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Posts Tagged ‘kids’

Our Song…

Posted on: February 14th, 2013 by R.W. Hampton 3 Comments

So yesterday I asked the folks on Facebook if they had a special song with their “sweetheart” and of course to share what it was.

I love to read the answers and why people love a song. A lot of it has to do with timing…   If you fell in love in the 60’s your speical song is more likely to be from Sonny & Cher than from George Strait.  There is also the matter of what you danced to when dating or what made your heart sing when you were married.  Timing is everything.

Our song has a lot to do with timing too.  And, mind you, not all timing is good timing….

You see, Lisa and I had been friends for several years but when the magic happened things moved along pretty quick. We were both single parents doing the second-time around romance long-distance so if truth be told we really came to a point where we couldn’t afford to keep dating and paying all our money to phone bills and airline companies.

Yes, fall was in the air and Lisa was going to meet me and my boys in Fort Worth that October where I was playing Red Steagall’s Cowboy Gathering.  I mustered up all of my confidence as well as what little was left of my pocketbook and headed for the nearest mall with a jewelry store the week before the Gathering.

Lisa flew down to Fort Worth where my trusty side-kick, my brother Jeff, picked her up from the airport and brought her to the Stockyards.  She looked as pretty as ever, so with the ring in my pocket we spent the day with my family enjoying the event,  and me nervously waiting for the right moment to pull her aside and pop the question.

After dinner we all walked back to the big tent where Red and his Bunkhouse Boys were puttin on quite a dance.  “Ahhh, here is the place.” I thought.  We watched the dancers for a while then I turned to my friend JB Allen & his wife and asked if they would keep an eye on the boys for a moment while we danced.  Well, JB knew something was up so of course he wanted to stick around for the spectatin’.

Ammassing all my will power I ushered Lisa onto the dance floor and we swirled around the tent until I finally gathered enough courage to stop in a corner, and on one knee, I asked my very surprised sweetheart what she was doing for the rest of her life.  Without missing a beat she gave the answer that every nervous man hopes to hear, “Following some ol’ cowboy around!”. It was then I slipped the ring on her finger and said “Welcome to Texas!”

And…., then, as the song ended and we were making our way back to JB, Margaret, and the boys, Lisa paused and said the words I will never forget….  “Oh, I want to remember this moment forever Sweetie… What song were they just playing?”

It was at that moment that “our song” was created.  And it just so happened that Red and the Boys, which happened to magically include all the living Texas Playboys that night, were playing an old blues standard… “Misery” sung by none other than the great vocalist Leon Rausch.

Timing….. it is everything.  I can assure you, we laugh about it now, but we will never forget it!

Happy Valentines everyone. From our house to yours, we wish you a wonderful day wherever you are.

From the Heart

Posted on: May 9th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 2 Comments
My Latest Treasure
 
Hi!  It’s me, Lisa again…  Happy Mother’s Day!
 
I wanted to show you my newest treasure so I grabbed a quick picture of it before we left yesterday.  By the way, I still don’t know what it’s for.
 
              “If you are a parent you will understand this; it doesn’t matter what the gift is, it’s usefulness, beauty or wether you even ever wanted one… if your child picks it out for you and pays for it with their own earnings or makes it themselves, then gives it to you from their heart- it might as well be made of gold.  There is not much better this side of heaven.”
 
R.W. shared this the other day on his Facebook wall and I was so impressed with the comments left by those who took the time to read it and share their own stories.
 
Yes, when it comes to our kids’ gifts, it looks like we are all hoarders. 
 
But really, how can you throw out that necklace made of colored macarooni noodles your son or daughter made you back in pre-school and so proudly presented it to you to wear for church on Mother’s Day?
 
I find my children’s gifts don’t just melt my heart but they attach themselves to my soul.  Yes, there is a special place in my good China cabinet reserved for a mint green and white ceramic teapot that my then 9 year old step-son Colter bought me with his own $5.00 right after I married R.W..  It is so much more than just a teapot. To me it showed that I had been welcomed into his heart. 
 
