"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

Monday, April 05, 2010

Fifty Smifty .... You're Hot!

April 5, 1960

Do not count your candles
do not add the years.
Do not spend a single moment
dwelling on your fears.

Do not look unhappy
while gazing in the glass.
Do not begrudge the years
for they will surely pass.

Do not allow the false idea
that youth is all the rage.
Do not forget you’re beautiful
at each and every age.

For when I look into your eyes
this is what I see.
A gift unlike any other
God has given me.

Happy Birthday!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Take A Moment

One of the guys who worked with me passed away suddenly. His name was Kyle Ames. He didn't show up for work on Friday and was found by his sister in his bed. He apparently died in his sleep some time between Thursday night and Friday morning.

Kyle was 37 years old and was born with a heart condition. He was due to go to the Mayo Clinic on March 15th for surgery. His passing comes as a shock to all of us who knew him. He was a great employee and a friend.

He was also a father to a 10 year old daughter named Willow who he was absolutely crazy about. As I gathered his personal effects from his office yesterday, I found numerous cards and notes from her along with various awards she had received in school. I also found the piece which follows.

It made me stop and think of how fragile and temporal our existence is in this world. And how easy it is to get caught up and forget the really important things and people in our lives. Priorities can become so misaligned.

To My Child

Today …

I will step over the laundry, pick you up and take you to the park to play.

I will leave the dishes in the sink and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.

I will unplug the telephone, turn off the computer and sit with you in the back yard and blow bubbles.

I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck. I will buy you some when it comes by.

I won’t worry about what you are going to be when you grow up but instead I will live in the moment as you do.

I will let you help me bake cookies and I won’t stand over you while you’re fixing them.

I will take you to McDonalds and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.

I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.

I will let you splash in the tub and not worry about the water on the floor.

I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.

I will snuggle beside you for hours and miss my favorite TV shows.

I will run my fingers through your hair as you say your prayers and humbly thank God for the greatest gift I could ever receive.

I will think of the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, those who are visiting their children’s graves instead of their bedrooms and those who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, all the while trying to hang on as they ask the unanswerable question … why.

Tonight when I tuck you in, I will hold you a little longer, squeeze you a little tighter and be grateful for every moment we have together.

And tomorrow, I’ll do it all again.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


February 13, 2010

Time goes quickly
the years pass by.
You’ve grown to be a little girl
in the blink of an eye.

And today you turn seven
oh my, what a fuss.
Always bringing smiles
to the two of us.

So blow out the candles
cause we just want to say.
We love you Leilani
Happy Birthday!

Love always,
Popeye & Meme

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Hero Says Goodbye

My brother-in-law Billy was a wonderful husband to my sister Karen, a great father to my nephews Jeremy and Zak, a mentor to countless firefighters and a friend to many. He was the reason I became, and remain involved with Team In Training and on December 23, 2009, he finished his fight with cancer.

Aside from God and his family - especially his grandson Hunter – the most important thing in his life were his brothers and sisters in the fire department. The following poem, read at the beginning of each Roanoke City Recruit School, is the unofficial creed of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department. Billy wrote it during a live fire training exercise in Roanoke several years ago.

If you want to be a clown,
you’d better be lookin’ for a circus.
If you’re lookin’ for a free ride,
here’s a dollar; call a cab.
If you want to be a “Showman”,
Vegas will welcome you with open arms.
If fulfillment of an ego is high on your
priority list, might I suggest Hollywood.
And if you want to be a millionaire,
by all means, this ain’t for you.
But, if you don’t mind hard work, sweating in

freezing weather, getting back less than half of
what you give, and finding your name at the
bottom of your own priority list,
then stick around!
I believe you could be a FIREFIGHTER

Battalion Chief William “Billy” Obenchain

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Twenty Two

January 12, 1988

Oh, where have they gone
all those precious years.
The times I recall
with laughter and tears.

A moment, an instant
a mere bat of an eye.
From a child to young woman
I accept with a sigh.

The inevitable truth
as our story unfolds.
My cherished memory
of you seven years old.

Eternally grateful
for all of the days.
I’ve been blessed with your love
in so many ways.

And so on this day
another year past.
A new celebration
replacing the last.

Remember I love you
and better my life.
For you were the bonus
when I married my wife.

Happy Birthday BA