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Passing the torch

I don’t normally post about family or friends but there is always the exception. Warning: This post has nada RV content. Just so’s you know.

Back in the big hair days known as the 1980’s when I was a lean, mean truck driving machine; I courted and married a cute little Tennessee blond. She came with a starter family which, in this case, was a 3 year old boy. After a couple of years of practicing, we made a little girl baby as well. Well, maybe not so little at over 10lbs when she made her entrance but you know how daddies are with their daughters. She will always be my little baby girl. I wasn’t the perfect husband or dad by any means. Some minor parenting fraud, missed opportunities to show my affection, general malaise on more than one occasion and a critical penchant to always say the wrong thing at the wrong time meant the marriage was difficult and dissolved after 20 years. What can I say? I am a hand full to live with and I doubt I will ever figure out what a grown woman really wants.  If they would just tell you, life would be so much easier!

I have never had a problem knowing who I was or what I believed in. Always a conservative with high value placed on dignity and integrity, I tried to raise the kids in the same vein. I speak my mind, beholding to none, and if I am angered, four letter words will come out of my mouth – every time. I like my guns and my whiskey and appreciate the subtle nuances of a fine Kentucky Bourbon or the way a Colt Government Model lays in your hand like it was meant to be there. I like vehicles with big American V8’s that rumble and growl when you let ’em out of the barn. Don’t stereotype me as an itinerant, ignorant, small minded Appalachian redneck. My business success is littered with folks who underestimated me and were ground beneath the wheels.

So I taught the boy baby and the girl baby what I know. I watched them grow up; day by day and year by year. Each year that passed saw mistakes made and lessons learned. I have told more than one struggling parent over the years that it is my true belief that the only reason we are here on this Earth is to prepare the next generation to take over the world — or just their small slice of it. Most of the time when I say this, I get an amazed look; a look of utter disbelief. Yep, it really is that simple. Kids crave your attention and your love and most of all your time. It has nothing to do with big houses in the suburbs, country club memberships, private schools or money to burn. There is absolutely no correlation between raising a great kid and living in the lap of luxury. On the contrary it is sometimes a huge detriment. Too many times I have seen wealthy parents substitute money or what money can buy for their time.  Can’t make it to the birthday or the ball game because of work?  Buy ’em an iPod or an Xbox and it will be just dandy.  Yeah right!  They love their kids dearly but they are simply too wrapped up in their lives to give the children  what they crave most. Attention, love and time. Everybody looks good at the starting line you know. It is how we run the race that matters.

The boy baby is now a strapping young man of 29. He towers over me at 6’4″ and outweighs me by 50 pounds. He can hang a door straight, back up a trailer, grill a good steak and change the oil in his truck. He enjoys my love of fine firearms and we will share that hobby until it is time for my dirt nap. He has a title these days – hard earned and well deserved. Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force. I am proud beyond words of the fine young man he has become.

My girl baby? The love of my life?   She got her mother’s good looking blondness, dominant genes at work I reckon and I am truly thankful for that;  looking like her Dad would not be a good thing!  At 22 years old, she loves being a Texan and all the responsibilities that come with that citizenship. She laughs at the same jokes I do and Lord help her, sometimes she is way too outspoken – just like her Dad.  When she was a struggling teenager she would always say she was scared to do something; most often involved with meeting new people or doing something socially where she would be expected to interact with total strangers. Like any young person, she was terrified to venture out of her comfort zone. I would say ” They can’t eat you, right? So what is the big deal?” She hated it when I said that. Hated it! Now it is our code phrase—

She also loves her country dearly — just like her brother. She shares my love of good music and like her brother, she has a title.

My girl baby all grown up

My girl baby all grown up

Senior Airman in the United States Air Force. She works for the Armed Forces Network and loves doing a radio show every day at her Base in Italy. I am slowly and painfully educating the young ‘un on why Top 40’s Classic Rock sucks. She is beginning to see the light. She married a young man from Montana who is also in the Air Force. He is a good enough kid, I would sponsor him if he wanted to immigrate to Texas.  I was prepared not to like him.  But when you know he is terrified to be meeting the father of his girlfriend and he still mans up and looks you square in the eye when he shakes your hand -even though his legs are shaking, you just gotta know the kid has a backbone and is made of stern stuff.

In the Spring of 2008, this young couple made a baby in Italy and young  Henry entered the world in January 2009 so now I have a boy grandbaby.   A boy grandbaby I have never seen which is obviously an untenable situation that must be remedied.   At the end of this month — in just a few short days– I am flying to Venice and then on to Aviano, IT to see this boy grandbaby that is the natural progression of life.

So what is Pops going to teach this young ‘un?  it is not my job or goal to raise him.  At 54 years old this year, I neither have the patience or inclination to raise a baby.  I am on the downhill side of my ride.  I think I will teach him how important it is to have a sharp knife in your pocket, how to drive a car with a clutch and how it is OK to have a beer when you are hot and give out.  I am going to teach him to be wary of people that smile too much or have soft hands.  I am going to show him how to be his own man and follow his convictions when those  all around abandon theirs.  Most likely, he will believe my outrageous tales and say words at school that get him in big trouble and will ultimately be traced back to me.  He will ask his Mom why he can’t eat ice cream at 11pm, have nachos for breakfast or jump on the bed because it feels good.  Let his Mom deal with that.  She could explain it away saying your grandfather is just a crazy old man but I don’t think she will.

Ciao baby!  Y’all take care ’til I get back.

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6 comments to Passing the torch

  • ljh

    congrats to you myoldrv,
    oldest of my 3 daughters will give us another grandson in september, is married to a chief petty officer in our Navy, who will deploy 10days after birth, but her upbringing will see her through great to see you are proud of your off spring
    ljh in austin,tx

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  • don

    Congratulations on your great family. Military life can be really tough but the rewards can be great as well. Hope you enjoy Italy. I’m not worried about you liking the grandson!

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  • myoldrv's not so baby boy baby

    Just a correction on your post, I’m 6’6″ thank you! I do love a good V8, I have two of yours now! And cant wait to get two of my firearms back!!!

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  • Andy,

    I’ve only been to Texas once and I loved it, I’m a transplant from Oslo Norway stuck in Illinois. Been here since I was 1 year old in 1964 and I love the USA! Reading your blog has been a treat, I would be proud to meet you some time if we ever get on the full time path and get to Texas.

    Your kids must be as proud of you as you are of them. I’m glad I found your site.

    Erik

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    • Andrew

      Welcome to the nuthouse Eric

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