December 18th

A tribute to a hero who perished 71 years ago today…

The Haunted Lullaby

My father, Gary W. Champagne, and grandfather, William Anthony ChampagneMy father, Gary W. Champagne, and grandfather, William Anthony Champagne

I have chronicled this topic before in previous posts but I wanted to recognize that today is a day of remembrance in my family. Today is the day, 70 years ago, that my grandfather’s ship, the USS Spence, was lost in a typhoon in the Pacific Theater during World War II. I wrote this to commemorate him:

Though I never met you,
I can not imagine the fear you felt that night of December 18th,
But, you stayed true to your duty, showing courage to the very end,
And now, I carry the valor instilled in your name,
I never forget your sacrifice,
And if I could, I would tell you,
You are not forgotten because,
Your blood courses my veins…

Western Union Telegram notifying my grandmother her husband was deemed lost at sea during World War II Western Union Telegram notifying my grandmother her husband was deemed lost at sea during World War II

 Remember that some gave…and…

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“What’s Up Bro?”

So the woman who lives in one of the apartments below me is either separated or divorced from her husband. She has two young boys – I think around five and three years of age. The little boys are extremely outgoing and always want to talk to me. Like most children do, they are often just seeking attention and repeatedly ask me the same questions such as, “Where do I live?” and “Which car is mine?” Sometimes there are no questions, just kind of broken sentences as they attempt to piece together thoughts to hold my attention.

The young woman has recently had a guy move in and they are playing house together. The guy is okay. I’ve never had a problem with him though the older boy did tell me he was “weird.” One evening, coming home from the gym, I was walking up to the stairs and the little boys were on the patio with new boyfriend. I see boyfriend lean down and whisper something to the little boys who gleefully shouted at me, “What’s up, bro?”

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This exchange then occurred:

Me: (Somewhat caught off guard) What’s up, bros?

Little Boys: What’s up, bro?

This repeated about twice to where there was no more exchange and the little boys were simply shouting “What’s up, bro?” at me.

Ron Burgundy

Mom then comes out of the patio screen door, obviously hearing the now one-sided exchange. Boyfriend is smiling obviously having orchestrated this entire situation.

Mom: (Leaning her head out of the now open screen sliding door and looking around) Hey, what is going on here?

Me: (Directed at the Mom) What’s up, bro?

Mom: (Directed at me) What’s up, bro?

The little boys are now full of life, seeing as their mother is participating in the exchange, and begin shouting the phrase at full tilt.

Me: (Realizing this is going nowhere) Hey bro, (directing the statement to the older brother) why don’t you come make me dinner?

Mom: Yeah, why don’t you go make him dinner?

Both boys now grow silent. Older brother cowers and shakes his head indicating this doesn’t seem like fun.

Me: Alright guys, well I need to run and make dinner since I don’t have a Mom to make it for me.

The little boys again begin shouting “What’s up, bro?” as I walk up the stairs. But, you see, the moral of the story is this – though I don’t have children of my own, I have been around long enough to know how they work. And, I knew in that moment, that boyfriend had created a monster and those kids were going to repeat that phrase for hours, days, even weeks.

And guess who isn’t playing house with downstairs neighbor…

I closed the door to my apartment and opened my windows. The little boys, hearing the noise, immediately began shouting the magic phrase.

Have fun boyfriend.

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Thanks for a Good Time

When my now former wife and I started living together, we split our bills. Our system was for one individual to pay the bill and the other to reimburse the bill payer. Since she wasn’t interested in the bills, I continued the system I had for myself for both of us. This resulted in my wife then paying me for half the bills through a personal check.

Because she felt she was funny, and much to my chagrin, my former wife found amusement in writing “unique” statements on the memo line of the check. Favorites includes “Thanks for a Good Time” and “Thanks for Putting a Smile on my Face.” The more mad I got about the situation the more amusement she found in what was happening.

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One day, I went into the bank and needed to meet with a teller. The teller looked at my identification and my slip and then at me.

“Oh, I know you,” she said as a smirk developed across her face, “you are the guy that always has the funny stuff written on the checks.”

“Yeah,” I muttered as my heart sank in embarrassment.

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Life Through Dad’s Eyes

Hey everyone! Hope your weekend has been good so far!

A friend of mine that I grew up with has recently started a new blog entitled “Life From Dad’s Eyes.” Ryan McDonald is a father of two and recently started to blog about his journey through parenthood exploring both the rewards and challenges and the role it has played in his life.

Ryan is a great guy! I have known him him for over 20 years and grew up with his wife Laura as well! Ryan has a very witty sense of humor and his humorous perspective of life’s daily events always kept us amused growing up! He has been able to translate that into his writing.

He is just getting started in his journey but his writing already provides an insightful, genuine look into the important role that his family and fatherhood plays in his life.

I’d definitely encourage you to check out “Life From Dad’s Eyes” and interact with him as he sets forth on his writing journey!

The McDonald Family

The McDonald Family

“It’s Not a Happy Day For Everyone, You Know!”

I’m not much for parties or celebrations. But, I do try to be cognizant of others and what is important to them. I try to wish people I know happy birthday, happy anniversary, as well as happy Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, as applicable.

A female friend of mine, let’s call Carrie, who is about the same age as I am, is married and has three young children. This past Mother’s Day, I took the time to wish her happy Mother’s Day.

Carrie was very appreciative and commented something to the effect that it must have been difficult for me to do that and whether I was doing okay.

Sidebar: Something I have hinted at in various posts, but not written about directly, is that my mother was mentally, verbally, and emotionally abusive to me and to some degree – physically. Because of her actions, and lack of motivation to seek help or change, I do not maintain a relationship with her and haven’t spoken to her in almost ten years. Carrie is aware of this, thus her comment.

Meanwhile…back at the ranch…

While I knew where Carrie’s comment came from, it surprised me. I asked her what she meant.

She explained to me that her sister-in-law is attempting to conceive and having difficulty doing so. I don’t remember exactly how the topic of Mother’s Day came up directly with respect to her sister-in-law – whether someone wished Carrie “Happy Mother’s Day” in front of her sister-in-law, or perhaps Carrie’s children presented her with gifts, but it created a situation where her sister-in-law blurted out towards her, “It isn’t a happy day for everyone, you know!” then promptly stomped out of the room.

Since I have had a negative experience as well, Carrie wondered whether I also negative feelings towards the day.

“No,” I replied. “I am not going to project negative feelings on individuals who aren’t deserving of it as a means to wallow in self-pity.”

I further explained that her sister-in-law is merely projecting onto Carrie her frustration, anger, and disappointment concerning her current situation. While her emotions and feelings are valid, it isn’t right for her to take away the day from others.

I discussed that while I have had a number of negative situations in my life such as the loss of the relationship with my mother and my marriage ending, I am not going to take it out on other people. There isn’t a need to project my feelings from negative situations onto others. I can still be happy for people I care about and rejoice in their happy occasions such as being a parent or deciding to be married.

My tribulations are my own and I have taken responsibility for them. Part of owning them is working to slot them where they need to be with respect to my life and to move past them. It is easy to wish ill will on others. But why? As a means to make others feel the pain we do, and for what? How does this help us heal?

Every time I send someone a wedding card, I write the following message in it:

“Always keep each other first in your lives and always keep open communication.”

It is a powerful message and, unfortunately, a lesson learned from my own failed marriage. But, the silver lining is I grew and I learned from the experience. And, I can help others learn from my mistakes so that, hopefully, their road is less bumpy.

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