Tag Archive: family


Not that I have heretofore done a lot of thinking about the growth curve. Which is precisely my point. Have any other parents actually worried about a growth curve? I was watching the Pediasure commercial where the little boy says his shirt is too big and the mother worries about his being off the growth curve. Then, after a couple of days or so with two bottles of Pediasure a day – wouldn’t you know it – he’s right back on that sucker.

Each of my four children grew differently. As did their friends at church and school. Not once did I hear, or worry about, a growth curve. I’m sure at some point we may have bought them Pediasure, but not because we thought it would right any perceived wrong. All four turned out just fine. Even J.D., who wasn’t sure for a while if he was going to get taller at all – he did.

Not that there is not a growth curve. I have seen and heard of children that grew abnormally. However, I don’t know whether their situation was caused by something specific or attributed to the growth curve.

Just saying…..

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

916 Acklen Ave., in Nashville

When my family went to South Dakota on vacation to see where our parents met and were married, we found out that the church where the wedding had been had been torn down. It became a running joke that continues to this day. Anytime we couldn’t find the building we were looking for, I would say “they tore it down.”

Last Friday, the 14th, after visiting NAMM one last time, Cameron and I then drove to the area of Nashville where I lived in the ’70s. Going

Picture of a bad picture from the ’70s

through Hillsboro Village, we saw that the Villager was still open. Joel Nichols and I played there. Of course Belmont College and Vanderbilt College have expanded incredibly. There is a fraternity on Music Row. It’s quite a bit different than the street I walked with my songs on cassette, shopping publishers. Thankfully though, it’s still recognized as Music Row, there are still some publishers there, and most of the businesses are music or arts related. In the same buildings, with a few remodels.

916 Acklen Avenue today

A number of years back, Cyndy and I took the same basic drive, although it looked quite a bit different. I wanted to show the children the house I lived in. And – you saw it coming didn’t you – they tore it down.  In the picture above, the door on the far right was the door to our apartment upstairs.

I wanted to show Cameron where it was and I wanted to get a picture. 916 Acklen Avenue is a parking lot for the church across the street. Which is larger than it was then. There was a lot of good music made in that house. A lot of other things were done there too, but mainly a lot of good music. I wouldn’t expect a historical marker, but they could have at least put a plaque in the sidewalk. Just sayin’……..

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

buddy-at-tvWhen a dog or dogs bark on TV – or there are any animal sounds at all – Buddy heads to the television. Our son, Conner, rescued Buddy from his former “owner” who had him chained  on a short chain in the backyard. His food and water bowls had ants crawling all over them. Conner told them he was taking the puppy and brought him home.

Buddy was so thin you could see his bones through his skin. We held him and petted him and kept food and water available. Our older dog, Misty’s, mother instincts kicked in. Buddy grew quickly. As I said in an earlier post, he would run up the stairs and all around the house – just because he could.

Buddy still runs through the house when he comes in from the backyard. Partly to see who is in the house misty-and-buddyand partly – again, still – because he can. He still gets this look on his face that says, “this house is freaking cool!” Having Misty to play with is a bonus. At times it seems like he remembers before Conner brought him home. If we do a certain thing – we haven’t quite figured out what it is – he’ll snap at us. Not to hurt us, more as an automatic response.

Buddy does, however, have some odd habits. He will bark at his reflection, thinking it is another dog. Whether it is in the dryer door, the glass of the back door, or the television when it is off. But, as I said earlier, if he hears animal noises – dogs in particular – he runs in and starts barking at the television. He loves cartoons with animals. After he barks, he just stands there watching. If we bought her a small TV and set it on Animal Planet he would be in dog-heaven.

Peace be with you.

 

Squirrel 1I was letting the dogs, Buddy and Misty, out into the backyard. Buddy took off to make his rounds through the backyard. Misty, who is quite a bit older and heavier, rumbled out past the large trunk of the tree. When she was just past the tree, she stopped, looked up at the tree, and half-heartedly let out a quick bark. Then she turned her head back around as if to say “oh, the hell with it, it’s too hot,” and sauntered on to one of her favorite resting spots.

