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Posts Tagged ‘Dad’

Perspective

Posted on: November 7th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 1 Comment

Dear Friends,

Well its over for now. Personally it didn’t go the way I had hoped & prayed it would.

Last night I listened to the returns as I was driving through the black empty prairie. When the news came, I pulled over, stopped & got out. The stars were incredible. I recognized the Big Dipper, Orion, & that old faithful North Star. Dad showed me these constellations as a kid. These same stars that ancient mariners & herdsman have used for direction gave me the sense that God is big, I am small & that there is a plan.

And the sun rose this morning right on time.

As I start this new day, although tired, heart-sick & bruised, the world will not stop for me to catch up. It’s time to go on. And you know, even though it didn’t go my way, at the end of the day DEMOCRACY is still a beautiful thing.

Thanks for voting in the election 2012 & as always,
God bless America!

Your Pard,

R. Dub

Fathers

Posted on: June 16th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 3 Comments
R.W. Hampton, father of 6

R.W. Hampton, father of 6

Tomorrow is Father’s Day.  I have a great father who loves me dearly and although I’ve chosen to live a thousand miles away I know he would be here at the drop of a hat if I needed him.  He’s always been that way – even when he couldn’t quite understand his moody teenage daughter. I love my Dad, he’s not perfect, but he did his best with what God gave him to raise and he never quit on me, and boy, am I glad!

My Dad, Mom & Denver at his HS Graduation

My Dad and Mom at our son Denver's HS Graduation in 2010

R.W. is a great father too. Matter of fact, when I met him he was trying hard to figure out how to be a single parent to his daughter and two young sons.  His love and commitment to them were some pretty strong factors in my attraction to him… along with the fact that he looked good in those Wranglers and has the most amazing blue eyes, strong character, and can serenade a gal so fast she’ll swoon…

But back to being a Dad.

One of my favorite past-times is watching R.W. with our boys as they grow.  He believes in “learning by doing” and sometimes I have to force myself to stay out of the way as they struggle with what they think is the impossible, only to find that they really could do it after all.

Today was one of those days.  You see we branded Calvin Danner’s one calf, a little heifer this morning.

Two FeetOf course you are probably wondering why we have only one calf on our “ranch” so I will digress to explain that we bought this place to run summer yearlings on to allow us to travel.  Normally we will pasture about 200 yearlings on the gain from May through October. We also keep a dozen or so saddle-horses, a few broodmares and babies, 3 full grown Longhorn steers as pasture ornaments, and whatever 4H projects the kids have year around.

But, like a lot of other folks who are going through this drought here in the SW, we are down to just the bare minimum of what we want to keep. Which brings us to Calvin’s one calf, a little heifer, who needed branded.

Working to flip her overThe fun was in watching the boys go gather her and her momma into the corrals, then help build a fire for the iron, and once Dad got her roped it was Calvin’s job to hold her hind end (with me on her neck), and then it was time to put our brand on her.

Awe, Mom.... put your camera awayThere were times in that short exchange when Calvin didn’t know what he was supposed to do, where he was still intimidated to get too close at the wrong time and get kicked, and when he wasn’t sure he was strong enough at 11 to hold onto her legs and keep her down.  But in the end, with encouragement and instructions from Dad, he did it.

R.W. Hampton, father of 6

And, once again I fell in love all over with R.W. as a man and as a father to all of our children.  Happy Father’s Day hunny.

 

Taking Time Out

Posted on: January 19th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 8 Comments
January Evening Skies- photo by Lisa

January Evening Skies here in New Mexico

Does life ever get so crazy that you don’t know whether you are coming or going?  Ever get that small voice in the back of your mind saying “Umm, and how exactly do you expect to get all this done?”

It’s been one of those weeks here.

Up early, trying to fit in a little exercise time before starting the day’s chores, catch up on the weather and news & check emails, then it’s time to get breakfast going and roust the boys for schoolwork (all before 7:30 am). Then it’s back to the computer to try to answer a few emails and phone calls while R.W. does a bible study with the boys.

