Even as a kid I always loved to travel, or at least move. I left home when I was 13 yrs old and hitchhiked all over the US for 2 yrs. In 2011 when I moved to Alabama it was actually not my true desire. I had wanted to purchase a 35 to 45 foot sailboat move on to it and just spend the rest of my life traveling anywhere Janit and I decided to go for whatever amount of time we had left on this earth.
Jan was nervous about this idea as she did not like being on the water when you couldn't see the land.
So we discussed it and decided to purchase a Motorhome and just live in it so we could travel around to see the US. So many places Jan has never had to the ability to see during her life. So when we started looking at Motorhomes, Jan's daughter, Katie, had her second baby. When we went to visit her in the hospital the conversation came up of traveling an Katie told her mom that they would be moving back to N Alabama after her husband Adam retired from the USMC.
Jan then decided she didn't want to travel anymore, she wanted to buy a home in N Alabama to be closer to her kids and grandchildren. So we eventually purchased this home in Rogersville, AL. We have put a lot of time money and sweat equity in the home and it is a nice place. However, as the years have past, we both are getting older, and I again want to travel. I am getting too old to just sit at home day in and day out, looking for things to do daily around the house that need to be done to maintain the home, and rushing around putting out fires caused by unexpected problems.
I have decided that maintaining the home is actually not worth the effort. Why spend the rest of my life, working on a home I will never fully own, struggling to make ends meet because a home is a never ending money pit. I don't have anyone I want to leave my home to when I die, and I personally can give a rats ass what happens to it when I die.
So Jan and I have decided that we are going to sell the house, payoff all our bills, purchase a motorhome and do what we started to do 9 yrs ago and just travel. When we are tired of being on the road, we'll find a nice comfortable place to park and just rest. We can move with the seasons. I love the snow, but I hate the cold, so you will probably hear from us from somewhere south of the Coconut Tree line especially during the winter months.
On our journeys, I am going to make it a point to help others as well. There are a lot of people in the US that need help. I have always liked doing things for others, from offering a place to stay, to food, or just a warm shower. As we move around, I want to seek out people that are in need and do things I am capable of doing to help. I can't think of anything else short of sailing around the world I rather do with the time I have left on this Planet. I have seen a lot of the US, but I have a wife that has seen very little and it's time to change that for her.
I took her once on a back alley trot through NC, and the western half of Virginia through Charlottesville, Spotsylvania, Stafford and Appomattox, stopping at several of the Confederate Battlefields and Cemeteries as we progressed to Washington, DC. Jan had never been and it is a trip she has never forgotten. On our way home we went to Arlington and Mt. Vernon, two more amazing places to see in your life if you've never been.
This Nation has so much to see, and so much to do, you just have to make up your mind, decide what in your life is most important to you. At our point in life, we aren't concerned about building an empire, or progressing in a career. The time to make a decision for us like this is now and comes down to health, togetherness, and a shared love of adventure.
As some of you know we spent close to $40,000.00 remodeling our home a few years ago and just installed a $7000.00 Fence, a pool and and deck for another $15,000 last spring. Well on May 3, 2017, Janit came to bed after putting a load of clothes in the washing machine that was only 1 yr old at the time. At about 1:10 am Janit woke me up and said "Chris I hear electricity popping or something going on in the house." So I laid there a few minutes and listened. I realized I was hearing water not just dripping but running.
We sleep in a waterbed so I got up and walked all around the bed looking for a leak but found nothing until I got to Janit's side of the bed which was close to the master bath. There the carpet was soaking wet. I turned the bathroom light on and the floor that was soft Heart Pine at the time was curled up and buckled. I went across the room headed to the other bathroom to get some extra towels and walked into the living room that was flooded with water. As I turned towards the dining room I found it was also buckled and standing in water. You could see the water running down into the AC vents and I could see the kitchen floor was buckled up and full of water. Our entire home had soft, really old, heart pine floors in every room. We had covered the living room and the bedrooms with Wall to Wall carpet to protect them as we have dogs that live inside with us.
As it turned out the washing machine was still running but it was just filling with water. It had failed to go into the wash cycle. Turns out the pressure switch had gone bad on the machine and so it overflowed non-stop for more than 4hrs.
I called USAA my Insurance company and reported the claim. At 7:30 that morning Service Master was at my door with fans, dryers and dehumidifiers and began a 12 day process of drying out my house, before a contractor could begin work restoring the home.
That same morning, Service Master ripped up floors, tore out cabinets, removed carpets, and left us with two bedrooms and the guest bathroom to live in for the next 5 months on a contracted job, not Service Master's contract, that was supposed to take roughly 1 month to complete. It was pure hell people, let me tell you. Two adults, and 4 dogs living in one guest bedroom, while setting up a door on boxes to hold food and prepare meals in the other guest room was no picnic.