So I looked up at the tree, and sure enough, there was a squirrel hunkered down in the crook of the tree. I went to get my camera and he hadn’t moved. I walked up closer slowly while taking pictures. As you can see, the only thing he really moved was his eyes – and his head just a bit, as he looked at me. I imagined him talking to me and saying the following:

“Look, I don’t mind you taking pictures. In fact, take as many as you want. But please don’t tell those damn dogs I’m here. This is the coolest spot in the tree and I really don’t want to move right now.”

So I didn’t. I’ve felt like that myself. When I find a good spot that puts me in a good place, I want it to last as long as it can – Squirrel adon’t you? Come to think about it, most of my best memories are those times when I’ve found myself in a new good place, feeling the same way. I hope I’ll always have those memories. I have relatives and friends who have already lost some of their memories.

I’ll cherish those memories as long as I can. So that, in a tough period, I can pause and reflect and re-live those memories. So they can take me back to those good places. And I can get that sense of calm and peace again. Once again still wanting it to last forever.

Peace be with you.

Pastor Cassie Wade introducing me

Pastor Cassie Wade introducing me

I would like to thank the congregation of Jacksboro FUMC for their gracious welcome, and their generosity with the love offering at my show. They invited Cyndy and I to worship with them at the service, and I sang Follow the Angels for the offertory and played on the two closing hymns. Following the service, Pastor Cassie Wade and her husband, Kelly, served lunch at the parsonage for the four of us, and Karlene Boucher, the Choir Director. We had a nice visit over a lunch of hamburgers and potato salad, with strawberries, angel food cake, and whipped cream for dessert.

Cyndy and I have known Cassie and Kelly for years. Among other things, it was a day of Dan Roark playing in worship service 1-31-'16interesting facts and occurrences. My family lived on Hollandale Avenue in Wichita Falls in the late ‘60s. It turns out that Karlene Boucher lives on Hollandale – and has for many years -although after we lived there. She drives down on Wednesdays and Sundays to Jacksboro.

But wait, there’s more. While we were in the worship service, our granddaughter, Kelley, was sitting with the Wade’s daughter, Amber, and her daughter (the Wade’s granddaughter – if you’re keeping score), at our home church, Christ UMC, Farmers Branch. Our son, Cameron, was keeping an eye on Kelley from the A/V booth. Interesting, is it not?

Dan Roark show at FUMC 1-31-'16 fMy show was from 3-4 p.m. The audience was very receptive and attentive. It made performing for them all that much more enjoyable. A number of them had very kind words after the show. I will share a video of some of the show when it’s complete.

Peace be with you.

DSC07035[Re-posted from last year at this time. This year’s observations will be in a following post.]

It began years ago with the recipe on the Chex cereal boxes. Then everyone’s grandmother added their particular additional ingredients. It took on different identities: nibbles, trash, Texas trash, and others. Cyndy’s mom’s recipe is for Texas Nibbles. Our daughter, Jennifer, fixed several different varieties: no nuts, hot, not hot, really hot – you get the idea.

But the point is that – in any variety – the mix is addicting. It is the one thing left over that you don’t have to do anything for but grab a handful. No cutting a pie, no getting a plate dirty, no digging in the refrigerator. Just grab a handful. And it’s salty.

We give containers of mix to the family for Christmas. We also usually receive a container from Jennifer. Naturally, this year was no different. But some things have changed. We still go to my parents on Christmas. But we don’t have a big meal anymore. Mom is not able to cook and serve the meal any longer. Cyndy and I take the Thanksgiving dinner to them – just dropping off food for them and visiting a short while.

On Christmas day Mom and Dad buy snack trays and deli sandwiches. Cyndy, Conner, Cameron, J.D. and myself – often in more than one car – meet Jennifer, her husband, Chris, and their daughter, Kelley, at the grandparents house. This year, Chris’ daughter, Katherine, was able to join us. Rather than have the meal (usually brunch), we go straight to the gift exchange.

