Grumpy Old Grandfather

Grumpy Old Grandfather

Most of you know that I have a grandson, J. R. Osborn, attending the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis where he is also a member of the football team. J. R. is a sophomore and has kicked in a few of their games this year. In fact he kicked the winning field goal in the SMU game with 11 seconds remaining.

The Grumpy problem came in the Military Bowl against the University of Virginia. J. R. kicked off several times in the second half and the ESPN Sports Casters never called his name. Each time it got me a little hotter and hotter.

When I knew something had to happen I dialed 1411 and when it asked for City and State I said, “I need to talk to someone who can help a grumpy grandfather.” After several trials the auto system gave up and put me in touch with a real person, I told her that I needed to talk to someone who could help a grumpy grandfather. She said she knew just the person and put a supervisor on the line.

She asked how she could help a grumpy grandfather and I told her about my problem, she asked where the game was being played and in two seconds I was in touch with the press box at the stadium. I explained my problem to the person who answered and he said that he was neither with nor near ESPN but would send them a note explaining the problem.

They never did call his name but about six o’clock someone from ESPN called to let me know that they were ‘so sorry and would be more aware in the future. I thanked them and begin to worry about how I was going to explain to J. R. if ESPN called the team. Then I looked in the mirror and smiled, I also slept well that night.

Published in: on January 11, 2018 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Christmas 1944

Christmas Mindoro, Philippines 1944

It was necessary to establish airfields and supply points for the January 1945 invasion of Luzon as America reclaimed the Philippines. Mindoro was the attack point and on December 13 two days before the planned invasion the Navy invading fleet came under attack by the Japanese air force. The USS Nashville was hit by a Kamikaze plane killing 133 men and wounding another 190. She stayed in the action but the flag was removed to another ship and the Nashville returned for repairs. On the 15th the American 6th Army under Lt. General Walter Kroger made the invasion with light resistance. The Navy and Army Air Force took out 700 Japanese airplanes and so crippled the enemy that the skies belonged to American for the rest of the war.

Cpr. Meredith Cook made the invasion on that December day and found himself in the North East part of Mindoro by December 22. His platoon was sent into the jungle to round up any of the enemy still active. Cook and the others of the platoon were divided during a firefight and darkness found them lost and separated. He took cover in a drainage ditch to wait for the morning light. The next day a group of Japanese walked over his body and camped within hearing distance. Cook remained for the next two days in the thick of the jungle ditch before relief came to route the enemy. That night back with the company they sung songs of Christmas and gave thanks that all were accounted for and safe. Christmas 1944 may have been spent in a ditch on Mindoro but Christmas 1945 was shared with his family on Cherry Street in Dyersburg, Tennessee.

Cpr. Meredith Cook was my first cousin, the oldest son of my father’s sister, Oma Cook and her husband Hershel; they had two sons in the Second World War and one in Korea.

Published in: on December 21, 2017 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Christmas 2017

Christmas 2017

It is Saturday and I should be deep in my study for the message tomorrow. But for some reason I just cannot stay focused and on track.

I visited the nursing home this week I tried to see and pray with those from our church and any others that I knew.

One lady heard me praying and asked if I would pray for her, I held her hand and asked our Lord to touch her and give her His presence and peace. Paul always asked for Grace and Peace for those to whom he wrote I sought to do the same.

But all of a sudden I just had to leave; maybe it was just not my day, maybe it is my age, my health, my own dreams, I really don’t know but I had to go.

I have had other moments like that, I really do dislike them but my anxious heart was made calmer when I learned that the ladies in our church were giving to each one in the home a lovely gift for Christmas and then on Wednesday night I watched as our people gathered up more than 80 baskets and headed across our community on Thursday to share them with others.

My heart is better now, I helped a family with a power bill in the name of our Lord and our family at First Baptist, I gave a complete stranger a ride from near Nashville to Cookeville, maybe I need to stop looking in the mirror and keep looking out.

Merry Christmas, to all.