So of the 6yrs we have owned this house more than 18 months have been spent in reconstruction mode. Walking around equipment, going outside to wash clothes and to get to the refrigerator, and making bathroom schedules. We are basically just starting to live in the house we bought in 2011, in a little more comfort, knowing we are termite free, with water damaged roof, floors and walls having been replaced. It is starting to actually feel like a home.
I hired a contractor to paint the entire interior of my house. His name is Ricky Childers. He has owned no less than 4 businesses in the area since 2000 and it turns out he was working on my house on an expired (September 2014) license. On the first day I fired the roofer I had hired and Ricky came to me and told me he was also a roofer and would like the job, agreeing to do it at the same price I was given from the previous contractor. I will tell you now he did the best job roofing my house and I am 100% satisfied with the work. So we drew up a contract for the remaining work which included installing doors, painting all rooms, scraping all ceilings etc. This is where the problem began.
I made the mistake of trusting Ricky Childers as he used his minister to install my gutters and he seemed to be a man of his word. So on the second day of work, I paid him $13,000.00 cash which was the full price of the contract not including unforeseen problems in damages around doors and the roof. Two weeks later Janit paid him him an additional $1,500.00 for these incidentals. He began work on April 14, and walked off the unfinished job Monday of this week. Here is a copy of the contract and pictures of his quality of work.
His work as a painter and carpenter was terrible. He tried to hide mistakes, used kids and his wife to do a lot of the work rather than experienced labor. After talking to him about the lousy job he was doing I decided to seek dome advice. Bringing in two other contractors to look at his work they suggested that I not allow him to do any other work. This pissed Ricky off and he left one afternoon and just didn't return. He had started tearing out the old shower so I hired a handyman to come in and reinstall the old shower so as not to slow Ricky down. For that reason I paid him the $300.00. He did not install the Vanity I did, so he owed me the $75.00 he was paid. He did not install the Steam Shower so he actually owed me $550.00 back for that. He did not paint the Exterior doors and Windows so he owes me $1,200.00 back from that. He did not replace the rotted board over the fireplace, he just patched it. He did not haul off the trash when he walked off the job. He did not paint the Kitchen, or any of the cabinet doors. He did not stain the deck and he installed the sliding doors wrong and the 12' door actually fell out of the track and on to my foot which I was luckily wearing an air cast and it did not hurt my foot further. This happened because he did not install the brackets in the doors to hold them in place. I had to hire another man to come in and reinstall the 12' door I paid Ricky $650.00 to install.
He is a liar, a thief, and he needs to be exposed as such. I have given him the opportunity to return to make this job right but he has not returned. Therefore, If anyone knows who his Minister is I would appreciate knowing so I can send him a link to this also. Association with this business could hurt his business reputation. He took this job knowing he was going to have move furniture, boxes and anything else in his way as I was in an air cast. I could not help him and he knew this. Because of this man's use of unskilled labor, and poor work, I lost a lock on a VA loan at 3.75%. It has now gone to 4.125%. I appreciate it Ricky. 7 months to do 1/2 the job that should have only taken you a month or so to do.
Every friend I have in real life knows my phone number. I even keep it listed on here for people that may just need a life line or a friend to call. There are people here that I will not name that I have reached out to them in times of trouble in their lives. Some people I have never met in real life, yet I have said to call me if you need anything and I honestly mean those words.
I have told people to call me any time day or night and they do. A CO friend of mine that I love like a father called me two weeks ago at 3:00am. Drunk as a skunk and just needed to talk. I got up made a cup of coffee and I talked to Ronald for 2 hours. Two nights later he called at 3:30am drunk as hell and had forgotten that he had called and talked to me two nights before. However, I got out of bed fixed a cup of coffee and I talk to him for 2 hours until Linda his wife kind of broke up the conversation.
My point is this, in my late 20's I had a friend who called me one night at about 1am in the morning and I made the comment to him "I hope this isn't your last quarter, or your only phone call, because you just blew the shit out of both of them."
It ended up that it was his last phone call. He had call me, his "FRIEND," because he was hurting inside. He couldn't handle anymore pain from a broken relationship and he called his "friend" who hung up on him. His last act was to put a gun in his mouth and he pulled the trigger to end his pain.
This is why when you call my phone, I don't give a fuck if it is 10 times a night 7 days a week, I will answer my phone. I will fix a cup of coffee and I will listen or talk to you until I feel you are okay.
What a sad thought it is as I grow older that the people that I love and have been here for in their lives cannot even take 5 mins to return a phone call. What a sad thought it is that to everyone I know on my list of friends, aside from a few I know who have fought side by side with me under the color of Blue, turn their friendships off at bedtime and couldn't give a rats ass to return a phone call the first opportunity they get.
