Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas (yes, I said CHRISTMAS!!)

It's that time of year again, just finished our three week engagement at Cobb Ranch playing cowboy with Archie and this year Joshua joined the group. He did well! (you can visit our site at This could be the last year for Archie at Cobbs with me as he is considering joining the Army or Marines after he graduates high school in a few months. That was not lost on either of us as we did our final day there this year. As a parent, it scares the poop out of me for him to join, but as an American I'm extremely proud of him. He still hasn't made up his mind tho and may stay and go to school first. Time will tell!

So now, without further ado, I once again present the Slone Players staring Archie, Tyler, Joshua, Cheyanne, Alexis, Clayton, my beautiful wife Yvette and of course the dude in the shades is yours truly (fame from last years success has gone to my head!)

So from our house to yours, we wish you a joyous and safe Christmas!

The Slone Players...snow kidding!

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The Slone Players Have a Wonderful Life

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Big 6

Yvette and I are approaching our 6th wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks. Looking at some photos from our honeymoon I came across this one.

We went to Knotts Berry Farm on one of the days we were in the LA area. It was a great day, a bit overcast and maybe 200 people in the park. No wait for anything. We went to the cowboy stunt show and as we were walking in two cowboys stopped us and asked if they could "borrow" Yvette to help them in their show. Before she could answer I said "SURE!" She never had a choice! So the plan was for her to enter with the guy in the Yankee hat and pose as his new wife ( a far stretch of acting...playing a newlywed!) I would enter alone and not sit near them (even I couldn't mess that part up!). So they did and I did. It was funny watching them as they walked in holding hands and sat in the middle of the stands. Then the show started and they asked for a volunteer from the audience. Yvette played her part great as she started jumping up trying to raise the hand of her "new" husband. He acted like he didn't want to go until two cowboys came and "convinced" him to go on stage with their guns. As he was up there, Yvette would smile and wave and even blew a kiss at him, he in turn took a picture of her from the stage.

And so the show went, I'm sure you can figure it out. The "volunteer" ends up doing the biggest stunt at the end, all to the crowds delite. So the show ends and they introduce each stunt member and end it by saying "We would like to give a special thanks to Yvette for helping us today, She really is here on her honeymoon with that guy over there!" THAT GUY OVER THERE?? I loan them my wife and all I get was "That guy over there??" Hmmmm.

But after the show we got that picture and wonderful memories of a near perfect week. The rest of the day, other park guests would see us and say "Hey! There's the newlyweds!" It felt great and was a lot of fun. I wish that day could have gone on forever!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Where were you...

I make this note before you read what I have written below. I am an American. I love America. I take no shame in saying it. This country could be better, and it strives to be, but it's the best thing going. If you are offended by that, so be it. You can move on. If not, you are welcome to stay.

September 11, 2001.

Many blogs, newspaper, t.v. stations and radio stations will report on 9/11 today.
Mine will also.

September 11th 2001, I was on the freeway taking my mom to work. I received a call from Yvette asking me if I knew what was happening. She had received a call from her cousin in Mexico telling her what had happened. Neither of us believed it.

This is a day to remember. Remember those who died in New York, Washington, and on a field in Pennsylvania in a vicious attach on America.

This is a day when everyone here, is an American first. There should be no hyphen Americans, no Republican or Democrat Americans, no black, red, brown, white, yellow Americans.

Today, We are all just Americans!

I hope you fly your American flag today in memory of those lost and those who have to go on without a loved one.

When you hear that jet fly over head, remember it's the sound of freedom.

God bless America and America, bless God!

Saturday, September 6, 2008


When I was eighteen years old, I worked for the Fresno Bee Newspaper driving a van, taking the papers to the carriers. I would report to work at 2AM and work until about 8AM. It was a great job. Gave me my days free and paid very well. I worked for the Bee for about a dozen years in total. Back in those days, I didn't look much past the next weekend. I had it all. I lived at home still, as did just about every one of my friends. I had my own car. I came and went pretty much as I pleased. I also worked part time at Burger King for a while, working the lunch shift, Monday thru Friday. I bet you didn't know that I was the very first male order taker that BK had in California! I even squeezed in a couple of college classes to boot. I had a great life!

