Monday, October 20, 2014

Remembering 10/25/1994

On the surface it was just another day.  I'm sure I attended school that Tuesday at Buffalo Elementary.  I would have been in the 4th grade, Mrs. Linda Clippard's class.  She was, is, and will always be my favorite teacher.  For those who are my age and older, Oct 25, 1994 was the beginning of a 9 day journey that took small town South Carolina to front page USA.
By now, most of my friends and family have probably figured out what I'm writing about.  That night a young mother named Susan Smith reported a car jacking/kidnapping in my hometown of Union, SC. Her story was that, while stopped at a red light in Monarch, a black male approached her car, with a gun and ordered her out of it.  He jumped in, and sped off.  For 9 days, our town, our state, and the nation held its breath...waiting, hoping, and praying that those boys would be alright.
I remember it like it was yesterday.  The news reports, the scenes of men and women on horseback, on foot, and with dogs, combing through the woods between Union and Chester and over the state. The media took over our little town for 9 days.  Camera crews, satellite trucks, news vans all flocked to main street Union's courthouse.
We wore yellow ribbons to promote hope that the boys were safe and would be returned.  Many folks had t-shirts, buttons, and hats with those two little guys' pictures on there. Deep down inside, I think the people of Union knew what really happened, before it became public knowledge.
9 agonizing days went by, and as a 10 year old during the season surrounding Halloween, the thought that there might be a man out there stealing kids is quite frightening.
Another memory of this time, was that I missed a Union High game, one of very few.  Union was coming off a win against Gaffney, which as many know was a HUGE game.  The following week, on Oct 30th, they traveled to Dorman and lost.  We missed the game because Dad wasn't feeling well.
Tension was very high in Union during this time.  The fact that Susan Smith blamed a black man for kidnapping her children and stealing her car was bad enough, but, the longer it went on without "him" being found, the worse things got.
On Nov 3rd, in the basement of First Baptist Church in Union, Sheriff David Wells got Susan Smith to admit to sending her two beautiful children to the bottom of John D. Long lake inside a Mazda Protege`. The news sent shock waves through our small tight-knit community.
On the forefront, there was a woman who was capable of killing her two children.  No one really knew why, although speculation would lead us to believe she wanted to get rid of them for an affair.  Others say she was mentally deranged because of years of abuse at the hands of her step-father.  I don't know, and I cannot begin to understand what would cause a person, more importantly a parent to kill young children, especially their own.
Another issue was that the black community felt slighted because she blamed it on a "black" man that never existed.  I seriously doubt there was ever any intention on her part to place blame on a black man because she somehow wanted to degrade or demean black people in general.  All I know is that is divided our town for a little while, and made things very uncomfortable.
Looking back now, the case and everything surrounding it intrigues me.  It always has, and it probably always will.  Every year about this time, I go back to being a 10 year old boy in Union.  I can smell the fair in town, and I can remember the yells of football games.  I can remember going around town to members of Tabernacle Baptist Churches' homes for trick-or-treating. I have so many fond memories of growing up in a small town in the south, where friends, family, faith, and football are all still important.
But, the fall of 1994 will always be with me.  Now, more than ever it haunts me.  The thought of what she did to her children, for her own selfishness will always send chills up my spine.  Now that I have a son of my own, and expecting a second child, what she did seems unfathomable.
I have now transitioned from a 10 year old at Buffalo elementary school to a 30 year old high school teacher, husband, and father.  The sadness is still there, it just hits a little harder now.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Letters to my son(Joshua) #1

