Some call it porn… We call it art…

Before we get going on this post, we want to thank Rick for his absolutely wonderful “Who would you do?” post. WOW, babe. It’s awesome. Thanks for all your hard work. It’s honestly one of our favorite posts ever on URD! xoxo Ben and David

Hey, guys… it’s Ben. I wasn’t going to mention this “incident” that took place last week… but, since Rick brought it up, I guess we’ll tell you about it. As you know, Dub had asked me about learning to speak French and I went on-line and gathered up some resources and we got started on it. The kids were all learning a little French, but I don’t speak it – and it was kind of “the blind leading the blind.” I mentioned that to “Dr. C” and he said “I have an idea. Give me a little time to work on it.”
A few days passed and I’d kind of forgotten about asking for help – then last Monday I got a call from him saying he knew just the right person to help us out. He said it was a lady who serves on the Church board with him and is originally from France. She taught French history at USC for about 20 years before retiring to take care of her husband who had cancer. He passed about a year ago. “Dr. C” said he’d talked to her and she was interested in teaching the kids to speak French. We’d do it by “Zoom” sessions one hour each school day. Her name is Jeanette Durand – and Dr. C chuckled and said “I call her ‘Madame Jeanette’.”
Then – I don’t know what happened. When he said “Madame Jeanette” my vision started blurring and then everything went black. I found myself in a flashback, in Columbia, MO, standing next to my cousin Donnie (Pop-pop’s son and Dub’s bio father) in our high school choir singing in the State choir competition. It was the finals and we were singing “Madame Jeanette.” I guess I was “out” for about 30 minutes before I finally sort of woke up and returned to life at Table Rock. It was the weirdest thing that ever happened to me.
Last Monday afternoon, I was in the cabin working on a contract when Dub called me. He said You’ve got to come here NOW. Something’s happened to Dad. Please hurry.” I made it to “the school” at Ty and Damien’s cabin in about 4 or 5 minutes. When I got there, Ben was sitting at the table he uses as a desk. He’d dropped his phone on the floor and was just staring off in the distance. He seemed to be in a stupor or something. He was breathing normally but was unresponsive. I snapped my fingers in front of his eyes and talked to him – but got no reaction. I started to call 911 – but thought better of it and called Jim, who said “Stay right there. I’ll handle it.” He called back a couple of minutes later and said “The paramedics are one the way. They’ll be here shortly. I told them no fucking lights or sirens.” The ambulance got here about 30 minutes later – and, by then, Ben had regained consciousness and was talking to us. Alex had come and gotten the kids and taken them to their homes… except for Dub who said “No way I’m leaving my dad.” The medics were gowned up wearing masks and gloves and checked all of Ben’s vital signs. His body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level and respiratory rate were all normal. The lead medic said “Normally, we’d take him straight to Springfield for a brain scan… but with this Covid thing going on, we’ll let you guys make the call.” Ben assured us he was fine and the medics wrapped up and left.
Well… that was a seriously fucked up deal. I still don’t know what happened but I’m feeling fine now and we’re back to school every day. Jeanette is doing “Zoom sessions” with the kids daily and they’re loving it. She’s a lovely lady and has them singing “Frere Jacques” in both English and French.
I doubt I’ll have any more of these weird flashbacks, but have promised David I’ll go for a brain scan if I ever have another.
If you’re not familiar with the song “Madame Jeanette” you really should hear it. We won second in the State choir competition. I can still feel Donnie standing next to me while we sang.
xoxo Ben and David

Dude. Time for some 3-ways!

W H O A ! ! !

Well, it was a wonderful – and very busy Christmas for us this year. It started with a couple of days in Springfield with family and Dub’s grandparents. We all had fun and enjoyed spending time with loved ones. In addition to lots of presents and ‘way too much food, we had one major surprise. As we were opening gifts with the grandparents, Dub opened one from his grandfather (who he is now calling “pop-pop”) and we were all sort of shocked to see a new i-phone SE. Dub was excited, but maybe not as much as he was with some other gifts like his new “Teeter Popper” or “ZOOB car designer.” After all the gifts were open, Dub’s grandfather asked if he and I could “talk alone for a few minutes.” So, we got some hot spiced cider and went out to the garage and talked. He started by apologizing for getting Dub a phone without asking David and me first. He said he knew he shouldn’t have done it… but it was a “spur of the moment thing” and he just wanted to be able to talk with Dub as often as possible. He teared-up a bit and told me how much he misses Donnie and wishes he could talk to him. He said they talked every day up until Donnie’s death, and sometimes he misses him so much he doesn’t think he can stand it. By then, we both had tears running down our cheeks – and just sat and didn’t say anything for a while. Eventually, he told me the phone was on a separate plan with Verizon and he’d pay all charges – and he had had very strict parental controls set on it – and wants David and me to set the rules for when and where Dub can use it. I told him I thought Dub is responsible enough to take care of a phone – and that David and I will monitor its’ use closely. So, now, in addition to his i-pad, Dub has his own phone – not to mention a “Teeter popper.”
We got back to KC on Christmas eve late afternoon – in time to go caroling with our church group. We visited two nursing homes and a children’s hospital and sang – just like we all knew how to sing. It was probably Dub’s favorite thing about Christmas. Maybe David’s and mine, too. We got home late. Time for a quick dinner (for us and the dogs)… a bath for Dub… and then collapsed in bed.
Christmas morning, Dub and the pups got us up early and we had “Santa” and opened our gifts. David and I had taken Dub shopping separately and he surprised us both by wanting to buy us ball-point pens for Christmas. It seems Mr. Martinez (his Spanish tutor) is a big fan of pens, and lets the boys use his during their lessons. So we each got sets of Uni-ball gel pens. They’re special gifts – because they’re great pens… and because they were totally Dub’s idea. Dub’s main gift from us was a digital photo frame. We also got one for Angie, so now, Dub, Angie, David and I can all upload pics to his photo frame. He’s wildly excited about the pics Angie has loaded on it – and wants to let Keon, Rick, Alex, Austin and Erik add photos too.
Rick, Keon and Alex came over Sunday for dinner and we had yet another gift exchange. Keon gave Dub a “Reflex soccer” that we still need to set up in the unfinished part of the basement. Rick got him a bonsai tree starter kit, complete with a “how to” book, fertilizer and mini shears. It’s a miniature juniper and Dub is absolutely transfixed by it. Alex brought him a pair of “light-up” lime-colored sneakers, and the shoes are dim compared to the smile on Dub’s face.
Anyway, this has gone on ‘way too long and for any of you still reading, we had a house full of company for the Chiefs/Broncos game Christmas evening. It was good to win and we’ll never forget Dontari Poe’s amazing touchdown pass. It was better to spend time with our friends and family.
We hope you guys all had wonderful Christmas holidays – and wish you a New Year filled with good health, love and happiness!