Perseid

I am a bit of a nerd. I can’t deny that. I’ve always loved stargazing and keeping up with meteor showers. I always knew that if I did meet someone, she would have to be equally nerdy.

Friday, August 12, 2011 I found that girl. I was the maintenance man at an apartment complex, and Abbie was a new tenant, starting her first teaching job out of college. I was in the lobby arguing about whether or not the Perseid meteor shower was visible for my friend.

Abbie came down to wash laundry, and I decided to go in and talk to her. We went through the pleasantries and I mentioned the meteor shower. She said she loves meteor showers.

When I invited her to watch it with me, she said she wasn’t sure. There were boys at one of the doors and she was scared of them. Abbie is 5’3, tiny, and very shy. I told her I would keep her safe from the scary boys and be her guard dog, just joking around.

We went out and watched the shower for a while. To this day we still keep track of who sees the most shooting stars each month. Like I said, we’re nerdy people. Anyway, we wound up back in the lobby talking until almost 2 am.

When I walked her back to her apartment that night, I knew I was in trouble. We agreed to watch it again the next night too. The next night I was nervous as can be trying to get up the nerve to knock on her door.

I’m glad I did. It has been 7 years since that night. Every year on August 11, we watch the Perseid meteor shower together at midnight. We have our own celebration of the day we became us. Most would celebrate on the evening of the 12th.

I met my dad just a week or so after that night. He asked, “you’re going to marry her aren’t you?” I told him “I probably will.”

Abbie was the first girl I dated in 3 years. After the last relationship I had been in, I knew God was going to have to break out the big guns to make me date again. I joke around and tell Abbie that He needed the whole universe to make me realize it.

It’s been a great 7 years. We have been blessed with 3 awesome kids. Our son Ricky, 5, starts kindergarten this year. Morgan, 4, was the inspiration for Morgan Goes Fishing. Bella, 2, is just amazing in too many ways.

A meteor shower means very little to most people. I look forward to Perseid every year. It marks the start of the best part of my life. Now, it’s about time to go bring in the 12th. Have a great night.

Dan

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Alabama Fishing

I haven’t done much for sharing any of the stupid stories lately. I have been thinking a lot about one that may be my favorite memory from childhood. We have a bad situation, so naturally, Scott was there. We had a lot of fun.

I was no more than 10 at the time. The only indicator of age is I remember eating pizza when we got home in Clarksville, TN. It was a good end to what was one of the best worst trips we could have asked for. It’s the bad ones? that stick with you after all.

My dad, 2 uncles, Scott and me all went to Alabama for a fishing trip. Another uncle let us borrow his boat. My uncle Denny had his 8 foot aluminum Jon Boat that he carried in the bed of his truck. It was 5 of us on this trip, so it wasn’t anything major. Just a fun day.

The first several hours of the day were great. We fished, we caught fish, we stopped for lunch. Denny played a joke on my dad and Uncle Bill that the waitress at the counter had asked him to come back when she got off work. We ate lunch and left.

I know, at this point its a pretty boring story. Stay with me.

We decided it was time to find a new place to fish. My dad remembered the fishing being good down by the old gas station he knew from growing up. We loaded up the boats and took off. Off in the distance we saw some clouds rolling in, but we knew we still had a while before the storm came. When we got to the boat launch by the gas station we unloaded and went back to fishing.

We explored the area a little bit. My dad showed us some places he remembered from growing up. After about an hour we saw the clouds were closer and figured we should go up closer to the boat launch. We got up close to the bank and fished along.

The water was starting to get rough as the wind picked up. That’s when the first flash of lightning hit. It hit the water maybe 200 feet from us. Then it hit the trees on the shore. The wind had picked up more and the storm was really getting good.

My dad decided it was time to go back to the shore and let the storm pass. The boat wouldn’t start. The motor had gotten jammed up. With all the bravery of an 10 year old, I started crying when i could hear trees falling on the shore. My dad responded lovingly with a, “oh knock it off. It’s only rain. Quit your crying.” I have said the exact same thing to my son.

After messing with the motor for a few minutes the boat was running and we made a mad dash back to the boat launch. Scott and Denny had made it back already and were finishing up unloading the rods and reels from Denny’s boat. Denny ran and pulled the truck and trailer down to get the boat loaded. His was just pulled up on the bank.

