Story of A Life…sorry Harry!

I have a soundtrack to my life.

You have a soundtrack to yours.

We don’t always hear it in the moment, but eventually it creeps into our mind’s ear and it makes us remember..,

Sometimes sad

Sometimes happy

But always we remember.

“House at Pooh Corner”, “Dead Skunk”, “For Baby”…songs we sang to slip our babies into sleep. “Perhaps Love” by Placido Domingo and Mr. Denver, or The Bee Gee’s “To Love Somebody” reminds me of a moment in time when love showed itself.

I rediscovered a new old memory tonight.

At 18 this song meant nothing…this song is for looking back. At 18 you don’t, can’t, look back. It’s all in front of you then!

But now…now…I get to look back. It’s the reward we get for making it this far.

I heard this again tonight for the first time in over 45 years.

It is now the “Official Soundtrack of My Life” song…

If you’re young…remember these words.

If you’re my age…remember these words!


I can see myself it’s a golden sunrise
Young boy open up your eyes
It’s supposed to be your day.
Now off you go horizon bound
And you won’t stop until you’ve found
Your own kind of way.
And the wind will whip your tousled hair,
The sun, the rain, the sweet despair,
Great tales of love and strife.
And somewhere on your path to glory
You will write your story of a life.

And all the towns that you walk through
And all the people that you talk to
Sing you their songs.
And there are times you change your stride,
There are times you can’t decide
Still you go on.
And then the young girls dance their gypsy tunes
And share the secrets of the moon
So soon you find a wife.
And though she sees your dreams go poorly
Still she joins your story of a life.

So you settle down and the children come
And you find a place that you come from.
Your wandering is done.
And all your dreams of open spaces
You find in your children’s faces
One by one.
And all the trips you know you missed
And all the lips you never kissed
Cut through you like a knife.
And now you see stretched out before thee
Just another story of a life.

So what do you do now?
When she looks at you now?
You know those same old jokes all the jesters tell
You tell them to her now.
And all the same old songs all the minstrels sang
You sing ’em to her now.
But it don’t matter anyhow
‘Cause she knows by now.

So every chance you take don’t mean a thing.
What variations can you bring
To this shopworn melody.
And every year goes by like a tollin’ bell.
It’s battered merchandise you sell.
Not well, she can see.
And though she’s heard it all a thousand times
Couched in your attempted rhymes
She’ll march to your drum and fife.
But the question echoes up before me
Where’s the magic story of a life?

Now sometimes words can serve me well
Sometimes words can go to hell
For all that they do.
And for every dream that took me high
There’s been a dream that’s passed me by.
I know it’s so true
And I can see it clear out to the end
And I’ll whisper to her now again
Because she shared my life.
For more than all the ghosts of glory
She makes up the story,
She’s the only story
Of my life.

Yep…she’s the story of my life.

Live it well…



I thought I might be done with this baring my old ass-ed soul thing…guess not.

It’s Summer’s fault.

Not summer of the hotter-n-hell sweat through your didies summer, but Summer my niece.

She started blogging a few weeks back and I gotta admit…she’s a pretty fair barer of her soul. I like that. I respect that . I LOVE THAT!!

Sums and I , though years apart, kinda battle(d) the same demons. It’s crazy but it’s almost this weird time warp – parallel universe thing…yep…that’s crazy.  I read her blog and I’m transported to that moment in my own time where my confrontations happened. The best I weapon I had to battle was no weapon at all. I merely shoved them in to a closet in my mind and there they stayed. There was a long hallway,  doors on both sides that locked and there they stayed. Occasionally, a random thought or an innocent uttered phrase would crack a door open and I would peek inside expecting, hoping, that IT had passed on.  It was always there…waiting.  Sometimes I could slam the door quick enough. Sometimes…not. Once out they really weren’t anxious to go back in. They weren’t as dumb as I had hoped. As long as they stayed behind those doors I was good.  They were gone but they were still there…waiting.  I was winning the small battles, but I was getting butt slammed in the war.

15 or so years ago I started journaling (blogging was to fancy a word for it back then). Sometimes the entries were benign and didn’t reveal too much of my “crazy” and I would publish. Others…they stayed with me. But the power was in the process. I found the process could kill the demons. It was still painful. You still had to open that door. Stare that Demon in the face. Process what the Demon was. But to put it down on paper (okay…type it on screen) and be able to share it made the Demon just



Warning! This entry was written by “Me” for me. Sounds confusing I know, but if you can keep your focus I think we can all get there in one piece. “Me” is who I really am… not the me that most folks know. If you know “Me” then you really know me. If you’ve followed this far then it’s probably safe for you to go on.

