Happy Birthday Odela Mae

Today is a great day in my family, it is my mom’s birthday, July 30, 1913, what a great day. She would live through so many things, she would go through hard times, good times and amazing times.

She would grow up and marry a boy she had been in love with since she was five years old. She would be parted from said boy for 10 years while he was in heaven waiting for her.

She didn’t have to be my mom she chose to, on this day I would like to share with you one of the important lessons she taught me.

When the love of her life left this earthy plane for heaven she grieved horribly. She missed him, she missed his laughter, she missed his very presence.

I lived here in Texas, while she lived in Owasso, I would call her once a week and we wrote letters. When I would call her our conversations would naturally turn to dad. We would share remembrances, funny stories and yes some when he was stubborn. Those made us laugh the most, at the end of one of our phone calls she told me something that made me incredibly sad.

She very quietly said “you’re the only one that talks about him with me”. I said what do you mean, she went on to say everyone thought it would make her sad to talk about him, the love of her life.

But she wanted to talk about him, she wanted to laugh at stories, she wanted to tell people about him, the incredible man God gave her to be her very own. He was her prince, her knight, her movie star crush all rolled into one. And he chose her to marry, she never quite got over that fact, she never saw herself as the actual catch. My dad got to spend his life with a woman that was beautiful inside and out, God gave him a woman that would work beside him building a life.

What we can take from this, during this time when people are losing loved ones, is to allow them the freedom to talk about the people that are no longer here. Listen to their stories, laugh at the funny ones with them, that is what they need, they want, they crave. They want to know that the people that mattered the most to them are remembered.

She also told me a few weeks after my dad passed she dreamed about him. She was convinced it was more than a dream, you see the last months of my dads life wasn’t pleasant, he wasn’t really there. It was hard, it was brutal and she didn’t feel like she got to say goodbye in a meaningful way.

That night, my dad came to her, he held her and they laughed together, then he said he had to leave. She told him she didn’t want him to go, he told her he would be waiting when it was her turn.

Then the one thing happened that told her this was her gift from God, dad hugged her, and gave her the extra squeeze at the end.

She told me she had never told anyone about that extra squeeze, no one knew but her, dad and God.

She believed to the end of her days that God allowed him to come and say goodbye to her and tell her he would be waiting for her to join him in heaven.

So as a birthday present to my mom, I pass these things on to you.

Happy Birthday Mom, I love you so much, thank you for the life that you

allowed me to have.

 

Happy Father’s Day

As Father’s Day is tomorrow I will, of course, be writing about my dad.
You see my dad chose to be my dad, he and my mom made a decision to become parents in their golden years. Years they could have just taken it easy, enjoyed retirement and gone on their merry way. They chose to take in and formally adopt a girl no one wanted. For that I will be forever grateful.
My dad was my hero, he was funny, smart, giving, tough, kind and said whatever he thought. He was the perfect example of how a true Christian should behave in all situations. He never spoke down to anyone, he listened to everyone’s opinions before voicing his own. He lived by example not words, now he had words but his example was tantamount to who he was.
I like to think I get a lot from him, my ability to laugh at tough situations in life, rely on God for everything. Recognize when God is sending help and opening doors and voice my opinion and listen to others. Express concern, take action when necessary and step back when needed.
My father was an extraordinary man, an example of manliness when the world was trying to stamp down on masculinity. He could fix anything that broke, he could sooth a crying child with a word and let would be suitors know he knew how to use a gun if need be.
This is one of my favorite stories, I rarely got second dates and I couldn’t figure out why. Until one of the boys I went out with finally told me what really happened after they knocked on the door.
Like any true girl of a certain age, I waited the 5 full minutes after the boy knocked on the door to come out of my room.
My dad took full advantage of that 5 minutes, he would silently lead the boys into the den, where his guns were on the wall. He would sit them in front of the guns, he would look at the guns, then look at the boy. He would do this the entire 5 minutes.
I went home and confronted my dad, he laughed for a full 20 minutes. He then said if a boy couldn’t withstand that kind of scrutiny he didn’t deserve me.
I miss that man so much. He was so full of life and laughter and was truly a man of God.
We could all use a Foy Testerman in our lives, I will be grateful the rest of my life that he chose to be my dad when he didn’t have to. That he gave up an easy life to take on a wild child and take on the Herculean task of taming her.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there, whether biological or otherwise, you all rock.

