Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Sarah Palin is Going Rogue, so I've decided to Go Bobcat. To be a writer it takes courage to write what you believe, regardless if it offends anyone. Consider this an "op-ed" piece; if you don't agree, that is perfectly fine. We live in the beautiful nation of the USA and can enjoy freedom of speech. Isn't that grand?

Today, let's talk about IMMIGRATION.

I am pretty knowledgeable about how our country was founded. People came from all over to pioneer a new life in the untamed land, now known at the United States of America. We were born from men and women who wanted something better...something more. They hungered for freedoms not allowed under certain monarchies or governments. They longed to be free from tyrants and to be in charge of their own destiny rather than be told their lot in life by a few elite and privileged. Can you imagine leaving your homeland to set up your life in a new land? Courageous. And although our nation isn't but just a babe compared to others, we have expanded and grown from coast to coast, border to border. We are ripe with people living as Americans who came from all over the world to enjoy the freedom and "American Dream".

Because of our amazing history, the US has become the world-wide example of freedom, democracy and hope. Some hate us for that, but that's a different conversation for another time. I'm focusing on those who like what we stand for. We help countries all over the world build democracies and governments based on our admired principles. We even fight battles and shed blood in other countries to help them achieve a status of democracy that respects their customs and beliefs. We urge countries to use our system as a model to build their governments - ggovernments that are for the people by the people...it gives them an ideal to live out their own dream in their own country. Not every country agrees with this approach and because of that, there are people who want to come to the US because they have hope it's going to be better here than where they are.

It's fairly obvious why we have so many people who want to come to America to begin anew. And it should come as no shock that people will come into our country no matter what it takes, even if it is to enter our borders illegally. Some are fueled by desperation and come illegally hoping to get away from their life. Some come without the intention of staying. They just want to work and earn money to raise their family in their homeland; they figure why go through the hoops of becoming a legal US citizen when they are only here for work and leaving when the work ends. Some use our county to transfer drugs and people across borders, which probably equates to big money for them. This would be classified as a double whammy - illegal activity being carried out by people in our country illegally.

Let me just say loud and clear: I am NOT against immigration. OK? Let me say it again: I AM NOT AGAINST IMMIGRATION. Got it? I am proud to be an American and can totally understand and support why people want to become Americans. I can share this great nation with others. And I truly respect those who have come here legally to live or to work. Our nation needs you to make us who we are. That is our history, our heritage, our belief.

What I am against is ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. I'm against anything illegal, but I am truly and passionately against ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. Got it? Are we clear? I'm against people coming into the US to live and work without going through the proper channels. I don't care where they come from or what their circumstances are. There isn't an excuse to break the law, especially since we (the US) are happy to have them here. We just need to know who they are, why they are here, how long they are staying. If they are staying long-term, we expect them to start the process of becoming a citizen or be documented under a legal status. Of course this all rests on whether they happen to be legitimate vs. a fugitive or terrorist, in which case we would make a few phone calls and send them back to face the music in their own country. Those things aside, c'mon in. Welcome to America. If people have nothing to hide and just want to relocate to the US, our government asking questions and having documentation on these folks shouldn't be a problem. People do it all the time - LEGALLY.

I applaud states like Arizona for finally standing up and saying "We've had enough!" Waiting for the federal government to make clearer and stricter immigration laws got them no where and they now face a staggering illegal immigration problem. In fact, waiting got Arizona increased crime, homicides, drug trafficking and fiscal nightmares, which can be linked directly back to illegal immigrants coming into their state. (Of course they would have some of those problems anyway, but the increased problems are a direct result of a lack of strong federal laws and enforcement prohibiting illegal immigration.) Of course an officer of the LAW should be able to ask anyone - me included - if they are in their state or the US legally. Again, if you have nothing to hide, what is the big deal? If you are here legally you would be proud to show it because you went through the proper channels and earned your legal status.

