70 & Still Counting!

That would be me! Today is my birthday and it’ll be just another day, according to the Babe’s take on things. Gavin has a game, we’ll go watch, it’ll be laid back and quiet. Kind of like every other day. But I know I’m celebrating while living our regular life.

This morning, I googled “Things that are 70” and got some strange answers. Kurt Russell and Michael Keaton turn 70 this year; so will Angelica Huston. The articles harp getting healthy, and that isn’t lost on me. Thing is, my cholesterol has always been great, BP and other things, too. I backslid about 10 pounds by eating whatever I wanted, and starting Wednesday, I’m getting rid of all the junk (food) in the house and be healthy. Yes, there’s no day like the present to start, but c’mon. It’s my birthday! Wednesday will be fine!

Sometimes our expectations exceed reality. Little children love birthday parties. The thought of friends, food, fun, and gifts gets them giddy with excitement. The thoughts of the same things from a parent’s point of leave them tired, broke, and ready to end the party early. Too much noise! In either case, the reality of the party may fall short of the child’s ideas and even pale compared to the mayhem the parents expected.

As we get older, events are often half as vivid as our expectations – for the better or worse. If we go somewhere expecting to have a bad time, we will most of the time. If we join a new group and know people won’t like us, they probably won’t. Because we don’t give them the chance to know us. Winston Churchill once said:

“This is one of those cases in which the imagination is baffled by the facts.”

Give yourself a gift today, for my birthday. Let go of outcomes you imagine. Have no expectations, but hope for everything. Don’t disappoint yourself before you give yourself a chance. Often, things turn out much better than we can imagine.

Don’t rain on your own parade. Be open to new things. Lighten up. Be open to joyful surprises. After all. It’s my birthday. Anything can happen! Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow!

Another (Manic) Monday?

Manic, defined as: showing wild, apparently deranged, excitement and energy. Let’s not get carried away here, boys and girls. I don’t feel that kind of excitement in my body, but do in my mind. I have a couple things with Mom this week, but other than that, plan to enjoy the deck, patio, and the Babe. Anything else is bonus!

Today is my younger brother Steve’s birthday. He was born when I was in kindergarten. Six days before my sixth birthday. Because of him, my dad’s cousin Joann gave me a beautiful store-bought cake. It was the one with the doll in the center, and she had a beautiful dress. Years later, I made one when I took a cake decorating class. Wonderful memory.

Of course, having an older brother (Tom) in the house meant he giggled when Mom cut our pieces from the back of the cake, exposing the naked doll’s butt. It incensed me. Mom was not happy with him and neither was I.

That is life with brothers. Steve, however, is a very kind man. He was always earnest in school, explaining things in depth. I remember him explaining the castration process on calves at the dinner table when he was in FFA. My dad turned white and scolded him for talking about such things at the dinner table, in front of his sister and mother. I had to laugh, I was married and had a baby. Oh, Dad. In some ways, he was like Archie Bunker, all proper and such. Seriously, he was old school, and the consummate gentleman. I think Steve is, too.

Steve lives near Mom and is a godsend to my brother Tim, and me. The three of us handle her yard care, her appointments, and whatever else she needs done. It’s a team effort, but Steve does the most. Every day, he checks in on her. Thanks, man. Happy Birthday. You’re the best!

I have the resolve this manic Monday morning to separate my categories of file folders, printed writing class information, and the most recent copies of my writing into their own groups. Tomorrow, I’ll go through each pile and decide what is to keep and what is to toss. It’s easier to eat an elephant one bite at a time, you know? Join me, if you’d like. We’ll dine on that elephant this week.

Now that we planned the menu for the week, it’s time to go to another task, and get to the flowers who need tending before the day gets away from me. Let’s get it done on Monday. Maybe it will be manic after all. Take care of yourselves, and we’ll see you tomorrow!

I assembled it myself! I think I need a second one.

Happy Birthday, Rebecca!

