My Favorite Son-in-law

That would be Daniel. He really does have that distinction in our family for a couple of reasons. First, he married our daughter, Jennifer, with whom he created a pretty nifty family, and Second, he’s the only son-in-law we have. I suspect that #2 kinda solidifies the title statement but #1 makes the statement a little bit more genuine. In case you have a mind to wonder about our relationship with Daniel, rest your weary heads. We love Daniel. Of the five or six husbands Jennifer considered prior to marrying Daniel, he is by far the best choice. Now I’m compelled to report that Jennifer’s previous possibilities were part of her youth before age 19. Technically, that means her previous considerations really didn’t count. They were folly. Fun, but folly nonetheless. I’m sure Jennifer will raise a couple of eyebrows if she reads this because, though her suitors during high school were numerous, her interest was minimal. I think she had her eye on Daniel for a long time. After all, she was a cheerleader and Daniel was a stellar football player for the St. Helens Lions.

Daniel is the topic of this post because he got older. Yes, he had a birthday. I know, I typically celebrate birthdays on the proper day, but I’d just done Baylee’s and didn’t want to diminish Daniel’s accomplishment by running it on the coattails of Baylee’s B-Day.

So, today, in the quiet confines of my recliner, I deemed it was time to let you know another milestone has passed. Daniel attained the lofty age of 40-something on May 1st, or May Day to many people.

About May Day …

May Day originates from the Pagan festival of Beltane, and falls exactly half a year on from November 1, which also marks various neopagan festivals. The earliest May Day celebrations are thought to have occurred during the Roman era when youths would celebrate the coming of spring with a day of dancing dedicated to the goddess Flora.

I’m pretty sure Daniel’s parents didn’t plan for Daniel to be born on a pagan holiday, but that’s what happened. Thankfully, Daniel bypassed his pagan roots and developed into a rather magnificent man. We’re very proud of him.

For that, and many other reasons too numerous to recount herein, his Mother-in-law and I got him a new burger burner so he could cook for us. He’s good at that.

But, things had to be done first, to make the celebration possible. Just getting the BBQ wasn’t really the end. The patio area had to be rid of leaves, and we had to assemble the BBQ.

Leaves were blown willynilly around the yard by Lydia who has a secret love for power tools. Here she is, before makeup:

And, here she is after getting all cleaned up:

We assembled the BBQ the evening of April 30th, after Daniel went to work. Lydia and I did it and, according to the audience, had I listened more carefully to Lydia during the process, we’d’ve been done a lot sooner. But, I didn’t, so we managed to make the assembly process last deep into the night. It was fun, it was funny, and the audience (Diane and Jennifer) sat watching (laughing) the entire time, making fun of a retired, disabled Navy veteran, and didn’t take one photo. So, there’s really no proof about what either of us did, right or wrong. All we have are the questionable comments from three women who tend to stick together, regardless of the truth. Just sayin’.

The celebration started around 6 pm on the 1st with the arrival of me, and some cousins from Damascus, Oregon. In case you didn’t know, Damascus is near Boring both of which a just a smidge to the east of Portland.

Getting the first load of charcoal.
Smokin’ hot
I mean, really HOT!
Jennifer – the Inside Cook
Daniel – the Outside Cook

Here’re some more photos of the festive occasion:

See! She’s still laughing at me.
Grandma Linda (Daniel’s Mom)
Adam and Me. I tipped my head back so you could enjoy the full expanse of my forehead.
The Pinkston Trio – Ivy, Cora, and Autumn
Alicia – The Pinkston Trio Mom – My Cousin Debbie’s & Roger’s daughter.
Adam – The Pinkston Trio Dad

We all had a great time. Wisely, Diane felt better about staying home, away from crowds so I attended alone. She has a virtual appointment with her doctor on Thursday and doesn’t want to take any chances until she has more information about what her Chest CAT Scan revealed. Please pray for her with me. After she reads this I’ll correct all the errors she finds.

Please stay safe.

Baylee Jean Marie is Eleventeen

Baylee turned 11 today at the stroke of midnight. For years, I’ve told the girls, and other impressionable children, that it’s “Eleventeen”, the trial year for being a teenager. Then they revert back to 12, then 13. So far, they all disagree with me which isn’t a bad thing. I tend to lie to them all the time and leave it to their folks, and Grandma, to straighten things out. That leaves me out of the loop for being responsible. It’s my comfort zone.

Here’s a more recent photo of her frolicking near the Pacific Ocean on the beach where we originally dug her out of the sand after a large storm. We’re not sure where she really came from. That’s the story, anyway. She doesn’t believe that, either.