From 8:30 to noon it’s a balancing act of 5th grade and kindergarten lessons while R.W. does ranch chores and practices his music, a short break for lunch and a few minutes outside to lend R.W. a hand with winter projects he is working on here at the ranch, then it’s time to get the boys back to their schooling, fix dinner, do a couple of loads of laundry, straighten up the living room and kitchen from the day’s studies (yes, the books seem to end up everywhere in the winter as we gather by the fire most of the day.)

Most evenings as soon as the dinner dishes are cleared and washed, the nightly ritual of putting kids to bed is upon us.  We haven’t had TV reception in years but on the occasional night we all finish early we like to play games or curl up and watch a movie as a family.  Almost every evening one of us will read a chapter or two of a book of the boy’s choice before it is “lights out” for them somewhere between 8:30 and 9 PM.  That leaves roughly an hour or two for me to tackle whatever else awaits on my desk or in my kitchen before we fall into bed.  And there really isn’t ever enough time to get it all done.

But tonight, amidst our last lessons R.W. came in and announced – “School is OUT!  You all HAVE to come outside right now!”

 

Sunset at Clearview Ranch Jan 19, 2012

Sunset behind the Sangres

Well, he was right, as usual.  No matter what was going on it was one of those moments that time stands still and as we stood there as a family our New Mexico sky turned oranges, pinks, violet, vivid reds, and deep turquiose blues.

Thank you God, for the wonderful reminder of why we live here in this land.

Thank you for giving us moments when time stands still, moments we can share with our children and thank you so much for the beauty that is uniquely your creation.

Thank you God, for making us take time out.

I wish my photos could do justice to the changes in colors, they really don’t, but I wanted to take time out of our crazy week and share the moment with you.

And I want to thank you, for riding this trail with us, no matter how busy we are, we always love to hear from you.

Love you all,

Lisa, R.W. and the boys

 

Veteran’s Day thoughts… For Those Who Have Signed the Dotted Line

Posted on: November 11th, 2011 by Lisa Hampton 3 Comments

If you have been a fan of R.W. Hampton music for longer than, well, let’s say 4 minutes, (which is the amount of time it takes to listen to most of his songs), you know that R.W. is feverishly patriotic.

Yes, patriotism runs deep in the Hampton family and days like Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day are not merely for putting out the flag, but a time when we pause to honor those around us who have served our nation or are currently serving. 

On these special days we get a chance to stand up and thank those around us who have signed that dotted line saying “America, I’m yours.  I will stand up and fight for you, your citizens, your government, your flag and all that it stands for.  Regardless of whether I like that government, those citizens, or the cause I have been sent to accomplish.  Because as an American, I believe that in the end, right will win; evil will be conquered; freedom will reign and my family, my country, and my fellow soldier/marine/sailor/airman needs me.”     

Yes, these are special days.  Not just to honor men like these.

Members of the US Navy in Pacific Theater - WWII                    And these.        Sgt G Meisner, 2/9 Fox Co

 

But also these.                        2/9 Golf Co Ar Ramadi 2009

And women like these.   WAAC WWII

 

Violet Askins aka Violet Hill Gordon

Women Soldiers in AfghanistanAnd these… 

They are what make our country great. 

It’s what’s inside them.  They know that they were willing to stand up for their country and sign that dotted line. Willing to face our enemies in that  moment of battle and know the courage it takes.

Neither R.W. nor I have done this.  Signed the dotted line.  Faced our enemies across a battlefield.  

Brig General TC Lyster - Theodore C. Lyster is a familiar name to aerospace medicine physicians. His early recognition of the unique physical requirements of aviators, the specialized training necessary for flight surgeons, and the need for altitude physiology research provided the foundation on which the specialty of aviation medicine was built. Lyster's medical career, however, encompassed much more than aviation medicine. From his earliest assignment as a contract physician in Cuba in 1899 until his entry into private practice in 1921, he was heavily involved with the fight against yellow fever. In the era before medical residencies were commonplace, Lyster sought out training in ophthalmology and otolaryngology in the U.S. and abroad. His clinical and organizational abilities made him a valuable asset during the construction of the Panama Canal and during World War I. Lyster's many talents and his philosophy about aviation medicine make him a worthy role model for flight surgeons today.