Today is a happy day. Imagine my surprise after giving birth and hearing the Doctor tell me, “It’s a girl!” I have three brothers. I have two sons. I know how to take care of boys, they were who I babysat the most. And I have a girl? I became thrilled. Pink bows, ruffly dresses, and sunhats.

Have you MET my daughter? Probably not, she did keep up with her brothers, played with Tonka trucks in our backyard, played in the manure I fertilized the tomato plants with, (while wearing a minty green dress), and she took the fish heads her brother cut off to pretend they were running away saying, “Yipe, Yipe, Yipe, Yipe, Yipe!” She has the best sense of humor. She’s lived in Colorado for twenty-one years, is married to Brian, and has a little girl and boy; Kayla and Cody.

In watching my daughter, I learned independence. I marveled at how she was matter of factly ready to press ahead. When she went to school, she was happy and made friends easily. She is a person with a lot of drive; she went to tech school for radiology, and is currently working as a mammogram tech. I’m proud of her, and her family. The little’s are very close together, but she was older when they married. They prefer not to have photos on the Internet, so I honor that request. But they’re all a handsome family. I’m so blessed!

Today, I’m working on finding on photographs to match the pages in my children’s book, “Roxie, WHAT Are You Doing?” We have a cool idea on how to illustrate the story using pictures, I think it’ll be fun. It’s as fun looking through puppy photos as it is looking through baby photos!

I’m off to get at least part of them, and hopefully, there will be more tomorrow. Take care out there, and be safe. The mask ordinance is back in Omaha, a state official tried to get it stopped, but they weren’t successful. Let’s be safe. Do what we need to do. Take care, have a beautiful day, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Monday Musings

Good Morning! After a beautiful day yesterday, it’s rainy and overcast again at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. At least we planted most of the flowers yesterday. Now, I shouldn’t have to water for the next couple of days. The best thing about today?

Today is the Babe’s birthday. Silly me, I forgot to get a card. I can correct that error and will shortly. The pups are fast asleep and the Babe is off doing work at the Post. We’ll meet for lunch later, and do whatever he decides he wants to do. We’ve really gotten hooked on the Netflix series, “Heartland.” It’s a family program (rare these days) and a sweet story line. It is about a ranch that helps traumatized horses. Almost a Horse Whisperer. The scenery is beautiful (filmed in Canada) and the horses are magnificent animals. It’s a great break from news, reruns, and shows with no value (in our humble opinions).

I love reading old quotes. Winston Churchill said, “This is one of those cases in which the imagination is baffled by the facts.” Think on that for a while. Have you ever known someone who will hold their version as “fact” even when presented with the real facts? We all have. Too many people believe their own slanted version of the truth, clutching at it long after the truth is told.

Expectations very often far exceed the reality of a situation. Events like Prom, Birthday, Graduation, and other life milestones can pale in comparison to the real event. A five year old may anticipate his or her birthday party as a glorious event, and focus on games, food, gifts, and the like. A parent may look at it differently, especially if they are short on funds. Planning, purchasing, and clean up may be overwhelming.

Have you ever looked forward to something and been disappointed when it’s over? Have you dreaded going somewhere and been surprised afterwards that you had a great time? We do this a lot. We’ve turned into bigger home-bodies than we were before the pandemic. Sometimes I have to force myself to go out during the week. I can always find something to do here at home.

We can all practice loosening up our expectations. If we expect to have a lousy time, it may come true because of our attitude. We need to be open to good surprises. Don’t expect more than can be provided. Everything and everyone has limitations. Just open yourself to enjoy!

Let’s all lower expectations but not our standards. Also easier said than done. Our happiness begins and ends with us, not an event that comes along once a year. If we are constantly rescuing people, we need to look within us and back away from “feeling needed.” It’s a wonderful idea, but can be devastating if the one who feels needed is constantly carrying the load for the other adult in the relationship. You should be equals, each contributing and taking turns caring for each other. This is what adults do. Not slack off because you manipulate your way into someone’s life.

Go out and have yourselves a wonderful day. I plan to. I have the Post website to update and add events. It’ll be a busy afternoon here in Gretna. Be Kind. Be Careful. Be Safe. Thank you for reading today, and we’ll see you tomorrow!

