Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Wonderful, Scary Camping Trip

Once upon a time there were 12 little boys.  These little boys were very lucky indeed because they were all cousins.  There were the four year olds, Jessie and Austin; the three year olds, Cody, Beau, Vince, Trenton and Slaytor, the two year old Tucker, the one year olds Christian, Jackson, and McKade and then a none year old Tanner.

One day as they were playing at Grandpa and Grandma Whiting's house they had a wonderful idea.  They were going to have a camp-out!!!

"I know," said Trenton.  Let's have it at my house.  We have a big back yard and my daddy and mama won't care.

"Yeah!" said Slaytor.  "That will be fun!"

"Cody and Beau and I all have our very own sleeping bags," said Jessie, "and I can bring the new blanket off my mom's bed if someone else needs some covers."

"I can borrow my dad's sleeping bag," said Austin.  "It has blood on it from a bear my dad shot."

"Cool," said Slaytor with his eyes opened wide, "Where did he shoot it?"

"In his head," answered Austin proudly.

"I have my very own sleeping bag," Vince said.  "Grandpa and Grandma gave it to me for my birthday.  It has a Harvey David motorcycle on it,"

"Cool," Slaytor said excitedly.  "What's a Harvey David Motorcycle?"

"I don't know," Vince answered.  "He's somebody that my mom and dad likes."

The rest of the little boys just stood and listened.  They didn't talk very much.

The next Saturday afternoon, Trenton was playing in his back yard with his little brother Jackson when everyone started coming.

Jessie and Cody and Beau arrived with three sleeping bags and the brand new quilt from their mom's bed.  Jessie was wearing a large silver pan on his head.  Cody and Beau carried large sticks.

Right behind them was Slaytor.  He had his Ninja turtle sleeping bag under one arm and under the other he had a little cushion to his mom's new couch.  In his teeth he carried a plastic bucket.

Following Slaytor was Vince and Christian.  Vince had his Harvey David Motorcycle sleeping bag and a Barney sleeping bag for Christian.  Christian was holding a little flashlight and a handful of string. 

Austin and Tucker came next.  Austin carried a very large sleeping bag that had the stains from the bear smack dab on it.  Tucker carried his jacket and a candle and a smile from ear to ear.

McKade was the next to come.  He was carrying his trusty bottle and a blanket, and one shoe that had fallen off.

"Hi Guys!" Trenton yelled as he ran to meet them.  "You really did come."

"Trenton?" his mother called from the doorway.  "What is going on?"

"We're having a camp-out at our house," Trenton called back excitedly.

"Did daddy say it was okay?" his mother questioned.

"Nope.  Daddy doesn't know yet," Trenton replied.  "Isn't he going to be excited?"

"Oh, I'm sure he will," his mother answered.

The boys busied themselves making their incredible camping spot.  They decided that the very best place to sleep was underneath the trampoline.  Trenton pulled off the blankets from his bed and with the brand new quilt Jessie had brought they laid them over the trampoline until they touched the ground all the way around.  They didn't have anything to hold the blankets on top of the trampoline, so they all took off their shoes and laid them on the blankets to hold them in place.

It was getting dark, so they all climbed inside their huge tent and laid their sleeping bags and blankets out.  It was getting darker and darker.  Pretty soon it was so dark that they couldn't see each other.

"It's awfully dark in here," Vince said.

"Yeah," answered Austin. "I've got a good idea.  Tucker has a candle."

"That's not a good idea," said Jessie.  "We aren't allowed to use matches so we can't burn it."

"Oh yeah," replied Austin.

"Christian has a flashlight," Vince said excitedly.

"Good. Where is it?" asked Jessie.

"I don't know," Vince said.  "I can't see."

"Let's all feel around," said Slaytor.  "I bet we can find it if we just feel around for it."

All the little boys got down on their hands and knees and started feeling around for the flashlight.

"Ouch!" Slaytor screamed.  "Somebody just stepped on my fingers."

There was a loud "thud" as Cody and Beau bashed into each other's heads.

"Cody! Watch out where I'm going!" yelled Beau.

"You need to watch out where I'm going," yelled back Cody.

"You guys," Jessie piped in.  "How can you watch where you're going when you can't see?  Just look for the flashlight."

"I found it!" yelled Trenton.  Just then McKade began to cry.

"No you didn't," Austin said.  "That's McKade's bottle.  Give it back to him so he won't cry."

"Sorry 'Kade," Trenton said as he handed the bottle back to McKade who happily put it in his mouth and stopped crying.

