Sunday, March 30, 2008

Like Father, Like Daughter

(published in some late May edition of "the Bullseye" - right before it went out of business)
I can see all of you reading my title and thinking, “Isn’t that supposed to be ‘like mother, like daughter’?” In a family of six daughters, do you really suppose they would all turn out like me and none like their father? I’m very pleased to report that no, they have not.

Our second born is about to graduate high school in a few short weeks. As would be expected, I now find myself reflecting on this very unique and wonderful young lady that God brought into our lives 18 years ago. Here's the deal; even though she is this beautiful, petite, feminine young woman…she is EXACTLY like her dad. I don’t mean her outward appearance – it’s that inner person that makes her who she is, that part of her that is so much like her father. Those inner persons can be extremely exasperating to me – a person so unlike either of them – and yet so remarkably endearing and fun. It would take a book to explain all the many similarities, so I’ll just pick one little example.

My husband Nate is the most self-confident person I’ve ever known. He also knows a little bit of stuff about a lot of different things. And so, anyone who knows him well, knows that you can ask him a question on just about anything, and he can automatically come up with an answer. In fact, he seems to relish in being able to come up with intelligent sounding answers, whether or not he knows the exact answer. I used to think it was a male pride thing – he just couldn’t admit that he really didn’t know the answer, so he had fun making something up. Bethany is proving my “male pride” theory all wrong.

Some friends from out-of-town came to visit us recently. Bethany came downstairs wearing a T-shirt from the college she plans to attend this fall.

“How in the world do you pronounce that word?” was our friend’s question when he read the T-shirt.

“Well, even though it’s spelled O-u-a-c-h-i-t-a, you pronounce it like Wash-i-ta," was Bethany’s reply.

“And why would the college be named Oauchita?” was the next question.

Without missing a beat, she said, “It’s named after a tribe of Indians that lived in the area. They all committed mass suicide when the government came in and took their land away years and years ago.”

I, being her mother, caught the rather sly twinkle in her eye as her words were pouring forth, but our friend lacked my many years of experience.

“REALLY? Mass suicide?” he exclaimed. “That’s very uncharacteristic of the native Americans.”

She burst out laughing and said, “You don’t believe me, do you? I just made that all up!”

Our friend looked straight at her father and said, “Oh brother – I had no idea THAT could get passed down thru the gene pool, too!”

That, along with a hundred other things that sometimes make me wonder if I had anything at all to do with her parentage…she is definitely her daddy’s girl. I love every bit of her, and hate to think about how dull life is going to be around here when she heads off to that college named after suicidal Indians. I hope they’re prepared for this little live-wire who is headed their way very shortly.

A Little Winter Bird Watching

February 20, 2008
L.A. Kohl

On a trip to Columbia one day this winter, I found myself in the vehicle with only our three youngest children. As we were buzzing along Highway 124 – I spotted something several hundred yards ahead of us that made me do a serious double-take.

I quickly glanced in my rearview mirror to make sure no one was behind me, then let off the gas and began slowing down. I knew if what I thought I was seeing really turned out to be what I thought it was, every child in the back seat needed an opportunity to get a good look at it.

Sure enough, the closer I got, the more apparent it became that I was staring straight at our majestic national bird, the bald eagle. Except this guy wasn’t soaring high above us, like a little speck in the big, blue sky. He wasn’t even perched far away on some high treetop, where I could just barely make out his proud, white head. No, this fellow was just a few feet off the side of the road, sitting straight and tall, right smack in someone’s nicely manicured front lawn. His height was comparable to that of my six year old…maybe even taller. He was so big and attention-grabbing that I never got the opportunity to say a thing. Before I had time to draw anyone’s attention to it, I heard a small gasp from the back seat, and then, “Oh WOW! Look at that!!!”

All three of them saw it, and we were all equally amazed and impressed. By now I was crawling along at about 10 MPH. The eagle eyeballed us without so much as a blink or a ruffling of feathers, and continued to stand there as if it were perfectly normal for small, nondescript vehicles to creep by a few yards in front of him.

It was then that I saw his purpose in claiming that particular spot. Just a few feet in front of him, lying alongside this lucky individual’s driveway, was a dead deer. That explained it; our eagle had found a free lunch.

Several hours later as we were headed back towards home, I couldn’t help slowing down again as we approached the yard from the opposite direction. I knew in my head that the eagle could not possibly still be standing there, posing for us again…but my heart still couldn’t resist hoping. Ah well, my head was correct – no eagle this time…but there was a red-tailed hawk perched atop the same feast that attracted the eagle.

Later that evening, as we excitedly told Nate about our discovery along the road to Columbia that day, he found it rather amusing. I didn’t understand his chuckles until he voiced his humorous take on the whole thing.

“Wow,” he exclaimed, “I thought throwing out a little birdseed was good enough, but those people must take feeding the birds VERY seriously!”

Eggnog, Love, and Archery…from a Preschool Point of View

By L.A. Kohl
November 15, 2007

I know…I probably write about the funny things my children do or say too often. But, if I may be allowed to relate with and paraphrase Anne of Green Gables, “If you only knew how much I could say and don’t!”
With that being said, I thought I’d fill you in on some of the cute things our four-year-old son has done lately.

Yesterday, after my weekly grocery shopping outing, I came home with a bargain-priced carton of eggnog. I knew there would be a few children anxious to taste the season’s first glass, and as I was pouring it for any who wanted some, my ever-eager Josiah said, “Sure, I want to try it!”

I knowingly gave him a small amount, and after a few sips of it he declared, “Mom, I don’t like this chicken milk!”

Dad quickly announced that that one was good enough to go down in the “Kohl Kid’s Journal of Funny Quotes."

A week or so ago, my younger children had been reading silly little jokes from the Laffy Taffy I had bought on clearance after October 31. Thus, they had been rattling off quite a few silly questions/answers to whoever would listen to them. At one point, while we were driving to Columbia, our six-year-old daughter asked, “How do you make a girl fall in love with you?”

Josiah assumed it was another joke, and he piped right in…
“Oh, I know this one! I love this one – it is so good!” he exclaimed, while bouncing up and down with excitement, but pausing for effect before blurting out his brilliant answer, “You KISS them!”

“No! That’s not right,” replied his all-knowing sister who is an entire year and a half older than him. “You give them a Valentine heart, silly!”

With all this female influence, he should be an extremely well-trained young man someday.

And now, in honor of deer season, I’ve saved this next story until last…
My husband Nate has bravely let Josiah tag along with him on a couple of bow-hunting outings this fall. He knows that when he does, he hasn’t much chance of even seeing a deer, much less shooting one…but he has lots of fun anyway.

Josiah excitedly gets on all of his hand-me-down camo clothes, and his mini, hand-me-down compound bow (many of our friends with sons take pity on Josiah and pass on all kinds of stuff to him, so he doesn’t have to wear and use his six big sisters’ stuff). Once, dad even did Josiah’s face up with the camo make-up – he didn’t bother washing it off for the rest of the day.

On their first outing, they were both just getting settled onto a nice, secluded log, when Nate heard a “whoosh." Josiah had already shot off his first arrow.

“What are you shooting at?” his dad asked curiously.

“I shot that tree right there!” Josiah exclaimed excitedly, and then went on to say, “Come on dad, now you shoot something!”

“Well, I was planning on waiting until a deer came by,” was his father’s optimistic reply.

A few minutes later, Nate drew Josiah’s attention to some squirrels that were frolicking in the nearby treetops.

“Hey, I bet I’d be good at shooting squirrels,” was Josiah’s enthusiastic response, “since I’m so good at shooting trees!”

I think he gets his optimism from his father.