The issue of racial profiling - especially now in Arizona due to their new law - seems to be at the forefront of concern and what the media plays up. Racial profiling is wrong. Period. I don't agree with it. I do see this being a big gray area where it could be an issue through abuse of power, particularly in cases regarding illegal immigration or terrorism. However, I must say again, if you have nothing to hide, what is the big deal? You want to be in the US, this is how we conduct business. Officers of the law in any state are given the duty to uphold the law. It's their JOB. It's not to uphold just the laws that won't offend anyone or hurt any one's feelings. They must uphold ALL laws. If someone is suspected (suspicious!) of being illegal, officers in Arizona can ask to see proof of their status. Isn't that fair to those of us who ARE in the US legally? Isn't that what we WANT from our law enforcement? Enforcement?

I see clip after clip on the tv news shows about people crying...sobbing....because they are worried about their family members being profiled in Arizona because of the new law. We've probably all seen or heard about the demonstrations against racial profiling. (Keep in mind other countries have laws against demonstrations, especially when you are an illegal immigrant demonstrating...but we allow it in the US.) Turning the law in Arizona - designed to enforce the legal immigration issue - into a race issue is an example in ignorance. This is a law to stop illegal activity. I wonder if these same people would be upset if a someone were to ask for their driver's license or ID/papers going through security at the airport? Would these same people happily hand over their ID to the clerk at the 7-11 to confirm their legal age to buy beer? If you are breaking the law, you are breaking the law no matter what the law and no matter what your racial background. Let's try some comparisons. If someone of a specific race stole your car or robbed a bank or killed your mom, wouldn't you want them held accountable no matter their racial background? And to find that person, maybe there is a line-up at the police station of 7 people who all look similar. A witness could pick the law breaker out and secure justice for the death of your mom...but since the people in the line-up all look similar, is that racial profiling? Should we toss out an integral part of using eye witnesses to crimes just because they might pull in 7 people who look the same (one of which might be guilty!)?

It's time to whip out the old cliche. If you don't like the concept - our concept in the United States of America - of having laws and people in place to uphold the laws, then go somewhere else. Go anywhere else. Just go away. I'm sick and tired of hearing you whine that you want to be here and then whine when you or someone you know is being punished for breaking one of our laws. And while you're at it, go ahead and try illegally entering the new country you've chosen to live. See how they treat you if you are breaking their illegal immigration laws. I guarantee if you bother to research immigration laws in other countries you will find they are extremely harsh.

While I'm calling people out, I also want to comment on 60 Minutes regarding a story aired on May 2nd (2010) about the deaths occurring when people try to cross an irrigation canal to get into the US illegally. I don't have a problem with 60 Minutes airing the story. I have a problem with some of the people interviewed. Over 500 unidentified people - illegal immigrant wannabes - are buried by the canal because they drowned trying to cross the canal. There's an argument now how the state of California should put ladders and safety lines in the canal so people can get out safely.

Are you kidding me? It's an IRRIGATION canal, not a means for transportation, recreation or ILLEGAL activity. It's clearly posted - in TWO languages - that the canal is dangerous and not for swimming. I guess it should also say - in two languages - "Not to be used for illegal immigration - you might die." One woman - a legal immigrant to the US from Germany (at least she did that part right) - who was interviewed for the show had married an illegal immigrant, had a child and was living the "American" dream. Her husband was working construction and it was discovered he was in the US illegally so he was deported back to his country. (In other words, the law was being upheld.) He tried to re-enter the US illegally via the canal not once, not twice, but THREE times. He drowned on this third attempt. His wife completely blamed the death on the lack of ladders or safety measures in place to get people out of the canal should they get in. Now wait a minute...does anyone else out there see anything wrong with this picture?

First, he was in the US ILLEGALLY from the beginning. BREAKING THE LAW. Second, after he was married (or heck, even before!) why didn't he begin going through the proper channels to become a LEGAL citizen or have legal status to be in the US? Why didn't he do it for his wife? And why not after his child was born? He had plenty of opportunities to make his situation legal. (It amazes me he was even allowed a marriage license...how does that work?) Third, when he got deported why in the world didn't the wife go to his country and try to help sort it out from there? And if he wasn't going to be allowed back into the US, I guess she would have had some tough choices to make...divorce...stay in his country and live there...live in the US and visit her husband in his country... Yeah, none of these is a good solution, but we don't make good solutions to problems caused by BREAKING THE LAW. And why in God's name (and believe me, I've asked Him about this) did the guy keep trying to cross the canal - ILLEGALLY - when he didn't succeed the first time? Or the second? I get he was desperate to get back to his family and his job, but didn't he understand the risk? If he died, he wouldn't be around anymore - legally or illegally - for anyone? And now he's dead.