Last week I recieved the beautiful handmade wooden rolling pin with one side flattened out and slits cut into the base in the picture above.  I have absolutely no idea what to do with it or what the maker intended it for, but it doesn’t matter.  My five-year old picked it out for me when he could have used his “funds” at the AWANA’s store to pick something out for himself.  The fact is, I’m not sure where I will display my new rolling pin, but I know it will be a place of honor.  He was so excited to give it to me and you could see the love in his little face as he hoped his gift would please me, that I will cherish it as if he gave me a little chunk of his very own heart – because that is really what that mysterious rolling pin is.
 
Here’s hoping your Mother’s Day is wonderful and that you aquire new “treasures” to hold dear.
 
What wonderful “gifts” do you cherish regardless of their use or appearance? 

Jiggity Jig

Posted on: May 8th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 4 Comments

 

Wyoming 2012

Home again, home again, jiggity jig…

Whoever wrote that certainly wasn’t returning from almost THREE full months on the road with two kids.  It was more like “Home again, home again, collapse at the door…”

Yes, three (3) months.  What started as a two year commitment to travel with the kids and homeschool them has, over the past three months, turned into a true once-in-a lifetime adventure we never could have imagined.  I can say in all honesty that given the opportunity, I would do it all over again.  But, if you had showed me last fall a map and calendar of what 2012 was shaping up into, I think I probably would have chickened out. 

Maybe that’s why God doesn’t lay out everything He has in store for us all at once.  Consider all the things we would miss in life when the mountain in front of us looks too high to climb.

Well, I guess that brings me back here, home after almost three full months traveling in an SUV on the road with two very active and energetic young boys.  And where is here?  Well, it’s a state of exhaustion, amazement, enlightenment, and sheer awe at all the truly wonderful things and people we met and visited along the way. 

 Elko 2012

We began the adventure at the end of January with a trip back to the annual National Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival in Elko, Nevada.  Neither of these boys had been to Elko and I hadn’t been back with R.W. in years.  The best thing about Elko and its legendary gathering – it never changes.  It is pure “cowboy” in so many ways and yet it constantly seeks to show how our culture is so connected to similar cultures and people from around the world who are so very different but have much in common.  The artistry displayed, heard and shared at Elko is like nowhere else; a venerable feast for the cowboy (or cowgirl) spirit.  Buckaroos, cowpunchers, vaqueros, ranchers, friends, fans, family – they all gather for one week to experience the expression of that spirit and to feed their own souls with music, poetry, stories, art, culture, and friends.

Two days up to Elko through Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada, a four day stay for the gathering, then another two days back home.  The following week at home flew by with doctor appointments, business meetings, church meetings, a Boy Scout banquet that required a cake and table center-piece, car tune up and oil change, surgery on a sick horse, and setting up everything for the five-week trip we were about to embark upon. Not to mention the usual stuff that goes on like home-school, music business, ranch chores, and dealing with a winter storm.

Tennessee 2012

Then it was off to the East! With the excitement of a new adventure we loaded up and pointed the SUV towards Texas. And then Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee where we started out the musical portion of the trip in Nashville with R.W. filming a couple of music videos right down on Music Row.  The next day R.W. was invited to a singer-songwriter night at Douglas Cafe and connecting with both new friends (including the up-and-coming new group The Henningsens (who have written several top hits for The Band Perry), and old friends (like cowboy partner Dave C. who manages Charlie Daniels, and fellow Savannah Music artist, Michelle Wright).  No matter what industry you are in, it is always great re-connecting with the folks you hope to work with in the future. 

From Nashville it was off to Pigeon Forge for a four day festival called Saddle Up (one of our personal favorites!), then down to Chattanooga, farther south to Georgia, back up to Chattanooga, over to South Carolina, up to North Carolina, and then Virginia for over a week at the Williamsburg Film Festival. From there we headed back West through West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma… You get the picture.

