Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Well, it's that time of the year again. Time to max out the credit cards, worry about finding just the right gift, and stay up all night wrapping those last minute presents! It's also time for Archie and me and a few others, to toss on our cowboy duds and hang out at Cobb ranch being cowboy ornaments. We're there to add flavor to the western Christmas theme that is offered. We have shoot outs and interact with the customers. This year I am bringing my horse, Suzie, to the show. I was worried that Archie wouldn't like be "on the ground" alone without his daddy there with him, but after the first day, that worry disappeared! It seems that Archie has become quite the ladies man (much in this old man's foot steps!!) and I was more or less, cramping his style by hanging out with him anyway! He's been the main attraction of the 14-17 year old girls that come with their parents to get their Christmas trees.

In a way it's hard for me to handle, but I can't stop him from growing up and I'm sure these memories of the few years that he has time to play cowboy with me will end up meaning the world to both of us when he comes to visit me in the old folks home!

Suzie has been a great surprise to me while we're out there. She's never been around gunfire (we shoot real single action guns with blanks) but after the initial jump on the first shot, she doesn't seem to mind it much. In fact she "gets into her part" and thinks she's Sliver or Trigger or some other other movie horse and wants to chase down those bad guys! She and I have bonded even more doing this together.

She will stand like a statue when kids of all ages come over asking if they can pet "The Santa Horse". Kids stick their fingers in her nose, run up behind her and do all the things their not suppose to do but she never moves. Can't think of a much better way to spend an afternoon than ridding my wonder horse!

All in all, it's been another good Christmas at the far!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day in Fresno

Today, Archie and Tyler were participants in the Veterans Day parade. Fresno boasts the largest Veterans Day parade in the USA. The boys are both in the R.O.T.C. and marched with the high school in todays parade.
As the parade started, the sky's above Fresno were filled with fireworks at exactly 11:11AM to honor the ending of WWI, which was official at 11 AM on Nov 11th. As the United States armed forces made their way down the street towards us, my eyes welled and my heart swelled. As Old Glory passed by with the Fresno State Band playing "His Truth is Marching On" (I think thats the title of the song) and "As The Caison's Go Rolling Along" (again I hope that's the title), I had a lump in my throat. I just don't believe that you can say "thank you" enough to these people who have made this sacrifice for our country. As the WWII Pearl Harbor survivor's passed by, I noticed that there were less than there was last year. Sadly, members of the "greatest generation" are passing away every year but those that were there here were great! The P.O.W.'s, the Purple Heart recipients, and even the group of Civil War soldiers, made me proud to be an American!

To all American Veterans, my family and I say a heart felt THANK YOU!

All Gave Some, Some Gave All. God Bless the U.S.A.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


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Ahh, Autumn! The leaves turn different colors (ok, I'm sure they do in Kansas!) and the weather gets a chill in the air ( Minnesota)and the minds of children turn to CANDY (THAT happens in California too!)Halloween, once my favorite time of year, is upon us again. I like to think of this day as being the start of the holidays, four of them in just about two months.
When I was younger, this day was my favorite. I would dress up the house, my car and myself. I'd spend way too much money on pumpkins, and decorations. Becoming a father has changed all that, the attention turned to the kids long ago. But that's the key phrase, long ago! Long ago I decorated up the front porch and myself as well. On the porch I had, among other scary things, a life-size dummy on a chair. I then dressed up as a Frankenstein monster and stood just in front of the porch as if I was tied to a stake. My older sister Suzy, came up on the porch saying "I know that's you, don't try to scare me!" Problem was, she was talking to the dummy in the chair. Wrong dummy! As she passed by me I just sorta reached out and grabbed her shoulder! My ears still ring from her scream!
When I was 12, I debated going trick or treating, thinking I was too "old" for this kind of stuff. At the last moment, I donned a Raiders football helmet, shoulder pads and a #42 jersey and Mike and I hit the neighborhood. If I remember correct, we had a pretty good haul of candy. Back then, most every house would have a light on. Tonight, in the exact same neighborhood, I'll take most of my kids out again to those same houses that Mike and I hit 34 years ago. A few of the residents will still be the same, but that number seems to shrink each year, as do the number of porch lights that will be on. My oldest now goes to "hang out" with his friends on Halloween, but rest assured his "hanging out" is much the same as when Mike, Yez and I would do on later Halloweens (altho I don't know if anyone is getting pushed into garbage cans! Remember that Mike? and Yez is STILL our friend!!). The rest of the kids will be hitting the streets with me, with Tyler having the same waffling I had my last time. While they're running up to each door, I'll be remembering when Mr. so and so used to live there, and Mrs. whatshername lived there and remembering all the great Halloweens I had growing up in this same neighborhood.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Just Keep Racking Em Up