"Here it is," Vince said as he turned on the little flashlight that made just the tiniest little glow.

"That doesn't make a very big light.  Does it?" Slaytor said looking a little bewildered.

"Everybody just get in your bed," Jessie said, now being in authority.

All the boys snuggled down in their beds as Vince turned out the little flashlight.

"Did you hear that?" whispered Trenton.

"What?" whispered Vince.

"Sh-h-h," Jessie said.

"I think it's a bear," Austin replied.

They could hear something moving around in the dark night.

"Let's go kill it," Slaytor said standing up and picking up one of the twin's sticks.  "Come on Jessie.  We'll follow you.  You go first."

"Why do I have to go first?" answered Jessie.

"Cause you're the oldest," Vince said.

"Oh.  All right then." Jessie picked up his silver pan and placed it on his head and then picked up the other stick of the twin's.  "Let's go kill it."

"Here," said Vince handing them the string that Christian had brought.  "If you can't kill it, we can tie it up."

"Here," said Trenton, picking up the pillow that Slaytor had brought.  "If he opens his mouth to eat us, we can shove this pillow in it."

"Good idea," Vince said.  "You're smart."

"Thanks," smiled Trenton.  Then we can fill Slaytor's bucket with water and drown him."

"They pushed back one of the blankets and sneaked out into the dark night each one holding on tight to the other.

"Ruff, ruff, ruff," Came a sound as a creature brushed up against their legs.  "Ruff, ruff, ruff."

"Run," screamed Jessie.

"Run!" yelled Slaytor.

"Run!" cried Austin.

"Run fast!" Yelled Trenton.

And run they did.  They ran so fast.  Trenton threw open the sliding glass doors that led into his front room.  In ran Jessie.  In ran Slaytor.  In ran Austin.  In ran Trenton.

Early the next morning, Trenton's mama walked into the front room to find the four boys laying on the couch, laying on the floor and laying in the reclining chair.

"What are you guys doing in here?" she asked.  "I thought you were sleeping out in your incredible camp."

"We had to come in," Trenton replied sleepily.

"Yeah," Slaytor said with a big yawn.  We had to come in."

"Yep," Austin said stretching out his arms.  "We had to come in."

"Why did you have to come in?" Trenton's mother asked puzzled.

"Cause the little boys were all scared," Jessie said as he turned over and faced the couch and fell back to sleep.

Trenton's mother walked out to the wonderful, scary camp and peeked inside.  There lay Cody and Beau, Jackson, McKade, Tucker and Christian' all sound asleep.  Trenton's dog Drake was sleeping nearby.

It had been a wonderful scary camping trip.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Daren's Letter- July 25, 2013

Hi Honey:

It's one of those "if only" days.  Our last conversation just keeps rolling around in my head.  You sounded so sad.  I should have stayed on the phone with you longer.  I should have helped talk you through what you were feeling.  That's what I usually did.  But not that day. Not January 19, 2013.  I heard the pain in your voice.  I told you to just come home.  You were suppose to be here in a week.  "Come home and go on your cruise with Rainee.  Your family is looking so forward to seeing you.' But then I had to include "Just come down and stay with your family.  Don't go around your friends that you've done drugs with."  I meant good honey.  I just wanted you to come down and be my son and their brother.  I just wanted you to enjoy being with us and not need your drugs.  Oh God honey how I wish I would have stayed on the phone longer with you.  How I wish we would have talked and talked and talked until we ran out of words.  How I wish I would have said all the right things to you.  But I didn't babe.  I chalked it up to the times before when you would start to come off your last dose of pills and then feel depressed because you had taken them.  It was more than that this time though wasn't it honey. 

I know you didn't intentionally overdose.  I know it was an accident.  How do I know this?  Because you never would have wanted to leave your sons.  You loved them too much to do something so intentional that their pain might never go away.  Your autopsy report states it was accidental.  I know that.  I think perhaps you didn't take anymore pills than you had taken before, but I think this time your body was just too weak to accept them.  Your body was just too tired, too worn. 

But maybe if I had talked to you more that night, you might not have taken that last dose that night.  I know my darling boy.  I know that it was inevitable that the day would come when you would take them and when your body would just say it was enough, too much.  But just one more day.  If I just had one more day with you.  How we take for granted a single day in our lives.  How we let one day go without appreciating all that is wrapped up in it.  Yes my boy, maybe the day was inevitable that you would take those pills but maybe it might not have been that day.  Maybe I would be sitting here this day and know you were in Alaska with your orange vest, your hard hat, and your work boots on.  One day.  How much is one day worth?  More than words can say.  For I would gladly sacrifice one of my own to have you hear with me right now. 

