truck

Caalab & the deep snow 4.17.2013Mountain Snow 4-17-2013Since the snow began in Casper, on April 8, 2013, we have had around 32 inches of snow, which, of course, varies depending on where you are in town. Since the storms took place over a number of days, some of it melted in between storms. Now if you happen to live on the mountain…like my friend Becky and her husband, Darren, your world looks…just a bit different than the rest of town. According to Becky, they have had between 48 and 54 inches…maybe more, since the wind has been blowing it around up there.

All the kids in town expected to have a snow day with the first storm, so when morning arrived, along with what most of us assumed was enough snow to call school off, and school was still on, the kids were justifiably annoyed. The comments on Facebook flew back and forth expressing their irritation. At that point, I mentioned to my grandkids that they should have watched the movie, “Snow Day” because it would explain to them, the best way to arrange a Snow Day. Well, I don’t think they took my advise, but it would seem that they found a way to get that Snow Day after all…and it didn’t involve hijacking a snow plow.

April, 2013, has decided to be like the Spring storms I remember as a kid. We used to get the kind of snow that meant that cars didn’t get around in it. People who really needed to get out had to use a snowmobile. This April storm was going to rival those storms, and the second round of the April, 2013 storm hit close enough to the first round that the snow hadn’t completely melted. That created enough problems with the roads to bring the words that every school aged child wants to hear…Snow Day. Then begins the reality of the Snow Day, because while the weather is too rough to go to school, for some reason, it is not so bad that the kids…and any parents who were able to get the snow day too…can’t get out there and play. Other kids, like my grandson, Caalab found themselves literally waist deep in drifts of snow with a shovel at not only their house, but those of the neighbors, as well.

At that point, the best mode of transportation became the sled powered by kids. After all what is a Snow Day for if not to get out a play in the snow. Suddenly kids who normally had to be pryed out of bed, jumped out of bed and could hardly wait until Digging Out 4-17-2013The best way to get aroundbreakfast was over, so they couyld get out in the snow. Of course, there are adults, like Darren, who probably felt a little bit differently about the type of play they had, and who had to use a much stronger mode of transportation…the truck with a plow. Digging out of the ton of snow on the mountain, is a lot of work, but then I suppose that the chocolate chip cherry cookies Becky made today, would help to motivate Darren in his work.

My cousin sent me some pictures a couple of days ago and boy, did they bring back some memories. One in particular struck me, mostly because of the difference in the times…and the things you can and can’t do today. My dad’s brother, Bill and his family used to come for visits, and we would go there for visits when we were little kids. One of our favorite things to do was to picnic on Casper Mountain. It is a beautiful place and it’s nearby. We have always loved going on the mountain. The summer air is cooler there, and fresh with the smells of pine. The birds are singing and the breeze whispers through the tree tops. I could stay up there for a long time.

Back then, Dad had an old green pickup truck, and whenever we all went somewhere in the truck, all of us kids got to ride in the back of the truck. Now, I know that people don’t usually ride in the back of a truck any more, and maybe it isn’t the safest idea, but back then it was the normal way to go. On any given day, you might see a dozen or more people driving around with the kids in the back of the truck, and I don’t remember ever hearing about anyone getting hurt or killed, although I’m sure it happened. Nevertheless, when we were going to go up on the mountain, they loaded all of us kids up in the back of the truck and the adults in front. And away we went.

We had a great time riding back there, with the wind in our hair…and none of us cared if our hair was a wreck after that ride either. Dad would drive up the mountain, and then stop at Lookout Point so we could see how beautiful the city was from up there. The night views were the best of course, because the city lights always looked like a jewelry box. The picnic and the city views were great, but I will always remember the wonderful rides in the back of Dad’s truck, probably because we got to do more of those. Of course, looking back, and knowing the safety risks today, I wouldn’t let my kids or grandkids ride there, but we didn’t know that then, and I guess God just watched out for us, because we obviously lived through it. Kind of like not having seat belts in the car, and rolling onto the floor at a sudden stop. We didn’t think of it being unsafe…just funny. I guess it was just the times we lived in.

Every boy has the same dream at some point…to be as big as their daddy. Of course, it is the little boys who most want that to happen. And it seems like it will just take forever. That’s when most dads try to give their little guys a helping hand, by giving them a lift up. It might be up on their shoulders, or up on a chair, or as in the case of Bob and his dad, a lift up onto the hood of the truck. Bob was so excited, that he was telling his dad, “Look, I’m as big as you, Daddy!”

It something that has been going on for ages. Boys wanting to follow in the footsteps of their fathers…whether it be height, occupation, or just mannerisms. Boys look up to their daddies, and so they should. Daddies are the model that boys use to decide who they will become. It is a big responsibility, and one that should never be taken lightly. Every man wants his children to grow up to be successful, and it is important that children have a role model to follow that will show them how they can achieve success and good moral standards. A dad needs to aspire to be better than he thought he could be so that his children, and especially his sons, in that they tend to look more to their dads as their role models, have a good example to follow. The children of this generation will produce the next generation, so it is important to teach this generation how to teach the next. Many people don’t think about that, or they think that their children will somehow pick up on it…but they won’t unless it is taught.

Yes, it is fun to watch how little boys try so hard to be just like their daddies, but daddies must also take that very seriously, so that they do more than just nourish their son’s body to help him grow up big and strong, but also, nourish his mind and spirit, so he grows up brave, wise, and moral.In reality, it is those traits that will ultimately become the deciding factor in the making of the man their sons will become…and after all, isn’t that the most important thing…not how tall or muscular they are, but what a brave, good, wise, and moral man they are.

When little boys get a new toy, it seems inevitable that the dads, uncles, big brothers, and even grandpas are going to help the little boy play with the new toy…especially if the toy is a cool one, like a truck with moving parts, a crane , or something cool like that. Sometimes the big boys help so much that the little boys hardly get to play at all. It seems like when girls grow up and get done playing with toys, they don’t tend to go back to them as readily…not so with men. Those toys always have their draw for men.

The funny thing about toys is that sometimes, the little boys get almost pushed aside so the big boys can play with the toys. Or better yet…it must be time for a nap right. Oh they’ll never admit it, but boys toys are pretty hard for the big boys to resist…especially considering the fact that the toys these days are more cool that when we were kids.

As boys get older, the toys do cost more but the reality is that they are still toys. Women think of a car as transportation, men have to know all the inner workings and how it all works. Oh, I know that there are exceptions to the rule. There are women mechanics and men who don’t care about how a car works, but there are still toys that big boys have. And, the types of toys are as varied as the boys.

And sometimes, The little boys don’t even have to be around with their toys for two big boys to decide to act like little boys again. On a snowy day when they are done with their work, or maybe just tired of it, a child’s sled can and a strong son-in-law can make for a great big boys toy. And if the little boys come out and want to play…well, you just tell them the same thing you told them when they first learned to play. If you had it first, you don’t have to give it up, so…seriously…we had it first!! Go find your own toys to play with.

Yep, the funny thing about boys is that they never really grow up. They might get bigger, and the toys might get more expensive, but that does not mean that they won’t want to play anyway. Boys will be boys. And boys will always have their toys.

There are people out there, and we all know them, who simply love the mud. They have a bit of an obsession with the thought of conquering it…usually with their truck. And if we didn’t all like the idea, there wouldn’t be anything like the mud races, but we do and that is why there are mud races. We pay good money to go out and see if someone can run their truck through a mud pit, secretly hoping that most of them get stuck, because we want our favorite to win. For a while, my favorite was my son-in-law, Kevin. He got into mud racing, and bought a special truck for it, and competed in quite a few races. It was fun watching his races.

Now, getting down and dirty in the mud isn’t my thing, but I don’t mind watching other people do it. And many people don’t mind doing it. Maybe it’s the adrenalin rush or the screaming crowd, but whatever it is, people flock to see the next guy do his best to conquer the mud pit. And the adrenalin rush isn’t limited to the racers. Everyone in the crowd is filled with excitement and anticipation as each truck begins his run. Then, mud flying, they are off. Sometimes the mud is tough, and very few racers get through. Then it is a matter of who got the farthest. Other times it’s a little easier, and then it is a matter of who got through the fastest. Either way, it is always a challenge, and a definite crowd pleaser.

During the time that Kevin was mud racing, his boys, Chris and Josh had a chance to feel special too. They could tell people that this truck was their dad’s and that racer was their dad. It was a wonderful way for them to share a guy thing together. And of course, Corrie didn’t mind the whole thing either. Each race is unique, with it’s own set of problems. From trucks breaking down, to being damaged in the race, it was a work in progress, and not a cheap one. But in the end, it was a family thing that brought them closer together.

Kevin decided that mud racing was a little to much money to continue with a few years ago, and the truck was sold. They have since moved on to other interests, such as the boys’ sports, but they will always have the memory of the nights spent door deep in the mud, and the days spent washing that same mud off of the truck to prepare for the next event. I’m sure Kevin misses those days a little bit now and then, but the memory lives on and the pictures will always tell the tale of those days…in the mud.