short stories

What kinds of situations are you willing to put up with to call a place home?

     Depending on what you are willing to put up with, will determine where you want to live and call your home.

      As I write this, I am thinking of the different states within the United States of America as those I will be discussing. However, this post can be used anywhere in the world. We all have our breaking points, which will move us from one place to another.

Saguaro cacti in Arizona desert
Looks like my backyard

      I currently live in Arizona, which has its beautiful along with its dangers. When someone thinks of this state, the first thing that comes to mind is heat. However, if you were to travel in northern Arizona, such as Flagstaff, in the winter months, you may be surprised by the massive amounts of snow you’d encounter. I, myself, reside in the middle of this great state and see cool winters, but still very high temperatures in summer. There are also many other dangers, these come in forms of rattlesnakes, scorpions, Gila monsters, and many other poisonous things. Cacti are also very troublesome to put up with. Speaking of cacti, this is the only place in the world where the giant saguaros live. So if you are willing to put up with the various dangers here, you will be given beautiful landscapes, awesome lightning shows, and of course, sunshine with clear skies most of the year.

       Another place I have lived is in the Midwest, in the state of Missouri, where I spent many years of my youth. This is a beautiful state, full of farm land, lakes, rivers and woods. Here, you will have wonderful fishing and hunting opportunities. You can easily live off the land since water is abundant, and growing your own food in the fertile land is fairly easy. Raising your own livestock is also a plus, with the grasslands for your cattle and other farm animals is easily found. The downside to this great countryside comes in the form of high humidity in the summer and hard freezes in the winter. It is a well known place to carry a sweater, light jacket, raincoat and heavy coat most of the wintertime. The weather can change rapidly, and being prepared is sometimes a challenge.

Missouri River in Missouri
Missouri River

       North Carolina is a place I lived during my time in the Navy. While it is an absolutely beautiful state, hard freezes and hurricane weather is something that may keep you from this state. Some of the friendliest people I have ever met, live here. The hunting is absolutely wonderful and fishing is great as well. The winters are fairly hard, and wet weather is an understatement. This state has very fertile land for growing whatever you wish in your garden. You can also live near the Atlantic Ocean, with some beautiful beaches to enjoy. If you are willing to deal with the harsh winters and hard rains here, you have found one of my favorite states.

Forest trees in the fall, North Carolina
Fall in North Carolina

      Virginia is an interesting state with abundant historical American sites of the Civil War. Many other states have places to see involved with this war, but Virginia stands out in this category.  This state also has many woods as well as beaches to enjoy. The weather is much like North Carolina, with fairly hard winters and hurricane weather to put up with. Furthermore, this state contains the military city of Norfolk. While other states contain military cities, this one stands out as one of the greatest. I was stationed there and can honestly say, if you are not military, you are of the few, not the many in this city.

Welcome highway sign entering Virginia
Welcome to Virginia

      I, personally, have been to every state of the United States, except two. These two states are Alaska and Hawaii. I would like to visit both of these states before I die. I have only lived in a few, but have traveled through many, forty-eight, to be exact. One thing I have noticed is the difference from state to state. It amazes me how much difference there can be, just by crossing an invisible line from one to the other. We can freely move from one state to the other and live  as though we have always been there. The language may be the same, but accents can be extreme from one state to the other. All in all, we are Americans. We stand as one with completely different ways of life. All we have to do, is decide what weather we are willing to put up with, and in a short period of time, we can live out our dreams in the place we choose. If this place gets old to us, we just pack up and move to another state and try something completely different. We can do this as many times as we wish, as long as we live. We may have to learn a different accent, but we will be welcome.

Northern lights in Alaska
Northern lights as seen In Alaska

      I may be a little prejudice, but I feel that I live in the greatest country in the world. This is not because I don’t like other places, this is just because I love my country with all my heart. I have been to many countries, and enjoyed the sites, but I like it here and believe I will stay. As I mentioned from the beginning, this post speaks of what one is willing to put up with to live somewhere. I used the United States because this is where I live. However, you can use these thoughts anywhere in the world. Do you like the woods, desert, plains or beach? What kind of weather are you willing to put up with to live there? There are natural disasters everywhere in the world. Which ones do you deal with? Mother nature is e everywhere, and she will use her power, one way or another. What disaster can you handle to live where you wish? These are questions we must ask ourselves to be happy of our surroundings.

