Paradise Green: Letters to My Dad
Author: Scott Cherry

Chapter 1
September 1, 2016

September  1, 2016

 

 

 

Dear Dad,

 

This is the 10th letter I have written you since 2008 (including one hand-written letter that isn't included in this).  Believe it or not I have been keeping track!  If you are reading this you can see I have done something a little unusual with them.  You can see them all as individual chapters of this little book with their dates.  You’ll notice that they are not all in their original order.  As I was re-reading them and publishing them in this format, I realized that some of them make better sense if they’re sandwiched in between the others.  That’s because there’s a narrative with a train of thought I was trying to follow.  All but this letter I sent to you in the mail as a hardcopy.  You may or may not have read them (or perhaps some but not all), and at the time I said you didn’t have to acknowledge them.  But my sentiments have changed on that score.  Whether you read them or not back then I hope you will read them now, one-by-one.  This particular letter serves as a plain one, but also as the preface to the rest.  I know you are leaving for Europe on Tuesday, but maybe two days is enough time to read most of them.  Either way, there will be waiting for you (and beckoning you) in this cool self-publishing website.  You might also notice that I have another book I have been uploading, but I bumped yours ahead of it.

 

 

...........................................................................................................

 

 

For the first time since June 30 it was a good day for doing chores around the house.  You may be surprised to know (or not) that I mowed the lawn, and my leg felt great.  Ok, it still feels just a little wobbly, especially when I stumbled on a small pothole in the lawn.  But I didn’t fall and it didn’t hurt.  So, thankfully I think I am back to normal life, but I promise not to play any sports for a while still.  Quite honestly, I would ride my bike if it were in working order, but it’s not.  I have yet to get it to the store where I bought it so they can re-true my back wheel.  Well, I suppose I’m better this way for now.  Anyway, the lawn looks pretty good thank to all the rain.  But now that I am back on both feet again I have a lot of other chores to catch up on!  For example, I wanted to clean out the junk under the front porch and reorganize the storage room in the basement.  Oh, and there’s my new roof to install.  Just kidding!  I mean, I will hire it out this fall to a guy who’s not much younger than I but who has a harness. 

 

Anyway, how are you, Pops?  I hope you had a great day playing a good round of pickle ball, tennis or racquetball...or maybe all three.  Haha.  Ok, maybe all three would be too demanding even for you.  But I’ll bet there are some days when you play two of the three.  I know those are your favorite sports, and they all involve racquets.  Have you ever thought about that?  What a racquet!  It seems you don’t golf much anymore, but I’ve always enjoyed going to the course with you, or at least to the driving range.  As you know, I’d much rather play a spirited set of pickle ball myself because I’m much better at it than golf.  But there’s something about being on the course that I really enjoy.  Last week I was disappointed that I couldn’t play any sports with you because of my broken leg, even though it felt almost good enough for it.  Speaking of which, thanks for taking such a concern for leg in early July when the injury was fresh and I wasn’t getting proper orthopedic attention for the first couple weeks.  That meant a lot to me.

 

Also, thank you and Lou for your excellent hospitality when I was down there last week, as always.  Since you and Louann retired and moved to Tennessee in the late nineties I have always loved coming to spend 4-5 days with you.  When you first built it, you were right about having a nice place where all the kids and grandkids could come for vacation.  I think in all the 20+ years you’ve lived in Tellico Village I’ve only missed maybe two or three.  Who wouldn’t want to spend their vacation on the lake, boating and floating?  Too bad Todd didn't come. And, too bad JoEllen, Aubrey and Cameron haven’t come more often over the years. But it was really fun having Jenny and Matt and family there, well, minus Nick.  Remember that time when I drove down with just Cameron and Nick?  Just the guys!  That was a blast for us all I think. Oh yeah, that was the summer when we went too far out on the jet ski and discovered the excellent cliffs for jumping into the lake.  I know that didn’t go over well with you and Louann, but still it’s a good memory and you can’t change the past. (I think I would change a number of things if I could, like my major.)

 

But I digress.  As usual, Louann’s hospitality was exceptional, and she outdid herself this time with her homemade peach pie from scratch!  You did exceptionally well with the grilled chicken too. Delicious!  And, my (mostly-healed) broken leg didn’t prevent me from enjoying our two swimming excursions on the pontoon boat.  (Sometimes we only do one.) The second one was even better than the first because all seven of us went out and had a frolicking good time with the flotation noodles.  Everyone was in good spirits and we had some hearty belly laughs while swimming in the “lagoon”.  You know, I think this trip was one of the few times I didn’t go out on the jet ski, but you know, I didn’t even mind this time.  Back at the ranch, I didn’t even mind being forced to play cards with everybody, and it helped that I won the first night. Ha! And, I think you were right when you said that at a family gathering everyone has to “conform” a little for the greater good of the whole.  (We all know I’ve never been very good at conforming.)  Thanks for granting me leave on the first night to go to First Baptist Church which I love to do when I’m there, and again on the fourth night to visit my friends Dixie and Frank.  You know I enjoy seeing them to get some spiritual encouragement.  (Dixie especially is a woman of prayer and possibly my most devoted “prayer warrior”.  She actually sends me emails with written prayers for me, my family and my ministry. In fact, there was one in my inbox yesterday! In my line of work I really depend on people's prayers.)

 

…Back to pickle ball.  I think this was the only time we didn’t play together.  Even so, I’m glad I went with you to sit in the bleachers and watch you play.  I have to say you’re still pretty agile for a young man of 79-years and two new knees!  (Did you know that when I talk to people about you I actually brag on you and tell them you can still beat me in every sport?)  It wasn’t intolerably hot and it was a great day for being courtside, in the shade.  Plus I got to chat with some of the friendly folks when they came off the courts in between games.  Some of them remembered me as your son (which I’m proud to be) and one of them even thought I was a resident of the Village.  Truly, I would love to live there and play pickle ball every day.  Say, I could move in with you and become your groundskeeper!  It’s too much for you anymore and I would work for room-and-board.  If you paid me a little extra I could send money home so JoEllen could pay the bills. Wouldn’t that be a great arrangement!  But then, it would be so lonely when you’re in Florida.  And I have all these responsibilities up here to attend to.  Who would mow the lawn on my own estate?  Haha!  I am being silly now, of course.   

 

On another note, I think you and Louann will be encouraged by this bit of good news that I got when I returned home: Cameron got his full tuition scholarship back. That’s right!  He wrote a letter of appeal to the U and within two weeks they approved it.  This semester he’s retaking the courses in which did poorly, and they are paying for them!  As you know, I did not pressure him or even read his letter but he manned up and took care of his own business.  Last year JoEllen did everything for him, but this year he did everything for himself!  I’m pretty proud of him for that.  Not only that, I think I told you that he got a second job, didn’t I?  I can’t remember.  But, yes, he went back to Jimmy John’s to ask for his old job back. (That was my idea because he had too much down time on his hands and all he did was sleep when he wasn’t working a Buddy’s. Wonder of wonders! I advised him to do that and he actually did!) They must have really liked Cameron when he used to work there because not only did he get his job back but they immediately made him assistant manager! And he says he really likes it. So, I’m proud of him for that too. In fact, let me say that I’m also proud of Aubrey because I think she's making good life choices now, and she is much more balanced than she was before the World Race.  That was a good move for her, and so was bringing Mercy back with her.  After she returned, it took her awhile to get her regain her equilibrium, but she definitely has it now. Mercy contributes greatly to that. Now that she wants to go back to school, it remains to be seen where she will pick based on her criteria. So far it seems that the options are limited for what she wants to do. She'll have to think "outside of the box" as usual. But I'm confident that she’ll figure it out.  It’s hard for a young adult to find his or her path in life, don’t you think?  Even with good guidance, every person has their own unique wiring.  And some people are wired for non-traditional paths and opportunities that are hard to see in the mind’s eye.  But, ideally, as they move forward in life they learn how to recognize and pursue them, and then to lay hold of them.

 

Having said that, I realize that some people flounder or wander through life, at least for a while.  Some of them never do find their way, and that can be very painful and frustrating for a parent. (I’m thinking of Uncle Rick’s son right now, Eric. But from what I see of him on facebook, even he seems to be getting a grip and finding a better life.  Let’s hope so.)  Aubrey has something very significant in her life that Cameron doesn’t have at this time.  She has the Lord.  She has the heavenly Father who wants the best for her and has a special purpose for her.  Everybody wants purpose.  With that he provides guidance, wisdom to make good decisions, and divine resources if she will wait on him and order her life after his instructions and promises.  Yes, those good things and many others!  Cameron doesn’t have those things right now.  Not that a person can’t become successful without the Lord, but the person who knows God has advantages in life that money cannot buy, in this life and the afterlife. 

 

Well, that’s enough for now, Pops.  I hope you and Lou will have a fantastic time on your Rhine River cruise.  I am very envious!  Take good notes and cellphone pictures so you can give me a full report. With her cellphone loaded with photos Louann could post some of them immediately to facebook.  Plus, once ow twice she could create some nice facebook photo albums so we common folk can enjoy your adventures with you.  

 

 

Love,

Scott

 

 

 

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