Archive for the ‘Fathers’ Category

My friend Carolyn, doesitevenmatter3, has unofficially declared this week “Donkey Week”. Here’s my contribution.










My father with his Donkey Baseball team’s MVPs. Really! They call it Donkey Ball.

In the 1930’s local baseball teams were organized in most American towns. Baseball was truly the national sport. Practically every town, from the smallest to the largest had at least two baseball teams. My father, and many others, felt the game boring and needed “a little spicing up” so he and a partner added to the spectacle of the game, the donkeys.

Donkey Ball, as it was called, became very popular in the Midwest. His donkey team traveled throughout the Midwest for a few years. His partner was the advance man who would “sell” a town a night or two of donkey ball and organize the time and date and put up posters and newspaper ads of the coming attraction and then a few days or weeks later Dad would bring into town the donkeys and organize the entertainment.  The towns had to furnish the players.

Really the donkeys were well-trained animals that he and his partner spent months training. Each animal had its own specialty. One would not move an inch if directed to “stay” by my father. Another would only let a child sit on its back but bucked if an adult tried to ride it. ( the child was given candy to give the donkey before they mounted it.) One would run the bases even if the player fell off, one would totally carry the player off of the field and back to the stock truck. Another would just lay down on the ground if anyone tried to ride her. The towns people loved seeing the local gentry, the police chief or the mayor thrown off the donkey or kicked or disobeyed. Really an evening of fun.

My father had an added attraction of a bull-whip act that he performed sometime during the show which the donkeys also participated in. Similar to a circus lion taming act, where the donkeys would line up and perform tricks at the commands of my “lion tamer” father.

Here’s a YouTube of how the game was played. This is not his team playing, it is just one of the only documented films of the game in the early 1930’s when he was in the business. There are Donkey Ball teams still today but this film best represents what my father described it to be in the 1930’s. Wish I had a film of his. There are still donkey baseball and basketball game promoters in business even today. My father’s and others were among the firsts.

Such is the life of John.


I’m having less and less to say. With age comes sweet calmness and confidence. I’ve made my mark, the mark has been to only live to an older age each year, to get to a point where it is unnecessary to prove my worth.

From the time that I first retrieved an out of reach hammer for my father to save him a few steps, I was made aware of my worth. He said “Thank you Partner !”. Although I was four years old, I realized I was worthy to be on his job site. I was not just a kid stumbling over the two by fours, open trenches and avoiding backing cement trucks. I was now contributing to the effort. I was now the official tool, nail and board getter for the boss. His Go-fer! My first job! After work that afternoon, at a tavern that I can still recall the smell and the song playing on the juke-box, I received a Coke, a bag of peanuts and a thank you for my labor that day. Yes, I have literally worked for peanuts and I have worked for “Peanuts” pretty much every day since. Don’t we all? Like Pavlov’s dog, my mouth still waters at the sound of Patsy Cline, the smell of stale smoke and big bust bar maids. Basically, I’m still working for very similar rewards.

Oh, the peanuts do come in a much bigger bag now. I soon learned that my labor was worth more than just the memory of a smell, cold drink and a pretty song. But unfortunately the alarm clock each morning means time for work and at the sound of it my mouth stays a little dryer now. Most of my years since in order to get those rewards have involved government certifications, exams and yearly performance reviews. Just being there with the right tool at the right time hasn’t always been enough. Every year we are evaluated to prove our worth.

For more years than I care to count, I have worked. Perhaps since I was four years old, certainly since I was fourteen when I received my social security card and filled out my first 1040 tax form. There is now little reason for more certifications and I know the system well enough that a yearly performance review entails little more than copying last year’s, a phone call from the boss and if we are in the same city at the right time, a conversation over a nice meal. My days of having to prove my worth are coming to an end. Just performing my jobs well now will suffice.

I think I have finally reached my mark. It won’t be long that the Pavlov’s bell on the alarm clock will be put on snooze much more often. And the sound of it will really mean breakfast, the breakfasts that I have missed so many times in the past because my saliva was not anxious for bacon and eggs but for proving my worth at work. I’m almost there. But soon I will be getting back to gauging my worth by the chill of the Coke, the sound of the music and the pleasure of talking to beautiful big bust barmaids.

Such is the life of John.

In 25 words or less, …. describe the universe.

Moon-joins-Venus-finder-chart I think it is because my grandfather and father were so attuned to the seasons, the stars, planets and the weather. They both taught me what they knew of the universe at every opportunity. No, neither used the Farmer’s Almanac.

