A Legendary University of Kentucky Basketball Fan

 

Dad's UK cap

Dad’s UK cap

Remembering those precious years with my dad and the bond created by a common love of University of Kentucky basketball has always made me smile.  Every year, especially around “March madness,” I fondly remember a legendary University of Kentucky basketball fan.  

Early Memories

My earliest memories of University of Kentucky basketball were captured through the sounds of a vintage 1946 Philco radio (the kind with tubes) while sitting on a screened-in back porch with my dad during the early to mid 1960’s.

The first UK basketball games were heard over a radio on a screened back porch.

The first UK basketball games were heard over a radio (the kind with tubes) on a screened back porch.

My dad was the first UK fan I ever knew so that qualifies him as a legendary University of Kentucky basketball fan (if only in our family).  I have no idea how he first came to love UK basketball.  Perhaps it was the NCAA National Championship wins in 1948 and 1949 that first caught his attention and began his lifelong love of all things UK basketball.

Play-by-plays were heard via radio, amidst my dad’s yelling, cheering (and yes, sometimes even critical “arm-chair” coaching) during some very intense games when Cotton Nash, Larry Conley, Pat Riley and Louie Dampier were iconic names in UK basketball, Adolph Rupp was coach and Caywood Ledford was the undisputed voice.  The volume was cranked up so loud, other distractions couldn’t compete for priority.

Leaning close to that old Philco radio, dad would hold an ear to the speaker when poor reception faded the volume in and out, catching such Ledford phrases as “puts it up and in”, “got it”, and “he shot than one from Paducah.”

When the radio lost its reception at critical game moments, dad would raise his hand and give it a hard smack as though to refocus its priorities.  The smack almost never worked on the 17+ year old radio, and there were a few times I think he was close to throwing it out of sheer frustration.

Apart from dad’s hard work to provide for our family, UK basketball games were his undisputed passion.  He derived pleasure listening to players he would never actually see play, but was nevertheless held spellbound through the commentary of the voice of Kentucky basketball, Caywood Ledford.

I learned basketball etiquette from my dad around the age of 10.  It was appropriate and encouraged to cheer, (the louder and more animated the better) but otherwise inappropriate (& met with swift correction) to interrupt with unrelated conversation during a game.   (There were no games that weren’t considered “big games.”)

Conversation was allowed briefly during a time out, so long as game strategy remained the focus.   An ice cold 16 ounce glass bottle of cola was the beverage of choice, and shared with children who didn’t breach game etiquette.

If a UK player missed a key shot at a critical game moment, dad would jerk off his cap and throw it on the floor in exasperation.   There were a few times, when UK’s score was trailing by a substantial margin I even saw him turn off the radio, protesting “If they’re not going to play, I’m not going to listen!”  He almost always relented and turned the radio back on to hear the final moments and score.

Competitive Spirit

Game losses were met by moments of silence when the outcome was just too painful to speak about, and always followed by an undetermined period of mourning.  I realize that may sound overly dramatic, but the entire mood of our home was as though a death had occurred for a day or two after a game loss.  In my dad’s competitive spirit, there were no options but a UK victory.

Even when games began to be televised in the 1970’s and 80’s, dad turned the volume down on the TV, preferring the game commentary of Caywood Ledford to the station commentators whom he believed to be inferior and biased in favor of the opposing team.

Nobody, but nobody got to talk trash about University of Kentucky basketball! Furthermore, there was no second choice team to win if UK couldn’t claim the victory.  It is fitting that I, his only daughter, born the year of one of UK’s 8 NCAA National Championships, would become a first generation college graduate from the University of Kentucky.

A Lifelong Fan

In the late 1990’s, the final years of his life, my two children would make him an even prouder grandfather when they also became UK alumni.

Hurley Mullins:  With granddaughter Shawna and grandson Shad (c.1973-74)

Hurley Mullins: With granddaughter Shawna and grandson Shad (c.1973-74)

That first legendary fan, a man who was born in 1912 and completed 4th grade, taught me the love of UK in the 1960’s, then later taught that same to my son and daughter in the 1980’s.  And so the legacy left by the legendary UK basketball fan continues in our family, now five UK graduates strong and counting.

My dad’s love of all things UK basketball spanned his lifetime.  From the Hospice care unit in 1998, wearing his UK cap, the fan who was never able to actually attend a game played in Memorial Coliseum or Rupp Arena, watched a televised UK basketball game just days before his death.