Then I grew up. Why did I do that?

The day I grew up was the day Debbie was diagnosed with leukemia. I had no choice. Up until that day, it was pretty much still do what I want when I want. Yes I had a wife and kids now, but I was still renting, still jumping from job to job because a competitor offered me a dollar an hour more, still saying "we're moving back to the beach!" That one phone call, changed my whole life.

Fast forward eleven years. I have six kids, a new wife, two house payments, mounting debt, and major decisions. Some of this is my doing, some is not.

Today I face a decision that is extremely difficult for me. Today I have to decide if I will donate my horse, Suzie-Slow-Poke, to a organization that uses horses as therapy for children that are burn victims. What better cause could there be? Yvette has decided to donate her horse, Dolly.

The reason for this goes back to the root of all evil, money. Paying $360 a month to board them is just not possible at this point in time anymore. Gas and food prices, six kids in school, you know the story. Then add in the vet bills, the farrier bills, and the Good Lord help me if one of them should even have a health emergency! But Suzie is my horse! She and I have a very strong bond! We have worked on our trust of each other. She knows I will never put her in harms way and I know she will always do what I ask her. She is such a great horse for the parades and cowboy shows we do. Always standing still as kids run up behind her and under her, pull her tail or main. She would even lower her head to receive hugs from kids. We worked on a code word, "camera" where she would stand still and "pose" for a picture. (if you go to youtube and search for Suzie and the camera, you can see her) She is good for me, takes me away for a while when it's just her and I. She is my friend, my horse.

I know all things come to an end, and I know you might be thinking "it's a horse" but to me, she's a part of me. I know she would be loved and I know she would feel that love from the children she would help. She would return that love a million times over to them, as she has done to me so many times. I know it's a good thing to do, to donate her, but do I have the strength to give away such a big part of me? Am I selfish and wrong if I don't? I have my memories of our rides together, our quiet times and our fun times. It's funny, I don't think I've ever had a bad time with her! Maybe now it's time to let others discover this "wonder horse" and be able to feel like the Lone Ranger, or Roy Rogers or even Dale Evens, as the mount this trusty steed and ride off to catch the bad guy or save the town.

But where ever she goes, she will always be my horse, and I love Suzie-Slow-Poke!

Update: Suzie was taken to her new home today. I'm sure she will be happy with all those kids.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gotta go back, BACK, back to school again....

Oh no, they gotta Go...back again!!

School restarts tomorrow and (clockwise) Alexis, Josh and Clayton along with Cheyanne, Tyler and Archie will be hitting the books and filling their heads with many things that are actually used in the real world!

For me, it's a mixed blessing. I'm happy for them to be going back and getting off their collective butts, but it's still a little sad. Just another step in growing up. Archie will be a senior this year. Hard for me to believe. We talked about it a little last night. He remembers, a little, of his first year in school. He went to head start when he was four to help with his speech. That was 1995. Amazing all the life that has been lived since those years. Births and deaths, mountains and valleys, comings and goings in the lives of those that reside in this house.

For everyone that is returning, or has kids returning or just starting...."Oh no, you gotta go..back to schooooool.........AGAIN!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

National Day of the American Cowboy, July 26, 2008

"National Day of the American Cowboy"

This is a day we set out to give praise
To those who honor the Cowboy ways.

The American Cowboy is a true hero,
Who helped our nation to thrive and grow.

The cowboy was a true pioneer,
Who braved the wild western frontier.

Not only did he tame the American West,
He stood for the values which we think of as best:

He believes in hard work, and playing hard too,
And in honoring women in all that they do.

To be independent and stand up for what's right,
To be courageous and honest and not run from a fight.

To be brave and loyal, to ride for the brand,
And be a good steward of his livestock and land.

Those are timeless values that still hold true,
Still used every day in what modern cowboys do.

Now the U.S. Senate has voted to have a day
To honor the American Cowboy in this way.

We give thanks for all that cowboys and cowgirls do,
To keep the Cowboy way alive and true.

