Cameron is “21”

My Letter To Cameron On His “21” Birthday….

Cameron turned “21” on June 11 2019. What does turning that all important birthday mean? When you are young, you can’t wait. It seems that, that is when the whole world opens up to you. You are old enough to do as you please. You don’t have to do anything your parents want you to. You can go wherever you want and buy anything. You are FREE to explore anything, anywhere. You can now legally drink, gamble, smoke, rent a room in a hotel and rent a car…..The World is Now Yours…….You are “ETERNAL”

Now, what does it really mean….lol….Your now an Adult. You are legally of age…..yes…but you are legally responsible for everything you do. Your parents aren’t responsible for you anymore. They don’t have to pay your way. You have to work and pay your own bills. At first its really cool, but eventually you learn that the money sure doesn’t stretch when you have to support yourself. Yes life begins to get real. You can buy any vehicle you want, but now your also responsible for payments and insurance and repairs.

Yes Cameron, that is where you are now. You have come so far in the last several years. You are now becoming that man. Life can be tuff. But…..Remember, it can be 2 steps forward, but at any time it may be 1 step backwards. Learn from your mistakes. Take ownership of them. Treat each one as a learning experience. Look at each one without blinders and learn. Then take the 2 steps forward again. Life can be harsh at times, but keep trying to find your niche in life. You will with time...…………..But how did it all begin?

You were born the morning of June 11, 1998. Your were our first grandchild. I remember your mom came home from her doctors appointment and announced she was in labor….lol…she was so excited. She didn’t feel the contractions yet. She wanted to go to Mendota to Plano Molding where we all worked and tell everyone, which she did. She came home all excited. We went to the Spring Valley Hospital late at nite on June 10. They put your mom in the labor/delivery room. At first she was really in a good mood and happy, as they let her get out of bed to walk around. Then we had a crabby nurse that made her stay in bed. At that point it became harder. She wanted to walk and the nasty nurse said no…:Stay in bed”….The early morning hours went by. Early in the morning I went down to the end of the hall to make a phone call. After the call I came out to the hall and I thought I heard a baby crying. I seen the nurse at the other end motioning to me to hurry. Here it was your mom screaming for me…..“Mom…..Mom”….lol….You finally came into the world around 9:30 am. I forget how much you weighed, but you were perfect….and bald….lol….Seems like all our baby’s start bald….Its that blonde hair.



We all took turns taking care of you as we all worked. Tina and your mom had a lot of fun dressing you up. You and your mom lived with us a number of years. Your first birthday came and we had big Birthday Party.



Your mom bought you your first Harley.…A handmade Motorcycle rocking horse…..Your Grandma and Grandpa on your dads side came also. Ruth and Steve Rydz.


They surely enjoyed being their and celebrating with us. It wasn’t soon after, they got sick and couldn’t travel out of LaSalle anymore. During this time you were just a skinny peanut, still with barely any blonde hair.



We took so many cool pictures of you. You finally started growing the blondest hair. Christmas time was really fun. We all spoiled you, and Santa was “ALIVE” in our house again.


Aunt Tina let you drive….lol…



Santa came to visit on Christmas…..“You Really Believed in him”.…It was really grandpa. He went downstairs and dressed up in his newly purchased Santa Suit. He went out the back basement door carrying some bells. I waited near the front door and heard Santa coming shaking the bells. He came in with his bag of toys. You sat on the chair with him. He gave you the toys and when it was time to leave, you had to kiss him good bye. It was all so sweet. Then Santa went out the front door, went around back and in the basement door. Grandpa then came upstairs and found out he missed Santa…….It was so much fun. Grandpa played Santa even after you moved. I remember in Depue sitting a block away in the car at 5am waiting for Santa to come back from bringing in the toys. Your mom had woken you up and had you peek through the crack in the door. She told you to be very quite so Santa wouldn’t know you were peeking. You watched as Santa came in and left the toys under the tree. As soon as Santa left, you called us and said Santa had come. You were so excited and wanted us to come over. Well we showed up about 10 minutes later even though it was a half hour drive from our house in McNabb……lol…I don’t think you ever knew for years….It was funny to be sitting at the end of the block in the car at 5am, and see Grandpa dressed as Santa walking down the street on Christmas morning, with a full bag. Cars would come by and slow and just look at him…..Hilarious…..



This was probably one of my most remembered birthdays when you were young. Grandpa bought you a battery powered motorcycle. You also received a jacket and hat and looked so cool…..Like a real Harley Dude…..You loved to wear those sun glasses and run all over in the yard.


