The little girl in the photo is my soon-to-be (Oct.19) eight year old. Please allow me to lay a little backstory on you. I first met her, Isabella, when she had just turned two years old. It was on the phone. I instantly fell in love with her the first time she called me "Tovy". She would talk the gibberish that two year olds talk, throw in an coccasional "Tovy" and I pretended to understand every single syllable. Come to think of it, I think I really did understand every single syllable. That "conversation" took place almost six years ago and I am no longer "Tovy", I am "Daddy". She is no longer "Daddy's Little Girl", at least in her mind, she is "Daddy's Young Lady". She's my first little girl and until the Good Lord calls me Home, she'll always be "Daddy's Little Girl". I have two grown sons and love them dearly, but there's just something supernatural that touches your soul when you are blessed with a little girl...at the age of 49. This morning about 7:30, Isabella got on the bus for her first day of second grade. At that moment, I saw the future. The future of a little girl that wants to be a Pediatrician, the future of a little girl that will some day will give me my next round of Grand Kids, the future of a little girl that in so many ways offers endless opportunity for her dreams to come true. I also saw the future of the United States climb up on that bus this morning with about thirty other kids. I saw the future of this country that will be responsible for the mess our elected dumbasses in Washington are making worse by the minute and I was damned mad at those idiots. How dare they do this to my little girl! A bunch of pantywaist elitists doing their dead level best to shatter my little girl's dreams before she even finishes 2nd grade! How dare those bastards! Then, out of nowhere, a sudden calm came over me. As spark-spittin' angry as I was a moment before, I was strangely at peace, comforted by something. Or someone. A soothing silence set in around me. Despite the chatter of a bus load of children, the growling of the bus' diesel motor and my three year old screaming goodbye to her big sister, I heard nothing but a reassuring voice speaking to me. "Toby, don't be angry at the future, be confident in it. The trials and tribulations you face today are in good hands tomorrow". The Voice was right, the future will be fine for my little girl, and yours, too. How do I know? About 7:30 this morning, I saw the future get on a school bus headed for the first day of second grade.
I am a gardener. I grow stuff - tomatoes, peppers, squash, you name it, I've probably grown it or tried to grow it. Gardening is something I learned from Grandma Shoemaker as a young child. I was fascinated that one day she would put a tiny seed in the ground and a few weeks later BAM!, there was a tomato! Even now, in my mid-50's, that little boy of the early 1960's shows up every time I spot a new blossom on a tomato plant or some such. Wow! That's gonna be a (fill-in-the-vegetable-name-here)! And I think of Grandma. The secret to a productive garden is good dirt, so preparation is key to a bountiful harvest. And let me tell you, while tilling up the ground for a garden, you are liable to find almost anything - nails, rocks, silverware, coins, old bottles, missile launchers....missile launchers??? Yep, there's nothing like digging up discarded military explosive devices to get a bang out of gardening. That's exactly what happened to 34 year old Jarrette Schule of Comal County near San Antonio. From the article, "Schule spent Tuesday afternoon calling the FBI, Homeland Security, the Sheriff’s Department — every agency he could think of. He was stuck in a bureaucratic limbo.
“Everyone was handing it off to everybody else,” Schule said. And some people want more government? This guy found this missile launcher on a Tuesday, made all the right phone calls to all the right people and nobody seemed to care! WTF? This tale does have a happy (and safe) ending, however. The next day, Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio was kind enough to send an ordinance disposal team to pick up the military hardware and do whatever they do with rogue missile launchers found by civilians while preparing some land for a garden. I don't know about you, but a few questions come to mind regarding this peculiar situation. Questions like...where were the local cops? Dunkin Donuts? What about Homeland Security? Were they too busy at the airport frisking nuns and 90 year old women who pose a threat to our national security? And the FBI? I hear they were deep undercover at the Glenn Beck 8/28 Rally looking for right-wing extremists carrying homemade signs that "Obama is a Kenyan". Don't get me wrong, I'm not raggin' on law enforcement here, their job is tough enough as it is. I love the guys and gals in blue and the Feds, but c'mon folks. One of the higher ups in one of these agencies should have had a passing thought like, "This old boy in Comal County found a missile launcher while digging up his garden and maybe, just maybe, there's an element of danger to him and the general public. Finkelstein! Get somebody out there pronto!" But, all's well that ends well, I suppose. Excuse me while I go get my dirt ready for next year's garden. I might dig up Osama Bin Laden.