Aww, Babe; You Did It Again!

Happy Birthday to ME! The Babe isn’t much for words, but he always slams it out of the park with the cards he selects for me. What a thoughtful guy. We don’t do gifts, we figure we’ll just attend things we decide upon. This morning, I signed up for a Painting of the Month Club for $20 per month. Cancel at anytime. They’re the kind of paintings you might see at a Sip and Paint session. Our VFW Auxiliary friends did that several times in the past ten years, and it was a lot of fun. I have a lot of supplies, so I’ll only need some canvas. Why not? It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and the rest of my life is going to be about those very things. I’m so blessed to be able to do them. Painting, here I come!

And back to the card. It is celebrating the “woman that you are.” How sweet. I know he doesn’t want me to get over-extended, since I tend to do that, but he also knows I’m a giver, helper, coordinator, and compassionate person. This last year of coordinating donations for Moving Veterans Forward Nebraska has been so fulfilling. The generosity of our friends and members at the VFW Post 2503 and Auxiliary is overwhelming. These men and women know they could be homeless, have addictions, and and suffer PTSD. Many have PTSD. We work hard to make a safe place for them to be. For them to help other veterans. And be involved in our community. “There But By The Grace of God Go I.”

When this wonderful man, the Babe, asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve, 1997, I told him it would be an honor to be his wife. It still is, more so every day. I’m grateful all over the place. So our gift to us this year is go see Billy McGuigan perform (frequently) this summer. We have the good seats for the concert with the Omaha Symphony. It’s going to be awesome. Yes, it was a lot of money. Last time we saw him with the Symphony, we sat in the very last row indoors at the Holland Center. The acoustics were phenomenal, and the music played very well together. It reminded me of the old days, when you’d have an orchestra recording with music, like Sinatra, TransSiberian Orchestra, Rock and Roll, the Beach Boys, and the like. Go, people. Treat yourselves to the time of your life. Kick the summer off right. And catch all his other productions as well. You will be as hooked as the good people of Omaha are.

As I continue this special day, I’m grateful for friends and family, who make being on this planet more fun than I should be having. I’ve enjoyed getting to know all my adult cousins the past ten years. When they were all little “devils” I was the oldest girl, so I had to watch them. Ugh! The Bobell cousins grew up ok. I love you all.

The Jewell cousins are fabulous people in their own right. I never baby sat them, so all was good. Their fathers all had an impish grin and played pranks, and many of them do that very thing now. The impish grin is inherited by all the boys. I love seeing it. I love you all, too.

Our five kids make a great blended family. Five kids in four different cities is tough, we could never collect them all together at the same time. We enjoy visiting them all, even if it’s just in the Omaha area. They were mostly grown when we got married. I’d highly suggest that for people marrying later in life. We would have had a very full house if we’d met when the kids were young. Love all of you and your beautiful children, too.

There are some stock photos above, some actual photos. They’re all photos of what I look forward to doing this year, along with imags of what I’ve loved most in life so far: Babies, Music, America, Grandkids, Doing over Doubting (took me awhie!), My Doctors, who saved me from becoming paralyzed, Baseball, Ice Cream, celebrating (with a cherry on top!), writing, reading, trying out what comes next. I love what I’ve been through because it’s made me who I am. And I’m eager for all the fun we’re about to have publishing my book in a few months. It will be a real trip to go to the library or book store and see OUR BOOK on the shelf. Cartney will get a kick out of it, too.

This list is not complete yet, it is still growing. I am on a mission to make the rest of my life count for something. I want to make a difference, somehow. Join me along the way. We’re going to have a fun year. Thanks for being here, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Be Safe. Have some ice cream with me today.

USPS, My Destination

The most important thing I need to do today is go to the Post Office and mail my little granddaughter Kayla’s birthday gift. She’ll be three. Oh my, how she’s grown. She reminds me so much of her mama when she was little. A little turned up nose, a crazy dancer and face maker, lover of footwear, (she clomps around the house with her dad’s boots on), good sister to her brother. Becky loved her brothers so much. It makes me sad they are all in different cities now, and rarely see each other. Everyone is too busy.

