Wednesday, February 06, 2013

not so

it looks it, but it's not. deserted. this place. these pages. i'm still here. watching. thinking. remembering. there's plenty more to say. plenty more memories and moments to share.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

there is a time in a mans life when he remembers the first time he saw an angel.

my brother, wendal and i were inseparable as boys of 7 & 8. i remember him as the day, where the sun shined so bright - full of wonder and questions - and i felt as the night - quiet and contemplative. when we were together, i lived the magic and mischief that all around us witnessed - the sparks of life and hope and promise. bubba told me our blond hair made us destined for good things - he would put his arm over my shoulder and whisper in my ear - "we can have it all, toebo" - "we're from texas and we got blond hair to boot" - at such a young age, he knew the allure of blond hair on southern folk - i feel him here now as i write this - another story for another time .

- for the sighting and presence of angels -

i don't remember the first time i saw aunt bobbie - i just remember her being in our life - like a big sister- someone must have said - this is your aunt - i remember her being there - her protective presence - and i remember her having blond hair - and her laugh - her laughter was music - and she loved to share the laughter with us - wendal laughed, i giggled - then we both would laugh at my giggle. i remember we both agreed we could trust 'aunt bobbie' - trust was a big thing for a boy of 7 or 8 to hand over - but we both gleefully handed our trust to aunt bobbie -

the circumstances that brought aunt bobbie to our house that early morning are unclear in my mind - i remember it as a summer morning - it could have been the birth of a sibling - it could have been that momma and daddy had too much to drink and 'daddy got mad' as bubba would say - i like to remember it as the birth of a sibling. it was also the morning i remember wendal and i received a nickname we would share -.

for all that aunt bobbie could do, she couldn't cook - well, she couldn't make gravy - a rite of passage for a southern girl, especially one from texas. which affirmed for bubba and i that she was an angel sent from heaven, as everyone knew that angels didn't cook. aunt bobbie's gravy was - well, like paste - the old school jar paste - tasted about the same too - it was lumpy without being too mashed potato-ey - the kid of stuff that makes a kids nose instinctively curl and their mouths go - eeewww. and it had none of the traits one associates with texas homestyle gravy - no
pepper - no bacon or sausage grease - and no tabasco sauce on top.

when we balked at eating the plop of white stuff (for no self respecting southerner would ever call that stuff gravy) over our oven fresh biscuits and did the 'i don't wanna' scoot out of our kitchen chairs - she called us biscuit butts. - the thought kept us laughing - "no you're a biscuit butt" - "no you're a biscuit butt" - "you're a biscuit butt" - "biscuit butt" - "aunt bobbie is a biscuit butt", we giggled in unison.

up til then he was bubba and i was toe or toebo - but now we had a name that said we were equal - the same - getting a nickname is a big deal in the south - but sharing a nickname with another was unheard of - and this one was just a bit naughty and grown up sounding - we felt crowned and christened. we were 'biscuit butts'.

our laughter echoed through the kitchen as we dashed out the screen door and onto the back porch - me as close behind bubba as a shadow - i caught a glimmer of light over my shoulder - i looked back and saw the smile of an angel as she watched us dart into the cool summer morning to spread our promise and laughter among the johnson grass and horny toads - as summer boys are want to do.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

one year - and 8 since she left - today, momma has been gone 8 years - it has been one year since i wrote here and so much has happened - i have tried to write and something always seemed to get in the way and then when i thought again, recently, i thought i would wait and mark the day as a new beginning. so much water under the bridge - a year - 365 days - where to begin - sister has spent the last year in and out of hospitals - mostly in - long periods - there were times we thought and feared we would lose her and she too would join momma & daddy and bubba - too many time to want to remember - she came home this week - and to celebrate the homecoming we are having a family thanksgiving meal - something she missed and desired - baby brother and his wife divorced - rod and i took better paying jobs in houston - it has been hard to leave family - very hard - it has been as hard to give up freedom with a less stressful job - i wonder if the money is worth the sense of lost creativity - i re-connected with several old friends - one i had longed and searched for -
when i was growing up we used to mark and celebrate special days in a variety of ways - when it was one of our birthdays, daddy made sure everyone got a gift - some little small something - later in life, we seemed to mark the occasion by eating - always a big meal - always a big gathering - inviting everyone - it just kind of carried over into our adult lives - so, today and tomorrow, we mark several occasions - we rejoice with joyous hearts the homecoming of sister - our eldest sibling who has been 'through the ringer' this year - we commemorate the memory of our dear mother and we will celebrate the birth of our dear aunt, whose birthday follows the day our mother died.

