Monday, September 15, 2014

New Addition

I have made no attempts to hide my love for my adopted sister’s children in this blog.  I have also on occasion mentioned that her daughter is more than likely my favorite of the group.  Not that the boys are not wonderful, they are.  But there is something about this daughter.  I think it is the fact she has to be a carbon copy of her Mother at her age.  Pretty, social, caring, smart, genuine everything you would want in a child. 

Well please remember that this angel married a wonderful young man a few years ago.  He is a man who we all try to be.  Trust worthy, faithful, handsome, funny, hardworking everything trait that a man needs to be a good husband.

Well the greatest news I have received in a while is that these two are having a baby! 
What a blessed child this will be.  Can you only imagine the love and sense of family this child will be exposed to?  The child will be born into a family group, which I know to be the strongest I have ever seen.  He already has three cousins who will be there to support, share wonderful family times and grow up together.  A group of Aunts and Uncles who will always be there to guide instruct and lead this child to what is surely going to be a hugely successful life.

So welcome to the newest member of the best family I know.  Enjoy your life new one it is destine to be very special.  Just like your family.


The Blessed Man

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I’m not talking exhausted from a work out, not from running a marathon, not from babysitting grandkids for a long weekend.  Not even from helping you significant other spring clean the entire house. I am talking total and absolute exhaustion from a social event.  Last night I had the opportunity to attend a dinner party.  The guest list was a bit rare as this particular mix has never been in the same room together, and like Haley’s comet passing hopefully that will be the next time this group gathers!

The group had a couple of people in it that are the greatest one uppers I have ever heard speak the English language.  If one had a mansion the other had an estate.  If one had seen Mount Everest the other was on top of the mountain when they were there as well.  In all of my life I have never seen people try so hard to be better than the other.  I will never understand why this is important to some people. As I sat there in mouth gaped amazement listening to this competition I was reminded of a guy I worked with years ago.  We would sit around a large table at lunch and listen to stories from the “old guys” in the business.  This one guy was the all-time leader in one uppers until last night, sadly he has been dethrone and not one place but two!   I will never forget the day when we went into lunch determined to get something over on him.  We had a lot of veterans working around and one of them decided he would tell a huge lie about flying with the Blue Angels.  Well after the story we all waited and sure enough here comes “Liar Lair Pants on Fire” he proceeds to tell the group, with a straight face, he was on the USS Nimitz during a tour of duty and was called to ride in the back seat of a Blue Angel airplane and was shot off the deck of the aircraft carrier.  We all sat the in utter amazement looking at this guy until we just erupted into uncontrollable laughter.  He got his feeling hurt and stormed off swearing the story to be true.  WHY?

As I sat there listening to this BS last night my ears bleeding like someone had stuck a pencil through my ear drums I was once again in total awe of people who get so caught up in being better, faster, richer, smarter, been there done thater than anyone in the room.  What a sad curse to have placed upon you.  And sadly I watched as people I know that do not have this syndrome get pulled into the fray like a moth to a flame.  Good people, who I love and respect, suddenly telling stories that are more than likely true only to be dashed by the one uppers.  Then they walk away hurt and mad because they want so badly to tell another story but realize that it too would only be topped.

What a sad state of affairs.  As my wife and I rode home all we could talk about was how it turned into this feeding frenzy of I’m better than you and can prove it.  People who seem normal on the outside but once challenged they turn into these story telling zombies that totally take over every conversation in the room. And if you try to turn the conversation back to something resembling the truth they say I wasn’t finished with my story.  That’s when I got up and when to a comfortable chair!!!

My wife and I made a pack last night on the way home.  If either of us ever starts down the one upper road the other will simply say “Merry Christmas”!
May you never have to sit through what we did last night. Trust me it’s painful!

Well let me leave you with a story about the time I was playing golf with Jack Nicholas, Arnold Palmer, and Lee Trevino at Augusta National.  I was only up by 3 with 2 holes to play.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The Blessed Man

Monday, April 21, 2014


What a wonderful emotion.  It puts us in other people’s situations and life experiences.  I got a front row seat to the best example I’ve seen in years yesterday. 

If you have not figured out the blessed man has fallen into another family here in America’s Friendliest Hometown in Florida.  You can never replace my Memphis family; however we have been blessed to find likeminded people here who enjoy the same things we do in many regards. We, like in Memphis, eat together almost nightly.  Share in our family issues and love one another unconditionally. 