I got her a little lap desk, like to use while sitting on the floor or in the car, and it has a top that opens, to store paper, colors, etc., and I need to put in some fun coloring books or something. I used to love to color with the kids and grandkids. I’ve even taken up adult coloring books, and used to go to color with my mom. It was a throwback to when I was a little girl. My brother Tom was at kindergarten, so Mom and I were home alone, together. We’d sit at the dining room table and color. It was fun.

From three on, a child grows and learns so much, it’s so incredible. I’m missing out on a lot, but hopefully COVID will be under control by summer and we’ll be able to go play with her and her little brother Cody. Until then, it’s pictures and long distance! Masks and hand sanitizer. This is getting old!

Last night, our granddaughter Addison was inducted into the Junior National Honor Society. What an accomplishment. She is pretty bored with school, and is going to take AP classes. A woman needs to be intelligent first in these times. A pretty face and nice body don’t last, but intelligence does. She is strong in her beliefs, and formulates her opinions after gathering information. Gosh, I can’t wait to see what she chooses to do with her life! Times are so different now.

I’m lucky to have .some young ladies around me who are at different stages in life. Unlike myself, they are in various stages of becoming while they are maturing. I matured while living life without a lot of my own input. Yes, I chose to get married young. I didn’t realize I could do other things. I didn’t know how I’d pay for college. My parents weren’t behind sharing their financials with anyone. No one did that much in that era.

I see Kayla growing and becoming a young child, still full of wonder. I see Addison embarking on her high school adventure. I pray her heart stays strong. She has so much good in her. She has a strong character, and I admire that. Right now, she’s not one to “go along to get along.” I hope she stays that way.

I see my illustrator, Cartney, as just leaving her high school adventure. For just talking with her a couple of times, she is so focused on what she needs to do to launch out into her own world of I hope it includes working with me on a few more books, I think we will create something good together. We will help each other learn. She knows a lot I don’t know. She’s very confident and relaxed around people. I love that about her. And we do have a lot in common, especially while discussing our brains and what they do during our creative processes. We “get” each other in that respect. I love learning the creative process spans generations of people.

Yes, I’m a late bloomer. I’m just grateful to be here, right now, and being able to do all of this. We’ve published 550 posts on my blog. Some are not very good. Some are very good. It’s all part of the process. All of the women in my life are preparing to achieve, and I’m right there with them. We can all learn from each other, and I’m excited to see where we all will be a year from now. Note to self: Followup in one year, the day after International Women’s Day.

I’m off to the Post Office now. The gift is wrapped, and I’m praying it gets there Saturday, the day before her birthday. Kayla’s a pie baby; 3/14 Love it! Thanks for reading today. Think about the women in your life who are on their way to creating their ways in life. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and to experience. I’m grateful for all of them. Be Safe out there, Be Kind, Be Courteous. We will see each other tomorrow. Blessings.

Vaccination #2; In The Books

Once again, the nurses at Immanuel Medical Center (CHI) in Omaha did themselves proud. Mom got her second vaccination today, so she should be good to go. We picked up lunch and took it to her house. She told me in two years, her house will be 100 years old, so she wants to have a party then. OK, we’ll see how it goes. Always looking forward to parties. That’s Mom.

There was a gentleman there who had a birthday today. Once the nurse noticed on his paperwork it was his birthday today. She started us in singing Happy Birthday to him. It was so nice! Mom commented how wonderful the staff was, they were positive, encouraging, and it was another great experience. Mom is pleased she is finished with the vaccinations, and hopes I get mine very soon.

Later this afternoon, the Babe received an e-mail from our docs office. They have some vaccine that had delivery issues, so our pharmacy will be administering the vaccine by appointment only. I’m glad I got an appointment on Tuesday. Yay!

