Relating to Cartoon Dogs

“Oh boy. Here goes Keith talking about that Bluey show again. Isn’t that a kid show? Why does he watch that?”

I relate to it! There, I said it. There are so many things about this show that I can relate to! For example, in our house, Sam and I cannot use the bathroom without one or both of the kids being in there with us. Bandit, Bluey’s dad, deals with that …

All he wants to do is poop for crying out loud! Look at that poor dog!

Another example which hold true in our house – the short amount of time it takes to go from clean to disaster.

I swear this just happened to me yesterday! The kids have this bowl of fake fruit and veggies that they play with. They keep all of it in a plastic Tupperware bowl. I literally walked all over the loving room picking up fake cucumbers, broccoli, onions, apples, bananas, avocadoes, tomatoes and more! I put them all back in the bowl and put them in the door of the fake kitchen. I went and got a cup of coffee and returned to the living room to find all of the contents of the bowl on the floor again!

The kids had Disney on the other morning and they were playing the episode called “Dunny.” In Australia, where Bluey lives, “dunny” is a slang term for toilet. The episode takes place in the parents bedroom. The kids are hanging out in bed with their parents and discussing why “dunny” isn’t an appropriate word for toilet.

This episode led to me thinking back to my childhood and I remember many Saturday mornings getting up and going into my folks bedroom. Many times we’d crawl into bed and just goof off. I truly wish I had more photos of those times. I have a few. First, one of my favorite photos of my mom and I (forgive me if I have posted these before).

I remember going in and waking her up. She’d always snuggle us and read books we brought in there. Those Saturday mornings were always so much fun.

My dad used to get in bed with us and wrestle with us. Sometimes he’d pretend to be Moe from the Three Stooges. There would be a “bear” we had to hide from and we’d get under the covers and hide. Sometimes he’d say he’d go check to see if the bear was still there and we’d be under the covers and he’d growl and grab at us from the top of the covers. We had so much fun when he did that!

Just the other morning, Ella and Andrew woke up and it was them, Sam and me in our bed. It was just a lot of silliness and me wrestling or tickling them and hiding under the covers.

I’m not sure what it is about being under covers that is cool. We built a fort with blankets and such the other day and they loved it. Then I started sitting on the floor and covering myself in a blanket and they’d come over and get under the “tent” with me. Sam even got into the fun the other morning!

So yeah, I watch Bluey. I relate to it more than any cartoon or kid’s show before it. The more I see an episode, the more I find myself saying, “I need to do that” or “I’ve done that!”

If you have toddlers, you have to check it out. If you’re an adult, you should to. In my opinion, it is the best.

One final example? Sure. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone into the kid’s rooms after they fall asleep and just watch them. It’s not weird – only parents get it.

Friday Photo Flashback

It’s time for another edition of the Friday Photo Flashback. This one has a holiday theme to it. My best guess is that it was taken between 1972-1973. I make this guess based on the contents of the photo. Let’s Flashback to a Christmas morning ….

The above photo is of yours truly many moons ago. It is Christmas morning. The tree is out of the camera shot, but would be to my left, probably right in front of my mom.

As a kid, I don’t really remember unwrapping many presents. Usually, my dad played Santa and when my brother and I got up, the toys were already put together and in front of the tree. That may have been the case here as I don’t see a whole lot of wrapping paper.

Observations from the picture:

My mother is so young and beautiful in this picture. I don’t remember the robe she is wearing at all. If it wasn’t for this photo, I don’t know that I would have ever seen it before. I love that she is smiling while watching me.

I don’t recognize that couch at all! This would have been taken at the first house I remember. We lived there until the winter of 1976. I know that the tree would have been right in front of our living room window (again, just out of the camera shot).

I am obviously wearing two piece PJ’s, but only wearing the pants. That looks more like a regular T-shirt than a PJ top. It is possible, although I can’t really tell, that I am either wearing slippers OR those pants have footies on them. Hard to say.

The first thing I noticed when looking at the photo was that big boat next to me. It took me only one broad search of “Little People Boat” on Google for the toy to come up. According to Google, this would have come out in 1972.

I have blogged about Little People before, but not sure if I mentioned this set. I remember that flag so well. It was literally a plastic triangle on a long spring! I forgot about those crazy deck chairs and the life preservers. You can see one of those and the little blue boat on the floor in front of me.

To my left in the picture, was a favorite of mine – the Little People Airport.