My Dad

My dad’s birthday was June 3rd, I know, I am horribly late, but I had a hard time deciding which dad story I wanted to tell. The one I kept coming back to was the sock birthday.
Anyone who knew my dad will tell you he was the most humble, kind, caring and strong man ever, with a wicked sense of humor. It’s no wonder he truly was one of God’s favorite children.
One year, after I had moved to Texas, I called him to ask what he wanted for his birthday. As usual he said nothing, not a thing, I have everything I could want or need. That’s what he said.
I said, dad, don’t take away the joy of giving you a gift from me. You see that always worked when my mom would say that to me. Didn’t work, so I kept on, dad, dad, dad, dad, tell me, tell me, tell me. Yes, even at that age I was annoying. Oh wow, I just saw it, Alex gets it from me! I digress.
So he finally acquiesced, since he knew I wouldn’t stop, and said, well I need socks. Socks? You asked, I told you, socks.
Socks.
I said ok. Then off I went to Dillard’s (THE store of the day) and went to work, I got so many dress socks, then every day socks, then in-between socks. I spent over $100 on socks. Not to show off mind you, that I could afford that, but to be funny. He wanted socks, socks he would get.
UPS would deliver them, I would sit back and be able to hear the laughter all the way to Texas.
Back then there was no internet and no UPS site to track the package. So I waited, and waited, it seemed to take forever, in reality it was three days.
I called him on the evening I suspected it had been delivered. When my dad heard my voice, it was worth all of the effort I put into picking out those socks, his booming laughter over the phone was all the thanks I needed for that gift.
He said when he opened that package he laughed for a solid thirty minutes. Then chuckled the rest of the day, he said it served him right for telling me socks in the first place.
He then went on to tell me they would last the rest of his days, they did. When I went home for his funeral, mom showed me his sock drawer and there was one pair with the wrapping still on them. She took them to the funeral home and he was buried in them.
I miss my dad every day, I am so thankful he was my dad, that he gave me an undying sense of humor.
Thanks to him I am able to laugh at things that happen in my life that would fell lesser beings.
To this day I can still hear that laugh, that amazing laugh, that let you know life isn’t that bad.

Father’s Day Misogynistic?

As we know Father’s Day was just last weekend and as usual Facebook and Twitter had a lot to say on the subject. Honestly, I try not to read any of them because it makes the dust kick up in the house and my eyes water, somewhat. But one caught my eye, it was a comment made by a woman, not a friend of mine, but someone shared this post. It said what about the single moms who fulfill both roles, then it went on to say Father’s Day was sexist and misogynistic in nature. Hmmm, when Mother’s Day was here back in May, I saw no posts from men saying how unfair it was that women got a day. That it was sexist and what about the single dads raising their children alone.
I know several dads that have raised their children alone, most of these were when the mothers decided they didn’t want to mother anymore and just walked out. Sad, but true, anyway, no complaints from them on Mother’s Day, asking for equality.
I am a single mom, I have been since 1993, however, my children have a father, a dad, a male role model. I was a single mom in my household, however, I did not raise my children alone. And the majority of single mothers do not raise their children alone.
To take away the credit and the roles that fathers play in their children’s lives is sexist and, well, stupid.
The father of my children and I could not stay married, we were both alphas trying to take control, it did not go well. I often tell people, he was a bad choice for a husband for me, but he was a great choice for the father of my children.
He was always there, he continues to be there, just as much as I am there, he sees two of them more often than I, due to geography and well they work for him. Right now I am talking emotionally and mentally, hands down he was the right choice.
I am a single mom that wants no part of Father’s Day kudos, now I realize there are some women who are truly alone raising their children. Widows come to mind. I know a woman that was widowed when her children were young. It was unexpected and devastating, and she did have to play both roles in her household.
That is hugely different that a regular divorced couple, where both parents are very much involved with their children.
I get irritated when I see things like this, people who want to take something away that is uniquely male in nature. Its craziness, sheer, unadulterated stupidity.
To the moms out there who do things to keep the children from their dads, shame on you, I’m going to tell you this, one day it will come back to bite you right in the rear end.
I happily give my ex-husband his due credit, he is a good dad, not a perfect dad, but then my kids didn’t get the perfect mother either, but a good one. Only a few people get to have perfect parents, I did, I was given perfect parents.
Leave Father’s Day alone, let dads have their day with their children, just because you are in two different households does not mean you play both roles.