Today I missed my last segment of Identifying my type of creativity, etc. I didn’t arrive home on time to see it. I’m not sad about it, either. I was getting confused trying to categorize myself, and I decided I’d rather spend my time writing or learning how to brand myself, rather than go down a path and get stuck somewhere. And so it goes!

And now it’s Saturday. I apologize for not finishing this yesterday. There wasn’t enough time between Mom’s Covid Vaccination and leaving for the VFW Post’s Fish Fry. The Babe is on the Kitchen Help Team for this event. It was another success, and we overheard people we didn’t know saying they heard about it last week from friends. Word of mouth is the very best advertisement!

Today, volunteers are working to paint the North Room at the post. It’s the larger room they rent out for weddings, parties, etc. It has new ceiling tiles, light fixtures, vinyl flooring, and next week will have cleaned carpeting and new artwork. It will be a more versatile room to rent and decorate. The volunteers are doing a great job!

The generosity of people is something to behold. There is nothing a focused group of people can’t do. It doesn’t matter if it’s collecting canned goods, essentials for a Veteran’s apartment after being homeless, clothing drives, and sprucing up a facility housing a VFW Post. People are generous with their time, their resources, and are so willing to help if you just put the word out. Moving Veterans Forward is a non-profit organization we work closely with. They help furnish apartments for formerly homeless Veterans. It’s very rewarding to publish lists of what’s needed, and to see it appear in the donation bins. Like magic. Thanks to all who participate.

I am officially registered through my doctor’s office @ Think Whole Person Health Care for my first Covid shot. I will receive it on Tuesday morning. I’m relieved, I’m somewhat compromised due to asthma, but pretty healthy otherwise. It’ll be an experience, that’s for sure. I know many people won’t get a shot. I would rather be safe than sorry about the whole thing. I think back to the Swine Flu in the later 1970s and just recently. I got the shot both times. I had no ill effects. I trust that will be the case again.

Thanks for reading today, I appreciate it. See you again tomorrow, and we’ll visit again. Be Safe out there, it’s a beautiful pre-spring day. The winter hasn’t left yet, but we will enjoy a warmer day whenever we can get one. Be Kind and Courteous, too.

Wednesday, Joell’s Birthday!

How is everyone out there doing tonight? All across America, people are picking up ingredients themselves, ordering online for pickup or delivery, and changing menus accordingly. We’re having our first Thanksgiving in quite a while without family. We usually travel for Thanksgiving/Joell’s Birthday, but this year we’re all being safe. I feel for the young man, we all have so much fun with family and friends together. It just isn’t safe right now. Even when you’re the ripe old age of thirteen, you still look forward to your birthday. I’m a lot older than he is, and I love my birthday. Only one day of 365 is yours. Unless you’re a twin or other multiple; or unless you’re born on the same date, another family member celebrates their birthday. Joell, sorry we have to miss this one, and I hope you’re finding something fun to do today.

Birthdays have always been my favorite. Sure, Christmas is great, but it’s not yours only. And I hear the poor kids unlucky to be born near Christmas get cheated. My dad was born on January 1, 1924. I don’t think Grandma and Grandpa could get many gifts during those years, pre and post depression-era. Granddaughter Addison shared birthday’s with her Grandma Sandy. Our family lost her several years ago to lung cancer, but we still remember her in heaven. It was nice to celebrate with both of them.

Joell amazes me every time we are with him. He has a very kind heart, one you do not see often in some kids now. He is polite, walking in crowds, waiting to speak when it’s appropriate, it’s all what kids learn from their parents. The other grandkids are, too, but this is his birthday, and I hope he knows how very special he is. As we looked back on my Facebook photos over the past years, we’ve seen him grow up again, right before our eyes, all in one day. Happy Birthday, Joell! We love you!

So as we go back to figuring out how to make some Keto substitutes for the traditional meal, we’re aware these changes and sacrifices our family is making to keep Covid away will be worth it. We look forward to spending time together again. It may not be as soon as we like, but we will be able to, whenever we all feel safe.