Archie and I have been in a few parades with The San Joaquin Gunslingers over the past few months. The Gunslingers are a old west reenactment group that Archie and I are charter members in. The group started in Nov 2006 working at Cobb ranch ( you can learn about them here ) Over the past year we have been entered in some parades around the valley. The way it works is there is a group of us, anywhere from 8 to 15. Most of the group rides on a wagon while a few others ride horses. We all have six shooters that we shoot blanks from. Yep, real guns but safety is ALWAYS first! We load then buddy up and check the other persons load to make sure! And we NEVER point a gun at someone, instead pointing it around the ground near his feet. (OK mom, that should make you feel better!) So, back to Archie and I. Well sir, Archie and I don't ride anything in these parades! We walk the whole thing. Archie works one side of the street and I work the other. We play with the kids, swap hats with "the cool kids" (funny to see a future gang banger wearing a cowboy hat AND a big grin at the same time!) and get kisses on the cheek from the older ladies! We just have a ball doing this AND we're doing it together which means lots to me! Well we are on a streak, having finished in the top three in the last four parades we have entered! This may be sounding like Archie and I do all the work, but we don't. Archie and I ARE the fun part of the act. We are the ones interacting with the people and making them notice the group (although guys shooting guns is a pretty go way to be remembered too). All this being said, it all comes down to Father and Son, playing cowboy together, and what could be better than that!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Other Love

I've been happily married to Yvette for almost five years now, but in the last year and a half there has been another. A beautiful blond, with the prettiest face around. Her and I get along great. Yvette knows about her and although doesn't like it when I go to see her alone, she understands that sometimes a man needs that excitement that only a half wild other can provide. She always gets excited when I come to see her, and I have her eating out of my hand! She loves it when I brush her long hair and then climb on top of her and after we're finished, she's always sweaty! Yep what can i say, I love my horse, Suzie-Slowpoke!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Clayton's big week

Well I'm back to working the blog. Thank for the messages and e-mails asking if everything was OK and when I'll post again, and yes Mike there was more than just you asking! It's a nice feeling. I really have a few things I want to talk about but I'm gonna start with my youngest's big week. On the 26th of Aug, Clayton turned 4 years of old age!

He had a great party with lots of friends and family. Then a few days later he started his first day of pre-school. I picked him up from the sitter, he's in the PM class. As we arrived at school, he looked at me and as he started to cry, he said "I don't want to go to school today, I want to go home and go to school tomorrow!" I picked him up and hugged my little boy.
As we walked to the classroom, his whole life flashed through my mind. where did the time go? We entered the class and sat down on the floor with a book as we waited for the class to start. Mommie was there too and she was helping getting the lunch ready. Tuna fish! Yummy!! As the class went on, I slowly made my way to the other side of the room and watched Clayton and he paid more and more attention to his teacher. Then, my shy little boy, did something that made me smile. As the teacher was talking about the strange rain we had that day (rain in August in California??) my son held up his hand and proudly told the class, "My Daddy has wipers on his truck!" I watched the proud smile he had on his face, walked over to my wife kissed her and said "He's gonna be fine" I don't know if I was telling her or myself or both! I gave him one last look and left the classroom. As I got into my truck, the one with the wipers, I took one last look at the school. All six kids are now attending three different schools. I have a 11th grader, 9th, 7th, 6th, 3rd graders and now a pre-schooler. "He'll be fine" I told myself again, but as that tear ran from my eye down my face, I told myself "And it begins"

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Just Wondering.....

If you've missed me?

New computer on line, be back very soon with all new "stuff"

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Slone Opens a Book

Actually I do enjoy reading, that may have caught some of you by surprise but it's true! I don't just look at the pictures! Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
One of my hero's, along with my mom, dad Yvette and the Lone Ranger, has always been the 40th president, Ronald Reagan. For fathers day, Yvette and the kids bought me "The Reagan Diaries". I had heard a quote from the book a few weeks ago and thought it was interesting. When I started reading the book, I couldn't put it down. It's all his own words on the challenges that he faced and his personal thoughts on them. There are also many notes about his family and of course Nancy. What a love he had for this woman! His thoughts on the assassination attempt, his relationship with God, and how much me hated Mondays! Ever wonder how he felt about Jimmy Carter? Let's just say...well read the book!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Happy Fathers Day

My dad was a great guy! I know people hear that all the time, but my dad truly was. Not only was he accepted by my pals as "one of the guys" he also did a terrific job of walking the line of being a father, and a buddy. My dad was about 10 years older than most of my friends dads, (he once said he forgot to go to the drug store that day!)but he was always the guy to go out and play with us. He served in WWII in the navy. I once told a school friend that my dad was in WWII and he said "Oh yeah? well my dad was in world war one!!" Took me a few years to figure out that it was a lie! My dad and I had the same since of humor, once calling my mom and telling her that we got in trouble and were in jail! She fell for it! My dad once short sheeted my bed, starting a month of "one uppers" we pulled on each other. I painted his finger nails pink, he didn't notice until he was at work! He got me back by telling me, with a totally straight face, that the girl I was drooling over had called but he lost her phone number! When I called her back, I found out that she had NOT called and wasn't interested in talking to me! . Every girl that I knew, loved my dad. There were times that a girl would come by to see me and I'd be out, so they would stay and talk with my dad! When I tried out for football when I was 12, the coach put me at nose tackle knowing that I'd get pummeled. I did but I wouldn't quit because my dad was there watching. I took a beating, but it hurt my dad much more, something I never realized until I became a dad. By the way, I didn't make the team, but I did make the Babe Ruth team. My dad was so proud that he wrote me a letter telling me how proud of me he was. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was to me. Every summer, he and I would go to, at least, one movie. In 1985, we went in late Sept to see Back To The Future. We both loved it and I remember the drive home talking about how weird it would be if I was to go back in time and meet him at 17 years old! We had a great time that day. I lost him just three weeks later, but again he and I were together. My dad loved my sisters with all his heart, but he and I were pals. I miss him every time there's a Raider game on, or when ever I see boxing on TV. He loved that sport!
So here's to all the dads out there, and to my dad!

