Grand Pockets’s Blog

Genealogy, Family, Poetry and Peeves

Christmas Gallery 2008


Its snowing like crazy outside now, already a couple inches down and more falling fast! It’ll be sledding time tomorrow!

I can go out with the grandkids and fall on my tookus a half dozen times just to let them laugh. Kordell will be happy – he got a new Rocket Sled from Santa.

Attack of the Paper Rippers

Attack of the Paper Rippers

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Santa themed in blue and silver this year but all the kids can think of is getting to those gifts!

They were ripping ’em open as fast as they could, then tossing them into piles behind them,

forgotten once open so they could get at the next one.

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02ohboy Hey, hey the gang’s all here…sister Lucretia, her hubby Joey, home on leave from the Army, and Renee, baby nephewDan Jello (DeAngelo but I like I’ve said, Grandpockets nicknames em all), Sadie and Ezzie – and the paper shredding is just getting started.

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03tired A little tired from all that hard work ripping stuff open. No wait, just examining her new Cabbage Patch doll ver-r-ry closely, I guess….

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04giddy We’re happy, we’re happy, oh, so happy, we are!

Lots of presents, lots of presents, makes us happy so far

at least ’til we’re sixteen and wanting a car…

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05ezzie Ezzie is getting into it, when you’re 2 the paper is almost as much fun as the presents inside, well, almost, but if you get a Princess package…Wow!

Princess is the hot thing for our girls, I’m ready to puke princess pink if I see one more gee-gaw done up in “Princess”.

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06takeoff Niece Ezzie is going to ride that dman bike, now, inside or out – and woe to the fool who gets in that girl’s way! Up and down the hall, into the kitchen, and did you know, if you’re 2 and very small you can turn a bike so sharply it will make a huey in the bathroom?

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07jetlag Grandpockets isn’t stunned. Really, I always have that glazed over half dead look on my face. The T-shirt was Sadie’s gift to me – it has her picture on it and on the back it says “Daddy’s Little Princess” Can you say thumb and wrapped around?

I try not to but she can…and does. Her mama was gonna spank her the other day and she twists around and says  “I want Daddy to do it!”  Tell you anything?

08more Dan Jello says “I wanna stay! I wanna stay! More presents, damn you! Get me outta this monkey suit! Do you hear, me? SomeBODY pick me up! Now!”

And someone always does, too. Babies always get there way.  Spoiled li’l things.

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09snow Grandson Payton thinks he’s slick. He thinks he’s going to get Grandpockets with a snowball if he acts innocent. There is no innocence in grandchildren. They are devious, cunning little creatures.

He’ll pelt me…I’ll pelt him. It’s a war no one can win. See? Lessons in world politics right in the front yard.

10tastesgood Yuck! @!*@! You ate that right off the car! I wonder how many hydrocarbons a grandchild can ingest before becoming an environmental hazard in their own right? It’s not the hydrocarbons he swallows I am so worried about. It is the noxious emissions.

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11snowball Sister Cissy hasn’t learned how to be devious yet. She telegraphs her intentions quite clearly. Unfortunately, the necessity of snapping the picture required that I stand bravely in the line of fire. I think she knew that. Perhaps she’s more devious than I thought. She’s a child creature. Of course! She is both brazen AND devious! You can’t win with these little guys – on a primal level they are smarter than us – and they know it!

12coldplay Sadie has retreated to the safety of the car. I will still get her back. It will be a most satisfying splat, too. A big wet gishy snowball right upside her pink hooded lil’ head. What worries me is I think she is luring me on. Payton must be lurking behind the car. Ezzie is smart. She’s getting the hell outta Dodge.

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13cleanup Just when you think you might have to put ’em back under that rock they came from they go and clean up after themselves. Ezzie shows her housekeeping skills. If the child learned to vacuum outside of that one single track it would help, but, oh well, at she does help. You may have notice that my children – nieces, nephews, daughter, all love being half nekkid. We consider it a major accomplishment to just keep a  diaper or shorts on the damn little nudists.

14pooped It all just wore Dan Jello out. A kid can only scream at adults for so long then ya gotta get some shuteye so you can get up fresh and start all over again. Babies – ya gotta love ’em. The only creatures known who do nothing at all except shit, scream, snack and sleep but manage to look cute doing it.

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15end And finally Christmas Day is done,

the gifts unwrapped,

the snow wars won

It’s time to snooze without a care

In hopes St. Nick will soon be there.

After all it’s never too early to start dreaming of next year…

grandpockets1

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December 28, 2008 Posted by | Christmas, family, humor | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day After Christmas


Day after Christmas and the trees’s coming down

There’s need for the room for the toys we found

when the presents were opened and scattered around.

The kiddies are happy, their parents are shot,

and toting their checkbooks and cryin’ a lot.

From my son in the desert to my son in New York

The whole family’s stuffed with turkey and pork.

Later we’ll argue and plead for the lack

of receipts that we need to take presents back.