Inside Raccoon Mtn, TN 2012

TN. Racoon Mtn.2012

Along the way we went caving in Chattanooga, had a blast at Rock City, visited Wade Hampton III’s homes in Columbia, SC.

Pillars remain at WadeHamptonIIIs.2012

We toured historic Jamestown and Williamsburg, where we all spent some time in the stocks.  The boys and I spent an afternoon at the beach on the Atlantic side of America and even got to watch the regal USS Enterprise ship out on her final deployment before she is decommissioned.

In the Stocks in Williamsburg.2012

Somewhere along the way we toured the Great Smoky Mountains, Monticello, Greenbrier Resort, Churchill Downs and the majestic Gateway Arch in St Louis, Mo among other things.

Monticello.Spring2012.photo by Denver Crowder

The Boys on the steps of Monticello

Jefferson's Gardens.2012

You might think that after those five weeks a little rest was in order, but no, thankfully R.W. had another job waiting for him in Texas the next weekend to help pay for all our fun!  So after five days of “rest” and unpacking, repacking, ranch repairs, another car tune-up, and several kids’ activities it was time to load up and head back to Northeast Texas for another five days on the road.  (Thankfully for me, this was an “all male event” so I was able to stay home and at least get the laundry caught up!)

Home again, home again, jiggity jig… for another five day stretch of rest, repairs, and repacking then off to West Texas to our daughter’s hometown to celebrate  Easter with her, her husband, their two boys, and a bunch of his side of the family.  Not a bad little trip at all but we were starting to feel the miles each time we clicked those seatbelts on.

Driving... some more

After a big four day rest it was off again! Destination: Kansas… in tornado season no less.  As the weather reports started warning of one of the biggest storm systems in current history R.W. and one of the boys loaded back up for what our son was convinced was going to be a “really exciting” trip to see a tornado.  Fortunately for me, as I was a nervous wreck waiting at home, the excitement didn’t turn out like he had hoped and the event which was to be held outdoors at a local riding arena was moved to a theater downtown that also doubled as a storm-shelter.  Unfortunately, for the good folks putting on the event, the attraction of holding the concert in a location that doubled as a storm shelter still wasn’t enough to convince a good portion of those who had planned on attending to leave their homes and brave the unknown forecasted weather.

With the excitement behind them the boys returned home with a little less jiggity jig for a whopping two day rest.  With over twenty states covered in less than 2 1/2 months it was time to complete the circle of the Central United States by heading west again, this time to Santa Clarita, California just north of Los Angles.

As we once again loaded suitcases, CDs, a plastic crate of our school books & lesson plans, R.W.’s guitar, hats, boots, a few toys, a box of office work I hoped to finish, and assorted drinks, snacks and cell phones I had to laugh at how we had managed to perfect our use of space. Even our five year old knew the drill by heart and loaded without complaint.  (Of course it didn’t hurt that there were a few days set aside for family fun at Disneyland ahead either!)

Goofy and Ethan being... goofyThe next 13 days included travel days across New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California; a quick visit to one of our sons who is stationed at the Twenty-Nine Palms Marine Base; several days at the annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Music Festival, two days in the recording studio working on some new songs, a visit to Disneyland with four generations of our family present, an afternoon visiting the Grand Canyon, and the drive back across Arizona and New Mexico. 

 The Grand Canyon.2012

Yes, by the time we got back late last Monday night our jiggity jig was completely gone.  But can you imagine missing all or any of that?  What an adventure! What a great experience for our boys!  What memories we have made!  What fantastic things they have learned and people they have met!

So, another week at home and although it was full of unpacking, repacking, shipping orders, homeschool, cleaning house, cleaning up the yard, and end of the school year activities we seem to have gotten our jiggity jig back so we head out again for Texas this afternoon.  Each time it’s been a little harder to load up and drive off, but we won’t ever have the chance to make those miles and memories again, so why not? 

