Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ode to Cracker Jack

All this talk about Christmas is still bringing back all those memories of years gone by. Recently my OLDER brother visited our mother and found some old pictures of all of us kids that I haven't seen in many years and even a few I don't think I have ever seen at all.

They were great and I really want to thank Mike for doing it. This one you see is yours truly atop of the ol' faithful "Craker Jack". I could regail you with many, many memories of this old steed, but I won't bore you with the details.

As you truly admire my fancy riding shorts and out of the stirrup riding sneakers, you could not imagine the happiness I was feeling while atop of this faithful mount.

Now mind you "Cracker Jack" was not my faithful Shetland Pony but he belonged to my cousins Kevin and Steve McGuire but I always felt (in my mind) that he was mine.

There were many days, when I was this age, that I strapped on my double holster red ryder cap pistols and put on my straw cowboy hat and fully intended to walk the mile across Keifer, Oklahoma to my cousins house to saddle old Cracker Jack up an go shoot it out with any bandits we could conjure up in my mind. There were times I would pester my dad to death just to go over to there house just so I could see that old pony. Of course I hardly ever got my wish, but from time to time I did get a few good rides on his back.

There is one particular memory that comes back to me quite often that I just love. One early summer morning just after sunup my dad woke me up and told me to get dressed and let's go and without question I did so, simply because "Dad said so". We got dressed in a hurry and we got into his truck and it was then that I noticed it was just me and him. Well that was extra special, I have a brother and three sisters and it just wasn't very often just me and dad went anywhere without the whole family in tow.

We drove across the little town of Kiefer to my Uncle William's house (home of Cracker Jack) and coincidentally where his mare "Blondie" was being pastured. And then he saddled up Blondie and Cracker Jack and he took me for a ride. Well I have to tell you that was just extra special that my dad would single me out for a horseback ride. And I had my own mount. I was riding along side my hero on the most extra special horse of my life at the time.

It was a great day in my life that I will never forget.

You see to me Craker Jack was the best horse in the world because he was the first horse (Shetland Pony) that I was not afraid of. I had discovered riding confidence on her back, simply because she was one tame little pony. At least when I rode him around. I was literally on top of the world while he carried me through my imaginary world.

Then one dark day came along, yeah that's right my Aunt and Uncle and Cousins and Cracker Jack all moved away to Kellyville and my heart just sank. I thought I would never get to ride him again. I did get a few occasional visits but it just wasn't the same.

Ironically enough a few years later we all moved out the country and we were just a few hundred yards away from the home of Cracker Jack. Unfortunatley his years were numbered and Cracker Jack rode off into that Green Free Range Pasture in the sky. It was a sad time but it didn't last because my dad went out and purchased a 5 year old half quarter horse, half welsh mare we loving called Ol' Babe and dad began my instruction on riding a full sized horse. And many many more memories were created.

It just goes to show ya. No matter how bad life may seem to be, something good is always just around the corner if we can just endure the wait.

God Bless you all this Christmas and all the Cracker Jack's of the world.
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Christmas Season is Upon Us!

Hello again everyone! Well it's December again and "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!" minus the beautiful snow however.

So what's up with that. I'm 40 and I can only remember maybe a handful of white Christmas'. I know were are in the south so-to-speak but were are in the northern south. We need more snow this time of year. I know i'm babbling a little but you know what I mean.

It's this time of year that I can't help but think of the many Christmas mornings I had as a child. I was the youngest of 4 children and I feel that I benefited the most because I was "the baby". It seemed like to me that we had somewhat of a tradition every year that consisted of a few given events.

Mom would always make a few tons of homemade candy that was left all over the house and was always delicious. And that was an awesome event except for the one year that I discovered her white chocolate covered pretzels and they were goooooooooooood, and I ate way too many. Well after the many trips to the porcelen puke pot I swore I would never eat another and got sick just looking at them.

I always knew when Christmas was really close because every year mom would open up the attic and dig out the Christmas tree and decorations and the ever so famous card board fireplace. I just loved it, because it meant that Santa had the elusive entrance into the house and we could hang our stockings from it.

Then Dad would come home from work with the box of Oranges and a full smoked ham that Bartlett-Collins glass (where he worked) gave all the employees as a bonus. That Ham seemed like it lasted for weeks and I would sneak into the kitchen to tear off a piece to snack on.

Decorating the tree was always a family affair and a few minor squabbles would always break out, but nothing too severe, it was always over who was allowed to put the star on the tree.

Then at some point we could not make it through the season without seeing Rudolph the red nosed reindeer on TV. Life would have ended had we not seen it. And then the follow-up showing of Frosty the Snowman, ahhhhh good times.

Then finally Christmas eve night. Sometimes we would turn off the TV and sit around in the living room and Dad would get out the harmonica he brought back from Germany and play us his version of Silent Night. It wasn't the best but it was always awesome, to me anyways. I thought he was the coolest guy on the planet.

Then came the infamous Christmas morning. Oh the smell of fresh frying bacon and coffee on the stove and fried eggs and pancakes and all the trimmings. I can't seem to remember if we ate breakfast before we opened presents or not, but opening the presents was always a frenzy.

Once the presents were opened I would pick out my favorite and we would all load up and go to grandmas house and do it all over again followed up by a HUGE lunch. It was always a great day. Many memories swarm around me but too many to share for this post alone.

I just want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and to remind you, Jesus is the reason for the Season!.

God Bless You All!!