I'm not a cold-hearted bitch. Really. Yes, it's sad he died. And it's sad all the other people died who tried to cross that canal. But, just because something is sad or tragic, doesn't make it right...or LEGAL. And when those people wanted to enter the US illegally, they signed up for the "this is risky and could get me into trouble or kill me" life plan. And life is about choices...they made theirs.

Some how, some way this has got to stop. I certainly don't have the answers, but I certainly know legal from illegal. If someone breaks a law, they must be punished. And if someone breaks a law and dies doing it - while tragic - that is what can happen when you break a law. Let's compare the deaths at the canal to other situations. Wouldn't it be the same as speeding in your vehicle and causing a horrendous crash with casualties? Isn't it the same as driving while intoxicated and crashing your car into a brick wall and dying on impact? Or how about someone taking hostages and getting killed by a sharp shooter to save those hostages? How about a homeowner legally possessing a firearm (under the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution, thank you very much!) shooting an intruder dead to protect his family? Isn't this the same thing as dying while trying to enter our country illegally? Breaking the law - ANY law - can result in death. That's just life.

I can understand how people can be so miserable and desperate they are willing to break the law to get to the US. We are the strongest nation in the world, built on freedoms many don't have in some other countries. I get it. I live here and so I understand why some people want to get away from their situation and start fresh here. And I love that about our country. We are a rich, diverse population and we encourage immigration. I totally agree with that opportunity for others. Coming here illegally, however, no matter what your circumstances, is still breaking the law and punishable. Our legal system was put into place taking peace, democracy and human rights into consideration. I find it ironic people entering here illegally want to be here, but can't respect our laws and legal system. You cannot have it both ways. I don't like every law either, but I follow them because I'm an American and this is the way it is done in America. If I break them, I fully expect to be punished. If you enter here illegally, expect to be punished or maybe even die. If you choose to enter here illegally, it was your choice and you have to live with the consequences. Follow the law, gain legal status and reap the benefits of our great nation. We'll work with you through the system. When you're legal, we'll welcome you with open arms.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Legend of Bobcat Part II...

It's been forever since I started this blog and I left you hanging with only posting the first part of the story about how I am now "Bobcat". So, here is Part II. And thanks to my followers for sticking with me!

So there I was, working at Starbucks. I was a shift supervisor and that translated to being in charge of the staff for the duration of each shift. I was responsible for making sure everyone knew what they were supposed to do and when they could go on breaks or clock out. I was also responsible for handling customer complaints. This particular morning it was fairly busy during our usual rush and I was helping in the drive-thru, making drinks and taking orders. In other words, I was in tune to what was going on in the whole store, but focused mainly on the drive-thru. I didn't ever worry about things falling apart because the morning crew was amazing. The two people I had working at the front counter and bar were perfectly capable of handling all the customers coming into the store, while the rest of us worked in drive. It was actually a very mundane, as usual type of day. Well...until HE came in.

I was pulled from my rhythm of drink-making with a shrill "Temple I need you!" coming from the front. I figured it was an over-flowing coffee urn, or a huge line, or a bar that wasn't working. You know, the usual stuff. I lookedd over my shoulder to see my co-worker, Kelly, at the front register with a male customer standing at the counter. She had a look of fear, anger and questioning on her face. Odd. I shrugged.

"What do you need, Kel?" I said as I turned back to my bar to work on another drive-thru drink.

"I need YOU. Here. Now!" Kelly's urgent request brought me up short. Something was wrong. Really wrong. I turned the bar over to one of the other barista's and walked over to the counter.

"What's up?" I smiled at both Kelly and the customer, whom I hadn't taken a good look at up to this point. I wanted Kelly to explain the situation and then I would focus on the customer. It was obvious something out of the ordinary was going on.

