Memories Of My Father…Part 2

The more I thought about my dad this past Fathers Day the more stories of his life  flooding my thoughts. I must not let them go unrecorded, because I have two great-grand children and another little guy due in August, and these stories are for them. I would love to have these kinds of memories recorded, about my ancestors. If much is written about dad, maybe morsels will survive.Snippid Dad

Dad was a fire fighter for over 30 years in Dallas, retiring as a Captain (meaning he was in charge of his company during his shift of 24 hours or more). He was a Master Gardner, designed, built and  re-finished furniture, was an accomplished carpenter and house builder, and all around genius in my eyes. His entire life was spent in Texas. He was born in Kerens, and lived in Mt. Pleasant, Dallas, Allen, an Mineola.  The following stories are life events and stories scattered throughout his long and meaningful life.

After Dad retired he and mom moved to a small rural town, and bought a sizable lot  with a comfortable two bedroom home on it ,which he remodeled before they moved in. He also built a shop to accommodate his love of building things and wood working. He later turned a porch into a third bedroom. Dad planted a huge garden, and lots of fruit trees, and their yard was always well manicured.

Dad was never someone to offer uninvited opinions or advice unless asked. Their lot was on a corner of a busy thoroughfare. After living there for a number of years dad noticed that someone from the water department kept passing by showing some interest in their property. One day someone showed up to check their water meter. A few days later someone showed up to replace it.  Dad thought nothing of it. A few months passed then someone else from the water district showed up  and started poking around the wiring and installation of the newest meter. Dad’s curiosity got the best of him, so he walked over and asked what the problem was. The worker said “Mr. Dickson we have noticed that you water a lot, have that big garden, and all of those fruit trees that take a lot of water, and your water bill seems to be extremely low.” Dad smiled and said, “Reckon it could be because I have a well over there”, pointing to a small shed next to the garage?” Dad said the water district employee almost fainted. They had apparently overlooked the purpose of the small shed next to the house, thinking it was a storage unit. Dad got the biggest kick out of telling that story.Snipped dad and sibblings

My grandmother saw some of dad’s potential talents early on. On his 10th birthday she gave him a straight-edge, a right angle ruler, a hammer and a hand saw. He promptly built his first project, a shelf for his mother. He turned out to be a self-taught genius. (Dad is lower left in picture with two siblings, Mildred & Athol. There were 9 kids all together.)

Because of dad’s schedule over the years he had blocks of time off. During the war in the 1940’s he was home for 24 hours and worked 48. Later the hours changed to, on 24 off 24, and much later his schedule was, on 24 off 48. These hours allowed him to take odd jobs to do remodeling projects. He was always trying to use his talents to help provide for our family. Having a talented dad paid off for my brother and me as well. We were the only kids on the block who had wooden stilts.  When we mastered six inches off the ground he crafted us 12 inch ones. It was very cool in our eyes.

Dad’s garden was the talk of the town. If he was in the garden and someone passing by saw him, waved, and said, “Beautiful garden Mr. Dickson”, dad would usually say, “Wait a minute”, disappear and return with a paper sack, then fill it with produce for the admirer to take home. This used to make mom mad, because the local radio station had a segment where listeners could call in to sell items, and mom loved to try to sell some of their produce, and thought dad was getting in the way of her customer base. Every year I got a letter from her, listing how much their seeds and other related garden expenses were, and income from her radio sales. I wondered how she always knew the figures, until I helped her sell and close up her house, before she moved to WA, to live with me a few years after dad passed. Neatly taped inside one of her kitchen cabinets was a sheet of paper with years of expenses and returns neatly listed. I wish I had saved that sheet. A treasure like that would have gone nicely in my family album with an accompanying explanation.

While I was visiting, towards the end, dad came in with a funny look on his face. He said “Come out to the shop with me”. It was assumed that my brother would get dads table saw and tools. Dad said that mom fussed at him for not offering me any of his “stuff”, because she knew I had started refinishing furniture after taking some classes. Dad pointed to his work bench. He had placed several items in a neat row, and asked if I was interested in having any of them. There was a skill saw, right angle, drill and bits, a miter board and saw, and a finishing sander. I chose what I thought I could use, and he spent the next hour patiently telling me how to best use each item and how to care for my new treasures. It was a touching moment for me. We then packed all of my choices and had them in the post the next day.

