Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Where have you gone Earl Ferrell?

When I was 21 years old (back in the 80s, people), my father coached a player by the name of Earl Ferrell. We took to him instantly and all fell in love with his style of play, youth, and wonderful personality. He had the most infectious smile and a laugh that made anyone giggle, just by hearing it. He was only a few years older than me, but our lives had been vastly different. I grew up in a the whitebread midwest, with relatively little excitement. He grew up in Tennessee, and helped raise his family after his father was shot. I was a college student, studying to be a teacher, and he was a very talented player and was making quite a name for himself as a running back in the NFL. Yet, I felt close to him, and looked at him as part of my family.
During the fall of 1985, he fell into some troubled ways. I remember my dad telling me that he had a cocaine problem and was going to miss a game against the NY Giants. I wrote Earl a letter, giving my support and love, hoping that somehow, this would make a difference to him. I honestly have no idea if it did, but I know I needed to plead with him to please be okay. I couldn't stand the thought of anything wiping that smile from his face. After this initial incident, my parents invited him to come live with us. At the time, this was really unprecedented. For a few months, he lived upstairs in our house, next to my bedroom. I think he liked feeling a part of our family. I know I loved him living there. I remember taking him shopping as Christmas neared, and it was like taking a small child to the mall for the first time. He loved the lights, the music and all that surrounded Christmas shopping. It really had a lasting effect on me, even now 23 years later. I was looking forward to Christmas with Earl and watching him open the gifts we had purchased for him. (I think I bought him a shirt, I honestly don't remember that!!)
Earl didn't come to our house for Christmas. The Cardinals lost to the Washington Redskins on 12/23 that year, and that knocked them out of the playoffs. This was a hard loss for everyone on the team. Earl ended up basically dropping off the planet and I haven't seen him since. He spent some time in rehab, and eventually was banned from the NFL in 1990. I tried to visit him in rehab, but facilities would never confirm or deny if a patient was there. My dad ended up getting fired from the Cardinals in 1985 and I moved to Virginia in 1987 and was no longer closely associated with my dad's teams or players.
I have looked for information on him for the last twenty years. He was, and always will be, very special to me. I've seen his name on Facebook, but figure that's someone pretending to be him, or using his name. He always seems to crop up in my mind at Christmas time, I guess it's the childlike innocence I saw. I'm sure, like myself, that innocence is long gone. I will always remember it, and him. I just hope that, wherever he is, that he is feeling love on this Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas Earl Ferrell, wherever you may be.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some More Favorites, Some Pet Peeves and a Shopping Update

I watched the Charlie Brown Christmas Special every year when I was younger. It remains my favorite of the animated specials. I love when Snoopy boos Charlie Brown and gets caught. I bought the CD so I could listen to the music. My favorite part is when Linus makes his speech in the school auditorium. His lisp, as he recites the bible passage is precious.

I love Christmas lights on people's houses. I don't care if they are minimal or extravagant, I just love the festive look of the lights. I think I prefer the colored lights to the white ones, but that will probably change next year.

I DON'T like wrapping gifts. I hate cutting the paper, trying to size it, etc, etc. My back always hurts after I do it. I hate picking up the mess afterward. And, as I wrap, I begin to freak out that I've forgotten someone, or haven't bought enough presents.

I do like buying stocking stuffers. I mean, a girl has to help out Santa Claus. I always buy toothbrushes. This is a tradition passed down from my grandmother. She also used to put Stridex in our stockings, and wrap laundry detergent. At least she made the necessities fun? :-)

I love seeing Christmas preparations on my soap opera. (All My Children) I feel like a part of their Christmas celebration. I like when regular series have Christmas specials. I like it when they play all the Christmas episodes the week of Christmas.

I am really sick of the Christmas commercials. As I previously mentioned, the Ferrero Rocher one is going to be the death of me. I am also REAL tired of the clay-mation Alltel guys. I couldn't stand the real ones, much less these clay dudes. Anything to do with kids and toys is getting stale. Oh, I really don't like the WalMart ad where they play a song with their checkout lights. Yeah, right. They never have that many checkout lanes open.

My favorite Christmas Carols: Lullay thou Little Tiny Child, The Holly and the Ivy, Silent Night, The First Noel, Mary, Did You Know? this song by Sting, something about angels. Ugh, I'll have to look for it. It might have the word GABRIEL in it. Ah! I found it. I'll try to put a link on this.
I don't think you can click on here directly, but here it is:
CHRISTMAS SHOPPING UPDATE (8 DAYS TO GO): I'm doing pretty good, but having a bit of a panic thinking I didn't buy enough. I think I have one day left of finishing, but knowing how I do things, I'll probably end up going out a few more times. I'm ready for New Years and the mountains!

