I arrived just in time to blow up Barney. His explosion sent purple dinosaur fluff and stuffing skyrocketing. No, I myself, did not blow up Barney. Clyde did. I was just happy to watch while others whipped out phones to film Barney's demise. Yes, we were all adults. Yes, we're all supposed to be sane and not of the serial killer variety, but give country folk a rifle and some tannerite, and something is gonna go boom!
It works like this:
Stuff some tannerite into Barney's purple butt, or perhaps duct tape some onto Barbie. Set her in the pasture a good distance away, avoiding horses and cows. Walk back to porch. Make sure all have cell phones ready. Begin filming. Put Barbie or Barney in your crosshairs. Slowly squeeze trigger. If you hit the tannerite a very loud explosion will occur and bits of Barney or Barbie will be spread around the area. I'd like to see this done with a pumpkin or a watermelon.
Anyway, back to Barbie and Barney. It's good clean fun for adults, and I guess if the zombies ever come, you'll be in practice for blowing them up too. The important thing is the fun with friends. And this leads me to my 'Points To Ponder" for today.
I've made some interesting observations over the years. Our friends in North Texas don't sit around waiting for their adult children to make time for them. They hang out with other friends who also don't sit around waiting for their adult kids to make time for them. In short, they live their own lives. Oh sure, if their kids need them, they'll certainly go running to help, but the point is, they live their own lives instead of making their children's lives theirs. You simply cannot depend upon someone else for your own happiness. You must make your own happiness. And a major ingredient in the recipe for happiness is good friends.
Friends are the family you pick for yourself. Yes, friends can come and go, but don't kid yourself, family comes and goes too. I've seen a lot of death, and experience has taught me that in life, friends are just as important as family. In fact, they can make the difference between just getting by, and really enjoying everything that life has to offer.
As we age our families expand like a spider web connecting relationships through almost invisible fibers. Many of us have this romanticized vision of family as multiple generations sitting around the table for Sunday dinner like the family on the television show 'Blue Bloods.' The reality is that this usually only happens on Thanksgiving and that's exactly when the murders occur. Sharp knives, alcohol, and family members who don't like each other forced into close quarters are never good ingredients for a happy holiday. Worse, this delusion sets many of us up for disappointment with life in general.
What about the people who can't gather their family? Often they sit, in a self-imposed exile, waiting for family members to carve some time out for them. My advice? Go blow up Barney. Seriously. Hang out with your friends. Make an additional family. Don't spend this holiday season fretting about whether or not your adult kids can come see you. Make your own plans and let them deal with it. Include them or not, but I wouldn't not have fun with my life because I'm waiting for someone else to have fun with me.
I've noticed that there is a lot more fun in this life if we quit fretting about why someone else isn't making time for us, and we start making time with other people. I learned this lesson from Maggie's Grandma. Maggie was my old partner when I was still patrolling the streets of The Big City. Young and busy, Maggie rarely made time for her grandmother, but unlike my grandmother, who sat around worrying about when someone was gonna visit her, Maggie's granny was a "happenin' granny" who lived her own life instead of waiting for people to fit her into their lives.
One day Maggie decided that since she was scheduling a 'date' near the town where her grandmother lived, she could just call Granny the day before, and pop over to see the old girl for a few minutes before her date.
This is what Maggie was expecting:
Grandma sits around all day in anticipation of seeing her grandchild for probably thirty minutes to an hour. She has cooked goodies, cleaned house, and is waiting with bated breath for the arrival of her precious grandbaby. Maggie will spend the alloted time with her grandmother. Feel special. Cross the 'Grandma Thing' off her list of things to do. And then go spend time on her date which was the real reason for her arrival in town.
This is what happened:
Grandma already has plans with her friends. Yes. She is bowling. Maggie is welcome to come before bowling, or she can stop by the Bowling Alley, but what Grandma is NOT gonna do is cancel bowling with her friends so she can sit around all day waiting on Maggie to decide that she has a little time to spend with her grandmother.
This sent an important lesson to both Maggie and to me. I was in the patrol car with Maggie while she talked to Granny on the phone and I can assure that she was speechless when she hung up. And she was filled with respect for Grandma. When she finally found her voice, Maggie turned to me and said, "Wow. Grandma's got it going on!"
Grandma made it clear to both of us that she was not sitting around in a dark and dusty house with a crystal jar full of hard candy on the coffee table waiting for Maggie. Well, color me 'impressed.'
I thought about that this weekend as I spent time with my North Texas 'family.' As bits of purple blew across the pasture, I was reminded that just because you're all grown up, it's still important to make time to play. In fact it's probably more important at 59 years old than it is at 9 years old.
So the next time you're tempted to waste time waiting for someone to make time in their lives for you, be it a man you think will make you happy, a woman you think will make you happy, or family members you think will make you happy, instead, pick up the phone and schedule some fun time with your friends. And that, that, will make you happy.