Andy’s Best Churchill Impersonation

(Originally published back in 2006.)

It is said, that all babies look like Winston Churchill at one point or another. Given that, here is a speech given to Parliament June 4, 1940… on of his most well known speeches…

I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation.

The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

I love this speech and wish I could find an audio copy of it. Churchill was a great man because he saw the tyranny of socialism, the wickedness of Hitler, and was willing to take personal abuse in his steadfast fight to defeat both.



I finished reading Unbroken to our boys last night. Both of them loved the story, even though at times it was hard for them to follow with the Japanese names, some of the technical terms, and the multiple characters involved in the story. But we got through it, all 416 pages of it.

The hardest part of reading it to them, was the detailed abuse that Louis Zamperini endured while a POW. The book was far more graphic than the movie, and the boys got a real taste for the ugliness of war. (I told Heidi at one point that I don’t think I could ever read the book again as it was so gut wrenching.)

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales — A Review

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to take my two boys, Andy and Joey, to see the movie Pirates of the Caribbeans: Dead Men Tell No Tales. There are so few movies that I want to see, I was hopeful that this one would be agreeable to all three of us. Well, let’s just say that I was duly disappointed. I felt like it was just one rehashed scene after another. However, the ending was quite satisfactory and gave the impression that Disney would be letting the series lie dormant for the near future. That might be a good idea and give the writers a chance to… rediscover their creative juices, so to speak.

But given that I was rather bored with the movie, I thought I would have Andy and Joey write a review for those of you who have not yet seen the movie. I had both of them write what they liked and didn’t like about the movie. Remember that they are 12 and 10 respectively, so their discernment when it comes to movies is lacking, along with much of their spelling. We’ll have to work on both of those as they grow and mature. Realize that Andy is dyslexic, so his spelling is atrocious. But I love what he writes because it makes more of a statement about the movie that he realizes. Spoiler alert, he revels something about the ending. Here are Andy’s thoughts:

I’m Andrew H. and I saw the pirits of the cairedeian. The first thing that I liked was the add (advertisement about) spiderman! It looked so cool and I encerig (encourage) you all to watch it. What I didn’t like was the fack (that) some guys came back from the dead to kill someone that kreeps me out! It also had Captain Barbosse die wiche relly disterb me! I geus the ending was good but that’s about it!

Just that fact that he loves the preview of Spider-Man tells you something about the movie we paid to see. Here are Joey’s thoughts:

Today I watched a cool movie about piraites called “piraites of the caribian” (4th movie) I liked many part in it one of the parts was at the begining where Jack Sparro (A.K.A Johnny Depp) and his crew took horses and hooked them all together connected to a safe (1T) in  a building, but the safe would not come out of the building so they ended up pulling a bank accross town. I didn’t really have any dislikes in the move and thats what made it a good movie.

The parenthetical thoughts are Joey’s not mine. In Andy’s, they were mine. I’m not sure what Joey meant by (1T).

All this to say, Joey gave it a thumbs up, and Andy gave it a thumbs sideways. I think anyone who has yet to see it should save their money and wait for it to come out on Netflix. You don’t have Netflix? Well then, you are blessed indeed, because you are now under no obligation whatsoever to watch the latest edition of Pirates of the Caribbean (actually the 5th… and hopefully, last installment).

One last addition: Joey gave me an illustration for his review.

Bad Golf, Good Dishes

Actually, it was an injured arm that lead to the pursuit of more dishes for my lovely bride. I wanted to golf at a course in Canton, TX, home of the First Monday’s Trade Days (the largest flea market this side of the Mississippi). It’s also home to the Canton Dish Barn. For those who are into Fiesta Dinnerware, the Canton Dish Barn is the place to shop.

My wife and I appreciate Fiesta Ware. We like the color. We like the solid feel of the plates. We like the way the plates keep our food off the table, as plates are designed to do. Yes, the simplicity of the plates and the bright colors remind me of… kindergarten, when things were simpler. No confusing patterns. Just simply, color, roundness of plates, and thickness, giving a senses of durability.