I couldn’t find “Me”

I knew I had put “Me” somewhere, but where?

614 days is too long a time to remember where one has set aside one’s “Me”.

614 days is too long a time to remember why one has set aside one’s “Me”.

614 days is too long a time to remember that you even had a “Me”!

614 days is how long it takes to realize that you miss that thing that makes one “Me”.

614 days of one not being “Me” but just me…

1 millisecond is all it takes to remember you need to find “Me” or you’ll lose “You” forever.

I lost “Me” in a slow fade…bad day at work, too busy, social media, feeling like “Me” has nothing to say that you want to hear…it all adds up.

Slowly at first. Then a little slower. Slower…GONE!!

Nope…not gone.


Buried under self doubts, self condemnation, self absorption, fear of rejection and maybe worst of all…a fear of irrelevance (we older folk seem to fear this one in particular.)

A few days ago Sandy introduced me to a book by Steven Furtick entitled “Crash the Chatterbox”. It’s probably a pretty good book…I just haven’t been able to get past the introduction. I bumped into a sentence.

One sentence…one sentence is all it took to wake “Me” up.

“My soul sometimes feels like a Twitter feed where I’m following a million of the most annoying people ever, and I can’t find the Unfollow button.”

But I have found the Unfollow button!

“Me” had it!

I began to notice that something was missing…but I didn’t know that that something was “Me”.

At 5:30 am today, “Me” pressed the “Unfollow” button and screamed…”It’s time. Let’s write.”

614 days later “Me” has managed to kick my way out of the pile of rubbish that had kept “Me” buried beneath the “chatter”.

614 days later “Me” reemerges!

614 days later “Me” needs a bath and a shave.

“Me” is back albeit a little wobbly and unkempt, but back nonetheless.

I needed “Me” and I know that now. With all due respect Dear Reader…I need to do this Chatterbox crashing thing for me. Like it & love it or hate it & leave it…I need “Me” to keep me who I am.

I do this for “Me” cuz I wasn’t very happy just being me…

Now “Me”…lets go get you cleaned up some…you got some work to do!






Here’s Hoping You Get That Puppy

It’s been a long time since I felt like writing anything.
Typically at Christmas I like to get all creative and knock out a piece of nonsensical blabber….not so much this time.
Probably the Mayan end of the world thing.
I guess this year I’ll just let it slide.
We went to our son’s churches Christmas Eve services tonite. No small feat by the way! Aaron’s church is in Helotes and Jason’s is in New Braunfels (for you non-San Antonians that’s an hour apart).
Aaron’s church is in Helotes, TX., about 20 minute from us and our regular place to worship. We elected to attend the 4 o’clock service. I’m normally the guy that handles the audio-visual’s but today a sweet young lady named Sara wanted to work the board so I sat with Sandy & the GK’s for the service. Carson, my Grandson, sat with me as we listened to his daddy (my son Aaron). I listened to Aaron speak but my mind kept drifting off. I kept thinking how awesome it was to share something this special with my gk’s…how blessed Sandy & I are. We whispered little stupid comments to each other and held hands the whole time. I looked over and noticed Sandy and Abby doing the same…it made me smile.
Aaron ended things a little early and, with some mild Sandy nudging, decided to make the 45 minute drive to New Braunfels for Jason’s service. Traffic was fairly light and we made it in plenty of time. Both churches have similar feels…small but loving. Both are the kinda places that make you feel comfortably at home. They’re the kind of churches that Jesus would feel pretty good about. That’s high praise, I think.
We settled into the front as the 1st carols began. It was midway through Carol #1 when Jackson (Carson’s 14 hour older cousin) comes running up and slips up onto my lap. By Carol #2….he’s out like a light.
I’m struck by how cool this has become.
Growing up for me, Christmas sucked.
We had the aluminum tree with rotating color wheel. While the tree changed from red to green to blue, my Mom would dutifully hand out our gifts….the oh-so-close presents that were our Chistmas. You wanted Levi’s…you got J.C. Penny. You wanted Monopoly…you got Life. You wanted black…you got navy blue. You wanted a puppy…you got a sweater. Christmas in my childhood years was basically “Here’s some stuff I got for you, now let’s go watch TV”.
It’s what we grew up with…it’s what we knew…it was what it was.
That changed with my own kids…in large part to Sandy’s influence. I warmed to getting them what they actually wanted, but it was still more about gifting than anything.
Tonite that changed.
I sat through those services, hours apart, holding Carson and then Jackson, when it hit me!
This is Christmas!!!
This has nothing to do with the gift! Levis or Penny’s, Monopoly or Life, black or blue, sweaters or puppies…
It’s about a love that knows no end! I would ab-so-lutely give my life for my family. I feel their hurts and I feel their joys!
Being around them fills my heart!
I sat through the 2nd service with Jack sound asleep on my lap and felt a peace and joy like I’ve never felt.
It made me happy.
It made me sad…
All the wasted Christmas’…for denying my kids that feeling. I think they know how much they mean to me…but it’s the “think” part that bothers me.
I felt like Scrooge after the 3 spirits visited.
I wanted to buy them the biggest goose! Shower them with the finest gifts!!
Instead…I just hugged them .
It’s the best I could offer.
I don’t know what Christmas Day will bring. But already this has been my best Christmas ever.
My Chistmas wish for you, dear friend is this….
May you feel that joy… that absolute sacrificial, unending, unquestioning , heart hurting love that I felt tonite.
If you do…it will indeed be a Merry Christmas!
If not….I hope you get the Levis anyway.
Or maybe a puppy.
I sure as heck wish I coulda thought of something to write about.
Oh well, maybe next Christmas.

