Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Andy's smoked ham recipe

Andy's Favorite Southwestern Smoked Ham

I will never forget the wonderful smoked meat Andy used to prepare for us. He originally used to do the smoking on a barbeque grill. (Wow that was a lot of work!) He only was able to use the smoker he got for his birthday one time, but oh how wonderful the ham and turkey turned out. This is the recipe Andy used for the Thanksgiving Ham (and Dr. Grode's ham). He even peeled the peppers himself! What a man.

Here is the recipe in his own handwriting. (Scroll down for the printed recipe.)

One 10 pound fresh ham
6-8 dried chipotle chiles
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup dried minced onion
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped finely
8 cloves garlic, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons ground chipotle chile
4 teaspoon salt

Mix together the pepper, ground chipotle, minced onion, salt, and parsley. Skin and remove excess fat from ham. Rub with mixture. Prepare smoker for a 8-10 hour smoke at about 200 degrees. Soak several large chunks of hickory and add to fire once the coals are ready. Cut several 1 inch deep holes into the ham and insert garlic pieces. Place in smoker. Add additional hickory chunks as needed, about every four hours. While ham is smoking prepare sauce. Cook and mince chipotle chiles as directed on package. Roast bell peppers over open flame until blistered on the surface. Place in cold water to chill. Peel bell peppers and chop into small pieces. Place in large bowl. Add chipoltes, honey, vinegar and cilantro. Stir together and let sit at room temperature. After 8-10 hours of smoking check the ham for doneness. The middle of the ham should be 160 degrees. Remove from smoker and let stand for about 20 minutes. Cut into 1/2 inch thick slices and serve with sauce.

Number Of Servings:15-20

Preparation Time:45 minutes to prepare, 8-10 hours to smoke

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

More musings...

My calendar has also served me as an unofficial diary. Here is the page from the last two days of Andy's life. No other words are needed.

Musings about the final days

Andy fought with every fiber in his being to live, but I don't think he feared death ever during his long illness. It was just that he enjoyed life and loved us so much!! He hated to give it up.

One conversation that really stands out in my mind is one we had the Saturday before his death. He was just home from the hospital, and he was sitting in the bed in the dining room, quietly surveying his surroundings. He had a very far away look on his face, one that I had never seen before.

I said, "Honey, are you sad?"

It took him a moment to focus on me, and then he very deliberately spoke: "Oh, no... not at all. I am very... content."

Couples often speak in shorthand. That brief conversation translated:

Me: "Honey, are you sad you are dying?"

Him: "No, I am glad I made it home before I leave."

To me, his words were a gift.

I love you Honey.

Sunday, March 24, 2002

My RN Pinning Ceremony

I give this man so very much credit for helping me through RN school, and then later, getting my 4 year degree. He cooked, cleaned, did laundry, watched kids and helped me study. This is when I received my Associates Degree in Nursing from OSUTB. I love you, Honey.

Saturday, March 23, 2002

With Mykayla: Spring 2001

This is one of the last photos ever taken of Andy, and it is a good one. We had his bed in the dining room so he could be right in the thick of things.

Bear and Kelly brought Mykayla for a visit. Contrary to what Andy said, he was never happier than when he had one of his kids or grandkids with him.


Andy always had a warped sense of humor, and so MANY colorful phrases.

I am tired of crying. Let's try to smile and remember for awhile:

Andy “isms”

Nick names for:

Frances; “Frankie”
Andrea; “Annabelle”
Andy: “Bear”
Jimmy: “Motor mouth”
Shelby: “Stinky” or “Shelbygirl”
John Henry “John-John” the fastest “Wah-wah” in the West
Lesley: "The Michigan Tomato"
The parakeet: “Feather head”
His plant: “Morris”
Tom girl : “Wuppy”
His mother-in-law: “Methuselah’s Mother”
My ex: “Monsignor”
Kathy’s ex: “Materdee the Mormon”

“Daddy! My finger hurts!”
Andy: “Well, I don’t feel anything.”