When he got the trailer in the water, my dad and Bill started loading the boat up. Bill was just out of the water getting the winch hooked up. Dad was at the back of the boat in the water, trying to get the boat lined up. In the rush it wasn’t the best loading job.

Just then, lightning hit the water. My dad was in the water. I can say that 2 people have walked on water. My dad is 6’2″ tall. When the lightning hit the water he cleared the 16 foot boat in about 3 seconds and never touched bottom. All we saw was legs flailing around as he ran out of the water.

All he had to say was, “Damn, that hurt.”

We got in the truck and rode out the rest of the storm. Scott and I were in the bed of the truck under the camper shell. It did little good at keeping us dry. A few weeks earlier Denny came to a hard stop and one of his dogs had hit the front window and broke it. So we had rain running in the broken window.

Powdered donuts and DR. Pepper were close by. We joked about the storm while the adults smoked in the cab. When the stormed passed we got out to finish loading up.

Denny’s boat had started to sink from the rain it caught. His trolling motor and battery were completely submerged. But it still worked. We loaded everything up and got out of there before the day got any worse.

This is seriously my favorite memory from childhood. I have no idea why. It was an awesome day. I completely understand where i get my parenting style. I look forward to the day Ricky gets to have a stupid story with me to share.

Knobstone in February

I havent shared a Scott and Dan story in a while. This is a funny one. Two guys, snow and ice, and bad luck. It was our specialty I believe.

Day 1

We decided to do a February hike in southern Indiana. It was my first winter hike and I learned a heck of a lot. And I had a blast.

We first set out and it was easy enough. We hiked a couple miles out to our campsite and all was well. Witha nice comfortable 16 degrees, we discovered that we couldn’t a fire going. We set up the tent an hunkered down for the night.

The frozen ground made for a less than comfortable bed. My sleeping bad was not winter rated, so it wasn’t a great nights rest. At least I had foot warmers?

Wrong! The warmers we brought didn’t work. I had on 3 pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, 2 shirts and my coat. I was still cold.

To make it better, Scott went pee through the night and didn’t close the tent flap. I woke up with my feet hanging out of the tent.

Day 2

I could barely move my toes, and I’ve already had a case of frostbite. We decided to make a slow trip back in to town to get some gear better suited for the trip.

The trip back in was decent enough until we got to Wal-Mart. We were warm. As we walked into the store I realized I had a relatively large knife hanging off me. I took it off and put it in my coat to not attract attention.

I failed. A man walked up to Scott while we were looking at gear, whispered to him, then walked away. Scott laughed and told me that security had been called on us because we looked suspicious.

About 2 seconds later 2 management members walked by. A minute later two more. They followed us until we left.

After making it back to camp we decided to make a water run. It was about 100 feet down a hill to a small creek collecting melt off. We made fast work of losing our footing and sliding down the hill on our butts.

The trip up was more comical. We babystepped all the way up. One tree at a time. About half way up, Scott dropped a bottle out of his pocket and had to watch it slide back down to the creek. I let him go back for it.

When night fell we lit our fire and pulled our sleeping bags out to sleep by the fire and stay warm. Before we fell asleep Scott told me, “wake me up so I don’t roll into the fire.”

It was supposed to be a joke. I think. About 2:00 am I heard, “Ah, crap! Why didn’t you wake me up?” I raised up and looked over to see Scott’s sleeping bag on fire. He really had rolled over into a fire.

We got the fire out, laughed, and went back to sleep. He slept with a hole about a foot across in his bag. I slept nice and warm in my unburned bag.

The nect morning we got up and hiked out. It was warmer that morning than the two other days had been. Before leaving town we stopped at Waffle House for breakfast.

We couldn’t figure out why the waitress stood back from the table while we ordered. She didn’t come back to see how we were doing either.

I figured it out a couple weeks later when i went to visit Scott. His wife had asked us to go to the store for something. When we got in the car it hit me.

It was foul. I asked, “Dang, what is that smell?” I just thought Scott’s daughter had lost a milk cup and it spoiled in the car. Scott laughed, “Ha. That is us my friend. It’s smelled that way since the knobstone.”

Apparently our 3 days spent in the same clothes made an impact. He had used 2 bottles of febreeze and couldn’t get the smell out. It was awful.

It was not a smooth trip by any means. Fun? Yes. Stupid? Probably. Well planned? Not even close. Would I change it? Not one bit.