The jet is to my right in the picture and the cars and such are scattered about. I remember that helicopter so well.

I wish I had one of those programs that brings out of focus pictures back in focus! From what I can read off the box behind me it says, “Push ‘Em Car.” I wasn’t sure if it said “cart” or “cars.” I did a search and what came up was a toybox. It is VERY possible that is what it is.

The one in the picture of me is not a Mickey Mouse one. Only two kinds came up in a search – the one above abd a generic one. The box behind me in the photo looks like it has monkeys on it. I wish I could make out what they are!

The last thing that I can make out was the book in the bottom right of the picture. I could barely make out “Zoo Keeper” so I typed that into a Google search. Imagine that, the book showed up! It’s called Zeke Zoo Keeper! I don’t remember it at all, but there it is!

I wish that I had more photos of the stuff we had under the tree. I guess without them, the proof is there that it really is never about the gifts you receive, but the experiences. Sure, I can remember some of the gifts I got for Christmas, but many of them are long forgotten. It is the memories with family that I will always remember.

Friday Photo Flashback

It’s time for another Friday Photo Flashback. Once again, today’s installment was prompted by something I noticed on Facebook.

Many of my friends are posting their child’s Senior pictures. Back in the day, you went to a studio and they took your yearbook headshot and a few other forced poses. Today, many opt to go to professional photo studios and have them done outside of the studio. I’ve seen some amazing photos of seniors in a variety of places. Some were on a baseball field, others in the bowling alley, and many outside with fall colors as a background. Then there were others that were taken outside old buildings that had graffiti on the walls, or next to classic cars. There is certainly more variety today!!

Today, you get a few photos. First, the one that I found recently of my mom. This was her high school Senior picture.

This would have been 1966, if I remember correctly. She looks absolutely beautiful in this photo. Before her cancer and all that chemo and radiation, she has such beautiful hair. She always had it done up in some way. Her smile is so subtle in the picture. The thing that gets me, though, are her eyes. Those eyes – there is so much love in them.

Giving equal time to my day, I was able to find one of his Senior picture.

I love that he is in his cap and gown here. He had completed all the requirements for graduation and opted to graduate in January of 1964 instead of waiting and graduating in June with the rest of his class. The photo is in black and white, but I can’t help but wonder what the school colors were. I wonder about it because of the mortarboard. That dark band at the bottom could have been black or blue and the rest of the cap grey or light blue. I don’t know. How can you not dig the skinny tie?

One thing is for sure, I got two things from dad: dark eyes and big eyebrows! You can see that in my Senior picture.

Urgh! The 80’s!! HUGE glasses, thick ties, sideburns, and an awful 70’s porn stache! You’ll have to take my word on the big eye brows, the big glasses are in the way in this picture. One thing I did like was the amount of hair I had back then. I am pretty sure the beginnings of the bald spot were visible at this time from the back, but thankfully not in this picture.

As an added bonus, I will add my baby brother’s Senior picture. Just three years later and he’s rocking one of my ties!

I’m not sure who wore the stache better, him or me. That tie, if I remember right was a real silk tie that my grandmother had bought for me one Christmas. I loved that tie, but one holiday I wound up dripping gravy or salad dressing on it – ruining it for good.

Upon closer examination, it looks like big eyebrows run in my family ….

Friday Photo Flashback

It’s time for another Friday Photo Flashback. 42 years ago this week, the movie Somewhere in Time was released. I blogged about it here:

The film was shot on Mackinac Island and the Grand Hotel played a big part in the movie. For this week’s Friday Photo Flashback, here are a few photos from a trip to Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island.

I love that the date is stamped on this photo – July 1981. Here is my brother and I, locked in the stocks with my mother standing behind us with a huge smile! It is one of my favorite pictures of my mom.

The stocks were obviously a big part of this fort, as my brother and I were locked in yet another set of them.

What is up with my socks in that picture!?!? And I am not sure where my glasses went.

Because Fort Mackinac is on Mackinac Island, we had to take a boat over. There is only one photo from the boat trip that I have and it was taken by my mom.

We must have went to the island two days in a row, as my brother and I are dressed in different clothes. I love the fact that my dad is looking very “Burt Reynolds/Bandit” in this picture!

The last time I was anywhere near Mackinaw was over 20 years ago. The day I was there, it was extremely windy and rainy and they were not running the boat to the island. The last time I was at the fort was 40 years ago.

My wife and I are hoping to get up there very soon. It’s been too long.