Father’s in my Life

With it being Father’s Day soon I wanted to talk about the Father figures I have been fortunate to have in my life.
The very first male influence in my life was my grandfather; I cannot properly express how much I loved that man. To this day not one person can say anything bad about him in my presence. Not that anyone has anything bad to say, he was nothing short of awesome. My earliest memories are of him teaching me to read, taking me for car rides and buying me a nutty buddy and telling me not to tell grandma. Especially if I was too full to eat dinner after that, but my favorite memory are of the two of us eating apples.
I would sit in my rocking chair (which Elizabeth Anne has now) and he would sit in his recliner, he would peel the apple and then slice it. I would eat the peeling and he would eat the apple slices. He didn’t have teeth, well he had them, but only wore them to town and church, so he couldn’t chew the peel. It was our time, we would just talk and munch our apple, he taught me to love animals, to grow green things and appreciate laughter. He taught me that Jesus loves me and showed me, on a daily basis exactly what it meant to be a Christian. I am so fortunate that man was my first male influence.
I was so blessed to have wonderful Uncles in the mix, Uncle J.H., Uncle Walter, Uncle Albert, Uncle Wayne, Uncle Cecil, Uncle J.D. and so many male cousins. Pat, Albert, Gary, Larry just to name a few, they were all older and all influenced my way of thinking and my moral compass.
They laid the foundation for the man who would become my Dad, he was, blood wise, my great Uncle. He and his wife, my great Aunt would adopt me and become my mom and dad.
He taught me to laugh; life was too full of wonderful things to be serious all of the time. He taught me to find humor in everyday events; he built on the foundations of respecting the earth, taking care of what God gave us. He also had a deep love of Jesus and God, taking me to church every time the doors were opened. Teaching me to respect others beliefs, and learning everything I could about them, in order to witness more effectively. He taught me to read everything I could get my hands on, to educate myself in order to argue logically, and win. He was a great debater and enjoyed the fact that I could, in fact, hold my own with him.
He taught me discipline, a work ethic, be early, he would say, respect others time and smile. Treat others the way you want to be treated and you wont go wrong.
I’ll never forget him, I’ll always think of him as my Dad not my great uncle, he built on the foundations that my grandfather and other male family members started. He gave me a place to call home, a place filled with laughter, love, discipline and a strong relationship with Christ.

Headstone

A life well lived, that is what I want on my headstone, I think I have finally decided.
I would like a purple coffin, tons of music, food, fun and laughter. Yes, laughter, I want people to be happy that I went home and to celebrate a life well lived.
They say home is in your heart, I have Jesus in my heart, does that mean I am in heaven on earth?
There are days my mind wanders to what heaven will be like. I imagine it with the streets of gold, which morph into visions of the Elysian fields. Maybe I read too much, nah, no such thing as reading too much. However, I could have watched too many episodes of Hercules and Xena.
The bible tells us that everything we love is in heaven. If that is the case I believe I will see Chewie again, and Arthur and my cat, and definitely Gypsy and Whiskers. I am going to need a big backyard with my mansion.
I believe I will be greeted by my son, mom, dad, grandpa, grandma and Great Aunt Effie. Then I will go visiting, I will see my birth mother, my aunts, uncles and cousins that have gone before me. What a celebration we will have.
When I leave this earth, and no matter how much I think of myself as being immortal, I know it will happen, I want everyone to know I have had a really good time during my tenure here. That my life was worthwhile, that I contributed while I was here. That I did a good job with my children, I had the privilege of raising. I am always amazed God gave me the ones he did.
I want everyone to know how they have influenced my and my thought process. My deep love of Oklahoma, how proud I am to be an “Okie”. To have the influence of Owasso in my life, the stability and acceptance I found there, and my best friend for life.
I would like everyone to know I had morals, that was instilled in me from a young age by my grandparents and later my mom and dad.
How much all of my Sunday School teachers meant to me, how much I respect them. Having been a Sunday School teacher myself I know how much work goes into preparing the lessons. Thank you for sacrificing to teach the classes I was in.
I would like very much to know that my life has meant something, that I was an influence to others as they influenced me. As I am about to travel to Oklahoma to celebrate the life of a woman who influenced many, I think about what will be said about me when I go home.
I wonder if others are ever as preoccupied with these thoughts as I am or if it is a trait unique to my family.