One of the guys in this group is a man’s man.  Great golfer, great friend, great cook I think you get my drift.  He is also one of the kindest gentlest men I have ever known.  He has been smitten by a wonderful woman.  And I mean smitten.  Like hit over the head with a brick bat smitten!  He is crazy for her.  And shows it through actions which we all know speak much louder than words.   Well we were together for a late lunch / brunch yesterday.  Being we start every meal with a blessing of the food and each other this day being a little more special as we gathered holding hands and prayed.  My friend stopped us all as we were about to break and in a broken voice that you know came straight from the middle of your heart.  You know the place I’m talking about that place that your kids live.  The place where that first person you fell for left their name written on the wall; the place where you really are not in charge of but try to guard but never can.  He asked us all to take a moment and remember his lovely companion and hold her up as best we could as this was the 20th anniversary of her first husband’s death.  As I stood there watching him struggle for the words the feeling he had for her was nothing short of amazing. It was an Aha moment for me.  There are times in your life when you see love.  They are few and precious beyond imagination.  When you see fathers hold their children for the first time.  When you see mothers watch their daughters walk down the aisle to become a wife.  When you see grandparents holding their grandchildren.  Moments that simply take your breath away.  This was such a moment.  What an expression of Love.  To be so in tuned with your partner that you are asking others to support her for the loss of another husband.  I was blown away.

I have always loved this man.  I now hold him in the highest regard.  To be able to forego your love and feelings so your partner can be supported in a time of need is truly the purest form of love.  I believe they call it Agape love.  How proud I am to call these people my Villages Family.

Well dinner at my house tonight.  Think Chuck Roast, potatoes, carrots like my granny used to cook. Everything cooked with love.  Cause I know you can taste it!!!

The Blessed Man

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Have you ever been as happy as a bird with a French fry?  Well I was this last week.  Please allow me to explain.

If you remember the post about a friend and her daughter then you need to know the rest of the story.  A small group of her friends here got together and held a fund raiser for her daughter trying to offset a small amount of the medical bills that must be piled so high you can’t see over them.  The event was a huge success and raised close to ten thousand dollars for her and her family.  The Mom, a dear friend wanted to thank those on the planning committee to say thank you.  I have few god given talents one is an amazing art of BS, the other is I am a fare cook.  So I volunteered my meager efforts to try to help her thank her supporters by cooking a “Thank You” dinner for the committee.

So the dinner is planned menu’s written, food purchased, plated and silverware set, and flowers arranged.  It had all the hallmarks of a wonderful thank you.  Then the fun part!!

As many of you know my adopted sister and her husband have taken the villages by storm and they have established themselves as members of our Villages Family.  Well the host of the event whose daughter was the benefactor of the event and the home host who gave up his home to this event are very close to them as well.  In town for a couple of months were two of our Memphis family members who stepped up and volunteered to serve at the event.  Then my adopted sister and her husband heard about the event they wanted to come and serve at the event as well as an act of love and kindness for the hosts.  Well the plan was set and tickets purchased and us sworn to silence.

Now a small bit about the home hosts for this event.  A couple that truly represents the way we should all strive to live in my mind.  Honest to a fault, loving unconditionally, helpful and supportive at every turn.  Simply put these are people we all want in your lives.  A brief example of my point; as the host went back to change and prepare for the event we snuck our surprise servers into the kitchen.  As he emerged from changing we surprised him with our servers.  As he saw them he was moved to tears knowing the circumstances the family has been through of late with the passing of their son, to be here was truly amazing in his eyes.  The scene was repeated when his partner arrived after changing as well, then a third time when the mother of the honoree arrived.  A truer feeling of pure love was filling the room.  I am so proud to say I was there to witness this out pouring of emotion and love.

The evening continued as the guests arrived and one by one they were surprised to see our guest servers.  I think it did my adopted sister and her husband as much good to see them as it did us to see them.  The meal was served the wine drank and the people thanked for all of their hard work.  As the crowd left the hugs and “I Love You’s” were everywhere talk about happy!!!

And that my dear reader is Happy as a Bird with a French fry……

And in case you never seen this click the link to understand HAPPY!!!!

May once in your life you know this feeling, me I have known it many times talked about being blessed, MAN!!!!!!


The Blessed Man

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


If there is one emotion / feeling that truly upsets me it is helplessness, especially when it is real.  Well this is so real it hurts.  I am so blessed that my adopted sister and her husband choose to come stay with us for a few days to try to get their hands around the loss of their youngest son.  A feeling that I cannot even start to imagine what they must feel like.

These are two people who mean the world to me.  I would absolutely take a bullet for either one of them.  They far surpass the meaning of true friends, they transcend into family.  Whenever I’m with them I truly feel like I am with family. 