Friday Photo Flashback

For this week’s edition of the Friday Photo Flashback, we go back to Spring Break of 1989. I had graduated high school, was working at my first radio job, and my high school band was heading to Florida to perform at Disney World. My brother was still in band at the time and my parents and I tagged along on the trip as chaperones.

My grandmother and aunt had moved to Florida. At some point on the trip, my grandmother met up with us. If my memory serves me correctly, my friend Steve also came on this trip, and we were hanging out together. I wish I had spent a little more time with my grandma on this trip, but you know how 19 year old kids are …

I love this picture of my mom and my grandma. They both would be diagnosed with breast cancer and their lives would be cut short by it. In this picture, they are both healthy. This is the way I will always remember my grandma. She always seemed to wear her hair that way. It was the late 80’s, so both her and mom have those big round lenses on their glasses. I can see the watch that she always wore, too.

My mom is wearing a T-Shirt with the Kiss-FM logo. That was my first radio job, and I am sure I was still working there when this was taken. What I wouldn’t give to have one of those shirts today! Blonde was not my mother’s natural hair color, but I always loved when she wore it that color. Her hair seems to be a bit short in this picture, too.

The more I look at this photo, the more I think that this was taken just before we all loaded up the busses to head back home, or maybe before my grandma was heading home. Mom is holding shopping bags, so we had probably all just come back from one last trek to buy souvenirs. It is hard to say.

I don’t think this was the same trip (mom’s hair looks longer), but it could be.

When I found out my grandma had cancer, I avoided seeing her. I regret this. A lot. It is one of those things that comes up a lot in my mind. If I could turn back the clock, I would. I didn’t want to see her sick. I remember someone had taken some pictures of her after she had gone through some chemotherapy or radiation and she was a shell of her former self.

Those pictures sort of assured me that I was doing the right thing by not seeing her. Well, at least I thought so. I know now it was not. I should have seen her. I should have called her. I should have held her hand and said I love you. I should have had the chance to say goodbye. In Sinatra’s “My Way,” he says, “Regrets. I’ve had a few…” This is one of my biggest regrets. The only good thing about my not seeing her sick is that when I think of her, she is just as she was in these photos.

I think of these two brave women every October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I miss them both very much.

Friday Photo Flashback

It is time for another installment of my Friday Photo Flashback. I had originally planned to post a photo of my parents at my aunt’s wedding. When I saw the date, however, I knew I had to go back and grab one from another wedding – theirs.

53 years ago this week, my parents were married. The above picture is one of many from their wedding photo album. There are other photos of the two of them together, but this one is my favorite. As I looked through their album, I saw a few people I didn’t recognize. This is where I wish my mom were still alive so I could ask who they were. I doubt that my dad knows them.

I love how they are off center in the picture to allow for the train of mom’s dress to be included in it. She is absolutely beautiful. I love that my dad is wearing a white coat with his tux. I always thought that looked sharp, and he looks dapper here. I am a bit surprised that he is not wearing spats. He did wear them to my first wedding.

I want to say that this photo was in a frame that sat in my grandparent’s front room for the entire time that they lived in their house. It may have made the move to their condo, but I don’t recall it being out on display.

9 months later, the lives of these two young lovebirds would change forever. I arrived in May of 1970 bringing them much joy and happiness.

Friday Photo Flashback

It is time for another installment of my Friday Photo Flashback. This week – a picture I didn’t even know I had.

It certainly is not a great picture of me, but it does bring back memories. The background seems dark and things behind us are hard to make out, but the people in it stir up good memories.

From left to right front row: me, Karen, and Joe. Back row: Margaret and Steve

The photo was taken at my high school graduation party. I only know this because of the clothes we are wearing (thanks to other photos from the party). It is a snapshot of an ending and new beginning for us – the end of school and the start of “real life.”

1988. The people in the photo were my best friends. Jeff would also be included in that group, and there is another photo of all of us together somewhere. The only thing that would make this a perfect snapshot of my life at that time would be Jeff in it.

I spent so much time with all of these people in high school. We always seemed to be together. it wasn’t always all of us, but you could almost be that I’d be with at least one of them!

Steve and I were practically inseparable. We spent hours in the car driving and listening to tapes I had made to “cruise” with. I’ve always said we were like Jackie Gleason and Art Carney – Ralph and Norton. I think we drove each other nuts at times, but we truly were great friends … And still are. The day was bittersweet for us because I believe the day after this photo was taken, Steve left for basic training.