Friday, April 25, 2008

yesterday - 7 years - hardly seemed possible when it happened - still painful when thought about - dwelled on - she was born in artesia california - 1929 - when i think about her - i think what she must have been like then - in the land of make believe - and palm trees - i have a photo of her with nannie - her mother - who was just a child herself - unsure steps -

i know the woman momma became - the one who taught us to play games of hide-n-seek when the electric company came and turned off the lights - games of make believe when the old television didn't work and games of 'when i grow up' when daddy stayed out drinking too late - she liked pretty things - and strong men - she loved children and good friends - i remember many things about her and miss her terribly - but one thing that sticks in my mind and i am not sure when i noticed this about her - but, when the food was scarce, she would suddenly be the one who wasn't very hungry - letting us kids eat first - i remember crying one time because she wouldn't eat and her sitting with me and sharing my plate of macaroni and cheese and how honored i felt -

when daddy died - rod and i lived in dallas - after the funeral we came back to dallas and i spent the next few days working on a tribute to him - i wrote a poem, created a shadow box with things that reminded me of him and a collage of photos - long story short - when momma died - i expected i would do the same for her - i just couldn't and still can't - that's a room i can't enter - right now.

i remember a conversation she and i had one afternoon over the phone - after we had to place her in the nursing home - when conversation would turn to her dying, she would say she was going to die and i would say no you aren't. and she would say - one day - and i would say - one day is a long way off. she paused and said toe - the way she did when she wanted me to listen or do something for her - i hoped she would say toe - i saw a pretty doll in the gift shop downstairs today - instead, she said that she knew i didn't want her to die and that she knew i loved her but when the time came - she said she wanted me to accept it. i will. i said - my throat choked up - she said she would still be around and whenever i needed to talk to her - to just close my eyes and know that she was in my heart and she was listening - somehow i croaked out - how - my roses - you'll smell my roses -

i am smellin the roses today, momma -
i love you.

emma jean moulder rash - momma - jan 6, 1929 - april 24, 2001

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

daddy would be 79 today - i never heard or knew where he was born - at least i don't remember - i suppose he was born right here in the town he grew up in - he took joy in being born on april fools day and loved playing practical jokes on you - especially if you were a kid - he loved to hear kids laugh -

i know he was what i have come to know as Texas - through and through - gentle and strong at the same time - compassionate when he needed to be and stern when deserved. i miss him more than i imagined i would as a child - those times when a boy feels his father would rather have someone else as a son - do all boys feel this - i never knew - conversations with his friends i overheard - he would often refer to bubba as his son and me as 'jeans boy' - it hurt at the time - hurt a lot -

when he died - it seemed so unreal - no one that close had ever died before - i felt totally unprepared - somewhat abandoned - we had just had 'the talk' - the talk i knew i would one day have in order to feel my life as complete - he cried - i cried -there was understanding - he said he and momma had always known - he laughed when i
asked why didn't he tell me - he hugged me - harder, longer than i ever remember him hugging me before -

i see him in my brothers and sisters - his eyes in one - his nose in another - his actions and reactions in us all - as if we all have an internal mechanism that asks 'what would daddy do - say'.

momma said she thought he knew - knew he was going - the tone of his voice - the talk of forgiveness - the preparations he made with meticulous precision - late in his life, he always wore overalls - he ironed them a few days before he died - something he had never done - but he put a crease in them so sharp it would cut ya' -he enjoyed ironing - ironing men things - jeans and shirts - i remember he would iron bubbas jeans and his own - when he wore them - when we buried daddy, we buried him in those overalls he had starched and ironed not 2 days before.

so you will know ...
he was a kind, gentle and honest man.
he had no time for those with mean or evil thoughts.
he was a just man, with a temper that was capable of engulfing the world he built.
but, when he showed his heart, as he often did, he charmed us all.
he was a man, who even though in need himself, would reach to help others.
he was a man who loved children and the hope they stood for.
he was a man who enjoyed fishing and companionship.
he spoke his love to us all with deeds not words, as words did not come easy for him.
on those occasions when he did speak his love, his words would engulf him and the tears would flow from his eyes - then you would feel the love within this man's heart.
as you read these words i write with so much love and pain, know that you have met then lost the man i called "daddy", some called "billy" and so many simply called "poppa" and that he would have loved you.

Billy Joyce 'BJ' Rash
April 1, 1929 - May 18, 1992

Monday, March 31, 2008

i got one of those 'getting to know you' emails recently and it got me to thinking about how things have turned out for me - i will soon be 50 and there are days i don't feel older than 25 going on 14 - memories of my childhood are as fresh as if they had happened yesterday - yet, i have a hard time with what i actually did yesterday - i don't know what that says about growing old - it doesn't really concern me - it seems to concern those around me more than it does me - sometimes its the way i choose to remember - i'll remember the good times - forget the bad - i'll remember how loving momma and daddy were to one another - not how they fought or why - i'll remember how close bubba and i were - not how it was when he was mean - and i'll remember how much love there was when we got together as a big 'family' and had these week-end long gatherings and bar-b-ques with everyone we ever knew in attendance and all the kids sleeping here and there - spread out on folding beds all over the big front porch of the house on the hill - and not the parade of 'uncles' who took advantage of free liquor and loving children.
i'll remember - i was a little boy with little boy dreams - dreams of sunshine - dreams of stardust - dream of cornfields and dreams of safety ...