When my father and I would be fishing and night would creep up on us, as I rowed the boat back to shore, he would gaze into the sky and point out the constellations and the visible planets and comment on the phase of the moon. I knew the major constellations years before I ever saw a star chart in science class. Each change of the seasons was an event at my house, even if only just to declare its arrival. I learned to listen because the lessons were short. Each was probably only in 25 words or less.

Many nights I stayed up for or was awakened by my Dad to see an eclipse, a satellite pass over head or the northern lights. The night skies were so much clearer then. An occasional distant incandescent yard light was the only interference we ever experienced at that time. Few today know the details of the night skies due to the bright lights shining from every city, town or home. Few have really seen the true thickness of the Milky Way as we did many years ago. If you haven’t lately, travel out as far as you can into the country side, away from city lights, to truly see just how beautiful the night sky really is. The places with no man-made light interference are getting harder and harder to find. But it will be very rewarding.

It is the knowing that is so wonderful. The knowing of what direction you are traveling at night just by knowing the time, the season and locating a couple stars . The knowing of when to expect a full moon so you will be able to use the light to go fishing by or when would be the best time for a night flight. Being aware of what time to expect sunrise or evening twilight as the seasons pass is very useful. It may sound silly now but it is a oneness we can develop with the universe by learning these things. It is a factual thing. It has nothing to do with the spiritual or the mystical, it is just knowledge.

This time of year, it is very hard to look into the heavens and not wonder why or wonder who created all of this and we can easily be amazed. But how can we expect to learn or discover the spiritual meaning unless we have made an effort to understand and learn the fundamental facts that have already been discovered? Only in knowing the physical truths of our universe will we ever be able to begin to discover and understand the why or the who. At each season change, isn’t it a good time to learn and wonder this? Even if only 25 words at a time.


He removed his iPhone from the case so it would sit more securely leaning against the large dolphin shaped sea salt and pepper grinders. Ironic he thought, they had bought those the last day of their visit to Atlantic City. That may have been their last happy day together. As he had been instructed, he set three alarms , each precisely three minutes apart. Swallow a capsule at each alarm, in ten minutes after the first alarm he would be asleep, in thirteen minutes he would stop breathing, in sixteen minutes his heart would stop.  The miracle of time released capsules.
He rose early that morning. After his longer than usual hot shower and masturbate, he slowly dried himself off, pulled on his shorts and undershirt and neatly combed his thinning hair. After pouring his coffee and popping a beer, Gerald sat at the kitchen table, staring at each large capsule that last evening he had placed in the precise order, in a very neat row, green one , then yellow and then red.
This had to be done today. It was December 23rd, he did not want this to happen any closer to the holidays. This is not the kind of memory to leave to your children on each of their next Christmas Eves or Mornings. He knew he wouldn’t be found until after the New Year. But there was always the chance that the nosey neighbor next door may be knocking to leave her plate of Christmas cookies, like she did three years ago. He hid and neglected to answer the door on the last two yearly attempts. Yes, after New Years at least. They would miss him at work by then.
The holiday season can be the most lonely time in a bachelor’s life and especially for Gerald Watswigger. After facing the guilt of being caught sleeping with other women, going through an ugly divorce, losing custody and visitation of his three lovely children, he had lost his dream of only a long happy suburban life. His only choices left, the drunken loneliness of the bottle or the miracle of the neatly spaced row of time released capsules.




Posted: June 21, 2015 in Fathers

There were 5 kids in our family but the oldest two kids were 10 and 12 years older than I, so I hardly knew them until I became an adult. My mom worked as a Registered Nurse.

My Dad did just about everything. Amazingly talented in many fields but he could not stand working for anyone so he was self employed his whole career. We had many ups and downs, life was not easy but he was a very interesting character. His interests ranged from owning a Donkey Baseball Team to building military camps and airfields during WWII. He spent his time while I lived with him hunting, fishing, flying, farming, drinking and occasionally building a new house for someone, in that order. He could throw knifes and stick them where ever he wanted and I saw him throw one within inches of another man, “just as a warning”. He could walk the tight rope, ride two horses at one time with one foot on each and he drank Jack Daniels from a jelly glass, straight, eight ounces at a time. He died without much monetarily but was very wise and had a thousand experiences. But I think he, like a lot of dads, really just wanted to run away and join a circus. But instead, he stuck with us. What more good can you say about a man than that?

Such is the life of John