"THIS CUSTOMER IS STEALING OUR TIPS!" Kelly's anger was in full throttle now; she wasn't holding anything back. I did a head shake, like I wasn't sure I heard her correctly. So not what I expected to hear.

As I said "What?" I turned and sure enough, the man at the counter had our tip jar in one hand and a crumpled wad of bills in the other. Nice. Why did this shit always happen on MY shift. I immediately was not impressed with this sweaty little man.

Straining to maintain my composure, I asked the customer what he was doing with our tips in his hand. I really wasn't sure what to do, but I was having an out of body type of experience. On one hand, I felt like I shouldn't be challenging this person because he could be armed. But, there was another part of me that wasn't going to let this customer - this THIEF! - get away with our hard earned tips. Not on my watch!

He actually had the gall to look at me and reply, "I need the money."

Really? REALLY. Are you kidding me? If I didn't say those words out loud I certainly thought them. What a jerk!

A sense of deep anger started to crawl over me. It started in my stomach and crept its way up my spine and then over my head to my eyes, cheeks and mouth. I clenched my fists and leaned over the counter to get eye to eye with this freakin' amazingly ballsy guy. And then I transformed into something different. A person I'd never been before. I was going to get the tips back and kick this guys ass before he knew what hit him. I was MAD.

"Oh really. You really need the money." I responded in a sarcastic tone, not caring to hear any of his excuses. The baristas worked hard for those tips - sometimes a penny at a time - and THEY needed the money, too. And they earned it!

"Well, these hard working individuals need the money, too, buddy, and it belongs to them. PUT. IT. BACK. NOW."

He stared at me and my unblinking stare bore into his pupils. He seemed to hesitate, trying to plan his next move. I knew at this point he wasn't armed and I looked hard at him with a clear message in my eyes. Don't MAKE me come over there. I was so irate I could have put him down and held him there until the police came.

He didn't speak English very well and fumbled about trying to explain he needed to get on the bus, pointing toward the bus stop. Now, some may think this is cold, but I didn't care if he needed a lung transplant, let alone bus fare. This wasn't his money and this was robbery. He wasn't getting that money.

"I don't really care what your excuse is. You are stealing and there are a lot of people witnessing you do it. Give back the money or I will come around the counter and escort you out of the store while my co-workers call the cops to come pick you up stealing. It's your choice and you are going to make it right now. I'm not kidding."

I still couldn't believe what was coming out of my mouth, but I liked it. I was bold and confident, maintaining my calm. I actually think for the first time in my life, I was intimidating! It was obvious, of course, I was furious, but my voice remained steady. There was no doubt in my mind this man was going to cooperate, either by his choosing or my doing it for him.

He stood there for what seemed like a long time, although it was probably less than a minute. Again I said to put the tip jar and money back and reminded him it wasn't his money and it belonged to those who earned it, with an emphasis on EARNED.

I began to notice three or four customers watching on the fringes of the store and the other baristas watching me, too. Without even looking, I could sense there was an overwhelming "way to go sistah!" mood in the air.

He suddenly slammed the tip jar down on the counter, stuffed the bills back into it, and started yelling at me in a foreign language. I immediately grabbed the tip jar and handed it off to Kelly.

"Now you can leave the store. And don't ever come back. If you do I'll call the cops on you." I was still empowered with this sense of super-human ability. He cussed at me, but walked out the door. Whew. The tips - and all of us! - were safe. Thank the good Lord above.

My fellow baristas cheered and laughed, adrenaline flowing through their veins. We all babbled at the same time about what had just transpired. The customers laughed and congratulated me on my toughness. What was so cool about it was I didn't feel shakey or ready to burst into tears. I felt empowered and confident. I was high on the rush of maintaining control and putting a situation right. Pretty heady stuff for sure.