Sure is nice out tonight...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Special Post Just For Minnesota Mike!

The Coca-Cola 600 at the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway May 20th, 2007.

1. Casey Mears, Chevrolet
2. J.J. Yeley, Chevrolet
3. Kyle Petty, #45 Coke Zero Dodge

nuff said!!!

who loves ya baby?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

To All The Mom's

I'd like to wish a very special day to my first love, my first "date" when I was seven and the first girl I asked to marry me.

My mom.

Even at her age, she has more energy and get up and go than I have. She's always been there for me and I love her so much!
Also Happy Mothers Day to the "other" moms that have affected my life over the years. Yvette, Jay, Miss Young, Miss Yesne, and my two mothers-in-law Sandy and Gerri (who likes to call at 3AM. Just kidding ya know I love ya!!)
Also the moms that have gone on to their rewards. Debbie and Suzan.
And lastly, to a special "Mom" who has to play both mom and dad, my brother-in-law Billy.
God bless them all!

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there, and thanks for being "Mom!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

In Memory of Adam Petty

As many of you know, I am a NASCAR fan. My driver is Kyle Petty, but if it hadn't been for a terrible accident on this date seven years ago I would be cheering for another Petty also. Adam Petty.

Adam was the shining star on the horizon for the Petty family that featured Great-grandfather Lee Petty, the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959, Grandfather (King) Richard Petty and Father Kyle Petty, racings "Royal Family" He began his career with a victory, just as his dad Kyle had, in his start at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 1998. Adam was just 18. In 1999 he ran full time in the Busch Series driving the Sprint 45 car. Petty Enterprise had planned to have Adam drive full time in the (then named) Winston Cup in 2001 and would start him out with seven starts in 2000 while he still drove the Busch series full time. Adam was able to qualify in his first Winston Cup attempt, but was disappointed that his father Kyle had not. As fate would have it, Kyle was able to race in the same race as a relief driver for Elliot Sadler after Sadler fell ill during the race. Father and son raced together for only a few precious laps until Adams engine failed giving him a 40th place finish. Adams Great-Grandfather Lee was able to see the race, along with Grandfather Richard. Lee would pass away just three days later.

Just over a month later, Adam was practicing his Busch car at Loudon Speedway in New Hampshire when his throttle stuck and sent him head-on into a wall. The impact killed Adam instantly. He was just 19.

Suddenly, the kid with the infectious smile and unyielding determination was gone.

"Adam was so full of life and just awful happy to be where he was. He knew how lucky he was, and he made everyone else realize it, too." Once said Hank Parker Jr. He and Adam both broke into the Busch Series full time in 1999.

"Adam Petty was this big, tall, goofy kid who looked like a high school kid out on a Friday night at a football game. He was having the time of his life this year. It's really sad to see something like that happen to someone who was so nice, so innocent and naive." NASCAR President Bill France Jr said.

How does a family carry on after loosing a child? Kyle and Patti Petty have two other children, Austin Kemp Petty and Montgomery Lee Petty.
I guess you do what ya gotta do!
The Petty's were and still are a very close family that still makes time to pray together.

Kyle now drives the 45 car in the Nextel Cup races in honor of Adam. Kyle calls himself a "fill in driver" and while other drivers have their name above the window of their car, Kyle does not. And in Adams memory, Kyle and Patti started the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

Every year when the series come to Loundon, Kyle drives an all black car in honor of Adam. Kyle does not do well at this track, but who could blame him. What memories must flood back to him every time he passes the spot where his son died. Tonight, Kyle will once again take to the track that took the life of his son. I don't look for a win, top 10 or even a top 25, (although what would be better than a win there?). All I hope for is peace and safety for a man who truly deserves it today.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Must have been a cold Autumn

My beautiful wife has a birthday today, but if I tell what number it is, I would be risking physical injury to my person! I'll just say she's over 21!
I first met her when she was only 13. I was, let's say, not 13! From the moment I saw her, there was a connection. I can't say I knew she was the one for me, but I did know she was special. Over the years we remained friends, even though we saw other people and went our own ways, she was always in my heart and on my mind.

I often thought "what if" and wondered what she was doing and where she was at any given time. She was the only girl that made me nervous when I would see her. I hardly ever acted like myself around her.

Years went by and finally the good Lord worked things out so that we could be together, but even then I tried my best to blow it. She stuck it out and today, I'm as happy as I could ever dream to be, because of her.

So Happy Birthday to my best friend (sorry Mike) my lover, my partner and my complete world. I love you more than you will ever know!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Happy 16th Birthday Archie!!

May your life bring you as much joy as you have given to me. You truly are a wonderful young man!
I couldn't be prouder of you!

I love you always,


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Here's the pitch...

Ahhhh Spring!
Flowers are in bloom, birds sing in the trees, the snow has just turned to rain in Delano MN, and a young mans fancy turns to .... BASEBALL!

