Weathering The Storm

Alamo, Tennessee– I’ve seen some pretty good snowfall here in West Tennessee in recent years but nothing like what I’ve witnessed this week.

Since Sunday morning, we’ve gotten at least seven inches of snow.

Our county has been under two different winter storm warnings this week.

It snowed a little bit on Sunday but round one really moved in late Sunday night and early Monday morning. It snowed all day long before finally moving out late Monday night. It snowed so hard at times that we couldn’t see anything. By the time it was over with, we had a total of four to four and a half inches.

We had a little break in the action on Tuesday before round two moved in on Wednesday.

Flakes started to fall early Wednesday afternoon and didn’t stop until late Wednesday night. Periods of heavy snow fell during the day and at night making visibility bad once again.

While it was very pretty to watch, I was still in awe of how much snow had fallen.

When the entire system finally moved out on Wednesday night, we measured an additional 2-3 inches, raising the total up to 7+.

Thankfully, we never had any big ice accumulation and we never lost power or water.

We mainly just got snow.

Unfortunately, some people in other states weren’t so lucky.

I have friends in Arkansas and Texas that said that they received higher amounts of snow and ice. The wind chills were also dangerously low. Power and water was lost and some didn’t get it back for hours, even days. My best friend said that their electric company intentionally kept turning power off and on to help save.

While I feel bad for those friends and wish that I could do something for them, I’m so thankful that nothing like that happened to us. We wouldn’t have been able to handle it.

We were very fortunate.

We’re not expected to receive any more snow but it’s going to be a couple days before what we do have starts to melt. Temperatures aren’t supposed to start warming up until at least Saturday or Sunday.

In the meantime, I’ve got the best view in the entire house to enjoy it while it lasts.

I pray for everyone that has to get out in it. My sister has already had an accident just from taking her dog out and she’s down for a couple of weeks if not longer.

If you absolutely have to get out, be careful and don’t rush. If you don’t have to get out, stay home and stay warm.

Plans for me until it melts? Golf, hockey and NASCAR.

Doesn’t get much better than that!

That’s my view from the chair!

Growing Up A NASCAR Fan

Photo credit: NASCAR.com

Alamo, Tennessee– I started watching NASCAR in February of 2001. I remember watching the Daytona 500 that year with my dad and seeing the wreck that took the life of the Intimidator, Dale Earnhardt. I remember how heartbreaking it was to lose one of the sport’s best but I also remember how that one race turned me into one of the sport’s biggest fans.

I grew up watching legends such as Mark Martin, Sterling Marlin, Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Rusty Wallace and so on.

In my early years of watching NASCAR, I was an Earnhardt Jr. fan. I liked other drivers as well but Dale was it for me. I thought he was the greatest. I remember him winning the Pepsi 400 in Daytona in 2001, just months after his father’s death. I remember getting chill bumps when he got out of his car in Victory Lane and celebrated with his crew.

After being an Earnhardt fan for maybe a year or two, I started studying and really liking Jeff Gordon. I liked the way he drove, I liked his leadership, I liked everything about him. I became a fan and have been a diehard fan of his ever since.

I’ve been to numerous NASCAR races all over the country from Daytona, Atlanta and Bristol to tracks closer to my hometown, Memphis and Nashville.

I’ve met a ton of drivers including Sterling Marlin, Ron Hornaday Jr., Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Petty, Jeff Gordon and so many more.

I’ve got an entire section in my bedroom of NASCAR collectibles including die cast cars, figurines, banks etc.

Every Sunday and sometimes Saturday’s from February to November, I sit in front of the television set and watch every single NASCAR race. I watch the trucks, XFinity Series and the Cup Series. If the ARCA Series is on, I watch it too.

I may not be able to watch every race but it’s tradition for me watch the big races like Daytona, Talladega, Bristol, Atlanta and Indianapolis.

Now that all of the older drivers that I grew up watching have retired, I root for the younger drivers like Chase Elliott, William Byron and Alex Bowman. The only driver that’s still racing that I grew up watching is Kevin Harvick. However, it won’t be too much longer until he retires so I’m studying all the young guns to see who my next favorite is going to be.

So far, I’ve really liked Chase Elliott.

