If you know me, even a smidgen, you know I'm a huge fan of U2 and that their lead singer is due my gratitude for inspiring me to see what I could offer the world as a writer. Bono is not just a great songwriter. He's a great writer. Period. While recovering from a very bad bicycling accident, he wrote an incredible A to Z list about 2014. Google it. Read it. It's truly great. Humble. Honest. Sincere.
It sparked an idea. So I'm beginning a new writing endeavor. I'm launching myself into the unknown. Which is to say I have not thought this out. It may be about 2014. Or about 2015. It may just be about me...not like that though, but rather the intricate parts that make me...me - for better, for worse.
Before embarking on my A to Z list I did what I don't always do. Planning. Sometimes I just like to sit and see what happens. Other times, I do a lot of research. It's not my favorite thing to do, but it's almost like a guilty pleasure. I feel like I should be at some support meeting. "Yes, Hi, everyone. My name is Ryan and I like (clearing of throat)... to do (pause) research." The collective gasp would be so embarrassing I would never return. Research however, can be kind of like finally sitting down with a great idea only to...hold on I'll be right back...
...okay, sorry about that.
Anyway, research can also be quite educational. Especially when history is involved. My grandpa always shared "history lessons" of growing up and how things have changed. I probably didn't appreciate it as much then as I do now. It's one of things I love most about him and something I always remember. It's probably one of the reasons I loved researching about the second World War for my novel, Grace Leads Home, where one of the characters, Riley, is in the Navy during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The character isn't my grandpa, but it definitely dedicated to him.
And sometimes you sit down to see what comes out and you realize you're being verbose at the risk of losing your audience. My whole point was that I planned out my A to Z list by writing anything pertaining to my life about each letter of the alphabet. Like most letters, E had a few. So far I have been picking one or two to write about and merely mentioning the others. With respect to wanting to be diverse with my writing, I decided to write short snippets about each of my Es. The length of these snippets (the ones about people in particular) are of no reflection of how I measure the amount of respect I have for them.
E for Evan
If you've been keeping up with my list, you already know how I feel about my brothers. James Evan included. We were, like Jason and I, similar to Tom and Jerry. Sometimes we got along and other times...well, let's just say there was some bodily harm, tears and shouting. I always like the episodes where Tom and Jerry were getting along and needless to say I enjoyed the moments when Evan and I got along. Right now I'm smiling because I am now realizing how quickly the tides changed. One minute we're trading baseball cards and the next we're crying and shouting (let me clarify...HE was the one crying) to my mom about... being unfair...or something. When we weren't trading cards or watching Disney movie classics like the B.R.A.T. patrol, we were making home movies. Anybody out there remember D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince? We made a home movie using their song, Nightmare on My Street. So fun!
Here's the link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-56CNh5S7GU
Here's the link to the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-56CNh5S7GU
Nowadays, he's more like a big brother than a younger one. (And that's not because I have more hair on my head than he does.) But that's just a small dosage of how amazing this man is. Like all of us, he went threw his "500 yards of foulness", but came out clean on the other side. I'm inspired by this man's dedication to God, his dedication to brotherhood, to the right path and his dedication to becoming the best and can be. For years he worried whether or not he would ever find the right woman to marry. For years he went through periods of just thinking that he'll be an uncle...and a great one at that. For years, I told him she's out there. And she was. She was out there waiting for him just like he was waiting for her. And I'll tell you what, he found an incredible woman. Was it worth the wait, Evan?
I already know the answer to that one. Love ya, Brother!
E for Ehren
Eleven years separate Ehren and I. I was pretty much a live-in nanny when he was younger. He and I spent a lot of time together. I still remember taking him for a walk down our our drive in his stroller and teaching him where heaven and God are. He doesn't need reminded of that anymore. Just like my other three brothers, he's dedicated to serving the Lord with a full, but humble heart.
Ehren amazes me too. He always has. When we were younger he'd always make up games when we were outside shooting basketball. Always with ideas up his sleeve, shooting around was hardly the same thing twice. His creativity came so easy to him. Then there was the indoor miniature golf-course made entirely of brick. Ehren's abilities were something to admire as well. If the world held a competition to find the one individual that could do anything he put his mind to better than anyone else, my vote, hands-down, would go to Ehren. Literally, whatever he puts his mind to he does it. He taught himself how to master the Rubix Cube! Whether the conquering the Cube or soccer, baseball etc., he was always great. Mediocre doesn't apply to this man. A quality that will help him be a wonderful husband and father some day.
Ehren was my "buddy". We called each other that for a very long time. I mean I changed his diapers for crying out loud. If that's not a bonding experience, I don't know what is! I used to take the Nerf Turbo football and launch out into the cal-de-sac where Ehren would be standing. Before tossing it I would shout out, "If you catch it, I'll take you to Kendig!" I can't specifically remember his catching percentage, but make or miss, we went to Kendig. A lot!
Love ya, Buddy!
Well, I'm not surprised I wrote more than I initially planned...especially considering the subject matter. I'll just (for real this time) just write snippets for the rest.
Elephants: I don't know when my love for these creatures started whether before or after my first figurine, but there's just something about them.
Eagles: Mike Quick was my first favorite Eagles player. I was too young to really understand football, but they all said he was fast and I always liked fast runners. Gang Green was ferocious. Cunningham and McNabb were awesomely entertaining. Westbrook, Duece, McCoy...amazing.
The Edge: I don't know a lick about guitar playing, but The Edge is the absolute best. He's an artist and that separates him from all the others. He literally breathes guitar and puts so much thought and time into the music of U2 and the results are magnificent.
Ernie Banks: He was before my time, but I knew his name as one of the greats. And I used to have one of his baseball cards. Dustin, would you know anything about that?
Education: Here's something that's going down the tubes...and quickly. Here's the problem...and I'll keep this short. You have government people that have never been in the classroom making decision for those that are in the classroom. You have school board members that don't know the first thing about being a teacher making decisions for the classroom. All of the problems that we have with our educational system that I don't have time to mention here stem from this.
Easter: Egg-painting in my grandma's kitchen before heading up on the hill for the egg-hunt. This is what I will always remember most about Easter. I'm so thankful that my girls and their cousins get to share the same experience we did so many years ago. It's not the same, it never is when you lose someone so essential to your family, but the spirit of her grace remains.
My grandma would cook a delicious meal that day....something I sorely miss. Before all of that we of course went to church like we always did dressed in what now seems the most ridiculous outfits. Truth be told. I liked those yellow...sorry...those BRIGHT yellow pants. (see below)
I'm pretty sure this was 1987.
This was our last Easter with Grandma. Picutred our her great-grandchildren.