Ok, I'm not such a "young man" anymore, so my attention is softball! Both coaching and playing. I might come out of retirement and play again, but right now I'm coaching my daughters softball team. They are in the 14 and under bracket.
Now, I've coached 20-25 little league teams but this is my first crack at girls softball. I was asked by another coach if I wanted him to attend a few of my practices to help out. ME?!? Need help?!? Dude! I was coaching baseball when you were in diapers...dirty ones at that! Ahh, but you have never coached girls softball! Thats a different game altogether. How different can it be? You hit the ball, throw the ball, catch the ball. I've played before, it's not so different.
That was about the last thing I remember saying that made any sense to me. WOW! Much different animal! Coaches really look thru the rule book to get any advantage they can find. I took my right fielder out of the game for a sub because she had to go to the bathroom. I took her out after 35 minutes into the game. She had already gotten to bat and played 2 innings on D. BIG mistake. The opposing manager complained that I can't do that. It should cost me an out because it was 10 minutes early (all subs must be in the game at the 45 minute mark). Even the ump said she had to do a potty call. The other manager gave in this time but insisted that if I did it again it would be an out. I believe in playing by the rules, but c-mon! Should I have let her have an accident in the outfield? In the past few weeks I've made some of my own players parents mad at me because I'm not coaching as they want me too. But hey, I told every one of them what my philosophy was at the very first practice! Number one thing is that the girls have fun., and they are. And after all, none of them offered to coach or even help coach!

So there have been a few run-ins, with coaches, and parents (all new to me) and I have to be less "hands on" with girls than I was with boys. BUT there have been good things too. Most of the other coaches have gone easy on us. We are new, these other teams have mostly been together for four or five years coming up thru the league together. The other teams don't advance as much as they could, they go station to station on us, don't steal as much as they could, and don't ALWAYS pitch their best pitcher at us. My players are, for the most part, real good girls. Most come from broken homes, about 1/2 of them. It's sad to see some of them trying so hard to get the attention of a parent who doesn't seem to care much past what can you do for me to look good. I have one girl who is just the sweetest girl. Pretty, polite, a good player. She comes from a abusive home and lives with guardians. How anyone could do bad things to this girl...well I'd like just 5 minutes with that person! I really don't understand it!
Anyway, I have fun and also let some of the crap get to me. I need to work at that part. I just hope we get that elusive first victory before we're all done with the season.
So I have a favor, for the next few Saturdays wear your rally caps and send some big hit mojo my way!!

Let's go Lucky Charms!!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Friday, April 6, 2007


Please click on the obituary.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Vaya con Dios, mi amigo

As I sit here trying to think what to type, I'm filled with emotion. I just learned about the death of a fellow cowboy action shooter named Zeb. Although I have never met this person face to face, I feel such a loss. Zeb was a contributor on the SASS wire, a meeting place for folks who are interested in cowboy action shooting, and often his wit and sense of humor brought a smile to my face. He was a "pard to ride the river with". Always there to give a comment, joke or opinion on things. Sometimes I'd see his posts and think, "Man doesn't this guy have anything else to do?" because he would post sooooo much! But that was Zeb. Always there, always fun.
There have been a few of these people that have passed in the last few years. Itty Bitty Storm, Suzie Silk Knickers, Terrible Ted and Beanpot to name a few. Each has hit me in ways that surprised me. I have felt the loss and been saddened by it, all for people I have never met in person or hardly knew.
SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) boosts that it's a family shooting sport. The people that frequent the web site seem to become just that. Although I will never meet most of the people I interact with on the wire, they are part of my family, and I theirs. So I'll remember Zeb, Suzie, Ted, Itty Bitty and the others that have touched my life. I like to think they are all ridding in a posse on the big ranch in the sky, swapping stories around a camp fire and wondering just why we miss them so.

To all my pards that have gone before me I say,
Vaya con Dios, mi amigos!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Saying Goodbye

This past week we said goodbye to a few different "pets". Archie's hamster, Scampers, died at the ripe old age of three. Cheyanne lost the last of her fish and Yvette and I sold one of our horses, Midnight. The fish was given a "burial at sea" (if you know what I mean) and Scamper was buried in our growing family pet cemetery that also includes Jayson's hamster "Gidget", Yvette's Guinea Pig "Squeakers", Alexis and Cheyanne's bird, "Ariel" and Tyler and Josh's mouse "Buddy"
Midnight is a former race horse with a over the top attitude! He does not like to ride in a trailer. Yvette and I tried for four Sunday's in a row trying to get him to load, but to no avail. The first try, Yvette got so banged up that she is still off work with a back problem! Last weekend I finally had had enough! When he pulled his head up to let me know he was the boss, I got mad and jerked his lead rope back down hard. I then turned him in tight circles (horses hate that!) and lead him back towards the trailer. I jumped in and to my surprise, he came in also. I was so shocked that I just stood there for a second! Luckily for me, Archie was paying more attention and swung the trailer door closed. Now all I had to do was get myself out of the trailer! Thank goodness for the escape door!
So off we went to take Midnight to his new home in the foothills! He has 10 acres to romp and play in, part of which has an apple orchard in it! Could it get much better for him? It's a very nice place for him to live out the rest of his days. He's over 25 years old, getting up there for a horse. Plus we can go see him when ever we want to! But after all the trouble he was the past four weeks, I may wait a while.