The Legacy Continues

I share this story as a tribute to my dad’s loyalty and devotion to UK.   If he could only see from that great Heavenly vantage point, perhaps he, Adolf Rupp and Caywood Ledford himself would all be smiling as the legacy continues with my granddaughter, now age 7.  She has been yelling “Go Cats” since she was barely able to speak.   Game etiquette, however, is still a work in progress.

Pam Baker

PamBakerRN.com

***This story was published 04/14/2014 in The Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper: UK Roundball Ties Bind the Generations

If you enjoyed this family story, you might also like to read: My Father, My Daddy: Storyteller, Scientist, Coal Miner, Teacher 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The Tale of Three Drivers

 

Ours was gray.  I remember the pull cords on the backs of the front seats.

1946 Oldsmobile:  Ours was gray. I remember the pull cords on the backs of the front seats.

My dad bought his first car when I was in grade school.  He had swapped a gun and $50 to an old ’46 Oldsmobile.  This is the tale of three drivers I will never forget.

One Car, No Licensed Drivers

When my dad bought his first car, neither he nor my mother knew how to drive.  My mother seized the opportunity to learn, out of necessity, while my dad was working the “hoot owl” shift at the mines.

The Union Hall Mishap

She enlisted her brother Leon to teach her how to drive while my dad slept during the day.  My mother took liberties with that learner’s permit out of necessity.

One day we were returning from grocery shopping.  I was in the back seat with sacks of groceries surrounding me while my mother drove.  The licensed driver, my uncle Leon, was in the passenger seat.  As we approached the Union Hall at the foot of the Brickyard Hill where we lived, my uncle thought my mother was going a little too fast to make the right turn.

I briefly remember hearing him say “Slow down Lunah Mae.”  The next thing I knew our vehicle had climbed most of the steps of the Union Hall & I was wearing raw scrambled eggs on my pants.

The bent steel I-beam embedded in the ground near the Union Hall steps is, to this day, a monument to that historical account of my mother’s failed attempt at driving.

I have to smile every time I pass this historic landmark.

I have to smile every time I pass this historic landmark.

Modeling the Teacher

Of course there are two sides to every story.  I learned later that my uncle had reached his own foot across to the driver’s side to press on the brake pedal for my mother, but had instead hit the gas pedal.

I remember riding to Ohio with the same uncle and my dad to visit my dad’s ailing sister.  On that journey, we passed each and every motor vehicle, without exception, on the way there and back.  Not a single vehicle passed us.  Amazingly we escaped both tragedy and law enforcement unscathed.

This was also the same uncle legendary for his habit of getting so engrossed in conversation with his passengers that he forgot he was driving.  Once he even got so busy talking that he forgot he was driving and flipped his car over an embankment and into a creek bed on Beefhide Creek.  This is the story he told on himself.  You simply can’t make up stories this funny!

Dad Learns to Drive

Following my mother’s near calamity on the Union Hall steps, my dad bought his first new car:  a 1957 2-tone green Ford.  I’m not totally certain, but I believe the cost was around $1800.  We ate a lot of pinto beans and cornbread while my dad was paying for that car.

He had bought our family’s first and only new car without even having a driver’s license.  Evidently he took and passed his driver’s exam in the new car, but I have no idea who taught him to drive.  (I was there waiting with my mother on the Letcher County Courthouse steps the day he passed his driver’s exam.) Perhaps it was my uncle Leon, but I’m not certain who was brave enough to teach him.

Our family's first new car

Our family’s first new car

Taking Care of Your Possessions

My dad believed in taking care of what you’ve worked hard to earn and nobody was more particular than my dad about his new car.  It was always polished to a hand-rubbed sheen. One day he drove to work to show it off.  As he was coming out of the bathhouse at the mines, one of the other miners teased him that he witnessed a fly trying to land on it, but sadly it had broken its neck in the process.

I have personally witnessed him driving with one foot on the gas and the other on the brake pedal.  This may explain why we never traveled more than 10 miles away from home without a hired driver.

There was no danger my dad would ever be charged with speeding.  In fact he was so notorious for being a slow driver that rumor has it a one-legged man was seen hopping alongside his car syphoning the gas out of the tank while he drove.

The Senior Driver

In his senior years, long after my mother passed away, my dad had to give up driving because of epileptic seizures.  Seizures had lead to his early retirement from the coal mines.

By this time, he was residing in a housing complex for senior citizens.  He had bought his second new vehicle, also a Ford, but because of his seizures, depended on other residents of the housing complex to drive him to the bank, shopping, and visits to his doctor.

