The good news is Jeff is doing well enough in his business to buy a brand new bike! He loves it. It is really powerful and can go really fast.
Of Course, that is also the bad news from a mother's perspective. I am glad he is doing well. I am glad he is able to get things that he wants, I wish he would have purchased a car. I wish he would at least wear a helmet. But he is a one percenter and I guess that I am not going to change that.
It is hard to believe what can happen in the space of a few days. John called me last Monday from Annapolis and he was very upset. He had just found out that Tracy Fisher had died that morning while walking to class at the University of Missouri in Columbus. She was the picture of health, but she died of a pulmonary embolism. To add to the sadness of the event, the next day was to be her 19th birthday.
John and Tracy had dated a few times a couple of years ago but the romance factor fizzled quickly for normal teenage reasons. They ended up being great friends. They both sang in the RHS choir. John has always considered Tracy to be one of his best friends.
Over the last few days I have crossed paths with a lot of people who have known Tracy. I kept hearing a reccurring theme. Almost all of the kids she knew considered her to be one of their best freinds. I started thinking about all of the groups she was involved with. There was choir, theatre, The Talon Newspaper, and her synagogue. I know she had more associations than this but just assuming there were an average of 100 kids in each of these groups she easily had 400 best freinds. It is easy to see why Tracy had so many best friends. It is because she had a generous spirit. You knew that Tracy liked you. She didn't make you guess. If you ever crossed her path at Target or the grocery store or even in th hall ways at school she would acknowlege you. She would always acknowlege me and I am, well, lets just say, I am a little older than Tracy. Very few teenagers feel confident enough to run half way across Costco to give a hug to one of her 400 best freinds' mother who was sitting at a table eating pizza at the food court, but that was Tracy.
There was an amazing turn out at her funeral service. I loved her brother's rememberances of Tracy. That had to be a tough, but he did a great job. I waited in line for half an hour to sign the guest book. I saw teachers, friends from all of her different activities, her freinds from her synagogue, her parent's freinds, and her freind's parents
How could a healthy young woman die so suddenly? I think her brother gave a pretty good explanation at the funeral. It was a matter of biology. I remember when I was in my twenties I had started taking a new medication and the doctor was describing some of the rare side effects, which included death. I remember laughing a little at this and the doctor, who was about 50, reprimanding me for my cavalier attitude. So I pretended to take him seriously for the rest of the dire lecture of everything that could go wrong but probably wouldn't. Now that I have lived a little longer and have experienced a few lightning strikes I understand why the doctor was upset with me. You just don't know when you will be the one in 1000. You just don't know when someone's time is up. After having a personal experience of loosing my son Matthew I realized that I wanted all of my relationships to be at a point that I would have no regrets if an unexpected death occurs. This is kind of a weird attitude, I know, but I am shaped by my experiences.
For now, I am going to take a page from Tracy's book. The picture at the top of this post was when Tracy showed up for John's Eagle Court of Honor. I think we can show up for our freinds events. I think we can cross the room to greet our freinds. I think we can let others know that we really like them, like how Tracy let everyone of us know that we were among her best freinds.
We had a really fun weekend! John came in from the Naval Academy for the Navy SMU game. Grandpa Stockam came down from Arkansas for the game.
We attended the tailgate party at SMU. I was surprised at how the SMU Coeds were dressed in little strapless mini dresses. The SMU guys were dressed in khaki shorts and long sleeved pastel colored shirts. I thought this was pretty odd. All of the Navy people were dressed in Navy Spirit wear. And we were dressed warmly because it was a night game. By the end of the night the SMU Coeds were shaking out of their cowboy boots and the SMU guys had nothing to keep them warm except for ill-clad Coeds. I have a really unique thought, sweatshirts, maybe even with the school logo! SMU could lower its tuition a little if each of the students bought one of these.
After a meal of Texas BBQ brisket we headed over to the stadium. Navy was the first to score with a touch down and the extra point. Then in the second quarter SMU scored three touchdowns in a row. At that point Joe started crying. I wish I could say that he was trying not to cry but that would not be truthful. The tears were genuine. He cares so much about Navy football that he just couldn't take it.
I am not sure what happened at halftime but it seemed like Annapolis High got off the Field and the USNA started to play.
Joe regained his composure and started smiling. It was a tight game but Navy was ahead again.
I went down to the Midshipmen section and I got John to pose for a picture for me. He was pretty happy that Navy was ahead again. But SMU wasn't going to lay down with out a fight. They scored another TD to tie up the score and we went into overtime. Fortunately Navy does great in Overtime and SMU stinks at it. So Navy won by a fieldgoal. It was a messy win but it was still a win and that is what counts.
After the game we went down to where the Navy players were coming out of the locker rooms after the game. Joe had a football and a sharpie. He was trying to get as many autographs of the players that he could. If any of you have ever talked to Joe about Navy Football you would have heard him mention the super hero of the team, Ricky Dobbs. Dobbs is the quaterback and he is just an excellent player. Navy plays the triple option so he gets in on a lot of the really good plays. We found Ricky after the game and Joe was so happy to meet his football hero. I was impressed that Ricky was so nice to Joe. He even let us take a picture of him with Joe. I told him how much Joe admired him and he gave me a big hug! Thanks Ricky Dobbs! I really appreciate it when a Celeb-type can be kind to his admiring fans. This made Joe's day, week. month, and possibly his whole year.
