A Tale of Two Hons

Greetings!  Get your coffee, or your scotch, your Kool-Aid, or your whatever-you-drink; this is a long one. But a good one! Here we go…

Nature versus nurture is an age-old controversy with compelling arguments for both sides. In the landscape of our family, I’ve never been able to fence off a section predictable enough to even evaluate the concept. With our Dad at the helm, “nature” wasn’t exactly the standard template…in fact, “unnatural” would often be a better description. The “nurture” factor was often so skewed that to this day, I’d be hard pressed to flow chart the phenomena with any success (and I consider myself a student of people!  Harumph!).  What are the results when nature versus nurture is impossible to assess because you can’t quite pick up a thread, let alone follow one, in a wigged-out family dynamic?

I could run a hundred miles in any direction with that opening (either due to my utter inability to focus, or to my life-built coping skill of picking a direction and making it work no matter what). But for today, I only have one path I’d like to explore in this aspect, and that’s friendship.

I’ve mentioned in earlier entries that we were pretty isolated in our family unit…partially because we moved twice per nanosecond, partly because we didn’t want to expose outsiders to our “inside,” but mostly because you have to have friends to invite them over.  Wait!  Don’t tune out!  This is not an “oh, poor us” thing!  This is, instead, a weird introduction to the fact that we learned through our viewfinders, through which we never spied our parents make or keep friends (that would be nurture, aka environment, by the way).  We learned from Dad in a plethora of ways (been dying to use that word! Bam!) that people, often including us, were either a means to an end or expendable.  Of course, we had no idea what any of that psychobabble meant, because we were just kids!  We played among ourselves, we got away with what we could, we picked our noses, and fought when there were no parents around.  We kept dark secrets because that’s what we were taught, and those secrets did not extend beyond the walls of our various homes.  And outsiders rarely entered those walls.

I read an article by a guy named Gareth Cook that says, “the data suggests that we are profoundly shaped by our social environment and that we suffer greatly when our social bonds are threatened or severed.” ( https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-we-are-wired-to-connect/ )

But what if we never learned the value of that social environment, and, God forbid, suffered not at all due to broken, threatened or severed bonds…because we didn’t have those bonds in the first place. What about that?  The quote also implies we were shaped by our social environment. Home was our sole social environment (other than school) during our developmental years; that’s some scary sh-t, right there (insert shock-faced emoji here)!  Talk about a horror-based concept; Stephen King, eat your heart out. 

I’ve said many times, in many forums (yes, I’m this verbose at every possible opportunity), that in adulthood my friends taught me how to be a friend.  I believed that for me, it was a learned behavior.

Over the years, my Air Force friends showed me the ropes.  I learned to model their behavior and somewhere along the way, I figured out how to be a friend back, to reciprocate, and to desire the two-way street of real friendship.  How sad that I’ve assumed for years that I didn’t know how to do this naturally, yet how wonderful that I found people (or they found me) who were caring and patient enough to lead the way, to insist on staying in touch even after I’d not return calls or mail for months on end.  It wasn’t because I didn’t care.  I guess I just didn’t know how.  I’d learned that you could care, even love, yet simply walk away.  We learned to believe that when you left, the break was clean. I maintained that belief until my pesky friends, true friends, made those breaks a little messy and often just impossible.  Thank God for them all, but mostly for my decades-long Air Force partner-in-crime, Mary W.

So, those are the things I reckoned to be true. Until recently, that is, when I learned quite late in life that my logic and self-assessments were, at least in part, wrong. 

I was wrong.

My hard-boiled self-assessment ended up in a heap, all because of one soul.  That long lost friend whom I never forgave myself for losing.  But whom I’d, nonetheless, allowed myself to lose. 

I mentioned her in an earlier blog but didn’t give her the spotlight she deserved because it hurt too much.  Ironically, like my later BFF, her name was Mary (there’s something about Marys!). We met in junior high during that critical, confusing, awful time in adolescence when there are so many forks in the road that it’s all you can do just to stay on a path, any path.  We both had serious issues going on at home and when we linked up, it was instant and like magic.  We were inseparable for a couple of years and in my memories the timelines blurred but the sentiment remained pure.  We even had our own language.  We laughed till we hurt. She was my friend.  She was my soul mate.  She saved me.

Due to some joke no one can remember, we called each other “Hon” and lost our real names; my parents even called her Hon.  She was my other half. She was my Hon, and I was hers.