He won the Cup championship last season and has a bright future ahead of him.

A new season is upon us and to say that I’m excited is an understatement. I can’t wait to hear “Gentlemen start your engines” for the first time and hear those engines fire. I can’t wait for the drop of the green flag and I can’t wait to see who will be in Victory Lane with their first win of the 2021 season.

The Daytona 500 is first race of the season as well as the biggest race of the season.

I can already feel the adrenaline and anticipation starting to kick in.

I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a great season and I can’t wait to get started!!

BOOGITY BOOGITY BOOGITY!! LET’S GO RACING DRIVERS!!

That’s my view from the chair!

Super Bowl Week

Photo credit: Wikepedia.com

Alamo, Tennessee– The week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday has always been a huge deal for me as long as I can remember. I usually start watching coverage a week before the big game so I can keep up with all the news, injury reports etc.

I listen to all media availability from players and coaches from both teams as well as the Super Bowl Halftime Show press conference and the NFL Commissioner’s press conference.

The night before the big game, it’s tradition for me to watch the NFL Honors special to see who wins awards such as Rookie of the Year, MVP and Comeback Player of the Year. They also tell who wins the Walter Payton Man of the Year award as well as tell who gets enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The day of the big game is always exciting. I watch the four hour pregame show and start getting my game face on. My mother and stepfather cook all the finger foods that we eat during the game. We usually go to my aunts house for the game, and by the time we get there, I can feel the adrenaline start to kick in.

This year has been no different.

I’ve been watching Super Bowl coverage all week from the time I get up until I basically go back to bed.

I’ve listened to both teams do their media availability and I’ve kept up with injury reports, who’s out because of COVID etc.

I watched the Super Bowl Halftime Show press conference featuring The Weeknd and I listened to Roger Goodell give his annual speech.

This Saturday night, I am beyond excited for the NFL Honors special. I’m excited to see who goes home with yearly awards but I’m mostly excited for the Pro Football Hall of Fame announcement. Peyton Manning is one of the finalists for enshrinement and it’s being rumored that he’s been notified that he’s going in.

Manning has been my sports hero and idol since his days at the University of Tennessee, so if the rumors are true, I’ll be very excited.

If anything is different from previous years, it’s the fact that I won’t get to go to my aunts house for the game.

I’ll still be watching the four hour pregame show and I’ll probably be getting my game face on before it’s halfway over with.

Mama and my stepfather will still be cooking all kinds of finger foods. The only difference is that it’ll just be us watching the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to the pandemic.

For me, the adrenaline is already starting to kick in.

I can’t wait to see who will hoist the Lombardi at the end of the night on Sunday.

I can’t wait to party COVID style.

Most importantly, I can’t wait to watch another Super Bowl with my mother.

Let’s get this party started and play ball!!

That’s my view from the chair!

Gone But Never Forgotten

Photo credit: legacy.com

Alamo, Tennessee– This past week, I got the sad news that a good friend of mine had passed away.

I worked with Jimmy Barnes for thirteen seasons at the ballpark before he retired after the 2018 season.

He was the kindest, funniest and most genuine person I had ever known. He always had a smile on his face and he always put smiles on other people’s faces. He made everyone that knew him laugh whether you felt like it or not.

He never met a stranger. Even if you had met him for the first time, once you started talking to him, it was like you’ve known him your entire life.

He was always there for everybody. He would go out of his way for anyone that needed him if he could.

We shared so many stories with each other but the most memorable stories that he shared were about his time in the United States Army. He shared with me stories of him serving in Japan as a member of the Military Police unit. He explained that he later continued his service with the TN Army National Guard as a part of the 30th Armored Brigade.

He had a total of twenty four years in the service. He was a lifelong member of the 30th SAB Association as well as an active member of the VFW 6496, American Legion Post 12 and of the West Tennessee Veterans Day Committee.

He was one of the founders and served as the secretary for the West Tennessee Veterans Coalition. He was also a mason in the Masonic Lodge #45 of Jackson (Tennessee).

We would talk about other things as well. However, those stories of him serving in the military really hit home for me because my grandfather would always tell me stories from when he served as well. I always found them very interesting.

