Tag Archives: family

We Went South

20 years ago this week, 2/12/1997, the entire Burriss Tribe, Teddy, Rebecca, Jessie, Rachel, Megan & Lauren hopped in the Honda mini-van and headed south to Advance North Carolina.

The journey began around November of 1996 with a potential move to New Jersey. However before we made the move north we got notice North Carolina would be where my job would finally be based.

The move to North Carolina was chaotic and emotional. We left a new community and new school systems into an older community with older less technological schools.

It took lots of work, patience and prayers to transition the teen age and pre-teen daughters through this change. However, within three months the emotions calmed and happiness began to develop for the entire family.

20 years later the girls (aka Myrtles) have all moved out of the house and into their own homes and developing families.

The family has grow significantly to include 4 men (aka the Stallions), 10 GrandWeWaps (grandkids), three new dogs and a few cats and chickens.

Our network of friends have grown significantly and our community involvement continues to grow in many different ways.

We all loved Maryland and our friends and home in Monrovia.

Today, we all love having moved into North Carolina, our friends and businesses we have built down here.

Thank you North Carolina for welcoming us into this state.

I know I am a Blessed Man

I know I am a blessed man. Here are some of the reasons I have that remind me of this every day.

  1. I’m blessed that I am healthy. Yes, I know as a 58 yr old I can’t do everything I was able to do as a teen ager, but I’m doing pretty good and I am not taking any drugs. I’m blessed that I am healthy.

    Bum and the Mytrles
    Bum and the Myrtles
  2. I’m blessed that I have been happily married for 38+ yrs with the woman I fell in love with way back then. We laugh together, pray together, play together, have many of the same goals and enjoy each other’s company most of the time. I’m a man – sometimes I need to be checked and I’m blessed that she wants to keep me in check. I’m blessed my wife still loves me.
  3. I’m blessed to have 4 daughters who are healthy, independent, in love, enjoying and living their own lives. I’m blessed that they call me Dad, Friend, Coach and Helper when they want my help. I’m blessed to have 4 beautiful daughters.boppy-and-stallions-2016
  4. I’m blessed to have my 4 Stallions. These are the guys who have taken the lead in my daughter’s lives and love them, care for them, support them and even keep them in check when they need it. I’m blessed they call me Boppy, Friend, Coach and Helper when they want my help. I am blessed to have these guys in my life.

    The GrandWeWaps
    The GrandWeWaps
  5. I’m blessed to have 10 GrandWeWaps. These are the children of my 4 daughters and the Stallions. I’m blessed they like to come visit me and enjoy the time they spend with me when I come visit them. I’m blessed they like some of my stories and a few of my jokes. I’m blessed they call me Boppy, Friend and sometimes a smart old man. I’m blessed that when they leave they give me a hug good bye and sometimes ask me to come back soon. I’m blessed to have these great youngsters in my life.
  6. I’m blessed to have hundreds of friends who I get to laugh with, work with, play with, help our community with and care for and who care for me. I’m blessed to have a thriving network of friends in my life.
  7. I’m blessed to have all of the materialistic stuff I need to survive and even thrive in life. I used to say it’s not much, however I am more than thrilled every day of my life that I’m blessed to have far more than I need or deserve in life.
  8. I’m blessed my future is brighter than I ever imagined it could be. I’m blessed that I get to work towards my goals in life and to have so many people on this fabulous journey with me.
  9. I’m blessed my wife and I chose to start a business together and we are exceeding all of our goals as we work together to create this business. I’m blessed to be able to work towards these business goals with my beautiful and loving wife.
  10. I’m blessed to live in a country where I have the freedom to choose my own goals in life, what I want to do and where I want to live and work. I’m blessed to be able to make decisions that can positively influence my future despite all the changes going on in our world.
  11. I’m blessed to be able to learn from others and grow as an individual. I’m blessed by all those in my life I get to learn from.
  12. I’m blessed to be able to help others. My wife and I jointly made the decision in 2010 to give back to our community as much as we possibly can. I’m blessed that this giving has been rewarding and enabled me to meet so many fabulous people who have also helped me in so many ways.
  13. I’m blessed that on this Sunday evening after Thanksgiving 2016 I get to sit back in my living room, watch a little football and scribble down this short list of reasons that remind me every day that I am blessed.