Ending this I am saying this to MY Friends and to the people that read this: There are people in this world that will help you. They will go out of their way to make sure you are safe, and that will spent any amount of time you need talking to you. All you have to do is look. We are out here.
I don't care who you are, where you are, or what your problem is, before you do anything that will not only hurt you but the countless others that you know of in your life and those you are unaware of that actually care about you, pick up the phone and feel free to call me anytime day or night. I will answer my phone and I will talk with you. As humans we owe each other the common decency to reach out and help others in need my number is listed below and I will listen.
As a kid and as a young adult my mother used to say to me, "Your father is so miserable, he will die a lonely bitter old man. No one will care, no one will show up at his funeral." Some may think what I am saying is a joke and others that I know will be pissed I have even spoken the words for others to read.
We basically did not grow up in a traditional environment. Thanksgiving and Christmas were two of the main holidays for our family each year. Even after the divorce of my parents, we kids were treated each year to huge dinners with friends and family. Even with all that she did wrong, my mother was a goodhearted woman. She was selfless to the point of thinking about orphaned children, homeless people, a sick and dying estranged husband, and kids that didn't deserve the love she at times was able to share with us. Basically she died alone. Yes, we were there at her bedside when she drew her last breath, but days before that you couldn't find the 4 Massey kids or any of our children laughing and lovingly doing anything with each other.
We found the time to come together as a family when my father became sick. We even had a couple of dinners together, but the tension was always there. I am and always have been the Black Sheep of my family. I was the rebel. The one that caused all the problems. I was and am the last one to know anything about the day to day happenings in any of my family's lives. I even had to read on Facebook that one of my younger sisters and died 2wks after her funeral.
What is really funny about all of this is that I have traditionally been the one that my parents called on when they needed something done, or needed help. My father and I at times went 10 plus years not talking to each other, yet my siblings said dad and I shared the closest relationship of all of us. My mother and I had drop down drag out fights when I was growing up, and there were years that would pass without us even acknowledging each other's existence and we at times lived only 2 miles apart.
I am thoroughly convinced that the more you care, the more you give, the more you provide and the more you try, the more you lose in the end. Does that make me want to stop helping others? No.
You know 10 months ago my wife's sister whom I didn't allow in my house for the first 17 years of my marriage had a stroke due to a drug overdose. My wife who is the love of my life, loves her sister beyond word's ability to describe. When Cathy needed someone to take care of her, Janit didn't have to ask me if she could stay with us because it is just in my nature to care for people in need. Even when her two children placed her in a nursing home and said just let her stay there and die, I couldn't do it. I told my wife we can't treat family like this and we took her into our home.
Though it is was difficult on our marriage, and although it caused problems in our home at times, Cathy had a warm bed to sleep in each night, hot food every day, and hot water for showers and clean clothes for 9 months before she found a new place to live.
Before every serious severe storm and at other times during the year I have offered my house to anyone that may need food to eat, a warm shower or a dry warm bed. I find it hard to believe how far the people of this nation have moved away from day to day, hand to mouth caring for our neighbors, our friends, and more especially our family members. How in good conscience can anyone not offer to help others in times of need believing it is best to let people fend for themselves or consider it a character building experience? I can assure it is not. Nothing makes you feel better in your soul than to reach out and help a person in need, just because you can. Nothing.
Someone on Facebook sent me a number which represented the number of things I was to tell about myself that others may not know. My number was 13, and this is what I shared:
1. I took more LSD between the age of 14 and 16 than even Joe Walsh would consider himself an amateur.
2. I dropped out of school at the end of the 8th grade. Not legally but I did it.
3. At around age 14, I hitched hiked from NC to California. From Boston, to Florida. I slept under more bridges and inside Goodwill boxes than you would care to hear about. I showered in Truck Stops and honestly worked to earn a few bucks on the road.
4. At age 15, I spent 45 days in a juvenile detention facility in Fredericksburg, Va. I was then extradited to the State of NC. I was handcuffed, and driven to Richmond, VA and was escorted by a VA State Trooper on a flight to Raleigh, NC. In Raleigh, I was un-handcuffed by VA, and handcuffed by a NC Highway Patrol Officer, put in his car and was driven to Statesville, NC, where I was placed in the female side of the Iredell County jail. They didn't have a juvenile detention facility and I was to young to be placed in general population of the jail. All all of this, because I ran away from home, and I was truant from school. I told judge Waller in Spotsylvania County Va., that I refused to return to NC. I stayed there for 38 days. All total I was in jail longer than most people charged with a crime. It was 83 days in jail. That leads to number 5. The judge in NC said he had seen enough, and my Probation Officer Lexy Ledman help me with number 5.