Published in: on December 16, 2017 at 6:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Old One Tusk


Old One Tusk

I love the sounds, smells, scenes, and even the shopping of Christmas. God promised us a wonderful gift and He gave that gift of a savior to us and we celebrate that gift in this season of the year.

When I was teaching school a small child gave me a gift wrapped in white paper and asked that I not open it until the class was gone. When I tore open the package I understood the reason, it was a one tusk missing elephant. It was not new, it had seen a lot of seasons but this child knew that I loved elephants and since her family had no money she had talked her mother into giving away a long used item from off their trinket shelf. I wrote the family a note and when we returned from the holidays that gift was on my desk sitting on top of a beautiful glass mounting. She gave me from her heart and I wanted her to understand that I had received it with all of my heart.

Needless to say old one tusk elephant mounted on the glass was the hit of our returning day to school. Everyone wanted to know what it cost, if it was expensive, and who had given it to me. I explained that it was very valuable because the person who gave it to me treasured it and that is what makes a gift expensive. I explained that it would not be polite to say who had given it and in time the questions stopped. But the child who gave it never stopped smiling and from that day on she was a great student always doing her best. A number of years later I was invited to be the graduation speaker at her High School graduation. I had a special box with sides of glass made for the ‘one tusk elephant’ and gave it to her after graduation. We simply hugged, smiled, and the last I heard she was a first grade teacher, married, with children, and a ‘one tusk elephant’ on her class room desk.




Published in: on December 10, 2017 at 9:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Christmas at Point Loma

Christmas at Point Loma

I had arrived in San Diego on Friday December 12, 1958. It was my first Christmas away from family and Jackson, Tennessee. The palm trees made into ‘Christmas Trees’ did not impress this West Tennessee boy with his memories of cedar trees; they left something missing from Christmas.

Since I was the new man on the duty roster I pulled Christmas duty on that Thursday of 1958 and sometime that weekend looking for something to do I made my way to The Point Loma National Cemetery. Standing there looking across that beautiful green bed with its white markers pointing to the sky I felt a sense of home. Looking back I am sure it was because of my love for those who had served our country.

At Point Loma you look across the green grass of the hillside dotted with the white markers into the great blue of the Pacific Ocean. It is a beautiful sight and a great reminder of the price that so many have paid for our freedom.

I had seen the lady and her young son of about seven but caught up in my own thoughts I did not notice them until the boy seeing me in my dress blues came running over to me and asked with great seriousness, “Did you know my dad?” Standing, not sure what to say his mother answered for me as she told the boy not to bother me and that I would not have known his father. I stooped down asked the child to show me his father’s grave and read with pride, Chief Petty Officer Dan Raymond Sharp, 1919 – 1952. I saluted his grave and putting my hat on his son saluted him as well.

I left that beautiful and holy ground with tears that day but my heart was very proud and thankful for all those who made the day possible for me.

Published in: on December 4, 2017 at 8:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Watching the Sun

Watching the Sun – Remembering Things Past

I drove down to the lake Sunday afternoon where I had one of those glorious views so that I could watch the sun dip itself into our beautiful Dale Hollow Lake. I thought about my dad and how he loved the water, rivers, lakes, just water. He talked for years about building a houseboat, but mother would have nothing of it, and that was enough excuse to keep him for starting the adventure. I think it might have been a dream that he enjoyed talking about more than doing. I am grateful for my parents, God placed me in a wonderful home and I am deeply blessed because of it. I remember mom and thought about how busy and worried she would be this time of year, planning for a big feast on Thanksgiving and again for Christmas. She loved it but you never caught that in her talking and in her worry. It would have been a dark hour if her ‘children’ had not come home for the holidays.

I ran across my mind those events when we gather at the house at 246 South Lindsey Street, grownups talking, children playing, rooms full of people, but though it all the events of the day were all circled around our being a family and being together.