I realize that I am far more blessed than I deserve. I know that many people in my community and in the world are far less fortunate than I am.

I ask God every day to help me to do what I can to help others knowing that only when I give can I receive. I know giving is important and being able what I can is not a requirement or a responsibility to me. Rather giving back to others is a life purpose and a blessing for me.

I am blessed. Thank you God for all of my blessings.

Holding the flashlight

Holding the flashlightUpdated story

I recently heard a speaker say this, “I hated holding the flashlight for my Dad.”

The speaker continued on with his perspective of this simple little task. He told how as a little boy his Dad always asked him to hold the flashlight while working on various tasks that needed just a little more light.  Fixing a blown fuse, a broken light fixture, switch or something on the old Plymouth. What he remembers the most was when, (not if) the beam of light drifted from the work area, his Dad would snort which alerted this young man to pull the flashlight back into position. He hated doing this.

I remember these days as well.

As a youngster in the mid 1960s & ’70s I held the flashlight and did many other simple tasks for my Dad.

I carried and fetched tools, pulled weeds, dug holes, filled holes, used a sickle, swept the shop floor, wire brushed the spots Dad welded, stuck welding rods in the holder (I was always scared I would get shocked), siphoned gasoline, sanded the wood & metal projects, washed the cars, washed engine parts in gasoline, hauled fuel oil for the furnace, scrapped paint, held pieces of metal and wood as my Dad cut them, welded nailed or glued them together, washed his truck, scrubbed the tires, planted potatoes (eyes up) and pulled electrical wire through conduit. These are just a few of the little tasks that I did with my Dad as a child and young adult. Often as I did these and many other tedious tasks, my Dad stood watching and coaching me on how to do them right.

Back then I was not always happy doing that stuff.

Today, I appreciate that I got to do them for a couple big reasons:

  1. I learned by watching my Dad. I learned to do electrical work, welding, gardening, plumbing, word working and lots more stuff.  I learned a lot.  Today I can do all of these things myself. Not only has this save me lots of money as I raised my own family, I also enjoy doing these things.
  2. I learned patience, attention to detail and doing things right.  Dad was a stickler to doing it right the first time. No cutting corners or doing anything just to get it done. Do it right, or don’t do it is what I learned from my Dad.

When my girls where home I had them hold the flashlight for me. I snorted at them just a little bit when the beam of light fell away from the work area and they pulled the flashlight back into place.  I hope they learned as much from me as I learned from my Dad.

Who is holding your flashlight and are they learning from you?

Happy Fathers Day Dad. I love you and treasure the days of holding the flashlight.

Top 10 Rules of Grandfather Club

A good friend of mine joined the GrandFathers Club this week.

This club has a specific set of rules that must be followed

I have never failed following them myself.

I sent my friend these rules so that he will be fully prepared as a new member of the club.

I’m sure he will be fine and actually like following these rules.

The rules of this club are fairly straightforward and quite easy to follow:
  1. You must change the background picture of your cellPhone to a picture of the boys
  2. You must tease them about their mother and all the funny baby stuff she did
  3. You must train them to be just like you so that their mother will have to say, “Stop being like your grandfather”
  4. You must teach them all the dumb jokes that your ancestors have said over the past 100 years. (mine is “Rooster, Hen, Pullet”)
  5. You must be able to fall asleep in any chair in the house with one or both of the boys on your lap or chest (recliners work best)
  6. You must be ready to watch SpongeBob Square Pants, Dora the Explorer and any of the new cartoons that kids love to watch today
  7. You must want to eat and share candy, popcorn, ice cream, cookies and cookie dough with the boys, even at 7am in the morning, despite what their mother says (this may have to wait a few months)
  8. You must be willing to stop at a McDonalds, Wendys or Burger King and get 3 Kids Meals at a moments notice. Yes – you get a Kids Toy too (again, a few months from now.)
  9. You must be acceptable of going to work, church, board meeting or Rotary with a little baby exhaust on your suit coat
  10. You must be able to smile like a crazy man any time someone asks you “What’s going on?” Because now you get to say, “I’m a Grandfather!”
These rules are very easy to follow.

