Friday, April 16, 2010

Derek Smith for President, 2012

Remember how they said Barrack Obama was a community organizer, and therefore was fit to run for office? Well let me tell you how my older brother is a community organizer, and also fit to run for office. Derek was a funny kid, but we all were in my family. I’m not bragging, but we did some funny stuff when we were younger. What happened to us? Now we are just obnoxious, I don’t get it. But this is one of those stories from our childhood that is infamous in our family, and will be FOREVER. I’m not even involved in this one, I mean I’m sure I was crawling around somewhere, drooling on the carpet or something, but that’s as much as I will be mentioned in this story. So Derek, he was probably around five or six years old, I'm actually not sure, but those numbers sound about right. He had a few loyal friends in the neighborhood, and they decided to make a club.

I’m sure Josh Alvord, our next door neighbor, wanted to be the leader. I mean hey, he was the only kid on the block with a swimming pool, and in their house above their kitchen there was this big wooden ladder that led up to a loft under the sloping roof that made an awesome club house. It was indoors, it had carpet, and we were a climb down the ladder away from the pantry. Only problem was his leg-humping Pug named Pookie. Granted, it was only a Pug, but let’s be honest, when that little sucker latches on to a little kid’s leg its going to take the whole gang to get him off, especially if he is determined to love your leg. So that put a damper on Alvord leading the club.

I don’t know how it happened, or how he got the idea, but Derek was ready to make a play for Club Leader. So one day he took them all down to one of the construction sites of some of the homes being built in the neighborhood. It was a small tight knit area; all of us in the area went to church together. It was kind of like Cheers, everybody knew your name, but there was a lot less alcohol. So Derek wanted to get away from prying eyes to solidify his spot as club leader. Thinking back on it, it reminds me a bit of a gang initiation. Not necessarily like jumping someone into a gang, or making new members commit a crime to be one of them. Nothing so sinister, but the principle behind this is the same. You see, the way I understand it, a gang makes new members commit a crime to gain entry for a few reasons. 1. To make sure the new member is hardcore enough. I mean, you can’t have a bunch of sissies joining your gang. 2. To get them active in the group. Once you commit a crime, I am sure it a lot harder to get out, because you are now officially a criminal. Well, Derek’s initiation to his Club was to get them all doing something together, to make them feel they were IN. But it was a lot less violent, and A LOT less hygienic.

Rewind to my brother walking to the construction site. In his hand he clutches a little bucket from our sandbox out back. Or maybe he just found one there at the site, but I like to think that this thing was premeditated. He has a determined look on his face. He knew that if he could pull this off, he would be leader for sure. When they arrived at the site he tells all the little kids to form up in a circle around him, as he sets the bucket in the middle of the circle. It was intense. He then proceeded to explain that to enter into the club; each and every one of them would have to go Number 2 in the bucket. This is where my brother’s community organizing skills came into play. He had charisma, he had style, and he had convinced all of these kids to poop in the bucket. But like any leader worth his salt he went first, which also proved he was kind of a sucker, but I digress. Luckily, before this thing got out hand, and extremely disgusting, they found out that their initiation spot was not nearly as secluded as they thought. My mom got a phone call from Stephanie from across the street (cause lets be honest, Stephanie was like that) asking if my mom knew where Derek was and what he was doing at that moment? When my mom said no, Stephanie went right ahead and ruined initiation by telling my mom that Derek was pooping in a bucket at the construction site. I don’t even think my mom hung up the phone, and she probably set the record for the 100 meter sprint as she went to put an end to the madness. Let us just say that the club did not last long and rather than solidifying the group as a whole by doing this thing together, my brother was the only one who actually ended up pooping in the bucket. But if you ask him to this day, he will tell you it was worth it. It is also important to recognize that D Rock had convinced these kids to poop in that bucket, they were just as committed to this thing as my bro was.

What is the point of all of this? It is this; If Derek could organize our community of friends and convince them all to poop in a sand bucket for the good of the Club, then I’d say he is a true community organizer. One who can organize people, get them doing the crappy jobs. (Pun intended) Derek Smith for President: 2012.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wayne Alfred Smith, you are missed.

I know I just barely posted my very first post on my blog, but bear with me please. I got an email two days ago from my dad, entitled "One year ago today". Time has flown by. One year ago today his father, my grandfather, passed on. You never really know what you have till its gone. I know how much his passing affected my dad. I know how much it affected my whole family, he was a great man.