5. I was emancipated at 16 years of age.
6. I got married a few months later and was married for 13.5 years The magistrate in Spotsylvania, VA never asked me my age when I went to get married.
7. My first wife signed for me to go to work. She was 18, I was 16. She signed for my workers permit because I was a minor and needed permission from an adult to work.
8. My wife signed my learner's permit so I could drive with her in the car at age 16..
9. My first wife pushed me to get my GED which I did 2 years before I would have graduated from High School.
10. My daughter was born when I was 18. A planned event in our lives.
11. I got a vasectomy when I was 18.
12. I went back to college when I was 37 and earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree.
13. If they would legalize LSD I would begin using it again today.
Okay I will give you some more due to pressure and popular demand. All of these stories I told to my wife Janit Massey. She thought I was lying until I introduced her to my mother who verified them all. You can PM and ask her.
My number was 13 but I can't count because Of No Child Left Behind.
14. When I was in the first grade, I had a paper route in Love Valley, NC. I delivered about 40 newspapers everyday on horseback. Lucky and I went about 10 miles each day in a huge circle around the valley. It was and still is a town very much like Gunsmoke on TV. http://townoflovevalley.com/ . I have the book Love Valley signed by Andy Barker who built the Town of Love Valley with his father, verifying our family was one of the originals that help to establish the town.
15. Love Valley had a Rock Concert in the Summer of 1970 that was second only to Woodstock. My dad still owned the Rock House that had blown up prior to the concert. The foundation of the home was used as a Community Kitchen during the Concert. I met the Allman Brothers who headlined the Concert before they moved to their ranch in Georgia.
16. About a year before the Concert in Love Valley the Rock House that dad owned blew up and a baby was killed in the explosion.
17. In the 7th Grade I had a friend that blew his hand off after finding Blasting caps in an abandoned house in Raleigh, NC. I help a friend, whom I just learned tonight has since died by suicide, blow the house up with dynamite we also found in the attic of that abandoned house. This was known to us as Dead Man's Lake. It is now called Eastgate Park.
18. I fell in love in the 7th Grade. To this Day I have a 1.5" A, and 1.5"H carved into my left wrist to remind me of the girl that taught me about puppy love.
19. In late 1971 we moved back to Love Valley from Raleigh, NC. My mother and I had a huge falling out, and it culminated in her shooting through my bedroom door with a 12ga shotgun. She walked in and put the gun in my face and gave me 5 minutes to get off her property. Hence the running away from home and hitch hitchhiking all over the United States.
20. I met a girl whose face I never saw during a thunderstorm in a Goodwill Box somewhere near Tampa, FL. It was dark and I could hear breathing in the box when I climbed inside. Eventually we talked and spent the night. She was gone before daylight the next morning.
21. I traveled around with the Fair for awhile to earn money, I even cleaned elephant crap and horse crap up for Ringling Brothers as an odd job to make money on the road.
22. I worked in a Union Job with Holly Farm's Chicken in N Wilkesboro, NC when I was 15. After about 6 months they found out I was not 18 and I got fired. I cleaned chicken heads off the floor and was responsible to clean two Chilling Machines which had to meet USDA inspection each day. I worked from 5 pm. and 5 am. Six days a week.
23. I worked for Service Town Truck Stop in Stafford, VA changing truck tires that weighed more than me.
24. I was a trained Spotter, and Dry Cleaning Specialist using perchloroethylene at 16 years of age. I was trained by Bruce Shelton of Kenmore Cleaners in Fredericksburg, Va.
25. I trained an investigator of Wake County Sheriff's Department how to hack Green Machine Bulletin Boards which were the precursor to the Internet. I had one of the first Bulletin Boards in Raleigh, NC. During that time. I had hacked and brought down a large Pedophile Bulletin Board that was being run out of the Southeastern Baptist Seminary that is located on the Old Campus of Wake Forest, College in Wake Forest, NC.
26. In 2004 I started having pressure in my chest. This led to Quadruple By-Pass surgery in 11/2005.
I remember hearing this whining idiot moaning all night long and I looked over at Janit who was sitting in a chair beside my bed when I woke up and said "Would someone shut that MF up. He has been moaning all fvcking night." She calmly looked at me and said baby, it is you that has been moaning all night.
27. The Hospital refused to serve me coffee after my By-pass but the doctor said you can have as much as you want if you walk to the end of this 100 yard hallway to get it. Two days after surgery I walked to the coffee pot so many times, my legs where they harvested the veins split wide open and I bled out all over the hospital floor and had to go back into surgery. They served me coffee in bed after that, Both of my legs became septic. I lost all feelings in my legs for several years.
I was thinking about my grandfather the other day and it brought back memories of the days I used to spend with him.
Of all the male figures in my life Gandy brings back my most fondest memories. He certainly had more of an influence on me as a human being and as a man, than any other male figure in my life.