Friday, March 23, 2007

So...where ya been?

At the zoo!! The last day before returning to work, Clayton and I had our last day alone together and went to the zoo. Had a great time and made some good memories for me.

Work has been pretty tough physically and mentally on me. I haven't had to work this hard in a few years. I'm sore but it's a good sore. Maybe my tummy will start to allow me to see my toes again without having to sit down first! It's a new system to learn and it's tough to remember everything, but my new motto is L.J.H.I. The best thing that has come from all this is my faith has been renewed. I'm happier inside now than I've been in years! It flows into my relationships and my spare time and I'm trying to let it fill me up while at work. The "old " Jeff seems to be coming back.

I will be posting again this weekend, so please check back again!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Up Dated Resume

responsibilities Include: supervising assets, procurement, distribution, inventory and equipment utilization.

12/06-2/07 Mr. MOM
Stay at home dad, bonding with three year old son, making breakfast-lunch and dinner, taking baths, coloring and going on various adventures to other planets, other times and becoming pirates or cowboys with him. Watching Dora, Scooby Doo and Sponge Bob. Also attended my other children’s baseball games, basketball games and classes for various story times. Most fulfilling position ever held.


Yep! Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, mom's and dad's, it's time to return to the work force. After having the last three months off due to the incompetent upper management of my previous employer (just a bit of sarcasm there!) I will begin employment with Apria Healthcare. Still in the same field, doing what I seem to know best, with some of the people I have worked with in the past.
It's funny because Apria is the one company I always said I wouldn't work for. They have a bad reputation for poor service in Fresno and I had bad luck with them when they serviced my late wife. BUT that's one of the things I hope to fix. Having met with some of the upper management, I feel that they are going in the right direction.

So with a very heavy heart, I'll be leaving my three year old with my sister in law and starting Monday. I will so miss watching Clayton play and color and just be a cute kid. I'll miss the baths, light saber fights, and making "reetos" for him.

I know hindsight is 20-20. It's kind of funny to look back over the last three months and think about all the emotions I went through. Anger, Worthlessness, Anxiety,...then about three weeks ago I had a dream. I couldn't remember what happened in it when I woke up, but I did remember having L J H I written on my knuckles of my left hand and in the palm of the same hand.

It stands for "Let Jesus Handle It".

So I did.

And He did.

And I'm back working again!

Friday, February 23, 2007

The BIG Day

Today is the day! My oldest son, Archie, has his first real date tonight. Just where the heck did the time go? Shouldn't I still be teaching him to ride a bike, or tucking him in at night?
Tonight he and a young lady will be attending the ROTC Military Ball. I will be the chauffeur for the evening and I bet I'm more nervous than either of them. Just another step in his growing up. Next thing I know, he'll be moving out! That's the day I will say "WHOOOOHOOOOOOO!!! ONLY FIVE MORE TO GO!!"

I'll have some photos this weekend, y'all come back now, ya hear?

received a call from Archie saying that the girls mother wants to take them and pick them up. She told me "I just don't want her to get in a car with a 17 year old driver" I guess she was talking about another kid driving as Archie is only 15, but I like her already! Here is a parent that cares about what her kid is doing!!

The Late Night Call

Night before last, the phone rang at 3:30 am. In my sleep induced stupor I reached for the phone but in a split second I said to Yvette, "You get it". It was her step-dad. Yvette's mother has been having health problems for the last few years and had passed out while in the bathroom. He had revived her but I guess he didn't know what to do. Yvette told her father to call 911 and she then tried to call her brother, but only his answer machine answered. She then jumped in the car and went to pick up her step-father and they followed the ambulance to the hospital. After many, many tests she was admitted into the hospital for "observation" and is still there. She seems to be doing ok now (I think she just wanted some attention!) and our hopes are that she will be able to come home soon.
The reason that I didn't answer the phone is because I have received that phone call twice in the past six years. The "you need to come here now, she isn't going to make it through the night" call. Nothing scares me more than that late night phone call. I simply cowered out of answering it this time. I fear that's it's about my mom, she will be 78 this summer. I fear it's my other sister, who seems to be having more and more health problems or maybe it's her husband, or even my in-laws. The fear that rockets through me when that phone rings at that time of night brings back such bad memories, that I really can't explain it.
Yvette spend about eleven hours at the hospital yesterday. I remember those times like they were this morning. Sitting there while Debbie was totally out of it, or while Suzie drifted from knowing me to being a complete stranger. Your mind begins to run. Run with the "what ifs" and the "how come's". I would start to wonder what they might be feeling, if they knew I was even there. I would drive to Stanford for Debbie and spend the whole day there, returning home at about 10 PM and all the while, she would never regain consciousness. Did she even know I was there? Was I just doing it for myself? I once asked her if she remembered me being there and she told me no, she didn't remember much of that time, but there were times I would talk to her and she would squeeze my hand ever so slightly. So, I don't know. She died with me holding her hand and telling her I loved her and it was ok to go, she had fought a terrific fight. Suzie was much the same. I kissed her head, told her I loved her, carresed her hair for a while, then she was gone.
I don't know why these things seem to always start at night, but they always seem to. That may be one of the questions that I ask the Big Cowboy in the sky when I get there. I have a few to ask Him.
And as for that late night phone call, well I hope it never comes my way again!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Boogity Boogity Boogity! Let's Go Racing, Boys!!