Me: "Honey, do you want to eat out tonight?" Andy: "Might as well, can't dance."

“Where are we going, Daddy?”
Andy: “Down the street.”

“Daddy, I want that.”
Andy: “Want in one hand and spit in the other, and see which one gets full first.”

“Daddy, I’m hungry!”
Andy: “Hello, Hungry, I’m Daddy.”

When dressing for church: "Where are my Sunday-goin-to-meetin' clothes?"

When the kids acted up: “These are all YOUR kids!” (and that included any child that was present!)


"I do not like children. There ought to be an island where they go when they are two years old, and they live until they are 18!"

( while he secretly fussed and worried about all the kids)

When David was drooling a lot as a baby, Sherri wondered how to help. His solution: ... "Tie a rope
around his neck tight." Sherri gasped: "He'll stop breathing!" DADS ANSWER:... "HE'LL STOP SLOBBERING TOO."

He also used to say "Honey, when we retire, we are going to sell the house and buy a motor home. Then, we will park our motor home in one of the kid's driveway until they run us off. Then we will park in the next kid's driveway. Then at the end of the year, we will start over!"

When somebody was on the phone with a disagreeable person: “You know, there is a
magic button on the phone. You just push the button, and everybody shuts up!”

Me:“Honey, I don’t believe this!” Andy: “Well, the truth will set you free!”

While making plans: “If the Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise.”

When annoyed, or to kid around: “I’m gonna dot your eye.”

Me: “Behave yourself, Honey!” Andy: “I AM being haive!”

God was always respectfully referred to as “The Man Upstairs.”

Child: “Hey, Daddy, guess what?” Andy: “You’re a frog and I’m not?”

Me: “uh…well….” Andy: “That’s an awful deep subject for such a shallow mind.”

Child: “What is that fer?” Andy: “Cat fur to make kitten britches. Wanna wear ‘em?”

When annoyed: “I’m gonna dough-pop that guy.”
Or “Move over, Rastus!” or “Out of the way, Dogbreath!”

Being silly: “I’m gonna unscrew your belly button, and your legs will fall off.”

Kids: “Ewww…. Something smells bad!” Andy: “Must be your upper lip.”

When driving fast: “Say wa-HOO, Honey!!!!”

When he was in his wheelchair going down a ramp, he would hold his arms out like an airplane, and chortle"ZOOMIE zoomie zoomie!!!"

Whenever somebody said "If only..." He would say "If only a frog had wings, he wouldn't
bump his butt so much."

When not quite believing a statement: “Well, if you say so… but only if you say so…” Or:
“That sounds like a Shelby Story.”

The new wife of my ex-husband was dubbed my “Wife-in-law.”

Me: “Hey, I like that.” Andy: “Me too, also.”

When problems arise: “It’ll all come out in the wash.”

When complaining about something his sentence ALWAYS began: “It’s got to the point

Kathy reminded me of this one: It was not a "ditch" at the side of the road, it was always a "BAR-ditch." What in the heck is a bar ditch anyway???

A band-aid is a “Boo-boo cover.”

Deodorant was "Anti-Stinky."

Cologne was "Smelly-good-stuff."

Bear remembered this one: "How are you doing, Dad?" answer: "Oh, fair to middlin', I guess."

If anybody else can think of more, please email me, and I will add them!

Friday, March 22, 2002

Andy's Memory Folder

Actually, he was born in Grand Prairie, TX. I told them before they printed this, but they still put Fort Worth. I don't know why.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Andy's Essay about Sheba

This is an essay that Andy wrote in 1988 when he was taking Comp I at the Community College. I think it is interesting insight into how he felt. Some of his essays were quite humorous, although this one is one of his more serious ones.

K-9 Companions

Clarence Andrew W.

O and W Comp

Have you ever dropped anything and had a hard time picking it up? I have. Of course, that may have to do with the fact that I am in a wheelchair, but I can remember it happening even when I was up. Everybody has a hard time reaching the floor now and then.

