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Posts Tagged ‘Ethan Hampton’

Summer

Posted on: July 6th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton No Comments

Ethan at the local pool

<Ethan at the local swimming pool>

I don’t know about any of you, but summer kind of snuck up on me this year.

One minute I was unpacking coats and gloves from a trip to the East coast in the spring and the next it was 104′ and I needed a pedicure in order to wear any of the 75 pairs flip-flops collecting dust in my closet. (You would have to have followed R.W.’s FaceBook page for the story behind the pedicure, or lack there-of.)

So here we are already deep into summer and between applying sunscreen I have been taking lots of pictures of R.W. and the boys but of course I haven’t found the time to share them… so before summer really gets busy here is a quick peek into the past few weeks!

best friends

<Ethan & his new best friend>

Ethan learning how to throw a baseball with big brother Denver

<Big brother Denver teaching Ethan how to throw a baseball.>

Calvin Danner taking aim

<Calvin Danner taking aim with his water gun.>

Ethan at his swim lessons...trying to look like Wall-E?

<Trying to look like Wall-E?>

Annie...enjoying the dog days of summer

<Annie...enjoying the dog days of summer.>

Giving one of the dogs a bath

<The boys attempt to give Mickey, aka Snookie, aka Shorty a bath...>

Waiting for Swim Lessons

<Waiting for Swim Lessons>

 

A Texas Springtime Ranch-Country Wedding

Posted on: April 19th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton No Comments

 

Can you believe spring is upon us? It’s been a unique year with unseasonably warm weather across the country, even here at 6,500′ elevation it’s starting to look like spring.  Of course the 8 to 10″ of snow we got last week sure didn’t hurt as it was a heavy wet snow, preceded by a nice rain shower and followed up by another a few days later.  Yes, even we have a little green grass growing, the trees have budded out and you can even find the occasional flower blooming.  All this springtime blooming has taken me down memory lane to this time last year. It was a Texas springtime, ranch-country wedding. There was magic in the air.

Springtime in Texas is like that anyway – what with the Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Prickly Pear blooms and all. Then add a ranch country wedding to that already potent mix and mister, you’ve got some strong medicine!

We had gathered in Palo Pinto County, TX for the wedding of a long tall cowboy (one Colter Hampton) to his Brazos River rose (Miss Cortni Clower). There, in a leafy glade surrounded by family and friends, in just a matter of a few moments, a miracle of love was witnessed and the world became a better place.

As I looked around me, a lump as big as Dallas grew in my throat. For not only had the boy found his True Love, but older brother Cooper was home safe from the war and in attendance, younger brother Denver was in from college, and littlest brothers Calvin and Ethan were behaving themselves. Big sister Gina, along with her husband Corby (my son-in-law), and their sons Barrett and Gus were able to make a rare getaway from their ranch to be here, too.

Long lost cousin Barbara, from way up in Maryland, made the long trip to reestablish her Texas Hampton roots.

My brother, Jeff, and his soon-to-be bride, LeAnn, were there holding hands like love-struck teens.

I knew that my long time best friend, Don, and his wife, Cindi (who’s like a sister to me), wanted to be there, but I wouldn’t have bet a plugged nickel that they would really make it, ’cause real life often gets in the way when your real life has to do with agriculture. But, by God, they made it, too!

So did Lisa’s brother, Ted, and his wife and both of their boys. All the way down from Central Oregon on their spring break.

And then there were all the Grand-folks! There were Hamptons, Moores, Lysters, Clowers and Rices, not to mention all the rest of Cortni’s side of the family – which was certainly abundant! The hall was full to over-flowing with cousins, aunts, uncles, neices, nephews, friends and even the occasional person that no one seemed to know.

All these smiling faces. All this history. All this love.

Even now, months later I find myself wondering if it may well be that not this side of heaven will we all be together again like this. No, surely not, but where else besides Texas in the springtime could it happen even once – like this?

After the “I dos” and all the pictures were taken, we all gathered in the reception hall to eat, drink and watch the newest Mr. and Mrs. Hampton cut their cake and drink Dr. Pepper toasts.