Jimmy and I couldn’t let each other go our own ways without talking about Tennessee football. We would talk baseball some too but not as much as Tennessee football. That’s something we both had in common and something that we were both passionate about. If he wasn’t happy with them for whatever reason, he’d let me know about it and I would do the same.

It’s going to be different going to the ballpark and him not being there. I’ll miss that twinkle in his eye every time he smiled or laughed. I’ll miss all the jokes he would tell. I’ll definitely miss all the stories he would tell. I’ll miss the Generals recaps he gave me every time I was scheduled to work.

More importantly, I’ll miss the good friendship we had and I’ll miss being around a super good man.

It truly sucks that he’s gone and that I’ll never see or talk to him again. But I know that he is rejoicing with our Lord and Savior. That brings me peace and comfort in knowing that.

Thank you for all the memories and for all the stories my friend. I’ll keep them with me for the rest of my life. You may be gone but you will never be forgotten.

See you on the other side!

That’s my view from the chair!

A Fresh Start

Photo credit: Andrew Lloyd

Alamo, Tennessee– I think I can speak on behalf of everyone when I say that it feels good to see 2020 get out of here and 2021 come in.

For me personally, 2020 was a year from hell.

I went through everything imaginable from family drama, to testing positive for COVID, to my mother almost dying from the virus, to losing my grandmother, to addiction and so on.

The list goes on and on.

If there was anything good to come out of the year, it was me getting to go to Tunica for the first time with my best friend, going to see my nephews play baseball and football, spending quality time with my sister and making new friends in Middle Tennessee.

My depression and anxiety skyrocketed and I was becoming someone that I knew I wasn’t.

There were plenty of times where I almost lost my faith and completely gave up on God.

Who could blame me though, right?

If anyone went through everything that I went through in one year, I’m sure they’d feel the same way.

However, I didn’t give up and I have no doubt that that’s what got me through the year.

In fact, my faith has gotten stronger and I’m starting to go to God more than I ever have about things.

With the new year finally here, I’ve decided that it’s going to be a year of fresh starts and new beginnings.

I’ve decided to work on getting my faith and my relationship with God back in gear.

I’ve decided to be more positive and focus on positive things.

I’ve decided to be more happier and outgoing.

I’ve decided to build myself up physically and start working out.

I’ve decided to be a better person, a better son, a better brother, a better uncle, a better nephew, a better cousin and a better friend.

More importantly, I’ve decided to enjoy life and to be thankful for the little things in life.

I’ve learned not to take anything for granted because it can be gone in an instant.

2020 may have been a year from Hell. It definitely was for me. But it’s in the past and that’s where it’s going to stay.

I can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for me personally and for my family, friends and loved ones.

I know I’ll have challenges and I’m sure bad things will happen but one thing is for sure. I will make the best of it and I will not let anything or anyone get in my way!!

I’m putting the past behind me!

What happened in 2020 stays in 2020!!

That’s my view from the chair!

Christmas Blessing

Alamo, Tennessee– Christmas for my family and I has always been hectic and busy. We would always get up early, spend at least two hours opening gifts then rush trying to get ready and get the food cooked before heading to my aunts house for Christmas dinner.

While it’s always a lot of fun, I never have time to just sit and reflect on all of my blessings throughout the year.

That changed this year thanks to COVID-19.

We weren’t able to be with family due to the pandemic so it was just me, mama and my stepfather.

It was very different to say the least but it was very relaxing.

More importantly, it was very special.

We got up and took our time opening our gifts before having our annual Christmas dinner later in the day, just the three of us.

After dinner, we spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying our Christmas gifts.

As I was doing so, I couldn’t help but think about all of the many blessings that God gave me this year.

This year has been horrible in more ways than one but there has been some good to come out of it.

My sister, mother, stepfather and I all tested positive for Covid-19. Thankfully my sister, stepfather and I had a minor case of it.

Unfortunately, my mother had it a lot worse but she pulled through thanks to a ton of prayers and the work of the good Lord.

I got a ton of nice things for Christmas this year but NOTHING on the face of the earth compares to my mother being alive, healthy and home for Christmas.

That is by far the best Christmas present anyone could ask for.

After months of not knowing what was going to happen, God performed another one of His miracles and brought mama back to us.