Today is the Daytona 500 and being a big Kyle Petty fan (I can hear the snickering already) it's the day I've waited for for three months! Now I know to be happy with a top 15, real happy with a top 10, ecstatic, with a top 5, but if there should be a victory in the cards, I will need medical attention! Some of the catch phrases flowing around our house this weekend will be, " GREEN-GREEN-GREEN!, THREE WIDE, and of course, BOOGITY-BOOGITY-BOOGITY!! LETS GO RACING BOYS!!

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Father's Rant

My daughter, Cheyanne, had a basketball game yesterday. Clayton, my 3 year old, and I were there to watch. The team she played against had 17 girls on the team, while my daughter's team has 12. Clayton and I watched as all the opposing team was rotated in and out through out the game, while Cheyanne played for a total of about three minutes. There were three girls that played almost the full game for Cheyanne's team while the balance of the girls rotated in and out, with Cheyanne getting by far the least amount of playing time. Am I complaining about her playing time because I'm her father? No, I complaining because as a team member, she was snubbed. Maybe she isn't as good as the other girls? Well, at the game before this one, she was the third highest scorer for her team. Did she get in trouble or miss practices? No, because she started this game. Was the game close so the best players were in going for the win? Nope, her team was blown out. The game was decided by the end of the first half.

So what's the deal?

Cheyanne complained to me after the game about her playing time. Being a protective dad, I wanted to go break her coach into about 100 pieces. But I was able to count to 10 and explain to her that she needed to talk to him about her playing time. Ask him for his side. Having coached Little League for over 20 years, I've had parents come up to complain about their superstar's playing time. One year when I was coaching Tyler, I had a parent get right in my face because I had taken his son out of the game. His son was pitching and was getting tired on a hot day. This parent asked why I took him out, then proceeded to tell me that I never pull my own kid. At that point I asked my kid to stand up. Tyler was sitting on the bench behind this parent. Kind of hard to play defense while your sitting on the bench! Every kid I coached, got to pitch to at least one batter (even tho some of them couldn't throw that far or straight or even really wanted to pitch) and every kid on the team was the leadoff batter at least once, during the season.
Now am I saying I'm the best coach of all time and all other coaches should be like me? No and Yes! Surprised?
What I'm saying is I knew the game! I knew the rules! And my FIRST concern was that the kids had fun!!
On my teams there were only three rules.

1) Have fun!
2) Pay attention when on the field
3) Have fun!

At the end of the season I wanted the kids to have had fun, learn some baseball and teamwork and take away some good memories. Every once in a while, I have someone come up to me and say, "Did you ever coach Little League? You were my coach!" Those are the memories I'm talking about!
This all comes down to, what I think, are people coaching teams for the wrong reason. You don't coach to win! You don't coach so that your kid gets to play more! You don't coach to relive past glory! You coach to teach!!! You teach fundamentals, teamwork, sportsmanship and how to enjoy playing a game! I don't believe many people can do that anymore. I have at least one or two more years left of coaching in me. Cheyanne has asked me to coach her softball team this year and I plan to coach Clayton at least once so that I will have coached all of my boys, from Jayson to Joshua, at least once.
And as for her basketball team, I try to make sure she knows that she's playing for the fun of it and for her school.

After all, it's just a game, right?

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Slone Rides Again!

For about the last month my daughter Alexis, has been asking me to come to her class to tell a cowboy story. At first I thought she was just asking me but then about a week ago I received a note from her teacher. The note said that Alexis was asking her if it was OK for me to come tell her second grade class a cowboy story. That caught me a little off guard.
Now, all these "cowboy stories" comes from long family car trips. My kids get a kick out of hearing me tell western stories of hard riding, shoot em ups. But I have never told them in front of 30 seven year olds. Well, after doing a little research, just to make sure I have the facts straight, I showed up to tell the story of Grub Gulch and the Black Kid. What a rush! I can kind of see how the great cowboy heroes of the past, The Lone Ranger, Gene, Roy and Hoppy, may have felt! Just walking down the hallway to the class room in my cowboy action shooting clothes and the looks I received was way cool. Nobody had anything bad or smart to say. When I entered the class room, the eyes of these kids told the whole story. Never had I seen eyes get so big and such big smiles. Well I told my story, answered a few questions about the old west then with a big, "AdiĆ³s" I was out the door, but it didn't end there. As I was leaving, the upper grades, 4th - 6th, were getting out for lunch. They were lined up and I had to walk right through all of them to get back to my truck. More looks and some "Aww...look at those things on his boots!" Then a teacher came up to me asking if I would go back and tell the kids in line about my spurs, she had tried to talk about them but wanted them to see real ones. I was more than happy to comply and took the opportunity to spread "the cowboy way" with the kids. I showed and briefly talked about my spurs and then added how horses don't like to be kicked hard with them. I told them that asking the horse with a gentle nudge with the spurs works best, just like "asking someone nicely will get ya farther than kicking fer what ya want"
It was so cool! Kids, teachers even the school principal got a kick out of my visit. The only thing that was a bit of a downer was a older lady who saw my SASS (single action shooting society) badge and asked if I was a "law officer?" I told her no and she seemed a little pushed out of shape, but that was all.

