Friday, August 23, 2013


Being sick is never a picnic but when you’re kid it seems to be “worse”. There is lying around, whining, watching what you want to on TV and a bunch of other just awful endurances. That’s the way it is here in my house. One sick daughter, the Doctor said was the first case of the flu he had seen for the season. That’s my girl, always striving to be first. So what has she done today, you might ask? Absolutely nothing. Yesterday she did nothing and today she did nothing. Nothing is the word around our house. Well that isn’t exactly true, we did have a National Treasure Double Feature. Being sick is so bad when you are a kid. The things they will do to get out of school.

I remember when I was kid all the things I wished would happen so I would not have to go to school. There were all the snow days we prayed for during the winter. Then when it rained perhaps a magical flood would wash the school away. Maybe aliens would land or a giant, land walking monster catfish would climb out of East Fork creek to attack the school. But time after time, I would have my dreams crushed. I would even check my forehead every morning for the off chance I would have a fever and have to stay home.

Then along came a guy named Ferris Bueller and his shenanigans which all started because he faked an illness just to take a day off from school. The good times that followed were classic. He was in a parade, had dinner in a nice restaurant, picked up his girlfriend from school and attended ballgame. He was every guy’s hero. He did what we all wanted to do. Ferris was a leader, an icon for us all to aspire. Even when his best friend wrecked his dad’s classic car, it all seemed ok. Why couldn’t all of our “sick” days be like that?

However, today none of that occurred. My day began by making some French toast for our breakfast. Then as I just sat on my end of the couch attempting to work, my little girl ran a fever. While I read, she laid here with her head on my lap and together we watched Nicholas Cage discover two world changing treasures. From the perspective of my high school youth this day was not every exciting. It was certainly nothing to write home about. There were no fast cars, near encounters with the principal or a run in with my dad on the way to lunch.

Today, though, was a very memorable day. I spent it with my daughter who is a freshman in high school. We laughed and talked. I got to hug and “baby” her. We ate and just spent time together. As I look at both of my girls, one just got in from her first week of college, I think how the years have just flown by. They are becoming beautiful young women with big hearts and will change the world in which they live. But to me, their Daddy, they will both just be my little girls. So Ferris, your sick day was nothing compared to the one I got to spend with my little girl today.

I hope there are more “sick” days to come but I am afraid those also are slowly coming to an end.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


When I was a kid I was an expert at playing. I could say, “Red rover, red rover, send John on over” with the best of them. King of the mountain, lawn darts or any number of other neighborhood games I was good, perhaps even great at them. Then behind the house where I grew up were “The Woods.”

The Woods is where I spent summer after summer. We would leave the house early, grab our BB guns and head off to explore. It was in those woods I learned to look for something new. A new section, a new ‘cave,’ or find a new place to fish. My brother and I were not afraid of getting lost or hurt or to even run across danger. In those woods I was in my element. I was where I belonged.

I remember one summer when I was “convinced” Bigfoot lived in those woods and so we set off to find him. What would we do if we found him? Well, we would have captured him, shot him or did whatever it took to succeed in our endeavor. It was the thrill of the adventure we were after. Success, to us, was inevitable, no other option. We had a plan of sorts. Step one was find Bigfoot. Step two was bringing him home in some capacity – dead or alive. Each time, summer after summer, I had a plan I was focused on and committed to.

But as I look back and reminisce, it was never about the trees, the caves or even Bigfoot, it was more about the imagination, the dreams and the fearless exploration. Fear of the unknown never entered into our consciousness. The excitement of adventures got me up every morning and all I had was a bb gun. It wasn’t even a fancy 10 pump but a little lever action Daisy Red Rider. But I still was not afraid. With that gun and my wits I was ready to take on whatever stood in front of me. No obstacle was too big. No “monster” was too much to handle. No matter how deep in the woods I went, getting lost was never an issue. Then I grew up.

Growing up I have misplaced that drive, that sense of adventure and imagination. It was those three elements when I was a kid in Kentucky that gave me a plan, a purpose and I was committed to it, focused on it. I was a success or at least I thought I was….no I was. As I sit here in this hotel room not knowing if my truck will get me home (come on Sally, we know you can do it), I want to find that boy in Kentucky again. He was the one who was not afraid of the unknown, the one who took a measly, inadequate bb gun and set off to hunt Bigfoot, the one that woke up each morning with purpose and was focused on it, the one with a plan he was committed to.

Today, August 17, 2013 I will be that boy again. I will have purpose, a plan with focus and commitment. Today, I will explore the woods again. I will step out on the adventure.

Bring it on….I’ve got my BB gun.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Dreams As Vast As The Stars

In the classic movie, The Lion King, Mufasa tells young Simba the stars in the night sky were the kings of the past looking down on him, watching over him. Later, when Simba, Timon and Pumbaa were lying in a field staring up at the stars they began to discuss what those twinkly things were. While each had a theory, only one looked at them with any real sense of connection. They brought back memories, pain and in a way some wishful thinking. So, my dear reader, if one night you are out on your porch having a drink finding yourself staring up at the stars, what will you think about?

If you have never given much thought to the idea, let me try to help. Do the stars spark up dreams you once had or even still have? How about memories of being a kid catching lightening bugs? What about lost love and wonder if they ever think about you? Perhaps those stars in the dark velvet sky cause you to just get lost in yourself…in your own mind. Maybe you are one of those people who just doesn't allow yourself the luxury of such an opportunity – to you I say, “You’re really missing out.”

Growing up in Kentucky, being out at night was a common occurrence, whether we would be fishing or just playing, the starlit sky was there. As if the floor of Heaven had little holes poked in it with the light shining through. “Can you find the Big Dipper? What about the Little Dipper?” was often heard as we searched the vast expanse for those constellations every kid has seen for centuries. As the years would pass, I would still look up trying to find the dippers and other constellations only not as often, then into the house I would quickly go shutting my door to the night.

However, now days it’s different, I take the time to notice them. To me they are something more – a connection. When I was a kid looking at those little glowing lights, I had dreams like most and like those stars, my dreams seemed like a million miles away, yet very real. They were spectacular but distant and as I grew up they seemed to get farther away from my grasp but still no less amazing. That is until I decided, that kid didn't die. He didn't stop dreaming. He simply just got older but his dreams were still very much alive only dormant.

My dreams, as a kid were more than that, they were my goals – very real and very attainable. As I sit here, my childhood a long ways in my past, my dreams are becoming a reality all because I allowed myself to dream again, to look at the stars again. It seems, they aren't the kings of the past at all nor just big balls of gas light years away, they are where my dreams have been stored for me to find, to reach for and live again.

So tonight I will venture outside, look at those stars and continue to dream….those remarkable and amazing dreams like those stars.