Monday, December 15, 2008

10 Days???!!!!

It's 10 days until Christmas. When did that happen? I was doing some shopping today and realized I was wearing flip flops. Flip flops in December! Granted, I've lived in the south for almost 20 years, but I still can't get used to that. I do miss the cold and the snow, it just helps make things more festive.
By the way, this blog is dedicated to Johnny: (have a GREAT time in England! We will miss you guys!)
I'm not feeling "Christmasy" yet. This time of year is always a challenge for me. My mother passed away on December 22, and that tends to color any type of Christmas celebration. I still miss my parents, and miss spending the holidays with my grandparents and brothers. Christmas is just different!
But, I do love Christmas and the efforts everyone makes. I love getting (and sending!) Christmas cards. I love getting pictures of children, and seeing how much they've grown in a year. I went to see "Annie" the other night, and the gasps of the children in the audience were heartwarming. It's just a happy time of year. I have to remind myself of this in the midst of all the shopping and sending stress.
One of the best things about Christmas is that my friends and I will get to spend some time together. Mike and Tracy moved to Oklahoma 18 months ago, and they will be getting to town on Saturday. I look forward to chilling on the couch with Tracy and catching up on our lives.

Tracy brings along that husband of hers. :-) Mike is a total nut and I won't get relaxing chill time with him around, but we will get plenty of laughs and giggles. I can't wait for the mountain trip for New Years Eve!

Totally off topic: we went to a baby shower for Larry and Mary this weekend. Mary is adorable and will be such a great mother. That baby is so lucky to have them as parents.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Technically Challenged

Isn't this little thing cute? I know I thought so when I looked at it for the first time. I loved the pink metallic color and all the cute little buttons. But then, I tried to work it. Oh my.
Let me back up. I lost my basic little phone over the weekend. Now, I have no idea how this happened. I have my phone on me at all times and ALWAYS know where it is. Of course, I used to ALWAYS have smooth skin, a good memory and low blood pressure. But, with the onset of MIDDLE AGE, I find that things can change rather quickly. I now have some wrinkles, high blood pressure and I can't remember what the other thing was...
Anyway, so I lost my phone. I went to replace it and fell in love with this gem. Now, if I can only figure out how to work it. Of course, I'm too stubborn to ask anyone for help. So, I will struggle with it, and hope to figure out how to manipulate it. I consider it a challenge now. I sure hope I'm up to the task.
CHRISTMAS SHOPPING UPDATE: Doing well, just have gift cards and checks to write. There are a few last minute gifts, but I guess I need to wait for payday before finalizing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday Thoughts

One of the reasons I really can't stand Christmas tv ads is the commercial for these things. I don't know if you've seen it, but they have a bouncing truffle that dances to the tune of "Deck the Halls." I could easily ignore this if it weren't for the door bell that rings at the start of the commercial. Rockett (my dog) goes mad every time she hears the doorbell, and we see/hear this ad every single night. I find myself trying to reason with her, "it's NOT the doorbell." I don't know which one of us is more dumb.

Everyone that has blogs seems to have some talent. I know I read the blogs that have to do with cooking, sewing (DUSTI!), pictures of young children (Jan), photography (Steven), child rearing, etc. I feel like all I have to add are strange stories. I think I need to get my camera dusted off so I can at least post some pictures, of my own, that coincide with my rantings.

Victor Newman has been on the Young and the Restless forever.

I read a rumor on a soap posting this evening, that Leo might be returning to AMC. Granted, I know it's a long long long shot, and I'm sure they couldn't snatch Josh Duhmal, but wow, how great that would be.

I just have to point out that the commercial came on AGAIN while I was typing this. ARGH.

Christmas shopping update: I've accomplished a good bit in the last three days. If I don't run out of money, I'll be ahead of the game! Oh my gosh, when will I have time to put up the TREE???

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Days

Prior to the long holiday weekend, it seemed that everyone I knew was having a rough time. Friends at work had a death in the family. Another friend's grandmother suffered a massive stroke. Another friend was faced with her first holiday as a divorced woman. Dealing with the great amount of sadness was draining.
Then, Thanksgiving arrived. I don't know if it was coincedence, or the tables finally turning upright again, but Saturday was a blessed day. Our friends, Rachel and Darragh were married on Saturday. Congratulations to them! It was a joy to spend the day with our friends and celebrate their union. They are two of the nicest people, and there's nothing better than seeing that look of happiness on faces as they marry.
And, in the midst of all this joy, I was told that CiCi and Christer are having twins! Congrats to them as well. Two pieces of happy happy news. I know I'm a grown up, and I've been one for a good while now, but it's still so exciting to me to watch all my friends marry, have children, create their own families. As we were sitting in the church, there was something very special about seeing everyone dressed nicely, going to communion, and all because we were there to tell our friends that we support their marriage and their future. I think that is one of the main reasons I always enjoy weddings. All these people come together for one purpose; to celebrate two people and their love. Sigh. :-)
Now, if only I could get started on my Christmas shopping!!