancye Lyons’ house I would go.
My nana is kind of an artistic guru – a master in the art of school projects. If you supply the information and the general concept of the project’s design, she can usually handle the rest. On top of that, she’s always got paint and other cool stuff handy that can make any project look a little better. Ultimately, if I’ve ever needed something really creative done, and fast, Nana has been my go-to woman.
The only down side I ever found to working with my nana was that coming into school the next day, I couldn’t really say “Yes. I did it all by myself.” My nana loves to help. And at a certain point it sort of becomes her project, and I’m the one holding while she puts on the crucial touches. I mean if I did it, let’s be honest: I’d probably mess up her project. (I hope she doesn’t get mad after she reads his. I’ll let you know next week.)
All kidding aside, it’s good to have a good team of helpers and doers on your school project team, especially when you like to do your school projects as late as I do. Even though it was hard at times, I’ve never went to school empty-handed, although what I held in my hands was really not what my teacher had always seen coming.
“Well…it technically meets all the requirements.”

And on that note, I’ll leave you!


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