Monthly Archives: February 2018

How Rose Evelyn Became GG

I had my story for you today (you will get it another Sunday), but such are plans of mice and men.

You see I promised to tell someone very dear to me the story of GG. The more I thought about the story, the more I realized you might like this story too. But let me start with Evelyn.

She was born Rose Evelyn McDermit, though she went by Evelyn until 1967. A fiery red head of Irish immigrants. A dark red which she kept colored as a brunette even when she was in her eighth decade.

She married Bernerd E. Goodykoontz (yes Bernerd not Bernard). They had a daughter and three grandsons. When this story took place though the youngest, Jason was still five years in the future. Joe was 5 and Jeff was 3 years old.

One Sunday afternoon the two boys were deep in conversation on the back seat of a little red, two door Chevette. Dad driving and mom in the front passenger seat.

The family was on its way from Bellefontaine to Milford Center. They had just spent the afternoon visiting Evelyn and Bernerd.

It was this visit the spurred the delimma the boys were attempting to resolve. As Joe pointed out the boys had two grandmothers and two grandfather’s. It was this problem that had the boys in deep discussion. This created confusion as to which set of grandparents they were talking about.

Not surprisingly this was a very serious problem, particularly for boys ages 3 and 5. It took the entire trip for them to arrive at the solution.

The grandfathers were easy. Grandfather Combs was just over six feet tall and grandfather Goodykoontz was about six inches shorter. The solution was simple.

They would call grandfather Combs Big Pa and grandfather Goodykoontz Little Pa. Half of the problem solved in record time.

The grandmothers were not going to be as simple to separate though. They were both about five foot two inches. What were they to do? The long ride was almost over and the two boys had still not solved the problem.

Then just before they arrived home Joe had an idea. He had learned his letters and some words already. He realized that both grandmother and Goodykoontz started with the letter G.

Joe gave his idea to Jeff. Jeff did not know all his letters yet, but he trusted his brother and loved the idea. Working together they had solved the recognition problem with their grandparents. From now on they would be known as Big Pa, Little Pa, Grandma, and ….. GG.

Over the next forty years the names Big Pa and Little Pa faded. But GG took on a life of its own. People who did not know Evelyn had grandchildren knew her not as Evelyn, but as GG.

No one ever asked how she came to be called GG. When Jason was born Joe and Jeff made certain Jason knew who their grandmother Goodykoontz was to be called.

Neighbors, co-workers, friends, relatives, even Evelyn’s own siblings all called her GG.

You see two little boys ages 3 and 5 just wanted a way to not be confused when the two of them talked between themselves about their grandparents. They never realized that what they decided together on the backseat of that little red car would have far reaching effects on people, some of whom they would never meet, for more than 40 years.

Your life is very much the same way. You just don’t realize it. There are people in this world who remember something about you from years ago. A kindness you did, or a way you made them feel. My grandmother has been gone ten years and my brother Jeff just seven months.

But Jason and I remember GG and Jeff. More important than their names, we remember how they made us feel.

There is a John Wayne line in the movie The Cowboys that goes like this.

“It’s not how you’re buried that counts. It’s how they remember you.”

How will people remember you?


Filed under New

The Love Letter

Let’s start with what is on the world wide web about love letters.

You will find out that as rare as letters are in the 21st century love letters are even more rare. That is true. If you ask women you know if they have ever received a love letter I would wager you will not find one who has. But that is not what this article is about.

On the web you will find a step-by-step process to writing a love letter. Just follow the instructions of the author and bam you have written a love letter. But that is not what this article is about.

The articles you find will also tell you a love letter is a good way to win a woman’s heart. But that is not what this article is about.

This article is for the man whose heart has already been won by a woman. That is what this article is about.

When you look into her eyes you don’t just see beautiful blue eyes (although you see that too). You see her. You see past, present, and future.

In the past you see the pain and hurt others have caused her. You would give anything if you could take all of that away. But this is also the conflict within you as well. Because you know that if you change those things, you change this amazing woman that you love. And though she is not perfect (She might snore, get moody, pout, roll her eyes, or whatever), she is perfect for you. All the good, all the bad, every bit of this unbelievable woman you love like no one you have ever loved before. Perfect? No, far from it. Perfect for you? Yes, thank God, yes!