I laughed it off, telling my baristas we needed to get back to work. All morning, though, we talked about the experience and how it upset us that someone would just come in and attempt to steal right in front of us. The moral question, of course, came up about whether he needed the money more than we did. My take on it was that even if he did, stealing is against the law. If he needed money he could have asked. Lord knows we'd had our share of folks begging for spare change in the parking lot over the years. And in the past, people who have come in asking for a sample of coffee or a drink of water, obviously in a situation of needing money, usually found themselves with baristas and customers asking if they needed anything. To barge into a business and so matter-of-factly tell us he was taking the money because he needed it was not good enough for me. It was wrong. He's lucky we didn't call the cops to scare the crap out of him and trespass him out of our store. I didn't think it needed to go that far - hell, I do have a heart. But, if you let stuff like this go, then you become marked. Other "needy" people come and steal your tips because they've heard you're soft and unprepared to deal with them. Not so at this little Starbucks on the corner of Craig and Losee. Not on my watch, anyway.

So as the day progressed, other baristas came on to their shifts and everyone was talking about what had gone on earlier. One of my fellow Bux employees - Mike - asked me just what in the world was going through my mind when I stood up to this man.

"Mike, I don't know what came over me. I was just so pissed he was going to take our tips. I know what goes into earning those tips and it just seemed so unfair. I just wanted to go all..." {insert author's note...I meant to use a word like mama bear or wild or crazy or spider monkey, however this is what came out of my mouth and to this day I don't why} BOBCAT on him!"

"Bobcat? What the hell? Bobcat? What does that mean, Temple?!" Mike was laughing so hard he was bending over and when he stood up his eyes sparkled with merriment. "Bobcat, huh?"

I was laughing too, realizing what a silly word that was to use. I tried to backtrack and explain I wanted to be ferocious and I felt like a mama bear protecting her cubs, but no matter what I said, he kept repeating the word Bobcat.


Ok, so that wasn't exactly what I was going for all those years ago when I craved a nickname. And of course, when I least expected it, here I was in my late 30's blessed with a nickname that stuck. And it was Bobcat. Who would hav ever dreamt?

But, you know what? I'm a-ok with that. Bobcat represents a moment in time I stood up for myself and my fellow baristas and enforced the law as a citizen. I wasn't scared or embarrassed either. I did it. I saved our tips. You know what else? That man never came back into the store after that. I had done something to protect our money and show we were not going to sucker under to thieves, unless they were armed, of course. I felt like I had an alter ego with Bobcat.

I haven't worked at Starbucks for a while now, but every time I go into the store, especially if Mike is there, I get called Bobcat. I love it - it makes me feel like I am part of a cozy family who experienced something together that tightened our bonds even more. Heck, even my friends and family call me Bobcat sometimes and use the phrase "going Bobcat" on someone if they are going to rip into them with a vengence. And that is why this is a legend. I may not leave a huge legacy behind me - although I hope I do - but a small part of my life may live on with people I know because when they are faced with having to stand up to someone in an uncomfortable and urgent way, they will think "Bobcat".

So, now you know. I hope it was worth the wait to find out why I am now.........the Legendary.....Bobcat.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

I submitted this story to the Real Simple’s Second-Annual Life Lessons Essay Contest. I didn't win, but would still like to share. Readers were asked to write about the moment in life they became an adult.

As the youngest of three children I was never specifically asked to grow up. Being the “baby” meant my older sister and brother always knew more and did more. I was the smallest, the last to do anything, the one everyone protected. My childhood skipped along with little pressure or responsibility other than the basics. There was always someone older to handle everything. My parents never told me anything that might stress me out, upset me or cause me heartache. Standard operating procedure in my family was my sister knowing the most, my brother knowing a condensed side of the story and me receiving a very watered down, “everything-will-be-ok” version of whatever the issue or tragedy might be. I truly believe I wasn’t grown up until the day it fell to me to be the adult who knew the details and had to pull us all together.

At this point in my life, I was happily married. My siblings had their families and my parents were enjoying life as “empty nesters.” This particular October day, we were all working; a seemingly normal day. When my office phone rang at “that” moment I never imagined it would set in motion a course of events that would transform me.

“This is Temple, how can I help you?”

“Temple this is Mary Beth.”

“Yeah...?” Why in God’s green earth would my aunt be calling me at work? Right away I knew there was something wrong. Really wrong and I didn’t want to know what.