Thank you Everyone who made this HAPPEN

This Saturday I had the privilege of “marry off” another of my daughters to a great guy.

We started our celebrations on Friday and a whole bunch of great people helped us make it all happen.

This is a thank you to all who helped make the celebrations Great  & Fabulous!

Rachel, the Bride who is one of the infamous Myrtles, had been planning her own wedding for well over 20 years. She arranged all of the support staff and put together a flawless task list and itinerary. The last few months have been non-stop planning, ordering and arranging for a great team of outsourced service providers. (big words huh?) You did a great job Rachel – thanks

Sid, the Groom and now a member of Boppy’s Stable of Stallions, did as a groom should. He managed his grooms men and gladly did everything that Rachel asked him to do with no disagreements. He never showed any signs of stress or fatigue thru out the weekend. Good work Sid.

Rebecca (aka Bum), my beautiful wife (of nearly 35 years) executed said tasks list and  itinerary thru lots of hard work and staff management. We all knew our roles and tasks. She toughed thru the little bit of itinerary & service chaos and made rapid fire plan changing decisions like a pro. I love you babe!

The other 3 Myrtles (daughters) pitched in on all of the tasks with nary a worry or concern. From the planning & setup phase all the way thru locking the door at the hall. I love you girls.

Marc, another member of the Stable of Stallions, orchestrated a fantastic meal, far better than expected or requested. This guy loves to plan, prepare and deliver fabulous food. He does it with a big smile and a still manages to play Dad to the needy nearly 2yr & 3yr olds boys. Thanks for all you did Marc.

Oscar, yet another member of the Stable of Stallions, managed lots of logistics and made sure the right stuff was in the right place at the right time. If anyone needed something he would jump in and help out. Even make a 120 mile round trip late night drive to the airport to pickup a family friend or chase ibuprofen to squelch a headache. Oscar also pitched in on the rehearsal dinner as the rest of of us rehearsed. You are the Man Oscar!

Francie & Alan, my sister & brother (in laws) and their group took care of lots of stuff at both the rehearsal party & wedding reception. They were instrumental in making lots of tedious tasks go bye-bye. They never asked what we wanted them to do, they just jumped in and made it happen. You guys are great – Thanks

Tony, a fantastic family friend joined us early in the day and turned on dimes as we asked him to take care of this, then that, and then back to something else all day long. You’re a good Friend Tony! Thanks

Gary Whitehurst put the jingle in the event. He spun the vinyls and disks that we needed to sing, dance and have a Freakin Great Time! He never missed a beat and smiled the entire night. Thanks Gary – We really appreciate you.

Thanks a bunch for the great images captured by Megan Summers Photography at the Rehearsal party – Lots of great kid pics, laughing and playing all evening. Thanks Megan.

The professional photography team from Carmon Leigh Photography worked non stop at the scripted and impromptu pics during the wedding. These ladies were a blast to work with.

Jessica, our delightful and capable bartender managed the bar effectively with a constant smile. We are so glad we added you to the team Jessica.

Michael Trivette, Big Bro to Sid and the best man, was there at every move to offer any and all help we either needed or asked for. He was a lot of fun to work with as well. He never stopped helping us even beyond the event when we left items behind that needed to be dealt with. I really enjoyed getting to know you Michael. Thanks for all you did.

Brittany Mitchell used her imagination, artistic flair and fabulous baking experiences to create a beautiful & tasty wedding cake. She had her husband, Tommy & her Dad help her deliver and setup the cake. You guys are the best!