 

As the couple took to the dance floor, as the children played in the growing shadows, as the Texas sun made its way west, I stood alone trying to memorize every face and every scene of one of life’s few perfect days.

 

And amidst my memories of new love I find another. There I was, taking it all in, afraid to even blink, lest it all go away, my attention was finally stolen by a woman across the room. This lovely creature, although unaware I was watching, was working at the drink table filling cups with iced tea. I was taken not only by her obvious beauty, but by the look of total contentment she wore as she made an art out of this simple task.

Captivated and dumb-struck, I wondered how this could happen. What were the chances of a middle aged man falling in love at his son’s wedding? This kind of foolishness could get a man in big trouble. But no, not that day, because this angelic vision across the crowded room is the mother of my children, my sweetheart, my partner and my wife.

I smiled as I reached down and felt the gold band on my left hand.

Now why should old love born anew surprise me – or anyone, for that matter? After all, it was a Texas springtime ranch-country wedding, and there was magic in the air! 

Do you have a favorite springtime memory?  Is there really such a thing as “love in the air”?

 

Mr. Titanic

Posted on: April 15th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 2 Comments

visiting the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, TNDid you know that it was 100 years ago yesterday that the unsinkable Titanic hit it’s iceberg and as of 2:20 AM this morning the tradgedy culminated with it’s sinking?  Well, if you didn’t, don’t feel bad, I might not have either if it wasn’t for my five-year-old. 

Yes, Mr. Titanic himself reminded me during our homeschool studies that this week was the big 100 year anniversary. 

Now what, you might ask, is a five-year-old doing with that tid-bit of knowledge rolling around in his little brain? 

Well, let me tell you, he not only knows the date but also can spell the ship’s name, tell you whether it hit the iceberg on the bow or stern, tell you about how many people were on the ship and how many survived, how many dogs were on the ship, how many smoke stacks it had, what colors it was, why they didn’t have enough life boats, and a million other facts that would have slipped my mind long ago.

It all started a couple of years ago with his big brother’s fascination with the movie soundtrack and the creation of a “garage band” of several four to nine-year-old cousins who aptly named their band “The Titanic”.  The adults who were subjected to their performances couldn’t have been happier than when the act prophetically sunk.  But the fascination must have floated around in their minds because the Titanic was the first thing they wanted to visit on our trip back East.

Visit the Titanic, you might ask?  Well, yes, sort of. 

You see in February one of our first stops on our big trip to the Mid-Atlantic States was in Pigeon Forge for the city’s “Saddle Up” event.  The folks there at the City of Pigeon Forge treated us with VIP passes to the gigantic Titanic Museum/Exhibit that really looks like the ship, complete with iceberg.  After spending an afternoon as four of her passengers (complete with their names and histories) we were submerged in little known facts, overwhelmed with actual artifacts retrieved from the ship’s underwater grave, and drowned by the sheer magnitude of the tragedy.  Ethan on the other hand became obsessed; the character he played not only survived but exploded in his mind, carrying him into a world of over-sized ships, Captains, Skippers, ice-bergs, and sunken treasure. 

After leaving Pigeon Forge, TN we traveled east to South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia where we got to spend an afternoon on the beach at the Atlantic Ocean.  Wouldn’t you know it, as we were about to leave, none other than the USS Enterprise cruised by as she departed for her final voyage before retirement.  I was pretty excited to be able to say we were there, but for Ethan it was a true miracle.  For him, seeing that big aircraft carrier (the first and largest nuclear powered one of its kind) on its final voyage was just about as good as it gets and I think that cinched the deal.  From then on all we have heard about is the Titanic. 

USS Enterprise deploying on final tour, March 2012I was naive enough to think his obsession might dwindle over the trip, but no, while we were in Williamsburg, VA for the Williamsburg Film Festival he purchased an old black & white 1940’s movie “The Titanic” that was made in Germany during the war and is all in German with sub-titles.  Do you know that although he can’t read, he has watched the movie no less than two dozen times?  His enthusiasm even rubbed off on his little 4 year old friend who, to his mother’s surprise, sat and watched the entire movie with him last night even when they were given the chance to watch Tin Tin instead!

