While sorting through some old paperwork tonight I came across a handmade valentine from my daughter. It was small, on purple paper and covered with red markers and silver glitter. She had drawn a heart around her name. It looks like something she would have made when when she was five or six years old. In her little handwriting she had penned,

“I love you when I see you.
My heart comes out.
Happy Valentines
Love Emma”
I had to stop what I was doing for a while to consider this. What a bold and wonderful way of expressing how a little girl feels.Every father always hopes and prays that he can inspire this type of devotion within his children…and especially a little girl.

I guess every dad dreams that he will always be the only man in his daughter’s life. I know that someday she’ll find someone else who will ‘make her heart come out’ and I’ll be relegated to a new role. And that is as it should be.

But at least for now…I’ll cherish where we are and strive to remain worthy of a little girl’s love.

Well it’s official. The dog days of summer have arrived. After 26 years in West Texas I thought I knew something about the heat. I always thought that the “dry heat” versus “damp heat” thing was mostly psychological - but I think I was wrong.

I’ve lived in some hot environments before but never inside a broiler oven. Whew! It’s time to find a cool spot, a tall cold drink, and a way to keep from looking like a lobster. I wanted to quickly retreat to my “Harry Potter Closet” of an office and sit under the fan. (Yes - I actually do maintain an office under the stairs.)

I know it’s hot for the humans, but the dogs have to be feeling it too. Imagine a fur coat that you can’t take off and being dependent upon someone else to make sure that you stayed hydrated and out of the heat as much as possible.

The Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department put on their official Dog Days of Summer Event at Cannonsburgh today. Laura Woods invited me several weeks ago and I promised her that I’d make it. I’m glad that I keep promises because the heat almost drove me back indoors. The dogs honestly seemed to enjoy it. Of course these are animals owned by people who care enough about them to brave the day so that the dogs could have a good time and a social experience. What some people do for their pets. My little Pappillion was grateful that I cared enough about her to let her stay under the A/C and forget the rest.

One young man had taught his little terrier to ride the skateboard with him. After a while the little dog figured how to get a free ride on his own. Don’t let anyone tell you that dogs aren’t smart. It’s fun to watch a boy and his dog. You could sense the love that existed….and it ran both ways.

Overall I’d say that the day was a success. A good time was had by the four legged ones as well as their bi-ped companions. Despite the burdensome heat everyone had a smile on their faces (at least I think it was a smile - a pant can look very similar). Maybe it won’t be so hot during next summer’s dog days.


One of my favorite images from the day was the young daughter of a friend of a friend. She was hot…sleepy…and ready to cool off like the rest of us, however, she seemed to be taking it all in through those dark little eyes.


August 1st always brings a moment for reflection. In 1975, on August 1st, I lost my mother after a short illness. At 17, I was the only remaining child at home and handled things to the best of my ability. It seems strange that this was 30 years ago. She’s been gone almost twice a long as I knew her. Time is such a strange beast.

It was a sad time, however, there are countless thousands who have suffered more and come through. Even at that age and under those circumstances I knew that God would take care of me - somehow - probably through someone else.

I remember the struggle and sitting in the midst of what I would refer to today as a ‘Doubt Storm.’

    Did I do my best?
    What am I going to do now?
    Where do I go from here?
    What about school?
    What about everything else?

Charles, my oldest brother, came through and provided a place for me until I graduated. I’m sure that mistakes were made - but I’m also absolutely sure that he did the best he could.

Anyway August 1st brings a time for reflection. I always wonder what she would have thought of how things have turned out. What would she think of the daughter-in-law and grandchildren that she never saw? What would she be doing now if things had been different?

I don’t know much but I do know that some questions will never be answered on this side of the gate. After all, death is a door that ushers us into a new reality. Nothing temporal is truly permanent - we only part to meet again…

A couple of years after Lisa and I were married I began to get an interest in finding out about my heritage. For some reason that had never been important in our family and, at that time, I didn’t even know my grandfather’s name. When the thought of children came around I began to feel a real need to discover something about our history so that I could pass it on to my kids. With this motivation I began to dig in.

Having spent the last 20 years studying my family’s genealogy I still find myself fascinated by the things that I find. I found that my 5th great grandmother was Hannah Boone, the younger sister of pioneer Daniel Boone. Over time I’ve added literally thousands of people and hundreds of family stories to my data files. One day I’ll work and get these compiled and published (just one more item on my to do list).

My oldest brother had not been exposed to much of our family history other than a few casual conversations that we’d had over the years. When he and his wife came to visit us this summer I told him that we needed to spend a day uncovering some roots that he was unfamiliar with. We drove to Kentucky and saw the Old Mulkey Meeting House where she was a founding member and was eventually buried on the grounds.


Hannah Boone
As I stand there reading the old headstones and reading the histories of such people I begin to wonder about how they lived, loved, worked and thought. The questions roll through your mind and you ask yourself…
What separates me from her besides 6 feet and 260 years?
How are we alike and how are we different?
What were her dreams and aspirations?
Did she see them fulfulled?
What would she think if she saw where her progeny have traveled over the last quarter millenium?
Would she be proud or ashamed?
If she had a chance to do it again, what would she do differently?
As I think on these matters I look another 260 years down the road and wonder about what the future holds for my own decendents. Will the day come when a 10th generation decendent of Hannah stands over a marker wondering about me the same way?It’s impossible to understand the inner most thoughts of those who have gone before us and it will be unlikely that those who follow us will come to understand all of the things of which we’ve dreamed. I’m sure that my motivations and aspirations will be as much a mystery to some future generation as her’s are to me. But, I believe also that it is up to each of us to do the best we can with the time and resources with which we’re blessed and to live a life in such a manner that our children…and their children will be proud.


I don’t know who my grandfather was; I’m much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.
Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)

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