The good times stand out as much as the bad ones. Don’t let a bad experience ruin a good story. Embrace the stupidity.

Time to move

The last week has been ridiculous. Do you ever have those weeks where you go nonstop and find yourself in a completely different spot than you planned. That’s what happened this week.

I mentioned before that my wife was asked to apply for a position at a new school. She got the job. Suddenly we found ourselves having to move. We got a place lined up. Sort of.

At the start of the month I sold an old pick up i had since just before we got married. It was my baby. A 1979 Dodge Power Wagon. This would have been enough to cover the cost of the move.

I wasn’t expecting this move though, so I paid some bills since our summer income was going to be tight. It made sense. It still does. They are at least paid, and less worries through the summer. But if I hadn’t paid them, we could move.

So, against much protest my wife asked for a loan. To move. This is a terrible idea. I hate loans. I hate debt. Dave Ramsey helps me hate debt.

But it’s there now. And we are moving. Our whole week is going to be busy and wild. We have a lot of driving to do to get things done. We have to pack, and get the deposit paid for the new house.

Is this week over yet? Oh, did I mention that all this us going on while I get Morgan Goes Fishing sold. We have 30 so far. That’s cool. I’m also launching a new venture.

So, it’ll be busy and I will probably lose my mind. In the end it will be worth it. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as it’s looking right now.

New opportunities

Yesterday I got an interesting opportunity. The owner of one of the bookstores carrying Morgan Goes Fishing offered me some old books to sell. They are old history books. I love books, especially the old ones.

I jumped at it. Sometimes when a good opportunity comes you have to. I have thought about buying and selling books for a while now. It’ll help pay bills, and keep my kids books rolling out.

I’m an opportunist. If it’s a way to get ahead, I’m all for trying it. Multiple income streams has always been something I tried for.

Along with this new side venture, I have picked up 2 new bookstores this week, and released Morgan Goes Fishing. It’s selling fair so far.

The best opportunity came for my wife. A new teaching opportunity came at a school she hadn’t applied it. She had been recommended for the position without submitting an application. By the time Thursday came, she had a job with a substantial raise.

We have worked hard, dug deep and struggled, but for now things are looking up. It’s been an interesting week.

Don’t be afraid to jump at a new chance. You never know what could happen. Sometimes it falls flat, but dust off and keep moving. Other times, you may just get a better deal than you realize. It’s been a good week.

Transitioning

Lately I have been thinking about taking my blog another direction. It has mostly come from the struggles of trying to find book stores to carry Morgan Goes Fishing.

One of the things I have seen a lot is authors struggling to find a place. They aren’t sure where to go, what to do, or where to start.

I decided I would like to take this direction. I will still include my haunted stories and stories with my family. They are me. Not just a part.

I would like to focus more on author interviews, boom reviews and helping our community grow. I know there are a lot out there. I am not reinventing the wheel, or pioneering any new ground. We just need help getting to our goals.

So, from here, I will ask any of you who may be looking for reviews, or know someone who is, or possibly want to be featured in an interview, let me know. I would love to get people exposure. Let’s just enjoy our field and help each other grow

Daily Prompt: Disappear in plain sight

About ten years ago I went through a bad break up. We cared about each other, but we were terrible together. Often times it felt like being with me was better for her than being alone.

I finally walked away after 3 years of off and on dating and near constant fight. When it was over, I shut down. I hid away.

When the weather was good, I was fishing or hiking. The hiking would be a one off hike, so more than anything I was doing a lot of fishing.

When I got off work, I would fish. When I had the day off I would fish. When I was fishing I would think about how I could disappear.

I’ve always battled with depression. My ex was a big cause of some of the depression I dealt with. I didn’t realize that at the time. But she brought up everything bad about me and really held every mistake against me.

Finally one day I decided I had to get out. I had to get out of that town. I had to disappear. I hadn’t realized I had already disappeared.

In a town of 3500 people, nobody had seen me. Nobody knew where I had gone. I went next door to talk to my neighbor one day, and she hadn’t seen me in 6 months. I was gone.

I tried a couple bouts of driving truck over the road. This wasn’t for me. It was good, and I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t for me.

Finally my escape came, my cousin was moving to Nebraska from Indiana and asked me to go along. Shoot yeah, I was going to go to Nebraska and disappear.

After about 2 months of planning, I left. Funds were tight and I had some repairs to make on the truck, but I left town with $65 in my pocket and headed west. He was paying gas if I would pull the trailer. DEAL!

