Top Ranch Pen Posts 2015 #3

I graduated with honors from the school of hard knocks so felt well qualified to write this third most viewed post of 2015, Countrified Marriage Advice From the Ranch Pen. Thanks for reading it and if you think it’d do any good to some young knuckleheads like the two pictured below, feel free to pass it along.

*****

 

Young Gramps and Danni

Young Gramps and Danni

I read somewhere or other recently that if the man/woman you are thinking of as a husband/wife isn’t someone you feel is better than you, someone who makes you want to be better than you are, don’t marry that guy/gal. In other words, don’t marry beneath yourself. It was like getting hit in the head with a bag of bricks. “Eureka!” I thought. “That is excellent advice and since Gramps and I have been married thirty-four years this week, I believe I’ll hand out some of my own.”

As evidenced by the photo from ancient times (above) taken not all that long before our marriage, Gramps and I were very young when we started our lives together. Nobody can say, “Well, sure your marriage worked, Danni. Hello. Y’all were in love, super smart, rich, and beautiful. Me and the moron I married didn’t have those advantages.”

First of all, we were both still teenagers (Gramps, 19, Danni,16) when we made our vows to each other and God, and nobody has the experience or wisdom to weigh all the pros and cons and come up with a lifetime of happiness at that age even if they love each other. So, no. We weren’t super smart. We were real dumb.

As for rich, Gramps had his pickup, a job, and a twenty-foot-long camp trailer. I had two fat steer calves ready for butcher, a couple hundred bucks cash, and a bike.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and while we were dazzled by each other’s good looks and charm, neither of us ever ended up with modeling agents clamoring at our camp trailer door.

Balanced precariously against our slew of disadvantages, we had one real advantage–we were committed to Jesus Christ and our shared belief that God hears and holds us accountable to our vows, taking divorce off the table as an option.

Along with divine help, some common sense always comes in handy. Therefore, I have included a partial list of people to avoid including in your matrimonial plans.

Danni’s List of People to Avoid Marrying Because That Would Be Marrying Beneath You

  • Addicts of all kinds–you will always come second, or third, or fourth to their addiction.
  • Liars–Liars lie. They’ll lie to you, too.
  • Thieves–Thieves take stuff that ain’t theirs, including services rendered, such as the utilities and items bought on credit. If someone doesn’t pay their bills, that’s dishonest and you can’t respect somebody like that.
  • Cheats–If they will cheat someone else, they will sneak around and cheat on you, too.
  • Lazy bums–A bone lazy person who sits around playing video games all day and breathing up good air instead of tending to business will always be dead weight to you. And everyone else, too. You won’t ever be proud of them.
  • Self-centered morons–you will want to jab them with your fork every day of your life.
  • Shallow–If someone doesn’t care deeply enough about at least one thing that they would plant their feet and take a stand for it against popular opinion, they’ll leave you hung out to dry when you do.
  • Gorgeous on the outside, empty on the inside. Or even worse, rotten at the core–If you judge the book solely by its’ cover, you’re gonna get a rude shock a few years down the road.
  • Disrespectful of human life–Someone who doesn’t respect the dignity of human life from the womb to the grave is not going to spoon feed you and change your adult diapers if you cease to be useful to them.
  • Know-it-alls–Someone who already knows everything is tedious in the extreme and (unbeknownst to them) at a grave disadvantage since life is one, long learning curve. But they already knew that.
  • An abuser–If someone belittles you or hurts you physically before marriage? Yeah. That ain’t gonna get any better. Plus, you might have some kids to worry about after a while.
  • Goober-heads–An occasional small gooberishness is tolerable, but if the person drives you nuts and makes you want to bring a cast iron skillet down on his/her annoying head before marriage, they probably always will.
  • Humorless person–Someone who takes themselves too seriously and doesn’t think you’re funny, either? Avoid them. Sometimes the only thing that makes life bearable is the ability to laugh at yourself and each other.
  • Finally, and most importantly, don’t marry someone who won’t pray or go to church with you–Life is just plain hard and you’ll need all the help you can get.