Memories

Well, it is Monday, I don’t know what to think, I am loving the weather, I did not like being out last week with eye issues. Yesterday was my parents wedding anniversary and my aunt passed away, bitter sweet day. My heart goes out to my cousins in the loss of their mother; I know what it is to lose that one person who is always in your corner no matter what. Even when you expect it, even when you know they will no longer be in pain, it’s hard. It is hard to accept, it is hard to find peace, it is hard to reconcile that your mom is gone. My thoughts are with them, my heart breaks for them, and yet I can see my grandmother and grandfather greeting her with open arms.
I have to tell you all, my grandmother was only fond of two of her daughter-in-laws that was my Aunt Laura Fay and my Aunt Dorothy, and they were the only ones she had really good words for. The rest, she didn’t say anything about, except for my Uncle Laverne’s wife, she was bitter towards her, but Aunt Dorothy and Aunt Laura Fay she loved. So I can totally imagine the greeting that Aunt Dorothy is getting right now. My Great Aunt Effie loved everyone, she was a lot like my mom, and I never heard her say one bad word about anyone. EVER. She was truly amazing; I know she was there as well to give a huge hug and a huge welcome home.
I know I write a lot about my parents, and with yesterday having been their anniversary I feel the need to tell a story. I have to be honest; I don’t remember which ones I have told before, so if this one is a repeat, please forgive me.
I never saw my parents argue, like ever, the only time I saw my mom slightly perturbed with my dad was during the period where he was teaching me to drive. I can only imagine the conversations they had in private about this; I never witnessed any of them. Well this one time, my dad was under the hood of the car and told me to give it some gas, which I did. He then says put the car in neutral and give it some gas, I said I don’t want to do that dad. He said it’ll be fine, so I put the car in what I think is neutral and give it some gas. Imagine my surprise when the car went flying backwards, knocking the fence down and leaving my dad standing there with a wrench in his hand with a surprised look on his face. Mom comes flying out of the house and points at dad and says these simple words “drivers Ed”. Turns and walks back into the house. I look at my dad, he looks at me, and says, well, hmmm I guess that settles that, now let’s fix that fence.
I really miss them, their humor, their wisdom, their influence; I know my cousins will miss their mom like I miss mine. She was kind, gentle and always put others before herself, it was no wonder my grandmother thought so highly of her.