What a time I had, but this may be the kicker. All the while I am writing this, N.B.C.'s To Catch A Predator is on. In case you don't know, it's a show about grown men targeting 12 and 13 year girls AND boys for sex. I think of these wackos and think of the smiling faces I saw yesterday and I gotta wonder, what would Gene, Roy and Hoppy think?

Oh, and if your wondering about the story of Grub Gulch and the Black Kid, "Ya just needs ta ask me bout it pard!"

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Suzan Smith-Warren 9/08/55-1/28/06

I started to do this post with a sad picture DVD with a sad song in honor of my big sister, Suzan. Suzie passed away one year ago tonight from brain cancer. She suffered for a year and a half with it. She had a seizure on July 15th 2004 with my daughter in the car with her. Through the grace of God, Suzie was able to pull the car over and out of harms way. She then kind of zoned out and was just staring off into the distance. My daughter was able to get out of the car and go into a store and ask for help. She was never the same after that night. But I know Suzie, she would rather be remembered for the fun things she was involved in. So I'd like to share a few of my favorite times with her, with you.
Back in the 80's, Sue, my mom and dad and I formed a bowling team. We bowled together for a few years. Sue was more interested in not breaking finger nails than bowling strikes, but never the less we seemed to always win the first half of the league. The second half someone else would win and we would have a bowl off to crown a champ. We only won that once in about five tries, but there was this one time. Going into the last night of the first half, we were four games back and needed to win all the games that night to tie and force a roll off. We were told that the roll off, if it happened, would be the same night that we bowled. I was working at the Fresno Bee at that time and would go to work at 2AM, so I took the next day off knowing we would win that night. Sure enough, we won! Now for the roll off! But no, now we're told roll off sometime before the next week, but not that night. I was ticked. I wasn't gonna get paid for the day I took off and let it be known with the league secretary. She got upset and when asked what was wrong by another bowler she told him I upset her. This other bowler, all 300 LBS of him loudly proclaimed that he was gonna kick my a$$ for upsetting the secretary. My sister heard this and threw her bowling ball across the walkway and got in this guys face. Now my sister was all of 130LBS but she blasted that guy and he backed down. He never did say anything to me about what happened and ended up quiting the league. Don't mess with my big sister!
Suzie had a great sense of humor too. She was the quickest with the comebacks of anybody I ever met. I'm good but she blew me away. She would get laughing causing me to start laughing. The next thing I knew, we both would be laughing at nothing but unable to stop. Mention "Granny's water" and that would do it. We would be on the floor laughing! I don't even remember what was so funny about it, but we laughed. There was the time when I worked at Carls Jr ( a fast food place ) and was working the drive through. When a person came thru and gave a order, everyone in the back would hear it, not just the person taking the order. When she came through this one time, I gave the "Welcome to Carls Jr" speech and asked her what she would like. She said "A big order of you, baby!" Back then, there was only a black and white TV screen showing the front of the car in the drive through, so I had no idea who it was. I got flustered, but being the professional, went on as if nothing had been said. She continued to say clean, but provocative things on the speaker and by the time she came around to the window I was blushing. When she arrived, everybody in the back had come to the window to get a look at the chick that was so hot for me. She got a good laugh out of that!
She had done something along that same line one day when I was in 9th grade. She had a black camero and picked me up from school one day. She had the T-tops off and when she pulled up in front of the school and honked the horn and called to me, "Baby! Here I am!!" Now there is a lot that will happen to boys just hitting puberty when they see a hot older woman (all of 20 years old) putting her arm around a guy and giving him a big smack on the cheek then peeling out in front of the school. Lets just say I heard a lot of "Who was that? Is that your girlfriend? She's hot!!" Never did confess she was just my big sis.
Suzie had such a huge part in forming the person I became. I'm a Beach Boy fan because of her. I enjoy racing because of her. I love the beach because of her. Even after she married and moved out, she always had special time for me. When I lived at the coast and my Bronco broke down, she loaned me her truck for a week because she could get by, but I needed a vehicle so as not to loose my job. The time I had a broken ankle and was going to a Christmas formal, she gave me her Camero to use to impress the girl. It was tough just to drive with the ankle, but she thought enough of me to trust me with her car and she loved that car! She just loved me more!
Thank you Suzie for all the times we had. The places we went, the talks we had and all the laughs. There will never be another that fills that place in my heart. I look forward to the day when I once again get to hear you say, "I love you, little brother!", cuz I love you too!!!!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Let's go Surfin!

Took my life in my own hands this weekend, taking seven kids to the beach. January is really one of the bests times to go to the beach as the weather is usually pretty good and not much wind. Now for those of you that don't have a real ocean near by (no Mike. Lakes, no matter how big, don't count) I gotta feel sorry for you. There is nothing else like hearing the crash of the waves, smelling the salt in the air and seeing the girls...uhhhh, I mean kids playing in the sand! Every time we go there, I never want to leave.
Anyway, the kids went boogie boarding and had a great time. Even if the water would have froze Leonardo DiCaprio faster than a sinking ocean liner! They had a great time, as did Yvette and I. Our next trip, she and I would like to take our horses and stay overnight at the Madonna Inn. Ridding into the sunset on the beach. Can that get any better?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Top Ten

I have to admit, I saw this on another blog and am stealing the idea. But it looks like fun! So all of you who read this (yeah probably just Mike) list your top ten! It's just a fun top ten of the things you like, things that make you smile. So comment away and if you don't have a blog account, enter other or Anonymous!