Then we all get our stockings from the grandparents, snack a while, and visit. Visiting is the most important part. It is the part that does not and should not change. The people may change slightly from year to year due to life’s circumstances. But the family fellowship does not change.

Our family is one that gets what they need throughout the year. We give gifts to each other all year. Christmas is not about the gifts. It is about celebrating Christ’s birth. And it is also about family – in all it’s facets.

But the one constant between Christmas and New Year’s in our family is the presence of Texas Nibbles. The mix goes quickly around Christmas and then slows down to a steady rate of consumption. The salty after the sweet. Just grab a little and go kind of thing.

I don’t know what Cyndy and I will be watching tonight while waiting on midnight. But I can tell you what we won’t be watching – the countdowns to midnight. I can, however, tell you one thing for certain. We will be eating Texas Nibbles from the bag I have stashed.

Happy New Year! Peace be with you!

Misty and Buddy Misty and Buddy, waiting for the next person that comes through the door. Whoever it is, they plan to be first to know.

Misty and Buddy 2 Buddy’s ear picks up the signal of a photo opportunity.

Misty and Buddy 3
And the photo opportunity. Meanwhile, Misty, whose eye is actually open, gave a look that said, “Let the little prick do it, I’m too old to give a damn.”

Peace be with you.

seated l-r: Kelley, Marie, Martha, and Mom, standing (in green), Cyndy

seated l-r: Kelley, Marie, Martha, and Mom, standing (in green), Cyndy

A while back, I wrote about my family having to move my Aunt Marie to assisted living and my receiving her Hammond organ that she and I would play when I was in high school. Her birthday party on Sunday, November 29, was the first time I had seen Marie since she moved into Brookdale. My parents, daughter, Jennifer, and granddaughter, Kelley, met us there. Dad met Cyndy and I in the lobby and took us back.

When we approached the door to the wing, I looked up at the sign at the side of the door. It said, “Memory Care Neighborhood.” That was the first time I had seen the phrase and I thought it was perfect. And that was before I entered the neighborhood.

In my experience with senior living centers – which increases with the passing of time – in each area, there is one employee that the residents cling to, as it were. In the memory care neighborhood, it was Barbara. When she first began working there, she wore red shoes all the time. When she was not there, the residents would ask where the lady with the red shoes was.

There is a reason for that. She was the “mayor” of the neighborhood. She helped our

l-r: Mom, Barbara, Jennifer, and Kelley

l-r: Mom, Barbara, Jennifer, and Kelley

family get situated with Marie in a room where we could converse. Marie insisted that her best friend, Martha, be there. Marie seemed to be more grounded when Martha was with her. Martha is her constant anchor to the present. Regardless of how her memory might fail her, Martha was there. And if Martha was there, all was right with the world.

While we were talking to Marie, I was still unsure what to say. I kept constant eye contact, but we had little interaction. However, our eyes said plenty. There were flashes where I had no doubt she knew who I was (my red hair helped – she always liked my hair. It’s as long now as it was then, but not quite as red. When she would see me on holidays during high school and after, she would feel my hair after we hugged.).

Dad and Jennifer

Dad and Jennifer

Then there were times when her mind would drift. But Martha was there, so it was okay. Marie was happier than I have seen her for years, particularly since my uncle Pick passed away. This was the deliriously happy with life Marie that used to skip church and take Dennis and I to Six Flags – riding all the rides with us. The Marie that listened and watched carefully when I played my songs on family occasions.

After Jennifer and Kelley helped Barbara and the staff divvy up the cake for everyone in the neighborhood, we went into the dining room. Dad helped scoop the ice cream to go with the cake. Jennifer helped serve. We all had a nice visit and party. Our family interacted with several residents. Of course the writer in me didn’t miss much.

Cyndy and I hugged Marie good-bye, as did the rest of the family, and we left after thanking Barbara for her help and dedication to the residents. She said that was where God led her to be. We told her that her dedication illustrated her faith.

Marie had a wonderful birthday – with family, if only briefly in recognition. She was with her best friend, Martha, and her neighbors. Barbara was there to take care of her. And God will take care of the rest.

Peace be with you.