About 2 years ago I heard about a program that trained dogs to help the handicapped. In case you wonder, it is not always easy being confined to a wheelchair.

The companion dogs are trained to help their owners open doors, turn on lights, carry things, and pull them if needed. There are many things that you can teach a dog, but they should be taught whatever you really need them to do. In my case, I can do most things myself, but it is nice to have a dog trained to help me.

There are dogs trained to assist the blind, the deaf, and the wheelchair bound. Seeing as I am in a wheelchair, I was interested in the dogs that work with wheelchairs. They had a lot of dogs to choose from. They have Poodles, Golden Retrievers, and Labradors to name a few.

After I figured out what breed of dog I wanted, then they told me what it would cost. It really sounds good to be able to write away for a trained dog, but there are a few catches to a venture like that. Sure, you can do that, but they also want you to visit their establishment. Not only do you have to pick up your dog, but you have to spend 2 weeks there. According to them, it takes a couple of weeks for the new owner to learn what the dog already knows, such as what commands to give for the dog to do what ever you want him to do. To me, that seemed like a lot of unnecessary rig-a-marole to go through. When they started talking five thousand dollars, give or take, which turned me against them real fast. Sure, I liked the idea of having one of their dogs, but there was no way I was going to spend that kind of money on a dog.

About that time, I started looking for someone here in Oklahoma to train a dog for me. That turned out to be quite a job in itself. There are a lot of guard training kennels here, but I did not want my dog trained to bite people. After a lot of phone calls I finally found a trainer here in the state who said that he would try. I had already bought a Golden retriever-Labrador mix about 9 months earlier that I knew would be good for what I wanted. It took two different trips to the trainer's to get the results I wanted, but now at least my dog will do the things that I require.

My dog's name is Sheba, and she weighs about eighty pounds. She picks things that I may have dropped, or things that are on the ground, and brings them to me. Unlike the dogs trained in California my dog is not super trained with a lot of commands that I, myself, do not understand. She knows what she is supposed to do and she really likes to work with me.

Sheba was waiting on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge for Andy when he passed away. She had developed paralysis in her hind legs about 4 years prior that progressed to where her organs were failing. We made the decision to have her put to sleep when one night she dragged herself through the house to get to Andy's bedside. We both cried buckets of tears as they gave her the shot, and we were both with her when she died.

The people who trained Sheba are still in the training business, and this is a link to their site: American Dog Obedience Center. Sheba was the very first handicapped assist dog that they ever trained!

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Andy with Logan

Lesley and Billy brought Logan to see the family for Christmas, 2000. Andy loved nothing better than holding babies, despite what he would say about it!

Saturday, March 16, 2002

Unbelievable... but true!

The other day the phone rang, and I answered it. Oh, no... a PHONE SOLICITOR!!!

But, it gets better:

Solicitor: "Good afternoon ma'am, may I please speak with Mr. Andy W?"

Me: "May I ask who is calling please?"

Solicitor: "This is Mr. A from XYZ company. I need to speak to him about our latest product."

Me: "I'm so sorry to tell you this, Mr.W passed away 2 weeks ago."

Solicitor: "Oh, I'm sorry.....well........Um, would YOU be interested in learning about our product??"

Me: CLICK!!!!!!

What a bunch of clowns!!!

This was taken in February 1986. The girls (Frankie, Annabelle, and Holley) and their friends dressed up their dad and themselves just for fun!

Was he a good sport, or just plain crazy??? :)

Family reunion photo from 1987

This was taken at a family reunion in honor of Momma Lessie's 80th birthday. Momma Lessie with her children Elmer, Rozelle, Edith (with Amos) and Clarence Andrew (with Stephanie), plus grandchildren Frances and Laurie.

Friday, March 15, 2002

The man NOT of my dreams

For 17 years, until the day he died, the man I loved more than life itself was a tatooed paraplegic Vietnam vet, missing his back teeth, divorced, unemployed when I met him...

