Saturday, February 28, 2009

Break From Retreat News

A little break here in retreat news. My cousin, Darrell, writes beautifully on every day things in his life and the life of his wife, Mary, and his children, Jake, Sammy, Avery, and Elliott. His writing touches my heart and makes me laugh and cry and feel every emotion I think. He is a writer but busy now with the every day wonders and care of raising a family. I have tried to persuade him to do a blog of his own but I know how busy he is and that it might be retirement years before he writes.
Today I received this bit in my email and I wanted to share this snippet of family life and the wonders of raising a family. I just love this and hope you will enjoy it too.

Hello All:
This is actually "old news", seeing that it happened over
two weeks ago. However, we just got the picture yesterday, so I
waited until now to write this.

What a night we had. This was Avery's first dance, and my first dance
with my only daughter. It doesn't get much more special than that.
Mary "did Avery up right", as you can see from the picture. My God,
how beautiful! My little 7-year old girl looked like a little lady.
And I dressed up too, as you can see. They said to wear your Sunday
best, so I obeyed. Some of the Dads didn't. There was even one Dad
who had the audacity to show up in one of those T-shirts that had a
screen printed tuxedo on it. Oh yeah, did I mention we live in Jones,
Oklahoma? There were several cowboy hats. But I digress. This was
about me and Avery, and I was determined to not let anyone else
interfere with our night.

When we arrived, there was a table set up where you could choose
flowers. Avery chose a bouquet with a rose, and some carnations. Of
course, it was the one bouquet that had some pink in it, and Avery is
all about pink. That is why we call her Miss Pinky. After she chose
her flowers, we got in line to get this picture taken. And what a
long line it was! The PTA sponsored this dance, and they were tickled
pink at the turnout. A lot of money was made for the school that

After getting our picture taken, we got some refreshments, and then we
hit the dance floor. We had so much fun. First a couple of fast
dances, then a slow dance, then one where Avery stood on my shoes as
we danced. Then more fast dances, then, mercifully to me, a couple of
Avery's girlfriends wanted to dance together with her, and I got a
much needed rest. Dancing is tiring, for those of you old folks like
me, who forgot. WOW!! But, I was determined to never remove my
blazer. I stayed in full dress all night, trooper that I was.

The Hokey-Pokey was a hoot, and I soon realized what a workout it was.

As the night progressed, the dances seemed to get more energetic.
There were only a few Dads left who were brave enough to keep up with
the pace. I decided early on that this was one of those moments to
not pass up, so I danced almost every dance with my beautiful little
girl, and some of the dances were with Avery, and two of her best
buds. With each beat from the speakers, I got more and more
exhausted. Did I mention that I'm old and fat? I didn't care if I
broke something, life's too short.

Finally, things started to wind down. That's when they decided to
throw in the "limbo"--you know--"how low can you go?". Well, like I
said, I had decided early on to take part in everything because this
was a one of a kind moment. And I quickly discovered that I can go
pretty low. BUT I CAN'T GET UP FROM MY LOWNESS!!! I actually had to
have the help of a couple of other brave dads to get up! I'm serious
here! I now know that knee surgery is probably in the future for me.
And even now, two weeks later, I'm sad to say, my knees are still

But the funnest dance of all, was the last one, and I can guarantee
you that Avery and I both will remember it for the rest of our lives.
It was just so much fun. The basic repetition went like this: To the
left, to the left, to the left, to the left, to the left, to the
right, to the right, to the right, to the right, then we spun around
and around and around and around, then we went down, and down , and
down , and down. And then again, I couldn't get up! Seriously! I
couldn't! My knees are so bad in that department! I tried and tried,
but again had to have help. But it was so worth it. I felt so alive,
and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Fast forward to today. I am putting new brakes on Mary's car, and
that requires a lot of knee bending and squatting. And all the while,
as I'm grunting and groaning, and trying to make my knees work the
right way, all I hear in my ears is "TO THE LEFT, TO THE LEFT, TO THE
RIGHT," and I remember why my knees hurt so bad, and I say, "COOL".

Here's to life. Seize the day. Live for the moment. Don't let
anything pass you by. Don't die with a bunch of regrets. Just get in
there and do it. There were a bunch of Dads at that dance who stood
by the sidelines that night, and watched the rest of us have all the
fun. I'll bet their knees feel fine tonight. But I'd rather have my
sore knees and priceless memories, thank you very much. And the
greatest gift of all is hearing Avery say how much fun she had.

Oh yeah, here's a little something we learned. Avery wanted to save
her flowers from the dance. So we went online and found a good way to
dry flowers. Go to Wal-Mart and get some Borax in the Laundry
section. Put some of it in a box, submerge your flowers in it for
several days, and the Borax will suck all of the moisture out, forever
preserving your flowers. We did it, and it works! Very cool!

We may not have a lot of money, but these types of memories make me
feel like a rich man. In particular, for those of you Dads who never
had a daughter, I say "I'm a rich man indeed". But, whatever your lot
in life, I hope that you will look for whatever those moments are that
make you feel, if even for a moment, that you are very very rich.
This was one of those moments.

Oh yeah, did I say how beautiful Avery is in this picture?

Warm Fuzzies to all of you....

Love, Darrell


Darrell said...

Judy: Thank you very much for the honor of posting me on your blog. You are truly a motivator. You make me want to write more. I really do feel honored that you took time away from your retreat to "showcase" my piece about the dance. You said some very nice things, and I appreciate it. I've gotten several e-mails about what I wrote, and if they are from a woman, they inevitably have the word "awwwwww" in them. It's also been interesting to hear some stories about daughters and their dads. Some happy, some not so happy. But it always feels good to know that what I write makes people think. It really was a special night, and it will always be a great memory. Enjoy your retreat, and thanks again.

Love, Darrell

Mary said...

Very, very touching story! Thanks for sharing Darrell's words, Judy.