So, there you have it, ol’ Danni’s incomplete list of people not to marry. I hope it’s helpful. As an ultra-conservative Christian woman, I believe marriage between men and women is–and has always been since God ordained it–the foundation of civilization. When a marriage crumbles it’s like a small universe exploding and nobody knows who all is going to get hurt by the fallout. If your marriage is struggling, please don’t give up on it. It’s important in the big picture and if you can save it, one day you’ll be ever so glad you did.

Danni and Gramps, Lo these many years later

Danni and Gramps, Lo these many years later

(Gramps, from the wife of your youth, thank you for thirty-four years of your life. I married above myself.)

*If you are interested in more things you should never do in choosing a mate, you might want to read my book Wailing Woman Creekthe second in the Love Is Not Enough Series.

*****

Until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy my all time favorite Christmas song O Come, O Come, Emmanuel as performed by The Piano Guys. Beautiful.

Countrified Marriage Advice From The Ranch Pen

Young Gramps and Danni

Young Gramps and Danni

I read somewhere or other recently that if the man/woman you are thinking of as a husband/wife isn’t someone you feel is better than you, someone who makes you want to be better than you are, don’t marry that guy/gal. In other words, don’t marry beneath yourself. It was like getting hit in the head with a bag of bricks. “Eureka!” I thought. “That is excellent advice and since Gramps and I have been married thirty-four years this week, I believe I’ll hand out some of my own.”

As evidenced by the photo from ancient times (above) taken not all that long before our marriage, Gramps and I were very young when we started our lives together. Nobody can say, “Well, sure your marriage worked, Danni. Hello. Y’all were in love, super smart, rich, and beautiful. Me and the moron I married didn’t have those advantages.”

First of all, we were both still teenagers (Gramps, 19, Danni,16) when we made our vows to each other and God, and nobody has the experience or wisdom to weigh all the pros and cons and come up with a lifetime of happiness at that age even if they love each other. So, no. We weren’t super smart. We were real dumb.

As for rich, Gramps had his pickup, a job, and a twenty-foot-long camp trailer. I had two fat steer calves ready for butcher, a couple hundred bucks cash, and a bike.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and while we were dazzled by each other’s good looks and charm, neither of us ever ended up with modeling agents clamoring at our camp trailer door.

Balanced precariously against our slew of disadvantages, we had one real advantage–we were committed to Jesus Christ and our shared belief that God hears and holds us accountable to our vows, taking divorce off the table as an option.

Along with divine help, some common sense always comes in handy. Therefore, I have included a partial list of people to avoid including in your matrimonial plans.

Danni’s List of People to Avoid Marrying Because That Would Be Marrying Beneath You

  • Addicts of all kinds–you will always come second, or third, or fourth to their addiction.
  • Liars–Liars lie. They’ll lie to you, too.
  • Thieves–Thieves take stuff that ain’t theirs, including services rendered, such as the utilities and items bought on credit. If someone doesn’t pay their bills, that’s dishonest and you can’t respect somebody like that.
  • Cheats–If they will cheat someone else, they will sneak around and cheat on you, too.
  • Lazy bums–A bone lazy person who sits around playing video games all day and breathing up good air instead of tending to business will always be dead weight to you. And everyone else, too. You won’t ever be proud of them.
  • Self-centered morons–you will want to jab them with your fork every day of your life.
  • Shallow–If someone doesn’t care deeply enough about at least one thing that they would plant their feet and take a stand for it against popular opinion, they’ll leave you hung out to dry when you do.
  • Gorgeous on the outside, empty on the inside. Or even worse, rotten at the core–If you judge the book solely by its’ cover, you’re gonna get a rude shock a few years down the road.
  • Disrespectful of human life–Someone who doesn’t respect the dignity of human life from the womb to the grave is not going to spoon feed you and change your adult diapers if you cease to be useful to them.
  • Know-it-alls–Someone who already knows everything is tedious in the extreme and (unbeknownst to them) at a grave disadvantage since life is one, long learning curve. But they already knew that.
  • An abuser–If someone belittles you or hurts you physically before marriage? Yeah. That ain’t gonna get any better. Plus, you might have some kids to worry about after a while.
  • Goober-heads–An occasional small gooberishness is tolerable, but if the person drives you nuts and makes you want to bring a cast iron skillet down on his/her annoying head before marriage, they probably always will.
  • Humorless person–Someone who takes themselves too seriously and doesn’t think you’re funny, either? Avoid them. Sometimes the only thing that makes life bearable is the ability to laugh at yourself and each other.
  • Finally, and most importantly, don’t marry someone who won’t pray or go to church with you–Life is just plain hard and you’ll need all the help you can get.