So the final blow came with the April issues of National Geographic and National Geographic for Kids… both featured articles on the ship which have now been read, analyzed, and believe it or not, disputed by my boys.  With R.W.’s help they have even created a cardboard model of the ship – which they hope to one day float with full knowledge that being made of cardboard ensures that it will sink!

There really isn’t much point to this story except to say that I am really glad we are homeschooling this year so that these little minds can absorb such things as the fact that today was the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. 

It is exciting watching our boys learn and share with others things that they find interesting, even though it may be somewhat unique and obscure.  And, I am hoping that after today, Mr. Titanic will find something new that sparks his imagination and we can enthusiastically embark on another voyage into history that we might otherwise never take.

 Bon Voyage!

 

The Babysitter

Posted on: April 11th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 22 Comments

 

Ethan and Big Un, Summer 2011 

Every ranch family has probably had one at some time. They are kind, calm, tender and loving, reliable, gentle, unfettered, and usually become a beloved family member in short order. No, I’m not talking about nannies, aum pairs, or even the girl next door;  I’m talking about a horse. In particular, the horse you trust with your most precious valuables, your children.

We have had several over the years but our current “Babysitter” is a big bay gelding named “Big Un”. He came to us 8 years ago as a kind but older reliable ranch gelding who was in his “last years”. He was 26 at the time, stood over 15.2 hands and was in excellent health but hadn’t been used much in the past few years. Our friends from the next county over had owned him since he was 2 and he had raised all their boys. Now the boys were grown and gone, and Big Un was just out in the pasture. They knew we were looking for a horse that our 4 year old could learn on and suggested we try him out.

Being the over-protective mother that I am, I warned R.W. about the value of free horses… I knew from experience that more often than not you would get what you paid for as the saying goes.

But Big Un was different, he was still in great shape and carried little Calvin Danner around.  He was also the ride of choice for most of our various vistors here to the ranch for a number of years. You could still go rope a steer or mad momma cow on him but he was kind and gentle enough that he quickly earned our trust with the boys.

Big Un and one of his "babies"We found out early on that Big Un loves babies. For the past eight years Big Un runs with the broodmares in the spring and by the time the babies are ready to wean they are spending more time hanging out with “Uncle Big Un” than with their mothers. When the mothers are pulled out of the pasture in the fall Big Un is there to keep the little ones company until they are big enough to run with the young riding horses, and their mommas have new babies for Big Un to play with. 

Calvin Danner with Big Un, Colfax County Fair 2006

Calvin Danner gradually went from being led on Big Un to riding him by himself here on the ranch, then he began competing in local kid rodeos and playdays on him until he finally out-grew him and passed him on to our youngest, Ethan.

Big Un is about to turn 35 this spring, which is quite a feat for a horse. You would never know it looking at him under saddle. But this winter he really started to show his age and honestly, although he is healthy, I’m worried.

Ethan has never known a day without Big Un around. His first rides as a wee baby were double on Big Un out in our pastures sitting in Mom’s lap. Four summers ago while in transition between both boys Danner would ride and at the end of the day Ethan would be led around in his big brother’s saddle, dressed in his baby chaps, his little boots and of course his cowboy hat. The first thing you noticed were his little fat legs sticking straight out to the sides as he shook the reins with all his might crying “ye-haw” in hopes of speeding his mount up. But of course ol Big Un wouldn’t break out of his walk for he knew Ethan wasn’t ready.

Two summers ago we could turn the two of them loose in the arena at the end of the day and the same sceene would play out until Big Un got tired of walking in circles and would just stop in the middle of the arena and no amount of cajoling on Ethan’s part would make him move.

Ethan encouraging big Un to move faster

This past summer Ethan had graduated from being ponied (or led) by Dad on our adventures to riding Big Un solo. His legs had grown enough to reach the stirrups of the kid saddle his brother had grown out of, and if kicking didn’t do the trick to motivate Big Un, Ethan quickly learned how to take the tail of his rope and give him a “swat” on the butt which would elicit the desired response for more speed. Of course Big Un always seemed to know just how fast his little cowboy could handle and I swear more than once I saw him trot right back underneath his rider just as I was sure he was about to bounce out of the saddle to one side.