I remembered the Thursday night that mother died in that house, how it had changed even the aroma of the place. After mother left it was never the same, what she took with her could not be replaced. I thought about dad as the years closed and he stopped dreaming of a houseboat and travel and adventures; it was like the sun I was watching, almost ready to dip itself into the darkening waters of our lake. I asked him one day if he ever thought about the houseboat and he said, “I think there is not enough time to finish it.” He was right for when dreams stop, time begins to run at its rapid pace and like the falling sun it is soon gone.

Darkness fell across me, I said a prayer of thanksgiving for the life that God has given to me; remembering the past was good but living today in now the task.




Published in: on November 27, 2017 at 9:28 pm  Comments (1)  

Mr. Turkey

I was either a junior or senior in high school before we had a turkey. Mother always prepared a couple of large hens, not sure if turkeys were not as available, too high or maybe mom just liked to cook what she enjoyed cooking hens it was for most of my life at home.

I do remember the year we had a turkey, we named him Mr. Turkey and we all had a great time joking about Mr. Turkey being so slow, he was slow to cook and he must have been a slow runner for he got caught and frozen for us to enjoy. He was also slow to thaw out, in fact he was slow to eat, we made sandwich out of him for a number of days after Thanksgiving, and in fact I think I enjoyed the cold turkey sandwich with cheese on them the most.

We spent the afternoon going to the ball game, yes the local teams, even our high school would play on thanksgiving afternoon. After all only one person in the family had a TV and we could not all get into their house. Then you had the reception to deal with, turning the outside antenna to get the best picture and that was black and white with a lot of snow and lines in the picture.

Today of course it is much easier to entertain yourself, you don’t have to pretend, you just spend the day on your phone, watching the 200 channels on your TV, after all you have one in each room or maybe spend time on your computer.

But it wasn’t too bad, most of the time we kids would play outside, we even made up games, we “played like” and had a great time. The grownups would spend time with the newspaper, we had those, talking to one another, we knew how, and can you believe sometimes we would just fall asleep and dream of more food to come.

If my memory is still in tack I think it was not so much the food, what we had, it was of all things and the people we shared the day with. Can you believe that we enjoyed one another, now that is a lost art.

Published in: on November 19, 2017 at 11:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Last Memory

Last Memory

Wayne could still remember the exact moment that he heard his father tell him, ‘that he was good for nothing and never had been and never would be’ it was at his birthday party when he turned seventeen. His father had always been difficult, drunk, and too loud, in all his years of school he only had two friends who ever came to his house and they only once or twice. His mother had insisted on giving him a birthday party and while they had invited about ten people only six showed up, he was surprised for that was four more friends than he had. She had grilled hamburger in the backyard, made homemade ice cream and put up a boom box so they could play music. About the time they had finished their meal, eaten the cake covered in ice cream his dad had come through the door shouting “What is going on around here, who do those cars out front belong to and who is playing that loud music?” His mother had tried to run interference but his father had shoved her aside and walking up into his faced began to shout the words of no good, and who did he thing he was and who were these freaky kids. The friends began to move away when they saw his father slap him, and each of them managed to leave before the full storm raged. He had never felt so bad, so discouraged, so humiliated, and so ashamed of his father and sorry for his mother. After the storm raged, his mother was hit and the grill turned over in the yard his father went to his room in his drunken state telling him to clean up the mess and calling for his mother to come upstairs. He had cleaned up the mess, packed a few things he needed and wanted took the $300 dollars that he had saved and left.


After a lot of nights on the road, under bridges, in camps of the homeless, he had made it to a distant uncle’s house and they allowed him to stay with them until he enlisted in the Army. After six years of hard work in the army, doing his job taking classes and saving all the money he could he got out of the army and in two years had completed college. The next ten years found him hard at work in a small upcoming company in New Orleans. They supplied packages of items that were needed by the workers on the oil rigs in the gulf and soon found a very profitable business. Over the sixteen years he had called his mother, hung up when his father answered and talked briefly when he could with his mother. Life at home was the same she said, his father had never mentioned his name and had never changed his ways.


He received a call from his mother telling him that his father was in the hospital dying, so without telling her he flew back to Memphis hoping that a final moment might bring some peace. It didn’t, his father had died soon after his mother had called and the storm of Wentworth Circle was over.