A quote by Anais Nin says it best: “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” 

I felt like I first started to become myself with Hon. I got my land legs. She saw me for exactly who I was and liked me anyway! She taught me the value of laughter – huge laughter.  She made me feel funny, she saw stuff that I never saw in myself, and it was all good. She valued me. She showed that “unconditional love” thing my dad blathered about all the time, but never demonstrated. I blossomed with her in our bubble.  But bubbles are fragile.

Upon our sophomore year, she and her family moved to a nearby town.  We stayed friends, even after I also moved, farther and farther away to other states and out of the country, but we drifted. Then I joined the military and we got caught up in our own lives.  I was the one who let go.  I just assumed she was the first casualty of my never-look-back way of being a friend.

Fast-forward through my coming-of-age (40 years, and still counting).  I wanted to find her.  Mind you, I now have great friends…AMAZING friends who have made my life infinitely richer.  I had a fantastic career.  I’ve been married to the same man for 32 years and have two sons I love beyond love.  I had the honor of caring for my mother in her last years till her dying day; a massive blessing.  I wrote and published three books…by life’s biggest bucket list item. https://tammyseleyelliott.com/the-novels/

Yet I had a hole, a vacuum. My Hon.

So, I started searching.  My husband, Mike, and I scoured social media and used people-finder websites to try to find her. I sent letters to total strangers who had similar names and were about the right age. 

Nothing.

For someone who used to let go without a thought, this was a profound thing for me.  I was hurt, guilty, confused, and uncharacteristically regretful. This went on for years.

A few days before this past Christmas, I was telling my son one of my many funny Hon stories and after we finished laughing, I told him all I really wanted for Christmas was to find my Hon.

And guess what? The day before Christmas, I found an e-mail in my professional (author) account.  The subject was, “Hon.” 

She’d found me!  It was like nuclear fusion from that first contact. Just like that, the Hons reunited, and we haven’t looked back.

I felt whole for the first time in many years.  And I also felt like a fool.

Because I’d been wrong.

As it turns out, I did know how to be a friend.  To her, I was not only a friend, but a lifesaver, as she was to me. As awesome as those days were, neither of us realized the true value of the moments, days, and months, until years, decades later. 

I now know that I did know how to be a friend and I did need someone outside the walls of my home. I knew how to give and receive love.  I guess I wasn’t socially crippled, at least for that short, critical time.

Even though I did in fact let her go, like all things deep inside twe believe we’ve buried or discarded, her memory came back with a vengeance…only I thought it was too late.  Again, I was wrong.

We’ve been in touch daily for a couple of months now, and even had an incredibly emotional, hysterical, reunion.  I think I might have blown my spleen laughing. Our weird language is back and growing, as is our connection. With no effort. 

I sent her a text about halfway through this thing you’re reading now (I don’t even know how to classify this rambling mess): “I’m writing that friendship blog now. And in my true fashion, I’m making it insanely complicated.  I’m taking a long, convoluted road to get to you. But I guess it was a long, convoluted road to get back to you.”

And worth every mile.

What’s the point of all of this?  First, I wanted to share the unlikely and amazing story of the Hon Reunion, and I have a captive audience to do so (bwa-ha-ha-ha!!).  But also, to make it clear that I can’t blame some of the stuff on my dear old dad that I’ve so willingly laid at his feet.  He has such a proverbial pile there anyway; this one little thing won’t be missed!

I also wanted to prove to my husband that the term “I was wrong” is, indeed, in my verbal inventory.

But mostly, I want to reach out to anyone out there who has, for years, perceived yourself as having hard and unforgiving edges. I want to tell you this: you (whomever you are), might want to get a little closer and examine those edges.  They might be a little rounder than you believed; they might have some give.  You’re better than you think.

Nature influences, as does nurture.  But the biggest influencer of all is that person inside your skin who has been with you from the beginning, from inception.  You’ve been right there all along, before and after those “developmental years.”  Give yourself a break and something awesome might happen.

Also, never underestimate asking for what you REALLY want for Christmas!

You just might find your Hon.

Sleazy & Cheesy: No Father of the Year Here!