       Fortunately, in this day and age, it is easy to find that perfect spot we wish to live. With the availability of the internet, we can find that special place where we wish to live and raise our families. It wasn’t many years ago that people had to travel to a place before they knew what mother nature had in store for them. So with that in mind, where is your perfect place? Have you even thought about moving, or are you content where you are? I’m curious to know, for I have yet to  live in my perfect spot. I am however looking, as we speak. Furthermore, I’m very close, but these summers are getting to be too hard as I grow older and feel I need to head more north. I thank God that I live in a country where I can move to different parts of the country, without any trouble.

      I hope this post has brought you to a decision of where you want to be, and what you are willing to put up with to live there. I would like to hear of the place you live, and some of the issues you face. Do you have hurricanes, tornadoes, extreme heat or cold? Maybe you have found your Utopia. My readers and I want to hear. Feel free to leave a reply, and I will answer as soon as I can. My readers will likely chime in as well. Take care, and I hope today finds you well. I look forward to discussing this post with you.

short stories

Change makes us Stronger

      When I was growing up, or at least until I became a sophomore in high school,  I was always the new kid in class. My dad moved us back and forth from Missouri to Arizona multiple times.

       My dad worked for the Railroad and the copper mines as a mechanic in Arizona and when the layoffs or strikes came, boom, we would be headed back to Missouri, where both my mom and dad grew up. He would open up his own auto shop or go to work for another shop (usually a diesel shop) until the strike or layoffs were over. And just like that, back to Arizona we would go.

Mechanic works under car

       Now, truth be known, it wasn’t exactly like that, but very close. Yes, we moved a lot back and forth between these two states, but sometimes it was just to different parts of Arizona or just to different parts of Missouri. This situation would very often cause me to be the new kid in school, sometimes twice in the same year!

      Growing up like this was hard on me, but as I have seen through my life, it was actually a very good thing to grow up that way. Sure it was hard leaving friends that were just made and trying to make friends over and over again, but I  learned that I can, did and do adapt better to circumstances that others have a hard time with even today. I guess the hardest part was figuring out who the new bully would be that I would eventually end up fighting. Of course, I lost most of the time, but I was granted great respect for always standing up for myself and sometimes others as well.

       I consider myself a ‘Missourian’ and yet for the past twenty plus years, I have lived in Arizona after my dad passed away. The thing I’m trying to spit out is, we become part of our society, and those that have lived in multiple societies are better off in a lot of ways. For one, I could be uprooted and placed in a different location tomorrow and within a month, I would be able to fit in.

      I was able to prove this when I went into the Navy. Most of the recruits beside me had a real hard time adjusting, but me, heck it was just another day.  Sure, I missed my family, but I was able to fit into my circumstance very quickly. And the bully? Well, that was my company commander and I decided not to fight him.

Child throwing a fit

       I sometimes feel for the military kids because I know it’s hard on them. Let me tell you moms and dads something about that. If you explain why your family has to move so often, the kids will be stronger for it. If you just tell them, “just deal with it”, then you will have a very troubled teen on your hands. Be honest with your children about it, and they may be mad now but understand later and become well-rounded adults.

      For all other parents that have a choice to move or not move for a job or other circumstance, make sure you make the decision, Not your kids. Too many times the decision is made more by the children than their parents these days and that is wrong. You are responsible to do the best for your family and let your children change things up with their kids if they want when they become parents. (This is classic old school thinking).

Mother sits with her children that are playing

      Before anybody yells at me for that last paragraph, I tell this from experience. I made this mistake!  I made sure to keep my kids with their friends and I decided to stick it out and not take them to a better life and now my children are paying the price, let alone my wife and I are still stuck where we really don’t want to be. Don’t get me wrong,, this is a wonderful area, just not what we want. One of my sons is in the Navy now and instead of adapting like I did, he is one of those having a hard time, and it’s my fault.

U-Haul building

      If I had moved us years ago when I had the chance,  I believe my whole family would be better off today. Instead, I let the children decide. So don’t be afraid to move if you believe it is better for your family.  I’m not saying to be like we were when I grew up, I do believe that was excessive, but I lived through it and would willingly do it all over again.  There’s a great big world out there, don’t be afraid of change.  Change can make you stronger. Your kids will adapt and be just fine. Take care out there.