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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The dead body

Walking to get my diet coke refilled I almost ran into a body. 

About seven local cop cars kept me from an actual face-to-face - coming between me and it. Him. I didn't realize that the issue the officers were there for was a body until after I had purchased my drink and started back on the trek to work. I did see them bagging up what must have been some evidence from the scene. 

I suppose I should have seen that there was a problem and steered clear of the area, but I walked right through it like Mr. Bean and probably looked just as silly.

I asked the officer in charge what the issue was and he told me that there was a deceased male and that was all he could say at that time.

For just a minute I felt like Jessica Fletcher. It was a cloudy somewhat rainy day and everyone was smiling just like a Utah version of Cabbet Cove.I sent a brief write-up to KSL and as I did I remembered seeing a young man in that same area earlier today. I only noticed him because he was on the drainage lawn area walking toward a bush and he looked at me as I passed. 

There. That's it. I don't remember anymore about him.  Nor do I remember the time. It could have been one of my three trips to the convenience store, but I would put it at my first trip, so that would have been probably 11:30-ish. 

Am I a little freaked out by it?  Maybe a little. 

I am reminded of a friend of mine who took his like two years ago and was discovered the next morning. He killed himself knowing that his friend would discover the body after a short while and take care of things.  

Great love and trust in his friend. Just thinking about it makes me sad all over again.  

Its a reminder to me that we are living in the real world with real issues and real consequences. There is not a place that is exempt from danger, or even nature for that matter. My resolve is strengthened each time something like this happens -- my resolve to bolster myself and my loved ones so we all can take the bad with the good and really live. 

I will go home and hug the kids and say a little prayer for the family of the deceased.  I will say one for my own family.

Glad the body isn't me. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Prodigal dad takes the trash out

Based on recent events, I have come to the conclusion that I am trash. Bottom rung. Reality TV show fodder.

All I need is a couch on my porch.

Frankly, a couch on my porch is what started the whole thing. Rather than throw away a perfectly ugly plaid couch, I decided to attach ropes to the legs and make a tree swing for the grand-kids to play on. 

(I have bordered on the very edge of trash-dom before, but with the couch hanging in the tree thing, I threw myself into the fray and reserved my place for perpetuity in the trailer court in the sky.)

Doing things in the name of the grand-kids is a gateway drug to trash-land. Fortunately I came to my senses before I could attach a cup holder and some Velcro for the channel turner.

I should just give in and check the box for "trash” on election forms and tax returns. Here are a few cases in my point and a few follow up notes.

Start your enjeins...engens...

I got up for work this morning and there was a chicken in my van sitting quietly. Had I looked into the back seat earlier I would have seen that Mrs. Miller had been laying eggs in there for a week.

To do: 1) Fix the coop fence and replace duct tape on the gate.

Don't do this for the grand-kids.  Just don't
My darling daughter decided to encourage me to get rid of my stuff by taking the contents of my storage room out into the driveway. She then left me a note instructing me to take back anything I wanted to keep.

2) Cover the pile of family heirlooms with a tarp and secure with duct tape.

Then, while my eldest daughter, who has recently moved in with us, argued with her ex-ex (meaning that she may be back with him...again) in the front yard over who should clean the aerosol cheese out of the car, the two grandchildren snuck out of the house in nothing but their diapers and fed their breakfast to the dog.

3) Fix dutch door and replace duct tape with weather stripping.

I don’t know how it happened! I was born into a lovely family. I went to a lovely local Jr college and worked in fast food. I even married a local girl who kept her shoes on at church.  

My kids look like me. 

Usually all the screaming my family does is confined to the basement and they are required to turn on the TV really loud if the argument gets heated.  We read from the bible just before we settle down for an evening of Duck Dynasty.  

My daughters are only allowed to post new selfies twice a day -- nothing in a tube top for the girls and shirts must be worn for the guys unless the point of the selfie is to show off a new tattoo. In such a case, they are allowed one selfie that doesn't show the face.