Language and semantics are fascinating. Although different places have unique phrases or words, some things are universally understood. Like, “What do you do?” Or “What does she do?” Or, as it applies here, “So, what did your dad do, anyway?” For him, as I’ve made clear in this blog, that’s a loaded question…but for most Americans, the question and term are referring to vocation, work, career, or job. I’ve had a couple of messages asking what dad “did,” besides unspeakable things to his children or being a colossal failure as a father.

While in today’s day and age, “stay at home dads” are not at all uncommon, it was not common during my childhood. When our dad stayed at home (which was very often), parenting was nowhere on his “Honey-do” list.

Since “career” is the broadest applicable term here, I’d have to say he was a salesman/conman – even split. When he was very young (pre-me), I recall hearing that he sold vacuums. Back in the day, when door-to-door sales were a thing, guys like him could find work anywhere. All they needed was a slick tongue and, sadly, to be good with the ladies who were typically the ones home when the salesmen came-a-knocking. He nailed it (and likely nailed a few potential customers who were sans husband during his call…but that’s fodder for another blog entry, I’m sure).

At some point, he discovered advertising, and that was his main gig in multiple forms. I think it scratched his itch for many reasons. Right out of the chute, it totally suited his fashion sense or lack thereof. There used to be a known stereotypical dress code for salesmen, especially in advertising. I’m pretty sure our dad wrote the fashion guide for every one of those hair-raising looks. If you remember Herb Tarlek in the TV comedy WKRP in Cincinnati, you get my drift. If you’re unfamiliar with the show or just want a good laugh, go ahead and type “Herb Tarlek WKRP” into the search bar for Google images. Really. Do it now! If you swapped heads on old pics of our dad and Herb, we’d never know the difference. Gaudy three-piece suits in every form of plaid…and when the coat came off, you’d almost always find a short-sleeved shirt with a tie. This combo screams salesman, particularly when the vest remained. I’m getting a little queasy just thinking about it, so let’s move on!

Dad had a few legitimate jobs selling ads for newspapers. Still, they never lasted long because he’d get out of whack and quit, or we’d suddenly move. Those two phenomena were often connected. I recall him selling cosmetics for a spell; that had to be a major boon for his libido. I remember thinking it was weird, and I remember Mom seemed quietly thrilled when it fell through. Go figure.

There was also the time when he and Mom scored a print shop; I suspect she wasn’t exactly a willing partner. This was back before digital technology, so everything still had to be typeset, then glued with precision onto blank sheets before hitting the presses. It involved a lot of work and it was predominantly advertising, of course. But the amount of work wasn’t an issue for him…child labor laws be damned! We all worked there as the only staff, and it seemed like all the time. Of course, it “went under,” as did most every business venture with which he was affiliated, but it certainly wasn’t due to too much overhead; he had five hard-working employees who would never file grievances or ask for benefits! He also briefly published some kind of slick magazine when I was a teenager…had offices and everything. Stocked with a built-in young employee/mistress, of course. He also had very affordable cleaners (my BFF Mary and I cleaned for what seemed like a lot of money, which was fair, considering how many overflowing ashtrays we emptied…and we had no supervision. Sweet!). But like the printing business (or as he would say, “biz”), it was short-lived.

He did a stint as a self-promoted public speaker, but that, my friends, is a subject for an entire entry on its own! Stand by!

Although he “worked” no more than fifty percent of the time (and that’s generous), he ultimately never did so outside the home again after a certain point. He’d sit at our phone and read self-scripted pitches to sell ads for other parties or his own farce publication of the week. Seared into my memory is him starting off each call with, “Hey, (fill in the name of a total stranger), this is ‘ol Ron Seley,” in his slick “I’m your best old buddy” voice. To this day, I can recognize the tone when I receive sales calls, and it never ends well for the poor person on the other end because it takes me right back to dad’s sleezy operations. The poor souls are just trying to make a living and are suddenly subject to a crazy broad with Daddy issues!

In fairness, I have to give Dad a posthumous nod for launching me into adulthood with a “business” we operated together when I was quite young. He somehow convinced the Salvation Army to let us use their logo on a small-time homemade magazine (I can think of no weirder collaboration unless he’d teamed up with Mother Teresa on a yogurt franchise). He was able to sell ads and make money under the guise of soliciting support for the charitable organization. I still have no idea what they got out of it, since he was the cheesy ad man, and I was the writer, artist, and advertising money collector for the entire publication. That’s right…at the ripe ol’ age of 20ish, I’d had no training in art or writing, and was utterly unprepared to drive solo all over the state (pre-GPS, mind you), sometimes to very remote businesses with unknown contacts. The writing and art were fun (albeit incredibly amateur in retrospect). Still, that other thing was a little risky for a young woman of limited resources, life experience, or means of fighting off some weirdo a million miles from nowhere who might or might not realize he’d agreed to pay my dad for a small ad promoting a tiny business (Dad’s sales closing skills were questionable at best).