A Christmas Story: The Juan I’ve Been Waiting For

Yes Virginia, there is a Juan.

He exists as certainly as anger and selfishness and self centeredness exist, and you know that they abound and make your life miserable.

Alas!  How joyful would the workplace be if there were no Juan.

I soon find out.

My “Buddy” announced his retirement effective Jan. 1.

He might be missed, but probably not too much.

We have had our battles over the years but in fairness…I have found him to be an intelligent and at times funny coworker, who has helped me come to grips with my intolerances.

As a coworker he sucked…

as a person….he doesn’t suck as much.

In honor of his retirement and in keeping with the season, I felt the need to reopen this Blog for at least one more time.

Merry Christmas, my friends!!


T’was the day before Christmas, and all through the store

was the noise of folks toiling, and a heavy, loud snore!

All were hard working, dirty as hell

And then…there was Juan, awaiting the old dinner bell.


The guys (and a gal) were slogging away

Knowing it’s Friday, tomorrow we play.

Christmas bonuses banked, shopping lists done

But Old Fat Bottom’s still snoring and ruining the fun.


He jolted awake…he had errands to do

An hour for lunch soon turned to two.

Three hours had passed and still he was gone.

A typical lunch for my buddy Juan.


Toward the end of the day, we’re all ready to dash

When out in the parking lot we heard a loud crash.

We jumped over desks and slid ‘cross the floor

We ran to the windows, threw open the door.


The glare on the pavement, made us all squint

At the ‘62 Plymouth that was all one big dent.

To its rusty front bumper, 6 burros were hitched.

The driver tumbled out, gave his belly an itch.


We stood there dumfounded. Befuddled each one.

We knew in a moment…it had to be Santa Juan!

Slower than molasses and dumb as a post,

He called out to his burros, while munching on toast.


“Now ‘Que Pasa’, now ‘Chuco’, ‘Din’t Do It’, ‘Ju Know’!

On ‘Is Hiss Fault’. On ‘Dun Know’… y todos mis burros!

To the curb, to the street!”

Then they tripped and stumbled over their own little feet.


He rolled himself over with a grunt and a groan.

Cursing in Spanish as the burros just moaned.

He was dressed in serape, from neck to his butt.

Immaculately clean, ‘cept for the stain on his gut.


His eyes were all glassy, no dimples had he

With a huge honking nose and cheeks slathered in grease!

His big old mouth drawn up in a frown,

And the beard on his chin was mottled and brown.




He was chubby and fat, an old miserable jerk,

And I cringed when I saw him, especially at work.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had something to dread!


He spoke not a word as tried to dodge work,

And soon he had hidden, oh what a jerk.

And sticking his middle finger high in the air,

Said “I’m way too busy!  I doan care!”.


He jumped in his Plymouth, that old hunk of junk,

And away they all clattered…ka-wobble…ka-clunk.

But I heard him exclaim, as he crept out of sight…

“Time to retire!  Ju heard me. Dat’s right!”


Thanks to Frank Church of the New York Sun & Clement C. Moore for allowing me to play with your words. I know they’re probably cringing in Heaven but I’ll make it up to ’em when I get there.

And a Special Thanks to Juan for keeping things interesting for the last 10 years….

Vaya con Dios, mi amigo!