In the present? You see an amazing woman. I mean how could she love you right? Let’s face it brother you are far from perfect, and you know that better than anyone. I mean we could list all your flaws and bad habits, but let’s not and say we did. In the present though, you just can’t get enough of this woman. You hold yourself back so you don’t scare her off. (And you need to stop that because she thinks it means you are not interested in her.) You don’t let a day go by without talking or messaging her. You tried a couple times because, once again, you were afraid of chasing her off. But it didn’t work did it? When it comes to conversations you don’t care what you two talk about. You just like hearing her voice and learing what her likes, dislikes, and passions are. You really don’t care where you eat or where you go as long as you are with her. (You need to start making those decisions though. When you leave it up to her she feels like you really don’t care about her.)

The future you see in her eyes is everything. Every thought, every image in your future she is there right by your side. You don’t even want to imagine a future without her, you can’t.

That first time you looked at her and realized you love her? Burned into your memory. You probably remember what she was wearing, what you two were doing and where you were at.

Here is something else brother. She does not see herself like you see her. And she thinks everyone sees her the way she sees herself. She doesn’t think she’s pretty enough, she sees wrinkles and grey hairs no one else sees. She certainly doesn’t think she is at the right weight. And – She remembers every dumb thing she ever did since she pushed little Johnny down on the playground in kindergarten. You need her to see herself the way you see her. The only way that will happen is if you constantly remind her. Telling her in person is a must. Telling her in a love letter you wrote let’s her go back and read your words over and over. With your spoken words and your love letters to reread, eventually, slowly, she will begin to believe you are sincere, though she won’t understand why or how you feel about her like that (she’s still focused on her faults, real and imagined). She will believe, eventually.

I could go on and on. I think you are starting to get the idea though. Tell her! Tell her how you feel. Tell her what you think. Tell her what you see when you look at her. Tell her what she means to you. Tell her about your romantic memories together. Tell her of the future you see with her. Tell her about the times when you thought, “damn I wish she were here right now.” And tell her why you wish she had been there with you. Tell her how often you think of her every day, every hour, every minute. TELL HER!!! Tell her everything that is special to you about her. Tell her why you love her and what you love about her.

Okay, now comes your excuses for why you can’t.

“But, Joe, no one can read my handwriting. It looks like chicken scratch.”

If she can’t read your handwriting in a love letter you wrote to her, she will hire someone who can read chicken scratch just to read HER love letter YOU wrote to her. Believe me.

“But Joe, I’m not good with words. I’m not a writer. I can barely write my name.”

She knows that. You think she doesn’t know that? That is exactly why it will mean so very much to her. She never expected in a million years to get a love letter from you. That chicken scratch handwriting and the time and struggle you put into writing your feelings for her will mean more to her than a diamond ring.

Your great-grandkids will read that letter. Your woman will keep it all the days of her life and pass it on to her daughter or daughter-in-law.

Let’s face it. You are one lucky bastard to have her. The one person perfect just the way she is for you. As rare as a Sandpiper. Brother you write the letter.

You BOTH will be glad you did.

1 Comment

Filed under New

Underway Again.

When you are about to leave on a major voyage everything is different. Even the air feels different. I have always liked going to sea. But on a major voyage everything is different from the moment you wake the day of departure until the next morning. All of the preparations were completed days before. Your thoughts, words, and actions are finely focused but, time feels like it has slowed. The air feels electric. Every time you peer at the sky towards the sea, time pauses. You feel anticipation from deep within you. You are calm and relaxed. You are aware of everything around you, hyper-aware. Yet all your focus is on the job at hand. Each sight, each action, each sound takes on a special insignificance, not to be repeated for weeks or months.

Finally the time has come. You single all lines and take off the gangplank. Then you cast off. Slowly you pull out from dock, out into the channel. You are headed to sea. Passing the bouys to your left and right. As you approach that invisible line between river and ocean the air changes and you can taste the salt in the gentle breeze.

Passing the last bouy, salt air in your face a gentle swell rises to meet you as a calm sweeps over you. Buffeted by the sounds of surf and foul. You look pass the bow to the horizon as you increase to cruising speed.

You are at sea.

1 Comment

Filed under New