Why would I thank him for this? Because I took those multi-hour trips alone, although it terrified me, and yet, I survived. This actually became my MO later in life, and it has served me well. Now, as a parent, I don’t know whether he was boosting me with confidence or shamelessly using me, but the result was the same. I learned to hold my nose and jump in, even in strange territory. Because of that short stint, I was able to rent my first apartment because Dad promised to pay me (yay!), and then get thrown out of the said apartment because I couldn’t pay rent because Dad couldn’t pay me (boo!). But that taught me to trust only in myself (to a fault) and thrust me into a way of life where I knew I could support myself…thus, I went to the recruiter (yay!).

Funny how crappy circumstances can make us grow. I owe him a huge debt for a pile of circumstances, which I now realize taught me in ways a classroom never could. So, shockingly and very strangely, in front of God and everybody (OK, in front of anyone who reads this blog, but close enough), I thank Ron Seley for setting me up to become a person I like and respect. He significantly lent to my long-term success by setting a series of horrible examples. I am forever grateful for having survived him and becoming me (imagine fireworks and triumphant music in the background).

So, what did my dad “do?” Mostly, as little as possible. But he inadvertently did something that made the world a much better place; he raised four humans to be nothing like him—four good people. Dr. Benjamin Spock, eat your heart out!

For the Love of Nonnie

I’ve gone delinquent, if not rogue, on my writing responsibilities; thus, this entry is quite overdue. Besides leaving our mountain for a solo road trip, I’d already stepped away from the novel I’m writing…it and the characters decided to take off in a very different direction than I’d originally planned. It happens. It’s interesting (although very inconvenient) but is a phenomenon not suited for this blog. Why did I even bring it up? Because if I didn’t stray from the subject matter, you might think I was an imposter.

Speaking of the subject matter, for this entry, it is my dear, late sister Rhonda (AKA, “Nonnie” to my brother Rick and me because we couldn’t quite say that complicated other-two-syllable word when we were little squirts, and “Sister” to my other sister Sandi because, well, Rhonda was her world – and I apparently never quite made the “sister” cut; more on that later). 

My last blog was about birthdays, and I wrote it on Sandi’s birthday (I might have mentioned that she’s very old). Since then and during my break, we faced yet another of Nonnie’s birthdays without her; she would have been 66 on October 8th. What I’d give to harass her about being the most ancient of our brood, but she never made it to 54, thanks to a form of cancer with a name so long I’m sure it would damage my keyboard. If she was here, she’d point out that since she left us at 53, that technically means I’m older than her, even though I’m the baby. 

Preposterous. And the fact that I turned 60 between the last blog and this one is hardly worth mentioning.

Anyway, as always, I conferred with my siblings about this business of Nonnie’s birthday by asking what their favorite memory or memories were. Usually, I take their feedback and weave it into the storytelling. This time, I’m sharing the conversation straight from Facebook Messenger:

ME: 

[What are your favorite memory or memories of Nonnie?]

SANDI: 

[All of them]

[Anything that made her laugh]

[When we slept together and I felt protected because I held onto her night gown]

[Learned to drive ❤️]

[Together]

[Playing football and having her block for me]

[Hearing her say “little Mom” and “little Cricket”] 

(Cricket was Sandi’s nickname…I can imagine all kinds of reasons for that, but I won’t elaborate because she’d beat me up.)

ME:

[Sigh. So sweet! You two had such a special relationship.] 

(My code for, I wish I’d been a “sister” too, and why was she your favorite sister? What am I, chopped liver? She obviously didn’t catch my drift because she continued with her very sweet thoughts about her sister, her other sister notwithstanding.)

SANDI:

[Watching her at the zoo because she loved it so much]

[Going to the Balloon Festival with them in Albuquerque]

Enter Rick.

RICK:

[On a long meeting right now…will jump in when I escape.] 