Friday, March 28, 2008

400+ acres in the middle of waco - the most beautiful setting - acres upon acres of trees reaching for the sky - cliffs and overhangs - white rock - jagged and thrilling - at one time, and maybe it still is, it was the largest natural municipal park in the southwest - it was dedicated as a park in may of 1910 - donated to the city by the cameron family - william cameron - its the type of setting that may have been designed or envisioned by frederick law olmsted - the same guy who designed central park in new york -
they even have a lovers leap - with a legend - about young native americans leaping to their death in the name of love.
we used to hold family reunions there - in a club house - high on a hill - surrounded by trees and laughter -
when i was about 9 or 10 - bubba and i - and a cousin - ventured away from the families and crowd - scouting - back when you let your kids explore without fear for their safety - there was a beautiful timber staircase with intricate timber railings leading down the side of the hill to the paved parking lot below - the stairs were short and winding - bubba took a turn and under the railings he skipped - i followed - cuz was already half way down - having long ago abandoned the staircase of trees laid into the side of the hill - bubba and i were about a quarter of the way down when we were attacked by ground hornets - i don't remember knowing what it was that was biting me so viciously - just that it hurt like the dickens and all i could think to do was drop and roll - i didn't know where the stings were coming from, i just knew they were hurting bad - and someone was crying - loud - and people were screaming - and leaves were sticking to my face - and i had to get out of my clothes - i was running and rolling and running at the same time - then i was in the middle of the parking lot - screaming and crying - the pain was intense - strangers were running up to me - comforting me - but i wanted my momma and daddy - the rest of it is all a blur - i remember the doctor saying i was lucky - and i remember thinking - he was out of his mind - i was in more pain than i could ever remember and every 'little' part on my little body was swollen and puffy - my eyes were almost swollen shut - my who-ha was swollen - bubba and i had stings over 70% of our bodies.
that's one of those stories that people who tell, begin it by saying - remember that time -
still it's a beautiful park. if you are ever driving through waco - stop and take a look - i would just be more likely to lock my doors today.

Monday, March 24, 2008

at the top of the hall closet - was a small overnight suitcase - paperboard - striped pattern - inside, were all the scraps of paper from daddys life. when he died - my sisters - the youngest and oldest - disagreed over the sacredness of that suitcase - we all knew it existed - no one had ever dared to peek inside - it held untold pieces of his life - our lives - we whispered - as brothers and sisters often do - it held the adoption papers of whichever one of us seemed less at the time - later, when we packed momma up and moved her from their home to a new home for herself - all her own - momma gave me daddys suitcase - i had it for a week before i opened it - and then it was by accident - it had become so old and worn that at some point daddy had tied a strip of t-shirt fabric around it to help hold it shut - so i sat down in the middle of my bedroom floor and - dealt.

there were no adoption papers - there were newspaper articles on distant cousins - images of people who looked like someone i should know - but sadly didn't - wedding announcements - birth announcements - paycheck stubs - union cards - various wallets - cigarette lighters with his name and initials scratched into the sides - a permanent forever signature - as i rubbed my finger tips across those scratches - my mind wandered ..

what matters most... when all is said and done .. it's not the things you hang onto or have that make you who you are - i don't think - i spend a good part of my day sorting through treasures, trinkets and junk people leave behind - things they thought they couldn't do without - pieces of lives that in some way helped define a who or a where - the stories i encounter would depress many - lives torn apart and discarded - it's hard sometimes to make the decision to toss something, something someone thought enough to place behind lock and key, away from danger and harm - mostly cards from grandmothers, letters from sons and daughters barred from society, photos of forgotten children, a toy, an odd brooch or two.

what i know - hold what is here and now. reach out and say

i love you-

i miss you


i am sorry if i hurt you.

and in doing this, i think we become who we were meant to be.

Friday, March 14, 2008

my grandmother - mother to my father - sina dimple crockett - most everyone called her 'dimple' - some would add an 's' at the end of that. we kids called her 'Gran'.

my earliest memory of her - honestly, is being spanked by her - or as we used to say, 'whooped'.

her father - who we called 'poppa' - insisted she spank me after i 'threw a fit' - or he would do it for her - so she spanked me - sent me outside to pull a switch from the tree in the front yard - then she grabbed one hand and she and i danced around the trunk of that tree for what seemed like an eternity.

i remember being more shocked that she would whip me, than anything that had ever happened in my young life. i remember thinking that i would tell my daddy on her - i remember crying. and i remember marching back into the house - poppas house - and picking up each of the raisins i had thrown on the floor when i was given them instead of the candy i requested.

i am not sure when the photo was taken, but that is Gran before she was Gran - when she was just Sina Dimple Crockett... to me, she says Texas.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

sisters - middle sis and baby sis - east texas - april 1965 -
i have always been a little jealous of the bond i witness between sisters - sisters here and sisters there. sisters through thick and thin. sister woman. sister friend. emotions to the surface and raw.

tried, but never felt that bond with my brothers - guess it was because i always felt 'different'. older brother and i - were so very close when we were younger - he fell and i bruised - i cried and he shed the tears - and then our roads divided - he went down one path and i went down another. in the eyes of an outsider - one good and one bad. which was which. i miss him.