The florist arranged beautiful flowers, corsage & butineers and worked hard to help us deal with just a few snafus that occur with these things. Thanks for your help.

Matt Capps, a long time family friend and Associate Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, provided both an enjoyable and loving God filled ceremony. Few ministers will spend the time and effort that Matt did to get to know the Bride & Groom in order to really share a memorable and meaningful ceremony. Thanks Matt, (Laura & Sol).

The bridesmaids, my girls and dear family friends, were beautiful and fully engaged in making this wedding a fantastic and spirited even.

The grooms men are not only loving friends and family, but a lively addition to the celebration. These guys know how to party and have each other’s back thru life. Good People – thanks guys!

My inlaws, Ray & Reva were non stop in their involvement and engagement with everyone.  Thanks folks.

Lesha & Sidney, (Sids Mom & Dad) were a pleasure to get together this weekend and thanks for Sid.

Jackie Gold – thanks for the quick publishing of impromptu event pics – It was a blast to meet you and your family.

Thanks to the many other great folks who attended & participated and got involved in the celebration.

I am sure I am missing some individuals, please forgive me. I will thank you in person soon for all you did to help us with this
celebration.

Being the Dad of 4 beautiful, loving and spirited women is a blessing. You can’t be an average kind of guy and marry one of my girls.

I now have three powerful, dynamic, fantastic son-in-laws. My Stable of Stallions continues to grow. I’m a blessed and proud Dad.

I end this post with a confirmation for myself.

I am blessed beyond what any Dad would expect.

Thank you God.

A good view

I rode down I-40 into Winston-Salem this morning. Not much different than most mornings, except for the view and the thoughts that were bouncing around in my head.

Most mornings I ride into a beautiful sunrise, today was not much different. I love riding into the sunrise. I generally will say out loud, “Thank you for this day God – please help me to make the most of it for you and for me.” Of course, at 70 miles per hour, the only one who hears me say this is myself, and hopefully God.

This morning the view was a little different, my wife (affectionately called Bum) was driving her car just in front of me.

It’s not a long trip from Advance to Winston-Salem, maybe 15 minutes. But driving into the sunrise with Bum driving in front of me made my mind wander differently than most mornings.

My mind drifted from the normal “what am I going to do today” to “My life”. It was a great ride.

I smiled as I thought about all that I have that makes my life good. The relationship I have with Bum and all of the things we have done together.

As I came upon the split where Bum goes to the left and I go to the right, my mind was all over the future that we have together. The plans that we have for ourselves, our family and the people in our life.

I sped up a little before I hit the split so I could wave at Bum. I know, go ahead and yell at me, but it was important for me to wave at my wife and see her smile as we hit the split.

This was a better ride into the work day than any other day.

Thanks Babe.

 

Public or Parochial School

In 1997 we moved from Maryland to North Carolina. It was a tumultuous time and very difficult on my wife and four daughters. I’ll write more about this later. Today I want to share the story of choosing a 9th grade school for our oldest daughter who was 14 at the time.

Jessie had been in a very good school in Maryland.  She’s a very smart girl and was taking classes a grade higher than most of her class.  When we moved to NC the public school system in Davie County was having a hard time figuring out where to put her. After many constructive and a few un-constructive conversations with the counselors at Davie High School we decided to try some other options.

We looked at a few of the private schools nearby, but being a single (low) income family, we decided that they were outside of our budget.

I got the bright idea that we should try Gospel Light Christian School in Walkertown NC. It was about 20 miles away, but the commute could be tolerated. My wife and daughter were not excited about the idea. They tried to convince me this was not an option because we were not Independent Southern Baptist and would never be Independent Southern Baptist. They were sure that this was a mistake, but agreed to go with me just the same.