“I’m at the hospital with Grandpa Les. You need to come. It’s urgent. I can’t reach your parents. I’ll meet you out front.”

I was immediately on auto-pilot. I calmly walked into my boss’s office, told him there was an emergency and I had to go. I was frantic inside, but outside managed, somehow, to hold it together.

Grandpa had been in the hospital two weeks prior and of course no one told me anything specific concerning his condition other than it was intestinal in nature. Each time I visited him, he had been tired and weak. I remember feeling heartbroken because he had always been my strong Grandpa. He was a cattleman, horseman, and farmer. He was bigger than life. He had been released to go home a week ago and didn’t that mean he was fine?

My aunt was waiting for me when I arrived at the hospital. She explained Grandpa Les was in the emergency room because of an accident.

“What kind of accident?”

She had hesitated. “Well…Temple…he…well…he …shot himself…in the head.”



She ushered me down the hall and we stopped at a door marked “Family Counseling Room”. I began to feel a darkness coming over me. She described how my uncle had found Grandpa, motionless and shot in the head. I was silent. What was I supposed to say?

She gently pushed me into the waiting room. Grandma Ardy was glassy eyed. The sheriff was there and gave a polite nod. My uncle mumbled they were trying to figure out how serious things were. It was at this moment I realized Grandpa was still alive.

My aunt then explained how they had been trying to reach mom and dad and couldn’t. She instructed that I had to find them and get them to the hospital. Where was my sister, the strong one, the one who knew how to handle these things…the ADULT? She wasn’t answering her phone either. I looked around thinking there had to be someone else – anyone else – to take care of this. I’d never before had to be responsible for anything this enormous.

My throat went dry and it sunk in there was no one but me. I slowly walked out to the nurse in the hallway. “I need a phone and a phone book.”

She walked me back to her office and handed me a box of tissues. “Take all the time you need.”

I sat. My entire body shivered; I was so cold. I called my husband and after finally spitting out what happened, he was on his way to the hospital. I wiped my tears and began to think…hard. And then it hit me. Call my parents’ neighbors. I quickly dialed and was surprised at the calmness of my voice when I explained to Mrs. Ball that Grandpa was in the hospital and if she could see if mom and dad were home. When she confirmed she saw them outside, I asked if she would go tell them to call me. I waited and thought of the irony; I was passing into adulthood as my Grandpa was passing away.

The phone rang. There it was. The moment I passed into adulthood, although at the time I didn't realize it. The weight and seriousness of the situation hit me so hard I almost laughed. I was going to have to be the one to tell my mom her dad shot himself in the head.

So I did. Then I told her to bring dad and my brother. And I hung up.

My shivering became a distraction. I was so cold. But, I had to keep going. It wasn’t about me. My aunt had asked me to do this and I wasn’t going to let anyone – especially Grandpa and Grandma- down. I finally reached my sister. She went from shocked to furious in a matter of seconds. I wasn’t expecting that, but could, for some reason, understand it. I told her to come.

I sat and reflected; I wasn’t going to be the same after this. I walked out and received instructions from the nurse and then waited in the lobby. Not a living soul was in that lobby. I was alone, cold and scared. I longed for my family. My husband came and was the strong shoulder I needed, but when my mom, dad and brother walked in I put on my newly acquired "adultness" and readied myself. I could be strong.

I hugged mom, but she didn’t want to be hugged and pulled away. I explained they were taking Grandpa upstairs to ICU and we were to wait until they settled him in a room. At the end of the hallway I saw him being wheeled out of emergency. He was covered with mounds of blankets and I remember thinking, “Keep his feet covered. It’s so cold in here.”

My aunt, uncle, and Grandma joined us. We looked at each other, dazed, and proceeded upstairs. We headed down a long hall to a private family room. As I walked past the ICU I saw Grandpa’s bed. I couldn’t see him because of all the blankets, but for some reason I paused to make sure his feet were covered up.

When my sister arrived I saw her at the end of the hallway. We locked eyes and for the first time ever, she looked to me for the answers and not the other way around. We strode toward each other, meeting in the middle. Dad came and we clung to one another, trying to hang on to what was, knowing that it wouldn’t ever be again.

