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Klosing Kansas

In 8 hours I am about to receive the rudest wake-up call ever.  I hope 4AM greets me with cheer and joy followed by feeling rested.  While tomorrow is going to be rough, the time spent here out weighs the dread.

Today Dad and I tried to close a few loops.  The main loop we’ve been trying to close is why grandpa took a junior high teaching job at Horseman while he was coaching at North Wichita High School.  The only thing people have been able to tell us is that Wichita School District paid more than Valley Center.  Every time there he moved schools it seemed to be a promotion of sorts, which is the conclusion we’ve come to.

In order to arrive to this conclusion on our last day, we have two visits to thank.  IMG_0727The first thanks goes to the Valley Center Historical Society.  Today we met a lady who has lived in Valley Center her whole life and her daughter was with her too.  The mother gave us a tour of the home, which was her home growing up, and showed us some relics of old.  After stating her marvel at how technology has progress from hand-cranked washing machines we went to the barn to see more splendor.  In the garage there was many displays of barbed-wire, an operator switchboard, and many other old tools.  There was also an old fire truck, bike with a big wheel and small wheel, and a Santa’s slay as well.  After a quick walk through we sat down with our tour guide and she gave let look through some yearbooks and we found a picture we did not have a copy of.  The gal helping us out also knew Grandpa’s wife, Hazel, as well.  She had nice things to say about Grandma.  I only remember her Alzheimer’s days; trying to find grandma on trash day when she’d chase the trash truck or going to her nursing home to find her dentures that she threw out.  After some more stories and pleasantries, we were off to stop number two.

Stop number two was set up by our friend, Chris Edwards. IMG_0740 Last night at the game Chris was approached by a daughter of someone who had grandpa as teacher.  This morning Chris reached out to me and asked if we were okay visiting this former student.  Since we were in town, it was an easy yes.  So, after getting in our car and driving up four blocks we found ourselves on the door step of Mildred Stauffer.  As she shared stories that we had already heard from many of our connections, she did clue Dad and I into a disorder we both have.  It’s called, IdrawfootballplayswhenIhaveotherthingstobefocusedon-itis.  She said that Grandpa could easily be distracted with football players we ask about a play they were trying to get right and he would abandoned his lesson to talk x’s and o’s.  Dad and I looked at one another and chuckled.  IMG_0735I told them they have no ideas how many napkins and school notes have football plays on them.  If x’s and o’s didn’t fascinate me, I may have been a 4.0 student in high school.  I am pretty sure my whole high school playbook could be found on school notes and tests.  (21 trap, drawn out, was always a good answer on a fill in the blank when I didn’t know the answer.)  I digress.  Our time with Mildred and her daughter Phoebe was great.  We had ice tea and cookies and just shared stories and got to know one another in our time together.

After our visit with Mildred we headed back to hotel to watch more football.  What a surprise.  While watching Notre Dame and Michigan and getting Texas updates on my phone I’ve been able to edit some pics and I’ve put the one’s that didn’t make the blog below.  Thanks for reading and following everyone.

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… More Pictures

Here are all the pictures from yesterday. Hope you enjoy them. In a couple of hours Dad and I are headed back to Valley Center to take a look at historical society museum. Looking forward to finding some treasures in there.

 

… A Futuristic Hunt For The Past

Day 2 is in the books. Today’s hunt to follow Grandpa’s trail started in Wichita and we ended at Valley Center. The whole day through we met amazingly kind people who treated us as if we’re Indiana Jones Sr. and Jr on a peace mission. We had no hostile Nazi’s chasing us for our pictures and notes; however, we did encounter a “lovely” admin who tried to put kink in our plans.

The day started off with a warm waffle and a couple of links of sausage washed down with a large cup of coffee. After food was in our gullets and caffeine in our bloodstreams we found ourselves in our Impala headed to North Wichita High School. IMG_0669NWHS is one the most beautiful schools I have ever seen. The school seems to still be built from the bricks that were there before Grandpa;s time. On our way in to the office, there were some football kids passing us and I over heard one of them say, “Yeah, this place looks like a prison.” It is pretty obvious he’s never seen a high school in Southern California. NWHS was the last high school that Grandpa coached at before moving the family to California. When we got there everyone treated us so nice and made us feel at home. We met with the A.D. and he showed us a couple of sports logs from when Grandpa was there; however, the football one was missing. Through more investigation we could not find anything else about grandpa. The A.D. recommenced that we stop by the distinct office to see if they’d have any records.