With the pandemic in full bloom around the world, she’s enjoying an exceptionally long summer vacation with her sisters and recently found out that, even though she didn’t finish the fifth grade, she will be advancing to middle school next school year and partake in all the drama that involves. I’m sure she will do just great as she will have Gilligan in 7th grade to help her through the turmoil of change.

We’re proud of our Bales and look forward to seeing what she grows into over the coming years. At this point in time, and for the past few years, her desire is to be a Doctorteachercop.

Works for me.

Happy 4:20 to Me and Diane

A few years before 4:20 became a code for “let’s smoke pot,” Diane and I were married on that day, which today happens to be our 52nd celebration of that union. Why certain people chose to use this code for their activities isn’t clear to me, they just did. It doesn’t matter. What’s important to me is that we claimed it first. So, there.

To make it to the wedding I went home on leave from the Navy between duty stations to capture my bride. I was transported from the USS Cleveland, off the coast of the Viet Nam DMZ to Danang where I awaited a day for my flight home. According to the folks who made my air reservations, Okinawa was my next duty station and that’s where they ended my flight. I was a long way from Warren and on a time limit so I was a little flustered. After talking to a lot of people, I convinced them that they owed me a trip to CONUS (Continental US) since I was transported from Viet Nam and I wasn’t going to spend my 30 days of leave on Okinawa.

I was booked on a flight leaving the next day and stayed awake the entire 30 some hours to make sure nothing changed and I didn’t miss it.

When I boarded the Air Force C-141 for my flight I wasn’t prepared for the cargo they were hauling back to the states. The plane was full of aluminum caskets containing the remains of GI’s killed in Viet Nam. I didn’t count the caskets, but I felt compelled to walk amongst them, reading the names of who they contained. It wasn’t likely that I would know any of them, and I didn’t, but there was a need in me to do that. There was no pomp and circumstance involved in their loading (to my knowledge) so my little tiny bit of recognition seemed to be important. This was in 1968 when military people were generally despised by the masses.

The flight ended for me in Anchorage, Alaska where I voluntarily jumped ship and got a flight south to Portland. In Anchorage I called Diane to alert her of my pending arrival and boarded a more suitable airplane to Seattle. When I arrived there, I called Diane again to let her know that I would be in Portland in about 30 minutes.

Although Warren is about an hour’s drive to PDX, Diane made it there before my flight. Part of that was because she was driving my 1966 Chevelle Sport Coupe. It was quick, and she was determined.

She gathered me up and got me home on the 16th or 17th of April. Thankfully, all of her plans were in place for the big event. All I had to do was show up.

She selected the 20th because both of our birthdays are on the 20th and she thought I would be inclined to remember it.

The wedding was awesome. I got to marry my high school sweetheart and Bethany Lutheran Church was filled to capacity for us. It was an amazing turnout for two skinny kids from Scappoose (me) and Warren (her).

My leave period ended very quickly, too quickly, before I had to catch my flight back to Okinawa. Diane couldn’t go with me because she didn’t have her passport. She did, however, fly with me to Travis AFB, her first time on an airplane.

When she got her passport we arrange her travel from Portland to Okinawa, a trip she had to make on her own. She was a brave woman, but I knew that.

Taking that first step with me turned out to be a 20-year career for her as a Navy Wife. She professes to have loved pretty much every minute of it. So have I, and we’re still enjoying our time together.

Here’s the last selfie I took of us together at Cape Lookout State Park. This is where we were when the pandemic began and everyone was ordered to stay inside.

Jeran

Today Jeran, our youngest child’s youngest child, is 20 years old. It’s a bit baffling to me that time has passed so quickly. Just a couple of months ago he was a needy little kid and now he’s all mature, a sophomore in college, and well on his way to being a pastor. We couldn’t be more proud of him.

He started out pretty small, and really cute, without a hint of the 6’3″ he has attained, and he’s still growing.

The covid-19 issue has put a halt to his education for now, but he’s home safe for which we’re thankful. With the stay at home dictate, which we have been doing religiously, we don’t get to see him, or his family, as often as we’d like but we’re erring on the side of caution, taking the pandemic seriously.

Last December Jeran came home for Christmas and joined us at a cabin we rented for everyone in Welches. That’s near Mt. Hood, in case you didn’t know. He almost didn’t get to come because he had a serious case of pneumonia and could barely breath, and had a temperature that wouldn’t go away. His doctor OK’d the trip on the condition that they keep a sharp eye on his oxygen level. If it dropped below a certain level he was to be taken directly to the nearest hospital. He was good, drank lots of water, spend virtually all of his time in a recliner (he couldn’t lay down or he would choke). Scary stuff.