Grandma stayed next to Grandpa the entire time. Everyone had their own way of saying goodbye. My mom explained to me what Grandpa looked like so I could be prepared. Another set of details that were for adult ears only. I chose not to see him. Throughout the day, the rest of my family was filled in on the details. Half-hearted attempts were made to talk about something we knew nothing about... suicide.

They pulled my Grandpa Les off life support in the late afternoon. After, we all walked out together, lingering in the parking lot with nothing to say, but not wanting to leave one another. After hugs and mumblings, my aunt and uncle took Grandma home. The rest of us went to have a sandwich. It seems odd we went out to eat, but we didn’t know what else to do. We were all new at this, trying to decipher what had happened. We were all in on the details, including me, and it left us aching and confused.

Over the next several days I explained to people what happened. The enormity of it was almost suffocating. Some voiced suicide was a sin, selfish and shameful. I struggled with what I had been taught versus what I had witnessed the day Grandpa died. He lived a successful and respectable life. I just couldn’t believe he wasn’t with God. With this belief and being there first-hand, I was left with a new understanding of what it meant to be an adult. Did I want to be this new adult? I had doubts. Still, I had grown up that day whether I wanted to or not. I am thankful for what I learned from Grandpa’s suicide. Being adult means facing difficult and real situations and trying to maneuver through them. He taught me that life’s experiences aren’t always easy or pleasant, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth having.

*Copyright 2009 by Temple Kinyon*

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Legend of Bobcat, Part I

As a kid I always thought it would be neat to have a nickname. I don't know why I had a fascination with nicknames. Maybe it was because I wanted to be noticed or different. I do remember I didn't like my first name when I was younger, so maybe I thought a nickname would replace my first name, like it did for my Grandpa. I thought it was really cool that my Grandpa Andy wasn't even named Andy; people just called him that because of his last name. And he had been called Andy forever! Only his close friends and family knew his real name. Hell, I didn't even know his real name until I was probably 5 or 6 years old. I wanted to have a nickname like my Grandpa did...and I wanted it bad. Who can figure out the workings of a young mind, right?

Never the less, no matter how badly I wanted a nickname, I never had one as a kid. I tried to make a few nicknames stick. One time I thought being called "Skizzy" would be terrific. I picked it up from an episode of "Happy Days". I was in 6th grade and I asked my "boyfriend" if he would call me Skizzy. He laughed at me. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were on the phone and I declared, "I have a nickname! It's Skizzy!" and he laughed at me. Not only that, he called me variations of it, one being Skizzors. Yeah. And then he went to school the next day and told everyone. Rather than gaining a nickname, I lost several ounces of my dignity. Nice. Needless to say, Skizzy didn't become my alter ego.

When I was in high school I was called Andy by a few people because of my last name. I thought it was totally awesome because it was reminiscent of Grandpa. I had a friend who went by Baldy and another one called Mushy. Andy, Baldy and Mushy. Yup. We made quite the trio. We even had shirts printed with our nickname on the back. We thought we were so cool. All we really ended up doing was alienating friends who didn't have names that worked by adding a "y". And of course, it was a bit immature. But, again, who can figure out the workings of a young mind? And who at that age can stand back and look at themselves objectively and know that you can't FORCE a nickname?

So fast forward to a few years ago...when I was in my mid-to-late-thirties. By this time the only nickname I had was from my husband, who occasionally called me "Bug". I had long since forgotten about the urgent need for a nickname. I actually became proud of my first name when I entered into the adult, more mature, world. The childhood desire for the ultimate nickname had left me. But, you know the saying..."it happens when you least expect it". Yeah. So there came a day...a day that started out like any other...that something happened in my life that morphed me into being known as something other than my first name. I suddenly was bequeathed with a nickname...and it stuck. I was now...BOBCAT.

...stay tuned for The Legend of Bobcat Part II...

Friday, July 31, 2009

I became a Facebook user last week, so why not create a blog this week? Inspiration awaits me here, on this screen... I can feel it. Stay tuned...