So we honor this legacy for the values it will employ,
As we celebrate the National Day of the American Cowboy.

by Ron Wilson, Poet Lariat

The Code of the American Cowboy
(As reportedly read at John Wayne's eulogy by his son Patrick Wayne)

1. A cowboy does not judge color of skin, but by character within.

2. A cowboy always respects a lady and tips his hat to all that pass him by

3. A cowboy stands strong for what the American frontier is all about: Freedom, Truth, Justice and the American way.

4. A cowboy will not be wronged, nor wrongs another.
The justice he deems out depends on that.

5. A cowboy is loyal, and hard working and maintains a high ethic.

6. A cowboy loves his country, and will fight for it's principles and sovereignty.

7. A cowboy respects his animals and the earth they roam upon.

8. A cowboy is faithful to what is entrusted to him.

9. A cowboy is bound by duty, honor, and gratitude for what God has given him, which includes his friends and family.

10. A cowboy maintains a hidden code in his heart, for all to see.

The Creed of The Lone Ranger

"I believe that to have a friend,
a man must be one.

That all men are created equal
and that everyone has within himself
the power to make this a better world.

That God put the firewood there
but that every man
must gather and light it himself.

In being prepared
physically, mentally, and morally
to fight when necessary
for that which is right.

That a man should make the most
of what equipment he has.

That 'This government,
of the people, by the people
and for the people'
shall live always.

That men should live by
the rule of what is best
for the greatest number.

That sooner or later...
we must settle with the world
and make payment for what we have taken.

That all things change but truth,
and that truth alone, lives on forever.

In my Creator, my country, my fellow man."

The Lone Ranger

Slone and his wonderhorse, Sterling

Slone Says...

Now get that cowboy hat on, pull on them boots, get out there and put up your American flag and enjoy,

The National Day of the American Cowboy!


(<> <>)


Monday, July 14, 2008


Seven years ago this weekend, I had to make a decision. The doctor told me he could keep her alive, but didn't know the extent of the damage. As far as he could tell, she had a stroke. He didn't know if she would ever regain conciseness again and even if she did she probably would be a vegetable at best. Debbie had already beaten the odds. She was diagnosed with cml, chronic myelogenous leukemia, in 1997. She had a bone marrow transplant in Oct of that year and was doing pretty well. So good if fact that Stanford Hospital had asked her to be included in their monthly conference calls for people facing this disease. She had a wonderful outlook on her life. I would asked "why you" and she would answer "why not me?" Then one morning in March 2008, she woke up very tired. She made it from the bedroom to the couch and spent the rest of the day there. That was the beginning of the end. She had , what is called, graft vs. host. Her body was rejecting it's new marrow. Even with all the pills she was taking, it couldn't be stopped. Stanford gave her six months to a year at best. Her small body was mangled and twisted by this complication. Her airways were blocked, she was trached and put on a ventilator and her short term memory was damaged, but still her faith was strong. One year, two years, three years went past. She seemed to have stabilized but in hindsight it was obvious she was slowly slipping. On the morning of July 14 2001, Debbie awoke in a good mood feeling as well as she had in a while. She asked for her favorite Chinese food for lunch. I got it for her and after eating, she said she was tired and wanted to nap. She slept most of the rest of the day, I would check on her as her sleeping that long wasn't unusual but always worried me. She finally woke up around 6 PM. She told me she was having trouble breathing. I turned up her oxygen and still she couldn't catch her breath. She began to panic. I started to "bag" her, squeezing a bag forcing air into her lungs. The bag was difficult to squeeze, telling me that her lungs were not working properly. I called 911. She cried and told me she didn't want to die, I told her I would not let her. She was taken the the old UMC hospital and into ICU. I was with her until, after receiving a lot of drugs, she told me to go home and take care of the kids. She was in a good spirits and had calmed down. She wasn't scared anymore. I reached down and kissed her. She said I love you, I told her I loved her too. That was the last words she ever spoke to me. It was 11:30 PM. I received a call from the hospital at about 1:30 the next morning, July 15 2001. The voice told me I needed to came back, she wasn't expected to make it through the night. I arrived at her bedside minutes later and was met be the doctor. I was told by Debbie two years earlier, that if she "crashed" again, she didn't want me to allow them to bring her back. Now I had to make that decision. I prayed and then told them I didn't want her to feel anymore pain, she had had enough of that. The doctor assured me that she would feel nothing. I held her hand kissed her forehead and talked with her for the next four hours as she slowly slipped away from me. I told her that it was ok, the kids would be ok, I would be ok. She had fought a terrific battle and it was ok for her to go home. She did at 6:32 am July 15 2001.
Over the years I have wondered if I did the right thing, by allowing the hospital to let her die. Did I really have the right to make that decision? She had said that was what she wanted, but also told me she was didn't want to die. A week after she died, I had a dream of her. She appeared in a white gown. She just smiled at me and said "I'll always love you". That was it. I have wondered if I made that decision for her, for me or for both. I had taken care of her, while she was bed ridden, for the past three years. I kept her at home so she could still be a part of the lives of the kids and me. It was very hard on me physically and mentally, but I know it was hard for her too. I think the decision was made for all of us. As God was taking her out of my life, He was bringing in Yvette. In the end, I did all I could for Debbie, but I still wonder if I had washed my hands a little better, or if I had reacted a little sooner...what if??? I know I can't play those games but still...what if?
So every year when July rolls around, I remember 2001. I remember the good times she and I had and the bad times too. God put her in my life for a reason, then when that reason was complete, her took her back out and brought in Yvette to comfort and take care of me.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Caboose