So, there you have it, ol’ Danni’s incomplete list of people not to marry. I hope it’s helpful. As an ultra-conservative Christian woman, I believe marriage between men and women is–and has always been since God ordained it–the foundation of civilization. When a marriage crumbles it’s like a small universe exploding and nobody knows who all is going to get hurt by the fallout. If your marriage is struggling, please don’t give up on it. It’s important in the big picture and if you can save it, one day you’ll be ever so glad you did.

 

Danni and Gramps, Lo these many years later

Danni and Gramps, Lo these many years later

(Gramps, from the wife of your youth, thank you for thirty-four years of your life. I married above myself.)

As always, thanks for reading and until next time, God bless all y’all–married or not–and enjoy Keith Whitley’s When You Say Nothing At All.  (It’s for you, Gramps, since I tend to nag if I say anything at all. Plus, it’s a good song from back in the day.)

*If you are interested in more things you should never do in choosing a mate, you might want to read my book Wailing Woman Creekthe second in the Love Is Not Enough Series.

 

You Ain’t My Mother At The Ranch Pen

 

Areyoumymother

 

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been participating in the Story A Day in May at storyaday.org. One day this past week the prompt was about memoirs and we were supposed to fictionalize a personal memory. (The idea being that fiction is much better than our boring lives.) I didn’t have time for that, so I wrote down my memories at six-years-old, meeting Gramps. (He wasn’t called Gramps, then, by the way.) I won’t bore everyone with that memory right now–except that I remember Gramps as a revolting, freckled young lad of nine who made me cry.

So, anyway. The prompt, along with Mother’s Day this past weekend, sparked a memory of another Mother’s Day which I will do my best to recount in a completely objective way.

For those who don’t know, Gramps and I embarked on the sea of marital bliss 33+ years ago at very young ages–he was nineteen, I was sixteen. We had barely hove off shore in our two person canoe when we realized that in about nine months, a baby in the form of a human, (which is what any normal person would think,) would be joining our clueless happy crew.

Danni: (upon discovery) Sweet! Just what I’ve always wanted, Gramps…your offspring.

Gramps: Er…I guess I’ll get another job. (But thinking: Gah! Are you kidding me? It will have two heads with an eye between them, skin like a crocodile, and cloven hooves. What else could’ve possibly happened between me and my wife, Princess Buttercup?)

Happily, he didn’t voice those thoughts for many years, thereby prolonging his lifespan.

IMG_0160

Princess Buttercup, with a stringer of mountain trout

 

Time rocked along. Our first Mother’s Day on the sea of marital bliss in our two person canoe–starting to ride low in the water on my end–approached. At sixteen, girls are still all about romantic gifts from their Prince–particularly if she has gotten as big as a small cow carrying Mr. Charming’s monster baby. Naturally, these were my thoughts: Hey, I’m going to be a mother! Sweet. I’ll get a present from m’dear Charming who must certainly have stars in his eyes about me bringing forth his young ‘un, and so forth.