Before arriving at the district building Dad and I kept talking about how nice everyone is. People really do go the extra mile out here. Hoping the streak of nice people would continue we found the district building and the only none-nice person in all of Kansas. We stated our mission and she said everyone that could help us was in a meeting. However, she did give us a couple of phone numbers to call later on in the day. As we left the building I called one of the phone numbers expecting to leave a message, but instead I got a real person on the line and it was one of the gals we were trying to get a hold of when we were inside the building. She gave us the run-around like the admin did so I hung-up politely and turned to tell Dad the sad news. In all 30 years of living I have never seen dad so deflated and almost pout like my 13 month-old. Dad quickly got out his funk, but it was just disheartening to get treated the way we did.

After this negative adventure we were off to lunch. A coach from Bluestem High School that we met with yesterday met us for lunch at a B&C BBQ. All I can say is OMG. I channeled my inner-linemen to consume as much BBQ-ed meat as possible. IMG_0025For those back home, I think Naples has a better sauce; however, these guys have a better cook and smoking technique. I’d call it a draw between the two places, however, all you can eat for $25 with a drink you can’t beat. Lunch was full of great conversation about inverse veer, how cover 2 is a myth, and what life is like in Kansas for a family. Meeting coach Kelly has been one of the greatest highlights of this trip. Last night we went to dinner with him and his family in Andover. Once our gullets were full and coach Kelly needed to go prep for his game tonight, we headed back to the hotel and get in some power napping and rest for what our afternoon to evening would contain.

About 330PM the hunt for Grandpa’s legacy continued. Back inside our trusty steed with the AC on full blast we headed to Valley Center. We were looking for a way to kill some time so we headed the school district building. IMG_0029I mean, what else is Indiana Jones Sr. and Jr. to do? It was kind of eery when we got there because the yearbooks were looking for were already out. (Bottom row in the middle is Grandpa Ernie) Also, someone had called asking for the yearbooks earlier in the day; maybe it was just good timing on our behalf. We met two nice admins and they were thrilled to meet us. They told us that our pictures were in the weekly newspaper and the town was buzzing that we coming. (Here is the article). We felt like small time celebrities. After coming down from our 3 minutes of fame we headed to the school to meet with staff and faculty.

The first person we met at the school was Chris Ewards. He’s one of the nicest guys we’ve encountered on this trip. He gave us a tour of the town and showed us all 3 parks, 2 barber shops, 1 gas station and 1 street light. IMG_0680Our only stop on the tour was to meet barber Larry. Larry has been cutting hair in town for 37 years and his shop is the hub for town gossip and probably decision making as well. (I hope he’s there tomorrow because I need a shave.) Once we were in the shop other townspeople came from their shops to meet us and took pictures with us. It was fun meeting all these people who knew the school and also Grandpa. On our way back and into the school we came across a man named Guy Saw.

Guy Saw was old, skinny, and had all his wits about him. Chris recognized him and stopped because he was on one of Grandpa’s teams. Guy informed us that he had many stories about Grandpa, but the best was back when Guy was 10th grade. Guy was doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing and Grandpa gave him a shove with his foot down 7 stairs to teach Guy his lesson. Guy can’t remember what he was doing, but he knew deserved it and that he didn’t be doing it again.

After our meeting with Guy more players and people that knew grandpa came up to us and shook our hands. It was great to hear all the stories and hear how Grandpa ran the football team and the school. During our time with the players of yesteryear both schools showed up and so did the town. As the teams piled off, coach Smith sought out Dad and I and formally introduced himself to us. With humility and poise he seemed ready for the game. As we talked the stadium filled up and it seemed as if the whole town was there. IMG_0033I felt like I was in Dillon, Texas waiting for Coach Taylor to pop out at any second. One of the most impressive parts was a truck that came out painted like a hornet, the schools mascot, covered in hornet swag, and had about 4 to 5 different horns on it. All the elementary kids piled into the bed of the truck and would crank the horns every time something good would happen. (Which didn’t happen to much, so they started to honk for AYSO things… you know the small achievements.)

20 minutes before the game started Chris came back to where Dad and I had set up camp and said it was time for ceremonial coin toss.IMG_0699 We walked on the field, met with reffs, and had an introduction from the announcers. The head referee turned the coin toss into my dad vs. me. No matter what a Dave was going to win, so we were okay with the outcome. I called heads like a rookie and sure enough it was tails. Dad elected to defer till the second half and I had receive. After this fun event it was shortly game time.