I wasn't on the field. I am not the coach, assistant coach or the team manager. I wasn't even in charge of bringing the post-game Gatorade. So how did I blow it for the team?
Joe asked me to buy him an athletic cup to protect his delicate parts. I went to Academy Sports and stared at the athletic protective cup offerings. The LARGE youth protective cup was $5.99. There was a protective cup with underwear for $9.99. My reasoning on buying the cup without the special underwear was that Joe has lots of underwear. I am a girl. I only had sisters. I think Bob must have taken care of Jeff's and John's protective needs. I claim stupidity as my defense.
Joe wore his cup to the game today for the first time. I sat there semi-watching the game and doing my sudoku puzzle at the same time. So I really wasn't noticing that Joe wasn't making his blocks or his tackles. At half time I heard the coaches reprimanding Joe for not doing his jobs. I put the sudoku down and started noticing during the second half that he was playing football like he had never played the game before. The coaches were correcting and encouraging him and at times got down right aggravated that he was doing nothing out there. I couldn't figure out what his problem was. Then within a 15 second time period I noticed that he had groped at his private parts twice, like Michael Jackson at a pop concert. I knew what his problem was at that point. His protective cup had been slipping during the entire game. His head wasn't in the game because he was concentrating on his manhood problem. Bob later told me that the underwear that comes with the cup has a special pocket to keep the cup in place during play. How clever!
There were only about 4 or 5 minutes left of play. I went down to the field and told the team manager about the problem. He thanked me for noticing with only a few minutes of play left. He is actually a great guy and at a timeout asked Joe to remove his cup. Joe stuck his hand down his pants and removed the offending article. Bill put it in his pocket and then gave it to me. Joe finally could concentrate on the game! At least the other team didn't score another touchdown. The Colts lost 21-0.
On the drive home Joe told me that he had to constantly adjust that darn cup . One of his team mates told him to stop it because he was Freaking him out. Of course he couldn't stop adjusting, with his cup trying to slide down his leg.
Now I am going to have to go back to Academy. I think the special underwear is $5.99. Had I bought it at the time I bought the cup I would have saved $3.00 and the Colts might have won the game today, but I wouldn't have this funny little story to post.
I am not sure what all of the debate is about. I have heard on the news that President Obama is trying to calm people's fears about taking the Swine Flu Vaccination. You know, it is really a moot point. There is so little vaccine out there that the problem is not people refusing to take it, but people who want it not getting it. At first the announcement was that only 2 year old children were going to get it. But there wasn't enough to go around so only healthcare workers are being vaccinated at this time.
About 75% of our second grade was absent with Swine Flu last week. Several schools in the DFW area are closing for the week because 50% of the kids are out with Swine Flu. It must really be in style to have the flu because Joe was telling me a couple of days ago that he can't wait until he gets the Swine flu so that he can get a break from school. I informed him that even though he wouldn't be in school he would get the privelege of doing his school work.
I am grateful that the flu is not as deadly as the experts were predicting last spring. My great grandmother, Grace May Haworth survived a really tough flu epidemic in Arkansas in the 1880's.. She was married and had two little boys. Complications of the flu killed her husband and both of her children. She was so devastated. The mother in me wants to reach back through the years and comfort her. Her own mother probably would have tried to comfort her, but she died in that big flu epidemic too. I have heard about how bitter and mean spirited she became after facing these devastating trials. She remarried a widower and became the wicked stepmother to his two children. She had at least 8 more children with my great grandfather, James Hardee. But she could never contain her bitterness. I have spoken with a descendent of the daughter Vergie Hardee from his first marriage, and she confirmed how hard it was for her grandmother when Grace May became part of her life. Vergiewas kicked out of the house when she was 14 and went to live at a State School. This wasn't a great place but it was better than living under the tyrrany of Grace. I wish the story had a good ending, like Grace started to feel better and everything was okay after that, but the situaton went from bad to worse.
Ambus Hardee, James' son from his first marriage died in a boiler explosion on the USS San Diego off of the coast of Mexico in 1915 when the US Navy was gearing up for WWI. Now James was in a spot similar to his second wife. He had lost his first wife and one of his children to death and the other had no contact with him. James lost his footing and hope.. He just gave up, or as Grandma Stockam said, "He had three farms, he would sell one then drink it up, then sell the next, then the next." The family had no resources and that is when Grace Mae took her kids and moved to Mounds, Oklahoma.
I could go on about the family's trouble and I may in a future blog post. It is not a pretty story.
I think we can learn something from the hardships they experienced. First of all, get the flu vaccine if you possibly can. Second, you never know just how hard of a life people have had, so try to be gentle and kind even to those who do not appear as if they deserve this treatment. Third, if you experience a great loss don't punish everyone else in your life. Fourth, try to find joy in what you have. Fifth, if you dwell on really sad thoughts you become weird.