Saw this yesterday while coming home from the north valley. I took the next turnoff from the freeway and went back to get this picture. Cabooses haven't been around, here at least, for at least 20 odd years! It took me back for a brief moment to my childhood days and camping at Mt Shasta! Ahhh...good ol days!

Hey...look!! I saw U.P. on a caboose!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


To all fathers, best wishes!
To my hero, my best friend, my dad, I miss you and love you. Thanks for being, MY dad!
Angus M. Smith 1921-1985

Friday, June 13, 2008


I really married up!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Today is the last day of school and like many parents, I don't look forward to it too much. My reasons may be a bit different. My daughter Cheyanne finishes grammar school today while oldest son Archie becomes a high school senior and youngest son Clayton has completed pre-school. The one that effects me the most is Cheyanne, for different reasons. I remember her first day at kindergarten seven years ago like it was yesterday. Her mother had made a point that she was going to attend Cheyanne's first day of school back then, but died two weeks before that day. Cheyanne has always had a tough time on her first day of school, even as recently as this school year. I walked her to her class at the start this school year. She was in her glory, ready to rule the school! As we came close to her building she slowed up and I saw my baby girl's eyes start to water. At that moment she wasn't a big sixth grader, but a little girl that was scared and wanted her daddy again. I hugged her and we stood there for a moment until she was ready to complete the final few steps into her future. This school year has flown by for me, and as I write this on the morning that my children all finish another school year, my heart is heavy. Another step into adulthood for them, another step in growing up and away from me. As they all face new challenges, it's just another day for them and the end of another cycle for me.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

End of Another Season

Today ends another softball season and it couldn't come a moment too soon for me. I've been doing softball, six days a week for the better part of four months. I am ready for it to end. I'm the head coach for Alexis' team and asst coach for Cheyanne. Alexis' team has done much better than Cheyanne's but both girls had fun. I was blessed to have some wonderful girls on the team this time, as opposed to last year. My girls have played well and had a lot of fun! My sons, Archie and Tyler were my assistant coach's again this year and we all had fun. BUT, I'm ready for it to end. We play 2 games today, then we do like all ballplayers do in the off season "get to know the wife and kids again, do some personal appearances and go fishing".

Extra points if you can tell me what movie that was from!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Corvette Yvette Plays Bumper Cars

Thursday morning, I had just returned home from my daily routine of taking four kids to two schools and a baby sitter when the phone rang. I was expecting it to be one of the kids saying "Daddy, I forgot (insert item here!)...!" Instead it was Yvette. "Some %@(^&#!* woman just ran the red light and ran into me!" "WHAT? Are you alright?" I asked. She answered yes then her voice started to crack. "She hit my car!" Now, Yvette loves that red Corvette and was more upset that her car had been damaged than she was worried about her health.