I called the school and arranged for us to come by bright and early on a Monday morning. We arrived at about the same time all of the students were arriving.  All of the boys had on khaki pants and long sleeve white shirts, many had ties on. All of the girls wore ankle length skirts and long sleeve high collared blouses. Very few had on bright clothes. This created angst with my wife and daughter, who was dressed in jeans and some type of designed t-shirt. My wife was wearing pants and a bright shirt. They immediately commented that we stood out like sore thumb.

We walked into the school and were greeted by a very nice lady, again in an ankle length skirt and totally covering blouse. Her hair was up in a bun, just like you would expect some older teachers to wear theirs.  She escorted us to a room where the “Head Master” waited for us.

He greeted us at the door with, “Hello Mr & Mrs. Burriss, welcome to our school. Come in.” He didn’t even acknowledge our daughter.

He walked around his big desk and sat down as we seated ourselves in three chairs in front of his desk. He was expecting us.

He immediately went into the history of the school and the beliefs of the church. He rambled on about the graduation rates and successes of some of their students. He spent an inordinate amount of time sharing with us the beliefs of the church.

Now, it’s important to know that my wife is the boss when it comes to our children’s education, what she says goes and she wants to make sure all of our children get the best education. Therefore, she had lots of questions for the headmaster.

Each time she asked a question the headmaster would look at me and answer to me as if I asked the question. Each interaction he had with us was directed towards me. I’m not the smartest tool in the shed, but I quickly noticed this and as quickly I noticed the unhappiness building up in my wife. Not only did I feel this was rude, but it was also very disrespectful to my wife.

At one point I asked Jessie if she had any questions for the headmaster. I can’t recall if she did, but it would not have made much difference. The headmaster had totally ignored her and likely would have treated her with the same disrespect as he gave my wife.

I would have thought that he would have wanted to engage her in some conversation, maybe ask her some questions about her previous school or tell her about some of the great things going on at Gospel Light Christian School. Maybe, just maybe, try to get her eager to want to go to their school. But no, he totally ignored her and focused all of his conversation directly at me.

Now, I don’t recall what the big tipping point was, but between my wife and I we figured out in short order that, yeah, my wife was right. This was not going to work.

The headmaster did not want to communicate with my wife or daughter at all. It was obvious to me that he, and likely the religious beliefs of this school/church, were that men were in charge and women held no authority at all. Yep, this was not going to work for our family.

In some ways I felt that the headmaster had judged us as Yankees and really did not want our daughter in his school.

I do recall that once this clicked for me, I told the headmaster that we decided that this school would not work for us.

Here was the final confirmation for us, he said, “Yes, I can see that this will not be a fit for any of us.”

Wow – If I were not a Christian I would likely have responded in an ugly way.  I decided to just leave with a polite good bye, turned my back to his extended hand shake request and walked out of the room with my wife and daughter in front of me.

As we walked out to the car I got to hear what I hear over and over again, “I told you so,” as my wife sneered at me with that look of unhappiness. I apologized with, “I know, that was a big mistake.”

I agreed and never brought up the idea of a church school again.

To this day I try not to bring this story up with my wife and daughters. They just shake their heads and look at me with that sneer.

 

Is it dead Dad?

Years ago we built a beautiful home on a 3 acre lot in Maryland. There were trees in the front of the lot, a long drive way up a hill to the house. It was a great place because we were nearly the highest lot in the community. Regardless of which direction we looked, we could see for miles and it was a grand view.

We put a small vegetable garden back behind the house where we all had fun growing gourds, tomatoes, peppers and squash, lots of squash. We spent lots of time working our garden and loved the vegetables and the gourds we got from it.

The far side of the lot dropped down to a fence row that separated our lot from a railroad track. Periodically a long noisy train would rumble up the track.

We planted three rows of pine trees on the hill down to the tracks. Eventually they would grow tall enough to reduce some of the train noise and a lot of the wind that blew up that hill.

It was a great place to raise our 4 daughters.

There was lots of wildlife on this lot. We got to see an occasional fox, wild turkey and even a few loose horses. We experienced black snakes and squirrels and lots of rabbits. Really, lots of rabbits.