At halftime Chris came back out to meet with us and gave both Valley Center football helmets. I was hoping some shoulder pads would soon follow with a jersey so I could get in and play. While we are honored to receive these gifts, we have no idea how they are going to make it back to California. Should be a fun thing for the TSA agents to see on Sunday morning. After the game we met up with the head coach again. He kept his head held high as his team took a big defeat. Not the kind of night any coach wants on his first night as the new head coach.

Our night wrapped up with going to a coaches party, which was dry- a sight unusual from my experiences. Dad and I watched a bit of game tape, but quickly realized there were going to analyze everything and we left.

Today has been my favorite day of the trip. The lesser prize I am taking away from tonight is values of those living in the Midwest. From my experience I feel the business and the stress of me first and how can be number 1 has gotten to me and possibly a majority of the population. In Kansas, people are nice because they just are. I am sure they watched the same episodes of Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers that we all have; however, for them the values of citizenship, hospitality, and community are praised unlike the values of success, wealth, and always being on the cutting edge. I don’t mean to bash anyone, I am just saying we need to remember the words of Rufus from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, “Be excellent to one another.”

While standards for morels and ideologies come and go, the best prize for the day was spending a lot of time at Valley Center city and high school. I never got to got to meet Ernie senior and I often wonder what he was like and if I portray any of his character or mannerisms. I try my best to model myself after my dad in more ways than just coaching; and I know my dad had to get a lot of his great qualities from his father. So I don’t feel I am too far off the mark when I try and compare myself to my grandfather at times. Tonight was pretty emotional for me. It was touching to hear the stories and see the lives that he touched, and kids he kicked. I couldn’t be more proud of him. Even though I never met him, tonight made me miss him; tonight also brought peace and a great understanding to who he is. Throughout the last few months of my life as I have done a lot of soul searching and redirecting my career aspirations away from law enforcement to something else and my mind keeps telling me I am to coach and this trip has shown me why that is. There is nothing greater than helping someone out whether they are homeless, a person struggling in life, or an athlete looking to get better. Coaching in some capacity is what the Radford legacy has been built on. We may not all be football coaches, but we are coaches in some regard. My cousin Jim put it best one time when were hanging out, he said “How is it that Radford’s find themselves working in industries where they help or coach people?” The only answer I could come up with is, “It’s in our DNA.”

Thanks for reading and following everyone. I hope to have more pictures up and have one or maybe two last installments about this trip. Thanks for the support.

… Not In California Anymore

I hate to Radford-ize a well known cliche, but it had to be done. I knew I wasn’t in California anymore when I took a drink out of water fountain at Denver airport and IMG_0011Coors Light came from the spigot! I guess it is possible to really tap the Rockies! After this discovery, I thought I’d see people lined up at every drinking fountain, but I guess everyone in Colorado is used to Coors Light. After this treat, I moved on to luxury and enjoyed some New Belgium Ranger IPA while I waited for my delayed flight. Once the plane, I was transported further east and landed in middle America, Wichita. Shortly after touchdown my dad’s plane landed and our adventure was on!

Today was day 1. Day 1 was full of driving, visiting, and seeing history. As I stated in a previous posting, I never met my grandpa, so today was pretty awesome getting to walk in the halls of the schools he attended, standing on the fields he played on, and kicking the pebbles of the dirt streets that walked on. Our first stop today was to Caldwell. Caldwell is a small town with probably 1500 residents, 4 stop signs, and one post office. IMG_0646The town is so small it has one local market, but still has a lively farmer’s co-op. Of course there were cars parked in the yards, but these were not the cars that belong to guys who drink Natty Ice thinking it’s a solid American beer. Rather, these were old classic farmer vehicles with coats of rust and exposed engines. First stop in town was visiting Caldwell High School where we met a nice secretary and the high school football coach. Through our introductions and conversations my dad and I discovered the high only had 80 students. Yeah, 8-0. We then proceeded to tell them our high school had a population of 5000! They rolled their eye’s back and tried to fathom what a school of that size would look like. We also shared that Grandpa Ernie was teacher and coach at the school in the mid to late 1920’s. We then handed over some pictures that my dad had and the school workers in our company testified that some of the families in the pictures had grand kids and probably great grand kids at the school just based on the names they were reading. Crazy.