Mama did her part as well.

She fought like hell and never gave up.

I can’t tell you how thankful I am and how special Christmas was because of that reason.

It’s really all I was able to think about!

Having mama here made Christmas very special and I can’t even begin to think what it would’ve been like had she had not made it.

If I’ve learned anything from these last few months, it’s to enjoy life and count your blessings.

Yes this year hasn’t been the best year by no means. However, I’m sure everyone can find something positive to give God praise for.

I’m giving Him praise for watching over mama and healing her.

I’m giving Him praise for allowing her to spend yet another Christmas with her loved ones and us with her.

A true Christmas blessing!

That’s my view from the chair!

O Christmas Tree

Alamo, Tennessee– I haven’t helped mama decorate the Christmas tree since I was a little boy. It was a yearly tradition for us and it was something that we both thoroughly enjoyed.

Mama would put the lights on the tree and I would help her put the ornaments on while listening to Christmas music.

Each ornament has a very special meaning to them and we get new ones every year that have a special meaning to them as well.

Since she’s been home from the hospital and rehab, there’s some things she can do on her own but there are some things that she can’t do because she has no strength in her right arm due to COVID.

She decided to put the tree up right after thanksgiving this year. My stepfather helped her put the tree together and put the lights on it.

According to her, there’s six hundred lights on it this year!

I decided that I wanted to help her put the ornaments on.

She requested that I put on some Christmas music so I plugged in my Alexa and did just that.

As we were putting the ornaments on the tree, it brought back a ton of special memories of us when I was little.

We talked about those memories as well as the meanings of the ornaments.

We shared a lot of laughs as well as shed a few tears due to thinking about my grandmother.

She loved decorating for Christmas and she always thought our tree was so pretty.

I’m so glad that I decided to help mama decorate our tree. Not only did it bring back memories of my childhood, but it made me realize doing little things with the ones you love are sometimes more important than the big things.

I’m so thankful that the good Lord watched over her during her COVID battle and that He let her be home with her family for Christmas.

I’m thankful that I offered to help her with the tree and for the memories that were relived.

I’m very proud of our little ole tree and I think we did a great job if I say so myself!

That’s my view from the chair!

Miracle Mom Part Two

Alamo, Tennessee– I’ve only gotten to see my mother twice since she came off the ventilator and they were both under bad circumstances. My visit with her on Monday went extremely well and it was so good to see her under much better circumstances.

My sister, nephews and I got to the rehabilitation center around three in the afternoon. We met mama outside on this huge patio area and visited for about thirty minutes.

It was a beautiful Fall like afternoon with temperatures in the mid to high 60’s.

We got to see mama walk and stand for the first time since coming off the ventilator and I have to say that I was very impressed and proud.

She’s walking and standing better than she was before all of this happened.

The staff at the center said that she was only allowed one visitor per day after telling us something different over the phone so my sister and nephews had to leave after a few minutes.

I ended up staying and visiting with her until bedtime.

We went back to her room and caught up after almost two months of not seeing each other.

We always watch Dancing With The Stars together every season so my sister ordered pizza and brought it up there to us.

Watching Dancing With The Stars together really helped both of us not think about everything that’s been going on over the past month or two.

We wanted our time together to be as happy and as positive as possible.

Unfortunately, after the show was over, I had to go back home.

Neither one of us wanted to say goodbye but we knew that we would see each other again very soon.

That seems to be the case as she will be coming home on Friday barring any setbacks.

I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with mama. It was such a blessing to see her doing so good as well as walking and standing as good as she was.

I thank God every day for bringing her out of a state of no response and back to us.

I can’t wait until she gets to come home on Friday.

It will still be a while before she’s able to do certain things and there’s a chance that she won’t be able to do certain things again.

While that’s sad to think about, I’m focusing on the positive.

I’m focusing on an answer to prayer.

My mother is still with us and she will be home very soon.

That’s my view from the chair!

Miracle Mom Part One

Alamo, Tennessee– I see miracles happen every day. People have even said that I’m a miracle given my medical history and the fact that I wasn’t supposed to live past two years old.

I’ve seen big miracles and little miracles. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like what I’ve witnessed in the past month or two.