I arrived a few minutes later, just before the CHP did. A report was taken and everybody went their way. Later that day, after she calmed down she started to hurt. Next thing she's home, in a neck brace, and hearing that physical therapy will be needed and she's off work until Wed.

Now starts the fun of all the paperwork. Insurance, DMV, and AFLAC! We'll see if that duck comes thru!
As for the other driver...she said that she just wanted to get through the intersection. Maybe waiting for a green light might be better next time!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

You Meet The Nicest People On A Honda

I've found a blog by a dude named Crusty the Biker, and he seems to be just that! Now Crusty, if for some reason you read this, no malice intended! I enjoy his blog and his writing. His blog is, for the most part, motorcycle oriented. He did a post with the same title as I am using for this one, but mine is going a different direction. As of a few weeks ago, I am a Honda owner.
I purchased a 1986 Shadow VT1100.

I've always been interested in motorcycles since my first ride when I was about 10. On and off over the years I toyed with getting one but always had a reason not to. Most of the time it was fear of my mother! My mother has always, very adamantly, been against me EVER owning a motorcycle! Yep, I admit it, she's 78 years old and can still kick my rump from here to the moon! One of the very few people in this world that I am truly intimated by (Yvette being the other!) but I digress! I decided after talking with Yvette about it for the billionth time, that I was gonna really look at getting one. She was still not crazy about it, but after finding a bike at a local shop, I talked her into going with me to see it. That bike was a Rebel, a small bike but from what I had read, a good first bike. Yvette didn't like it, saying I was too big for it. She then told me to sit on the bike next to it, a 06 Shadow. BAM! That was it! SHE liked how I looked on it, I liked how it felt under me WE DIDN'T like the $6500 asking price! Our next stop was another, and I think the biggest bike shop around Fresno where I pal of mine works. I sat on more bikes and then SHE sat on a bike and BAM PART TWO!! All of the sudden SHE WANTS ONE TOO! I'm thinking this is great! I'm getting one for sure now!

The next few weeks go by, I take the MSP class and pass without falling off, I look at some bikes for sale more in my price range, and settle on the 86 Shadow! Yvette and I go to pick it up and because the back tire isn't in great shape and the bike is in the foothills, we load it in my truck and head the REAL test!!!!

My mother lives around the block from where I live. The only way to get onto my street, is to pass in plain view of her house. I'm praying "don't be outside...don't be outside" as we drive down the street towards her house before we turn onto our street. The bike gods were smiling on me as she wasn't outside when I turned! WOOO-HOOO! Phase one complete! We unload and start to play with my new toy! A few more days go by and at last I can't take it anymore! Time to face the music. Now I'm not the worlds smallest guy, even six foot 200 lbs of pure man meat (or so the babes tell me!) note here, I love you Yvette!! My mother is a wimpy 5'5" 130LBS AT BEST! AND SHE'S 78 YEARS OLD! So what do I have to worry about? I march right up to her and wrap my nine foot arms around her and in as tough a voice as I've ever used I say "I love you mommie!" She replies in typical fashion "What do you want?" While still having a firm grip of her I tell her "Nothing, I just love you and I bought a motorcycle." "YOU DID WHAT??" was the first thing I heard. The next thing I heard was a battering sound and I felt great pain to my rib area as my little ol mommie was slugging my with both fists like she was Rocky Balboa and I was a side of beef in a locker! I hung on for a few punches as I started to see my life flash before me. "DID YOU REALLY" she demanded as her last punch broke my hold (and maybe a rib or two). "Yes, I did" I sputtered in between big gasps of air. The next few minutes were the typical "you'll kill yourself on that thing" and "I don't want to see it" but then she calmed down, much to my surprise, and we really talked. I told her that before dad died, he had all these plans about moving to Weed, and seeing the country after mom retired. He was here in the morning and but gone that night. Bonner had much of the same plans. He got sick on a Thursday and was gone by Sunday. You just never know and I don't want to never know! She looked at the lawn, tears filling her eyes and I reached for her and gave her a hug, telling her that I will be as careful as I can and always were my protective equipment. We shared a wonderful mother and son few minutes as I held her and our thoughts wondered to the people that we had lost in the last few years. These people all had dreams and were gone in what seems like a flash. She understood me and I understand her.