4) Tell son-in-law that you don't spell crack-head with two R's.

I did notice from watching Fox news that all the classy people drive cars that have windows that roll up.  So working car windows is my goal for the next month. And I will make sure that all the vehicles on the lawn are facing one direction - a quick but meaningful improvement.

Also, the confederate flag in my sons window has to come down, which means that he will have to start wearing pants, but we all have to make sacrifices to appease the neighbors.

I will be taking the trailer park out of the family, even though the family was never in the trailer park to begin with. Bubba James and taller Bubba will just have to do their experiments in the back yard for a while while I class things up. 

4) Get Bubba James to give me his house key back and his hammock out of the shed. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ask Prodigal Dad - Dont be that guy.

                                      Tone:   Light, Medium, Serious, Informational

Dear Prodigal Dad: I get the distinct feeling that my extended family puts away the proverbial good silver when I am around. I don't think they like me much. -- American Fork, UT.

Dear A.F.,

There is one in every family. There are three in mine.

Everyone hopes the call they make to "that guy" goes straight to voice-mail or the text gets overlooked. "That guy" still gets invited to dinner, but you can be sure the rest of the gang has been warned beforehand. 

While reputations are hard to reinvent, there are things you can do to start cleaning up your family and friends rap sheet.

1. Start by owning it. You have been a flake. In a private moment, tell your sister you haven't forgotten you still owe her that thousand she loaned you for the recording studio when you were going to be a rock star. Believe me, she hasn't forgotten. Ask her if you can create a payment installment plan. She will appreciate the effort.

2. Follow up. Stick to the plan. Make it important to you to do what you said you would do. Once you have opened the can of worms by acknowledging and committing to fix the problem, here are a few other things you can do to steer clear of the "that guy" status.

3. Don't Mooch. Families are generous, and most are willing to offer the shirt off of their back. Just don't ask for the shirt off their back. And if your family and friends have been generous, be generous back. Be generous, anyway — just for fun.

4. Keep your promises. Did you tell your sister-in-law you would watch the kids for three hours on Sunday evening? Write it down, and keep it on the fridge. When Sunday evening comes around, be ready to babysit the kids. If you flake for anything less than a hospital stay, your name will be underlined on the "that guy" list with a fine-point Sharpie. Make a habit of it, and you will be on everyone's list.

5. Don't borrow money. This is a general rule that will keep your family and friends speaking to you. Today's economy makes life difficult, but remember that it is difficult for your family and friends, as well. Don't borrow money. But if you absolutely must, don't just forget about it — promptly pay it back.

6. Stop blabbing. Sharing something with you in confidence should not require a disclaimer given at the beginning of the phone conversation. Your friend shouldn't have to swear you to secrecy when she tells you about her possible divorce. Don't hop on Facebook and say good riddance to the fool until it is common knowledge. When it doubt, keep it to yourself. If you have been a blabber in the past, own that, as well. And if you hear something from someone about where he keeps all of his pin numbers, ask if he is making that information public before you post.

7. Don't wait to be asked to help. If your friend is moving, ask what day he wants you there to help. And if he does ask for assistance, find a way to help. The "F" word — Fair weather — is not for friends and family.

8. Follow the golden rule. Be the kind of friend or family member that you would want to have yourself.

9. Don't be Eeyore. Remember Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh? He was a sweet blue donkey thing, but everything he had to say was sad or negative. Real Eeyores are not cute nor sweet. And they usually sit alone because no one wants to be brought down — except for other Eeyores.

An extra hint: Remember to forgive as much as you can, and be grateful; don't hold a mistake above other's heads for years. You would want to be given another chance if you were — by some outrageous imaginative stretch — to have made a mistake.

What goes around will, indeed, be passed around like mashed potatoes or pink eye at a family dinner.

Davison wrote this originally for, and was published on FamilyShare.com in a different format.