I remember his stories of growing up around Louisville, KY and the Mississippi river. He was sort of my own private Huck Finn with all his stories and adventures.
So I started to think about my childhood and how things have changed since then. I remember as a kid having more than most, but not as much as others. I remember as kids we always had a rope swing close to home. I can't tell you the number of hours I have spent swinging in my life. I used to be the King of the swing. I could swing higher than most and I would jump out of the swing at the highest point on the arc and see how far I could fly til I hit the ground. It was amazing being a kid. I never broke any bones but I lived on the edge and did some pretty iffy things.
One of my earliest Christmas memories was around 3 or 4 years of age. I remember getting a train set very similar to the one on the left. If any of you remember these trains, they had a few safety issues that actually taught me some very valuable life lessons. It hurt like hell if put your hand on, or stepped barefooted on, the rails if it was plugged in.
It was most certainly a bad day when I was the Creature from the Black Lagoon. I was crushing cars and I peed on the train as it was coming through the town. Like I said, very valuable life lessons. Electric trains and pee equals loss of bowel and bladder control and it makes you dance really funny.
Some time around this same age I received my first of many toys to help me get in touch with my artistic side. The wood burning kit was the most popular gift for kids the year my parents gave it to me.
It was AWESOME. You could burn a hole through ANYTHING. The cords on them were about 1 to 2 feet long. The bad thing about that was all the electric sockets in the house were located near the windows, and along walls in the homes where you would normally have furniture for a lamp or something that needed electricity. Well my favorite spot to create my masterpieces was in my mom's bedroom beside her vanity. Back in the early 60's vanities looked like very similar to the one pictured below.
Now I have never believed in this ADD, or ADHD stuff as it was not around when I was a kid. I can tell you that as a kid I was often distracted and some times projects were started that were never finished. The bad thing about this particular behavior is that it can occur at any time. Well one day shortly after receiving my new wood burning kit somewhere around my 4th or 5th birthday it happened to me. I plugged in the Iron and low behold a neighborhood game of Cowboys and Indians kicked off and I of course had the fastest stick horse in the neighborhood so I was in like Flynn.
Within about 20 minutes I started hearing a siren. I wondered why something like that was in my neighborhood. So we all started running towards the sound and the next thing I knew they had come to a stop in front of my house. There was smoke pouring our of the front door and I was just standing there in shock. Well it wasn't long before the fireman came out of the house with a wood burning iron in his hand. I remember crying because a fire had burned up my new toy, not to mention the vanity in mom's room. After that my toys became a little less deadly.
This was a safe toy. It was cool as hell and I spent hours watching it spin. It took awhile before I trusted my parents after mom's vanity burned up my wood burning iron but after awhile I got over it. I convinced my parents that I needed the more advanced tops of the day.
It involved wrapping a string around this wooden toy shaped sort of like a bullet with a metal tip on the end of it. You then threw it out hard and jerked back on the string at the same time to make it spin.
Needless to say, it is not the kind of toy that you just pickup and use like a pro the first time out of the package. It takes practice to become proficient in the use of a throwing top. There were no classes for it nor was there anyone else around that knew how to do it any better. It just took practice.
I remember at 907 Candlewood Drive in Kinston, NC, we had a tile floor in the kitchen where tops could spin forever. The only problem was the throw. Practice was a never ending process. You wound the string, you threw the top. You wound the string, you threw the top. All day long. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Sometimes it came back and smacked you in the face. Other times it would fly across the room and smack someone else in the face.
One time, it even flew 20 feet across the living room and right through a 5' high by 5' wide plate glass window. I mean really, who would invent a toy for a kid that could shatter a frigging window while learning to play with it? It was a practice throw. It didn't even count.
I called for a "Mulligan," but my dad didn't think that was funny at all.
Needless to say the top days were a thing of the past. I soon found myself with a brand new toy that to this day is still one of my all time favorites. I love Lincoln Logs. I loved them so much but there was never enough of them. You would get half way through a fort project and run out. I knew it was my parents way of holding me and my talents back, preventing me from becoming a Master Builder.
Well I soon found out that other kids had them too and every time I went to their house I just brought a few of theirs home with me. I eventually had enough Lincoln Logs to build a decent fort that I could actually crawl into.
My other favorite toy at the time was Tinker Toys. With Tinker toys I could build anything. The only thing I disliked about them was they were not strong enough to hold your weight. They were however pretty cool for what they did. I never made anything with the tinker toys that could hurt someone which I guess for me was a plus. That is probably
what kind of made their novelty wear off pretty quick. However, even today I can sit with a child, play with Tinker Toys and have a good time.
Between Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys, they were what I called comfort toys. They were just plain, simple, mundane, toys that let you use your imagination to create anything you wanted to. I also had an erector set, but I could never get into them as much.