baby brother and i - so far apart in ages that i often feel more parent than brother - so i measure what i say and how. i see my father in him and wonder does he see the same in me - hows work - the family and i like your new car -

i am not good at - comforting without emotion - solving without involvement - being a 'man' - a good little soldier - i work on it - but still feel i fall short -

i think i have sister blood in me -

Friday, March 07, 2008

it snowed here this morning - here in central texas - just a light dusting of powder, on anything that faced ft. worth - brought back a flood of memories - i don't think it snowed that much when we were growing up - but i do remember two occasions -one involved snow ice cream - daddy sent us into the side yard to gather enough snow - i remember thinking it was a joke he was pulling on us - he was good at pulling jokes and tricks on ya' - still i was intrigued - making such a sweet treat from snow - so there we went - out into the side yard - the one less traveled - eagerly, with the BIG brown and gold colonial pattern pyrex bowl in hand - scooping up
freshly fallen snow with our arsenal of serving spoons and batman jelly glasses - stopping to throw a hastily assembled snow ball at one another and hurrying back inside - gathering around the chrome kitchen table - little ones, knees first on the matching chairs - watching as he mixed the cream and the sugar and the vanilla - waiting - listening for that moment when he would say "Ta Da!" or "Presto Change-O" - him telling us every step he took - the reason behind every turn of the big wooden spoon in the bowl - waiting for him to tap that spoon on the side of the bowl - like a dinner bell signal - didn't that mean it was done - ready - quickly we took our places in line - youngest to oldest - sometimes - sometimes ladies first - he liked to change it up like that - we, patiently waiting for our scoop of creamy sweet snow ice cream - such a sweet treat - and it was free - "didn't cost us a dime", as daddy would say and then as we sat indian style in the middle of the living room floor - we kids would discuss who had the biggest hand in helping create what we were enjoying - mostly, we would agree, it was God.

(the pic - my grandmother - sina dimple crockett rash - with her father - my great grandfather - thomas absolum 'abb' crockett)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

i voted yesterday - not that it was the first time i have ever voted - but there was something - special - about what took place yesterday.
there was a sense of history being made. i marked the spot in my mind - so 20 years from now - i can point to it and say, that is where i voted and made my choice - her or him. that is where the newness originated - for me.

i remember growing up, votes and voting seemed like a 'secret' process. i don't remember daddy or momma ever discussing with anyone who they voted for. maybe they did, i just don't remember.

i do remember him saying, if you don't stand up - you can't be counted.

i believe he would be happy with the way things are going -

(the pic - my daddy on the right and a buddy of his - sometime during the korean war)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

'ded a skeeter git cha?' - i heard that a lot when we were growing up - back in the day - on the hill - in the country -
translated, it means 'did you get bitten by a mosquito?' ..
skeeters seem to follow me around no matter what i do to try and prevent it - i can bath myself in deet and they would feast.
all the rain we have had here in the last month has not helped. we are floating around here and all the abandoned tires and the vacant lots from the bulldozed homes and businesses - something is happening in the area, but not sure what.

trying to reconnect with writing - have read some inspiring blogs that reminded me i liked to write - so i thought i would give it another go.

lord, i hope no one else dies - ok, deal?

i think i am going to talk more about when we were kids - seemed like a magical time - at least to me - so, i'll see ya' around and watch out for them skeeters.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

house of carters - makes me cry - is there a mirror in the house - such emotion, passion and love


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Momma and Daddy - sometime in the 50s

had a dream - on a chilly weekend night - snuggled next to Rod - in the back of the van - tired from unloading and setting up the show - in the middle of exhausted - i was - laying across a water bed - drifting in and out - Momma walked through a closet door - not looking anything like she had always looked in my dreams - not this time - this time she looked like she did the night she died - she wasn't dressed in purple with her hair all done up - teased and sprayed - like she did when we put her in the ground - no this time she was scary - kind of - i was scared in the dream - frightened to see her - hurried and frantic she was - dressed in her hospital/ nursing home gown - her little arms frail and her hands hanging at her wrists - her hair wild and wet - her eyes wide and her mouth flushed - she seemed lost - she was whimpering - my heart raced - she and Rod met in the space at the foot of the bed outside the closet door - she looked right through him and he through her - looked to be seeing one another - she didn't, couldn't see me - she was lost - the realization awoke me with a start - Momma was lost - i felt an uncontrolable sadness surround me and i began to cry - Rod nudged me - 'there's something wrong with the phone' - we use the phone as an alarm - i heard the noise too, somewhere in the back of my head - but it wasn't the phone - i was making a whimpering sound - it was me - when i came to, i couldn't stop crying - i couldn't shake the feeling that Momma was lost - searching.

I spent the rest of that early morning crying - maybe crying tears i couldn't cry so many years ago - tears i pushed aside and promised to cry later - when there was time.

Rod later told me that when he got up to put on coffee and walk our dog - jax - the radio was playing 'i hope you dance' - that was just out when Momma died and we played it at her funeral - she and Daddy loved to dance - when we held her hands that night she died - all that day - we encouraged her to go be with Daddy and go dancing - i like to think of them that way - dancing together.

i love you,

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bubba died last week - on Wednesday Aug 23 - one day before Momma and Billy Bud, all in a different month - buried him on the 26th, Saturday - seemed for awhile the 24th followed us around like a grey cloud.

talking about anything - anything other than admitting that he is gone. seems/is so so sad. hard to stop and think about. though he has been gone for 14 years, now it seems final. finally he is free. finally he is home. laid him right there to the left of daddy - my left, his right - 'your way' as momma used to say.

he never even got to see where we had laid them all to rest - i am sure he sees now, but it isn't the same - will never be the same - can we stop the dying now?

son of his couldn't make it - we did our best to include daughter. comforting her. allowing her the space to grieve.

hard to control cries that have been suppressed for 14 years.

release. comes in all forms.

bubba. i remember - "bubba got a 'tick" and chasing you around with a stick, i remember horse shows, trail rides, frog giggin', jokes on the 'girls', "aunt jeanette, hand me a towel", jiggs, blaze, kitty lou, callie and you.