Dad had a heart of gold when it came his friends in need. Once when I was visiting he said, “Let’s go for a walk. I want you to meet someone,”. We stopped by his friend’s house who was on dialysis three times a week. I found out later that dad visited with him at least twice a week, and stayed during the entire treatment just to help his friend pass the time with distracting conservation.

Dad was looking out for mom up until his last week on earth. He  made sure everything was in tip-top shape knowing he was running out of time. He had the house re-roofed three days before he died, and was still writing down instructions that he thought mom needed to know almost to the very end. Dad was an amazing and caring son, husband, father, brother, and friend to many, and was our champion until the very end. I hope my grandkids and beyond will enjoy reading these stories as much I have enjoyed remembering and recording them.

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Memories of My Father

Today I am overcome with the memory of my father and the things he did for me, my brother, my mom, his family and his community. He was a giant in many people’s eyes and my hero. His goodness touched so many lives, and I want to share a glimpse of his life.Snippid Dad.PNG

My father was a Fire Fighter for over 30 years in Dallas, Texas. He learned to be a Master Gardner, accomplished furniture maker, and remodeled every home we ever owned, and built one from scratch. He was the stability of our family. He taught me and my brother to be kind, fair, dependable, respectful, patience, and how to love family, through his actions, not his word. He and my mom were married a little shy of 50 years. Everyone who knew him knew if they turned to him for anything, that he was there for them, if it was at all possible. I remember days before he died a townsman pushed past mom and I to ask him his advice on how to re-finish a piece of furniture. We were trying to protect him, because he was so weak. During the tutorial dad gave the man dads eyes were sparkling with pride and pleasure, to be able to teach one last time. In that moment I realized dad had touched so many lives beyond his family. I was reminded that Jesus was a carpenter by trade and a great teacher as well. I think if dad had lived in that time in history they would have been great friends.

I remember when Dad’s parents were no  longer able to keep house for themselves, the siblings got together and decided two of the sisters would each take a parent to live with them. Dad did most of the carpentry  work on both homes when rooms were added to their homes, to accommodate their parents. Other siblings helped with the cost of the materials. Granddad moved in with Aunt Hughlene in Fruitdale, near Dallas, and Grandma went to live with Aunt Mary in Ft. Worth. Dad made sure Granddad got to see Grandma regularly. Dad and his family taught me that family was important by their respectful actions.

Roles were clear and divided for mom and dad. I remember visiting from WA state where I lived. Mom was gone and I needed a certain pan to make something in the kitchen. I asked dad where mom kept it. His reply cracked me up. He said “I don’t know. Your mom handles the inside and I handle the outside”.  And the outside he handled beautifully. He sent me a picture of his climbing roses and corn patch yearly. He raised an enormous garden, and had numerous fruit trees on their property. Mom was kept busy canning and freezing the produce of his labor.

Dad adored his grandkids to the fullest. My brother was a single parent in CA, and sent his two boys to spend many weeks with mom and dad in Mineola, Texas  during the summer months, when they were young. I have pictures of them playing in the dirt in the garden with dad looking on with a huge smile on his face. When I visited with my boys dad could hardly wait to take them fishing. Once when my oldest was visiting, he was about 7, dad let him drive his riding lawn mower. My son hit a small fruit tree and almost unearthed it. Dad ran over and propped the tree up with a stake to save it and said, “Let’s not tell grandma about this”. My boys remember him as being a happy, fun-loving Paw Paw,(dad’s favorite name for himself), who made sure the big tree in our back yard had a swing hang from a strong rope and branch, in our back yard, before his visit was over.

I remember when my husband and I visited one year my husband noticed that dad had a bird bath that he had built and many bird houses lining their property fence. John, my husband, mentioned them, as he was an avid bird watcher. Dad said that he couldn’t understand why birds didn’t nest in the houses. John said “The openings are not the right size.” After my husband explained that, for safety reasons, birds had requirements for openings, to keep predators out. An hour later dad had the proper holes on all of his houses, and reported later that his houses were being used.

Dad built a Parsonage for his church when he lived in Allen,TX. He shared a story with me that he thought was funny. After everything was completed the minister asked him to drop by. The minister said “Ralph we have a problem. You know how we are always trying to keep expenses down? Well when I open the closet the light goes on, but there is no way to turn it off when we close the door, and that troubles me.” Dad went over to a closet and opened the door. He pointed to a tiny protruding button and said, “There is you switch. When you open the door that button comes out and the light goes on. When you shut the door the button is pressed in so the light goes off.” They joked about that conservation for a long time. Dad was a master at coming up with tricks like that.