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Game Day Soccer: Joey Style

Heidi and I drove over to catch my son’s first soccer game of the season and it was quite exciting. I would like to tell the story in pictures. I don’t have all the action, but the important stuff. We start with my little soccer player Joey! Here is Joey ready to take the field for the Outlaws in the position of fullback. What that means is that he stays close to his own team’s goal and when the ball makes it across midfield, he and the other two fullbacks are the last line of defense.

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Given that he was playing fullback, and the Outlaws were so dominant over their opponents, Joey didn’t see a lot of action. Below you see the Outlaws advancing the ball in the early minutes of the game leading to the first score, 1-0.

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Special Joey Message

Heidi and I went out on the back porch last week to spend some time enjoying the weather and found this message left there by Joey. He loves to leave messages around the house.

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Here is what is says… we know this, because Joey copied it on to a piece of paper and left it for us on the table:

“Daddy rocks forever and ever… Andy stinks like a shoe… And this next sentence is about Mrs. Heidi and Dad… Mrs. Heidi is greater than flowers and Dad is tougher than metal.”

Cookies 004I did edit it for you since some of his words were sounded out. The entire message makes me chuckle. Joey is really funny at times. You can see that look in his eyes of this photo. Yes, there is a real stinker in there, waiting to pull his next trick.

Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve

Stoke 025We buried my brother today. As you know from earlier posts, my brother Stoke was found dead in his kitchen a week ago today. Since we had just seen him on Christmas day, the news caught us completely by surprise and it is still difficult realizing that he is gone.

We have the hope one has when a brother has trusted in Christ for salvation, and for that we are grateful.

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The Five Brothers

With the passing of my brother, I have been busy going through pictures as we try to prepare for the funeral and came across these group pictures of the five boys together. It’s amazing how few I actually have of all five of us. For my dear sweet sister’s sake, I have also included one with her and her mother and all of us.

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In Memory of Stokely Hammons, October 25, 1969 – December 27, 2014

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Stoke and his motorcycle in 2003.

We sat on the back porch, smoking cigars and listened to Stoke tell us stories about being pulled over by the cops. Pops and I were all ears, especially since neither of us had ever ridden on a motorcycle at 170 mph, muchless being pulled over by the police. Apparently, Stoke had it down to a fine art and knew exactly what to do. If you are going 170 mph, take the first turn off the highway and sit in the woods for four hours. If you are going less, go ahead and pull over. It seemed to work for him because he kept his insurance rates at about $1,200 a year, as opposed to $5,000 a year. I hadn’t realized the insurance would cost that much.

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The Boys & Santa!

Yes, I let the boys see Santa this Christmas. Don’t worry, they didn’t sit in his lap.

This Santa was actually outside the Corner Liquor Store in downtown Brenham, TX. The boys didn’t seem to mind at all.


My Son’s Salvation

I know that I’m like many parents when I worry about the salvation of my sons. This is nothing new to any believer that has children. I think though that my worries stem more from the fact that I have so little time with them, now that their mother and I are now divorced. I fear what my absence from them, and the divorce will do to their faith.

However, I was encouraged by an article by Kevin DeYoung reviewing the book Families and Faith by Vern L. Bengtson on two points.

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A Treasure Hunt Christmas

It was just a simple map of the ranch, although the names of every thing on the ranch were a bit odd. There was the Blue Creek Fortress instead of Pop’s house, the cottage was called the guard shack, the road out front didn’t head to Brenham or Navasota, but to Rivendale or the Shire. The barn was Baby Sister’s Keep, the ponds were Lake Pleasant for the front one, and Poison Lake for the back one. Mount Doom rested on the back part of the property just about the same location as my father’s burn pile. And every grouping of trees had some mystical, elven sounding name. There was Myrkwood Forrest, Elven Woods, Samwise Garden and one area of trees with the warning: Trolls Hideout.