i will never forget the impact you made on my life - the good and the not so good - tag. - all is forgiven. i hope you knew that.


bubba, i don't know how to say good bye to you - you were the sun - the son - the light did shine on you brighter than anyone around.
i was your shadow and it's hard for the shadow to let go of the sun.

you accepted what life gave you with no complaints - taking it with a stand up attitude that causes one to take notice.

as i re-read the last letter you wrote - so much seems clearer - did u know? i think maybe u did. they say u do.

you forgave and sought forgiveness. you honored what was and moved through the pain.

i know your pain is over and your are in Gods love and now all those who have gone before you are with you and you are all watching us. so forgive me if i stumble, but damn bubba i am going to miss you so so much.

i love you,

Wendal Wade Rash
October 30, 1956 - August 23, 2006

Friday, August 18, 2006

the trip to Amarillo was nice - the weather there was in the high 70s - it was overcast and seemed very much like winter - i think the low for the night was in the low 60s - when we got into town on tuesday afternoon - we reserved our hotel room - we stayed at the quality inn suites off 40 - we couldn't check in until 2pm so we went to the walmart so i could get some long pants - as i didn't realize that men were also under the long pants rule and i only brought shorts - got back to the hotel and checked in and then showered and went out to dinner - got back to the hotel in time to watch big brother and both fell asleep during the program and woke up at 5:30 am - got showered and dressed - had breakfast at the hotel and then drove over to the prison - we had driven by on tuesday when we got into town so we would know how to get there wednesday morning and wouldn't feel rushed -
we got at the prison - he is in the bill clements unit - there were prisoners outside tending to the flowers - once inside the guardshack - we had to wait while they checked us out - normal visitation hours are on saturday and sunday - then they lead us through the prison - the infirmary is in the 'belly' of the prison - they walked us among prisoners - and i must say i was a little nervous - what with sisters giant 'bassooms', even though she tried to corral them - but we made it through without incident -

once we got to the infirmary they stopped us at the nurses station - as we stood there looking around and waiting - i saw his room directly across from the nurses desk - his name was written on a piece of paper - Rash, Wendal - 622482 - 1200CC fluid restriction - the door was closed - there was a vertical window approximately 16" long and 8" wide on the left side of the door - a slot for placing his food tray beneath - and there sitting in a hospital type recliner - covered with a woven white cotton blanket - peeking out from under the blanket was an old familiar face - he looked so old and small -

they opened the door and led us into the room and brought two chairs for us to sit in - we were surprised that they encouraged us to sit next to him and touch and hug him - which we did - sister sat on one side and i sat on the other - along the opposite wall was a small twin size bed with white sheets another cotton blanket and a single pillow - there were two vertical windows in the room - one on each side of the the back wall - they looked out into the inner courtyard - which had west texas style plants and flowers -

his eyes brightened the moment he realized we were there - and i do believe he knew we were there - they reminded us he could only have 1200 cc of fluid a day - which is the equivalent of four small cups of coffee in the styrofoam cups - he seemed overly excited to be getting a soda and chose a sprite - sister also bought him a soft peanut butter cookie - and a milky way - most all of his teeth are now gone and he finds it hard to eat anything other than mush - at first i just thought he was having trouble forming words - and i am still not sure that wasn't what was happening - but he was very disoriented - he kept looking at the doorway and smiling and even laughing at some points - then he would say 'Naw' very loud - or 'you're shitting me' - we told him that his daughter, ladonna, wanted to come see him and he got very aggitated and began shaking his head - no - it was hard for him to form words - sister continued to sit on one side and i on the other and we just sat there taking turns stroking his hands or arms - his left arm tending to quiver and shake uncontrollably - his arms are covered in tattoos - from wrist to elbow - elaborate colorful dragons and devils - fire and brimstone - i told him i had thought about getting a tattoo - what did he think - he pursed his lips and shook his head - NO - there wasn't much conversation on his part - so we spent most of the time telling him about the family - how big everyones kids are - things we did as kids - how well the reunion turned out and how pleased we were with the turnout -
we stayed approximately 2 1/2 hours - we only left because he was getting very tired and wanted to lay down - we hugged and kissed him goodbye and left - the drive home was very hard and emotional.

the bad - he is unable to form words - his thoughts drift from exclamations to counting - he spent a lot of the conversation counting - sister said she thought he was counting what money he had in his account - i thought he was counting the days left to his parole and release - his left arm would jerk and spasm - his skin is very yellow - i actually saw it as tan - but sister said it was yellow - he has a skin cancer lession on his right side cheek - though he wasn't at the time, the nurse told sister he has to wear diapers but she didn't put him in them that day cause she didn't want to embarass him - he got sick when we went to leave and threw up all over himself and started to cry - oh, that was hard - he would seem to understand what we were talking about and then become frustrated when he couldn't form the words of his reply - he would clench his right fist and try to sound out the words -

the doctor came in while we were there - he is a very compassionate man - he told us that wendals liver is not absorbing the toxins in his body and so his body is going into shock and shutting down - the nurse - mrs moore, is very good and dotes on wendal like he was a child - i can tell she has the same level of compassion - she said he has gradually gotten worse each day -

