Ricky Bobby

Ricky Bobby
If you ain't first you're last

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What Now Charlie?

Here are a couple of photos from better days in Clewiston. The one on the left is Bowden's first birthday party, with his friend "Zeus" from next door. They're enjoying Bowden's birthday cake. The second photo is the stage during the FLW Fishing Tournament. Fox Sports and ESPN were here covering the event. Good times like that are cloaked by a feeling of desperation these days. We all had a shock to our systems this week here in Clewiston. US Sugar (the major employer in the city) has announced they will be selling out lock, stock, and barrel. They employ over 1700 people and thousands of others indirectly depend on them. I suppose the average wage earned is between $40-$50,000.00 per year per employee. At $45,000.00 per person that comes to an annual payroll of over 76 million dollars. In a community of less than 10,000 people that is an enormous economic disaster. It will affect every single one of us in some way....from critically to moderate. That is not the worst of it. The sale effectively removes more than 175,000 acres of land from the tax roll. You see the state doesn't pay property taxes. Hendry County will starve....it's as simple as that.

The mood around town is a general feeling of doom. There are those of course who are "looking on the bright side", but in all honesty there really is no up side to this. It seems Charlie Crist and South Florida Water Management District brokered this deal with US Sugar in the dark without informing the taxpayers, let alone the citizens of Clewiston what their intentions were. How can it be legal to spend 1.75 billion dollars without public approval? I guess we now know why the Army Corps of Engineers has been so slow to repair Herbert Hoover Dike. I don't know if anyone can blame US Sugar...after all, they're a private company and a healthy bottom line is the goal. It seems to me that the Water Management District has used their laws to their advantage. Already facing unfair labor laws and lower wages from foreign competition and a three year drought, the district implemented severe limitations on irrigation, making it virtually impossible to raise a crop. They were probably after the property all along and used their clout to their advantage.

The Sierra Club and friends are ecstatic about the future for alligators and snakes....but no one gave much thought to the working men and women of Clewiston. Property values probably suffered a 50% drop overnight on the heels of a bad housing market. What do we do? Where will we go? How will we survive? We are fortunate to have the most capable, hard working, and honorable city government leaders in the world....but they're not magicians. Things are looking bleak for Clewiston.

Charlie, this was not open, it was not honorable. Job training is your "answer" ;you have got to be kidding. Where will the 3000 people who will ultimately lose their jobs go to work? What exactly will you train them to do? Who are you going to make hire them? Maybe the catchphrase "save the Everglades" sounds good to the restyof the county during a "vice-presidential" run. But they don't know what you have done to a lot of good people. You have failed a lot of good people. How are you going to fix this? What Now Charlie? What Now?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Christy and Emma Grace

Ryan's Last Step as a Tiger

Nick vs. Glades Day

Angie, Paul and Sarah

Simon & Les

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Patience, How we all need more.....and right now! Here's a young couple us older folk can take heart in. They're both "about" 29 / 30 years old and set to be married this Fall. "KC "as we call her around here often lamented to her family that she feared there was no one out there for her. She stuck it out and kept swinging. Now she's marrying the man of her dreams and her family couldn't be happier.

KC and Jason are a testament to the wisdom of "waiting for the right one". I'm sure they both had moments of desperation when they were terrified they would never find someone. Just seeing them together feels like a blessing. They are indeed "Right" for one another. It is going to be an honor to witness their wedding.

I think of their patience and devotion....and then I see the Fox News report today about the 17 kids in an elite Mass. High School. It seems the girls, all teens, had a pact to get pregnant at the same time. It appears they did. What do you even say about that? KC and Jason and my Christy and Carlton are becoming a rarity in young people today. How many do it the right way like Christy and Carlton. They met, dated, married, THEN had children....after they established themselves emotionally and financially. The badge of honor today is bearing children out of wedlock and prior to graduating high school. The greatest shame of it is that teenage boys aren't fathering these babies....it's young men in their mid and late 20's. All too often the mother really has no idea at all who the father is.

Let me tell you something else. Our local high school has a nursery on campus for teen mothers. That's our tax dollars at work for you. How does that do anything to discourage teenage pregnancy. There is simply no accountability. Go forth and elect another Democrat to office......we'll get more of the same. Remember, these are the same people who say voting machines are unfair because some people can't figure out how to operate them. Do you really want someone who can't operate a voting machine electing your president.....how valuable is their opinion anyway? These are the same people who maintain abortion/murder of a baby is o.k. but capital punishment of a murderer is not?????I just don't get it. Massachussetts by the way is probably the most deep seated Democratic State in America. How surprising is that?

