When I was a kid, my mum liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mum placed a plate of eggs, sausage, and extremely burned toast in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his toast, smile at my mum and ask me how my day was at school.
I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember hearing my mum apologize to my dad for burning the toast. And I'll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned toast.."
Later that night, I went to kiss Dad good night and I asked him if he really liked his toast burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your mum put in a long hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides... a burnt toast never hurt anyone!"
You know, life is full of imperfect things... and imperfect people. I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. What I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each others faults and choosing to celebrate each others differences, is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.
So...please pass me the toast. And yes, the burned one will do just fine!
Life is too short to wake up with regrets... Love the people who treat you right and forget about the ones who don't.
Herbert was born in Mississippi in 1891, but grew up in Oklahoma. Dirt poor like most farmers 95% of the year, he grew up a happy little boy, up at the crack of dawn to do his chores just like the big boys. He went to “Save them damn Frenchies” in 1918. He said they wouldn’t fight for themselves and so he had to go do it for them. He got the nickname Grumpy when he was in France and I guess it just kinda stuck.
So now I tell the stories of my grumpy to my grand kids. They don’t have much time to listen because they have there game on hold, but I usually get them for five minutes. My grand son, Herby, will know a little bit about the man he was named after. I test him from time to time and he is listening. So tag along and let’s get the bull started as grumpy used to say.
Millie from Searsport, Maine was born in 1933 on a warm day in winter. That’s important because it doesn’t happen very often. Cold days in summer are much more common. Mom and Dad were visiting grandma and grandpa in Bangor when I decided it was time to see the world. As grandma tells the story, “God opened up the heavens and sent His most special angel to deliver me to the world.” It wasn’t my idea!
My sister Julie blames me for the broken arm she got. I guess the angel that was delivering me was supposed to catch her as she jumped from the top bunk or something. How can it be my fault that my sisters angel was due in Frankfort at the exact time that I was born. And her arm wasn’t broken, her shoulder was out of the socket. Uncle Tim just popped it back in place. It is more painful for the shoulder to pop in than it is to pop out, as I am told everytime she gets really mad at me. This could explain why my sister has always hated me.
Bernard (Ben) was born in Clutier Iowa in 1916. His was a hard life but, he didn’t know any better. He had an older sister and a younger brother. There was another brother, two years younger than Ben that didn’t make it a week. He did not know it at the time, but that loss would shape the next fifteen years of his life.
By Iowa standards, they were the rich folk. With just over 1000 acres of farm land, this young family was off to a good start. The ranch had a three room house, a barn, a shed, an outhouse, and a coral. The first year that Ben can remember, or remember his Dad talk about, they were able to plant 90 of the best acres closest to the river. They made enough the first year to buy a wagon, two horses, and stocked up for winter.
Ben’s Uncle Jim had left him the ranch because he didn’t have any children of his own. His Aunt Jenny died ten years earlier attempting to give birth to the first one. After she died Uncle Jim just didn’t care anymore. Ben had been working the land for five years, but he did not understand how hard the paperwork was. Uncle Jim didn’t believe in paper work. He said that you look the man in the eye, give him your word, and then live by it.