Monday, August 14, 2006

Another essay by Jimmy

I am posting this in honor of what would be our 19th anniversary today. This essay of Jimmy's is a perfect example of Andy's ornery yet playful personality. It is how I always remember him. I am sure he is entertaining himself by trying to aggravate St. Peter nowadays!

I think from time to time what he would have to say about the new things going on around here. I know how proud he would be/ is of the kids. He was such a great "band parent" he would be tickled that Shelby is on the drum line at the high school, and John is entering percussion at the middle school.

I am waiting to hear from him today... last year on this day we found an enameled RN pin in the handicapped spot at "our restaurant," the Red Lobster. What will it be this year? :)


Now, Jimmy's essay:

A Smoke with Andy

I'm not sure if you guys have these sorts of thoughts, but I have been recently.

It's hard to get these particular stories across to non-smokers, but I'll do my best.

This sounds very odd to most people, but I have always enjoyed smoking. Most of my family at one time or another has smoked. I therefore find it to be somewhat of a comfort thing, and I flat out like to do it.

After my first year in college, I started smoking, much to my mothers dismay. Mom never allowed me to smoke at home, but Andy understood, so he and I retired to the garage, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 20 times a day for a smoke and a chat. I cannot describe to you the amount of satisfaction that it gave me to go outside and poison myself with Andy. We'd be working on some project (usually on what ever piece of junk i was driving at the time) and the best part of that was finishing up and having a smoke with Andy.

Whenever I go back to Mom's house, I always pick up a pack of smokes at 7-11, and a Diet Dr Pepper, and even today, I still step out in the garage often and I have a smoke with "Andy."

I like to think he's listening to me the best there, and i can close my eyes and hear him say "Uh-huh" like he always did when I ran at the mouth (usually). He didn't call me Motor Mouth for nothing.

That was one of the great things about smoking with Andy, he was always willing to go have one, and he always listened to me, even if i was prattling on about stupid things. He sat there and listened intently, smiling as he smoked.

A story that goes along with this one occurs to me. When Andy was first out of the hospital about a year ago, Mom had me help her get him up and outside to sit in the sun for a bit. He was under doctors orders not to be using tobacco, but he and I figured that a couple smokes couldn't hurt. I had with me, as usual, a pack of smokes and a bottle of soda. After some strict admonishments from my from my mom to NOT smoke, she went back inside and Andy and I had the garage to ourselves.

I leaned over to him and said "Look, this is what we can do. I'll light this up, take a drag, and pass it to you, you take a couple drags, then pass it back. We'll pass it back and forth till its gone and light another. Mom is CERTAIN to smell this on your breath, so you take some drinks out of my Diet Dr Pepper and that should kill the smell enough to pull this off."

Grinning like a couple of teenagers smoking behind the barn, Andy and i shared three cigarettes. He didn't even have a problem with that diet soda. In fact, I think Andy would have drunk half a bottle of Pine-Sol if he figured he could get a smoke out of it by that time. :)

Even though we were "Bad," I thank God often that we had that chance to have a couple smokes together. :)

I miss him so much sometimes, I hurt.

I'd give everything I own to have just one more smoke with Andy.


Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Singing the Vacation Blues!

Wow... what a trip!

We had an unexpected ordeal... our Windstar blew the transmission in Springfield, MO. All of us stood at the side of the road in 100+ degree heat for almost an hour waiting for the tow truck to arrive. We almost had to call an ambulance for John, who began showing signs of heat exaustion, but managed to keep it at bay by making him drink as much as he could, and by pouring bottled water on him.

The tow driver took our van to a transmission shop, and us to a motel. This was Saturday, and the shop did not open until Monday. What to do??? What to do???

What we ended up doing was rent a car, and then continued on our trip. It was quite interesting to cram the stuff that was in a Windstar into a Taurus. We ended up leaving half our stuff behind.

Shelby kept on reminding us her Catechism lesson from the previous week: "All you need is a staff and a tunic." We told her to hush.

At any rate, we ended up having a truly wonderful trip.

We enjoyed the sights of St. Louis, ate Chicago pizza and saw the view from the top of the Sears tower.

We ventured into Windsor, won 50 bucks at the casino and promptly lost it.

Shelby twirled at Notre Dame, did fairly well in competition, and still enjoyed it.

We threw Art's parents 60th wedding anniversary party in Detroit.

And finally made it back to Springfield, picked up our repaired van and we are now home again. Very tired, but feeling pretty darn good about not letting a little thing like a blown transmission ruin our vacation!

(scroll down for photos)

A not-very-happy Arthur transfers stuff from the Windstar to the Taurus. (The rest of the vacation was great!)

Entrance to the Sears Tower...

...and the breathtaking view!

Chicago Pizzaria

Three of the Encore Twirlers and coach await their scores.

Shelby and John serve cake and punch

Mom and Dad: 60 years together and still going strong!

More of the anniversary party

A family portrait