There was something about my grandpa that you had to pay attention to, or you would miss it. It was incredible. Until the day he died he had a sharp wit. He was a genuinely funny man. But not in the way that a stand up comedian is funny, he never did broadcast himself. He never sought to be the center of attention. His comments were quiet and you would have to pay attention or you would miss them. And if you did pay attention, you were rewarded with a big smile and a laugh, because he was a clever man.

The other thing I miss about my grandpa is that he could lie. Now some people would ask why would you miss that? Let me explain. He lived in Southern Utah. In the region he lived there were these sandstone mountains everywhere. On the mountains there were little holes all over them. He would tell us stories about how he had to take a hammer and chisel and make every single one of those holes. He made things interesting for us grand kids when we were driving around Southern Utah. Also, growing up he knew we were so impressed with professional athletes. So he told us he played catcher for the New York Yankees. I grew up believing this and telling all of my friends. Finding out that my grandpa really was not a New York Yankee was like finding out that Santa Clause was not real. In fact, I think I knew Santa Clause was not real long before I stopped believing that my grandpa was indeed, not a catcher for the New York Yankees, just a retired sheep farmer. He was a story teller, and what stories they were.

He is also a hero. He never paraded this around, but he was a World War II veteran. He landed on the beach of Normandy on D-Day plus 3. He was the driver and assistant gunner on a Sherman tank, part of the Hell on Wheels brigade. He didn't talk about combat much, but when he did it was always a treat. You could tell by listening to him that he did not delight in war, he hated it, and you respected him all the more. He was not there for glory or honor, he was there to do his duty. He told us a story of when he was once captured by the Germans. They kept them locked up in a basement for hours. They did not know what to expect or what would happen to them. Luckily hours later they were rescued and in turn German guards turned into German prisoners. Then one day in Northern France he and the men in his tank were about to enter the field. He was driving and before entering the field he switched positions with another man in the tank. He did not know it then, but that saved his life. As they entered the field, two 88mm German anti tank guns hidden in the hay opened up on the tank and they were immediately hit. The man with whom my grandfather had switched positions with died instantly as the shrapnel broke through. One man lost his leg at the knee, and my grandfather took shrapnel to the bicep. The other two were not hit. They pulled my grandfather to safety and treated his arm as the tank burned behind him. He said it was like fireworks when the shells started going off. That was the end of the war for my grandpa, he received a million dollar wound. He would be able to go home and live his life. He never complained about his arm, even though his bicep was completely severed, limiting his range of motion. I never once heard him complain.

It was he who awed me with his patriotism as a soldier. I used to think "I could never do that, I could never serve in the army." But now I find myself wanting to follow in his footsteps. I cant think of a better tribute to my grandpa than serving in the Army. I remember a conversation I had with him before he passed away. I was sitting in the back of his Buick, my grandpa up front and my dad driving. I told him that I was thinking about joining the Army. He never would pressure me into that, and all he said was "It is something you need to think long and hard about." But I know how he felt about the sate of affairs in our country before he died. He said to my father, concerning all the people who are upset about the war in Iraq, that there is not much people in this country see worth fighting for anymore. It deeply saddened my grandpa. I hope to be able to carry on the tradition for him, and for myself. He is a true hero. He worked hard for everything he had, and passed that work ethic on to his two sons. He was a loyal and loving husband to my grandma Shirley. He was an exemplary father and grandfather. And he is missed by his family.

Sorry to be a little melancholy but I really do miss him.

Im real nervous....its my first time.........

...blogging that is, get your mind outta the gutter. Big shout goes to my boy MSP, he is the one that pointed out the joys of blogging to me, so to speak. Michael Scott Price's blog is worth checking out, its actually about the only one I read cause it is funny as shiz. He is way more creative than me, he is literally blogging his entire life story. I didn't think it was possible, and when I told him so he told me about the day he was conceived. See, I thought he meant the day he was born, but he actually meant the very day he was conceived. It was a little creepy to be honest. His posts are funny, and kind of impressive that he remembers all of this stuff. So yeah, welcome, feel free to look around, make a few comments. Remember, this ain't yo momma's blog, its a party and everyones invited...Here there be bloggin.