IMG_0656After our time at the high school we went downtown to see if there is any history we could find. After taking a picture of downtown an elderly gentleman approached me and asked what I was doing. He said, “People don’t come here often to take pictures…” and I thought I was about to have an experience that would only be similar to snapping a picture of the Sistine Chapel and having the guards approach me and inform me to delete the pictures or give-up my camera. I told him who I was and what my mission was and then he asked, “What’s your last name?” I said Radford and he said, “Does Irene Radford mean anything to do?” Dumbfounded I said, “Probably, but I don’t know. My dad inside and he’d know more.” While my dad was inside the pharmacy the elderly gentlemen started to tell me the history of Caldwell, but ran short on information because he admittedly said, “I suffer for Alzheimer.” (After hearing that I was pretty sure we could be related, but I wanted to see where this would go.) My dad shortly stepped out of the pharmacy and met-up with me and the gentleman. The gentlemen asked my dad about Irene and my dad said that Irene was his aunt, Grandpa Ernie’s sister. The gentleman responded with, “She was my mother”. Right there on the street corner my dad met his cousin. A full blooded cousin who has yet to leave Caldwell. Crazy. The rest of the Radford/Schmidt family has left town he informed us, but it was just nuts meeting my hypothetical 2nd cousin four-times-removed. After this encounter with and another insurance sales man we hoped back in the Impala and drove to Windfield.

Windfield is where Grandpa went to college, Southwestern College. We met with the head football coach for a few short minutes and took a view of the field that my grandpa would have played on and also the gym. IMG_0664 IMG_0662 The field has been redone and is now AstroTurf; however, it is still easy to picture it as ad ust bowl with two teams found in battle and every tackle causing tons of dust to fly in the air. (Here’s a pic of my dad and I being outstanding in our field) After our tour we had gourmet burgers at the best burger joint Windfield had to offer, Wendy’s. When we approached to order we were greeted as if we were family. We were called “Sweety” and “Darling” received a smile after we gave them our order. It’s great to see that customer service is not dead. My dad and I were the youngest people in the Wendy’s, and no we were not the only people in there either. Wendy’s seemed like quite the hangout for the locals. One table was full of the towns gossip girls talking about life insurance commercials featuring Alex Trebek and the other table was full of the man talking about John Deere trackers. Okay, maybe this is a little overdone here, but still ,Hollywood couldn’t have set this up any better.

After a scrumbiish flat bread sandwich we drove to Belle Plaine High School. We drove past more fields, flat lands, and crossed over many creeks. When we arrived at Belle Plaine High School IMG_0014we met with a school admin and stated our mission. She then walked us to collection of school pictorial rosters and we found a few rosters dating back to 1934 and 1936, and sure as day, there was 2 pictures of my grandpa at my age, 30. The admin knew of little school history from then and same for another school worker that we met up with. However, to see these rosters was worth the trip.

The rest of the day was filled with a return to the hotel to rest up and visit another high school to watch a football practice and see a volleyball scrimmage. The scrimmage was most interesting; a 3 way scrimmage with a decent team and team full of gals who volunteered to play because they didn’t want to go to detention. (Seemed that way at least). I didn’t get to see the other team play, but just sitting there and watching this game through my coach’s eyes with my dad next me was great. Next to learning and seeing so much history today, this was probably my favorite part of the day.

We are now back in the our hotel room watching the beginning of the NFL season. I can’t think of a better way to end this day. I am looking forward to tomorrow when we’ll meet up with a friend we had dinner with tonight who is taking us to BBQ, we’ll be going to another school my grandpa coached at, and going to a high school football game. Below is a slide show of all the pics I took today. I plan to have more up on Facebook when I return home for those who want to see more. Thanks for reading everyone.

 

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Mile High Observations

154PM the ticket agents at San Jose airport call for group two to board a plane headed to Denver. Running on 2 hours of sleep and BBQ chicken burrito for lunch, I walked down the plank to seat 27A, put on my headphones and crash. Hoping to only sleep an hour so I could watch a movie on my phone turned into a big fail.

However, the beauty of waking up when I did allowed me to see huge fluffy clouds. As we cut through the clouds they were very fairy tale-like in that every banking turn we made I anticipated on seeing unicorns galloping freely, leprechaun with their pots of gold and cob pipes, and possibly a glimpse of heaven. As we descended out of the clouds I got my first ever look at the spine the America, the Rockies, viewing while looking west.

Wide awake off another two hours of sleep, I am taxiing in to make my connection to Wichita. Hope to find some good grub at Elway’s (wonder why there’d be a sports bar with name in Denver?) and enjoy a good bitter libation to accompany the grub. Looking forward to tomorrow and seeing what Kansas holds for my dad and I.