Brig General TC Lyster, 1875 - 1933da

 

Army, Navy, Air Force & Marines. 
Our fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and our oldest son, Cooper, have all signed it. 
Lieutenant General Wade Hampton III, 1818 - 1902

Lieutenant General Wade Hampton III, 1818 - 1902

For as R.W. said to me one day, “My greatest disappointment in life as an adult is that I will never know if I had it inside me to do what they have done; to face what they have faced and to know that I did my part for my country.”

And so, although we are not Veteran’s ourselves, our part now is to support and honor these men and women who are.  To encourage them, to enlighten our community to their sacrifices, and to keep their memories alive; this is our job now. 

 God bless everyone of our Veterans.  We go to sleep tonight safe because at one point you had the courage to sign that dotted line.

OXO – Lisa H.

The Homecoming of the 2/9

Posted on: March 18th, 2011 by R.W. Hampton 19 Comments

The night of February 10 found me in Camp Lejeune, NC, to welcome home the 2nd Battalion 9th Marines from their combat deployment in deadly Marjah, Afghanistan. More specifically, I was waiting for my oldest son, Platoon Sergeant Cooper Hampton of Golf Company. This was Coop’s second deployment, so the waiting was not new; but somehow, with the constant flow of almost instant information via email and Facebook, the months passed by slow and long.

I had made a conscious decision from the start to be “in the know.” This meant being familiar with Helmand Province, its people, geography, topography, politics, customs and even weather. Our clock on the fireplace mantle was set to Marjah time, 10 ½ hrs later than our Mountain Standard Time.

Platoon Sgt. Cooper Hampton on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Being “in the know” also meant starting and ending every day checking emails, Facebook and the news reports, trading information and updates with other family members. Even though our boys had no electricity or running water at their FOB (Forward Operating Base), we were able to receive short messages and even photos by virtue of generator-powered laptops. At times when all communication ceased, we knew we had lost one of our boys and the next of kin were being contacted. Through photos, video clips and short messages, we knew that our boys were “mixing it up” with the Taliban on an almost daily basis.

And so it seems in a strange way that somehow the lives of these young warriors, their families and our lives are forever entwined, and that on some level we, too, had fought and experienced the joys, sorrows, victories and losses.

It was all of these things and more that had my heart full and running over that cold, wet night. Along with dozens of others, I crowded into a Marine base gymnasium to wait. The scene could best be described as like a Norman Rockwell painting where people of all ages, carrying banners and balloons, eating hotdogs and drinking coffee, were passing the time visiting, playing bingo and doing crossword puzzles. There were grandpas and grandmas, moms and dads, and pretty young women dressed in their finest pushing baby strollers. Charlie Daniels’ music played over an ancient P.A. system that also brought us an occasional update on the status of our loved ones.

We were told that our boys had flown from Germany to the Marine Corps air base at Cherry Point, NC, and were being bused from there to Camp Lejeune. Although I’d never set foot in that gymnasium before, I felt as much at home there as any place I’ve ever been before or since. I felt as if I’d walked into a church social that had no beginning or end, no specific time or location. Just anywhere, anytime USA.

The spell was broken when a fella with a strong New England accent walked up and said, “You must be Coop’s dad.” 

“You got that right!”

My new Yankee friend explained, “I’m Nate’s dad!”

We visited a while, then a new update came over the P.A.: Fox and Golf Companies were on base. They’d check in their weapons at the armory and be marching in soon. They’d be here in 30 minutes to an hour.

You could feel the level of excitement grow as folks lined up to use the restroom and get one more cup of coffee before going out into the cold, damp, North Carolina night. As I refilled my coffee cup, a man beside me, sporting a ball cap that read “Proud Grandfather of a US  Marine” was doctoring his coffee with a little Red Stag whiskey.