Joe and I hung out almost as much, but he was always the better student and actually did his homework. A lot of the time he’d be doing that so it was just Steve and I out causing trouble. There were many times, however, that we’d all hope in the car and drive around wasting gas. I think of the three of us as the Three Amigos, or maybe the Three Stooges is more accurate. We all played cards (Pinochle) together for hours on end. Now we try to find time between our work schedules to schedule a golf outing together…

Margaret and I were as close as Steve and me. I love that she has her arm around me in this picture. We never dated – even though our folks wanted us to – but it was almost like we did. We loved each other, but never in a romantic kind of way We went to movies, dances, and dinner together and our friendship continues to this day. She is Aunt Margaret to my kids and they love her just as much as I do.

Margaret and I used to talk for hours on the phone when were in school. We still do. Both of us have long drives to work and we often chat while driving. We still vent, laugh and cry with each other. Ours truly is an amazing friendship.

Karen and I had probably just started dating when this picture was taken. She was the same age as my brother and a Freshman when I was a Senior. For some reason, she stood next to me in parade formation in marching band. It was weird because I played trumpet and she was a flute player. Not sure why we were next to each other, but it led to our relationship.

I always tried to make her laugh when we were in marching band. I usually did. As prom approached, I kind of jokingly asked if she’d want to go. She surprised me and said yes. I remember Joe and I got a limo and I think we both had top hats. I think both Karen and Joe’s date wore blue dresses. All my prom pictures are gone now, so it is hard to remember. I do have vivid memories of that night, but that is really all.

We dated for about 5 years total with a short break in there somewhere. Karen was my first love. She wasn’t my first girlfriend, but my first serious one. We had a lot of wonderful memories. She’s married now and a wonderful mother. She works hard in the medical field and I still hear from her sisters and also am friends with some of her family on Facebook. I recently DJ’d her sister’s wedding and saw her briefly. I was glad to get to say hello.

I have some wonderful memories of that graduation party. My dad gathered up members of the wedding band he had played with and they all set up and played music at the party. My Uncle Tom played drums on some songs and did some singing of old blues tunes. My cousins also joined in and played drums and guitar. It was so cool. Steve, Joe, Jeff and I all got up and sang Weird Al’s parody of La Bamba (Lasagna) like a bunch of fools.

Of course, I think of the many folks who were there, who are no longer here. My mom, my grandparents, my great grandma, my great Aunt, Steve’s dad, Joe’s mom, and so many others. Thankfully they live on in photos and memories.

It seems to me as I look at this picture that we are posing for someone else’s photo. I wonder who might have been taking it. I would certainly love to see that one. Maybe I’m wrong, though. We all don’t seem to be looking the same way. Perhaps this is just an excellent candid picture. It’s a nice candid picture where I still have hair, big glasses, and am surrounded by some of the best people I’ve ever or will ever know.

Friday Photo Flashback

I have come to really enjoy this little feature. It began as a simple writing prompt that suggested going through some old photos and picking one that brought make a lot of memories or feelings. It has been fun to go back through some of the old photos from our family albums.

Today, we have a look back at “toddler” Keith …

If I had to date this picture, I’d say it is 1971 or 1972. I have to be 1 or 2 in it.

I have no idea if this is Christmas or my birthday, but I would guess Christmas. I don’t really remember much about this piano, except for these few pictures. Did it come home with us or did it stay at my grandparents? I just don’t know.

The first thing that jumps out at me in this picture is the VERY wide collar on the vest I am wearing. At least I think that is a vest. It certainly looks as though there is a long sleeve shirt under it, but it very well could be that the sleeves are attached to it.

This is one of my favorite pictures of me as a kid. As I look at it, I am still amazed at just how much hair I had as a kid! It’s a wonder that I ever grew into those big ears, too! The caterpillar eyebrows have been a thing with me since I was little, obviously.

The other thing that stands out is the smiles on the faces of (from left to right) my grandma, my grandpa, and my mom. I am sure that I am probably not playing Beethoven, or even Chopsticks for that matter! I am probably just pounding out some nonsensical and nonmusical noise, but here they are looking at me and smiling!

It looks like my grandma is holding the piano bench I should be sitting on, but as a toddler, I probably wouldn’t have sat there for long. It was probably easier for me to just stand and bang on the keys. Her beehive hairdo is not quite a beehive in this photo and the lenses of her glasses are much smaller than I was used to seeing as she got older.