As I grew a little larger I started to build my own toys, from bicycles to push carts and eventually go carts.
You haven't lived until you get at the top of a hill, like Glascock St. in Raleigh, NC in one of these. Glascock was THE best street for speed. The hill on Glascock was three blocks long and it ended with a block of straight road before it came to a stop light.
You could get in this homemade go cart and honestly beat a car down the hill. As you can see, this was the economy model. Brakes were only installed on the luxury models, and as we all know, only sissies drove the luxury models.
This baby could reach speeds that could burn paint off the sides in a couple of trips down that hill. Once you committed to the slope of the hill, there was no holding back.
You put your feet on the board to help steer. You grabbed onto the rope, clenched you ass cheeks together real tight and flew like the wind.
I think it is safe to say very few kids today would even know what this is or how to build them. This toy was second best only to the Radio Flyer which was even faster on that hill.
Like I said I was thinking about my Gandy the other day and the stories he used to share with me as a kid. I used to sit in awe listening about the adventures he would take rafting down the Mississippi river, and I think some of my stories and adventures could be just as interesting to him if I could talk to him again.
I have seven grandchildren but I am not a Gandy to any of them. I have a lot of stories but kids today are not interested in the things from our past. When our kids come to visit they stay online or on the phone texting almost their entire visit.
It is really sad in a way because there are so many awesome things they could learn to share with their children some day if they just took the time to stop, look and listen to the people around them.
Can you imagine the stories the kids today will tell their grandchildren about their life while growing up? "Yeah, I remember my granddad, my mother, my father, they used to sit around watching TV, while I played games on my phone or texted my sister who was across the room from me on her phone."
From one old man, to the current generation of parents: You owe it yourself and your children to tell them about their grandparents, to get them involved in their lives. Tell them about yourself, and your life as a child. Take the time to interact and make them engage in your life. Give them reasons to love their family, their ancestors, and their heritage.
I promise there will come a day in each of our lives, when our Gandy's will have all died. When important member of your family will no longer be there to answer a phone, rush to your aid, or comfort you in times of loss, need, or depression.
No one that grows up into adulthood, will escape the pains and horrors of life and one day you'll wake up and realize that there is no one to turn to anymore.
Death is certain, and one day the Gandys will all be gone.
While it is still possible, use your Gammy, your Nana, your Gandy and your parents now, before the time to do so is too little, or too late.
This was my Nana and Gandy. Never were they to busy to spend time with me. Between them, they taught me They taught me things that no Website, or any other person for that matter could ever teach me.
Together, they taught me that the Multiplication Table was the most important thing in Math I would ever learn and that I would use it everyday of my life. That learning to cook, clean, sew (both by hand, and on a sewing machine) was a necessary skill for everyone to learn. That treating not just people in general, but more especially women and elderly people, with respect was a cherished character, and a priority as a man. I was taught how to plant and care for a garden; how to rebuild a car engine by reading a book and following instructions; how to cut firewood, build a fire and how to safely hunt and fish. They taught me things I would need to make it in this world alone if ever a time came when it would be necessary. Their knowledge was invaluable.
The most important thing I learned from it all was, they did it all with and through love, so that it made a lasting impression on my life and I would and could cherish it enough to someday share it with my kids and grandkids.
Though I have taught many things to the kids and grandkids that have been in my life, I have never been a Gandy to one of them. Things have changed and sadly for me, I believe all the Gandys have died.
We moved here to Rogersville in November 2011. It seemed at the time like an awesome move for us. Janit would be back in North Alabama closer to her children and grandchildren, especially when her daughter and husband returned to North Alabama after serving in the US Marine Corp.
We found us a nice house and we have put a lot of work into it. On top of that we have tried hard to be good neighbors. There are 4 homes in row on our side of the street and all 4 homes have dogs. The dogs in three of the homes are inside dogs but roam freely when it is time for them to go out. Our dogs have always rushed to the back of our property in the woods and they make their way behind the neighbors house just making a big circle. No one has ever complained and no one has ever been bothered, that we knew of, by each others dogs.
Last week I was in my yard and I heard a loud gunshot. Immediately I yelled for my dogs that were making their rounds and at the same time I noticed my neighbor's son walking back onto their porch. My dogs came running from the direction of his home and I put them in the house. I walked up the yards and asked the son if my dogs had bothered him or if he had had a problem with them. He said one of the dogs barked and growled at him so he went into his house, got his gun and fired in the air to scare the dog. Now this seemed a little odd to me, as Lucy has visited that home more than any of my dogs and though she is a little skiddish she has never been aggressive towards anyone beyond barking. I also found it unsettling since I was standing outside. If he was having a problem, why not yell to me to come get my dogs? I just don't understand people sometimes.