He came to me literally with just the clothes on his back. Long story... suffice to say he was my patient in the hospital, and was down for the count.

My family thought I was crazy! Was that what I was looking for in a man????

That was my Andy.

He also was the strongest man I ever knew, and his dark, handsome looks literally took my breath away. He had one of those personalities that made everybody feel good just to be around him. It turned out that there was practically nothing he couldn't do from a wheelchair! He worked on our cars, did home repairs, grilled the best steaks in the world, tilled the garden, changed diapers, you name it! He also worked full time until his illness got the best of him. We built a wonderful life together... a home full of love, kids and happiness.

I am so glad I married the man who wasn't the man of my dreams!

Monday, March 11, 2002

Eulogy by Jimmy, given 2/25/2002

Please bear with me a second, as I gather my thoughts.

As everyone probably knows, I’m absent-minded. So, as per my style, I wrote this in the car on my way over here. So, if I pause to read my own hand writing, please bear with me.

We all are here to honor and remember the life and times of Clarence “Andy” Waller. It seems to be all the rage these days to attempt to make funerals a happy time, to quote, unquote “celebrate his life,” but I can not concur with this. We’re SAD that he’s gone, and to be anything less isn’t a credit to his memory.

Andy lived a very full and a very great life. To highlight just a few things, he has 5 children, numerous step-children and grandchildren and a LOT of friends. Andy, by trade, was a truck driver, a skill he picked up in the army. He served honorably during the Vietnam War. These things were part of what made him who he was. Andy, was always a little prickly on the outside, but when you got to know him just a little, he was an incredibly smart, honorable, and loving man. I like to think that he has had a large part in making me the person I am today. I’m sure there are many here that can and will say the same about themselves.

Andy was tragically injured in a work-related injury on Feb 6, 1980. Being left a paraplegic, he still led a full life from that point forward. He went on to marry my mother and have two more children. He had a work ethic that anyone would envy. He went to work for the Oklahoma County Court Clerk’s Office and was considered by many to be excellent at his job. He woke up at 5:30 AM every day to head out and considered it a great thing to still be able to work, even after his injury. Personally, I am glad he had that opportunity, because it made him happy to continue to contribute to society.

Andy always went out of his way to help others. Most memorable to me was the night he showed me how to do a much-needed tune-up on my $300 special, a car that got me to work and back…. And that’s it. When he saw it the first time he told me, “Damn son, that is about the ugliest car I have ever seen.” And he was right. But that didn’t stop him from shelling out the $20 I didn’t have to buy the spark plugs that it needed or from staying up until 3 AM to ensure I could get the job done. I could go on and on about these kinds of things that he did to help people, and I’m sure everyone else could come up with a thing or three, but unfortunately we don’t have the several days it would take to remember all of them.

Andy’s moods ranged from amiable to slightly annoyed, usually about kids. I remember a particular story from right after Shelby was born. Andy was setting up one of those wind-up infant swings, you know, the kind you wind up and it swings back and forth… My mother asked him if he wanted the directions. Typical of his style, Andy of course grumbled under his breath that he “didn’t need those damn things” and he’d do it his way. Exasperated, my mom left the room and only Lesley was left there, reading a book or something. After tinkering with the swing for a good hour or so, Andy finally had enough. He ripped one of the legs right off the swing and proceeded to beat the rest of the swing set with it. Annoyed, he left the room to smoke and grumble at the TV set for awhile. Later that evening, he came back to the swing, and “decided" he would read the directions. What was most entertaining about the situation, though, was Lesley was sitting there the entire time, plastered to the couch and not daring to laugh, even as he beat the heck out that swingset. (smile)

One thing about his passing that makes me feel a little happy is that now, he’ll FINALLY have a full set of tools up there, because he never was able to keep ‘em with the various kid’s he’s had down here. I got the third degree many times about where “Such and such” was. My typical response was, “What’s that?” followed closely by “I didn’t touch it, I promise.” Depending on the severity of what was missing, those were followed by “I have no idea where that went,” which translated into “I’m gonna secretly figure out where the heck I misplaced it.”