Today I sleep on a bed dad built of solid Maple. I also have a matching  double dresser and night stand. He made a bedroom set and painted it fire Engine red for mom, because that was her favorite color. A granddaughter now has that set. When he passed, and mom moved to live with me we tried to find homes for all of the items dad had built that we could not accommodate in my home. One such item was a coffee table built from walnut planks that had been in a post office in Oklahoma that a family member provided. A cousin got that jewel. It represented his dad’s side of the family (my dad and his dad were brothers) and his mother’s Oklahoma side of his family.

I could write a book about my dad. I am sure many children could do the same. I think family history is important to preserve, and writing stories about those who have passed and family albums are priceless ways to accomplish this. With the opportunities and options available today I hope many use them to preserve the past and present for future generations to enjoy. I spent the past few years making nine picture albums covering six generations for my seven grandkids and two nephews. Now I am busy using my writing skills to remember moments of loved ones that only live in my heart and mind. I want these memories to live forever for the generations to come. As sad as I am that my dad is not longer here his memory warms my heart.


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An Accidental Encounter Showed Me A Glimpse Of A Steller Friendship

I had just finished writing a blog on friendship and was ready to publish, when I got the urge to take a break, so I jumped in my car and headed to a local park for some sunshine and “fresh breeze”. I noticed an elderly lady sitting alone on a bench with some crumpled tissues in her hand. I needed to catch my breath, so I sat down next to her. After a moment I as “How’s it going”? Her reply started a conversation I will remember for a long time. She shared that she had recently lost her dearest friend in the whole wide world. I replied, “Would you like to tell me about her”? She smiled with tears in her eyes and said, “Indeed I would”Snip friends.PNG

She began by saying her friend had been in her life from childhood with a few years of separation. She said that she knew they had a deep bond the first time they were apart for a number of years, then reconnected, and simply took up where they had left off, kind of like having a tea kettle sit dormant then hearing it”s whisle after minutes on the stove. What bonded them was a history of being each others playmates, sounding boards, cheerleaders, partners in crime, and  sharing outlandish moments. They had shared secrets no one else was privy to. There was so much honesty between them that unless they were willing to hear the unvarnished truth they didn’t ask the question. They truly listened and heard what one another had to say, without judgement, or criticism. In a nut shell they appreciated, enjoyed and protected each other, warts and all. She smiled when she said “We reached levels of the highest form of communication, that is only allowed between very few in our lives.

About that time a group of college aged kids walked by with their faces buried in their  phones. She then shared that she was a university professor and taught classes in communication. She told me about a creative field trip she had just had with some of her graduate students. She took them to a special place where she had arranged the setting before hand. The students were told to pick a partner and go into one of the sound proof cubicles provided by the venue, without their phones or i-Pads, and share their thoughts on what they had learned so far in their college experience, then write a synopsis of what they shared. Immediately most of the students started hyperventilating , or having panic attacks, and one student actually passed out. Some were not able to pass the 30 minute mark. She shook her head with a sad look on her face. She said,” I think there are millions of empty shells walking around the streets pretending to be human. Talk about Artificial Intelligence. Artificial, yes, Intelligence,no. These young adults have no idea how to reach out and form friendships like my friend and I have”. She added, “I think the reason society is going down a rabbit hole is because they are in love with things and information that is not necessary truthful or real and are scared to death of human interactions. I am sure my students promptly warned their friends to avoid my future classes, at all costs. When I told my friend about the field trip she said,”Leave it to you to ruffle some feathers”.

Her story took a cute turn. As her friend’s health began to decline, and travel was out of the question, because they were again living miles apart, they jumped into the Skype world. Recently they had what was to be a short visit via a video call. It lasted three and a half hours. They laughed, reminisced, and talked about memorable events in their shared past. They recalled an unforgettable experience that was very public, when one, acting as Matron of Honor, had fainted during the singing of the Lords Prayer during the others wedding. The best man, the grooms father stepped around and grabbed the fallen soul  under her arm pits, dragged her down 6 or 7 stairs and out of the view of the guests, then popped back to his place next to his son before the song had ended. During that Skype visit  one even showed off a recent quilt  she had just completed. It was apparent listening to her that they had this “Friendship thing” down pat. They clearly had mastered the nuts and bolts of what makes a friendship work. Respect, trust, loyalty, and strong communication skills were obvious between them from what I was hearing.

