(Taken July 10, 2006, from the archives.)
Taken from one of our forays to the lake. We’ve only missed one day this week, Wednesday, because we had to go to town for groceries. Every other day, the boys and I have loaded up into the 2000 Saturn Station Wagon ATV, and headed for the gnarly shores of Lake Texoma. We have played “monkey in the middle,” the “submarine game,” many rounds of mud ball fights with me declaring them off limits, and lots of swimming.
Here is the shot of the roots of the tree on the edge of the water. It’s a favorite spot on the lake because not only can I sit in the shade while watching the boys, I plant my chair in the water to stay cool, while reading a good book. So far this summer, I’ve read a John Grisham novel, and now Fighting the Good Fight: A Brief History of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. You may think it boring, but I’m fascinated by it and rejoice at the steadfastness of those in the OPC.
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.)
Last night, we were in Lavon, TX around dinner time so we decided to eat out. The restaurant of choice was Big Daddy’s, which was established in 1999. I say that because they worked real hard to give the inside of the restaurant the atmosphere of something that was quite antiquidated as far as barbecue restaurants are concerned. In other words, the walls were covered with photos of John Wayne, and country singers that only the greyest of country music fans would know. It kind of worked. The atmosphere of the restaurant was quite nostalgic for the good old days when men were men, and they loved their women and no more. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos from inside the establishment, so you will have to venture there yourself.
We finally got to see Andy play soccer this past Saturday. Here are some of the pictures. The first is a photo bomb. I was taking a picture of Joey’s hair, and Andy jumped in the shot and it worked out well. But truth be told, I love pictures that have both my boys in them. I’m glad Andy loves to photobomb.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
I 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.
I have been going through all the videos I have taken over the past few years and uploading them to Youtube, so the boys could watch. You can see some of them on my Family Page. As I was doing so, I discovered an entire series of videos taken on Thanksgiving Day 2013. It was a classic Hammons’ family gathering because David, my older brother, had his Jeep with him and decided to take Andy, Joey and me for a ride around the pasture. He loves to show how it can get across any ravine, or ditch with it’s four-wheel drive power. Of course, he also loves to get it stuck. This was his second demonstration on Thanksgiving Day and in the same fashion as the last Thanksgiving demonstration, he got his Jeep stuck in the pasture. This angered the powers that be because Thanksgiving is supposed to be about family, not Jeeps getting stuck. As far as I was concerned, this entire day spent getting the Jeep unstuck was about family. What is so unusual about this? However, David has since been banned from taking his Jeep into the pasture.
Lest I become all gooey emotionally, I thought I would just post some of the pictures here from my wedding on Saturday to my lovely bride, Heidi Ann.
The best part of the wedding was the ceremony. A fellow pastor and friend from Lufkin, TX did a splendid job of covering all the bases and keeping it a short ceremony. The day was truly special.
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.
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.
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.
The above picture came about when I said, “Joey, can you go get the camera?” I didn’t think he would use it, but Joey, being the stinker than he can be, had other ideas. I knew after he took a while to bring the camera that he was up to something. That is just Joey. (See here for more of his antics).
This was his first picture. I wanted to take pictures of us working on our fish-tank project together, but I wanted to be the one taking the photos. That didn’t happen. Joey was too much of a shutterbug. He probably gets it from me, but I’m denying that.
The project we were working on was trying to get enough rocks for Andy’s fish tank. Somewhere in the move last year, I lost the rocks we had for the tank. My father suggested that we pick up some pebbles and stones off his driveway and save some money. Great idea. It was a lot of work, and didn’t end up working because the rocks raised the ph level too high for fish. We ended up pulling all the driveway rocks back out of the tank and buying new ones.
AS for Photog (short for photographer) Joey, he wasn’t through! All the photos in this post are copyright Joseph N. Hammons 2014., just in case you needed to know that.
His next photo is when he was still being sneaky. He didn’t realize that the camera would fail to focus, given that this shot is through a bush. But I love his ambition here. Take secret pictures of Dad and Andy without us knowing. At this point, we didn’t know he had taken these shots. I didn’t realize it until I found the lens cap on the back porch where the above photo was taken.
The next shot, the cat was out of the bag (that is a figure of speech for any animal lovers in my audience. I don’t put cats into bags.) This is a close up of his brother, with his big smile.
Of course, no photographer ever completes his work without a self portrait. We just so happen to call them selfies now instead of self portraits.
And finally, no 7-year-old photographer has a complete line of work without taking a photo of his brother’s…. butt.
Yes, I know. I should be grown up enough not to publish such a… well, base piece of art. But there is too much Joey in me to pass up on the opportunity! I hope you enjoyed Joey’s first art show!
I felt my vest vibrate and saw the white flash that accompanies being hit. Someone across the vast range had hit me from a distance. I could see them hiding behind one of the multiple shields placed around the room. I ducked behind a shield as well and noticed that Joey was at my side. He had been there the entire time, just like I told him to do. We were in battle and we needed to stick together.
I took the boys over to College Station on Tuesday in order to bowl for Andy’s birthday. Once the boys found out that there was a laser tag arena, that is all they wanted to play. I was somewhat skeptical, never having played before. I wanted to bowl. Just given my size alone guarantees at least 2 strikes per game. I also love to bowl. Between golf and bowling, I always score about the same, which isn’t good, but at least I’m consistent.
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.
I started this post from my iPhone one day several weeks ago and could not upload it because it had a photo. The entire point of the post, is the photo. So it is just now that I have gotten to it.
I took this after church the last time I had the boys. We drove over to Texas A&M because they wanted to see the construction on Kyle Field. They saw the fountain and asked if we could stop and look at it. I said we could, but that they could not go swimming in it or I would get arrested. They agreed not to go swimming in it. I don’t think I would have been arrested, but you never know with campus cops.
We were churning mud. The tires on the Jeep continued to sink deeper as they spun in the mud. David worked the gears, forward, backward, forward, backward while Dad’s tractor pulled the Jeep backward. Nothing helped. David’s Jeep was stuck.
When my older brother arrived yesterday for Thanksgiving, he was in his new 2013 4-wheel-drive Jeep. He loves going off road and driving through places that no one else would dare to go.
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.