My grandpa is holding something that I can’t quite make out. It almost looks like a cigar, but as far as I know, he never smoked them. Of course, it would be an ashtray he is holding. That wouldn’t be a stretch. In the picture, you can really see how crooked his nose was. You can see how it is bent to the right. (He broke it when it was hit by a crank that you used to start cars with.)

My mom’s hair looks more “beehive-ish” than my grandma’s. I love that smile on her face. I saw that smile many times in my life when she was beaming with pride over something I did. While a little blurry, I think it is safe to say that she is wearing some horn-rimmed glasses in the picture. My brother and I always made fun of her when we found pictures of her in those glasses. Glasses or not, she still looks beautiful in this picture.

That lamp in the background was one that grandma had for YEARS! I think she even brought it to her condo after grandpa passed away. The shade had hung upon the lamp for years and collected a deep yellow cigarette stain from the smoke exposure. On the table is a picture of me as a baby in yellow PJs. I’d have to find the original, but I think I am holding a baseball in it.

On the wall above my mother are two pieces of art that I do not recall at all. I always remember there being a big picture on that wall. I can’t even tell what those things are? The middle one looks like it’s a fox or something. This is where I wish I could enhance it more.

I remembered another picture taken that same day. I found it and here it is.

This piano may or many not have had a big impact on me as far as my love for music. I did take some lessons on the Hammond Organ when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old, but I really never learned how to play piano. For whatever it is worth, in the above picture, I seem to be faking it pretty good. I actually look like I know what I am doing!

Friday Photo Flashback

This is a “feature” I started a couple weeks ago with a Daily Writing Prompt. It’s been fun to find a photo to write about each week. This week’s gem comes from way back!

Yes, that is me! I’m going to guess I am about a year old in the picture. I don’t have a date on it, but judging by the grass and the fact that I am wearing a coat, I’d guess this picture was taken in the spring of 71 (although it could be Fall of 70).

Look at that fire truck! It was all metal! I can’t recall, but I think it had pedals (sort of like a tricycle) and you could “drive” it around. There are not many pictures of me with it, but I wish there were more. Somewhere my dad has old 8mm home movies and one of them has my mom pushing me down the hallway of our house in this fire truck.

I chuckle as I look at the bike horn attached to the hood of it. If you started honking it, no one would think “There’s a fire!” They’d think, “Hey! Here comes Harpo Marx!”

I remember the string that attached to the bell. You pulled it and the bell clanged, much like what you’d see in a Little Rascals short. Of course, my truck was a lot more sturdy than the truck Spanky and the gang were riding on!

I look really interested in that steering wheel, which isn’t even a wheel at all. It’s a combination oval/rectangle. It looks like the string for the bell is actually tied onto it, which makes no sense to me.

I think I am wearing a pea coat here. At least that is what it looks like. I remember those brass buttons were kind of loose and hung from the string that held them to the coat itself. They had to be loose because the coat was thick and the buttons needed to fit into the button holes.

I love to see how much hair I had as a baby. If they trimmed my bangs the right way, I could look like one of the Beatles in ’64 here.

I also love to see those chubby cheeks. Over the years, the chubbiness moved from my cheeks to other parts of my body!

I love the look of that ridiculous grill on the fire truck! The fact that there are fake headlights cracks me up. Those wheels, too! I bet they each weighed about three pounds! They were that hard rubber with thick metal – built to last!

I know this was taken at my grandparents house. I recognize the lamp post to my left in the picture. While we didn’t play often in their front yard, I remember that the pole has this crossbar that went through it.

I think it was meant to hang the numbers or a name plate. My brother and I used to reach up and try to hang from it. It was only aluminum, so I’m sure my grandpa knew that eventually the weight of one or both of us would eventually snap it, so he’d yell at us to leave it alone when we played around it.

I should have reached out to my dad before I posted this picture. I do not know whose car is in the background. It may be ours, or it may be my grandfather’s. I know that they both owned their share of black cars in the past. I am not one of those guys who can look at the style of hubcaps and tell the make and model of the vehicle either. If dad sees this, maybe he can fill in the blanks on it.

What immediately stands out about the car, beside the color, is the HUGE bumper! Those old cars had these bumpers that were like 6 inches wide and solid. One time, my dad, my brother and I were at K-mart. He was backing out of a parking spot in a ’73 Impala. He hit some woman who drove behind us. Her car crumpled like a piece of tin foil while ours didn’t even have a scratch. At that low speed, the bumper destroyed her car!

