Two Different Men – One Common Theme

Being born into a very large family is a blessing but it’s hard at the same time. Having parents with many friends who love you like family is also a blessing but it’s also hard. It’s hard having to say goodbye and tomorrow, we will say goodbye to two men who mean the world to me.

Just about every memory I have has my Uncle Clark and Walter Johnson in it. These two different men, always treated me the same. Joking, laughing, loving and at times, correcting. 

Uncle Clark – Thanks A Million

Clark E. Wooldridge, had a way with me. I don’t know what it was but he could always make me smile and I especially liked getting to talk to him about many things. My earliest childhood memory of Uncle Clark came in Las Vegas, NM at the Hillcrest Inn Restaurant.

We were on our way to the mountains and I ordered french toast. (That was my favorite as a kid) When the french toast came, Uncle Clark told me not to eat it. It had powdery white stuff on it and he told me it was maggots. You can’t believe what that will do to a little kid. I not only freaked out and didn’t eat it then; I didn’t eat french toast with powdered sugar on it until well into my teenage years! That’s the kind of stuff Uncle Clark and I got to laugh about.

Uncle Clark was a great husband to my Aunt Barbara, a loving and correcting father to Ted, Tracey and Christy and a wonderful grandfather for his grandkids to look up to. He proudly served our country in World War II while in the Navy and loved being on the water. I can remember times at the lake in his sailboat and I always wanted to sail the ocean with him. What a time he’s having today sailing in heaven!

Uncle Clark also loved taking pictures and has quite a library of our family history in pictures. He and Aunt Barbara have so very greatly photographed our family and it has allowed us all to look back at easier times, harder times and loving times. Thanks for that Uncle Clark, you and Aunt Barbara have captured our family history forever.

You will never know how much you meant to me and those Yankee Dimes you and Elisabeth shared are still with her. As we told her of your passing, she, like all of us, was very sad. Elisabeth thought of you as more than an uncle. She and Garrett looked to you as a grandfather and someone who loved them very much. 

I will never forget our times together. Your pictures are here forever but more importantly, the lessons you taught us are with us forever. You’re already missed but we know you’re in peace. Thanks for everything and never forget we love you!

Walter Johnson – What A Damn Mess!

I was introduced to Walter Johnson as a very young boy and I was terrified of him. He was tall and had a deep voice that carried for miles. It frightened me and to tell you the truth, there was no reason for me to fear this gentle giant!

My earliest memory of Walter happened at Camp RYLA in Summerlife, NM. As we were leaving RYLA, Walter asked me what I had in my grasp. I had been given a ping-pong ball, I know, no big deal to you but a very big deal to me, by one of the campers. Walter took the ball from my grasp and put it in his mouth. Once again, I freaked out and as he gave me back a squished ball, he said, you’ll never forget this Denny. Well, as you can see, I didn’t forget it.

Walter was a jokester to all and always had a new story, new song to play on his harmonica or some sort of life lesson to leave with you. Walter was a sportsman and it still amazes me as to what he did in his life. He talked to everyone crudely and had a nickname for everyone. He called my dad Mudd, my wife, well, I won’t say and me, the ultimate rug rat!

He loved being around all people and it seems as everyone in the world knew Walter. He taught me life lessons and showed me enough love every time I saw him to leave my heart full. From frightful times like my dad breaking his neck and Walter driving 90 to nothing around the New Mexico mountains and just being there for my mom at times of need, we are forever thankful.

We will miss our friend but know he’s playing jokes up in heaven and walking from mountaintop to mountaintop he never got to walk here on earth.

Tomorrow will be hard as we say goodbye forever and celebrate the lives of these two different men. But my heart is full because these two men had a common theme in my life. Love, Love, Love. That’s all these men had and that’s all they leave with us.

Thanks Uncle Clark and Walter. This world has been forever changed by your lives and so I am. I love you both and can’t wait for our reunion!

I love you all!!

It’s America!

Driving is a huge part of my job as many of you kn0w. It gives me time to think, listen to talk radio and find new songs on the radio. Well there is a song that as I listen to it driving across the Texas Panhandle, I can’t help but be proud of where I’m from.

