Archive for April, 2010

A Spring to Remember

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Seth Peckham, NFA national extemp champion

The faithful followers of this blog (both of you) will have to indulge me a little as I share two wonderful experiences that have truly made this a memorable month.  The first event was the birth of our fifth grandchild.  Hannah Diane Peckham joined the family on April 1.  She is absolutely beautiful and the epitome of perfection that you only find in a newborn.  You would think the fifth time around wouldn’t be quite as exciting as the first, but each new baby is just as special as the previous ones, especially when you know the joy you will experience watching each one grow and develop into a unique individual.

With each new baby, I can’t help but let my mind imagine the future.  What will she look like?  Will she be artistic, athletic, or both?  Will she be introspective or outgoing, a princess or a tomboy?  Whatever path they take, we want to be there to love and support all the grandchildren.

The second event occurred April 19th at the National Forensics Association annual tournament in Athens, Ohio.  With the popularity of the CSI franchise on television, many people think forensics refers to the use of science or technology to solve crimes, but it also means the art or study of argumentation and formal debate.  The use of argumentation or debate has been the cornerstone of our marriage, so it’s not surprising that at least one of our children would excel at it.  Our youngest, Seth, has competed at the high school and college level for the last eight years in numerous events with extemporaneous speaking being his specialty.  Since that event requires a vast knowledge of current events, both domestic and international, he has spent countless hours reading current events articles, filing the information, and giving practice speeches.

All his hard work paid off at the NFA tournament when he won the national championship in extemporaneous speaking.  He also placed 4th in impromptu speaking, 7th in pentathlon, and was a quarter-finalist in persuasive speaking and after dinner speaking.

I was so fortunate to be there to share what was truly a remarkable experience.  There were hundreds of other students there who expended the same, or perhaps even more, effort who didn’t have their hard work affirmed with a first place trophy, so we were both keenly aware just how fortunate he was to achieve his dream.

Whether I’m holding the new baby or looking at pictures of Seth with his championship trophy, I try to savor those moments because we all know that babies grow up and championship trophies get stored away.  There will always be new achievements and events that fill our lives with joy and excitement, but as I walk down memory lane, the events of Spring 2010 will be ones that I will never forget.


Damsel in Distress

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Generally speaking, I’m a self-sufficient person.  I’m independent and a pretty good problem solver, and I have many friends who share those traits.  However, most women from time to time would like to be rescued by their knight in shining armor who would save them from the tower, slay the dragon, and make telemarketers stop calling at dinnertime.  Personally, I would be satisfied if mine would just answer his cell phone during a crisis…like when my fuel pump goes out and leaves me stranded on the highway 70 miles from home.

I was pretty sure what the problem was when my suburban coughed and lurched to a stop on a busy two-lane highway a couple of months ago.  Even though I was 70 miles from home, I was only 4 miles from a town big enough to have a mechanic and an auto parts store.  Given the remote areas of Kansas that I often drive through, that alone was extremely fortunate.  Two other advantages were the time of day (stores still open at 3:00 p.m) and the fact that the life-threateningly cold weather we’d been experiencing had taken a break that day so I probably didn’t need to worry about hypothermia while I waited for help.

Even after 36 years of figuring things out on my own, my first instinct in a crisis is to call John, so obviously he has helped me out at times, but the only precarious situations that stick in my memory are the ones where he has been less than chivalrous.  On this particular day, my call for help was answered by his voice mail.  AAARRRGGGHHH, my personal pet peeve.  Why are we paying for a cell phone if I can never get in touch with him!!!  As I said, I am a problem solver, so I called a co-worker’s husband who lived in the small town down the road and asked him for the name of the local auto repair shop.  Armed with that information, I looked up the number on the internet and gave them a call.  After describing the symptoms and sharing my diagnosis of the problem, the repairman said, “We MAY have time to come out there and tow you in before we close.”  What???  I said, “I certainly hope so because I’m not going anywhere if you don’t, and I would rather not spend the night in my vehicle.  Is there a manager I can talk to?”  The manager was on another line, but he called me back and confirmed that they would be out within the hour.

While I waited for the tow truck, Sir Galahad finally figured out he had a missed call and checked to see what I needed.  After describing the predicament he said, “Well, it sounds like you have everything under control, but let me know if you can’t get it fixed tonight because I can drive over to get you if I have to.”  I’m sure in his mind that was a sincere offer to help, but as I sat in the vehicle watching semi trucks whiz by my door at breakneck speeds, it seemed he stopped short of adding, “…unless you think you could hitchhike home because that would really save me a lot of time.”

Three hours and $750 later I was back on the road, and I have to admit that I felt pretty confident and self-sufficient solving the problem on my own.  It’s probably a good thing that he hasn’t coddled me over the years as I really do value my independence, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if he hadn’t established that expectation from the beginning of our relationship.  So I’m okay slaying my own dragons, and my hair certainly isn’t long enough for him to climb into the tower, but this damsel sure wouldn’t mind it if he kept his cell phone in his pocket and put us on the “no call” list.

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