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Little Stinker Part TWO!

Originally Published January 19, 2007.
Yes, the two-year-old adventures continue. Yesterday, when we arrived home I asked Andrew to help me feed the dog. He usually does an excellent job of taking the cup full of dog food over to the bowl, pouring it in the bowl, sometimes actually getting it into the bowl, and putting the cup back into the dog food bin.

BUT, it didn’t work that way the other night. Through his compassion for Casey, otherwise known as the life-support system for a stomach, Andrew has started taking pieces of dog food out of the cup and giving them to Casey who is under command to sit and stay in the hallway until we are ready to let him head for his bowl. It is really cute to see him take a piece of dog food, and hand it to Casey. Well, he got the idea if one piece is good, then the entire cup must be better. The little stinker poured the entire cup on the floor. I was able to keep Casey under command while I picked up all the food and put it back in the cup.

That didn’t do for Andrew, who immediately took the cup and poured it out on the floor again. Again, I started scooping back up into the cup, while trying not to laugh and encourage Andrew any more. Of course, he did it again. I was trying to be firm with him, but kept laughing. All the while Andy’s mother was rolling with laughter as I tried to get the situation under control. It was next to impossible. I finally had his mother grab Andy so I could scoop it up and pour it in Casey’s bowl.

Andrew has now been relieved of dogfood detail.

See the original Little Stinker entry here.

Monsters University, Where’s Waldo and Rain


We got a quarter inch of rain today and praised The Lord for it. This area has been in a drought for about ten years. You can see from the photo how low my father’s front pond is. The water line is well below the damn. We need quite a bit more to break the drought.

Since it was raining I took the boys to see Monsters University. No patience to type a review. All three of us liked the movie.

Afterward we went to Independence Coffee to get a pound of coffee ground up since mine is in storage. The store manager got both boys involved in the downtown Where’s Waldo game. We spent the next two hours looking for Waldo in the participating merchants and had a blast. However much fun we had, it didn’t lead to the sales of any Where’s Waldo merchandise.

A Bicycle For Christmas?

This morning our goal is to find Joey a bicycle for Christmas. I have real mixed feelings about the bicycle experience for my boys. Not that I don’t want them to have a bicycle, or learn to ride a bicycle. I just don’t want them to go anywhere on a bicycle. In other words, once the glow of the fact that they have a bicycle wears off, I’m hoping to put both Joey’s new one, and Andy’s in the shed to be forgotten and covered with a thick coat of New Mexico dust from the next wind storm.

Why do I feel this way? It’s not that I had some bad experience as a child on a bicycle. In fact, the bicycle was our freedom. We went everywhere on our bicycles. I can remember living on the cul-de-sac of Kimberly in Houston, hopping on our bicycles and heading all the way to Town & Country Village to the hobby shop to look at the model trains. We rode without helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, water bottles, GPS’s, etc. Off on the Schwinn Sting Ray and no stopping until we got there.

SchwinnStingRayMy parents didn’t worry that some child molester would kidnap us and activate the Amber Alert. They knew we would be gone for a while and then back again for lots of water and the cool of our living room. They knew we were fairly safe, even in Houston.

If it wasn’t off to Town & Country Village, we were off to Rummel Creek Elementary school, where we could find suicide hill next to the creek. This was where we became Evil Knieval wannabes. We would get going full speed and head down suicide hill. We might even become air born off the top of suicide hill. No one ever really got hurt other than the occasional scrape or bruise. Remember that this was long before the lunacy of the X-games. We were not thinking about doing flips in midair. We were just thinking about… midair. If a tire left the ground or pavement, it was cool enough for us. Wheelies were the big craze and the height of bicycle talent in those days. There were those guys who even changed out the gears on their bicycles to facilitate the wheelie. They could do wheelies for blocks at a time. They were the height of cool and legends of our bicycle worlds.