I love you honey.  I miss you so much.  I need to stop this though.  I need to wipe the tears off my face, blow my nose and pull myself together.  Sitting here and wanting something I will never have again is useless. 

I don't know how things work there where you are at.  But I don't want you to feel bad for me.  I don't want anything I feel to interrupt whatever it is you should be doing or feeling where you are at.

Just know that I love you with all my heart.  Someday I will feel your arms hug me the way you use to do.  I'll smell the scent of your cologne.  And whose to say?  I might even smell your cigarettes...Marlboro reds in a hard box. 

Go have a cup of coffee with that dad of yours.  Tell him I've written you and tell him I said to tell him I love him and miss him. 

"I'll love you forever.  I'll love you for always.  Forever and ever my baby you'll be."


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Daren's Letter - July 4, 2013

Hi Honey:

You know every time you read one of my letters, it's because I'm having a rough day and need to talk to you.  I talked to your picture sitting on my dresser and told you that I love you but it wasn't enough.  So here I am writing you. 

Remember when you and your siblings were young, I would write you my letters that you and your brother and sisters would later name "dreaded letters."  Dreaded because that would be my way of telling you I didn't approve of something you were doing.  I figured if I wrote you a letter, I wouldn't have to listen to excuses or rebuttals.  It worked then, but right now, this very minute, what I wouldn't give to hear one of your excuses or one of your rebuttals.  Oh God honey how I'm missing you.  This is my first 4th of July without you, and my first of not spending it with Vince and Christian. 

I called them, just to hear their voices.  They said they were planning on having a bar-b-gue there at the house, by themselves.  They were alone and it broke my heart because I know they were thinking of you too.  Their first without you. 

Remember our 4th of Julys when you were young?  We would always have a bar-b-que and then watch the fireworks.  I remember you and Mark climbing up on top of the house to get a better view.  We would set our own off in the street in front of our house and our little dog Poopsie loved them.  You guys would light them and as they were twirling around on the street, she would grab them in her mouth and take off with them.  By end of the night, she had seared whiskers, but she had fun searing them.  Then, it seemed like those times would last forever, but they didn't.  Did they Sweetheart? 

Oh so fast, you all grew into adults with families of your own.  At our Payson house, we would still have our bar-b-ques and the head count went from nine to thirty-nine.  God how I loved every minute of those times.  I wish I had bottled them and sit them on a shelf so today as I sit here on my bed writing this letter to you, I could open the bottle and enjoy them once again.  "If wishes were fishes we'd all have a fry," your Grandma Sophia used to say.  Or as your dad your dad would say "Wish in one hand and pee in the other and see which one fills up fastest."  He had such a way with words.  Tell him I am missing him today.

Two of my three men have slipped out of my life now.  Mark is left holding me together.  I don't think it has dawned on him that he is now the Patriarch of the family.  I'll have to remind him of that one day when I feel like being mean to him.  He misses you and your dad so much.  You guys shared a lot of things together; more than most dad and brothers do.  Not only were you family, but you were colleagues.  It wasn't easy working together.  Was it honey.  I know back in the days, Mark wouldn't have thought the day would come when he would be missing having his dad and brother around to talk work-talk.  But he does.  I know because he tells me so quite often.  If we all knew then what we know now.

Well my darling son, now that I've written you this letter, I feel better.  I know it may sound stupid to some that when I write these letters, I feel they go out into the universe and that you can grab them and read them.  How I wish you could write a letter there and send it out into the universe so I could grasp it and read it.  I wouldn't even care if it were a "dreaded letter" of yours telling me what I was doing wrong and that you were disappointed in me.  I would just like to pick it up, and know that you touched the paper and pen that wrote it.

I love you honey.  I know that if I didn't believe there would be a time and place that I will be with you and your dad again, I would go crazy.  It would be so unbearable to me.  So I will hold that thought close to my heart and believe that one day, I will feel your arms around me in one of your bear hugs and say "Hi Mom."  Until that day, please keep trying to place a message in my mind.  Please keep trying to break down the wall that I have built that keeps me from feeling your presence. 

"I'll love you for always.  I'll love you forever.  Forever and ever my baby you'll be."

Happy 4th of July Honey.