Reflection on My Unthinkable Pursuit

It’s been a year now.
A year ago Sandy & I were just turning in for the night for our 1:30 AM wake up to begin our assault on Longs Peak. 14,255″ of Rocky Mountain goodness. Longs Peak is a hike, (or as some call it…” a walk up”, but with plenty of exposure & risk) and we approached it with more than some trepidation.
I re-read my Blog post about that day and thought it curious how time changes our perceptions and memories.
Longs did kick our butts.
The heroes were real.
The Community was as responsible for our success (maybe more so) than any training or desire we may have had.
The lesson learned was about the effort.

I had been too tired at the time to offer any reflections on the day other than the points above. A year later, I may be ready….

This is my 3rd redo of this blog….I kept getting philosophical & deep and stuff and decided “what the heck is this”? I assure you there was plenty of “deep philosophy” running through my mind all thru the climb and the days following. Once the toenails grew back and the soreness faded the reality and fun of that day crept into my thinking.

I was fully prepared to fail that day. Truth…I could have turned and walked away at any moment during that hike. I quit the Boy Scouts, 2 jobs and smoking, but that’s about all the quit I’ve got in me. I have an aversion to the word “quit”….damn it.

My life hasn’t changed because of that day. But I think I have. First time in my life I know I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. Except sky diving…I can’t do that. Maybe eating snails….

Would I do it again? No. That day I accomplished all that I had hoped for and except for Rick’s broken ankle, all went off perfectly. It’s always stuck in the back of mind that while we were trudging to the top, someone had actually lost his life in a fall from the Diamond, just yards from us. I think we were meant to do Longs that day…I’m not sure there should be another climb for me. Reference the toenail and soreness comment from a few paragraphs back….

That’s all I’ve got, except to say that for the rest of my life, August 27, 2010 will always be the day I met myself and with the help of 20 something friends accomplished my “unthinkable pursuit”.

I offer again the quote by Teddy Roosevelt that John had sent me in the days before our attempt….

It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

The Leftbehinders

The mountains are there….in their sugar frosted goodness that gently reminds you of their rugged timelessness.
The snowy trails beckon….the crunchy, icy glazed coldness that leads you into a quiet you can feel.
The skies…a blue that hurts your eyes in there vividness.
The cold, crisp mountain air that makes each breath a moment of newness.
The silent sound of a snowfall on paths that have yet to feel the presence of man through the season.
The elk, blowing their smoke into the frigid air.
The scratch at the door of that loving, brown friend, Daisy, pleading to have a sniff at the fridge.
Susan and Michael and Jamie and Chris who make you feel like family returned.
Dinner at Smokin’ Daves… a feast!
The eagerness to explore the Park with friends.
The hike to the igloos. Laughing so hard you forget it hurts.
The Get Together….getting to finally, face to face, find out that you’ve know each other all along.
Friends, family that have gathered to share this special place in this special time.
The laughter.
The stories.
The love.
Though we’re “Leftbehinders”…we still feel apart of this specialness. Knowing full well that all who are there wish we could be there with them.
We’re thankful for the sharing of the week.
We’re jealous of their opportunity.
We’re happy you get to partake.
We “Leftbehinders” will enjoy this week through your eyes.
For us, there is a sadness that is overshadowed by the happiness we feel for your moment.
We wish you all the joy your hearts can hold!
Carpe Diem!!


My Blog:2010 in review

My blog host sent me a year in review summary on Poppy’s. I was stunned. I seldom pay attention to the stats cuz, well…I write for me and never really thought about who was reading it. I’m touched.
Not in the head, but in the heart.
Thanks guys for reading! Maybe I’ll be tempted to share a little more in 2011!

Here’s a high level summary of the overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2010. That’s about 4 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 21 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 28 posts. There were 48 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 23mb. That’s about 4 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was September 1st with 57 views. The most popular post that day was 14,255 Revisited.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for cute, cute pictures, cute pics, cute puppies, and cute puppy.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


14,255 Revisited September 2010


I am NOT OCD!! May 2010


About Poppy October 2008


Back to the real world. September 2010


The Pioneer Dude: One Semi Sweet Life….fish tacos! April 2010

A Cowpoke’s Christmas


“Grandpa….tell me about Christmas and Santa Claus!”
The old cowboy stopped rocking and looked down at his little grandson.
“Santy Claus? Christmas?”

“Yessir. We do Christmas cuz of him, don’t we?”

“Little feller….climb up here on my knee and I’ll tell ya all about Christmas.