As they spent time here over those 10 days I found myself at such a loss.  I want to grab them both hug them until the pain goes away.  I wish that I could wave a wand and the pain and suffering could be passed to me.  I have a feeling like I have never had as I have to stand there and watch them ache on the inside.  I pray for words and deeds to heal them but they just do not come.  My heart bleeds for my dearest family.  Helpless
You often hear about people getting angry with God.  Why do awful things happen to such wonder people, we ask? As you have read in the prior post over 700 people attended the memorial.  Tell me these people have not touched and changed lives of many.  As we all try, to no avail, to mend a hurt that is unfixable.   
As I was working today I my mind drifted into that place of praying for my family.  As the tears stream down my face and my heart aches to the breaking point I try to understand why.  Then I am blessed to have faith.  I have faith that there is good in this.  I have faith that at the end of this journey we will all emerge stronger, better, closer, more forgiving and loving to one another.  If this tragedy safes another person in need then is it a blessing?  Is this in some way an exercise in brings us all closer? Making us aware of how much we depend on each other to face the day to day struggles we all face.

I still remain helpless.  I will try my best to be strong.  This is my commitment; I will take Jordi’s memory and influence on my life and try to every day look for a chance to use the things he passed along to us all.  That zest for life.  That smile.  Those hug when you walked in the room.  That no fear attitude. These are the things we honor.  Are we sad he is gone? Without question.  Do we understand the reason? Not a chance.  Can we move forward?  I think Jordon would be so disappointed if we didn’t.  The way he lived and acted, stagnation was never an option.  It was move forward, what’s next, let’s go.

I will close with a poem that I truly believe was heaven sent  as I was feeling helpless. I simply hope and pray that my adopted sister and her husband can somehow get to this place.  I Love y'all 

I thought of you today but that’s nothing new
I thought of you yesterday and the days before that too
I think of you in silence, and often speak your name
All I have are memories and a picture in a frame
Your memory is a keepsake from which I will never part
God has you in his arms; I have you in my heart.


The Blessed Man

Monday, February 10, 2014

Jordan Davidson Sledd

I have written here often about the additions to my Memphis Family.  The will be the first of a departure.  Jordan left us last week.  He was the youngest of the sons, and the next to the youngest in order in the family, of my adopted sister and her husband.  What a bright, good looking, fun loving, caring, and full of life young man. 

Of course my adopted sister and her husband were my focus when we returned to Memphis to try to be of some kind of comfort and support.  I have never been in a more difficult position.  I recalled trying to support my Mother after my Father’s death.  I didn't do a good job then either I am afraid.  What do you say?  What can you possibly do?  How do you try to express your feelings and support, while in the middle of total devastation about the circumstance.

But let’s talk about Jordi!  What a spirit.  No other way to describe him.  He was different from the others, as they each are but you always knew Jordi was special.  When he walked into a room get ready for a hug that came straight from his heart.  A sweet kiss on your cheek and a special I love you, good to see you, how are you or some other comment of concern and love.  He always looked you in the eye, a very special trait for a younger man.  The room always seemed to be a little brighter whenever Jordan was in it.  Of course there was always a little more anticipation as well for you never knew what was going to happen either which made for so many great moments there is no way to mention them all.

But the real story between Jordan and I few people know.  Because I didn't know it until this week! Jordan was always there for my son.  As you know if you have ever read one post here our relationship is special as well.  But not in a way one would hope for a Father and Son. My son was always in a dark and different world.  When I called him to pass along the news about Jordan there was a very long pause and then with a broken soft voice he said how sad he was and what a great guy Jordan really was.  Then he proceeded to tell me more than one story about how when he was living with me that Jordan on numerous occasions had been there to try to help him make sense out of my rants and raves.  How Jordan gave him his first beer.  How Jordan told him how to survive High School.  How Jordan was always there and never question who he was or what he was doing only accepted him for who he was and never judged him.  A trait I to this day can’t seem to acquire as he pointed that out to me on the phone that day as well.  He was so sadden by not being able to attend the celebration due to the fact he was iced in at his home.  As promised, I filled out a comment card and tried to express his sentiments knowing it was a feeble attempt at best to describe his feeling.  I have heard my son become emotional only one other time in his life when I truly believed he was upset.  That was when his great grandmother on his mom’s side passed away.  I was taken aback by his heartfelt sadness with the news of Jordan.  I didn't know he had a place in his heart like that I guess there still might be hope!

As I sit here and think about Jordan and how I was so bless to be able to interact with him and his family it is simply another example of why I call this lowly place what I do;  A place where a very blessed man is able to talk about the things in life that have changed his life.  Jordan Davidson Sledd was just such a thing.  He changed my life for the better for his allowing me to be a small part of his world.  I was blessed that in his passing has allowed me to see a side of my son I never knew was there.  And through his memory maybe my son and I can find some kind of common ground on which to start to build a better relationship.

Good Shot, Jordan!!!!!


The Blessed Man