A West Mountain Love Story
Imagine Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1934. The country was depressed and stuck in a black and white mentality; but Hot Springs, Arkansas was rolling. Hot Springs was awash in cash, gangsters, bath houses, liquor and gambling. But none of this lascivious fun effected my parents who were 9 and 10 years old in 1934. And they were already in love.
My dad, Irven Granger McDaniel, had a problem. He lived on Whittington Avenue and his family was struggled throughout the 30s. My mother, Ann Stell never suffering in the least. Her daddy was a surgeon and they had just finished building a lovely house on Prospect Avenue. Prospect Avenue and Whittington Avenue were seperated by West Mountain, part of Hot Springs National Park. That’s the only thing that stood between Ann Stell and Irven in 4th grade.
West Mountain is a lovely and graceful little mountain. It’s not very tall but it is pretty steep and completely overgrown with pine and hardwood. Still, two or three times a week, after school, my dad had to go see the love of his life. So he would literally run over the mountain. He always told us he followed deer trails he found and the trip would take him about an hour if he actually ran. He figured out exactly how to land in Ann Stell’s back yard.
So, imagine a grubby little 10 year old boy emerging from the woods, then ringing the back door bell of a lovely white two story home. That was Dad.
My grandfather, the surgeon, wasn’t really pleased by the little boy’s arrival. He didn’t want his pretty daughter playing with the smiling but rough cut kid all the time. So he told the maids (there were two at the time, one to cook and one to clean) not to let Irven in every day. They had to tell him Ann wasn’t home or was busy, so he would run back into the woods and over the mountain.
Well, telling the friendly love sick little boy this story broke their hearts. The maids felt sorry for him. He worked so hard to see Ann and he had such a big friendly gaped tooth grin. So, on the days that he wasn’t allowed to see his love Ann, the maids made sure they left a plate of milk and cookies on the back porch, so Irven had enough strength to run back over the mountain before dark.
My dad died when he was 52. But before he left, he told us to pour his ashes on West Mountain because he’d always be there…. running to his girl.
Tags: Ann Stell, Arkansas, Hot Springs, I Granger McDaniel, love, National Park, West Mountain
I tried to add a button to hampoland. Yikes, it was harder than I thought it would be. I did it, but the button looks totally out of wack.
Once I finished messing around and messing up my home page I started reading some of the recent comments. There were several super nice ones. But it’s the spam that kills me.
If I write a blog about Monkey Poop the spam comments will say, “brilliant insights, I’ve been looking for this information!”
If I write about Breast Cancer the spam comment will read “I love this, it’s so cute, where did you get the idea?” and if I write about the pee-wee football team, I’ll be awash in “Thanks for the info look at these amazing single lesbians who are looking for you.”
So, to those of you who leave real comments, good or bad, thank you so much for taking the time. Your comments are way better than “Hot chicks are waiting for you in Vegas.”
I just don’t think they really are.
Hey, my daughter wrote a funny blog about Zombies.
My son had a friend over to spend the night. I heard him say, “Come on, let’s play ninjas,” then “come on, let’s build a fort,” then “Come on. Let’s watch Adventure Time.” The next time I heard Sandor say “come on,” I said, “Son, let Sam pick.”
Sam was obviously surprised by his new found power, “Can we play with your legos or ride the 4-wheeler.”
“Sure,” Sandor said then the two boys disappeared into his room. I realized I haven’t been enforcing and reinforcing the all important “Guest Rule”.
WHEN YOU HAVE COMPANY OVER THEY GET TO GO FIRST AND THEY GET TO PICK (MOST OF THE TIME).
After the boys played with the legos for a while i called them into the kitchen. “Ok, Sam, what do you want for lunch, sandwich or mack and cheese.”
Sam, who is tiny and beautiful gave me a gorgeous grin. the kid has perfect teeth. “Mack and cheese! Man, I like this rule of your mom’s”
Generally my biggest rule is the one about computer games and television. The guys only get those for thirty minutes at a time but I think the guest rule might be even more important because it teaches old school civility. I worry that good manners have nearly become extinct.
