Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hillbilly Vegas, others deserve praise

Most of the time, I am proud to live in LeFlore County.

Friday night was one of the times which made me proud to live here and of our residents. The weather outside had been nasty with thunderstorms moving through the area and more storms were forecast.

Despite that, a large crowd came together to help Whitney Spangler through some difficult times.

Whitney is a 20-year old Poteau resident who recently found out she has a brain tumor.

When word got out about her illness, naturally many people wanted to help with support and for medical expenses.

Popular local band Hillbilly Vegas was one of the main supporters, arranging a concert for Friday night and bringing in several other area bands.

Hillbilly Vegas put out special t-shirts for the Concert for Whitney and their support was one of the main reasons the event was so successful.

But there were a lot of others who pitched in time and money. Many local businesses made donations and individuals had bake sales and made goodies for the pie auction, which brought in more money than I thought was possible.

There were hamburgers and hot dogs available outside the arena as Community State Bank brought their grill and CSB associates manned the grill.

Many volunteers were from Poteau schools, where Whitney’s mother works. They sold tickets, worked the gates and put in many hours to help make the event come together.

The Poteau High School softball team helped with the auction and in many other ways.

In addition to the bands performing, the Poteau High School dance team also strutted their stuff for the crowd and Jeff Jenson was the auctioneer for the pie auction.

For those who performed, helped out or came to the concert, you should be proud.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Being Papa John

It looks like I’ll forever be known as Papa John. Not that the moniker is a bad thing. There could be worse, I suppose, but none come to mind really quickly. Maybe “Grandpa.” All my grandkids, however, know me as Papa John.

Karen’s boys, Brandon and Garrett, call me that. Even some of their cousins, and even Karen’s in-laws Rhonda and Tommy. Karen and Paul call me Papa John, too. Tammi’s daughters, McKenna and Kenedi, call me Papa John. Tammi and Kenny refer to me as Papa John.

And little Micah. Bless his heart. He’s only six months old and with Michael and Ora calling me that, he’s never heard anything else. So, as he grows up, he’s not going to know me as grandpa or anything else except Papa John.

When we were in San Antonio earlier this month, Tammi and the girls wanted to go to the park and play. They also wanted Cynthia and me to go along. While we were in the park and the girls were playing Cynthia and I went to pick something up for everyone so we could have a picnic. Just basic stuff, you know. Hamburgers, Fries, milkshake … in this case, the milkshakes were known as milkquakes!

Anyway, as we were sitting there enjoying our food another nice fella, with his two young sons, walked up and sat at the picnic table with us. One of the girls said something to me. “Papa John, could you …” The guy turned around and asked, “Are you the original Papa John?” I said, “Yep, that’s me.”

As I was playing with Kenedi, and growling like a monster (she loves for me to chase her and growl), a couple of other ladies were sitting on the bench and they jumped too. One of the ladies said, “That growl even scared me!” I hope I’m not that scary.

So, in answer to Jim Patterson’s comment on my last blog, “Thanks, I’m glad you like it, but no, I don’t deliver pizza.” Hey, maybe it will help me get a job doing just that! Maybe, just maybe, there is another upside to being Papa John. I’ve never checked to see if it has a picture of me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Grandkids are … well, just grand

Last week, Cynthia and I spent a week in San Antonio with Kenny and Tammi, plus their two little girls. Since Michael and Ora also live in the Alamo city, we got to spend an ample amount of time with Micah, our fifth and newest grandson.  Micah was born in mid-October when we were there, but by this time the little guy has developed a personality and likes to laugh, along with sleep and doing, you know, the dirty thing. From a six-month-old, the latter is to be expected. 

What we haven’t decided, however, is just who exactly Micah looks like. Ora’s mother says he favors Michael, Cynthia says he favors Ora somewhat. Michael and Ora aren’t committing either way. I just believe he’s a dead ringer for the E-Trade baby. You know the ones on the TV commercial, when the little tyke refers to “shankapotumus” when they’re talking about who did what to whom in golf. 

I’m not too good with the little ones. McKenna cried every time I got close to her for two years and Kenedi shied away the first couple years, but they both have taken a liking to me so we’re buddies now. I didn’t know how Micah would react. So one day, I held him for awhile, then fed him a bottle. That’s pretty much a first for me. Now Cynthia has this Nana thing down pretty good. She’s a natural. McKenna and Kenedi think she’s a “silly Nana!”

Even with Brandon and Garrett, Karen’s two boys, everything comes easy for Cynthia.  Course, I babysat with Brandon when he was much younger, Cynthia was still working, and Karen brought him by each day when she came to town to finish up her degree work at UT-Tyler. Garrett was so darn lovable, I didn’t seem to have much trouble around him, either. They’re 10 and 5 and used to being around “Papa John.” 

With McKenna and Kenedi comfortable around me now, everything is a lot more fun for us all. So maybe I can win Micah over like I did Brandon and Garrett.  Just one thing, though, when Micah decides to do the “dirty thing,” I’ll be the one shying away.