One of the best things to happen to Andy after his injury was his regaining his drivers license in 1986. Andy had a real feel for the road and you could always tell he missed driving. Well, after he moved in with my mom and I, he got the 1978 Ford LTD we had mouldering in the driveway repaired and outfitted with hand controls. Now, this car was GIGANTIC! I mean, picture an aircraft carrier, paint it blue, and you’ve got the proper dimensions for this car. Now, picture when you learned to drive, only doing it with just hands and no feet and steering this monstrosity. Under NORMAL circumstances my mother is a white knuckled passenger. I am frankly surprised that she didn’t have a nervous breakdown during Andy’s re-introduction into the world of driving! But, after about two weeks, the hand controls clicked for Andy, and then he could drive, hold a conversation, smoke his pipe, drink coffee, eat a Whopper, and swear at traffic.

After Andy passed on, it still didn’t stop my step-sisters, mom, and I from having a good laugh. We decided it was time for some coffee, and I set out to make some. Well, I found the coffee pot still turned on and determined that it had probably been plugged in for the previous week or so. That pot was bone dry. Even the coffee grounds were dried out. I made some new coffee, or tried to anyway. We determined very quickly that the pot had cooked its last coffee. After thinking about this, mom said it was appropriate that the coffee pot died the same day Andy did. After all, who says you can’t take it with you? (smile)

Andy passed on at 4:30 AM in the morning. He died well, in his own house, his own bed, with his family and his dog by his side. It was a fairly fast passing. He came home on Saturday afternoon and he was feeling well enough to sit in the sun. It was nice out, 75 degrees or so and it seemed to cheer him a bit. He died the next evening, after everyone was able to get home to see him, and to get things said. He died in his sleep, as easily as one could ever hope. I was lucky to have gotten here before he went to sleep the last time and was able to talk with him about idle things, and was able to let him know that that I loved him very much. He told me not to worry, he wasn't going anywhere and that he loved me. Even at the end, he had a zest for life and fought to stick around, even if it was just to make us feel better. He will be sorely missed. It was obvious of his and my Mom’s love for each other. Even as he was dying the night before he actually passed, he took the time out to nibble her finger, and kiss at her the way he always did to let her know he was ok. He died the next evening in my Mom’s arms.

He was a good man, the strongest and most honorable I’ve ever known.

It was a good day to die.

Saturday, March 9, 2002

I hope you dance

Andy used to say to me all the time "I may never walk again in this lifetime, but I won't always be stuck in this chair. There are no wheelchairs in Heaven."

So when he died, he left his wheelchair behind. That is why I chose to use the song "I hope you dance."

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give fate a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always)
I hope you dance
(Rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who)
I hope you dance
(Wants to look back on their years and wonder)
(Where those years have gone)

I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,


I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you dance

I hope you dance

I hope you dance

I hope you dance

Friday, March 8, 2002

The Man with Two Names

Over the seventeen years we were together, I had been asked many times what name my husband went by, Clarence or Andy. My answer always was, "Either one. I call him 'Honey'."

The truth of the matter is, I didn't really know myself. When I first met him as my patient, all the staff called him Clarence. Me too. After a couple of months, I asked him if he had a nickname, used his middle name, or if he always went by Clarence. His reply was "I don't care what anybody calls me, as long as it isn't 'Late to Supper'." Finally he said, "You can call me Andy."

I started introducing him to my friends as Andy, but later found out he had never been called that until I met him! So, half of his world knows him as Andy, the other half knows him as Clarence.

The name to call him is whatever he has been to you.

He is still 'Honey' to me.

Thursday, March 7, 2002

Friday, March 1, 2002

A few of the many flowers

There were so many beautiful floral tributes. He was very well loved. These are just the potted plants that we brought back to the house.


Some of the family taken after Andy's services.