An Indian friend of mine recently told he he worries about his daughters becoming too Americanized. When I asked him what he meant he said he had found most American teens to be rude and inconsiderate when they came to his house and he said they were extremely disrespectful to their own parents.
While I don’t think the problem around here is as dire as he described, it reminded me the importantce of teaching my own kids to be repectful and polite. If I don’t, nobody else will.
Thank you very much.
Tags: bad kids, children, civility, good manners, manners
Here’s the dinner that broke the deal. James Byrd Jr., a conviced murderer asked for two chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, fried okra, a pound of barbecue, three fajitas, a meat lover’s pizza, a pint of ice cream and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. All that then he barely ate anything at all. the rat-bastard.
I under stand both sides of the death penalty. Horrible people who do evil things should be dead. And when we keep them in prison it costs us so freakin’ much money. On the other hand killing someone for murder is kind of like spanking a child for hitting another kid. “Son, you should not hit people but I’m going to hit you”. That’s stupid.
Another think I know about the death penalty is if I was going to be executed, I’d want a firing squad. Lethal injection sounds horrible. The vet can put a dog to sleep in thirty seconds but apparently when they kill humans via lethal injection it’s a profoundly complicated mixture that has some unexpected side effects.(you poop in your pants1) The electric chair is horrendous. i don’t want to jump around in a chair and fry like bacon. And in both these situations scientist can’t really tell me how long it takes for my brain to die. yikes, what would I be thinking while millions of volts surged through my body, nothing pleasant I bet.
Pirates did something called keelhauling. They tied you too a rope then threw you overboard. Your body would drag under the keel of the boat and you’d be ripped up by the barnacles under there. Ouch!
But firing squads have been quick,accurate and “bullet proof” for hundreds of years. Give five guys, ten rounds each to pump into my body and I think they will get the job done.
The only other sure bet is beheading but I hate the idea of my head plopping into a basket, or worse still, rolling off the platform.
So, if I have a really bad night, do something terrible and wind up on death row, sneak me in some stone crab and shrimp for my last meal then shoot me down. If I could, I’d thank you.
Tags: death penalty, execution, firing squad, last meal
My daughter recently wrote a blog about bullies. You can read it at thttp://sillystupidhighschoolblog.blogspot.com/2011/09/go-nerds.html
I thought I would reprint this blog I wrote about an elementary bully and my daughter, Mary.
When I dropped Sandor, my 8 year old son, off this morning he ran to the playground, overwhelmed by his backpack. He never hesitated or even looked back at me. Instead he happily threw himself into the ocean of kids.
With stunning clarity, I remember the year Mary hated that ocean of kids.She would get out of the car soooo slowly, look at me, pleading with her eyes that I wouldn’t make her go to school. And then Mary would gather all her nine year old courage and walk toward the play ground.
That was the year Mary had a bully problem and it was bad. A little red neck white trash boy named James Rufus made my Mary’s life absolute hell. He was a short, skinny kid, with shaggy, semi-greasy hair and hand-me-down jeans and tee-shirts. James had the kind of “screw you” expression that made you want to slap him before he even opened his mouth. And if you did try to talk to the boy he would just shrug and say “what ever”. Every day this nightmare of a boy singled Mary out on the playground. He followed her around and called her horrendous names, “fat bitch cow” being the least offensive. He said she did things to boys that she didn’t even understand.
I was furious. I wanted to burn the school down. Of course I talked to teachers, principals, counselors. I cried and yelled, threatend the school with law suits, I even threatened to have nine year old James Rufus arrested on harrassment charges. If somebody followed me and called me vile names I could have them arrested. But I couldn’t stop James.
The school counseled him, gave him ISS, took away recess and sent notes home but nothing worked. Mary came home day after day, crying, confused and miserable. I was furious and heartbroken.
Finally, after more than a month of horrendous verbal abuse Mary snapped. She screamed at James Rufus in front of kids and teachers, “My dad’s got a nine millimeter gun and he’s gonna kill you if you don’t stop, James.”
Mary was immediatly suspended from third grade. This was 15 years ago and the country was terrified of school shootings.
While Mary was home I called the school to get the Rufus’ phone number. They wouldn’t give it to me but I poked around and found somebody who know somebody and they gave me the number.