Thinking back on he trial during that time sounds suspiciously like coronavirus, doesn’t it? I’ve pointed that out a number of times but am told that’s not what he had. If he had, everyone around him would have been sick: his family, and all of his class mates at school. still, I think that’s what it was. He had it for weeks, another similarity.

Considering our exposure to Jeran’s non-COVID-19 experience in December I think we all actually got it but our immune system saved the day and didn’t react as people are now. Instead, I think we were blessed by Jeran’s presence and gained immunity from what’s going on now. I can’t prove that, of course, but I’m going with the belief that it’s true. Even so, we are all observing the stay at home rules as best we can.

Exceptions are necessary trips to the grocery store which Diane does alone. I offer to go but she won’t let me. I think she’s afraid I’ll talk with someone. Another exception is golf. Doug and I have gone a couple of times and it’s really not a problem. We ride in separate carts which is actually silly because we spend a hour in a car together getting to the golf course. It’s actually OK because I’m not able to hit my ball as accurately as Doug.

I digress. This is about Jeran and now I must add underwear to my pajama ensemble to make me fit for a public appearance as we break the rules a little and go celebrate this momentous event.

I pray that everyone is keeping their distance and staying safe. I have semi-acquaintances in New York, and family in Connecticut so I’m thinking especially good thoughts toward them. Please help me and do the same for your loved ones.

Hunkering Down

Day 1 – Noon

Jerrie sensed a fever flourishing in his body so he coerced Diane into taking his temperature with her brand spanking new thermometer. It’s not one of the new battery powered ones, but old-school that must remain in an orifice for 3 minutes. In case any of you have forgotten, having something stuck under your tongue for three minutes is a really long time.

Diane set a timer on her phone for three minutes to make sure he didn’t fudge, just like she sets a 2-minute timer for him when he brushes his teeth.

Once the alarm signaled the end of the interminable 3 minutes, Diane reached out to remove the thermometer from his body but he semi-slapped her hand away so he could read it first.

It was up to 99.5. Since his normal temp is around 97.”something”, he declared that he did indeed have a temperature. Very unusual. He hasn’t had a temperature above 98 degrees in 20 years. That’s the truth. Honest.

He does not feel like there’s anything wrong other than the tinnitus that screams in his left ear non-stop, day and night. However, considering what’s going on in the world Diane’s going to keep an eye on him for a while.

Day-8 Noonish

The temperature I had was gone on Day-2 so I apparently survived this brief brush with the pandemic, or I was never really sick. We’ll probably never know, and that’s OK. We’re here, and we’re relatively healthy, dealing with the stress associated with being forcefully sequestered in our house.

Frankly, neither Diane nor I are having difficulty with sequestering. We just lounge around in our jammies and watch Hallmark movies all day.

We’re fortunate that we don’t live in a populous area so contact with possible COVID carriers is extremely unlikely. Still, we maintain our distance from each other and wash our hands pretty much every time we touch a doorknob. My hands are almost raw in spots and I’ve been using lots of hand cream to keep them semi-soft. I might just send some to Ron, our Son-in-law’s brother, who lives in Manhattan. Last word, he and his Wife are fine. I’m sure they are busy washing their hands a lot, also.

We pray that all of you who read this are safe. There is hope that we will soon be moving back to some sense of normalcy, but I think everyone understands that it will be a new normal for everyone. Whatever it turns out to be, let’s embrace it and make it work.

Just for fun, here’s the sunset last night:

And, here’s the sunrise this morning:

And, here’s a Happy Cat that I’m going to paint one day:

Coronavirus and Wasting Time.

Day 19 of isolation

Is it really isolation when you do it with 7 other people, 3 dogs and a cat? Yes, it is. All of the humans in the house have strict orders to not touch us, ever, and do not speak in our direction unless they are 10 feet away from us. So far it’s working OK, but the kids are getting rambunctious so it’s only a matter of time before someone gets tipped over the edge. We’ve already decided, as a group, if that happens the first one over will be chucked over the neighbors fence into their goat pen. It won’t be difficult, and they probably won’t mind because they like the goats. Just not sure if they will like living with them and eating their food.

Diane and I are still relatively healthy. Just some age-related stuff going on, but that’s been going on for years. It’s not a problem, just more noticeable now since we spend most of our time reclining, or in our beds, when thoughts are allowed to run wild while Diane fast forwards through the commercials. That’s only with the broadcast stuff, of course, so we toss in a movie once in a while to get a longer period of energy focused on the plot of whatever it is we’re watching. If it’s a Hallmark movie there’s not a lot of focus necessary because everyone knows the guy almost always gets the girl. The only trick with those movies, however, is that sometimes the girl gets the guy. Nice twist.