neither sister or i wanted to leave - but it was very hard to stay and i personally just wasn't sure how much longer i could hold in the tears and not cry in front of him - neither of us cried in his presense - we just sat and held him -
as we left the infirmary - they encouraged us to hug and kiss him goodbye, which we did as he lay in his bed - we both broke down once we got outside the infirmary - the lady gaurd stopped us and comforted us both patting us on the back and telling us it would be alright and that they would look after him - which is also what the nurses all said - the guard took us to see the chaplain and he took us into a conference room and explained to us what would happen when wendal died - what he would do and what the prison would do -

then we left and started home - it seemed further back home than it did there -

i don't know what lies ahead - i pray that there is a miracle - i pray that he will be released of his pain - i feel that momma and daddy and nannie and pawpaw and gran and peepaw and billy bud are there with him and at the same time i want to scream at them all to go on and leave because he isn't ready yet - not yet - not now -

on the return trip, we talked to shannon and ladonna and told them both that he loved them - we also told him that they sent their love -

Friday, June 09, 2006

today - june 9 - is my birthday - i am 48 - might as well be 50 - does 2 years really make a difference - do i look 2 years younger than someone who looks 50?

actually, i think i look pretty good for someone who is 50 - i am down to 160 or so now - from a high of 220 - i spend 6 days a week - walking, aerobics, weight training - and i eat right - healthy foods - now, i don't have to take any of my diabetic meds - i keep my blood sugar between 95 - 115 - i feel great - and i just recently had my teeth 'fixed' - as we say.

in the 70s, after i graduated high school - and spent two years in junior college - i moved to big d - there i came out - made some friends and began working in some of the bars along cedar springs - i started experimenting with drugs and to make a long story short - i guess i was lucky in that i never felt addicted to anything i took and was able to 'walk away' when the time came - but i spent two years working in the bars and taking the drugs that were given as tips - not something i am proud of, but i was young and it was the 70s - fast forward 15 years - my teeth began falling out - loosening and bleeding - not sure if this was caused by the drugs i took so many years ago, but i always accepted it as part of the 'payment' for the good times i thought i was having - for almost 6 years i have lived with this - well, i am a month into my 'new teeth' - i forgot what it was like to smile - so, people now say i look so much younger now and they can't figure out why - see, i never ever smiled or laughed in public - i practiced in a mirror how far to smile so as not to show that i had no teeth and i absolutely hated talking to people for any length of time - anyway, i am enjoying the new me.

tomorrow is mine and rods 20th - hard to believe - but happy to have.

love, toe

Monday, May 22, 2006

for Nannie -

Nannie Mae Isenberg Moulder
Jan 1, 1911 - March 21, 2006

I love you, Nannie.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Wow .. that long huh?

Nannie died, Momma's mother - spent last weekend cleaning out her house - or helping - gonna miss her. later.

Smokey Lonesome got run over - buried him along the side - made a box for him and lined it - was hard to close it up - held him for as long as I could - and remain sane.

sometimes it feels like sorrow follows me around - but honestly, i am really a very happy person - big sis says 'of all of us, you refuse to accept defeat' - i guess that is true - i don't like to admit there is a problem until i have it confirmed and even then - i'm gonna keep believing that it will all be ok in the end... one of my fav sayings from one of my fav shows - 'it will all be ok in the end - if it's not ok - it's not the end'. judging amy. loved that show.

think it comes from momma - when we lived on the hill on the outskirts of town - no phone - no car, when daddy wasn't home - and no money - and they would come and turn the lights off - she would led us in a game of hide n seek in the dark in the middle of the country and corn fields - and somehow that made what could have been a bad time into something good and fun..then we would sit on the front porch and watch the moon move across the sky and tell stories - ghost stories and dream stories - dream stories - when i grow up stories - momma, when i grow up, i am gonna build you a big house - one dream that never came true - but she would always say - i just want you to be happy - i'm happy, momma.

i'm happy.

love toe

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

stuck... tired... bored.. too much to get done .. should be doing it instead of writing...

smokey lonesome sitting on my lap purring... such a good kitty .. never had a cat before ... smokey decided it was about time .. just adopted me about a year ago ... he comes when we whistle (well, when Rod whistles - i can't whistle)..comes running, tail wagging .. i think he is a dog in cats clothing...

we never really had cats when i was growing up - bubba had a cat named kitty lou before he went to the panhandle - we always had dogs .. big dogs little dogs old dogs mean dogs protective dogs .. dobermans, pekingnese, spitz, pit bulls - daddy raised them and yes he fought them - never could stomach that - i had a great dane once - tasha - had to give her away - she liked to chase and kill chickens.

horses we always had ... until Sister got hurt .. then Daddy got rid of them all ..stomach first onto a tree stump ..Gran & Peepaw were there .. Momma was there .. i think aunt jeanette and uncle howard were there too .. daddy was in the hospital .. his first of many heart attacks ..all us kids who had been born were there ...someone said 'it's terrible' - a friend, whose daughter was named terry - thought they said it was terry - took three men to hold her back .. another lady shoving ice chips at all of us .. tears... fear ...ambulance .. she was just 16 .. riding on a horse with another girl behind her, someone hit the horse with a quirt .. into a grove of trees, the horse turned quickly and the girl holding Sister started to fall and pulled Sister off with her, she landed against a tree, Sister landed stomach first onto a tree stump. .. it's a strange feeling, being a kid and seeing your Sisters picture on a jar in the local grocery begging for money to help with hospital expenses... hearing people whisper.."their father.. in the hospital with a heart attack .. their sister .. not sure she will make it through ..poor kids" ...Momma running from one floor to the other .. they didn't want Daddy to know about Sister until he was better... 4 kids at home ... we stayed with relatives for awhile .. then someone took the girls to take care of them ... and someone took bubba & me to live with them ..that wasn't fun ..

