Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Whetstone Wives

 November 23rd is a big day for me personally.  This year, it falls on Thanksgiving, my wife’s birthday, and my 15th wedding anniversary!  Not a day I should forget.  There could be bad times in Brooklyn if I do.

Fifteen years ago, I married Christine Marie Creasy.  It was a bright and crisp autumn day in Jackson, Tennessee.  She was better than I deserved as a 22-year old student teacher with no income except from loans.  Whatever possessed her to do such a thing?

She has said on several occasions that it was my dad.  It wasn’t my dad’s wheels, which consisted at the time of a big yellow Ryder truck which he leased for his hauling business.  It wasn’t his winning smile, filled with rotten and rotting teeth – or his hair, often discolored from the dust of whatever job he’d recently returned from.  It wasn’t his house bought at rock bottom price in the late 70’s, the value of which might have actually gone done since.

My wife was convinced that she wanted to marry me during a crazy and freezing cold winter visit to Pontiac, Michigan – during which she saw a picture of the man I could be someday.  A man dedicated to his wife, to his kids, to his work and most of all, to a personal God who sustained him through the trials of running a small business and a large family.

We all stand on the shoulders of giants.

I haven’t written about her very much (and I’m sure she’s fine with that), but I can’t overestimate the role that my wife has played and continues to play at Whetstone Boys Ranch.  She is my helper, my friend, my confidante, my inspiration.  I am convinced that I will never fully appreciate the degree to which my wife has sacrificed her comfort to provide me with this opportunity.  But I thank her, and I thank Laura, and I thank Cari from the bottom of my heart, for supporting their men-folk.

And you can be sure that if a beautiful, intelligent and righteous young woman falls in love, marries, and lives happily ever after with a boy from Whetstone, it will be more due to the Whetstone Wives than their hubbies.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rubs and Scrapes

We like to go on long walks at Whetstone Boys Ranch.  Long walks are good for the soul.  In addition to pondering the meaning of life and the mysteries of nature, we enjoy looking for signs of deer.  More specifically, we like looking for signs of “the big buck.”

He’s out there…teasing us.

We sometimes see this buck in the morning, during our devotional time, through the large glass windows that enclose the living room area.  Through the binoculars, it almost looks like he’s sticking out his tongue at us.  On the few mornings that Brandon has waited for him in the tree stand, this buck has artfully avoided the trap.
So on the last walk, our first young man was intent on finding another place to set up “Mr. Maxwell’s” stand.  I was amazed at his ability to effortlessly identify the small signs that had slipped my attention:  bark rubbed off a tree, hoof scrapes in the dirt, tiny little droppings no bigger than a rabbit’s, and to my astonishment, a wispy tuft of hair caught on the barbed wire fence.

I’m still a bit of a city boy, so the hunter’s sixth sense for such things is still beyond my powers of observation.  But I’m working on it, and I’m sure that in time, I’ll be able to track a deer in the dark…by mere scent.

What I’m getting at here is that second nature is exactly that.  Second.  It doesn’t come natural.  It’s learned.  Many things that a healthy person takes for granted are actually behaviors learned from parents, mentors and siblings who have guided us along the right path.  Not all boys have these role models.  And even if given the opportunity, not all boys pay attention long enough to learn from them.

I’m picking up a lot about hunting and tracking at Whetstone Boys Ranch.  Our boys will pick up more important things.  Trophy deer are nice, but treasures in heaven are better.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Good Fences

Good fences makes good men.

Because good men don’t let their horses run into the road.

Because good men take time to build something that lasts.

Because it takes manly strength (and a good sense of humor) to clear and tighten a barbed wire fence without the fancy tools…and when your chainsaw breaks down.

Because there are few greater pleasures in life than spending a sunny fall morning in the woods;  and men who understand this have a better chance of being good.

Good fences make good men, because good men learn from other good men how to do stuff the right way…and when things don’t go right, they learn how good men handle getting angry.

Whetstone Boys Ranch has 280 acres of opportunity to build good fences…and good men.