One day he had asked one of the residents who usually drove him, to take him to the bank (which was less than a mile away).  For some reason, my dad got impatient because he wanted to go right away and the man he had asked had put him off until later.  Still clinging to his independence in his 80’s, my dad was determined he was not going to wait because it was such as short distance, so he would drive himself.

He made it to his bank without a problem.  However, when backing up to leave, he hit another vehicle in the parking lot.    Later, when my dad was brave enough to recount this story to me of the last time he drove, I asked him ‘What did you do after you hit the other car, Dad?’  His reply was “What do you think I did?  I got out of there as quickly as I could!”  I had to laugh! My dad was a hit and run driver in a parking lot at the age of 83.

So if you’re the person who was parked in the bank parking lot near Robinson Creek, KY about 25 years ago and came out to find a ding in your parked car, my daddy has long since confessed.  I guarantee it was a small ding, because with one foot on the gas and one on the brake pedal, what else would you expect?

Pam Baker

PamBakerRN.com

If you enjoy humorous stories, you might also enjoy:  

The Story of the Dueling Wheelchairs

AND 

The Great Dungeness Crab Caper

 

 


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THE TIME THIEVES

Do you know where the time thieves are in your life?  Watching TV one hour per night (local and National/World news) will cost me 21,900 min. a year whereas time spent on Facebook (checking newsfeed to see what others are doing and posting to my personal FB page) will rob me of an easy 43,800 minutes a year (2 hours a day).  

Do you know what is stealing your time?

Do you know what is stealing your time?

As I write this blog, it is “time” to confess that I am one of those people who struggles with time management.  Like money, there never seems to be enough of it.  Some say time is money.   However, all the money in the world will not buy another minute of time to add to your life.  The older I get, the more fleeting time becomes, so I am keenly aware that I need to be managing it wisely to accomplish my personal, professional, business and spiritual goals.

By simple calculation there are 526,000 minutes in any given year.  I’m forevermore saying I don’t have time to do the things I need to do to build my business or to invest in relationships with people.  Young or old, rich or poor, famous or infamous, successful or unsuccessful, (Lord willing) we each get allotted the same number of minutes each year.

Of those 526,000 minutes, I surmise that if I sleep the recommended 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, I will have used 174,720 minutes just lying there sleeping.  I know this seems like a frivolous waste of time, but our bodies really need it for rest, restoration, and for peak mental and physical function. Those who lose sleep end up mentally sluggish, with memory loss, headaches, and a variety of other problems.  Therefore, there’s no stealing from sleep on an ongoing basis that won’t “cost” you in terms of health problems in the long run.

If you already have a full time job, an additional 124,800 of those allotted minutes will be spent working (not counting time off for holidays).  Commuting to work will cost me 11,700 (45 min./day/5 days/52 wks.) That leaves me to determine what I’m doing with the other 216,000 minutes in the year that are unaccounted for to this point.

Talking on the phone is now considered “old school” communication thanks to Social Media, yet it is almost a requirement at work.  Some people don’t want to have a phone conversation once they’re home, yet let’s estimate 60 min/day x 365 day per year for 21,900 minutes.

How does one track the amount of time spent texting or chatting on instant messenger?  Is it even possible? Depending on the age group, I’m betting the time invested is significant as it often replaces verbal communication even when two texters are sitting in close proximity to one another.

God only knows how much wasted time is spent checking, responding to and deleting email messages. Even at work, some would rather dash off a quick email, risking misinterpretation of message tone rather than step away from their desks and speak to the other party face-to-face. (The retract and delete feature was a stroke of utter genius by a person who understood the repercussions of miscommunication.)

Distressing as it is to think about, I currently have over 11,000 messages looming in only ONE of my personal email inboxes, most of which are likely spam (despite all the filters, blocking and junk folders).   I recognize the process of sorting through and deleting or deciding to save or print can also be the time thieves.  I can only hope this primary email address will eventually implode and save me the trouble of trying to figure out how to delete it altogether.   Fortunately I have additional email addresses that are less out of control, but only because I haven’t given them out to others or used them as methods of contacting me.  Bottom line?  If someone really needs to contact me, they should probably just pick up the phone and call.  (By the way, I’m not great at checking voice messages either.)

If any of you have close friends or family members who are on their computers throughout the day, checking email, then forwarding messages with a fury to everybody they know (with all their friends’ email addresses visible), then you can appreciate my reluctance to give out new email addresses.  We should enroll these people in Spammers Anonymous (if there isn’t such an organization, there should be) for a SA 12-step program where they’ll get daily inspirational tips on how to break the cycle of spamming addiction (which they would do doubt forward to each of us daily as well).