She again started looking sad. I asked her if she had considered writing about her friend and their astonishing friendship. I could see her sadness fade as she recounted memories of their friendship. She immediately started smiling again. I said that maybe the world needed to hear a story that could be a model, a sort of ” how to build a friendship” kind of guide. She seemed to think that might be a possibility. We then exchanged phone number, thinking it would be fun to have coffee now and then. I was hungry to hear more of the captivating stories I had just heard and thought it might be therapy for her as well. As we parted I said ” By the way, my name is Marty”. She said,”My friends call me Izzy”.

After I returned home I walked over to my computer, read what I had almost published, and hit”delete”. My words seemed cold and impersonal after hearing such a rich rendition of Izzy’s powerful friendship. I glanced at my pile of notes I had been using for my blog and immediately shredded them. I started writing with the hope that I could capture the essence of the stories I had just heard and do them proper justice. I had  heard some deeply personal stories that captured a profound friendship that many never get to experience. I hope Izzy does write their story and that it lives on forever. Continue reading

Posted in Comunications, Emotional Health, emotions, Friendship, Generation, Goose that layed the golden eggs, Growth, Healthy expressions of love, Human Nature, Journalism, Life Process, Respect, Smart Phones, Snowflakes, Society, Stories from the heart, Therapy writing, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing as therapy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA Flag Day … Fly it proudly across America

Anyone who disrespects our flag should be kicked out of the United State in my opinion. I know this is not possible because of our freedom of expression. But how can anyone expect the rewards that being an American affords with such disrespectful actions? I personally could not be in the same room with such a person, would not hire them, or want to do bussiness with them. Our flag is a symbol of our great land and represents many sacrifices that have been made to keep us safe.I would never show disrespect for anyone else’s flag, and if anyone cannot reciprocate they are my enemy even if our great nation allows such foolishness.

Atridim News Journal

The American flag…Old Glory…The Star-Spangled Banner flies proudly over my Arizona Oasis every Flag Day. It reminds me of the great land in which all Americans have the privilege of living in freedom.


In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that day in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.

On June 14, 1777, less than one year after Betsy Ross had received the order from General Washington to make the first flag, the Second Continental Congress passed a flag resolution stating:

Resolved, That the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.

The first national observance of Flag Day was on June 14, 1877; 100 years after the flag resolution was…

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Parenting Has An Expiration Date

I see parenting as having four phases in guiding children to becoming succesful adults. I call phase one, THE FOUNDATION, phase two, EXPLORATION, phase three, REBELLION AND SEPARATION, and phase four, LETTING GO. The last phase is the time parenting should “expire” and be replaced with friendship. Each phase is approximately seven years  beginning at birth.snipped kids, parents, and grandparents

Phase one is the foundation a child needs to stand on for a lifetime. Babies’ only awareness, in the beginning, are the five senses they are born with, hearing, sight, taste, smell, and feel. I believe when these five senses are favorably met by the infant-parent exchange a sense of trust begins to develop. The child is bombarded with a vast number of learnings that the parent can only stand back and watch and be cheerleaders, like coaxing them to turn over, crawl, walk and begin trying to communicate with sounds that end up turning into words.  Later during this phase parents have opportunities to introduce social adventures, like play dates, taking them on adventures, and outings, and can introduce simple games and activities that help kids gain confidence in themselves. Personalities have been developed by the end of this phase. Consistency is needed here and in All future phases. At the end of Phase One parents have put in place a road map that will impact their child’s future.

In phase two parents get to see a hint of  their children spreading their wings. Parents get some support in parenting, because teachers outside the home are added to the mix. Entering the education system adds many new experiences. Parents need to be onboard and involved with what the kids are taught in their schools. Children can’t distinguish between quality education and nonsense at this age, so parents need to be VERY involved with the school they select for their child. This phase is also a time sports, music lessons, and other creative activities come into play in the childs lives, another step towards independence for the child. Again the parent gets to be cheerleaders. Phase two plants the seeds for understanding the importance of responsibility, values, respecting self and others, consequences, and more. They are introduced to societies’ “safe keepers”. Here parents can explain the jobs of firemen, policemen and even why an ambulance  screams bye with sirens blaring. During this phase children love to learn and  ask lots of questions about what they are seeing outside their home base. They are ripe for learning so explain, explain, explain. Being plugged into children’s lives by listening to things that seem like nothing at all can be powerful glue that bonds and builds trust, so that when something important comes along the child naturally turns to the parent and not someone who might not be trust worthy.