The truth be known, I’m not sure I want my boys to have those experiences. Especially the experience of heading off on their bicycles for hours at a time. Not in this world. Not in these days of lunacy. In fact, I’m certain I will have to buy a bike for myself so that when they do head off to the park, I can go with them. They will not head off to the park alone, or the multiple trails that divide up the city of Roswell. I will be right there with them, watching, warning and praying.

Am I being overprotective? You bet. But that is the world in which we live. I don’t like it. I wish we lived in safer societies, but given the tragedy that happened just last week, we know it to be a different world.

So I will buy Joey a bicycle. And I might even teach him to ride his, and eventually teach Andy to ride his. But will I ever let them head out to the park or some where alone and without me? I hope not. Things have changed too much in our world. Instead of having the experiences of brothers being boys on places like suicide hill, they will have to grow up with the experience of Dad going everywhere with them. Come to think of it, not a bad thing at all.

I better get looking for that bicycle.

Andy in Flight

I remember the first time I got to fly in a plane. I was traveling with my grandmother up to Little Rock and we were flying aboard a big jetliner, at least it was big to me. I wanted to sit next to the window so I could take in every bit of the flight. I don’t remember much about the flight, but I do remember that I was excited for days before the flight actually took place.

I imagine Andy’s excitement Saturday morning as we boarded my father’s Cherokee Piper for a short flight over the Texas countryside. Andy had to make a choice for Saturday morning. He could either ride Birthday Girl, Pop’s aging horse, or go up in Pop’s airplane. He chose the airplane after much deliberation. As he put it, he got to spend time with Birthday Girl on Friday evening when he helped Pops round her up and put her in the stall for the night. He had never been in Pop’s plan. He actually has, but he was about 4 at the time and just doesn’t remember it. In fact, while sitting in the back seat on that flight, he fell asleep.

Three years makes a difference. He couldn’t wait to go flying Saturday morning. Not that he was so excited that I had to peel him off the walls or anything like that. He was handling his excitement and the trip very well. He was listening to us and patient as Pops rolled the plane out of the hangar. He was amazed at Pops’ strength too. He waited to hop up on the wings, and then listened to the instructions once inside the plane. He even allowed me to put the ear plugs in his ears, which he didn’t like, but wore them nonetheless. He wanted to go flying.

Flying with my Dad is always a joy because I trust him as a safe pilot.  All my life he has been interested in boats, tractors and now planes. Since I was a small boy I have watched him handle such vehicles with the utmost of care. I grew up in Houston, and just about every other weekend we were down in Galveston where my Dad kept his boats. The first one that I remember was the Velda Rose. The next was the Roebuck, and after that, the Oleek. With each boat, safety was always a priority and making sure the boasts were sea-worthy was never far behind. He took safety seriously, especially given that we had seen so many boating accidents that could have been avoided with just a tad bit of safety. That is why he took the essentials courses from the Power Squadron and was a member for years. He was going to do everything he could to keep us safe.

My father applies the same principles to flying. He didn’t start flying until he was 72 years old, and got his license by the time he was 74. Safety is everything. He follows the pre-flight check list to the letter. He is going to do everything he can to make sure we have a safe flight and get back down on the ground.

That is one reason why I have no reservations about flying with my Dad. At 81 years old, he is still just as fit and safe flying as he was with his boats so many years ago.

We sat on the tarmac while he went through the check list. I listened into the radio chatter on the head phones and noted the increase in planes coming in for a landing. The tower attributed the increase to “lunch time.”

After things were ready, we taxied to the end of the run way and watched as plane after plane landed. It wasn’t bad, but enough that my Dad made a quip about not beting able to get off the ground until sundown. The tower quipped back “Gene you have to get earlier in the morning than this.”