Now, back in days ago, this here Augustus feller, he was the King of Rome, said he wanted a head count on ever body that was in his herd.
So, this young feller Joe and his wife Mary (she’s a totin’ a little ‘un inside her at the time) packed up and headed out for Galilee…I think that’s out in West Texas somewhere’s, where his great granddaddy Ol’ King David come from, to get counted. Now you needs to know that young Mary weren’t just carryin’ a baby…she’s a carryin’ God’s baby. It was sumpin’ special ol’ God was gonna do fer us folks here on earth. He was gonna come on down and live here fer a bit so’s He & us could get to know each other a tad bit better. That’s the little secret old Joe & Mary had betwixt ‘em.

Well, traveling on an old mule in the dead of winter with a momma-to-be is a slow thing and by the time they got to that dang Galilee place there weren’t no room ‘tall. No sir…nowheres! Well Ol’  Joe finally did beg a stall down to the livery to hole up for a bit an whiles they was awaitin’… ol’ Mary done had that baby. Right there in that barn!  Yessir! Jus like a mare a birthin’ a foal! Well, they dint have no fancy baby clothes like they do nowadays so they just wrapped him up in some old burlap bags and laid him down in a feed trough. Kind of a strange place for God to have his kid born, but there ya go…He does things like that now and agin.
Now it was dark o’clock by then and just outside town, up in the hills, was some cowboys keepin’ an eye on a herd a cattle they was driving down to the stock yards in San Antone. All a sudden the whole dang sky lit up bright as day and this feller just came out’n nowhere and jus’ stood in front of ‘em. He was all aglowin’ and had these big ol’ wings…kinda like a eagle and he said he was an angel! Imagine that! You heard of angels afore right? Not one a them sissy, baby girly looking ones…no sir!!! He’s as big as a horse! Scared the dickens outta them hard boys.
Now that fella just looked ‘em in the eye and told them ”Now you boys settle down. Ain’t nothing to be afeared of. I got some good news for ya’ll and ever body. Down in yonder town, a little baby was born who’s gonna save ya’ll from all the evil and bad stuff of this here world.
‘Cowboys….this is a sign to you from God: ya’ll gonna find a little one all wrapped in feed sacks and sleepin’ in a feed trough.’
And then all of a sudden was a whole sky full of them glowing fella’s and they was a singin’:
‘Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace amongst men who He’s mighty pleased with!’

And then, by golly, all them angels just was gone. **Snap** Like that! Them cowboys?? They was dumb founded. They just sat there like a cow poke’ll do, when finally the trail boss says t’others ‘I reckon we best head down and see what all the fuss them fellas was a talkin’ about is.’ So they saddled up and rode hard into the village. And by jingo they saw this big ol’ star a’shining on that stable and headed thatta way. They rode up to just outside and when they went in, sure enough there was Joe and Mary and that baby. And they was all slack jawed and cow eyed, cuz they knew this was sumpin’ special…sumpin’ a man only sees once in his life if’n he’s lucky.
After a bit they saddled up and strolled on back to camp, and told everybody they come across about what happened and what they saw. And everbody was amazed.

And that young ‘un is why we celebrate Christmas….the Baby Jesus…cuz He changed ever thing for the better.”

The boy looked up at Grandpa threw his arms around that old man’s neck and gave him a big old hug. He climbed off Grandpa’s lap then turned and asked… “So….when did Santa come along?”

Oh well….

Merry Christmas Everyone!!




I have been humbled epicuriously.

Tonight I attempted a grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza.
I did my due diligence and scoured the net for the perfect recipe and found it on the Food Network site. The recipe seemed simple enough…and I followed it to the letter!

The problem was the dough. I cheated and bought Pillsbury’s pizza dough that comes in the little tube.

Easy enough…I thought.

I sliced the red onion and cherry tomatoes wafer thin, grated the mozzarella and smoked gouda, cooked 2 chicken breasts in garlic and olive oil and then cut them in to precise little cubes of deliciousness. All that remained was to prepare the dough.
I spread flour on the counter top and popped the can open as the coals heated in the pit.

Aaarrrrggghhhh!!!! I felt like the village idiot! How can such a simple process as spreading dough turn into something Rubik Cubian??? I started with a perfect rectangle and went through every geometric and animal shaped form known to man! I almost stopped with the horse, but finally settled on Ohio.

I tossed Ohio on the grill and after 5 minutes pulled it off and brought in to add the goodies. I spread a thin layer of Head Country BBQ sauce, spread the Gouda & Mozzarella like a heavy winters snow, threw on the onion and tomatoes and placed chicken on all the metropolitan areas. Back to the grill for another five minutes of cooking and back in for consumption.

Ohio tasted delicious!

We felt bad for devouring a Red State…but it was dinner.

Next week I’ll try again…I’m hoping for round.

But if not….maybe California.

Or possibly a unicorn.