For those who are on Facebook (like FB alone isn’t a major time thief), there are all those incessant reguests to play games that are the time thieves that hook many (but not me). Unfortunately I have found no good way to block these people trying to lure me in to wasting even more time with them while playing on APPS involving fruit and barnyard animals. I have a lifetime record of having played a grand total of 3 games of Scrabble with an anonymous fellow in China who beat me mercilessly every time we played.   I had no idea he was playing with an online guide that helped him beat me.  There’s no sport in beating somebody with an unabridged dictionary at your fingertips!

Consider that if you spent only ONE minute a day playing games, that’s 365 min/year and you won’t be one bit wiser or richer in the process.  Playing games is not to be confused with personal development!  It is simply a way to pass time and time is getting past each of us quickly enough already.

I honestly have no idea how much time I spend doing the following essential tasks:

  • Reading
  • Shopping
  • Preparing meals
  • Caring for pets
  • Doing laundry
  • Cleaning house
  • Paying bills
  • Visiting with family
  • Visiting with friends

TV can become huge time thief.  I no long subscribe to cable TV.  If I’m going to watch a program on TV, it needs to be commercial free.  I also feel better about watching TV if I can multi-task and be working actively on another project at the same time.  My mother was a soap opera addict.  Everything she didn’t centered on being home or free at the time her two soap operas came on every day.   She spent precious minutes out of the 52 short years she lived watching other people living fictitious lives on TV rather than the reality of living her own life.

I am reminded of my years as a visiting nurse in other’s homes.  Patients and their families sat spellbound in front of conjured “reality” TV shows, viewing the explosive exploits of “baby mamma drama” and slowly rotting their own brains in the process.   I can almost feel my IQ drop 30 points when I hear the loud voices and “bleap” “bleap” of the censored language of these same programs being viewed in the recreation room of the institution where I now work.

In conclusion, it is not the HOURS that get away from us in our lives.  Rather it is the MINUTES that turn into hours during which we have accomplished nothing toward our goals or personal development that should cause each of us to begin to take personal inventory.   Could you trim off an hour a day you’re wasting and invest it more wisely in growing your own business, learning a new skill, accomplishing a task, performing a fitness activity for your health, or developing a personal relationship?  Each of us has one lifetime to spend.  Not all lifetimes are equal.  We have no idea how many minutes that life will contain from first breath to last.  Therefore, to maximize our potential, we must first maximize how we budget the time each of us is given. What about you?

  • Have you evaluated how you invest your time?
  • Do you make lists of priorities and check off tasks?
  • Do you have a list of personal goals?
  • Do you know how to set goals? Are you able to check off which of those goals you accomplish on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis?
  • Do you have time management tips that you could share that would help others?
  • How much time do you allot daily toward your building your business?
  • How much time do you invest in building relationships with others (as well as your spouse)?
  • How much time do you invest in your spiritual growth (such as going to church, Bible study group, or studying your Bible?
  • Are you living a distracted life, not fully focused on the moment because of your personal time thieves?
  • If you cut your time thieves and invested more wisely, how much richer would you be in all areas of your life?

This blog is not about making each of us feel bad about our misadventures, but rather a reality check to help us recognize how we could budget our time to reach our maximum potential.   I have room for growth.  What about you?  Can you identify the time thieves in your life?

Pam Baker, RN

PamBakerRN.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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FACING ADVERSITY: Runner versus Fighter

When faced with adversity, which are you?

When faced with adversity, which are you?

FACING ADVERSITY:  RUNNER versus FIGHTER

Which are you?

Have you ever run from a complex or painful situation when you were unsure of the direction that would bring you peace? Have you run for safety, security, for money, or to avoid an uncertain consequence? Has your heart ever been so broken that you ran aimlessly, not really weighing the consequences or having a clear plan? Did the success of your long-term solution hinge on one person, one situation, one job, or even one income?

Many of us have been runners at some point in our lives.  Some have made it a marathon sport.  While running for fitness is an admirable thing, running in other areas of your life is not.   Just as runners in a competitive event are categorized by age, those who run in the face of adversity are not specific to a particular age group.

This is the story of two such runners and the way each dealt with adversity.

In the late 1970’s, I was married with 2 small children, ages 4 and 5.   My life was that of a stay at home mom.   My husband worked and his income afforded our family with the bare necessities of what we needed for survival.  We weren’t financially secure, but he had one of the more reliable jobs in the area where we lived.  We survived from paycheck to paycheck in meager housing and struggled to make ends meet and raise our two children.