“Want some?” he asked.

“You bet!” I said, “If there was ever a night to celebrate, this is it!”

“Amen to that!” was his reply.

I looked at the clock. It was a little after 11 p.m. I got a little nostalgic thinking that almost 24 years ago I was anxiously awaiting my son’s arrival into the world. Now here I was, waiting for that same son, no longer an infant but a hardened combat veteran, to return home from yet another world. Somehow I find that this waiting is just as intense as that first waiting was so long ago. And the questions are the same, too. What will he look like? How will he be? Will he be glad to see me? What will I say? How strange, I thought, these circles life takes us in.

Platoon Sgt. Cooper Hampton

As I look around I see that others are dealing with these strange emotions as well, and I’m glad we’re all going out into the night together where tears of joy and raw emotion can have their way. I watch as a lovely young woman checks her makeup one last time while another tells her three young kids that “Daddy’s on his way!” An older couple readies their balloons; they even have a bottle of champagne to open. I nervously fumble for my phone to send a quick text to the family back home, “It won’t be long now!”

As folks are making their final preparations, it occurs to me this scene is as old as time itself. Many, if not most, have had long, hard trips to get to this place. All have been waiting for hours, but no one is complaining, just counting down the moments, the seconds! This scene has played out for as long as men and women have gone to war.

My thoughts are interrupted when a woman at the gym entrance calmly but urgently announces, “They’re coming!” All talking stops as everyone heads for the door and out into the night. It is pitch black, but almost as if by instinct people line up around the edges of the cold, wet parade ground. Not a word is spoken and not a sound can be heard but that of marching boots as they get louder and louder. Eyes strain to see in the blackness and then, like ghosts, I can see the silhouettes of men getting closer. Then, in perfect formation, they halt in front of the waiting crowd. Faceless and unidentifiable, yet only an arm’s length away. Time and breathing seemed to have stopped as one lone voice said, “At ease, men. Well done and welcome home. You are dismissed!”

The waiting crowd started making their way forward to find their loved ones. Some called out names, while others held up cell phones to see. As I waded into the crowd to start my search, I could faintly make out forms as they reunited and quietly slipped away. In the shadows I could see couples locked in embrace, oblivious to their surroundings, as if they were earth’s only inhabitants. I saw tall, straight, young, fighting men holding tiny babies for the first time, and whole families, holding each other, laughing, crying, as if one. I could hear children crying, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!” I felt almost as if I was on Holy ground as I wandered through these scenes looking for my son.

“Cooper, Coop, Sergeant Hampton!” I called over and over, each time a little louder until a faceless voice said, “He’s in here somewhere, sir, just saw him.”

“Thanks,” I said as I wandered on. Finally I stopped and stood but an arm’s length away from a silhouette that I knew that I knew. After what seemed like forever, a strong voice said, “Dad!” and my not so strong reply, “Coop, oh son, my son, you big, beautiful son of a bitch, God bless ya, welcome home!” I held his face in my hands, making sure this was not a dream. We hugged as men do, laughed, cried, slapped each other on the back – afraid to turn loose, as if this was not real and would all go away.

The circle was complete.

Why ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’?

Posted on: November 19th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 1 Comment

That’s what Lee Williams, the British country music radio host, wanted to know in his thick accent during our interview. “I mean, really ‘AhhDubbleyu’, it’s a lovely recording, but you’re an American cowboy music singer and you are singing an English rock song. We’re talking none other than Freddie Mercury and Queen!”

“Well, I know,” I drawled, and proceeded to give him the story which I’ve told many times since in radio and magazine interviews both in the United Kingdom and here at home.

Ya see, I’ve always liked that old rockabilly style, and especially that song, so it’s been rattling around in the back of my mind for about 40 years now. But it wasn’t until I awoke to the fact that I was a 50 year old Dad with an infant son that the song held real meaning for me. That’s right, and one who refused to let his mother and I sleep for MONTHS on end! Lisa and I were not new to parenting by any stretch of the imagination, but our five previous kids didn’t hold a candle to the challenges our precious Ethan Wayne was presenting.