Our travel times with our youngest boys won’t last forever so we cherish these trips plus it’s even more fun having you along for the ride. And, essentially we owe it all to you, because without you and your support we wouldn’t have the chance to share this wonderful country without children this way. Without you, R.W. would just be a great voice singing around the campfire in some remote cow-camp.  I can’t imagine our life without you, so I’m so glad you have not only joined us on our adventure – but you are the whole reason for it!

Thanks!  The Hamptons, Lisa, R.W., and of course, “the boys”

Week 33

Posted on: May 6th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 6 Comments

So how do you travel to 22 states in 3 months with your kids and still stay on top of the school work, house work, ranch work and business work you ask? 

Ethan working on his history

 

Well, you don’t. 

You see, there really is no way to do it all. Something has to give.  In my case, several somethings.

Yes, we did the travel.  Yes, we learned a ton.  Yes, we met interesting people and saw our nation’s landmarks.  Yes, we combined our business with fun.  Yes, we are behind in everything else.

Ahhh, there it is. I’ve admitted it.  I am not super mom. 

You see, week 33 in our school year just ended and my 5th grader is somewhere between week 27 and 32 on his lessons depending on the subject, and the kindergartener, well, he hasn’t fared as well – we are still slogging through week 26 with the hopes that we will finish it today and then cram a shortened version of weeks 27 and 28’s lessons into these next few days as we hit the road again.  Am I worried? No, not really.  He can read over 100 words, adds numbers like 63 plus 5, has almost finished his first handwriting book and is soaking up facts about history, science, and geography from his older brother and our travels so I think he will be just fine.

Oh, but my house?  The dining room resembles a holiday shop in the middle of a “Going Out of Business Sale”  more than a place to eat meals.  The decorations are stacked up on the table and the buffet from various holidays all the way back to Christmas.  It’s a jumble of Snowmen, Valentine’s Hearts, and Easter Rabbits all collecting dust and waiting for their turn to make the annual trip to the attic.

Holiday Clutter

My yard is in various stages of chaos; dead, almost dead, terribly in need of pruning, in full bloom, desperately in need of water, and “Wow! Where did all those weeds come from?”.  And I have to wonder every time I go outside, “Do I start with the weeds, the water or the winter dead stuff?” 

Ranch work, well, let’s just say that it’s a really good thing R.W. does most of this or it would be in the same fix as my yard.  But I still have a few mares that need to be bred, a filly that needs handling and spring is quickly getting away from me.  The desire to go ride with the kids and R.W. is certainly there, but do I really have the time?

Business; well there are CDs to ship, bills to pay, invoices to create and send out, bookwork to balance, blogs to write, new projects to work on and papers to file… the list never ends, even without the travel.  Eventually it will all get done, unfortunately not as quickly as I would like.

So how will I ever get caught up?  I probably won’t.  I will work at what I can, I will stay up late and get up early, I will try to put my family first and my house last and somewhere in between I will attempt to get to all of the rest.  We may have to do some of our school lessons over the summer or even try a “year-around” system, especially if we decide to homeschool again next year.  I am probably going to have to look for help with the office work or with my yard, or I may have to just skip some of it altogether.

But, what I HOPE I won’t do is drive myself crazy with guilt about not being super-mom and worrying about what I haven’t finished, because in reality we have done a lot and the weeds will grow and the dust will gather whether I’m here or out on the road with my family.

So I am curious, how do you fight the “super-mom” guilt trip?  Do you have any secrets about how to “get it all done” without losing your mind?

 

Two plus Two equals Twenty-Three

Posted on: May 4th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 1 Comment

After reading R.W.’s last post about Colter’s wedding last spring I ran across a photo from the holidays and it made me think about math.  Simple math. You know, the kind you learn in 6th grade. 

Take two adults, they get married and they (sometimes) have children who then meet other children from other marriages and they get married and they have children, who get married and have more children….

Okay, sometimes it’s not so simple.  And sometimes we get things out of God’s order. But you understand the basic principle, right?