©CLE2008

Finally, it’s over. As much as I love the season and the culmination of the planning, budgeting, shopping, card sending, phone calling and traveling that is Christmas Day, I have to admit it’s a bit of a relief when it’s over. I’ll recharge within a few days, though and be ready for next year’s celebration.  Mandi, my daughter,  got a ring for Christmas! Seeing as how its the first boyfriend she’s had that I actually like I was pretty pleased. Niece Ezzie is riding her new bike around the dining room and up the hall threatening to upend anyone foolish enough to wander into her path. So what are a few dents in the walls compared to her laughter? My son Jay called from Arizona, my daughters Aimee and Mandi and their families showed up and somehow when they all left I had 2 granddaughters left over. They are 11. When they are together life is a gale of giggles, a storm of screeches. Ever notice how 2 children don’t double the trouble? They square the possibilities for mayhem. I think their mothers left them on purpose.

grandpockets1

December 26, 2008 Posted by | Christmas, family, humor | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ho Freakin’ Ho


Ahhhhh….coffee!

Up at 5 something a.m. with my niece Ezzie tiptoeing into the room and saying “Time to open up!” Time to open up! Unca Chuck!Aunt Nee! Time to open up!”  Any other day and I’d have trouble waking but it IS Christmas and I am an old kid so I awake easily, make the kids wait while I fix hot cocoa and pass out the cups of steaming chocolate and then the ceremonies…passing out gifts…the unwrapping…the oohs and ahhhs that follow. A scene that repeats year after and never jades.

Now I’m looking at the path of package destruction and wrapping paper, and have the ham in the oven and the potatoes on the stove, the pies fixed and the dinner prepped, so I can take a break. Now I’m hitting that post morning “Ho-freakin’-Ho” Santa lag, tired, contented, and trying to ignore the cost of all this, telling myself there is no price tag on joy. Ho Freakin’ Ho.

Years ago when I was maybe 5 or 6 my Dad did something my mother almost killed him for. He gave his whole paycheck one early December to a man whose house had burned to the ground. He was from our  neighborhood but a total stranger. Dad simply told him, here, you can buy your kids some Christmas anyway and signed over his check. Dad had an impulsive generous streak in him. He told Mom – our Christmas is mostly paid and we’ll figure out the bills – they have nothing. The thing I remember most was Dad not thinking it was any big deal what he’d done. Someone needed the money more than we did. It was, for my Dad, that simple.

A few years later, I ended up in the hospital with rheumatic fever, dad lost his job, the economy had hit a lull and he couldn’t find work for the first time in his life. They’d bought a house in Lima, Ohio, on North Detroit Street, and after a few months they were in danger of losing it. Christmas loomed, dad grew depressed (the only time in my life that I remember him sick and depressed, he was normally always hale and energetic). He worried about the house, how he’d buy Christmas for his 4 kids and wife, and even how to feed us. He wouldn’t even think of the public dole. Ours was, to quote a Dickens title, a “Bleak House.”

A couple weeks before Christmas, a man knocked at our door. He was the same man my father had helped and he handed Daddy a check for a pretty considerable amount in those days – I know it was more than Dad had given him though I’m not sure how much it was exactly. And he told Dad he’d become pretty successful since the fire that took his house and he had a friend in Lima, a businessman looking for a salesman for his office supply company. He’d already recommended Dad. The next morning my dad had work, and the money was enough for us kids to have a great Christmas and to take the pressure off the bills.

A true story. A lesson I’ll carry to my grave. Giving – money or kindnesses done, tithes or volunteer work – is exactly like planting a garden. You never know for sure when it will bloom, but it will, my friends. It surely will.

grandpockets1

December 25, 2008 Posted by | Christmas, family | , , , , | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Its Christmas Eve and the stockings are flung through the air by the stairs,

and the dinner is burning and so are my heirs,

its another year past and they don’t get my stuff,

Like the gifts neath the tree aren’t really enough.

Its snowing outside so the scene is all set

For that one to show up that I’d knew I’d forget.

They’ll have a big package all trimmed with a bow

Can I re-gift real quick so they won’t ever know?

Here’s my wish that everyone who might read this has a Merry Christmas, a wonderful time with the people you most care about and a tummy full of ham or turkey or punkin pie….

grandpockets1

December 24, 2008 Posted by | Christmas, family | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auld Lang Syne at Christmas Time


Christmas is a time folks often think of family and their memories of growing up. For parents with grown children it’s remembering when your own kids were little ones. My kids are flung from New York City to Arizona, and soon my son Jay makes his second meddle eastern tour (no that’s not misspelled). Besides the 12 billion pounds of paper litter we created on Christmas mornings, we also learned lessons I hope each remember forever – like how to seem really glad to see Uncle Bernie and his obnoxious brood again. Really, family is the place you learn you CAN tolerate anyone for even a short time. Even me and my obnoxious brood, Uncle Bernie. Christmas reminiscing triggers a spate of unrelated memories about the kids growing up –

Like the time when the boys were little guys and I told them we would grow a rock garden.

