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The boys are 10-years-old today and Adam has already noted that he’s “a decade now.” Where has the time gone? Only a moment ago we were figuring-out the logistics of feeding two babies at the same time! It hasn’t always been easy, but we certainly have created some nice memories.
This year, they needed new bikes. Not only are they outgrowing their current rides, but like most boys, they’re pretty hard on those bikes, as evidenced by the dents, scratches, cracks, and tears decorating them. Each one tells a story, and like most boys, they love their bikes…
Naturally, Mom is all over the “10-years” thing!
And this also marks the first year they boys had a regular cake. As you’ll recall, in previous years, they had a “cake of cupcakes” in the shape of their age, as seen here.
Happy 10-years, Boys!
Today, Alex earned his second yellow stripe in Taekwondo! It was a little more involved this time, but he executed his moves very well…
And so, with a bow and a handshake from Mr. Titus, the quest for the yellow belt continues! Well done, Alex! We’re very proud of you!
So, Alex has been learning Taekwondo and is having a great time! He works his butt off and always comes off the mat at the end of the hour sweaty and tired. Well, today he was tested by Mr. Titus…
and was awarded his Yellow Stripe, which is the first step to earning his Yellow Belt!
Alex was very proud of himself and so were we!
Well, the Summer Vacation is officially over and it’s the first day of THIRD GRADE! The boys must be getting more mature because neither one of them gave Mom a hard time about taking any pictures this morning. Very proud of them. 😉
Last night we got the call. My Uncle Jerry, who was staying with Pa through the night, called about 10:50 p.m. with the news. Everyone was in bed, so I answered the phone, and Jerry said, rather simply, “Well…Pa’s gone.” I asked how it happened and he said Pa went in his sleep–he just stopped breathing. The Hospice nurse was on the way and making arrangements to move Pa’s body to the funeral home. I woke mom and let her know. Although we knew it was coming, it was a strange feeling…a kind of hollow feeling. I didn’t sleep well.
“Pa” Collins was 99-years-old. He was a farmer and a sharecropper, and over the years he also worked the sawmill, on a road crew, and as a janitor at the local elastic plant. He was a simple man, and honest. He couldn’t read very well, and aside from his name, couldn’t really write, either. But he could tell you how to rotate your crops to maintain the soil, so the field wouldn’t need to lie fallow. He could raise and keep horses, cattle, pigs, and train a dog not to roam. He could grow, harvest, cure tobacco, and sell the crop at market. When my dad and I built a tree house for my kids up above his house, Pa explained how it wasn’t going to remain stable for very long due to the way we secured it to the tree, and as the tree grew, well, you can guess the rest! When he was a young man, he made illegal moonshine with his brother-in-law Frank, and even showed me how to do it using a mock-up still that was on display at Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway. He may have been a simple man, but in many, many ways, he was smarter, and certainly much wiser than I.
Pa never said much, but when you got him alone, he would open-up with stories. I remember visiting him once and there was no one else around. I wanted to take some pictures of the old buildings on the farm and especially around the old tobacco smokehouse in the pasture below his house. Pa came with me and as I snapped pictures, he talked about the buildings–how they were built, the purpose they served, the work he did in them. He told me he would sometimes walk out to the barn in the afternoon and take a nap on the bails of hay stacked there. He loved his home and the land it was on. When we returned to the house, Pa asked me if I wanted a beer, as he pulled two cans of Bush out of the refrigerator–I don’t think I had ever seen him drink. We sat on his porch, sipped our beer, and watched the occasional car drive by the house, returning the inevitable wave delivered by the driver of the vehicle. We didn’t say much and were just content with each other’s company. And now that I think back on it, I never enjoyed a beer quite as much as I did that day.
I miss you, Pa.
February 9, 1919 – July 3, 2018
So, we’re in Virginia and visiting family. I wish our trip was under better circumstances, as my 99-year-old grandfather (“Pa”) is very ill and not expected to make it through the weekend. Right now he’s home and being attended to by family and Hospice. We drove up yesterday and headed straight to his house. Most of the family were there, so it was pretty crowded. Everyone who came to the house came in to say “hello” to Pa and sit with him for a bit while he lay in his bed; there was singing and a lot of laughter. Although he couldn’t speak very well and he was very weak, I believe he enjoyed the visits.
Today, we spent most of the day with Pa. It was a little rough on the boys, but fortunately, their cousin Mike was there to treat them to rides on his four-wheeler…
Today is the BIG DAY! We all got-up early and got ready for breakfast, but before we head-out, Cindy opened her present. She’s been wanting a Louis Vuitton handbag for as long as I can remember. I always teased her about it because the practical side of me couldn’t see paying THAT much for a purse!
Well, today, she got her wish…
Although, I still don’t see what all the fuss is about, Cindy certainly does. And that’s all that matters.
Adam wanted to pitch during fall ball, but he was overshadowed by other players on the team and didn’t get the opportunity. So we practiced during the winter months to improve his skill and tonight he led the team from the mound for the first time!
He did great! Although the other team got a couple of hits, they couldn’t score…
before Adam struck-out three and headed back to the dugout!
He was very proud of himself…and so were we!