The Surprise in the Shower

BuddyOur oldest son, Conner, before he moved to California, was visiting with his band at the home of a band member’s sister. Her boyfriend had a puppy in the backyard – about ten weeks old. He was tethered by a short chain. His food and water bowls were overrun with ants. He was malnourished and you could see his bones through his skin. Conner told them he was taking the dog, who we now call Buddy.

I came home from a songwriter’s conference in Austin and opened the door to three dogs rather than the customary two – Misty and Lyra. We named him Buddy a few days later. After a couple of months of regular meals, exercise, and attention, he was almost twice the size he was before. His bones were no longer visible. He was happy having two older dogs to play with, before Conner took Lyra to California.

Buddy is the youngest puppy we have ever had. He is the only dog we could actually take places, like J. D.’s baseball games. He is like a shepherd/terrier mix and he doesn’t shed. But when we would take him to baseball games, he would play in his water dish. Invariably, he would dump the water out and lay in it. Cyndy would put more water in his dish and the process would start over.

He would also spill the water bowl on the back porch and play in the small plastic pool we had in the backyard (until he destroyed it). So we knew he liked water, we just were never sure to what extent. Neither Cyndy nor myself has ever had a dog that liked water. Except for rainy days, it wasn’t of major concern.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the shower in our bedroom upstairs. I was getting ready to wash my hair when I backed up and felt something move. I looked behind me and Buddy was in the tub with me, lapping up water. I hadn’t seen that one coming. I got him out, hoping he wouldn’t get too much of the carpet wet. Then I finished my shower.

It hasn’t occurred again – so far – but that doesn’t mean I don’t watch out for him. He can’t get up on mine and Cyndy’s bed, but he can get into a slippery tub. Go figure. He’s in that phase now where he is growing all the time, but still thinks he’s a little puppy.

Misty is eight years old (our years). She tolerates him. I think sometimes she enjoys his trying to annoy her. And they like to play tug of war. In some ways it seems like Buddy is “keeping Misty young” – to a degree.

Best of all, though, Buddy is content and happy. At least as long as he gets to lick everything. That’s how he says hi and shows affection. Your pants, shoe, belt, shirt, any exposed skin, whatever – as long as he licks you. There are times when he suddenly runs around the house from person to person, all excited, jumping and licking. The look on his face seems to me to say:

“A house to explore, a big backyard to dig in, a pal to play with, and people to pet me and that I can lick – this is freakin’ cool!”

Peace be with you.

The Hammond Organ

Hammond Organ

Cyndy and I went over to my Aunt Marie’s house a couple of weeks ago to help Dad take care of her possessions. Dad told us that anything we wanted for sentimental reasons and were going to keep, we could have. There was nothing I could think of that I actually wanted. I knew there were a few types of things I would like to keep just because they were hers. But I knew I would “know it when I see it.”

After my father first told me we were going to have to move Marie to an assisted living facility, I began thinking about the past – see previous post. When I was in junior high (not middle school – just saying) and high school, we would alternate between our house, Marie and Pick’s, or Jack and Juanita’s. When we were at Marie and Pick’s, it wasn’t long before I would start messing with her organ. She would come over and sit by me and help me play something that didn’t sound like zoo animals on the warpath.

But I thought the organ was really cool. The adults would be having a conversation that I was not invited to join. I would just sit at the organ and move the slides around and step on the pedals like I knew what I was doing. When Marie had the chance, she would slide onto the bench beside me and teach me a little something about playing the organ – before having to return to hostess duties.

Cyndy and I arrived at Marie’s where Dad was working to clear things out. We walked around the house. Some of the kitchen stuff we wanted. I spent time putting aside things we can sell online and make money for ourselves and the estate. Marie had so much that it was a little overwhelming.

I walked into another room and was rendered speechless. Against the wall was Marie’s Hammond organ.

“I’ll be damned,” I said out loud to myself, “she still has it.”

The organ is now in our living room. It needs a serious “tune-up,” as it were. I look forward to being able to play the organ (a little). Until then, I look forward to seeing her and playing my songs for her again – even though she may not recognize me.

Peace be with you.

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