After two days we finally made it to a nearly 600 acre ranch 30 miles from town. Nobody knew me, nobody cared I was there. I had disappeared. I could move on.

Just over a year later I met my wife. My disappearance turned into what is now 6 years of marriage and 3 awesome kids. I don’t really want to disappear anymore. When the urge comes up, I always want them to go.

There is no harm in wanting to disappear to find yourself. It’s a chance to get to know yourself. I learned what my dreams were, and I learned how to achieve them. More importantly I learned that I wasn’t so bad. I had made mistakes, but I wasn’t bad. To be honest, I’m a darn good husband and dad.

Mt. Rushmore, Fishing and the Hills

This weekend was a busy one. What was supposed to be pretty laid back turned into a pretty busy time. Friday was the busiest day, but also the most fun.

It started off as a plan to go to a preschool graduation party for my son, Ricky. It was a good time, and watching him was a blast. The ceremony simple and contained some Lakota songs, which was cool. Living on the reservation has been fun for that cultur lesson.

After his graduation, I had the opportunity to talk to a book store, Black Hills Books and Tresures, in Hot Springs, about carrying Morgan Goes Fishing. It will be available on June 1st, so I am trying to find sellers. I was lucky enough to leave with a small order for my books. She even offered me a chance at some side work. Score!

Next we wound up going for a drive in the Black Hills. We ended up going by Mount Rushmore as a surprise for Ricky. Even as he read the signs as we got closer, I had convinced him it was just the route we were driving.

This made for a happy little Little herd. The girls loved seeing the presidents and Ricky decided he wanted to be President one day. I hope he changes mind.

The rest of the weekend was fishing and hanging out with the kids. Ricky turned into quite the little fisherman. Morgan and Bella both had a blast and the kids asked when I am going to write my next book, while quoting me Morgan Goes Fishing. It was fun.

It was a lot busier than we had planned. Some things aren’t really worth talking about. 143 hours of driving doesn’t make for good story telling. We visited the hills, saw some cool sites and enjoyed some much needed family time. We needed that.

Old souls and oil lamps

There are two things I love. A good storms and an oil lamp. I’ve been told I’m an old soul because of the way I see things. That’s probably not wrong.

Tonight we had a good thunderstorm. That’s always a good way to spend a day. I miss having a porch to sit on and watch them. Luckily we lost power for a good chunk of the evening.

We lit the oil lamps and just enjoyed the rain. There are few better ways to recharge. A good camping trip or a good fishing trip are the only things I can think of that are just as good.

Some nights I turn off the lights and light the oil lamps. It makes me feel at home. I don’t know why, but it is just a calming feeling. I think I would have been a good pioneer. I wish I could live in those times.

Nights like this just make me feel like I’m in a different, better time. One can feel more connected to the world. The noise shuts off and you can hear the things God made. The rain, the wind, the peace. (If you disagree, please be fair and respect my views. I will respect yours)

It’s good to disconnect. Ignore that I am writing this on my phone using the 4g signal. When it feels right to write, you write.

Back to the silence.

Finally, catch

One of the things I have looked forward to, since we found out we were having a boy 6 years ago, was playing baseball with him. Unfortunately life got in the way of that. Shortly before he was born my health went to crap.

I got the early symptoms of a neurological disorder that has yet to be diagnosed. I lost my strength and stability and wasn’t able to do half of what I wanted to. For 5 years it just got worse.

In a few days my son, Ricky, is graduating from head start. This is barely an accomplishment, but he’s excited. He is a book worm, and highly intelligent.

However, he has zero athletic ability. My health issues over the last several years have not helped this. It also doesn’t help that his mom is not athletic. Luckily, I have felt really good for the last 6 weeks or so. I got playful.

For his graduation present we got him a baseball and glove. He wasn’t supposed to get them until after his graduation on Friday, but daddy got excited. After dinner we got to go out and play a little catch. He was super excited to find out that his new glove matched mine.

He had a blast. He did manage to catch one ball in the half hour or so we played. The neighbor kids came over and they got to play too. I couldn’t feel too bad. They are older than him and no better.

It looks like I may be able to teach a few boys in the neighborhood some baseball. They are clumsy, and terrible at it, but they put their best in to learning. It’s hard to ask for anything else. After all, I finally get to play catch with my boy.