R.W. with his younger borther Jeff, sister Martha and parents a really, really long time ago.

You see, these two people met and married and produced R.W., his younger brother and his little sister.

 And my parents met and married and produced me (Lisa) and my little brother.

Teddy & Lisa - a really long time ago

Then back in 1998 (we will leave out the boring details…) R.W. and I married and we combined our two families.

So here’s where you don’t want to get lost… My two (parents) plus R.W.’s two (parents) now equal twenty-three….

That’s four (4) parents, five(5) kids, plus three(3) additional kid-spouses, plus eight(8) grandkids, and now three (3) great-grandkids…

Isn’t love great. 

Isn’t math fun when you learn to add like this? 

The Hamptons, not too long ago

 

2011 was a big year for the Hamptons, we added 3 new members with another on the way.  This is the most current photo of our part of the equation. It was way too hard to get all the other parties togther for the full effect, but we sure do like this bunch and really loved having them all here in New Mexico for the Christmas holidays! 

So here’s to families and how they grow and expand.  We hope ours just keeps getting bigger and we consider ourselves so blessed to have so many of our members still with us.   

 How about your math?  I bet some of your two plus two’s equal a lot more than our twenty-three!  Let us know about your families & how you spend time together.

 

 

On the Road Again…

Posted on: April 13th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 2 Comments

The Gig Rig

Well it’s time to roll again and this weekend I’m off to NE Kansas.  Leaving is always a process and the process generally starts with the cleaning of the car.  So join me, if you will, as I go to work on my little Sonata, better known as “The Gig Rig”.  This could be interesting because with the family tagging along lately we haven’t driven this member of our “fleet” for quite some time.

Let’s start by pulling the floor mats out and checking under the seats.  

Ah yes, here’s a Happy Meal toy, Skittles, Gob Stoppers, remnants of Pork Rinds, two broken crayons, a half-of-a roll of toilet paper, a loose (and very scratched up) “Corb Lund ” CD, two melted Junior Mints and an un-chewed piece of gum still in its wrapper tucked between the seat and the console.

What have we here? I recognize those little pellets! Looks like Mr. Mouse has been feasting here since our last trip!

The back seat is littered with kids’ drawings, a dirty sock (looks like it might fit our 5 year old), and several sheets of paper covered in a 5th grader’s handwriting and wadded up as if the frustrations of the math problems they held were taken out on them. There’s a church bulletin, three guitar pics, assorted change that adds up to $.35, a funeral service program, a CD case full of music and a couple of 22 bullets. 

Here’s my missing reading glasses on the dash along with the directions to the last gig this rig went to, and under that is an envelope stuffed full of gasoline, McDonald’s, Cracker Barrel and hotel receipts that I’m betting Lisa has been looking for.

I’m almost afraid to open the trunk, but it’s not too bad. An old barn coat, a pair of winter gloves, a pair of kid’s cowboy boots that no longer fit the boy they belonged to, and a folding stadium chair seat bearing a “Baylor Bears” logo which I didn’t even know we owned.

So my trash sack is full and there is a new stack of stuff on the kitchen counter, but I have a place to sit and Calvin can stretch his legs out in the passenger seat next to me as we head to Kansas.  Funny thing is, by the time our circle is through Sunday night, you’ll never know I had ever cleaned the car at all!

What is the strangest thing you’ve found cleaning out your car?

RW's gig rig getting ready to hit the road again

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!

Halloween on Highway 21

Posted on: November 2nd, 2011 by R.W. Hampton 1 Comment
Scary!! Isn't he?......

Scary!! Isn't he?......

Here in America there is a phenomenon that happens every October 31st .

In cities and towns across the country we encourage our little ones (and even sometimes ourselves) to dress up as anything our hearts desire and go from house to house asking for goodies.  I have been told that it is common in some neighborhoods for folks to go through a dozen bags of candy in a few hours after the sun goes down. 

