Thursday, September 3, 2009

This is Where the Cowboy Rides Away

You know those people in your life who can only be described as enigmatic? They have an uncommon level of spunk and charisma and, just, PRESENCE. Last week I said good-bye to a treasure of man who fits this description. He was family. And he was my grandfather's best friend for decades.

I'm pretty certain that heaven is a much livelier place today now that those two are back together. I like to think that my PaPa had worked out a gag with St. Peter and Sonny was met with a heaven-sized practical joke. And I'm certain that Sonny will return in kind.

These two old cowboys were from my favorite place in the middle of nowhere--Roby, Texas. This is literally a hole in the wall square of red dirt, but it is my absolute favorite place in then entire world because it is DRIPPING with so many of my favorite childhood memories. Robytown will have to be it's own entry at some point, but while I was sitting in this little country Baptist church at the funeral, I had a few observations:

1. REAL hat head comes from a cowboy hat. That hat, by the way, is waiting for you along with a dozen others in the foyer. You certainly wouldn't think about wearing it into the service.

2. Chewing gum in church is just TACKY. Chewing gum at a funeral is unconscionable.

3. The way that people in small towns not only pull over, but actually get out of their cars and stand attentively when a funeral procession passes by is simply priceless. That's the purest kind of class.

4. Living your life in such a way that you pack the church and leave the preacher struggling to sum up the kind of person you were and the positive mark you made is the way I want to live. The preacher quoted an old bumper sticker: Live your life in such a way that the preacher doesn't have to lie at your funeral. Yep. That's the way to do it.

These days I'm reminded more and more of how unpredictable life can be. One moment you may have everything planned out, but the next moment you may feel like the rug was pulled out from underneath you.

(Not that I would know anything about that personally. Ahem.)

Life is fragile. And fabulous. And sometimes frustrating. And either way it goes by really fast.

When my sweet PaPa died a year ago I had the opportunity to say a few words at his funeral. I talked about how this amazing man was a light in a world full of darkness. How he loved God and loved others and his life showcased both. Sonny did the same.

The legacy that men like Sonny Turnbow and Garland Moore leave for the rest of us is the opportunity to carry that flame and continue to shine light in a very dark and dirty and desperate world.

My own light might flicker from time to time. Or a lot. (There are certainly plenty of times that I feel dark and dirty and desperate). But I'm going to do my best. There are too many people who need the light. And too many who made a point of passing it on to me.

And I take a lof of comfort in know that the darkness? It will never overcome the light.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More Than and Thousand Monkeys

I’m just going to say it: my niece and nephew are the two coolest kids on the planet. OK…yes. Perhaps I’m biased. And perhaps those are close to fighting words because you believe that YOU have the coolest kid(s) on the planet. Perhaps we’re both right.

I spent the weekend with Mr. T (4 ½) and Baby K (18mo). In general, Mr. T is all sugar and Baby K is all spice. I love getting in some good Aunt Moose time and just playing with these kiddos. We got down and dirty and managed to squeeze in a weekend jam packed with fun. These kids are sweet, smart, funny and crazy cute.

(Really—Jason, how did you manage to have such beautiful and amazing children??)

On Saturday we were outside playing and we had the sidewalk chalk out. I drew a picture and asked Mr. T if he knew what it was. He said, “Yes! It’s a MOOSE!” I said, ‘You’re right buddy! But do I REALLY look like that??” He looked at me with the most incredulous little face and said, “Uh, NO…You’re an AUNT Moose!”

Duh. Apparently that’s a whole other species. (And I’m not complaining).

At another time I was sitting with him and I asked him if he knows how much I love him. He stretched out his arms as wide as he could and said, “This much?” I stretched out my own arms, which of course were much wider, and said, “Even MORE than THIS much! 5 times more. 500 times more. 5 MILLION times more!” He looked at me with wide-eyed wonder and said, “I know—a THOUSAND times more!”

He jumped up and ran off to his room and came right back with a book. I should have noted the title, but it’s something that starts with a couple of monkeys and eventually builds to the crescendo—a thousand monkeys. He anxiously turned the last page, animated with monkeys everywhere, and proclaimed that he loves me “more than a thousand monkeys!”

Yep. That’s my kind of kid!