I have decided now that the only thing I can do to protect my dogs is put up a fence. I hate to do it as fences seem to separate neighbors even more but my dogs mean as much to me if not more than most humans. I can tell you that I am not a violent man, but hurting one of my dogs could definitely cause me to become extremely violent. It is my responsibility to take care of my dogs and to control my dogs. The neighbor was well within his right to defend himself especially on his property from any aggressive animal. I only wish he had made the effort to be as friendly of a neighbor as I have tried to be towards him and his family.
I love the spring. Although, it can be a miserable time of the year, with sinus issues, tornadoes, and the return of snakes, it is my favorite time of the year. Trees, shrubs and flowers are beginning to bloom, grass is turning green, and new life can be seen everywhere.
Spring is when many young couples plan to begin their lives together with wedding parties showing up everywhere. Spring break occurs throughout the world for college students and in a week or two we will have enough new pictures of partially clad women all over the social networks to last us all for the next year.
This is also the time of year when Christian families with good family values, who support strong morals, dress their children in their best Sunday go meetin clothes, attend church and thank God for the gift He gave the world. They praise the Resurrection of Christ and they teach their children Christian values that never promotes hatred towards others, not even towards non-believers or believers of other faiths.
This is the time of year College Basketball fans all over America looks forward to every year. Sixty-four colleges across the nation compete in one game elimination rounds to crown the final winner as the years National Championship team. If you have never watched it you wouldn't understand what a surge of euphoria it is to follow an underdog team from being Seeded #6 in the West to the #1 team in the Nation. To me, the greatest game ever played was in 1983. Jimmy Valvano was coaching the "Cardiac Pack,' of North Carolina State University. I just happened to be a shitty student of that great university that year. After each win the Brickyard would erupt into a wild party which spilled out onto Hillsborough Street and would run well into the morning hours. It was electrifying. When Dereck Whittenberg's three-point shot went wide right, Lorenzo Charles just happened to be in the right spot at the right time. He caught the shot and slammed the ball in the hoop at the buzzer. Stunned, Lorenzo stood there for a split second before he realized he had just won the game for the Wolfpack. The Cardiac Pack defeated the Phi Slamma Jamma of Houston in the final second of the game. The Houston Cougars' Phi Slamma Jamma consisted of two great players that earned Houston their nickname, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. What a season it was and what a memory to have of a great team and a great coach. RIP Jimmy V.
This is also the time of year when the Federal government raises the water levels in our lakes and rivers so fishing from the banks will be enjoyable again. I actually hate seeing the fall day arrive when the river levels are dropped causing an eyesore along the shores throughout the winter. I love fishing. Last year I caught a bunch of fish. Many worth keeping but I threw them all back to grow another year. I love fish fries, but unless you catch enough to feed everyone, it is more reasonable to purchase the fish already cleaned while you fish for sport.
I guess my favorite part of Spring is the planting of a new garden. Throughout my life I have had gardens. I have had some awesome gardens, and I have had a few shitty gardens. This year I am going to have the greenhouse plus some raised beds that both Janit and I can enjoy. We have already picked and eaten a ton of spinach and lettuce from the greenhouse, and we have planted a second round of those plants, where needed. I have also planted 6 new tomato plants, and 4 cucumber plants along with strawberries in the greenhouse. Outside we had some car tires laying around on the back of the property that were left here when we bought the place so I have decided to put them to use as planters this year to see how well they work. I have planted onions, potatoes, and garlic in tire planters, and built cages around them for protection. I plan to build a permanent raised bed for some asparagus ferns that I currently have growing in a 5 gallon bucket. I am hoping to keep the tomatoes in the greenhouse year round, as I designed the greenhouse so I can raise the entire front side of the roof to allow for ventilation in the summer heat. I hope it works. If it doesn't, who knows, if push comes to shove, I may just put a small window unit A/C in there if it gets too hot. It couldn't be that hard to do. I will do better updating these things and keep you informed on the progress.
I was sitting here thinking about the Mayan Calendar and the fact that it ends 3 days from now, and people are predicting the end of the world as we know it. I think about all the things I haven't done in my life and all the things I have.