Happy Father’s Day

I am still overwhelmed by the weekend, however today is Father’s day and I feel compelled to write about the two men whom I considered father figures in my life.
The first one was my Grandfather, he was my first male influence, he taught me how to read, he taught me about history, not only our family history, but our country’s history. They were intertwined, he had to teach both to me. He taught me about the land, farming, animals, how you had to take care of both because they take care of you. He was a great man with a great love of life, an amazing sense of humor and a love for God that had to be witnessed first hand to appreciate. He found humor in every day happenings and passed that on to me, to this day I miss him and tell stories about him to anyone who will listen.
Next up was my dad, he was my adopted dad, in blood lines he was my great-uncle, my grandfather’s brother. It will not be surprising to learn he was a lot like his older brother, he had a keen mind, a sharp sense of humor and a gentleness that was hard to resist. He taught me what it meant to help others in need, we might not have had a lot of material things but what we had, was shared. If he saw someone in need that person was helped, immediately. There was no great discussion, it was all action, he gave me a sense of pride in helping others. He had great wisdom, I believe that was his gift from God, wisdom, I didn’t always put into practice what he had to say, but I always listened. I hope he knows that he taught me so much, and as an adult I do put into practice much of what he taught me.
He was a man who loved the land, he was happiest working in the garden with his beautiful wife by his side. You can’t really picture him without her, they were a team, in every sense of the word. Their marriage was simply beautiful, they would laugh at each others silly jokes and sit side by side watching Wheel of Fortune every night. With them I witnessed the most romantic thing I have ever been privileged to see between a man and woman, they read the bible out loud to each other every night. Something so simple, yet so profound, they taught me not to settle for less than the best that God wants for us.
I miss you so much Grandpa and Dad, I hope that you are having the best time in heaven and I hope that you know how much you gave me, a simple little girl, while you were here on this earth.

Favorite Memory

Yesterday was a memory lane day for me, for some reason my dad was heavily on my mind. I was thinking back to my first apartment, in Owasso, in the bad part of Owasso. Yes there is a bad part; it is about half a block long and very scary. You will have to take my word for this. For those of you that live in Owasso, or have been there, it was the apartment building that is across from what is now Fishbonz. It looks exactly the same.
My rent was $300.00 a month, a huge amount back then, it was one whole paycheck, I got paid every other week. The next paycheck was electricity and food, there was no talk of cable or a telephone, water was included. I remember my dad would come every Saturday morning and bring me groceries, mostly fresh fruit and vegetables he and my mom had grown in their garden. Then he would carry the vacuum up the stairs and say well I carried it I might as well use it. He would vacuum my apartment. I don’t think he trusted me with the vacuum cleaner. Then he would make me pancakes and we would have breakfast together. The very first time he came over, he was looking around my kitchen for a mixing bowl and of course I didn’t have one. He muttered something to himself, left, a few minutes later came back with a metal mixing bowl.
I still have that bowl; it is my favorite mixing bowl of all time. I can only hope that I have given my children some fond memory that when I am gone they can pull it up and feel comforted by the fact that I loved them beyond anything or anyone.
So what is your favorite memory of your mom or dad, or both? I would love to hear!

Someone is Watching

How does one let go of anger? That is the question of the day, I find myself so angry lately, it is not healthy. I have to learn to let certain things go, and I am having issues doing so.
When people think they are never going to be caught they do things that if they thought they would be held accountable they would never think of doing. I firmly believe that when I die, not only is God going to hold me accountable but I will also have to answer to my mom and dad and grandparents. I am more worried about what my mom will say to me than God. I have to be honest about that. It keeps me from doing a lot of things I should not do, but want to do. Some people should be grateful for that.
For the people who have nothing to keep them in check, no belief system, well they are the ones that do the horrible things. They have no remorse, no guilt, no conscience, they have no morals.
I am not talking about people who do things then are repentant, they have spoken to God, answered for whatever it is, and are moving on. Those are not the ones this is about, this is about the people who contentiously do the wrong thing. The hurtful thing, the thing they think they wont get caught doing. Someone is watching, no, not big brother, but someone. I believe in a higher power, I do believe that eventually what you do catches up with you and you do pay a hefty price for your actions. Which is why I try not to purposefully do anything that is going to get me the mom look when I do see my mother again. I also do not want my dad shaking his head at me, that was always so harsh. For me. As for my grandpa and grandma and great-aunt Effie, I do not want the first words they say to me to be “What were you thinking? We raised you better than that.” If you are doing something that you know to be the wrong thing, and you think no one is watching, think again. Someone will always find out. It is better to stop, drop and roll. I use that because you are playing with fire and are about to get burned. Not by me, I don’t have the energy for that, my energy is being directed toward something more positive these days. Oh look, my anger is gone, wow, this is cathartic. Happy Monday everyone!

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