 He begged his mother to come and live with him but she had a few friends in the community and the old house was paid for and all the investment she had. Wayne walked into the backyard, remembered that night eighteen years ago and wept. Before he left he arranged for all the repairs to be made to the house, got his mother a new car and promised to stay in touch. For the next thirty years she received three calls a week, a visit each month and a nice check from her ‘no good son’, and even flew in a plane to New Orleans a few times to visit. After her funeral he placed a marker that covered both her grave and his dad’s for no one had bother to do so in all of those years. He wept as he stood and looked at those two markers and realized that while they looked so much alike, they stood for so much that was different in his heart. In love he wept for his mother, in heartache he wept for his father.


Published in: on November 16, 2017 at 8:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Shorter Path

The Shorter Path

I have moved into a new decade. On the eleventh day of this eleventh month I moved from the seventies into the decade of the eighties. My family and friends paid a lot of attention to me; we had a wonderful time, with a great attendance in church and a lunch with more than a 160 people it would be a hard event to improve on.

My wife Carole and the ladies of the church made the fellowship room look like we were in a great hotel banquet hall. Pictures of me were at all of the tables and our catered lunch from The Dixie was more than we could eat, not to mention my special cake and the other great deserts.

From our blended family of six children four were here, one lives in Germany and the other one was sick, not  bad four out of six. Friends from afar and my family of First Baptist and it was great.

I was on cloud nine on Saturday and Sunday, grandchildren making over me, cards to open, it just could not have been better.

The children left, the friends went home, I kissed Carole and watched her drive her worn our self toward Nashville and the schedule of work on Monday. As I listened to the empty house, and tried to fall asleep my mind would not leave the fact that I am now 80. The path before me is shorter; the journey will not take as long to reach the end as it did when I was a boy at 246 South Lindsey Street.

God promised me that the house was not empty and that no matter the length of the path He would be there for every step of the way.

So I take the years behind me and stand on them as I take the steps before me. Byrdstown is a great place for the shorter path.




Published in: on November 13, 2017 at 10:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

An Evening With Dad

An Evening With Dad

As many of you know my mother died in 1977 and dad lived another ten years. Somewhere in that journey dad began to be afraid in his home at 246 South Lindsey Street and decided to sell it and moved into a senior adult high rise facility in Jackson. He really seemed to adjust well to the move and living where there were many people his age.

One night, about 2 in the morning he called me to let me know that he was sick, so sick he said that he believed that he was going to die. I asked him what was wrong and he said that he was very sick at his stomach and could not stay out of the bathroom. I asked him what he had eaten that day that might cause him to be sick and he said he had only eaten a bowl of banana pudding that was all.

Being two hours away in Nashville I asked him if he had called my sister Alice, she lived about ten minutes away and could be there long before I could arrive. He said that he didn’t want to wake her up so he hadn’t called. I told him that I knew it was late and I understood but if he was really that sick he would be dead before I could get there and even if he did not call her I would have to let her know what was going on so she would be awake under any choice we made.

He wasn’t sure but I told him that I would call her and see what she suggested. Since Alice was the only child left living in Jackson she already did 99% of the care for dad and like him I really hated to call but did not know of any other choice. I explained my conversation with dad and she said that she would go over and check him out and call me back and let me know what needed to be done.

In about twenty minutes she called and said that he was going to be alright that he had eaten some banana pudding and it had made him sick. I told her that he said he had eaten only one bowl of pudding and I didn’t see how that would make him so sick. She replied, “Right only one bowl, one punch bowl of pudding.”

We later learned that the ladies had a party that day and after it was over they had one large punch bowl of banana pudding left so they had given that to my dad, he loved banana pudding and he had gone by the refrigerator about a hundred times with a large spoon and over the afternoon had eaten the entire punch bowl of pudding. He lived, Alice got back to sleep and I made plans to go down the next day and clean both he and the apartment. What a night, but what a next day… wow… Ivan

Published in: on October 30, 2017 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment