Saturday, July 26, 2008
Smile - Army Smile
It took a great deal of work to get that one-of-a-kind shot of my son NOT smiling.
When I first heard the news that I was going to have a baby I already knew it was going to be a boy. In fact, I had already been told by a real live gypsy years before exactly what kind of boy I was holding in my belly. My family has a history of psychic behavior, much to the chagrin of so many of the overtly religious (I didn't say Christian purposely, because we are all or most of us Christians, but there are some who take the religion part of faith a bit too far) family members - we do have a cousin on my mother's side that makes a living telling fortunes and spinning tales. I wasn't sure I believed a single word she said to me growing up, but she was older and therefore cool - she wore beads and braided hair, she was a true true hippy to say the least, bare feet and all. I loved the girl - but when she told me I would be having a child both out of wedlock and that he would have the spirit of Cowboy-Outlaw Cole Younger - - I was a apprehensive to go to the next family reunion.
Enita was right though - and the proof is in the life of the boy you see in this blog. My baby boy is one of the most daring this-side-of-the-law men you'll ever see. I'm actually quite surprised most of the time that he hasn't been caught skating that thin (ice thin) line of his. He has actually been caught driving a bit wildly, $1508 in speeding tickets alone had to be repaid before he could go to the Army. I know because I had to both pay them and hide him for four days while the warrants went away - can someone please explain a few things to this young man? Cole Younger was the good guy of the bad guys, and he was the one that tried to talk the others out of robbing the banks. He didn't really participate "all that much" and therefore he was given a bit of leniency when it came to sentencing - he got out of prison alive, set off for the new world out West making films, and to this day there hasn't been a cowboy-outlaw type that doesn't use his free form dare-devil racing or riding style - he was a character, all reins free, let the hoss run kind of rider...and yes, my son drives his Stryker tank-types just the same way. He's always out there making trouble, but not all of it on his own, and he does actually try to talk the boys out of most of the really bad stuff. He's the one hanging around the gang at the bar to be the extra set of hands if they're needed - sort of the Buddy-gots-your-back bar-room brawler, not the cocky mouthed one starting the mess. My boy just ends up finishing things...and smiling about it. I get the call and can't understand a single word between the hoots, the breathing, the screaming, and the laughing - - someone got their butt kicked.
Well, that brings us to the picture. It was the first time I had EVER seen my son not smiling in a picture. EVER. How did they accomplish this feat? I know it's the Army, did they threaten him? No, Reuben said after a dozen or so times of trying not to smile, and not quite getting it done - one of the assistants said to him sort of off-the-cuff "Hey, didn't you say you were from Oklahoma?" This was during football season too. In Oklahoma we have 3 seasons a year: Winter, Summer, and Football. The guy tapped the photographer as if to prime him to get ready for the shot.
"Yes, I'm from Oklahoma why?" said Reuben with an interesting quizzical face.
"I just read where your quarterback Sam Bradford came out of the closet. He's gay!"
SNAP! GOT IT! That's the worst thing I'll ever write in one of my blogs, but it was hilarious! Sam is no more gay than Reuben is - but the jolt of the words sent the rage of kinship (they played against each other for years in high school) through my son, and he wanted to shoot someone - but the bottom line is, they got the shot off. I think the guy laughed it off and apologized, but Reuben just shook his head and took his hat off swearing to himself. Sorry Sam, baby we love you and we hope you'll appreciate the boy standing up for you sir...just ignore the bullet holes he shot through the man with his eyes - it was a moment!
Smile - Army Smile. There is a difference. Spirit is EVERYTHING! (one very interesting side note: Cole Younger died late in the night of March 21, 1916. It could very well have been past midnight making it March 22. My son was born March 22, 1986)