I've ridden the bike around town a little and put a few miles on it. I'll be taking it in for a complete once over and I'm sure I'll hear about hidden things wrong with it. I plan to just be a weekend rider, nothing too exciting. Except maybe sharing my new found joy with some of the nicest people you'll ever meet!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Reason

He Died.

So You Wouldn't Have To.

It's Up To You.

Happy Easter

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Today You Are A (Wo)Man

Oct 19, 1992 my son Tyler was born. My wife, Debbie, had just given birth to her fourth son. No girls. While she loved her boys with all her heart, she ached for a little girl. A little girl to play dolls with, dress in those cute little girl clothes, and to be able to go shopping with and have "girl talk".

Fast forward three years. Debbie is seven months pregnant. For the first time, we don't know if the baby is a boy or a girl. We are both excited.

Dec 6 1995, A baby girl, Cheyanne, was born to us. Debbie had her daughter. On that day, all was right with the world.
Not long after the birth, Debbie noticed bruising on her legs. She was later diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia. Debbie died four years later. She never got to enjoy the baby girl that she brought into the world.

Cheyanne has grown into a beautiful, intelligent, girl. She has been blessed to have a mother in her life. My wife, Yvette, has done a remarkable job of being her "mom" all the while not replacing Debbie. They have had heart to heart talks about Debbie and both shed tears over it. I do not know what they have said nor do I need to know. It's theirs.

Cheyanne has always been a "daddy's girl" maybe because of losing her mother so early or maybe because she's my only biological daughter, I don't know. All I know is that she is. That is what surprised me so much yesterday. I received a phone call at 3:15 PM on my cell. I was driving on the freeway when I answered and heard Cheyanne ask me for mom's work number. I replied "you know she can't have calls at work" There was silence on the phone, then I heard my daughter crying. This was not a "I'm not getting what I want" cry, there was something wrong. She said "But she said i could call her!" I asked "Honey, what's wrong?" "I need to talk to mom!" was my answer. I fumbled with my wallet as I said "OK, hold on a second, I need to look for it (Yvette is working a new job and I don't know the # by heart) hold on, OK?" I hurried to find the card as I drove 75 MPH. I read her the number and she told me thank you and that she loved me. I had no idea what was wrong and then, like a lightning bolt I just seemed to know. I had never heard her cry like that, and somehow I knew that my little girl, the one I had snuggle into bed all those nights, the one I had watch "Aristacats" over and over with, the tiny baby that I held in the palm of my hand 12 years ago, had changed. My baby was now a young woman. I thank God that Yvette was there for Cheyanne and comforted her and helped her to understand what these changes were all about.

That night, Cheyanne called both her grandma's and many of her girl-friends to tell them the news. She seems happy about it. (just wait, kiddo!) She asked me if Yvette had told me why Cheyanne had called her. I told her no. She then told me the big news. I smiled and told her I loved her. She went on into the house and I stayed on the driveway for a few minutes and looking up at the sky thought about Debbie. I felt bad that she wasn't here for this event in Cheyannes life. I'm sure I'll feel the same when I have to walk Cheyanne down the aisle some day. I can wait for that day to come, I'm not excited to see it. I know I'll miss Debbie that day, like I did today, but I am very thankful to have Yvette by my side helping me get through my teenage(r's) years!

Sunday, March 2, 2008


LOTS of exciting things happening around the ol homestead this week! I'll be getting to each of them in the next few days, but first things first!
Doctor appt last week, blood pressure is doing fine, NO MORE MEDS.... for that anyway! Now my LDL is high so time to tackle that one.

AND introducing a new blog by my beautiful wifey! Look to the left and click on the link to view it!