My life though not ideal, was soon to take me on a journey down many paths, causing me to understand “fight or flight” from a whole new perspective.  Within a span of 8 years, I lost my mother, gave birth to two children, survived post partum depression, was diagnosed with cervical cancer, had a hysterectomy, learned of my husband’s infidelity with my best friend, went through a divorce, lost my maternal grandmother, and moved 3 times. Finally, I recognized my own futility and faced the negative future on my current path.  Poverty, a defeated spirit and loss of personal pride would be my destinations.  I didn’t like what I saw because I realized it would not only impact me, but also on my children and generations after me.  Exhausted trying to escape my problems, I finally stopped running, started planning, and began building the future I wanted.  My first major step was to enroll in college.

As I surveyed the carnage of the years behind me, I remember experiencing mixed emotions of despair, fear, resentment, grief and abandonment as I cared for a dying mother at a time when I should have being expectantly joyful over the birth of my daughter.  I had never been taught how to care for an infant; I didn’t know how to be a mother.  My mother was supposed to teach me and now she was gone.  Post partum depression left me feeling as though I was losing my mind and fearful of my own behavior as a new mother.  I suffered in silence, afraid to seek medical help in a small community where everybody knows your business (and gossips about it).  It had been 6 – 9 months before I finally recovered on my own.  Eighteen months later, I had given birth to my son and was fully in the role of stay-at-home-mom, wife and homemaker.

The diagnosis of cancer had caught me off guard with 2 preschool-aged children and caused me to face my own mortality with fear and (eventually) courage.

I remember that day 38 years like it was yesterday. I had gone for my annual GYN appointment and cancer screening the day before Thanksgiving 1976.  No big deal. It was January 1977 when I got a finally got a phone call one snowy day asking me to come back to the doctor’s office to discuss my test results.  That was puzzling, I remember thinking.  Why couldn’t they just tell me the results over the phone?

So I talked to my closest friends.  No big deal they agreed.  Some of them had had to have repeat PAP tests and everything turned out okay.  They were sure that was it, so no need to worry.   Their encouragement convinced me there was nothing to worry about.  Still, I had my husband drive me over those treacherously slick roads to the follow up doctor’s appointment.  I was prepared to hear I needed a repeat PAP test.  Instead I was ushered to the doctor’s office where he sat behind a giant chart-laden desk with my test results in my hands.  “You actually have pre-cancer cells.” He told me.  “Your PAP test came back Stage IV.   We need to see how far it has spread.  If you don’t have a hysterectomy, it will turn in to cancer. We need to schedule you in the operating room for a cone biopsy.”

‘I don’t understand.  Last year my PAP test was normal.  How did this happen? Couldn’t it be a mistake? Can’t you just do another PAP test and just see if it comes back okay?’  I had asked.

“No” was his frank and abrupt response.

On my ride home that day, I was a bundle of emotion.  At one point I turned, through tears, and asked my husband “What am I going to do?”

His simple reply was “Take it like a woman.”  It was very clear from that point that this was a very personal battle I was going to face on my own.

Late one night in the interim between the diagnosis and the scheduled surgery, I had been in bed asleep when I heard the telephone ring beside my head.  I was slow to awaken, but aware of my husband answering the phone and starting to whisper to the caller on the other end.  He took the phone into the next room and continued talking in low tones.  By this time, I was fully awake.  There was apparently no family emergency and this conversation was making no sense as I heard him say, “I can’t tonight.  Maybe next weekend.”  It was then that it became apparent that there was a female caller on the other end.  That’s when I first learned of my husband’s infidelity, but I didn’t know who she was, nor would he tell me despite my confrontation with him after the call ended.

Trusting by nature, I had always given people the benefit of the doubt. I never distrusted someone unless they first gave me cause to distrust.  The shock of my husband’s infidelity with met with disbelief.  Not only had he betrayed me, but also his timing was terrible.

I learned about the power of prayer the day my surgeon bowed his head in the operating room and said a prayer for me as I was dozing off to anesthetized sleep.  He didn’t even know I heard him praying on my behalf that morning in the operating room, but God heard him.  It was then that I knew God had a purpose and a plan for my life.  It was up to me to either try and figure out what that plan was or allow God to show me.

When the surgeon had emerged from the operating room to speak to my family, there had not been a single member of my family there to receive the news. Was I really that insignificant to the people who were supposed to love and support me?