As I look at the shiny reflection off the hood of this amazing fire truck, I can only imagine the thrill that I must have been experiencing as a child. I don’t know how long I had this, but I wish I still did so that I could pass this very cool toy down to my kids. I know today they have these battery operated 4 wheelers and such that all kids seem to want. But I can tell you one thing, put one of those up against this fire truck and those plastic things would crumble, just like that woman’s car in the K-mart parking lot!

Speaking to A Stone

This blog will start deep – but I promise a funny story at the end…

I recently read a blog from a friend in Scotland. She is currently visiting with her dad and they took a trip to the local cemetery to visit her mom/his wife, who is buried there. She spoke of how her dad spoke to the various graves in the cemetery. They were all people he knew. She said that each headstone represent someone from his past.

I have visited my share of cemeteries and I really hadn’t thought about it before, but I am also one of those people who speaks to stone. I’m not sure why.

It is my belief, based on Scripture, that those who die as believers in Christ go to heaven when they die. In 2 Corinthians 5 the Bible says to be “absent from the body” is to be “present with the Lord.” Now that being said, why am I talking to gravestones? They are literally big pieces of marble with a name and dates on them.

One time, I remember visiting my grandpa’s grave. I remember standing there, staring at his headstone and talking out loud. I was telling him how much he’d love his grandson (I only had my oldest at the time), and the silly things he did. I thanked him for being such a big part of my life and more.

I always talk to my mom when I visit her grave. I always seem to get more emotional when I am there alone. When I go with my wife or my kids, they almost always give me time alone at the grave. They must know.

I cry when I am there. I miss her terribly. Sometimes I feel robbed that she is not here to be a part of all that is going on. Then I remember the cancer battle and how much pain she was in. I am selfish for wanting her here, but I am grateful that there is no more pain or suffering.

I know that she’d be so happy with what I have done with my life – college, good job, an amazing wife and more grandkids. I also know she’d spoil the heck out of all of those grandbabies if she were still here. She, however, is not. So I stand or sit at her graveside and I tell her how much I miss her, our chats, and other personal things. When I have said my peace, cried my tears, and am ready to go, I take one final look at the stone and walk back to my car.

Ella at grandma’s grave

Maybe I am a bit crazy. I am well aware that I am talking to a stone with my relative or friend’s name on them. I also know that all that is under the stone is the earthly remains, and that the soul that was that person is no longer there. So why do I speak to those loved ones who are no longer here, and why do I only do it at the cemetery? I mean, I could easily do it in the car while I drive, right?

I know that I am not the only one who does this. Perhaps there is some sort of psychological answer. I don’t know. I kind of wish I had the answer.

As Promised – the Funny Story

Coming from an Italian family, there were many times where certain members of my family didn’t speak to each other. Once such case was my grandfather and his sisters. He made it very clear to my grandmother and my dad that when he passed away, he wanted no obituary. He did not want them knowing that he had died.

Those wishes were honored. He passed away in 1994, so there was no internet to look up records or anything like that. There was also no “Find a Grave” website to do a search and find where people, both famous and not famous, were buried.

My grandmother often went to the cemetery to visit my grandfather. There were many Sundays when they would go to trim around the head stone, or put out a grave blanket. Sofia from the Golden Girls reminds me of my grandma. She was a tiny, stubborn, and strong Italian woman.

One day, my dad pulled up to my grandpa’s grave and there were flowers on it. My grandma was out of the car like a shot to see what it was all about. Attached to the flowers was a note, obviously meant for my grandma to find. I don’t recall exactly what it said, but it was something like: “Dear brother. We are only now finding out that you passed away. We loved you so very much. We are sorry that you were kept from us…” or SOMETHING like that.

I have seen my grandma get mad. I was not there for this particular incident, but I can almost bet that a slow boil began in the pit of her stomach and worked its way up. I am sure with each sentence she read her anger grew and her face got red. I am also pretty sure that there was probably some sort of explosion that was audible when she finally “burst.”

(Now get that picture of Sofia from the Golden Girls in your mind as you picture the visual) She grabbed those flowers in one hand, planted herself like a quarterback getting ready to throw a Hail Mary pass, and as she fired those flowers into the air, she screamed, “F^%$ YOU!!!”

As she yelled and the profanity echoed across the cemetery, I am sure birds fluttered into the air, scared for their life. For years, whenever we brought that story up, grandma would casually chuckle and remind us of just how mad she was.