I think the Texas Panhandle is truly entrenched in what America stands for. There are many places like this across the country but since I’ve never left our region to live elsewhere, I can and will only talk about our area. I have found that no matter what, people genuinely care about other people and will at the drop of a hat, give them what they need. Kids still play in the front yards, baseball fields and football fields at the schools like I did. You can always find a number of lemonade stands all across the Panhandle during the summer. Staffed by kids for their summer fun and a way for moms to get a break from them!! The Texas Panhandle also has some of the coolest buildings you’d ever see and each building has a history that’s amazing. Our area of the country may not be the prettiest but I can guarantee there’s no weather that will keep you guessing more than here. Our so called desolate land produces many crops for the rest of the country and it allows us to produce about 40% of the country’s beef. Without us, people might actually starve.

But with that, let’s talk about America. America was started as a place of refuge. A place where people could come and worship their God freely or not worship any God. It was a place with peopel who offened Great Britian and I don’t see why that was a bad thing then or now.

The founders of this great nation spent many years working on building something that made sense to them and in the true essence, their ideas make total sense to me. I think they did a great job and we should look back to then to see how it was done and follow what they did. Let’s not reinvent the wheel people, it works just fine. It took perservance and the knowledge to build this great nation. It also took courage because they knew if they were caught going agaisnt the King, they would be hanged for treason. Now that’s patriotic.

What started as a few people wanting freedom has been built into the greatest place on earth to live. I’ve never been jailed for sharing my convictions and I only pray this continues. I think to really see the true essence of America, we have to read the words of the great men who started this country. The following is Preamable to the Constitution of the United States of Amercia:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The next thing I think we should all read again is the beginning of the Declaration of Independence:

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

These words are the most important words that were penned by anyone in this country. Remember, it was written by many type of people, from teachers to doctors and farmers to lawyers. But remember also, it was NOT written by politicians! It allowed us the freedom to choose our political leaders but gave the power to the people through the vote. It allows our kids to run freely, sell lemonade and for us to work where we please. It allows us the freedom to disagree and offend others but not harm each other. But the problem I see here is that too many Americans have forgotten this. Forgotten we the people run this country, not they the government.

Yes, I’m proud of my country. And this is not something that is new to me, like it is for others. I still believe in the American dream and what America has stood for over the years. I believe in the vision that many brave men and women had to build this great nation. And if we are not careful, it’s cowardly people who will tear it apart.

America is not the enemy of the world. In all it’s beatuy from coast to coast and every person who has lived in America, America is one of the helpers of the world. All we want is a much better place for everyone, if they want it.  God has blessed this country and we have allow Him to get pushed out of it. I know most Americans want our country to continue to flourish but we have to be ready to stand up and say we are proud of her.

It’s America by Rodney Atkins is the song that inspired this writing and I think it’s time we stand up and say it’s not only America but say, it’s our America. We’re not Democrats, Republicans or Independents. We are Americans. Be proud if you will and allow the following generations be as proud of America as you are. Be blessed everyone!!

I love you all!!

Great American Quotes

With the election right around the corner, let me share with you some great quotes from great Americans. Each one of these people helped build America through their actions and words. I hope you find these inspiring and I hope they help you find the inspiration to vote on November 4th, if you haven’t already done so. Enjoy the quotes!!

We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions. – Ronald Reagan

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. – John F. Kennedy

There is no distinctly American criminal class – except Congress. – Mark Twain

The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. – Benjamin Franklin

We can have no “50-50” allegiance in this country. Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is not an American at all. – Theodore Roosevelt

Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages. – H.L. Mencken

My father taught that the only helping hand you’re ever going to be able to rely on is the one at the end of your sleeve. – JC Watts, Jr.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. – Ronald Reagan

A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality. – John F. Kennedy

Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper. – Mark Twain

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson

Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives. – Ronald Reagan

Communism has never come to power in a country that was not disrupted by war or corruption, or both. – John F. Kennedy

And my favorite quote of this group is one we all HAVE to follow to change this country:

Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. – John F. Kennedy