Charming hid the stars in his eyes pretty well, however, paddling leisurely along as though Mother’s Day wasn’t looming on his horizon like Alcatraz Prison Island. I began to worry. Even though I had known Charming since age six, I stubbornly loyally ignored the fact that hints were lost on him and started laying down a thick carpet of them in the bottom of our vessel. (In time, after we had portaged our canoe around a few dried up mud puddles of marital bliss, I realized he picked up on my direct demands with a lot less fuss. But as I mentioned, I was young and dumb still hoping for romance.)

IMG_0161

Charming, with his stringer of little bitty fish

The fateful Mothers Day dawned in a stormy sky. No present.

Buttercup: (peeved, but still hoping)  “Today’s Mother’s Day.”

Charming: Oh, shoot. Did you get my mom something?

Buttercup: Yes, moron, but what about me?

Charming: You?

Buttercup: I’m going to be the mother of Charming Jr.

Charming: (looking puzzled) Yeah, but you ain’t my mother…

I think I burst into tears and made him very sorry-ish, or something.

Mother’s Day passed, somehow. The storm clouds rolled away. We said our prayers together and paddled onward, my end of the canoe taking on water now and then from my tears and the sea of reality washing onboard–possibly because of my weight gain.

A few months later, our first son was born–apparently as human as the next kid and a LOT cuter. Charming Sr. obtained extra jobs to keep Jr. in food, diapers, and shelter.  Sr. also bought a bigger boat with a super-duty patching kit for the next Mother’s Day. Just in case. The injustice of Buttercup’s overreaction continued to sting from time to time because, clearly, she was his soul mate and all that, but she STILL wasn’t his mother. Nevertheless, faced with the prospect of portaging that blasted canoe around other mud puddles, ever after, Charming did whatever floated her boat on Mother’s Day.

Who says memoirs aren’t as good as fiction?

(M’dear Gramps, just so you know, I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, there was that one little–No. Not a thing.)

Thanks so much for reading and until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy Kathy Mattea and Tim O’Brien doing Battle Hymn of Love.

Grave Digger Better Dig Two At The Ranch Pen

 

image via stock-clip.com

image via stock-clip.com

Gramps and I have been teamed up for thirty-three years this week. We got hitched when we were babes in our teens and even though we’re getting a little grey around the muzzles it’s still a good lash-up.

In our teens, our romance was a wild adventure pretty much all the time:

Danni: Oh, I love you, you wonderful hunk of burning love. (smooch, smooch)

Gramps: Yee Haw.

In year thirty-three, we’ve made a few adjustments:

Danni: (groaning with aches and pains, collapses into the old people bed operated by digital controls ) Night, Gramps. Love you.

Gramps: Huh?

Danni: Sleep good. Love you.

Gramps: Yeah, I did.

Danni: (stares into the dark trying to figure out which wire got crossed there) What?

Gramps: I did put the dog up. Remember…she peed on the carpet?

Danni: (mutters) Oh, my goodness he’s getting deaf as a post. (bellows into Gramps’ hairy ear) I said I love you, is what I said!

Gramps: Oh. Well, then. Yee Haw…

Danni and Gramps balanced for a selfie on the edge (literally) of the Royal Gorge, Colorado

(incidentally, a fly from the outhouse up the hill from us in that picture–the stinkiest known to man–had buzzed into my ear, giving me vertigo. No one needs vertigo while teetering on the edge of a one-thousand-foot drop. Or Gramps’ unhelpful commentary. Very hard to get a professional looking selfie in those conditions)

Until next time, God bless all y’all while Gramps hikes his best britches up under his armpits and I pluck my chin hair so we can head out to celebrate and live on the edge some more.

And to m’dear KG, I thank God every day for hitching me to you. You are a good man and I wouldn’t change a thing. I dedicate this song by The Band Perry, Better Dig Two, to you because, well…that’s just the way it is.

[youtube.com/watch?v=AJeg3EGZBjM]

*These artists don’t necessarily endorse the blog, I just like ’em.