Goodbye grandma Shook. The last time I saw her just a little over a year ago.
I have been so proud these forty four years to say that I still have a grandma.
My first set of grandparents passed away when I was in my early twenties. My last grandfather passed away about ten years ago.
And tonight, around 6:45 p.m., my last grandma breathed her last.
Continue reading The Last of the Guardian Angels
I’m not sure when I switched over to calling him Papa.
It was always Ken, my wife’s father. Before that, he was Ken, my girlfriend’s father.
When we got married, he had tears streaming down his heavily lined face. He was signing our marriage certificate, and he stopped, looked up and said, “I’m not losing a daughter, I’m gaining a son.”
And to this day, I have never felt anything less than a solid member of the Carpenter clan.
Continue reading Papa
It all started with an insatiable wanderlust.
And a girl who wanted to go along for the ride.
We have traveled to dozens of countries together. We’ve lived in seven cities in five states. We’ve moved 26 times in our 20 years together.
And it’s time to come home for a while.
Every adventurer has a home base. And for us, that home base has always been Salem, Oregon. If you’ve seen it, you know it’s the perfect place, sandwiched between the Cascade Mountains and the Coast Range, full of rivers and lakes and trails. A perfect place for an adventurer to keep his or her legs fit and eyes ever looking towards the next vista.
Continue reading The Back Story
He crawls the car out of the garage and backs down the driveway in the same amount of time it takes me to get out of our neighborhood and onto the main streets.
He stops and checks over his shoulder before he backs out into our street.
He looks down at the transmission stick and purposely slides it from reverse through first, second, third and into Drive like some slow-motion space movie launch sequence.
Then he looks up and presses down on the accelerator with his foot, easing the car forward almost painfully.
All of this is deliberate. Practiced, calculated maneuvers that he is committing to memory.
I’ve never taught someone to drive before now.
And I don’t remember when or how I learned everything I did.
It requires an inordinate amount of patience to sit here and watch a young person learn responsibility in real time.
But I’m telling you something you probably already know.
Continue reading Life in the slow lane