I have to wonder now, what I might do if I had more than three days to live. In my mind, I can see myself completing some projects around the house, a greenhouse full of mature plants and seedlings waiting to be replanted. I can see the third bedroom in my house being painted and setup as another guest bedroom. Alas, I only have three days and that just isn't enough time.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell everyone what it was like being 5 years old attending a Catholic church and school in a small town in NC. I could tell you what it was like having a Marine for a dad. I could tell that exercise was so important that dad setup an obstacle course in our backyard for my brother and I to run, day in and day out.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you how awesome it was to be chosen to lead the class in the Pledge of Allegiance. I could tell you how good you feel after saying the Lord's Prayer and asking God to help others. I could also tell you that not one kid in my class ever complained about learning or saying either one.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you what it was like for a five and six yr old kid to walk over a mile each day, to and from school. I could tell you it was easy to learn how to ride a bike pushing off of a telephone pole and coming to a stop grabbing the next one.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you that throwing your child from a 10 meter platform springboard is the best way to teach your children to swim. I could tell you that holding them under water against their will, increases their lung capacity, makes them strong swimmers, and tunes their skills of survival.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you about some of the exotic places I lived as a child. I could tell you about a town that had ~20 permanent residents, that swelled to over 150,000 one summer. I could tell you in this town you either rode horses or walked, and rodeos were held basically in our front yard. I could tell you about the law posted on the sign as you enter this town clearly stated, "If you carry a gun it must be loaded."
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you how awesome it was to be a second and third grader that rode a horse everyday to deliver newspapers all over the town and mountains of Love Valley, NC., and always alone. I could tell you how much work it was to wake each morning before sunup to feed, water and clean stalls in a barn that housed as many as thirty horses a night.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you what it is really like to move 10 times before the age of thirteen. I could tell you what it is like to still communicate with friends from some of these places. I could tell you what it is like to remember the names of others you wish you could find on Facebook or other social media.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you about the awesome friends I had as a teenager. Some may even read this post and will remember, drinking quarts of beer, and Boone's Farm wine. I could tell you about a girlfriend whose father was a highway patrol officer, and how North Hills was the greatest place on earth. I could tell you what the first day of School Busing and integration was like in North Carolina.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you how as a teenager, my friends and I ruled North Hills Mall. I could tell you about setting off M80's in the mall and about a man that shot people in the parking lot one afternoon. I could also tell you about Dead Man's lake, an abandoned house, stolen bakery goods, and dynamite.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you about a friend that blew his hand off with blasting caps. I could also tell you about a kid named Randy and a house that blew up in Quail Hollow at Dead Man's Lake. I could tell you what it was like camping under a willow tree and running through the drainage pipes in the neighborhoods of North Hills.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you about being suspended 27 times in the eighth grade. I could tell you about the summer 17 kids in Raleigh, NC ran away from home to an abandoned house out in the sticks off of Six Forks Rd. I could tell you what it feels like being handcuffed to friends at three in the morning and about the looks on the faces of your friend's parents at 4:30 AM.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you what it is like for a 14 year old to hitch-hike from North Carolina to California. From Nantucket Island to Ft. Meyers beach Florida. I could tell you how lonely it is to walk on a dark, deserted road in Iowa at two in the morning, or how cold it was to sleep in a Goodwill box in Minnesota. I can tell you that sleeping under a bridges is not all it is cracked up to be.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you what it was like at fourteen to test LSD fresh out of a test tube. I could also tell you approximately how many one-hundred dollar bills you can roll to put in a test tube. I could also tell you that at one time, there were men that believed the best way to get money out of the United States to avoid taxes was to stick test tubes in your ass filled with hundred dollar bills.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you about the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang taking a town hostage. I could tell you that they really will shoot your car if you refuse to stop at one of their roadblocks, and they will certainly lie about paying you for the damages. I can also tell you that Union Grove, NC had the TWO best Fiddler's Conventions in the United States during the 70's.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you getting married at 16 is not the best decision in the world. I could also tell you that it is not necessary to go on public assistance when you have a child at eighteen. I can tell you what it was like having to have a spouse sign for you to get a learners and work permit in order to drive and work.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you how hard it is to manually change tractor trailer tires. Why a bone spatula is used to remove spots in clothes, and how to set and grout ceramic tiles. I could tell you how KISS is important in business and explain what the term "He who speaks first loses," actually means.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you that most college educations go unused. I could tell you that Sallie Mae is the best detective agency in the world, and that manual labor actually makes you feel pretty good. I could tell you that learning is a never ending process and encourage people to take good notes.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you that the Department of Corrections is the largest Law Enforcement Agency in many States. I could explain to you the difference between an Inmate and a Convict. I could explain to you how even a dangerous and hostile citizen can be a good and model prisoner.
If I decided to write a book, I could tell you what it is like to die at forty-seven years of age, only to have a skilled doctor replace damaged body parts and bring you back to life. I could tell you what it is like laying in a bed trying to tell your spouse how awesome they have been in your life. I can tell you that you never feel you said enough. I could assure you that you eventually accept the fact that it is time to sleep and that it is very peaceful.
Yeah, if I had more time, I could probably write an interesting story. In these past 20 mins I have only scratched the surface of some of the events in my life. If I actually took the time to think about it, I could probably write a few books. But alas, the world ends in 3 more days and I just don't have the time anymore.