Finally, a huge thank you to each of you for your kind words and encouragement from my depression. I was completely shocked and humbled by all the posts and e-mails. Thank you so very much for caring.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Depression Hurts

You may have heard that saying before on TV commercials. I can tell you that it’s true. Over the last two months I have felt depression like no other time in my life. Like most everyone else, I have felt “down” before. Just been “bummed for a day or so, but it always passed rather quickly. But now I didn’t want to get out of bed in the mornings, why should I? I was getting nowhere in my job, my kids were fighting all the time, I was sure my wife was seeing other guys, I’m past 45 and I don’t get noticed by those 20 something girls anymore… the list goes on and on. So there were days that I just didn’t get up. Being a sales rep I don’t have to be at the office, heck I pretty much make my own hours! So nobody will miss me if I don’t show up! They would call and leave a message on my cell and I would call them back and make it sound like I was working all the while I was home under the covers watching westerns on TV. I just didn’t care! I ate and gained weight (bet some of you will be surprised to learn that I now weigh 212 pounds!) and lost a lot of energy and that just adds to the depression. You are what you eat, and I was a big piece of candy. But, I did not care. I just wanted to be left alone. I wanted the old days back. They were safe and like a 30 min sit-com they always had a happy ending. I didn’t play with the kids much, I didn’t go ride my horse much, I didn’t talk to my friends much. I just wanted to be left alone and feel sorry for myself. I thank God that I never got to the point that I wanted to end my life though. The funny thing was, when I did work and would go into a doc’s office, I was able to be happy and funny like nothing was wrong! My wife kept telling me that I needed to talk to my doctor about this but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want help but inside I was screaming for it. Finally two weeks ago, I had a sore throat and when I looked in the mirror and said “Ahhhhh” I saw what looked like those puss pocket things I get with strep throat, so I called the doc and made the appointment. While I was there waiting (and waiting and waiting and….well you get the idea!) I decided I would just bring up the depression in side talk. Maybe like “speaking of depression, three nuns walk into a bar…” or maybe use the old “I have this friend that’s depressed…” I had no idea why I was embarrassed but it was really hard for me to say anything. Finally the doc came in and just my luck, he was sick! It seemed like he was more concerned with how he was feeling than on what was going on with me. Now I like this guy, he’s the son of my original doc, and he’s about three years out of all his training and maybe mid 30’s I’d guess, but inside I was screaming again “It’s about me!!” He looked in my mouth and told me that it looked like calcium deposits but he had never seen any so big before. He prescribed an antibiotic and then asked to look again. He was impressed with the size. “No big deal to me, just felt like a piece of popcorn when it gets stuck in there” I told him. Then I said, “Can I ask you something?” I began to perspire. “I’ve been feeling kind of down…really kind of depressed…not I wanna kill myself kind…but really depressed…” That was it. I had said it! Now just give me a pill and I’ll be fine! “How depressed is “kind of”” he asked. So I took a breath and told him about blowing off work, not trusting anyone, feeling sorry for myself all the time. He looked in my chart for a few minutes then asked when this all started. Trying to be funny I told him “When I got your bill!” Dead silence. So I then told him about 2 months ago. Again he looked thru my chart. Then he told me he’d be right back and exited the room. Great I wondered, why didn’t I just keep my mouth shut? This is all Yvette’s fault, she made me tell him. Doc came back in the room with a book and after thumbing thru it for a sec asked if I was still taking the high blood pressure meds that he prescribed for me in Nov. I said yes. He then said “ok stop them as of today. I want to see you in 2 weeks and we’ll check your pressure and re-evaluate then.” That’s it?? All this from that one small pill? Well according to the book he checked, this med can cause depression, and guess what…it does! I have been off it for 2 weeks now and it’s amazing how much brighter the world is! I’m doing well in my job (seems that I was right along even playing hooky a few days) my kids don’t get under my skin as much and my wife still only has eyes for me (seems she always did!). But those 20 something girls still don’t check me out! Oh well, who needs THAT drama anyway?? Last night I pulled out the old treadmill and am going to start working with it tonight. I gotta get my girlish figure back in shape for the summer!! I go back to the doc tomorrow and we’ll see what my pressure is, but as for right now my outlook is sunny days ahead!
All day, baby…ALL DAY!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Endless Summer