we did get to see sister, after daddy got out and we were somewhat a family again .. she stayed in the hospital almost a year, then.

we couldn't go up in the room originally, but Daddy would drive us into the parking lot near her window and he would point which window was hers and Momma would wave to us .. Daddy said it was sister, but we knew she couldn't get out of bed..

so Daddy sold all the horses - except Jiggs - couldn't get rid of Jiggs.

before, we always went on trail rides .. horse shows.. rodeos .. after, not so much...

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Henry Sanders, Jr - S2C US ARMY - your name looks, sounds familiar. i thought you might have been someone Sister dated when she was in high school. she says no. i know your Family loves you. i know you died for this country. fought for what you believed in. fought for what you held dear. - died for me - for us - for my Family - so that we might be free. was that how it was?

i will remember you. i will not let you go un-remembered. i will speak your name.

HENRY SANDERS, JR S2C US ARMY LOVE YOUR FAMILY - carved right into the stone, placed along the sidewalk - of the Veterans Park i walk every morning.
i'm goin' home. hootie & the blowfish. 6 of us. even have a 2nd cousin, like an aunt - named jeanette.

play it when i am gone.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Found a box today - all my CD's. I hadn't seen them since we moved from the big house by the river. John Cougar - his music makes me want to dance - move about - get going. happy. sad at the same time.

a little sentimental ... Jack & Diane and the new song he sings, I don't remember the name of it - but I know when I hear it - it gets me involved. I have never seen him in concert, but bet it would be wonderful.

so, why Toe? I thought about that yesterday when I changed over to using my nickname - and it is mine - one given to me by my family. I stopped using it in high school - Mike Otto - they called him Toe and he was way more popular. But I was Toe ever since I could remember. Momma and Daddy said big brother - bubba - do all brothers call one another bubba? - couldn't say Troy and it came out Toe - it kind of stuck - I always thought it was cause my hair was snow white when i was little - got called toe-headed.

so, here i am Toe - somewhere out there i am toe too.

bubba - ? - somewhere there is a picture, in one of my albums, of he and i on a sidewalk and sister in the background. - i think the house is still standing. - i am walking up behind him, i have a large stick in my hand and my hand is raised - really looks like i am about to whop him good. Momma & Daddy say he used to run, and i would chase - stick in hand and he would cry - 'bubba got a tick' .. bubba.

middle sis and baby brother took a trip today - they should be where they want to be and those of us who had to stay behind for various reasons are with them now.

way up in the panhandle of texas - nothing but dust, wind and prisons- they didn't go to taste the dust or dodge the wind.

bubba has been there since the year Daddy died. 1992.




two hours from him, is 2nd nephew - same story second verse.


more anger

Daddy Died -

whew - immense pain.

they arrested bubba. came out and got him. i wasnt' there. but from what Momma said, they drug him out.

within a week - Daddy was gone.

we begged them to let him come to the funeral. took his clothes down to the jail. figured they would keep him in cuffs.

nope. no such luck.

they brought him. three law men, looking quite official and menacing. sad.

he was. dressed in prison orange. shackles, cuffs - and tears. so many tears.

thought we all would die that day.

and then they did - or it seemed so. first, pawpaw - then lee, peepaw, gran, my baby Callie - hard - Billy Bud - why? - and no lord, not Momma. yeah, Momma. almost lost Sister.

i couldn't feel anymore. wanted to go too.

though Daddy died in 1992 - and pawpaw died in 95 - everyone else died in a 7 month time span.

my mind is still too confused to really talk about it much - other than ramblings - so much i don't remember - i was dazed - we all were - waited for Momma to go - stood by and waited - and waited and waited. she wanted it that way. no help. never, ever, never ever - DNR - too painful. how to stop wanting to stop the dying. heavy breaths. holding the warm hand. talking. nothing really, just talking. are you watchin, momma? did you see that move Sting made? did you see how pretty that ring was? she loves wrestling and shopping channel. never had the money to buy much, but loved watching.

doctors, nurses - when she starts this, this will happen and then we will know she has this much time left.

not today.

maybe today. come quick. everyone. streaming in, tears. all her new friends. frail pushing weak. smiling to them as they roll their chairs over my toes - Toe - petting. crying.

get out of here. not today.

here's bubba. on the phone. coma. put the phone near my ear and let me hear his voice, she whispers. we cry holding the phone to her. but we do it.

her baby sis. leave them alone. much to be said.

she collected dolls. all over her room. hanging on the wall all around her bed. she wants everyone to have one. we now realize that is way she wanted so many dolls. so many fucking dolls. dolls. dolls. dolls. dolls. every time she wanted a doll, she got it. everytime. no denial. we found the money and we got her a doll. she knew.

everyone got a doll.

day 2. here is a room. get some sleep. no.

day 3. no.

nurses, doctors - she is just holding on.