In the weeks and months leading up to my first child being born, I wrote letters to him.  Before I even knew the gender of the baby I wrote to "it".  I wrote about any number of things, the most popular topic was about family members.  I told him about each of my parents, his mom, my best friend (Jon), Kacey's parents, and even his two grandmothers on my side.  Since he arrived in late July 2012 a ton of changes have come our way.  Along with those changes there are the challenges of raising a son, work, school, football, and life!  So, I haven't had time to write much to him.  That changes today:
Joshua,
It has been a really long time since I sat down and actually wrote anything.  I miss writing to you, but, I have not forced myself to take the time to do it.  Today is Oct 1, 2014.  You are 26 months old and just last week you found out you were going to be a big brother!  At first you were excited, now, I think you're realizing the attention won't all be on you anymore, and you've been acting.....CRAZY!
Last Monday night you came into the kitchen as I was fixing my plate for dinner.  You were talking to me, but I couldn't understand what you were saying.  Finally, as I picked you up and held you in my arms, I could understand, "Daddy, I gonna be a big "brudder"".  I stood there, probably as shocked as I'd ever been.  You mother and I had not planned this, I assure you.  You were very hesitant to share it with others, as we tried to get you to tell Maw-Maw and Poppa over Skype, but you didn't want to talk about it.
My work keeps me away from home much more than I would like to be away.  I leave home each morning between 6:30 and 7, and I don't usually return before 7 during the week.  Thursday and Friday nights are much later because of obligations to football games. Each and every time I miss a day or two of your life, you overwhelm me with your growth.  Not necessarily physically, but your mental growth astounds me.  You are so very smart and independent and I am so very proud to be your father.
There are so many things that have happened since you were born, it would be impossible to list them all, but I'm going to try.
Your mom and I bought a house in Summerville, which is where we currently live.
I changed jobs, and started a football season just a couple of days after you were born
Mom got very sick and weak, because she lost a lot of blood when you were born
You cried, A LOT!
You screamed, every time we put you in the car, you screamed bloody murder-until we turned you to face forward and you were fine.
We took a trip to Maryland, on a plane, for your birthday!  You didn't mind flying up there, but the flight back was bad.  You screamed the whole trip.  It was hot, apparently the a/c broke that night.  We also flew through a thunderstorm, and I hate flying, so I was a nervous wreck.
So many wonderful things have happened since you came into our lives. I cannot even begin to tell you how much you are loved and how special you are!  We are all so very proud to have you and are eagerly anticipating watching you grow up (slowly) and become the man that God intends you to be.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 2-No Carbs

This is actually Day 1, but I decided to label yesterday as Day 1, because I made the decision half way through the day yesterday.  Although, at that point I had already had two sandwiches on regular hamburger buns with BBQ that I smoked over the weekend.  I also had a donut from a student selling them for FBLA.  But, last night we had some delicious tilapia with brown rice and green beans with tomatoes.  I had a sweet tooth strike, of course, after dinner, but had some almond butter and an apple!  This morning for breakfast, a protein shake and for lunch I have leftover tilapia and brown rice and green beans.  Not sure about tonight, as we have open house at school and a boy's playoff bball game, so I will be at school late.  Encouragement is needed, as this will not be easy!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 1-No Carbs

Today, I have decided to go with no carbs for Lent.  I'm not Catholic, but, Ash Wednesday is this coming Wednesday, so I've decided to give up something for Lent.  I know that simple carbs are my worst enemy when it comes to my weight loss/gain.  I love rice, potatoes, bread, pastries, and pretty much anything that has wheat in it.  Unfortunately, I'm weak when it comes to these things, because they are literally everywhere.  My wife has already given these up due to being gluten intolerant, so it shouldn't be too difficult to do with the bread.  However, we eat potatoes and rice with everything.  So, sweet potatoes, which I love, and brown rice, which is ok are on the menu.  Starting today I am weighing in around 290 lbs.  I am working out this afternoon, doing a P90x style workout.  My goal is to do that at least 3x a week, as well as play some basketball or run on the treadmill.  Please follow me and encourage me during this time of transition.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

If

I read this poem a long time ago. But, from time to time it comes to mind. I didn't remember it word for word, line by line, but it speaks to me. It speaks to all of us, as humans. The poem, obviously directed at a young man, can be taken to heart by each of us. IF we can stay grounded, regardless of what goes on around us we will prove our worth, we'll prove that we are men/women. There are no biblical references, no Confucious sayings, nothing religious or out of this world. Just common sense thinking from a British author who I studied my senior year in high school. And, even though this guy may not be the keeper of our universe, or a mystical figure- there is something about this poem that just seems right....read and see if you agree.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's