In my model phase three happens between ages  fourteen and twenty-one. Here is where rebellion and separation emerges. Parents get a birdseye view of what their kids have learned and who they are becoming. They get to see the lessons they have tried to teach their kids and see what has  made the grade. This segment can be bumpy, but is necessary. I think rebellion is triggered by the child’s review of their experiences, and begin placing  values on what they have learned. Some of the conclusions they come up with are not always accurate, as their brains won’t be fully developed until they reach the age of 25. They sometimes can’t see around the corner, so to speak. This is also a time when they probably think they know it all, and this presents a perfect time for healthy debate between parent and child for guidance. Formal education is coming to an end during this phase and adulthood is just around the corner. Also be reminded that children need understanding and forgiveness the most when they least deserve it, a great reminder for this period.

The last, and forth phase is when the process changes dramatically, and the need for parenting expires. This period is most liberating for the kids and sometimes the hardest phase for parents. This is a time to drop the role of parenting, and go in a different direction, to become friends. This is a time to stop offering  guidance and direction unless asked. Parents need to have faith that they have done their best as parents. Succesful parents have raised children who have developed enough confidence to jump out of the nest and fly away into uncharted waters, without fear. When a parent keeps wanting to make decisions for their kids, and interfere, they are saying that they think they did a lousy job at parenting, and are trying to get a “Redo”.  If any parent resists “letting go” by saying, “I want to protect them from making mistakes”  remember that they  themselves probably made mistakes at this time in their  lives, and survived. Let these young adults make mistakes. They will survive as well. Some of the greatest lessons come from stumbling. There is nothing more profound than making a mistake and figuring it out, and kids deserve this valuable experience. Don’t cheat them!

One place I hope parents never go is to try to piggyback on their kids. Wanting to live through your children’s accomplishments and lives is both selfish on the parents part  and burdensome to their children. And wanting them to be just like them in beliefs and goals is not realistic for either. They need to feel free to be authentic.

Young adults have a responsibility in Phase Four to take an active part in their development. I think this is a time to put all beliefs and values learned over their life on the table, so to speak, and reevaluate them. Many beliefs were learned when there were  no filters in place, that experience teaches.  Another point that fits here is that sometime kids pick up ideas that are false, or they get programmed with thoughts or beliefs that can cause roadblocks in their future. I call this baggage. These metaphorical bags need to be emptied and repacked as many times as necessary until the parcel supports the young adult’s life goals. This might be a great place for conservations to materialize between parent and young adults. This could be a huge opportunity to reinforce the transition from parenting to friendship that could be rewarding for both.

Each parent needs to remember that they only can live one life, and that is their own. No perfect parent exists. Hopefully they have taught their kids many tools for success. Kids don’t always absorb all of the lessons they are offered, but the seeds have been sowed and are there for future learning and growth. Hopefully parents are succesful in this fourth phase and can be a valuable part of their adult children’s lives in positive and supportive ways. Developing friendships with adult children is packed full of magnificent rewards.

Posted in Blogging, Cause & Effect, Child Rearing, Comunications, education, Emotional Health, emotions, Family, Fear, Generation, Growth, Healthy expressions of love, Human Nature, Life Process, Parent love, Parenting, Phases in parenting, Problem Solving, Psychic, Purpose, Society, Stories from the heart, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Talking and Listening are Worlds Apart………..HEARING IS AN ART

I wrote this in Sept. of 2014 and think this is full of wisdom. I relay a list from someone calling out to be heard. Tell me what you think.


Communicating from my heart and soul about being Bipolar is my passion and goal.  Having begun to blog about my illness, and reading others sharing their journey as well, has been liberating for me.   I do not feel alone. I believe those of us willing to open up and tell our stories are giving those who are truth seekers a gift of knowledge and understanding of mental illness that professionals can not deliver.

I think there is an art to HEARING that many struggle with.  I saved an article that I read years ago that highlights this notion, from a girl who wrote her heart out with a list of questions.  I want to share it with you.

“When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me and you begin…

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The Death of Conversation … by Smart Phone

Good grief we need some laughter but this is kinda sad. This pairs nicely with my blog on social media changing freindships below.

Atridim News Journal

What happened to the times when people actually talked to each other? It seems like everyone has their head stuck in their smart phone. They can’t drive, walk, work, eat or even relax without one planted in front of their face. I present a few comics to demonstrate the ‘The Death of Conversation … by Smart Phone’.



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Posted in Cause & Effect, Comunications, Death of conservations, Friendship, Human Nature, Media, Smart Phones, Snowflakes, Social Media, Society, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment