Uncle Wayne ByerWhen my Uncle Wayne Byer was a little boy, it was unheard of for boys to wear shorts…or at least that was the opinion of Uncle Wayne, his brother, my Uncle Larry, and the boys they hung out with. They weren’t against going shirtless in the summer as a way of beating the heat though. Uncle Larry didn’t go shirtless as often as Uncle Wayne did though, because being a blond, he sunburned much easier than Uncle Wayne did. Uncle Wayne, on the other hand, tanned so deeply in the summertime that people often asked him if he was an Indian.

Summers were spent playing outside for most of the day, much of that time in the middle of the street. One woman in particular got very annoyed at the kids as they always seemed to be in the street when she wanted to drive down it. She proceeded to yell at them to “get out of the street and stay out of it.” Like most kids, that didn’t influence them much. They nonchalantly stepped slowly out of the way and let her pass, and then promptly went right back to playing in the street. I have to think they played out in the street at the exact time she had to leave for work, just so they could irritate her…typical of kids, and the mischievous brothers and their friends really enjoyed irritating her.

Uncle Wayne also loved playing Annie-Annie Over, which was a game where one team threw a ball over the house, calling out Annie-Annie Over. That was the only warning the other team got. If they caught the ball, they could sneak around the house and try to tag someone on the opposing team with the ball, before that team could run around to the other side of the house, thereby claiming that side as theirs now. If they tagged someone, that person was now on their team. If the ball didn’t go over, the throwing team called out Pigtail. That way, they got another chance to throw. When one whole team ends up on the opposing team’s side, the game is over, and the winning team is the one with team members. The summer days were filled with this and many other games, and made for great memories.

Uncle Wayne and the rest of the boys he hung out with always seemed to be in some mischief and before long the police were called. No they weren’t in serious trouble, but in those days, the police would bring them in and call their parents. For most kids, this straightened them out pretty quickly, because calling their parents usually meant a good whoopin’ and that Wayne Doyle Byersolved the problem, but these boys ended up at the police station more than once. Back then, there was a truck that drove around delivering pop to people who wanted to buy it. It was similar to the ice cream truck of today, or maybe the Swann’s truck. One time, when the driver was delivering pop to a house, and the boys decided to relieve him of a couple of six packs each. The delivery driver gave chase, and since the boys were a little bit hampered by 2 six packs of pop each, they couldn’t get away. The next stop was the police station, and a call to my grandpa. They might have been scared, but their dad was a pretty softhearted man, so maybe not. Today is Uncle Wayne’s birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Heading to the gameThere are times in the life of a person that are looked back on as being…Epic!! They can be anything from the first time they have flown to the first professional ball game. I’m not talking about marriage here or high school graduation, because those fall unto an entirely different class of events. And the things that are epic for one person, are not so for someone else. Today is just such a day for my grand nephew, Xander. His Aunt Liz has been to many pro ball games, as has his cousin Kellie and her boyfriend Josh, but today…well, today is special, because they have decided to make the day epic for Xander by taking him to a Broncos/Eagles game. Now Liz, Kellie, At Sports Authority Field at Mile Highand Josh are Broncos fans, but Xander is an Eagles fan, so this could get…interesting. Oh, I know they wouldn’t pick on Xander too badly if the Eagles lose, but he would be hard pressed to hold back his excitement if the Eagles win. It might just be a little bit uncomfortable on the way home, but I doubt it. These are die hard sports fans, who know what it means to be a good sport.

This takes me back to my first pro baseball game…right there in Denver. Of course, I was much older that Xander has been so blessed to be, but I don’t really think the excitement changes much. There is just something so cool about being inside the stadium that brings with it the realization that this is the big time, Almost got into a fight with the Broncos Kangerooand you are really there. These players are the pros, and you are watching them…and not on television. It seems surreal to most people that first time. Yes, you get used to it as you attend more and more games as time goes by, but I really don’t think any of us ever forget that first time…ever!!

Of course, as a Broncos fan, I still have to hope they win…sorry Xander. Still, I hope that both teams play amazingly well today…for Xander. I hope it is a good game, well played. I know that win or lose, Xander is going to have a day that he will never forget…an epic day…a day that will go down in the history of his life as one of the very coolest days ever.

While his older brother loves football, Josh’s game is basketball. Chris was good at basketball too, but it wasn’t really important to him. Josh loves the game. And Josh is suited to the game too. He is tall and slender, and very quick on his feet. He has learned so much, this season especially. Maybe it is partly because he has a really good coach, but I think that he is coming into his own this year. He isn’t afraid to shoot the basket, like he sometimes was in the past. He knows he can do it now. Also, he is tall enough to rebound well, and steal the ball easily.

His team is undefeated so far this year. They are a formidable opponent for any team. Their coach has taught them well, and they operate as a team. They don’t care who shoots the baskets, only that each player has done his best and given it his all. That is was teamwork is all about. Each of the boys supporting the others…watching their backs. That is what I see in Josh and his team.

Josh is one of the taller boys on his team, so it makes him one of the better guards. It is very hard to shoot over him, and very easy for him to block the shots. I am amazed at how quickly he moves and how immovable he is when he is guarding. The more he plays the better he will get. Of course, that is the same for most sports. If you are dedicated and you practice, you can get better at the sports you love.

I have seen such growth in Josh this year…in more ways than just sports. Oh sure, he is still a bit of a jokester, and he loves to pick on me…and other people, including his mom, but he just seems more grown up now. Maybe I notice it more with him because he is the youngest of my grandchildren. It’s easy to always look at the youngest child or grandchild, and think they will always be the little one. Then one day you look at them and you suddenly see them for the young adult they are. It can be quite a shock. When my grandchildren started arriving, I thought they would be little for a long time, but now suddenly they are all teenagers, even this youngest one that I have most recently discovered in no longer little, but a formidable opponent.

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