No call sign. Just his first name. That’s how well the people at the airport know him. He’s Gene. I couldn’t help but chuckle. When my Dad throws himself into something, he does it with both feet and does it well. That means knowing as many people as he can at the airport, especially those in the tower. I should have expected that.

The last plane landed and we saw our window. He increased the throttle and we crept out onto the runway. Sitting in the front seat gave me direct view of the runway. I could hear him call into the tower stating his intentions. With all things clear, he gave the engine full throttle and we moved forward much quicker than I anticipated. Within seconds I expected the wheels to lift off the runway. A few more seconds and we popped up off the runway and were air borne. That is what I admire in Dad’s Cherokee. It doesn’t take much to get up to speed and to lift off.

I turned around to see Andy in the back. He was grinning and gave me the pilot’s thumbs up! He was loving it as much as I was.

Then the bottom dropped out. We hit an air pocked and dropped a few feet. Nothing serious, just enough to give me that roller coaster thrill. Those of you who know me, know I don’t like roller coasters or the thrill they produce. Since we were so late in getting up in the air, the afternoon thermals were upon us. Dad says no pilot likes the thermals. Thermals make for a bumpy ride and bumpy rides in airplanes are not a lot of fun. We climbed to 2,500 feet and settled in for the flight. We were going to head over to I-10 in the El Campo area, turn around and come back. Just a short 45 minute flight in all. But then there were those thermals.

After about 15 minutes, my Dad made the suggestion that we head back to the airport. The thermals would do nothing but get worse until later in the day. I quickly agreed. Not that he couldn’t handle the thermals. But if we got enough of them, I didn’t want to get motion sickness.

It is one thing to take off in an airplane. It’s quite another landing it. It’s actually a controlled fall. Dad made the huge arc to come in line with the runway. He was coming in a bit hot, a little too high and a bit fast. But the good thing about the Brenham airport, there is plenty of runway and the Cherokee Piper doesn’t need much.

The runway grew larger and larger and when I expect the wheels to touch down, I had to wait a few more seconds. The plane touched down and the tribulation of the tires catching up with the speed vibrated the plane. Dad did just fine. It was a short, uneventful flight, exactly what every pilot wants.

Andy loved it. Up until that point, it was his favorite event of our Father/Son weekend together in Texas. I’m glad he enjoyed it. I think he will remember it for the rest of his life, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

The Boys

We attended Trinity Christian Academy’s Heritage 5k Run on Saturday and I took this after the boys competed in a children’s Olympics. Both were awarded with candy, which is what convinced Joey to compete in the first place. Not sure what kind of bug that is above his head. That was sort of an added bonus to the shot.

Monster Truck Rally and Tractor Pull

“Take your earplugs.” That is what the lady said to me when I bought the tickets yesterday afternoon. I told the boys all week that I would take them to the Monster Truck Rally and Tractor Pull at the fairgrounds if we could afford it, and when I found out that Joey got in for free, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity. The boys seemed very excited about seeing monster trucks.

I told the lady at the ticket counter that I had never been, so what should I expect. She said to take my ear plugs. So I did. I’m glad I did. It was loud when the monster trucks opened it up. You could feel power. I did have trouble with Joey, but Andy dutifully wore his plugs, as did I. I decided to quit trying to get Joey’s plugs in his ears and just reached over and covered them whenever an event transpired.

We didn’t actually get to see the monster truck portion of the show. I guess the emphasis should have been on the tractor pull since that is what a bulk of the show was about. That made it hard for Joey to watch. For a 4 year old, there is a good portion of time between on pull and another. He wanted to walk around and get ice cream and go to the restroom and tackle me as I tried to watch the show. He didn’t really want to watch the show.

But Andy did. I think he loved it. So I held out for Andy. We watched as long as he wanted to watch. Fortunately, he got hungry and we left before the tractor pull competition concluded and headed for McDonald’s, much to Joey’s delight. I think Joey needs a few more years before he can truly appreciate the finer things in life.

Here are few video clips of our time there.