I spent the morning with my Mom, delivering her Mince Pie. To tell the truth, I tried to taste the mince filling. From the smell, I had to pass. Something sweet with apples and raisins should not have beef in it. She was quite excited. The epitome of the times happened between us today. She asked if she could hug me; I said ok. Over and over she told me how much she missed me. Wow. She’s never said that before. The Babe and I quarantined after our friends became ill from Covid. We remained well, but we try not to be around her after being elsewhere. She’s ok with that. It was a pleasant visit, and I was at home in time to bake some Keto Pumpkin Bars, and a loaf of Keto Bread.

We’re not getting too crazy tomorrow, it will be so nice to just sit and drink coffee until we feel like stopping. We rarely have that pleasure anymore. Life goes too quickly and we need these odd days to spend together. I hope you enjoy however you spend your day. I will think about the fun we can have in 2021, at Joell’s fourteenth birthday!

Be Kind, Be Thoughtful, Be Courteous, Be Patient. These times are trying, and I’ve learned myself anyone can snap. Learn to forgive yourself if you do. Apologize and move on. Don’t beat yourself up. Focus more on continuing on your journey to finish this life in the best way you can. Be positive. Be Careful. Be Safe.

OORAH!

Today I’m publishing my #435th blog! OORAH!

I mean, Hooray! It’s also the #245th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Happy Birthday to all of our Marine friends and family. I’ve always wondered what OORAH meant. I set to do some research. It’s interesting what Google and Wikipedia tell you. I think you get to decide for yourselves.

They drill OORAH into every Marine Corps recruits brain. There are many, many definitions of its meaning. Depending on who you ask, it means “Let’s Kill.” It’s been common since the mid-20th century. The word emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. One Drill Instructor commented he assumed it was a tradition passed on from Marine to Marine. Many believe the true origin lies with the Korean Marine Corps Veterans. It began as the recon submarine shuttled Marines. The “Dive, Dive” command is followed by the piercing horn sound, “Aarugha.” You’ve heard it in any movie with a submarine in it. That aarugha became a mouthful, and the resourceful Marines shortened it to “OORAH!”

Same Ages, Marine – Blake and his Army Dad – Dan

These two guys could be twins! The family genes are strong between these two. Blakes Mom was a beautiful brown eyed, dark-haired beauty. The German won in the DNA, I think.

I would imagine tomorrow at our VFW Post 2503’s Dinner & Band, and Coat/Clothing/Food Drive, I will find a few Marines who will also give me different answers. I’ve just always wondered about it, and thought, “Let’s Find Out!” Dad always told us to look up things we don’t know in the dictionary or encyclopedia. They were cumbersome yet reliable. Kids don’t know how to do that now. “I’ll Google it” is now how they do research. You never know if what you select is truthful or not. “Google It” is now our nation’s chant, our catch phrase over “God Bless America.” I’d rather ask God to Bless America. We need it now more than ever.

The weather today is cold, rainy, windy, and icing slightly. I won’t know, as we’re both home today, all day. I believe it should be a good day for getting some more words down for my book. NaNoWriMo is not going too well. I’m pretty far behind. I’m the poster child for “Slow and Steady Wins the Race.” I have another twenty days to write and add to that total. If I write 25K significant words, rather than 50K mediocre words, I’d rather end with fewer.

Goldie went to the groomers last evening. She is super fluffy and smells so good. She’s tired today from the excitement. Lexie whined the entire time she was gone. Poor Baby. Finally, I got Lexie to lie down in front of the fireplace and she calmed down. She was mad she didn’t get to go; I think.

It’s time to write some more. Thanks for stopping by today. Happy Birthday, USMC. See you tomorrow. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Thoughtful. And Wear Your Mask!

A Tale of Two Birthday’s

As I mentioned yesterday, today is Mom’s birthday. For 91, she’s doing great. Of course, the baby of the family (Timmy!) presented her with flowers last night so she could enjoy them all day. I kid a lot about how she really likes him best (it’s true), we now use that to our advantage. If she needs to be told something, he’s the one who does it. She listens to him. HAHA! All in good fun. Tim’s a good man, we just have to give him a bad time. Mom loves us all, each in a different way.