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About to go all Anthony Bourdain up in this…

Maybe I’ve been watching to much CNN at work (not my station of choice), but on Sunday’s CNN broadcasts Anthony Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown.  Parts Unknown  It’s fun to see where he’s traveling to, what new foods he’s trying (even thought I have pallet of a 7 year-old), what adult libations he’s parking in.

As I sit in my dwelling in San Mateo watching Friday After Next (only fitting because I am back in security)  I can’t help be excited for my own version of Dave Radford Parts Unknown because tomorrow I’ll be sitting on an airplane to Kansas.  Wichita Kansas.  I’ve never been to Kansas and I have never landed in a “flyover state” before.  I am going out to Kansas to meet up with my dad and we are going to visit his dad’s homeland.  My grandfather passed away in 1973, so I was never had a chance to meet him.  This trip will be fun and moving because I’ll get to get in touch with him through grounds he coached on, the halls he was taught in, and maybe at least the plot of property he grew up on.

I am looking forward to meeting the original EDR through the adventures my dad and I will be partaking in.  We’ll get to see lots of football, some volleyball, and the flat-lands.  I am excited to discover good food/BBQ, seeing the curve of the earth, and hopefully tasting some new brews or bourbons.

Daily I hope to have pictures of our daily excursions with a little write up here on my blog.  As I post I hope everyone enjoys the pictures, the history that will be unraveled, and other daily activities worth being noted.  I look forward to posting tomorrow!

Thanks for the support my fellow readers!

… “Point your toes David”

It’s Father’s Day, so  I can’t think of a better topic and Radford family lesson to share with everyone than the one’s passed on by my father.  (Also as I write this, Paige thought 530AM would be a good wake up time.  She is learning that 530AM is not a good wake up time and just got put back in her sleeping coral at 616AM and Paige-rage is starting to take place.)  Now, for my older sisters who will read this, they may say, “For sure dude, if these are the lessons you remember, you totally had the kinder and more gentler dad.”  Need I remind them, I didn’t put him through the ringer and cause trouble during my adolescences, except that one time in 10th grade.

Growing up in the Radford house we were taught: love God, love family, and be a good citizen.  Often times my parents cared more about my citizenship grades than my academic grades.  Along with these Radford family pillars, Dad also made sure I knew several more things as I matured.

One lesson I remember so well, which was probably the undoing of my basketball career, was trying to make my layups from underneath the hoop. Believe it or not, I think I was decent basketball player in the late 80’s and early 90’s; but once I saw what Micheal Jordan was up to I decided I wanted to put some flare into my game.  I started to attempt these athletic layups that required an albatross-like arm span and do 180’s if not 360’s (probably more like a 280 or something far smaller than a 360) my success at the hoop diminished.  Once I decided to get flashy when plying one-on-one with my dad I noticed my victory count started to decrease and his increase.  As a youth I would reflect on my new found desire to place the ball in the hoop from the lowest percentage place on the court thinking I would develop a shot only a few are good at; and I would practice this shot over and over again.  Practicing this shot was far better than the alternative which was watching C-SPAN and not know what the heck is going on when the cameras would should Congress in action.  (Feel the same way today).  With such focus on this skill I lost my jump shot and some dribbling skills, and soon found myself being the player coaches send in to foul guys to slow the clock down at the end of the game.  Like a hockey enforce, I did that job with pride and I would like to think I was good at it.

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(For those concerned about Paige, she is asleep now at 638AM.  As much as it is Father’s Day, Paige has a great mom in Angela.  Thanks babe for getting her down.)

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Okay, so we got lesson one covered, don’t stand underneath the hoop and shoot.  The next lesson I remember, “Good Things Happen When You Go With Dad.”  I have already shared one story about how my dad and I experienced a plane flying over us as it was landing and John Wayne Airport while driving on the 405 South and how it rocked our socks; and now I will dig through my encyclopedias worth of stories to share another: GTHWYGWD.  It was Saint Patrick’s Day 1993 or 1994.  I was young and my dad took me to Hughes Middle School I believe to see a friend of his.  Anyways, after our meeting we went to this Charbroil-er restaurant to grab a milkshake and share some fries.  Being St. Patty’s day I had my green on and while standing in line I had an encounter with a leprechaun, well the closet thing to an encounter with a leprechaun.  If my memory serves me right, this lady with fire-red hair and dressed in green comes up to be to and says in an Irish accent, “In Ireland we give young kids treats and money on St. Patrick’s day.” and then she asked my dad if she could give me a treat.  He said yes and she slipped me a $5 bill.  It was no pot of gold, but getting money from and Irish person on St. Patty’s day is pretty darn close.  I believe we used that money to cover our shakes and fries, but still, getting $5 for being a kid in green on St. Patrick’s day brought GTHWYGWD to a whole new level.  Also, now on St. Patty’s day I look for redheaded people handing out money.