Alright alright, I've wandered away from my subject. I just can't help myself sometimes. What will our kids inherit? Now we stand on the brink of electing the most liberal person ever to sit in the US Senate. I'm telling you all; we can't sit still for this. Get busy and research for yourselves just how dangerous this guy is.

I've rambled enough for tonight. I'll probably be in trouble again when Tilena reads this. Please have patience with me..............

God Bless you all.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

That thing will put your eye out....

Christy called me at lunch today. It's always good to hear from her and she is very good about keeping in touch. She is nearly seven hundred miles away and it seems like I talk to her as much (if not more than) I talk to the boys. As we were talking I saw a post on the TV news. Did anyone see the article about a woman sueing Victoria's Secret? Here's the deal....she was trying to put on a pair of thong underwear and they snapped in two. One end apparently hit her in the eyeball. No, I'm not making this up. Anyway, did you see this woman? Here she was trying to get "all that" into a pair of thong underwear made for runway models....of course its gonna snap. She's fortunate she didn't set off a nuclear reaction. There must have been enough energy released from the friction alone to power a small city for a week. The laws of physics tell you its impossible to put a 55 gallon drum of jello into a six ounce tumbler.

Why does it have to result in a law suit? No one is to blame for a sore eye but her. Can you imagine the sore eyes of the poor fella who was destined to see her in a thong anyway? We may have averted permanent blindness for some innocent person.

I'm sorry, I have gotten a bit graphic for a family post, but it is all over the news anyway. This is just another example of the things that have gotten me so upset recently. Things don't appear to be getting any better. It is just insane. Suppose I should get on back to my original line of thought.

Christy.....She and Carlton are expecting another child if any of you didn't know. Those of you who are "in the loop" know Emma Grace (their little girl & our grandaughter) is Pappy's heart. They were all down for Ryan's graduation. Christy is a marvelous young lady. She taught me how to be a Dad. All the forgiveness and trust you could ever expect. I certainly knew nothing about parenthood....but she patiently taught me the ropes. Tilena and I sometimes feel a little guilty over Christy's childhood. We simply could not afford many of the things for her that we've been able to provide for the boys. We certainly didn't know as much about raising children. I don't remember her ever having but one bicycle as a kid. I'm sure each of the boys has had 7-8 bicycles and a vehicle to call their own. The only car Christy ever had she paid for. It seems the first child must pay a high price for parents learning on the curve. She is grown and has a family on her own now and I've never heard he complain about any of it. She's the model for unconditional love and fierce loyalty. Thanks Christy....thanks. I love you.......yeah, but...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Does Anybody Care?

You know, these days I'm just disappointed, disturbed and depressed. The news is on T.V. right now and there just seems to be nothing positive out there at all. Here's a synopsis of this evening's report:

  • Homosexual Marriage in California
  • Urn Thefts from Cemetery (for recycleable metal sale)
  • Two Children Killed in Driveby
  • School Teachers Laid Off
  • Partial Birth Abortion Upheld
  • Osama Bama Laden endorsed by Gore

I can't begin to decide which report was more ghastly. I have such a great fear for my children and the world they are going to inherit. Can anyone tell me what is happening to us? I've been more and more depressed lately by the direction we're headed. What do we do? Where do we go? Does anybody care? Anybody?......Anybody?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ryan's Graduation

The "letting go" process is difficult. We're going through that painful process these days as Ryan prepares to leave the nest. He's excited about heading out into the world, but Mom and I view this time with great trepidation.
I don't know if there is ever a time when a Dad thinks his kids are "ready". The whole thing is almost surreal to me. When did my little boy turn into a man? This guy standing there next to Tilena should be in a high chair nibbling applesauce and messing his pants. My heart just doesn't want to turn loose, but God has set these things in place I suppose. If it were up to me, he would never leave home.
Thinking back over the years, I just can't help but remember every little bump or cut he got. He just naturally ran to Dad when he was hurt or afraid. Most kids seem to have that you know....one parent they tend to run to with their problems. Nick goes to Tilena, Ryan to me and Christy??? Christy was just always so independent. Although, the older she's gotten, the more she calls for advice. Christy was so much easier at this point, because she was not in a great hurry to be on her own. Maybe boys are just different. I sure was. I left home two days after graduating high school.
Well, for now Ryan is set for school this Fall. We've got the Summer meanwhile and I hope the transition works itself out smoothly. I'm pushing Jr. College and commuting from home. He seems to be listening, though reluctantly. There's still so much for me to teach him. I'll update on the developments.