Came across some photos from my surfing past. Many a weekend of the mid to late 1980's would find me at the beach towns of Morro Bay and Cayucos. My whole goal in life was to live at the coast. I accomplished that goal and lived in Morro Bay for a year and a half at the end of the 80's. But before moving there, I would often take day trips to surf. Often George, Yez and I, along with our girlfriends, would leave early in the morning and not get back to Fresno until late at night. George, Yez and I would be in the 50 degree water the whole day. Now, Yez would never be confused with a Beach Boy, but like the rest of us, he had fun trying to catch that perfect wave. I remember him trying to get out to where he could catch a set of waves and having to jump over smaller waves to get there. He had this habit of jumping with his mouth open. He would burp salt water all the way home!

One of the best trips we took was a overnighter. We "borrowed" the van from where George and I worked (they provided the gas too!) loaded about six or eight guys in it (did I mention that it only had 2 seats?) and set out for the coast. A couple of food fights later, we arrived at the Morro Bay Motel 6 for the night. George and I went in to get a room and were asked if we wanted one bed or two. George looked at me and we both said at the same time "TWO!" We then snuck the rest of the guys into the room and they crashed on the floor.

George often went with me on these surfing trips. George was a cool guy. We had our moments growing up, like the time he threw dog poop at my Camaro, but I really looked up to him even tho he's younger than me. I always wanted to be more like him than I think he ever knew. Our friendship really became strong those days at the beach. George was the guy that I would search out when I wanted, or needed, to talk about girl stuff. He and I would swap stories and experiences and even tho we dated different types of girls, we had many of the same experiences. Somewhere along the line, we kind of lost touch. We would see each other every now and then or I would hear from someone else this or that about him. Some of our friends decided they were mad at him for this or for that but I can truthfully say that altho I have been a little disappointed in him (key word is LITTLE) I have not been mad at him since the dog poop incident about 20 odd years ago. When I think of George, I'm reminded of the fun we had surfing, camping, going to the snow, bowling, just hanging out.

When I think of George, I think of my surfing buddy.

When I think of George, I think of my friend.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Rain, wind, rain and more rain. Yesterday, Fresno, and all of California was hit by a fierce storm. This storm dropped lots of rain and even more snow in the mountains. Very good news for the thirsty valley! I saw on the weather that this storm was equal to a category 3 hurricane when it was still off the central coast! On Friday the wind picked up and the rain fell in huge drops and brought back a feeling that I get every now and again. MUD FOOTBALL!!!! A few years (maybe more than a few) back a day like this would have stirred the phone lines in the old neighborhood into a frenzy! The gang would gather at Sierra Jr High and sides would be taken! The rain would bring out the pro bowl player in us! As if you were wearing a pair of Keds sneakers, the wind and rain would make us run faster, jump higher, and have no fear in diving for that pass! If you were to get tackled, you could expect to be piled on, but everybody loved it. We would play for hours, never really keeping score. I remember going home smelling like a five day old fish, and my mom stopping me at the door. She'd make me go into the garage and disrobe there, leaving my stinking clothes at the washer and head to the shower! How good that hot shower would feel! Once in a while, an outsider would join the game. Often this person would be "the target"! My sister used to date a bill rider, I believe his name was Mark. As many bull riders are, Mark wasn't the biggest guy in the world. Mark was used to taking his lumps and thought that playing a game of football with a bunch of "kids" was nothing. He didn't even last an hour. He limped the 2 blocks back to my house, my mom making him go to the garage, took a shower and when I got home hours later, he was still sleeping on the couch! wimp!
Now a days, the warm rain and windy day will still bring a smile and a wild hair! I'll call Yez and he'll answer the phone saying "I'M READY!" Then reality hits and we just laugh, knowing the best we could do now is hope to not break a hip as we walk carefully down the wet step! But ya know, I never thought I'd toss a baseball with Mike again either! Who knows, maybe there is one last bomb in this old arm, one last diving catch, one last shoe string tackle, one last time smelling like Mr. Limpet! "Ok, fake to Yez, Mike go long! on three! ready? BREAK!! "