Having never lived in town our boys had to travel to my wife’s hometown of Bend, Oregon a few years ago to experience anything remotely close to this kind of an occurrence. 

We loaded up with her brother’s family and their two boys and drove to a subdivision known for its wealth of “good goodies”.  Upon arrival I was astounded to see the roads filled with creatures large and small, a string of headlights of dads driving slowly along and decorations filling the yards that ranged from a full haunted house theme, blow up witches and werewolves to a collection of straw bales, spider webs and carved pumpkins. 

Every house seemed decked out in its finest with lights ablaze and someone at the door with a huge bowl of store-bought treats. 

We spent about 90 minutes and each child brought home a pillow case full of candy, pencils, plastic bats, Dracula teeth and more…. most of which didn’t make it on the flight home the next day to their dismay.  (Thank God for airline weight restrictions this one time!)

Here in rural America we tend to always do things just a little different. 

Over the past 15 years we have lived here in Miami, New Mexico the amount of children of trick-or-treating age has fluctuated from as many as 15 down to four or five. 

 

Our neighbor, Dillon, before his became an astronaut

This is our neighbor, Dillon, before he became an astronaut.

This year we had a pretty good bunch: I think the grand total ended up at eight or nine. 

Since two of the families were new to the area we decided to invite them along with us… to show them the way… you know… break em in slowly to this new style of gathering goodies.

We all met with wee ones in tow at our house to try & convince the little ones to eat something nutritious prior to the chocolate fest  on which we were about to embark. 

 We did have a small hitch in the evening at the last minute when our eleven year old was invited to take part as a spook in the Philmont Scout Ranch’s Haunted House – 20 miles in the opposite direction, requiring Dad to run him into town to meet up with his “crew” and, of course, go pick him back up again later. 

No sweat, just another 80 miles up and down Highway 21 …

Our little hillbilly...
Our own Hillbilly…. Brush your teeth son!

 

As soon as the sun started to sink down, the battle began. How fast can three mother’s clean hands and faces, stuff their five children into costumes, and load them into the back of the SUV and down the driveway?    

About five minutes flat!

Ready to hit the road...
Ready to hit the road….

With our pirate, a witch, an astronaut, baby skunk and hillbilly dressed and ready, it was off to Highway 21 for some rural trick or treating.

Yes, one SUV, three sets of parents, four little ones, two hours, 12 homes, 20 miles and no traffic later, we returned with bags loaded up with candy, faces and hands smudged with melted chocolate and memories that will last a lifetime.

the Little Stinker
The Little Stinker

You see, out here one never knows who – or if anyone – will show up at your door on Halloween.

Sometimes you might get one car with two or three kids; some years three cars with 10 to 12 kids total; some years there is no one. 

So folks around here usually make up a bowl of goodies, turn on the porch light, tie the dogs up, then go watch TV. Sometimes they forget about Halloween altogether. 

But the fun out here isn’t the candy, it’s in the visiting. 

You see, out here, more often than not we ended up, not on the front porch, but standing around their kitchens.

These neighbors of ours are just as busy as we are and often months go by without us seeing each other. So, as the kiddos loaded up on candy and home-baked sweets right out of the ovens, those of us over the age of 25 caught up on what was going on in each other’s lives, swapped stories of recent horse-wrecks and talked about the weather. 

Of the people we visited, three didn’t even know it was Halloween. 

Only two houses had decorations on their porches, one single cowboy answered the door in his boxer shorts, but went and found full-sized candy bars for the kids (they were probably for his lunches), at least three places offered the men a beer as we stood around visitin’ and everyone smiled, welcomed us and found something for the kiddos.

The neighborhood witch
One cute little witch!!

Now, those of you who live in the city may think you have it made when it comes to life, especially on days like Halloween where you can pick out your nice, flat, full of candy subdivision.

But now that I’ve tried it both ways, I think I’ll stick to my Highway 21 Halloween. 

There are just some things that make being in the country such a great place to live and, of course, a great place to raise our kids.