However, there was one animal that we had far too many of. These were the ground hogs. The wooded area of the lot was filled with tunnels that the ground hogs made.  The ground was always soft and I was having a hard time getting grass to grow anywhere around that area.

Every spring a new group of baby ground hogs were born. At times it was cute to watch them frolic on the lot. However, the cuteness wore off pretty quickly. We had four daughters who loved to play in the woods; however they were afraid of the ground hogs. This made the front area of the lot less enjoyable for all of us.

We had a family dog that did not like other wildlife on our lot. Fortunately we had an invisible fence installed that kept the dog from the wooded area where the ground hogs were. However, periodically a ground hog would come up the hill towards the house and get into the area where our dog was.  I’m going to try to keep this story PG-13, so let me just tell you, once our dog caught a ground hog, regardless of the size, after a pretty tough fight and a lot of noise, it would be all over.  More often than not, there would be nothing left of that ground hog.

It seemed to me that ground hogs are not very smart, and they don’t learn from the mistakes of other ground hogs, because every summer this happened on a weekly basis. At one point we thought the dog needed to go on a diet. So we cut back on the dog food.  He didn’t need us to feed him anyway.

One Saturday afternoon we were playing out front. We were tossing around a Frisbee and having a good time.  A couple of times one of us would throw the Frisbee too hard and it would fall near the trees and one of the burrows where the ground hogs were.

I was charged with fetching the Frisbee because no one else would go near the ground hogs.  Each time I ran down to get the Frisbee I would pick up a rock out of the driveway and toss it at the ground hogs to chase them away. It didn’t work.  The rock would hit the ground near them and it didn’t faze them in the slightest. Dumb ground hogs.

My wife and our four daughters were having a great time running around, taking turns trying to catch the Frisbee and laughing at me each time I tossed a rock at the ground hogs.

With one mis-throw of the Frisbee our game came to an abrupt end. The Frisbee landed near one of the tunnel openings and a small ground hog came out of the hole and stood up on it’s back legs. I picked up a small rock and this time, with great deliberate aim, I tossed it as hard as I could directly at it’s little head.

BAM! – I hit the ground hog dead-center of it’s head.

It fell down and never moved again.

Everyone stopped and no one said a word.

I looked at my wife, her mouth was open. Both of us were astounded at the fact that I hit it this time and that it appears that I had killed it. Worse than all of that, I just killed one of God’s creatures in front of all four pre-teen daughters.

Then the questions started, “Dad is it dead?”, “Dad you killed it”, “Dad – why did you kill it?”, “DAD IS IT DEAD?”

Then from my wife – “TEDDY BURRISS – you killed it!”

Leave it to me to teach my daughters lots of life lessons, I’m generally proud of this. But, some lessons are hard to learn, and some are really not much fun to teach.

Afterwards I tried to cover up the death of the ground hog with a bogus statement, “It’s unconscious, I’ll put it down by the railroad tracks and it’ll wake up later.” I’m sure my daughters were smarter than this. I felt good trying though.

I met four new families today

My wife and I had to run to the local shopping mall this afternoon.  It was packed. I had to search hard just to find a parking space.

After we parked and got out of the car, and as we headed into the mall, I met 4 families.

They are all very active, with kids, pets and they all ride around in big SUVs to get their familie from point A to point B.

One of the families has a Dad who loves to fish, one family’s Dad plays golf and another family’s Dad loves to Sing & Dance

The fourth family did not have a Dad.

The family with the golfing Dad has one dog and three cats.  The Mom likes to shop, the oldest girl plays soccer and the little girl likes softball.

The fishing Dad is still married. They have 2 daughters, a baby boy and a puppy.  They drive a Ford Mini Van.

The family without a Dad has two girls and one boy.  I think the boy is the oldest of the kids. The Mommy is really cute.

The family with the singing Dad has two girls and two boys. They are really religious. The girls have pig tails and the little boys wear baseball caps.

Let me introduce you to them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good people.  I’m glad I could introduce you to them.