(That’s code for he was out messing around on the beach where he “works” in Florida, and he probably got a phone signal when he stopped at some beach bar for another beer, so he tossed us a bone. Oh, and notice that he uses punctuation; someday, we will introduce the concept of using periods and such frivolity with our older but not necessarily wiser sister.)

SANDI:

[👍]

ME:

(Emphatic eye roll…but what I typed was:)

[Thanks!]  

(He would expect nothing but a disingenuous response from me; we are very much alike.)

TIME GAP

RICK (probably several beers later and after de-sanding his feet):

[When we were in elementary school, she was a great protector. Every time I ran my mouth too much around the big kids…I know it’s hard to imagine, but it happened, she would never let them hurt me.

When we were older it was always fun to mess with her when we played board games because she always took the rules so seriously. As adults, it was seeing her scorn and hearing her say “potty mouth!”

Mostly it’s just the way she loved us so unquestioningly. She just did and you felt it all the way through.

Damn, I miss her.]

ME:

[She hugged you, and you just felt it permeate you. And I loved her Scooby Doo giggle…]

RICK:

[Yup.]

SANDI:

[👍]

(…Because that’s easier than writing actual words…it’s kind of like not using periods.)

It is clear, Nonnie was our protector. If you follow this blog, then it’s probably self-evident that our mom had her hands full, mitigating our dad’s actions (or inactions). She worked so we could eat, even though Dad managed to burn through much of her salary. During all this, Nonnie was like a second Mom to us. 

She was undoubtedly the head of the kid quartet, although she wasn’t outspoken, didn’t sport a lot of charisma, and didn’t smile nearly as much as we would have liked. When she did smile? It lit up the room. When she giggled, well, as I mentioned earlier: think Scooby Doo. 

It was delightful. And as you might have gathered, when she hugged, she hugged.  I can still feel it; I can still smell her hair. I can still feel her love; in fact, it’s running down my face right now. It hurts in a way I could never articulate, but it feels as beautiful.

She was arguably the first to have her childhood stolen at our father’s hands, and most certainly endured it for the longest if you knew the more intimate histories of his “pairings” with his own offspring, which I will never share in this forum. Maybe that’s why she took on the role of protector. Because it was something she could do, something she controlled to the best of her ability.  

All we know is that she was possibly the hardest working, most steel-hearted, hard-loving, and devoted human we’ve ever known. Unfortunately for some still-living humans, she was only too happy to share – or enforce – her steadfast nature on anyone around whom she felt might be deserving. If she liked you, your life was better. If she didn’t like you, well, you’d remember her as well. Instead of Scooby Doo, think of the most stubborn stereotype of a mule, and you’ve got it. Rick mentioned “Potty Mouth” in his memories. Get a load of this. While Nonnie could, and did, drink men twice her size under the table (and did so repeatedly during her stint in the Navy), she was shockingly chaste and was appalled and disgusted by swearing (kind of hysterical if you’ve spent more than five minutes with yours truly or my brother). She whipped out her worst label, “Potty Mouth,” with the speed of a gunslinger to squelch swearing by anyone but her husband (he must have had a prenup on that one). She was even known to get up at restaurants where rude patrons might be cursing a bit too loudly, to brand them with the ultimate shame name, Potty Mouth, of course, as she tuned them up on their abhorrible manners. Damn skippy, Nonnie…you nailed their sorry asses right there in front of God and everyone! Shit, that was good stuff! 

And yes, I can hear you from here, wherever you are. I am, and always will be, a Potty Mouth. What’s that I hear? A Scooby Doo giggle!

Nonnie’s favorite color was purple. She loved elephants. She loved anything peanut butter; she even ate peanut butter and bologna sandwiches as we stood by and gagged. She loved liver and onions. She loved the annual Albuquerque balloon festival, which fell on her birthday every year. She loved John Wayne with such a passion that her home looked like a Duke museum: she understood that he was the original stud. She loved her husband and her son, she loved us, she loved our mom so much I’m surprised it didn’t squish the dear tiny soul. She even loved our dad, who scarred her so deeply that I still hold him at fault, to a degree, for her early demise. She just loved; she was love.

I guess you expect to outlive your parents. You pray your children will outlive you, and you know it could go either way with your spouse. These are things inside of you, whether you consciously think about them or not. But for me, I guess I thought my siblings would always be there. They were already around when I got here, and I never imagined life without them.  