Making the first barrel at the Mverick Rodeo in July 2011

It’s rare to have a horse live to 35 years old, it’s even rarer to have one in good enough condition that he can be ridden, even by a child, but this week we saddled him up once again. We are always watching for the day he starts to stumble, the day his weight drops off, the day he doesn’t lift his head and come trotting in when we show up at the barn. I know that day may come, or we may find him in the pasture in his final peace some morning. Life for Big Un has been good so for now we are enjoying every day we have with this member of the Hampton family and we will forever be grateful to our dear friends the Clays for giving us one of the most precious gifts we have ever recieved.

Because of Big Un our children (and now grandchildren) love animals, they trust horses, they trust themselves on and around horses, they know love, gentleness, kindness, respect and responsibility. These are gifts that not every pet can give, not every horse can provide, but a good babysitter is worth his or her weight in gold. 

We have a lot of good horses but  Big Un is by far the most valuable horse on our ranch.

Big Un with the boys

Were you raised by a “babysitter” or have one on your ranch? What are your fondest memories of riding as a small child?

We love to hear about the horses that have shaped you, so please share your stories too!

Name That Colt!

Posted on: June 7th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 80 Comments

Well, friends, I’m here today to ask for some help: our newest Clearview Ranch baby needs a name!

That’s right. Lisa, the boys and I can’t seem to agree on any name that fits this little fella. So we’re gonna leave it up to you.

Take a look at the video here and give us your idea for a name for this new colt.

Leave your suggested name for the colt in the “Comments” section below before midnight on Saturday, June 12 MT.

We’ll gather all the names folks have submitted via this blog, on Facebook, and through Twitter. Lisa, Danner, Ethan and I will pick the three suggested names the family likes the best. These three names will become the official “finalists” of our name search.

Next week, all my fans can vote for whichever of the three names they like the most. The name receiving the greatest number of votes is the one we’ll name the colt.

It’s gonna be interesting to see what we all come up with in this little “name game,” so join in and let’s have us some fun!!

P.S. The colt’s parents’ names are Ms. Molly Freckles, and Sport N Bet, a Bet Your Blue Boons stud. We like CV A Solid Bet or CV Bet on Me for AQHA, but that barn name has escaped us!

** It is with great sadness that we unexpectedly lost our colt Chaco this past February 2012.  He had turned into a really neat colt with a fantastic attitude and willingness to be handled.   We want to thank everyone who helped to name him and we were honored to be able to share his antics on youtube.com and here at the ranch with so many who also fell in love with him.  

22 Years and 5 Days: A Life Well Lived

Posted on: June 4th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 9 Comments

Last Monday, Memorial Day, Lisa inspired me to do something different, something special that would teach our boys and remind us adults about the real meaning of this day.  And so, about sundown, we found ourselves at a little mountain cemetery almost hidden in the shadows of the pines, sagebrush and yucca plants.

We were there to visit the final resting place of Lance Corporal Chad Hildebrandt U.S.M.C. As Lisa, the boys and I laid flowers on his grave, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of a life well lived. Lisa and I talked about how Chad’s sacrifice in Operation Iraqi Freedom has blessed and inspired so many and continues to do so even today. It would seem that laying down one’s life to help buy freedom for a stranger on foreign soil would be enough, but it doesn’t stop there.

Lance Corporal Chad Hildebrandt U.S.M.C.

My song, For the Freedom, was partially inspired by this man. I know my own son’s choosing to join the Marine Corps was influenced by Chad’s service. This life that lasted only 22 years and 5 days has birthed friendships and bonds that will last forever. A career in teaching rose up and grew from a mother‘s love and grief. Now countless children reap the benefits of this woman’s love and nurturing, not the least of whom is my 3-year-old son, Ethan. And on and on it goes.

Many of us could make it to the century mark and not make such a positive impact and leave so rich a legacy.
 
And so a life well lived, no matter how short, is still a life well lived. Especially when that life ends while performing one’s earthly calling, passion and duty. I know when this man met his maker, he was greeted by the words, “ Welcome home, warrior. Well done. Well done!”
 
Is there any greater achievement than this? I think not!