doctors, nurses - when this happens, then this will happen and then we will know she doesn't have long.

stop - if one more doctor or nurse tells me how my Momma is going to die - i'll shoot them.

day 4. could have been day 5 or 6 or 7.

we all agreed - quick rest. left 2nd nephew to watch. wait. cry. hold.

ring. ring.



she looked rung out, exhausted. relaxed, tired. she was gone.



we walked her to the ambulance.- was it an ambulance or a hearse? - i don't remember. side by side. holding back the tears. i don't remember if she was covered or not. was her face showing? i couldn't look. this could not be happening. no i won't accept it. she can't be gone. i still need her. she is my momma.

i remember her tummy jiggled as they guided the guerney across the parking lot - i thought she was still breathing. my heart jumped. then they were putting her inside. her face was covered. Momma was dead. she wasn't coming back and there was so much I had to say to her.

someone was screaming. a blood curdling scream. stop screaming. - it was me. i needed to sit. to throw up. sick. to run. to scream. to hit something.

and Sister is dying - one hospital over. will she know?

run, run run.

must not cry. Sister needs us to be strong and not let on that Momma is gone.

she knows.

she knew - when it happened. she knew.


gotta stop for today.

this is so like therapy!!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Ok, I just posted that pic up there to the right, the one of 5 of 6 of us. Little brother had not been born yet. Sister stood behind us - she must have been about 16 or so - it was right before her accident. I kind of remember having the pic taken. Daddy had just gotten a new polaroid. We lived in the house on the hill. Kind of said - us against the world. When I see the pic, I can hear Sister saying " I will protect these children "... and she has.

I love that pic - just wish little brother had been in it - I like to pretend he is there in spirit, even if he is still a few more years away.
I started walking about 2 months ago. Just walking. After the first week or so I bought one of the pedometers- such a weird name for such a useful tool. I am now up to 4 miles a day in one walk - overall all through the day I average about 20,000 steps a day. From everything I have read, that is good. My butt and legs are hard as rocks. I have lost about 15 pounds - the goal is 25 - 30. I am down from a size 36 to a size 34 jeans. My feet even feel smaller.
The walk gives me time to think out the day and for Rod and I to line the day up.
We are getting ready for Warrenton, we leave next Monday.
Gotta go walk, I will talk more later.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Spent the past Sunday helping little brother and his move into a new place.

I thought we moved around a lot when I was growing up. I didn't know anyone who moved as much as we did.

As I have aged, I have tried to remain.

Mostly we lived on and around the Brazos River when I was growing up. I live as close to it now as I did then.

Daddy was big on wide open spaces. We always lived in the country. He was big on get-to-gethers, whether in the summer or winter. Always a big to-do on the week-end. Kids sleeping on roll-away beds on the front porch, men folk passed out under the trees in those big metal lawn chairs, women folk sleeping two to a bed inside.

Waiting until we heard the snoring and knew the 'coast was clear' and we could head to the corn fields on the opposite side of the house and play a midnight game of hide and seek. Sneaking a kiss under the moonlight from pig tailed girls.

Sleeping til the smell of sizzling bacon and fresh coffee drifted from the kitchen to the front porch.

There was always enough. Enough room. Enough food. Enough fun. Enough love.


Saturday, July 24, 2004

I have had this blog for sometime, just never sure what I wanted to say or how to say it. Then figured I would do what I do best, which is ramble.

I grew up on the outskirts of Waco during the 60s and 70s. Momma and Daddy tried the best they could to raise 5 kids.

We became 6 kids in the late 70s, when Momma was in her mid 40s. I remember my older sister, who we called and still call Sister, hit the roof. She was sure she would be left to raise this as yet unborn child because Momma would die in childbirth.

Our then baby sister, who was the baby of the family, pouted for weeks on end when we teased her about not being the Baby any longer.

I don't remember the birth of my youngest brother, but I do remember his birth came on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor and his arrival made 6 kids, 3 boys and 3 girls.

We were like the Brady Bunch, but without the divorce. Though it came close to that many a time. The divorce.

Momma and Daddy are both gone now. All that is left is the 6 of us kids and I guess we are orphans now. It sure feels that way sometimes when I need a lap to lay my head. It's odd how things stick in your mind as comforting, when to the outside world they may appear so strange.

That being said, the sweetest most comforting memory I have with my mother involved laying my head in her lap while she cleaned out my ears with a bobby pin. Weird I know, but the gentleness was beyond measure and in a house of 6 kids, it was a moment that just she and I shared. I didn't have to share it with anyone.

I am the middle son, the middle child of sorts. I have an older sister, the one we call Sister, she is the oldest of the children. Then I have an older brother, for years I called him Bubba, now I call him by his name. Then me. Then a younger sister, born 2 years after and 2 days before me. Then a baby sister, the only child who didn't get a middle name. So, as children we gave her one by repeating her first name twice. Finally, a baby brother. Born 12 years after the baby sister.

I always think he must have felt like an only child. By the time he was in first grade, most all of us had left and moved on with our lives.

When he graduated high school in 1992, Daddy had died. Daddy was born on April fools day and loved playing jokes on kids. He died 2 weeks after his 63rd birthday and almost amonth before baby brother graduated.

We attended his graduation as a family and when he went up to receive his diploma, he kissed it to his lips and held it to the clouds.

Made us all cry.