Mom and brother Tim (her favorite!)

I recall the story Grandma told about the day Mom was born. Grandpa and Grandma were married for six long years before they had Mom. On a 105 degree day, August 25, 1929, Rosemary entered this world. She was born at home, and Grandma said, “Once I got my hands on that baby, I forgot about how hot it was.” I believe her. Can you imagine giving birth at home in 105 degree heat? I can’t. Not at all. Grandma, my hat’s off to you. What a trooper! The Babe and I are taking lunch to her today, and will visit for a bit before we pick up Addison from school.

The other birthday I have a story about today is about our cousin, Rich. I believe he would be 63 years old today. Rich passed away earlier this year. He had cancer, and was in Grand Island, under the care of the VA. Like all of us, he had his problems. We all do. But I do remember him today. He was always so happy his birthday was the same day as Aunt Rosie’s. As kids, we couldn’t believe it, we didn’t hear much of two people in the same family being born on the same day, although many years apart.

As the oldest girl in the family, I babysat nearly all my cousins. Not so much the Conrad family, but the Wheeler’s and Burbank’s, yes. Uncle Mickey and Aunt Judy went out every Saturday night. Mom decided I would babysit, (I had no choice in the matter, ever), so either my uncle or aunt would pick me up. I ended up spending the night, it was late), after Creature Feature, by the time they got home. I’d sleep on the couch, then we’d all go to Mass at St. Agnes, where the kids went to school. Simple times for sure.

I earned a whopping fifty cents an hour at all my babysitting gigs back then. $3.00 for six hours. Sometimes the three kids (Rich, Mark, and Jolene) would be good, sometimes they were not. I’d feed them, clean up the kitchen, we’d make popcorn and watch TV. Rich was always building stuff, even at about 8 or 9 years old. He sorta had a temper, and often, he’d break his masterpiece apart because something wasn’t right. Bed time! I felt bad for him, and tried to cheer him up.

Fast forward a bunch of years, after he graduated from Creighton Prep, he entered the Marines. I was married and had my second son on November 7, 1975. Rich was home on leave, and came to see me. He wore his uniform, and I was so happy to see him, all grown up. It was one of the nice things he did for people. He continued his training, and became a guard at Camp David. He had to have a good record to qualify for that. I don’t remember when he crom hisame home to work for his dad, but he settled in back in Omaha. In later years, he became one heck of a carpenter. Maybe he inherited it from his biological dad who was also one heck of a carpenter. Gifted.

Fast forward to about 1982. He installed carpeting in my bedroom. He refused to be paid for it, and even went to Christmas Eve Mass with me and my three kids. I divorced in 1982, and Frankie was in the procession as an altar boy, Nick was 7 and Becky was 3. He offered to help me with the kids, in case they fell asleep. What a very kind thing to do. I’ve always remembered him that way. Offering help. He later married, had kids, and lived life. We lost touch until the wonders of Facebook reunited everyone.

I knew he was ill. So sad to see a young person suffer and die early. Mom is the only one of that generation left in her family. All her sisters are gone, and one uncle lives in Valentine, but we never see him. It’s an exception to lose a cousin before the previous generation is gone. Something just isn’t right about that. He cared for his mom before she passed a few years ago. Wow. Sobering. In September, other cousins, his children, grandchildren, and I will gather at the Omaha National Cemetery to tell him goodbye. Rich, tell Grandma, Grandpa, and all our aunts and uncles we miss them. And my dad. Especially my dad. Thank you!

Rich, on behalf of your extended family, we love you. We are glad you’re safe from all this world stuff. And we hope your first birthday in heaven is the best. Save a few spots for all of us. Whenever it’s our time. Then, heaven will see celebrations like never before, with the four fabulous Bobell girls and all their families. What a great thought!

Richard Wheeler, Sr.

Have a blessed day, everyone. Remember. Call you family. Tell them you love them. There’s never enough time. Be safe.