We’ve been reading a lot, too, but that gets boring after 4-5 hours. I test Diane’s patience once in a while … OK, I test them often … by asking her questions while we’re reading to see how many times I can get her to read the same paragraph over and over. That’s risky business, of course, but I’m not close enough for her to hit me and I can get out of my chair faster than she can should payback appear to involve physical contact. I learned this trick from my big brother Jack. He used to pepper me with questions while I was reading …

“What book are you reading?” … pause

“What’s it about?”… pause

“How many pages are in the book?” …pause

“What page are you on?” … pause

“Who is the author?”… pause

“Where did you get it?” … pause

You get the idea. It doesn’t take long before the target of those questions causes the recipient to escalate the conflict by raising their voice, or stomping out of the room without even a goodbye kiss. If you can focus, just ignore the questions until the perp gets tired of not getting answers.

We’re running out of food so we’re all investigating creative ways to capture and cook rats and squirrels. There are an abundance of them around here. We can hunt squirrels by day, and rats by night. That diet is, of course, a last resort. We’re just educating ourselves in case it becomes necessary. I’m pretty sure the neighbors’ goats, chickens, and ducks will hit the frying pan before we devolve into rat eaters. That’s a guess, of course. Who really knows what will happen when we run out of canned food?

The Littles got calls from their teachers telling them what’s going to happen since school is done for the school year. The youngest ones are getting Chrome Books so they can study on-line with their teachers which is a really good thing. The oldest, 6th grade, hasn’t shared how on-line schooling going to affect her free time but I suspect it will be equally as creative. They are all excited about getting back to learning.

I really try to keep their interest up but for some reason they don’t believe anything I tell them. That could be because whenever they ask me a question I address it like a challenge to include “Arizona” in my answer. It’s really easy …

“Grandpa, where are you and Grandma going?”

“Arizona.”

“Grandpa, where’s Grandma?”

“I think she went to Arizona.”

“Grandpa, have you seen Mom?”

“She said she was going to Arizona.”

“Grandpa, where did you get that?”

“Arizona.”

Their response to each of my answers is, “that’s not true,” or “no you didn’t.” But, they keep asking and I keep giving them the same answers. It passes the time and keeps them from asking more meaningful questions that I probably couldn’t answer correctly.

That’s it for now.

See you later.

Pajamas

I seriously considered providing my personal thoughts about the ongoing pandemic, but common sense cause me to put those thoughts aside. The reason, or course, is because I generally do not take things seriously, and this is a serious matter. Not something to make light of. So, I won’t.

Instead, I’ll share my newfound understanding about when it’s OK to wear pajamas beyond the perimeter of our yard.

Yes, I’ve been wearing my pajamas for a number of days – not the same ones all the time, but various “clean” ones. Until yesterday I was unaware that there was a dress version of pajamas that can be worn anywhere one wishes to go. Prior to this startling information I was perfectly comfortable going pretty much anywhere I had to go. Typically, that means I went to the mail box, an occasional trip to the drive through of a local fast food joint, or just a walk around the perimeter of our yard. You may have already surmised that those examples do not involve close contact with anyone. They were just isolated trips.

Yesterday, however, we went to Jennie’s and Daniel’s home to deliver some items we thought the girls of the house might find useful. As we went out the door Diane asked if I knew I was still in my jammies. I responded in the affirmative and continued to the car. Then she asked me if I was also wearing underwear. I said “no” because I didn’t think underwear were necessary when wearing pajamas. I mean, I thought we were going to Walmart* on the way home.

At this point I received a very specific message that when visiting people one must wear underwear, especially when visiting your adult children. To this point in my life I had been blissfully unaware that wardrobe restrictions of this kind also pertained to old people.

So, I went all the way back to our bedroom, put on clean underwear, went back to the car and was sent right back to the bedroom to put the underwear on under my jammy bottoms as the name implies. It was worth a shot.

Bottom line, it’s really hard to have fun with all this serious stuff going on. I’ll be very glad when it’s over and everything gets back to normal. Diane will be especially glad because as a form of protest against COVID-19, I’ve stopped shaving until it’s gone. Kinda dumb to protest against a virus, I know, but I really don’t like shaving any more and it’s the only thing I could think of at the time.

I seriously hope and pray that all of you are staying safe and healthy.