Ok, here are my top ten! (where is Letterman when ya need him?)

Leaving out the "givins" like family, friends, and The Big Cowboy in the sky,

10) that campfire smell

9) getting really lost in a good movie and wondering where the time went when it's over

8) getting into bed with clean sheets right after taking a shower

7) sitting on my horse, looking at the mountains, both of us content

6) going on "adventures" with my wife

5) getting to brag that I lead my Babe Ruth team in my last year, my church softball team, and the last softball team I played on (most of the kids were in their mid 20's I was 43 years old) in home runs! (ok, so it was only one each year but hey it was one more than anyone else had!)

4) the t-shirt I received from the Little League team I coached that won just 2 games all year, but what a great group on 8 year old kids! The shirt has the team picture on it.

3) seeing a father cry when he watched the DVD of the photos I took at his daughter's wedding. (he was happy! not thinking I spent all that money on this!!)

2) relaxing in the hot tub with a beautiful blond! (yes my wife is blond)

1) watching my wife when she doesn't know it. Man, she is beautiful!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forever!"

My beautiful wife, Yvette, is starting her training for the 3 Day Walk for breast cancer. The picture above, is the shoes I got her for training for the walk. She's such a Oakland A's fan, I had them made special with the green and gold.
She will be walking 60 miles in 3 days, this time in San Diego in mid November. It's a very emotional thing for her to do, as she has had many loved ones touched by this awful disease. She walks for them and for the many who will be diagnosed with it in the future. In her last walk, she endured shin splints, lost toe nails, and pain like she had never felt before. She walked in the cold fog of San Francisco, up hills and through rain. Was it worth all the pain and would she do it again? In her own words from the diary she kept.

"YES!! It was an experience I will never regret or forget! What did I learn? I learned that people CAN make a difference. I learned that no matter how small a part I played in this, I was & am a part in finding a cure! I learned that I can go on, I can take one more step, I can make a difference & I have the courage and the strength to do it!"

Yvette, you are truly my hero!

Looking Back

While doing some cleaning this morning, I came across the baby book of my step-son Jayson. Jayson was 10 months old when I first met him. He was living with the young lady that would later turn out to be my first wife, Debbie.
Leafing through this book brought a flood of memories back. Seeing pictures of him as a baby, toddler, and young man and remembering the places that we lived and visited were tough sometimes. There was a picture of him and I at the beach (see above) at Santa Cruz and another of the two of us at Yosemite on a very cold day. There were also a few pictures of his mom, him and me. How long ago they seemed to be. Debbie was so young in those days, but then she was only 22 years old. I often feel cheated when I think of her. Not so much for myself, but for the children she left behind. (For those of you that may not know, she died of leukemia in 2001. We were married for just over 10 years.) There are times when the three that I had with her, Archie, Tyler and Cheyanne, have a rough go of it, but Yvette has done a fantastic job at walking the line between being the mom and not replacing Debbie. I wish I could do as good a job with Joshua as she does with my three.
Debbie had another son, before Jayson. She had him when she was 16 years old. She never talked too much about him, I believe it hurt too much. She had a rough childhood and at that point in her life, she would do anything to get out of the house, including getting pregnant. So she did. She had a boy and put him up for adoption. He would be around 24 years old today, and I have no idea where he lives. In the back of my mind, I hope he somehow can find me. I'd like to tell him about his mother someday.
And that brings me back to Jayson. He and I have had a bit of a rocky time of it the past eight years or so. While Debbie was sick, I kept her home so she could be with her children. It meant a lot to her and also to the kids, but that meant that I had to rely on Jayson to help sometimes with her. He had to do things that no kid should ever have to do, and for that I'm really sorry. I know it was hard on him as it was for me too. After she died, Jayson's father took him from his two brothers and his sister to live with him and his family. Jayson also has a couple of brothers from his father. His father and Debbie were never married. I have always felt it was a money thing, Jayson would receive survivor benefits and there would be no more child support to pay. That's not to say that I don't believe that Jayson wasn't loved, I do. But believe it was mostly about the money. Jayson was not allowed to come over to my house to visit his brothers and sister, nor was he allowed to even call. If my kids, or myself called there, we were told that he wasn't home and he would be given the message. He never returned a single call.
All this sounds very sad, but out of the blue, I received a call from his father telling me that we were invited to Jayson's graduation from middle school to high school. We went and saw him graduate. After that, when the kids would call, he would be home and get to talk to them. We went to his high school grad in 05 and he came to Suzie's funeral with his step-mother. He stayed for a few hours with the family and then called and asked if Archie and him could go to a movie the next weekend. They did. So things have gotten a little better. Cheyanne still misses him dearly,and he keeps telling her that they will do something together, but still haven't, but I have hope.
Some day I hope to be able to spend a few hours with him, just the two of us. I would like for us to go through his baby book and his box that holds all the stuff from his childhood, that I still have up in the closet. I'd like to talk to him about his mother and about he and I. About living at the coast and special memories I have of just him. I hope that day comes.