So today I'm not writing an April Fool's blog, but today is April Fool's. I'm just going to rant and vent, and simply express some emotions I've felt lately. I hope it doesn't step on anyone's toes, and if you're easily offended, you may just want to click the close tab button now. Don't say I didn't warn you!
The more I live, the more I realize that people in general are not very smart. Sure there are intelligent people all over, but the general mass population is lacking a lot of common sense. For instance-I walk into a local convenience store tonight to get gas. There are at least 4 people in line in front of me. The whole time I'm in line, the clerk at the cash register is complaining and whining about her job, about the customers, about how the EMS guy in front of me "better be on call-cuz I'm goin home to get me a drink". My question is...do you realize your job deals with the public, and the public's opinion of you may heavily sway them to purchase things from your employer. So I took my happy behind to another convenience store after she got mouthy with me.
Here's another instance of sheer brilliance. My wife and I are driving West on I-26, just coming into Columbia. I've traveled this road a hundred times or more, making trips to ball games, and to see family and friends. There is this guy in a nice chrysler 300M who we've been riding beside and around for approximately 50 miles. I'm driving in the left lane, going well over the speed limit, and he pulls up really fast on my right and gets stuck behind a slower moving vehicle. He falls in and does it again, only the second time he swerves in front of me, causing me to have to slow down, and let him in, otherwise my wife's Corrolla would've been parked up his butt. Anyway, I beeped the little horn (intimidating to say the least) to let him know I did NOT approve of being cut off, and he flips me off in the rear view mirror. I ignored. He then proceeds to roll his window down and give me the bird. I guess the first one wasn't good enough, because it didn't warrant a response from me. The second wasn't good enough either, b/c I just laughed. Inside I was mad, sure, but I didn't let him know it. So he looks like the idiot, and probably feels like one too, because I didn't stoop to his level.
another Awesome encounter with the eternally brilliant of our time was at another gas station where I had 15 cents off every gallon of gas I bought. I wanted 20 gallons of gas, the original price was $3.20. So, my math means that I'll pay for 20 gallons at $3.05....am I correct...I hope so, I have a college degree and working on a second. Anyway, this chick at the gas station can't do the math. Simply because she can't get the calculator to bring up $3.05, she can't do it!! It just so happens one of my students is in the store beside me, buying something in the other line. He looks at me, I look at him, he starts to laugh. I said, "please stay in school, Marquez." He said, "Coach, this is all I needed to see." How sad?
But, none of that should surprise me, after all, the people of this country did elect a muslim mobster from the southside of Chicago who went to a "church" that said he looked forward to the day the United States of America was "no more", to the presidency. We made him the most powerful man in the world, DUMB. How's that hopey, changey, feely crap working out for us now?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This is not Representation

Over the weekend, the US Federal Government proved once again that it has ceased to listen to the people of this nation. If you did not see this coming, you've been blind for quite a while. This "health care reform" is nothing more than big brother sticking his hand in, yet another pot, that it doesn't belong in. It is against the law, unconstitutional for the Federal Government to mandate that everyone has insurance. Make no mistake, this bill doesn't just allow you health care, it FORCES you to have health care. This bill also forces insurance companies to spend 85% of premiums paid, towards medical bills. It's unconstitutional for the government to tell businesses how to do business. What happened to the free market, where has capitalism gone? As a consumer of health care, I'd love to see premiums go down, I'd love to see the health insurance problem go away, but this does not help this go away. Your premiums will no raise, because of the 85% mandated, and also because, now a 26 year old adult, can remain on his parents health insurance. The gov't has mandated each insurance company that they HAVE to make this available to each policy holder. Lastly, there will be a government option, which in turn, will eventually put insurance companies out of business.
Make no mistake about what has happened. Congress and the White House has sold out the American people, we are no longer a Representative Democracy. Welcome to Socialism, America. I'm sure Ted Kennedy's day in hell is just a little bit cooler today!