When mama went into the hospital on August 9th, we all thought that she’d be in there for a few days then be back home.

We never dreamed that it was as serious as it was.

She went from having shortness of breath due to Covid, to having double pneumonia to being put on a ventilator all in 24-48 hours.

When she was put on the ventilator, they put her in a medical coma.

She was unresponsive for a good three weeks and we didn’t know what was going to happen.

Her kidneys were not responding like they should’ve and she was just in really bad shape.

We were all praying for a miracle but were concerned that something bad was going to happen.

We didn’t know if she was even going to make it.

Almost two months and a ton of prayers later, she is off of the ventilator and out of the hospital.

She’s had her ups and downs including another stint in the hospital due to her blood pressure bottoming out but the progress she’s made already is literally nothing short of a miracle.

Since she’s been in rehab, she has walked anywhere from two hundred to six hundred feet with a walker and now a cane.

Her right arm has been weak and she hasn’t been able to use it but that’s gotten some better.

We think it’s because of Covid and the fact that she was laid up in a hospital bed for over a month.

Words cannot express how proud I am of her for the continued progress she’s making as well as how thankful I am to the good Lord for healing her.

It’s been very rough seeing her like she was but she has fought and is still fighting.

Since being at rehab, she has worked so hard that the therapist has said that she’ll more than likely get to come home this Friday if not sooner.

In the meantime, I just arrived back home in West Tennessee from Middle Tennessee to visit with her for a couple days.

I’ve seen her twice since she’s been off the ventilator but they were both under bad circumstances.

It’ll be so good to see her under good circumstances this time.

We’ve already said that we want to watch Dancing With The Stars together so we both can’t wait for that.

Right now, I rest up because these next two days are going to be a ton of fun and a ton of memories will be made.

My Guardian Angel

Columbia, Tennessee– It’s never easy when someone you love passes away. When that someone is a family member, it doesn’t make it any easier.

My grandmother passed away a week ago and it’s been the hardest loss I’ve ever had to deal with. She had struggled with dementia for years and had been in a nursing home. She went into hospice care a month ago before her time to go Home came.

I was very thankful that I was able to go visit her before she passed. I held her hand the whole time and she would periodically look at me and smile. I knew by that smile that she knew who I was.

There was a certain way she would look at you and that’s how you knew that she knew who you were.

My grandmother and I had a very close relationship. She was like a second mother to me and she helped my mother and my sister take care of me.

She was at all of my doctor visits as well as every one of my surgeries. When I got out of the hospital and my mother would have to go back to work, she would come over and stay with me while I recovered, especially when I was little.

When I got older and was able to stay by myself, she would still come visit me and I would go visit her some.  We would watch television together and talk. Her favorite shows to watch were The Young And The Restless and The Bold And The Beautiful. I watched it so much with her that I got very familiar with the characters.

She LOVED hearing me sing. I would put on little concerts for her every time she came to visit me and she would get into it every time.

Her favorite song that I ever sang to her was a song called Reach. It’s talking about what she always taught me which was to reach for the stars and never give up on anything.

The talks we had were very special. I could always go to her if something was on my mind and she would sit and listen with that sweet, loving caring smile she had.

She never met a stranger and would help anyone if she possibly could.

Not because she had to but because she wanted to. That’s the type of person she was.

The love for her family was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. She was the most loving mother to my mother and two aunts, the best mother in law to my father, stepfather and two uncles and the best grandmother to me, my sister and four cousins.

I hear people say all the time how great or special someone in their family is. Believe me when I say that my grandmother was THE best and VERY special.

Her faith was very special to her. She would be at Church every time the doors were open. If I remember correctly, she sang in the choir. She loved her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

She taught me and my family the importance of faith and how important it was to trust in and lean on God through the good times and the bad.

I wouldn’t be the person I am spiritually today had it not been for her.

While I selfishly want her here with us, I know she’s in a better place and in the arms of the good Lord. She isn’t suffering anymore. She’s up there rejoicing and singing with the angels.

She’s my guardian angel now and she’s looking down on me right now.

I know I will see her again some day.

Until then, I will keep the memories I have of her alive and think about all the good times I had with her.

That’s my view from the chair!