Sunday, April 27, 2008


Saturday was SORSO’s (Son Of Ralph’s Significant Other) birthday. Below is a picture taken on the big day. Two things should be obvious.
First, SOR (Son of Ralph) is either down on his knee OR he is a midget. Secondly, they are both staring at her hand.

Yes, that’s right SOR and SORSO were engaged on Saturday! SOR called me before the big event and the conversation went something like this.

SOR: Well, I have talked to her brother and to her Dad and they like the idea. Do you want to try to talk me out of this?
ME: (My first thought was - now why would I try to talk you out of a good thing? But, I went with the more traditional answer.) I’ve quit trying to talk you into or out of anything.

We both laughed. SOR’s laugh was a little more nervous than mine.

Later that night I got a text message from SOR. It read, “Done deal we are engaged.”

So, that’s when all the anxiety kicked in. Plans had to be made – not my problem. Dates have to be set – not my problem. People have to notified – not my problem. Names have to be changed – that’s my problem.

Hear ye, Hear ye – as of today until it changes SORSO (Son of Ralph’s Significant Other) will be known as FON (Fiancée of Nathan). This decree will remain in affect until it changes - again.

Congratulations to both of you!

Sunday Funnies

(Check out Blogstock for updates)

A busload of politicians was driving down a country road, when suddenly the bus ran off the road and crashed into a farmer’s barn. The farmer went to investigate.

Soon he dug a hole and buried the politicians. He then called his Pastor to come out and say a few words over the grave.

The Pastor arrived and the farmer took him to the gravesite and explained how he had buried them. Finally, the Pastor asked, “They were ALL dead?”

The farmer said, "Well, some of them said they weren’t, but you know how those politicians lie."

Thursday, April 24, 2008


This is my graduation picture. Last night was graduation from my beginning swimming class.

The shirt is a graduation gift from SORSO (Son Of Ralph’s Significant Other) and SOR (Son Of Ralph). I told them at the pool I’m known as “Fish” – that might have been a slight exaggeration.

In the world of beginning swimming, I went from a tadpole to a guppy. I was hoping to skip the guppy phase and go straight to being a goldfish but . . . it was not to be. Certain body parts hinder my swimming ability. No, no. . . . it’s more like the knees, ankles, and feet. The biggest problem is the feet. I walk and stand with my feet pointed out – yeah, just like a duck. But hey, ducks like water. My teacher (all of 22 years old) told me I really need to work on strengthening my kick. In all fairness, he was a good teacher.

On a positive note, I’m the only one with a perfect attendance record. One of my classmates (the only other one that didn’t drop out) missed a class. He brought me a bottle of his homemade beer as a perfect attendance gift. He said his home brew is a lot like a traditional American beer only with a kick – there’s that word again.

Char dawned her graduation clothes, also a gift from SORSO and SOR, and the party began . . . you’ll just have to use your imagination here.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


The countdown to BlogStock has begun!

The BlogStock site has a few new posts. A lot more will be added between now and the big day. Be sure and check it out

Monday, April 14, 2008

Growing Up Ralph - Picking A Career

This wooded area is located less than a block from the house where I lived during my younger years. It’s a greenbelt in a Denver suburb. Beyond the trees is a creek. That greenbelt holds many memories. Most of them are good, some are not. That greenbelt might hold the key to how I picked forestry as a career.

One of the things I hear repeatedly is, “I wanted to go into forestry! What made you pick that as a career?” For years, I answered that question by saying I like to be outside. That’s the short answer but it appeased most people.

Recently we received the following letter. The minute the receptionist showed it to me I knew I wanted to answer it. I took out the names and location but the rest is word for word.

Dear Forest Service,

Last Friday, our six-year old son, was disciplined at his elementary school for writing on a tree in the schoolyard with a marker. As part of the consequence for this behavior, he decided with us that it would be a good for him to donate his allowance for this week to you. We all thought it would be a good idea to give a donation to people who help trees since he had hurt one.

Please accept his donation ($2) to aid in your work with the beautiful trees of Colorado.

Thank You
Below it was signed by the little guy along with a handwritten ‘Thank You’. I wrote back:

Thanks you for your donation to help keep Colorado’s trees beautiful. We will put it to good use.

As I read your letter, I was reminded of another elementary student. Years ago, he was playing with fireworks down by a creek where he lived. He shouldn’t have been playing with fireworks without his parents but he was. He caught a dead cottonwood tree on fire and the fire department had to come and put it out.

As part of his consequences, he had to spend a Saturday cleaning things at the fire department. He also had to donate his allowance, but he only got fifty cents.

I know this is a true story because I was the elementary student. You and I had to learn the value of trees the hard way, but we learned.

Enclosed is a small token of our thanks.

And that might be the real reason I went into forestry.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sunday Funnies

Jesus and Satan were having an on-going argument about who was better on the computer. They had been going at it for days, and God was tired of hearing all the bickering. Finally fed up, God said, "That's it! I've had enough. I am going to set up a test that will run for two hours; and from those results, I will judge who does the better job." Satan and Jesus sat down at the keyboards and typed away.

They typed letters.

They e-mailed.

They did spreadsheets.

They wrote reports.

They created labels and cards.

They created charts and graphs using PowerPoint.

They used Excel for accounting work.

They did every job known to man. Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency, and Satan was faster than hell.

Then, ten minutes before their time was up, lightning suddenly flashed across the sky, thunder rolled, rain poured, and the power went off. Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curse word known in the underworld. Jesus just sighed.

Finally, the electricity came back on, and each of them restarted their computers. Satan started searching frantically, screaming: "It's gone! It's all GONE! I lost everything when the power went out!" Meanwhile, Jesus quietly started printing out all of his files from the past two hours of work.

"Wait!" Satan screamed. "That's not fair! He cheated! How come he has all his work and I don't have any?"

God just shrugged and said, "Jesus saves."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Disbelief, Shock and Terror

It should be pointed out this post is not for the faint of heart. You should also be warned that it contains a graphic image that may disturb some readers. (There – that should cover me on most the liability issues).

In case you don’t know, I can’t swim. You can read about it here.

We met SOR and SORSO (Son of Ralph and Son of Ralph’s Significant Other) in Nebraska and one night after dinner, I announced I had signed up for swimming lessons. Cliff clapped – I'm grateful. Everyone else (except Char) was in a state of disbelief and blurted out, “Why?”

I thought it was obvious but felt obligated to answer, “Because I can’t swim”. Why else would you take lessons?

When things died down to a mild roar I told them everything, “I’ve already bought what I need for the class including a Speedo”. There was a little laughter but when they realized I was serious, it quickly turned to shock followed by statements like, “Dad, no you can’t!” and “No. . .no. . .please say it’s not true.”

“I’ve bought the Speedo and I’ve worn it around the house. Char says I look cute in it. It’s used so I can’t take it back.” They sat there shaking their heads.

When we got home, I had Char take a picture of me in my Speedo and told SOR and SORSO I would e-mail it to them. Now their disbelief and shock turned into terror.

CAUTION: The following is a picture of me in my Speedo. Stop here if have a heart condition or are under 18 years of age.
I thought everyone knew Speedo now makes swimming goggles – evidently not.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Cliff Sitting

I have never done much babysitting and there is a good reason why. It’s usually a full time job just keeping myself under control.

But, Marilyn called and asked if I would baby sit Cliff this past weekend. She sounded desperate; I think I was her last hope. I like Marilyn, so I agreed to watch Cliff but made it perfectly clear – I don’t do diapers.

Marilyn dropped Cliff off on Friday with a long list of “Instructions for Caring for Cliff”. A few of the key ones were:

-- Needs to be fed at least 3 times a day with snacks in between.
-- Now that he is in the city, you may need to retrain him in the potty department.
-- Do NOT take him shopping. Mall concrete drains the energy out of his legs and you will have to carry him.
-- Tuck him into bed around midnight with a story. If he gives you any trouble just tell him you have a headache.

Did I happen to mention I never done much babysitting? To make matters worse, Char was not feeling well so the bulk of Cliff sitting fell back on me.

I did the best I could. I fed him. Granted it was not as good as some of the meals you can get on the farm – but he didn’t starve. And he would just have to suffer with a tummy ache because I was not going to burp him.

After his tummy was feeling better, I decided to take him to the ‘park’. The ‘park’ in this case was a couple of golf courses where he had a good times playing with the other kids. Yes, Cliff beat me at golf but there was a reason. I was the “adult in charge” and figured he would just cry and fuss if he didn’t win so I deliberately threw the game. (Okay, that’s a lie.)

We told a few a stories and had a lot of laughs. We even did a little planning for Blogstock (thanks to Char and Marilyn).

Cliff sitting is not that bad – I’d consider doing it again.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fun On The Farm

When we got to the Morrow farm. . . at least Marilyn was glad to see me.

SOR (Son of Ralph) and SORSO (Son of Ralph’s Significant Other) along with the kids met Char and I there. Actually, Cliff was glad to see us too. Cliff and I have to work pretty hard to get this serious when we are together.

I attended a board meeting with Cliff. Cliff was running the meeting and it was underway when I walked in and took a seat in the gallery. Cliff stopped the meeting, pointed at me and in serious tone said, “Ralph, if you cause any trouble we will call the Sheriff.” That’s my idea of a proper introduction.

Cliff also needed to be interviewed for a promotional spot for the Midwest Producer. Cliff writes a column for this paper and I had the opportunity to look around and meet some of the people there.
One day the weather was not the best and the “full farm experience” had to be put on hold. So, we went to Pelican Point. For years, every time Char and I left Tekamah we would say, “Next time we come out we have to go to Pelican Point”. Finally, thanks to some bad weather we had a chance. In August 1804, during the Lewis and Clark expedition, they encountered the river being white with feathers. An area wider than a football field and three miles long was covered with pelican feathers. It happened just outside Tekamah.

Back at the farm there was no shortage of things to do or experience. SORSO and Shannel helped Marilyn at the kennel. Being the dog lover that I am I never saw this but Char said they were both grinning from ear to ear.

I taught a 7 year old how to drive a tractor (right after Cliff taught me). Of course, he had to give everyone a ride. The smiles started and they just never ended. Driving the tractor was followed by driving the four-wheeler. I’m just thankful, nothing got broke (equipment or bones).

Of course, there was food. Cliff made his world famous barbecue chicken. You may be wondering just how good his chicken is – well, let me tell you. It’s been rumored that when Colonel Harland Sanders (made famous by Kentucky Fried Chicken) wanted some good chicken he would go get Cliff’s barbecued chicken. I know that rumor is going around - I started it.
Then there was riding the horses. This was just another fun, fun time that added to the full farm experience.
The only down side to the whole trip was an injury I received in town when jumping off the merry go round. Don’t worry; I’ll be okay – maybe.

Our thanks to the Morrow’s for hosting us and for yet another wonderful visit.