I took them out back and they all selected a rock which we then carefully “planted” under a soft maple, between two gnarly roots protruding from the ground that made a natural border. We sprinkled some sand on the rocks and watered them and at night while the boys slept I snuck out and replaced their rocks with a little bit bigger ones. They were so excited to find their rocks had grown! We raked and sanded and watered those rocks for a couple of weeks and every morning, bright and early, they’d all three rush out in their pj’s first thing to see how much their rocks had grown over the night.

It finally reached the point that I was lugging 3 small boulders from the Lake in the back of my truck each night, I’ll bet they were about 10 pounds each when I finally told them. Actually Frankie, the oldest, became suspicious first and then I started laughing and told them how I had tricked them and they acted all mad and then laughed and we took the rocks to the Lake and tossed them in so they made a huge splash – mostly on me.

Or how Shayne took his car onto the Lake one January night when it was frozen over but not enough for a car and it fell into the Lake, sinking halfway across the Lake. It took three tow trucks and a houseboat converted into a barge for the occasion to haul it out. Totally trashed of course. His explanation was that him and his buddies wanted to go ice fishing but it was too cold so they thought they’d sit in the car and fish out the windows with the heater on. Ingenious and stupid at the same time. Thankfully they all got out of that one alive – soaked and blue about the gills, though.

Or the time Richie climbed the KKJO radio tower on Faraon Street and got to the top only to discover he was afraid to climb down. After all he was 300’ in the air on what was basically a super tall aluminum ladder. That stunt took the police and fire department to extricate him. He just wanted to see what it looked like from up there. And I understood that. I would have done the same thing at his age. It made perfect sense to me and it pissed off the cops when I told them that. He got a trespassing charge but it was dismissed after a period of probation. I still think they need a higher fence and better “kid proofing” – what red blooded boy wouldn’t be challenged by such a ladder into the sky?

I remember the back-to-back years at Benton when Frankie and next year Jay were Homecoming Kings and their girlfriends Jenny and Rachel were Queen. 2 brothers in back to back years is pretty special. It is also pretty damn expensive. I suggest better spacing methods between children for future parents. You need the time to recoup your expenses.

Now they’re all grown, solid contributing citizens with kids of their own….and my revenge is complete…

December 22, 2008 Posted by | family, humor | , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Holidays


Happy Holidays to everyone! Christmas is just around the corner and here in Saint Joseph, Missouri it looks to be a white Christmas. Most of our shopping’s done, the tree’s been up for a couple of weeks, the puppy chews happily on the wrapped packages and the cat chases him under the branches at least once a day. Keeping the ornaments on is the challenge but the pets are too much fun to watch to try and stop them.

My reason for starting a blog? I hope to put a lot of genealogy online, biographies, documents, abstracts but done in a bit different way than the usual databases do – a bit more entertaining, or irritating, depending on your viewpoint.  Commentary about my family, its history and characters, good and bad. Besides these bios and the supporting documents & photos, I hope to add my reviews of genealogy books, sites, and software (I’ve read, visited and tried tons of ’em) from the viewpoint of one who is not a computer savant but an ordinary guy who just wants to research family history effectively.  Hey – if  I can follow a book, navigate a site or use a piece of software effectively anyone should be able to.

I wanna rant, too, from time to time.  Like the need for World Connect and other gedcom databases to add an “ignore this stupid person’s databases” button you can click when you find one of those incredibly dumb collections of names that have moronic impossibilities abounding. Very few families have ever had any ancestors with children born before their parents.  You wouldn’t know that, though, from a LOT of the gedcoms you’ll find out there.  Oh – but, Chuck….. there IS a disclaimer to verify and do your own research before accepting. Research? Huh? It takes research to figure out that Junior wasn’t born before Senior? My Lord, why would anyone want to post a gedcom that stamps a big red stupid on their forehead?   Anyway, you get the point…brickwalls are for the genealogy section, brickheads for the rant section. If no one even reads the rants that’s fine. It’s still therapy, like the letter you write but don’t mail, just to get things off your chest.

Then there’s the immediate family stuff, you know, Kids, grandkids, reunions and family news. Most people will wanna just skip this stuff unless stories about my cat chasing the chihuahua chasing the cat chasing my daughter  is the heart-warming kinda schlock you really enjoy reading.  It’s my family and I love them, and, so far, they tolerate me as a kind of family relic, like the old lawnmower they used to cut the grass with that is still in the shed. Neither of us work right half the time,  both emit foul odors, strange noises and bring back fond memories for them.  If you’re here looking for something genealogical just skip over these, please.

Finally, in the spirit of self aggrandizement that has become the web, I reserve the right to toss an occasional poem on the archive pile. .They’re really good. Trust me. I wouldn’t lie, or exaggerate, or blow my own horn. They are so good I’ve decided to publish them here for the sake of a wider audience! And some of my family qualify as a ‘wider’ audience and will probably be the only ones who suffer themselves to sample a line or two.

First post is in the bag, folks, and Santa will soon be filling his bags and his sleigh. I sincerely hope everyone of you who read this missive a blessed and happy end of year, no matter what your belief, or where you are. Peace be with you.

Grandpockets

December 19, 2008 Posted by | family | , , , , | Leave a comment