Monday, August 4, 2008


Some how Jean Godfrey is a cousin to my dad. It is one of those long stories of distant cousins that I don't remember, but she is a cousin. My wife says you can tell we're all related because the whole extended family has the same blue eyes. All I know is that growing up, whenever we went to visit my grandparents in Jasper, Alabama, we took a trip to Uncle Mort's. Mort is Jean's husband, so he wasn't my uncle, but they were family.

Jean and Mort opened a little store to sell their cured meats - and boy were they awsome! Then they opened a little restaurant to sell some prepared meals. Next thing you know they have a 150 seat restaurant that is serving breakfast all day and some of the best steaks and ribs you ever ate. Mort and Jean lived upstairs for a while and then they build a huge mansion back behind the restaurant. Mort had a collection of antique cars and it used to drive my brother crazy that he didn't keep them up. There was that surreal story about how Mort accidentily shot Jean in the foot one night in drunken rage, but that wasn't how they really were and so that story just evaporated over time.

Jean and Mort were hard-working people that literally lived the American dream. They came from being poor hog farmers to having a world famous restaurant! They did work hard for it though. Until their kids were old enough to keep the place for them, Jean and Mort worked almost 24 hours a day. When the kids did get older, Jean and Mort would often travel to various parts of the world. It was fun to hear their stories about Paris, Rome, Italy (or IT-ly as they would say it). I could only imagine what Europeans would think of these very rural and very country visitors, but what great stories they had.

As I said, we went to Mort's whenever we visited Jasper. I have been to Mort's at the time of Weddings and at times of funerals. I went their with my family and I went there with college friends. I took Lynda there to eat before we were married because I wanted her to know this place that had been so important to our family. Lynda came to love the place and the food as much as the rest of the family. We would often stop there when we could to buy a few pounds of meat to bring back to the rest of the family. I particularly loved the smoked sausage links, but my brother's favorite was the bacon. Their country ham was pretty awsome as well. I even have some pictures of my girls taken there from our visits to see my grandmother.

The last time I went there one of Mort and Jean's daughters told me that they were going to sell the place. I just couldn't imagine a world without Uncle Mort's. I was saddened to learn today that Uncle Mort's not only had been sold, but that it recenlty had burned as well. Uncle Mort's will go the way of so many things in my history now. It will simply be a memory of great times and sad times spent with immediate family, extended family, and friends for most of my 40 years. Some traditions are hard to grieve simply because of the memories of the people that go with them. I already missed Jasper because we don't get there much since Grandmother died, but it is said to know that those little pieces of my past are being lost.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Parenting Is Sometimes Lonely Work

I tell my daughters on a regular basis that I feel blessed to be their dad. I usually take great delight in watching them live their lives. There are days that it is more difficult than others because of the struggles they sometimes have. I hate watching them struggle. Like most parents I want so much to provide a great life for them - financially, spiritually, and emotionally. I love my kids so much and want to be included in what they are doing. However, more and more they have friends that they spend time with that I don't really know that well. They spend their days in chat and email conversations that I don't know about. I invite them regularly to share with me or to do things with me, but more and more they have other things to do. Today I took the girls out to buy them school supplies. We ate dinner together. We went shopping. We didn't buy all they needed and spent close to $400. When we got home, one daughter left to go to a friend's house and one went to her room to make plans for tomorrow that will no likely involve me driving her somewhere without asking me what my day is like. No "thank yous". No acknowledgement of our time together. I feel like I keep giving and they just keep taking. Maybe this is parenting or maybe I am doing it wrong, but sometimes parenting just seems like a lonely job.

(I know, these are the rambling writings of a person on a little depression. It happens sometimes. It will pass.)

P.S. Four days later - Life is good and kids are great. I had a little melt down, but it passed.