Well, here we go!!! I do not really know where to start; so, let’s begin with the woman who gave me birth, my “MOM”. As I have noted before, she was a strong-willed Christian woman who kept me on the straight and narrow. Not that I did not stray; but, she and her “Christian values” gave me a road map to return to the light from some of my darkest hours. It is very hard to put into words all that she taught me through her words and actions. I still follow many of the examples of life that I observed as a growing child. She taught me right from wrong, loyalty, honor, morals/ethics, and most importantly she taught and instilled in me those “Christian values”. She was a simple but really great woman; and when she passed, I ask for a moment alone with her and “thanked her for the gravel in my gut”. As I grew into manhood, there have been other women who have helped shape me into what I am today (along with men), but this all about the women. I remember at my Dad’s funeral that Mom was in a tizzy. So, I asked her what the problem was and she said, “there are five or six of your ex-girlfriends here and they are all coming to the house after the funeral. What are we going to do”? I told her not to worry, ” I’ll get them all in a tight little circle, in a group hug, and they will be like a little covey of quail”. She did not go for it, but again this is all about the women. Some where kind and gentle while others, “not so much” and some broke my heart, or so I thought at the time. None will be named except a couple. But, if they have the chance to read this, most will recognize themselves.
Have you ever heard of the “Dear John” letter. It was received by many a serviceman during his tour of duty in the military. Well, mine was a “Dear John” phone call as I was in “basic training”. With the last change I could gather, I made the call from the pay phone on the quadrangle. It was great to hear a voice from home–but the message was “loud and clear”. “Dear Jerry”, take a hike. And I did take a hike the very next morning. A “forced march” of ten miles all the while being harassed by Sargent Crabile. It was a horrible lesson, but it sank home and prepared me for relationships of my future and how to make them stronger, or at best, how to choose more carefully.
I had one girl friend who competed in the “Miss America” beauty contest (or one of those) and OH,OH MY, what a beauty she was. A true “blue-eyed, blond beauty”. I met her while running a ferris wheel with a friend of mine in a small band of carnies. She only had one flaw. She did not like to hunt/fish, or at least she did not want me to hunt/fish. There was always a problem when I went. So, I decided, or she taught me, to choose someone with similar likes. As I look back, both of these girls competed in beauty contest. One on a local level and one on a national level. It just proves that old saying from my “Mom” that “beauty is only skin deep”. You see my “Mom” had “COMMON SENSE” also. Mom just hated when I told her she was right “beauty was shin deep but some of them were so ugly it had to go plumb to the bone”. That is “COMMON SENSE” also.
Another was a dark-haired, brown-eyed, simply gorgeous “Latina”. She never competed in a beauty contest, but she won a beauty contest everyday in the contest of life. She was undoubtedly the most beautiful woman I have ever seen until my “little wife” came along. This woman was strikingly beautiful. And once, when I walked her into an event, the singer, a friend of mine, stopped singing. He later caught me at the bar and asked “where did you find that babe?”. But, alas, she taught me a lesson about loyalty.
I took the time to tell you about those women, or those stories, so I could tell you this story. It is the story of my wife. We meet at work just after she graduated from high school. We became friends from the start and would frequent the local pub, ” Alaskan Palace” most days after work. We were “buds” as her sister would say. The “Alaskan Place” was not a fancy joint by no means; but, she lent it a kind of “elegance”. She was a young “hot mama” and me liked. She was always a woman of few words and our relationship almost ended when I moved to New Mexico for work because she hardly had anything to say when I would call but she always told me “she loved me” before we hung up and I told her the same. After we were married, I had to travel to Denver on a business trip; and when I returned I brought her a fur coat. It was ok, I guess, but made no great impression. So, the following year after a business trip I brought her a very “elegant silver fox” fur because I was going to make an impression. She met me at the airport gate, I presented my prize and wanted her to try it on but she said, “I’ll try it on when we get home”. So much for the big impression. She has proven to be the most beautiful woman I have ever met. She is a complete package and has taught me many “life lessons” and she is “one hell of a fine cook”. Hopefully, we will get many more years than our current 38 years together. We have spent our lives together building a comfortable existence that few will ever know. So it’s “hats off” to the woman who has shaped me the most, good or bad, it is her fault.
On March 9, 1986, she presented me with a wonderful gift, a baby daughter, and I was impressed. That daughter is another of the women that helped shape me into what I am today. She is a smart, articulate woman of great character with good morals /ethics. I could not have asked for a greater gift; and, she has taught me and reinforced all of life’s lessons. She has rewarded me for her raising with a beautiful “granddaughter” that I am sure will help shape me in the future. Just can’t wait for her to walk so she can follow “old Goby” around. I’m sure she will teach this “old dog” just a few “new tricks.”
I have told these stories for no other reason than to show the “COMMON SENSE” in the influence that others have on us as we mature. Whether good or bad, every experience helps you grow. The old “COMMON SENSE” saying is “every experience that doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger”. It really is true and it only makes “COMMON SENSE” to value all the relationships that God has presented and learn from each and everyone of them.