GTHWYGWD was a consistent theme in the Radford home.  As I got older and more independent it was Dad’s tagline to get me to run errands with him.  But way before he had to bribe me to go with him, we would always say how we’d write a book called, Hanging Out when we’d go on our errands.  (WordPress won’t let me use underline, so I am sorry to all my grammar-fanatic readers who think I don’t know you underline a book.)  While our book has never had a single page drafted I have come to learn it is not finished and rather should remain an open and on going book.  A book that will be greater than the Never Ending Story one and two.  I remember one day in elementary school it was time to log another chapter in our book.  It was a weekend day and we were driving all over Long Beach chasing down game footage of my dad’s next opponents.  As we drove down Ocean Blvd. like we have done hundreds, if not thousands of times, people were out flying their hobby model airplanes and I just stared at the handmade flyers catching the drafts of the air currents coming off the ocean.  Since a young age I have always been fascinated by travel and flight and this time I asked Dad if we could stop and watch the planes fly.  He said we could on the way home.  On our way from whatever downtown building or school we visited we found a parking spot on Ocean Blvd. and got out to watch the planes.  I remember yellow planes and planes with WWII painting schemes on them thinking, “How cool is this?”  I vividly remember a plane coming in for a landing and as it was coming I recognized I was in it’s landing path.  I think I was in ah as it was coming in and barely moved out of way in time before my shines got chopped-up by the propellers.  The lesson learned here is that Dad took time out his schedule to make sure I felt appreciated and important.  He had done that my whole life and there many stories to share, but this is just the one that came to mind as sit and reflect on Father’s Day.

So, let’s get the meat of this blog and talk about the importance of “point your toes David”.  My dad has taught me many life lessons, but none greater and more impactful then the one that helped toddler who struggled to put on his clothes, a third baseman who lost his throw, and now a dad who has a 10 month old who battles like a mongoose taking on a cobra when trying to get her dressed.  I never knew pointing your toes was so darn important until the last 6 months of my life.  As I shared a line or two a go, I clearly recall bedtime and the struggle it was putting on my pajamas as a toddler.  Dad and Mom would come out into the living room and strip Aimee and I down and suit us up.  Shirts were never an issue, I would say 97% of the time I got them on right.  But pajama bottoms were a different story.  The waist in the pajama bottoms was always big enough for me to stick my whole flat foot through when dad would hold them open, which was possible because I inherited my mom’s feet.  As my foot would journey through the improper legging at first I would withdraw it and give this task another try.  Once my leg had successfully made it in the right legging about mid thigh my big toe and heal would get stuck on the fabric and I would hear, “David, point your toes.”  As my dad would pour his wisdom and insight onto me about how to put on pants I was defy his commands and continue in my flat-footed ways.  As I tried the fabric went from smooth cotton to a crowded tunnel of friction and bent toes.  Dad was often gracious enough to give me second and sometimes third chance to get it right before he stepped in.  (Pun possibly intended- I definitely inherited my puny-ness from him).  Knowing my dad, I believe we had lessons and practices session on how to put on pajama bottoms and possibly had drills on pointing our toes.  It took me a couple of nights to realize, if I just point my toes the first time, the sooner I can get to watching Inspector Gadget, consuming summertime dessert, or whatever else my little mind wanted to.

Looking back on this troubling time for me, I am thankful for my dad’s patients and his John Wooden-like mentoring of “If you do right the first time, you don’t have to do it again”.  (Wish I would have remembered that for 10th grade geometry and Spanish.  But hey, someone has to employ the summer school teachers.)  His demonstration of patients and care for my being, not just in pajama wearing, has helped me become father I am today.  I have learned so much from him when thinking about my childhood and reflecting on those moments that were probably not meant to be teaching moments.  I am so thankful to have a role model of a great father who has shown me love, how to be a good husband, and has taught me to point my toes while getting dress and throwing a ball.  I look forward to the hardheaded ways of Paige as she learns to get dressed.  As I shared, if the day ends in “Y” it’s a battle to get a diaper on and also her clothes; and I continually tell her to point her toes hoping the nugget of wisdom that was shared with me will be embodied in her has grows and gets big.

Thanks for reading…