I remember so clearly, my hand was shaking with absolute rage as I dialed the number. I was going to eat that entire family for lunch.
James answered the phone. “This is Mary’s mom, James, let me talk to your mom or dad.”
He sounded tiny, “Please don’t do that, Ms. Hampo I swear to God I’ll stop. Please don’t tell my dad.”
“James, I have to. I can’t let you keep on hurting my daughter. I love her too much.”
He begged and begged then finally handed the phone to his father. I explained the situation and I remember the man’s exact words, ‘I’m gonna beat the shit out of that kid. I swear to God he’ll never say a word to your daughter.”
I felt sick and tried to reason with him.I tried to tell him I didn’t think beating James was the answer but he didn’t hear a word and hung up suddenly.
James Rufus never said another word to Mary and six month latter he was out of our school. He had to go to the “alternative” school, the hell hole they send the “bad kids”.
Now, here’s the strange part of this story. Mary and James are now friends on facebook, though he says he doesn’t really remember her from school. Of course he doesn’t. Bullies don’t remember anybody they pick on. But the victims, those that are bullied remember ever single brutal word.
And Jame Rufus is now openly gay, he told Mary he has a boyfriend and now sells real estate. Even now I can’t imagine what it would be like for a gay boy in our little rural Arkansas school district or in the single wide trailer the Rufus family lived in.
Suddenly, it all makes sense. That’s what Mary said when she found out about James Rufus.
Guest BlogAuthored by Raymond Whitney
I was talking to my sister on the phone yesterday, she was telling me to check out tvbydirect deals when I heard a big crash coming from the back bedroom of my house. I ran back there to see what had fallen and broken. I could not find anything in the bedroom that was out of place. I was baffled. I decided not to worry about it and went about business as usual. When I went into my closet to get my clothes this morning before I went to work, I realized what the loud crash was. A box full of glass Christmas ornaments that I keep on a shelf in my closet had fallen in the floor. I opened it and half of the ornaments were broken. I was really upset. I had some of those ornaments since I was a very small child. I just could not figure out how a box that was securely on the shelf could have fallen off. Finally it hit me when I was at the office, Roxy! Roxy is my four year old Bengal. She had jumped on the shelf in my closet and knocked the ornaments off!
I have two fairly famous sayings about teenage boys, they go like this. 1.”Teenage boys have more bad ideas in sixty seconds than the rest of us have all week.” (Example, launching water balloons at the police station.)
2. “As boys turn into men, around age 30, they figure out that it’s not a good idea to act on all those bad ideas.” (example: don’t try to jump off the second story balcony into the hotel pool)
Well according to the NPR story I was both right and wrong. Teen brains understand and recognize bad ideas just as well as frumpy 50 year old housewives but, they don’t exaggerated it the way the grown up brain does. Grown ups tend to think the world is a dangerous place and really bad stuff will happen if we get out of line.
That’s not how teens see things. So their decision to do wacked stuff, like jump in the spider monkey cage at the zoo, isn’t so unreasonable.
The adult thinks, the spider monkey will bite your lips off and put poop on your head, don’t get in there!
The teenager thinks, the spider monkey will sit on my head and my friends will think I’m awesome.
The teen brain knows driving fast is dangerous, but the rewards are more important. The teen boy knows if he drives 118 miles an hour his girl friend might secretly think he’s hot and his buddies will think he’s crazy.That means a lot to the teenage brain, because it needs positive reinforcement and social acceptance.
Adults think, “if I drive 118 mph I’ll probably die, or worse, I’ll get a ticket and my insurance premiums will double.” There’s not much reward, so we don’t do it.
Holy cow, this explains a lot. Teen-agers aren’t idiots, they are just different. I’ll try to remember that next time I see a bunch of kids riding a 4 wheeler, in their boxers, during a snow storm. (Yes, that does happen in my neighborhood.)
*Three side notes:
1. The next blog will be a commercial. Sorry.
2. checke out my other blog http://www.goofyandgreat.blogspot.com/
3. Does anyone know about Kindle e-books? Some folks have suggested I write one.
Tags: Bad Ideas, NPR, teenage brain
I’m in pretty good shape. I work out all the time ,still when I see a picture of myself in my taekwondo uniform I look lake a bloated heifer. It’s awful. I look much much better naked, now that’s saying something.