Two more years would pass, but instead of reconciliation, our marital discord got worse as my husband continued his pattern of infidelity.  There were no more late night phone calls, but there were many stories that didn’t fit as the lies continued.

The big “reveal” of the mystery mistress came when my best friend left her husband the very same night my husband didn’t come home from our son’s kindergarten graduation.  I won’t detail the events that led me to the realization of her identity.  Some things are better left unsaid and unwritten.  After 3 days of near non-stop shedding of tears, I was compelled to see her and to talk to her face to face.  Understandably, she was reluctant to face me.   When we met, there was no hostility or angry words between us.

Her wake-up call in the relationship was that my husband actually wanted her to abandon her preschool-aged son so there would be no children to burden them as they began their lives together.  Thankfully she chose not to abandon her child and was appalled at the true heart of the man she thought was her “love of a lifetime.“ Reconciliation with her husband was not easy; he felt as deceived as I did.

The first “runner” I ever knew was my own husband.  He ran from the drama he had created, and the lives he had destroyed, leaving his wife and children to survive the gale force winds of survival alone.  He ran as a guilty man, lacking the courage to face the consequences of his own actions.  I have no respect for that, and even less for a man who doesn’t provide for his own children.

The second “runner” I came to realize was myself.   I couldn’t bear to face the insecurity of being jobless and dependent on my (soon to be ex) husband to meet his financial obligations to his children and to honor the debts he promised to pay.  I couldn’t face the wrath of the scorned husband next door who actually strung up a barbed wire fence separating our property lines, holding my children and me responsible, and punishing us for wrath he felt toward my husband.  Our children, who had once been daily playmates, were forbidden to be together.  The three of us were a visual reminder of a painful situation he wanted so much to forget.

My reason for running was that there were just too many stressors to cope with all at once and there were no easy answers.  I had no real plan for how my children and I were to survive this crisis.  For a season of 4 months, I “ran.”  I was searching for a fresh start, a new beginning, and a “happy-ever-after” ending.  As in the movie Forest Gump, I ran and I ran.  I ran first to Knoxville, TN, then to Covington, KY.   I had no idea what I was looking for, but I didn’t like the view looking back over my own shoulders.

Then one day, just as suddenly as I began,  I just stopped running.   I stopped running, started facing my challenges, rolled up my sleeves and began to build my future one day at a time.  There were days I wondered whether my life was worth it.  It was on those days that my children were my anchors.  Falling down was something I have done many times, but I have never stayed down.  I have always gotten back up.  Through this, I grew in strength and all the while, my children were watching.   I wanted so much to be the dependable parent they could be proud of and to teach them how to be courageous, successful adults.

Thirty-six years later, hindsight truly is 20/20.  I’m glad the man who truly didn’t love me ran.  His running freed me from a lifetime commitment to a marriage that never should have happened at age 16 to a man I did not choose, but was instead chosen for me by my parents.  (But that’s another story altogether).  If you’re a stay-at-home mom or living in a bad situation, I hope my story gives you the courage to stand firm, stop running and begin to discover God’s plan for your life.   Stop running and start building your own future instead of watching the minutes of your life tick away without a purpose or a plan.

Pick up whatever pieces have been strewn along the pathway of your life and build (or rebuild) something incredible with what you’ve been given (or what you have left).   Build a bridge to the future for others who follow after you.  Stop running, refuse to be a victim of your past, and leave a legacy of courage and strength.

Pam Baker

PamBakerRN.com

 

This poem of inspiration was given to me by Claude H. Brown, a former college professor at Pikeville College.  A man with daughters of his own, he was my biggest cheerleader as he saw me struggle to obtain the resources to provide for my family while attending college as a full time student.  This blog is dedicated to his memory.

THE BRIDGE BUILDER

BY WILL ALLEN DROMGOOLE

An old man going a lone highway,

Came, at the evening cold and gray,

To a chasm vast and deep and wide.

Through which was flowing a sullen tide

The old man crossed in the twilight dim,

The sullen stream had no fear for him;

But he turned when safe on the other side

And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,

“You are wasting your strength with building here;

Your journey will end with the ending day,

You never again will pass this way;

You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,

Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head;

“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,

“There followed after me to-day

A youth whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm that has been as naught to me

To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;

He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;

Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

Source: Father: An Anthology of Verse (EP Dutton & Company, 1931)

If you liked this story, you might also enjoy: From Humbling Beginnings: A Journey From the Bottom Rung of the Ladder
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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