Ethan Wayne Hampton

We were both at our wits end and living the sleep-deprived blur when I found myself in an LA studio recording the tracks for my latest album, Austin To Boston. I was resting between takes of some other song and started strumming my guitar and singing, “This thing called love, it cries in the cradle all night, it swings and jives; it shakes all over like a jelly fish. I kind of like it. This crazy little thing called love.” Everyone stopped what they were doing and listened until I was finished. It was then Joe and Gary, my producers, jumped on me like a duck on a June bug, “That’s cool, man. Let’s record it!”

For a minute I thought they had gone “Crazy,” but it didn’t take me long to warm up to the idea. After all, I’m a man who likes to sing and record material he can relate to, and man, I could – and still can – relate to that song! And the rest is, as they say, “recorded, mixed and in the can.”

Well, crazy as it may seem, that’s the story. And you know, some of the craziest little things turn out to be the biggest blessings. I love you, Ethan, and although Freddie Mercury wrote it, it will always be our song, because you are your momma’s and my Crazy Little Thing Called Love!

Click here to listen to my version of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” from my new CD, Austin To Boston.

Heart Value

Posted on: May 25th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 4 Comments

There are things and then there are things. You know, you may own a rare one-of-a-kind something or other, but it doesn’t come close to meaning as much as, say, that first love letter from your kids’ mama so long ago. I guess you could say these things may have no dollar value, but they are priceless when it comes to heart value.

I should know. I keep an old box full of ticket stubs, photos, hospital bracelets, rodeo posters, old passports, baby blankets, Valentine’s Day cards, and a letter from Iraq. You get the idea: all junk to anyone else, but not to me. They are my tangible links to the past.

So while we’re taking this tour of the heart treasures, let me direct your attention over here to this corner of the room. Yes, I know, you’d have missed it if I hadn’t pointed it out. It don’t look like much, but if this house caught on fire, it would be one of the first things I’d grab to save from the flames.

I grew up playing in this old rocker. It always sat in the corner, and when I’d climb into it and get a little wild with my rocking, someone invariably would say something like, “Pull that confounded thing out away from the wall, it ain’t no carnival ride.” 

My guess is that my Dad and Grandpa got the same scolding.

The first owner of this chair was my great grandfather, Calvin Wade Hampton. He was born in the 1870s, and although I’ve got a picture of me and ol’ Calvin from when I was a baby, I never knew him. It may sound funny, but although I never really knew him, I’ve always sorta missed him, so this old rocking chair is my tangible link to him.

Calvin, or C.W., was a horse and mule trader and we both share Wade as our middle name. Family legend says he was a good part Cherokee and he looked it. It’s also told that he and an older son drove some decommissioned cavalry ponies to Alberta to sell to the Mounties up there! Did he plan this adventure while sitting in this chair?

This piece of furniture is stained dark brown – almost black – but the arm rests are worn to a light natural color. The ends of the arm rests are polished smooth and bare from the fists that have clutched them over the years. Come to think of it, I do that, too, when I’m stewing over something. Is this an inherited trait?

When I take a seat in this rocking chair, I take comfort in knowing I’m sitting in a place where three generations of Hampton men before me have sat, read newspapers, and thought. It’s one of my favorite places to take my first swig of morning coffee. Right now, I’m writing this by pencil on a yellow legal pad and sitting – you guessed it! – in my old rocking chair.  As soon as I’m done, I know my 3 year old son, Ethan, will want to climb up here and rock. When he does, I will say, without even thinking, “Son, pull that confounded thing out from the wall, it ain’t no carnival ride.”

Ah, some things never change. Maybe someday, in the dim and distant tomorrow, future generations of Hamptons will use this old rocking chair as their “tangible link to the past,” and it will remain as something of great heart value.

What are your things of great heart value?