If you have any boobs at all, Martial Arts uniforms are horribly unflattering. It doesn’t matter how high your rank or awesome your sidekick is, if you wear a dobak you’re gonna look like a big fat slob. The only women who avoid looking like the Hindenburg are the super skinny girls.
Men look good in them, children look cute, women look like mushy lesbians. I’d be better off having my picture taken in a AC/DC concert t-shirt and pajama pants.
I swear I should have considered a different sport. Why have I spent 12 years in a pair of pants so big I could hide a cocker spaniel in them. I’d look better in a black speedo shiny pink gymnastics leotard. (well maybe not).
I love Taekwondo too much to quit now, but before you choose a sport or hobby try on the uniform. Next time I’m going to start playing polo. I’d look hot in those tight jodhpurs(yes that is how you spell the word, it’s the super tight pants they wear), black boots and helmet.
Comments OffTags: martial arts, sidekick, taekwondo, uniform
Tonight my husband, was cleaning his office, and he suddenly held up a bumper sticker. BE NICE!
It was my BE NICE! bumper sticker. Oh my lord. Twenty years ago when Alex and I were dating I somehow convinced him we could be bumper sticker moguls. I thought if we printed 5000 BE NICE and MEAN PEOPLE SUCK bumper stickers we would become crazy rich. He still thought I was hot and brilliant so he paid for the first printing.
Silly man. The MEAN PEOPLE SUCK stickers sold pretty well but nobody wanted the BE NICE ones. Apparently there were a lot more sarcastic bitter people in Hot Springs, Arkansas than hippies. I was crushed.
But those bumper stickers have become an important part of our marriage, they represent something I can’t explain. BE NICE explains Hampoland, the way we’ve raised our children and what we try to do every day. When one of the kids acts like a little puke, we say BE NICE. When Mary gets really really frustrated with jack, she says, BE NICE.
Those two words can end any argument or snarky situation in our house. Cause what do you say after somebody simply tells you to Be Nice?
“You look like a rino today.”
“Your dog smells like a dead monkey.”
‘Your mother is as sharp as a bowling ball.”
“Omg Be Nice.”
See, it works every time.
I think this all started with my brother Granger. I believe he’s the one that gave me the idea.
So, I still have almost two thousand bumper stickers if anybody wants one. And tomorrow, no matter what happens, remember to BE NICE.
Tags: be nice, bumper stickers, family
I saw a lot of this when I was in high school, when I worked in a high school and now I hear about it all the time from my kids.
A girl is standing in front of her locker trying to fix her hair.
Her “friend” comes up and laughs, “You still look like shit today.”
A girl finally gets her drivers license and then gets to drive her mom’s car to school for the first time. It’s an ugly, ten year old, four door, but she’s driving to school, all alone and crazy excited!
Her friend walks up and laughs, “God that car is so pathetic, I’d rather ride the bus.”
When guys say stuff like this it’s kind of funny. When girls do it… it’s not funny at all, it’s just mean and bitchy. They think they are being funny, but nobody else does.
Chances are the girls who were the “victims” of the wanna-be funny girl will go to their friends. Tell them what you said, and then they’ll all stand around in the bathroom talking about how mean, snarky and bitchy you are. Then they will talk about your hair and your crappy car. And pretty soon people stop inviting you to the mall, the movie or over to their house because you’re so damn mean.
I promise you, when you say plain old mean stuff and think it’s funny, it’s not. And it’s not clever, or silly, or interesting so you end up sounding mean and kind of stupid. If you think you might be this person but your not sure, make a list of your best girlfriends. If you don’t have many or any, you’re probably a bitch.
I don’t know why it’s different when guys say stuff like this. Maybe it’s because they really don’t care what their hair looks like or what their friends think of their hair. So the comment, “you still look like shit” doesn’t hurt them at all.
Girls care, so the comment makes them sad.
So, stop trying to move up on the social ladder by stepping on your friends. It doesn’t work. And someday you may really need a ride from your “friend” . You know, the one with the POS car and messed up hair.
Tags: mean teen age girls