Her death was devastating to us, the remaining three. We are supposed to be a quartet, not a trio; it’s not the same, not squared off without her.

But even now, we still feel her love and her protection. I don’t know how she does that, but I am eternally grateful. 

Happy 66th Birthday, Nonnie! I love you and miss you…and you are STILL older than me!

Life is a Highway (with no pee-stops)

There are upsides to being reared by an unstable, often brilliant, funny, dark, incestuous, egomaniac. 

OK, strike the “i” word, but the rest stands true. Imagine being a little kid and having a dad who would say, “We’re going for a ride!”– and the translation of said statement could mean a Sunday drive, OR a multiday journey to parts unknown; money, school attendance, and potty stops not included!

Nope, not kidding. I was there, so I know. While I can’t remember many geographical specifics because most of these adventures happened when I was really small, I can remember other stuff, like all four of us kids being crammed into the back seat. Yes, it was very crowded, but besides the fact that complaining was strictly prohibited, even in matters of life or death, it was all we knew. And sometimes the alternative to these gallivants was going to school, so, I, for one, was in!

The other kids were older, so I’m sure they weren’t as enthusiastic about these jaunts since we were packed like sardines into whatever given heap we called the family car at the time. After all, we had to be touching each other from shoulders to feet for hours on end. I know that was preferable to being touched by the guy driving the car, but that’s an element of this blog that will continue to be alluded to, yet never allowed out to play.

Most of our “drives” were actually cover for the fact Dad was an on-again, off-again, traveling salesman. I’m guessing he only brought us along when he didn’t have a prospect for a little between-the-sheets extra-curricular activity on the route; I can fully understand how his wife and kids could have been an impediment in that area. However, when summoned, we piled in and often drove miles, if not days, so he could follow a “lead” in hopes of selling a set of encyclopedias. [For our younger readers out there, “encyclopedias” were the book equivalent of Google; took up lots more space, were heavier, and way more expensive, not to mention you had to actually apply yourself and put in some effort during your “search.”] 

The less exciting element of the trips was the four-pack-a-day smoker behind the wheel who didn’t believe in pee-stops, wife and four children notwithstanding. 

Here’s how it went: as we left town, we were in somewhat good spirits, and those spirits lowered as the amount of smoke in the car increased. God forbid we should complain or want to roll down a window, verboten! Even as a young ‘un, I remember knowing when the smoke filled the car enough to get down to my face level, I would start to get queasy. I also knew there’d be hell to pay if I complained. So, I guess during the drives, we were a four-pack-a-day family.

Dad’s solution to the pee issue was (are you ready for this?) a three-pound aluminum coffee can, fortunately, with the lid. And no stops meant no stops, therefore, dig this: we had to find room among the other six legs in the back seat floor to cop squats (in the girls’ cases) and pee right there in the car at sixty-miles-per hour. I’m sure it was easier for my brother, stupid boy; just doesn’t seem fair, does it? But for all, spillage was also verboten; thus, we were excellent aims.

I remember the time my late sister was doing her thing there on the floor of the car, and Dad, being the sensitive and thoughtful soul he was, passed a semi truck…the driver must have gotten a quick glimpse, because he blew his air horn so loud she probably squeezed out an extra pint or two. (Of course, I only share this because she is not here to read it; I’d rather still have her here, but just the thought of her frowning and smacking me across the head makes it worth it.) My other sister remembers the pee-can doubled as a puke-can. We were often in the car for hours – including the time he was in the “lead’s” home selling his wares – and my sisters frequently got sick (geez, I hope you weren’t, like, eating while reading this…). My brother says the sales trips were the best kind because we had a chance of actually going to a drive-thru or restaurant. Otherwise, our fare was white bread and a pack of baloney. If we were lucky enough to stop, we ate our plain sandwiches at picnic tables within a stone’s throw of outhouses (rest area sanitation, back in the day). No one can say the Seley clan didn’t know how to have a good time!

On a side note, I was terrified of outhouses because I was afraid I’d fall in. Dad told me I’d better not, because it would be easier to “make” another kid than to clean me up! Those loving words still make me a little misty.

So, there you have it. 

Between the many moves and the “drives” in between, we were like modern-day gypsies. I sometimes wonder if Dad wrote that song, “Life is a Highway,” because he had no trouble riding it all night long, as long as we had a pee-can.