During that time we also had a parakeet. Tweety was a “Awesome” bird. We let him fly all over the house. He would take baths in the sink, eat off our plates, drink from our glasses, sit on our heads and crawl all over us. He was so much fun.

You and your mom moved to Granville for awhile and managed some apartments and then to Depue. That is where you started School.


You played Summer Soccer for only one Summer…..This was not going to be your sport of choice


You had a best friend Larry. He was about 2 years younger than you. He lived 2 houses away. You both played a lot together. Most of the kids in town were Mexicans, and you were both little white boys. You really formed a bond with Larry. Unfortunately, Larry had Asthma. He had an attack one evening and was rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately he passed away. He was probably only about 10. This hit you hard. I took you to the wake, not so sure if you went to the funeral but I think you did. I remember, on the way to the wake, we seen a rainbow in the sky. I told you it was a Rainbow for Larry to enter Heaven. You wanted to visit the cemetery, and we did several times after that. You saved his picture and remembered and talked about him through the years. This year Larry would have graduated High School. The class had an empty chair at the ceremony in remembrance of him, and you even went to graduation…...You never forgot your Childhood friend.



During the years in Depue, Cassidy was born. You were a good Brother. You were a big help to your mom with getting diapers and holding her bottle. As you grew older, you started to go on vacations with us. You were such a hyper little boy, but we put you in the car and you settled down and loved traveling. We took you to Albuquerque several times to visit family. My dad had remarried Grace my step mom. So now I had 4 Step brothers 1 step sister and 1 half brother. Grace was an Awesome lady and always made us feel at home and part of her family.



On the way we stopped at the Cadillac Ranch on the west side of Amarillo Tx. A number of Cadillacs are buried nose down in the dirt. Everyone stops and spray paints their name or a saying. We found some cans laying around so we painted also. Of course a favorite stop on these trips was McDonalds.


My favorite picture of your family was when Scott and Tasha were married. We took group pictures in the church. Gosh, you all looked so nice in your dress up clothes. You were in a Tux because you were the ring bearer. So Handsome.



Cassidy and you did a lot of fighting as brothers and sisters do, but you also had some fun times together also. Your Mom moved you all to Spring Valley. It was so much more convenient for work, shopping and much better driving conditions in the winter. Grandpa always spoiled you. He always bought you the fun things that cost money….lol…


He bought you a real 4 wheeler. You loved your 4 wheeler. You rode it all around the yard and up and down the edge of the field in back. Probably in it also….lol…

Sometime during this time I decided to take you out for a driving lesson. We were over by Granville, Hennepin area. You were a big boy for 12, you looked 16 behind the seat. I had you start to drive around the Florid area. You started off slow, and you did so well. It was hard to believe you had never driven before. You definitely had the knack to drive and felt comfortable. I let you drive all the black top roads back to McNabb and all the way home……Then I told you mom what we did…..OMG….She was so mad…”What were you thinking” she said. I laughed at her…..He had to learn, and he was a natural.


Grandpa turned 60 and had a party at Steweys Bar in the Valley. It was a surprise party. This picture was early in the evening. Later Scott was still their after we left and others. He became the life of the party and was on the bar…..minus a Shirt…..OMG...I do have pictures. Carly was born in the Valley and you gained another sister.


Your mom was in Nursing School about that time. She depended on all of us to help with her including you. You were again a good brother. In fact you have been so good with her that she looks up you as a father figure. You are so patient with her, and share so much of your time.


You graduated 8th Grade from JFK Elementary in Spring Valley. We all came including Aunt Tina, and Uncle Scott.


You then attended Hall High School and tried out for football. You only played one year and decided it wasn’t for you. but at least you tried.



You were invited to a school dance with Maddie Dose. She is the daughter of one of your moms very good friends, Jamie. You and Maddie were born around the same time. Jamie and your mom were very close in your early years and you both grew up spending much time with each other. You were both attending different schools. You both looked so nice. You picked out that special hat to wear with your suit. You went on to attend St. Bedes Academy, but eventually earned your GED.


South Padre Island.…We rented this Jeep, Grandpa let you drive it on the beach


You decided that a GED was the route to take and you proceeded ahead to prove to yourself and all of us that you were serious. You then enrolled in CDL Truck Driving School at College. With the help of Scott, you graduated and obtained your CDL license ……Quite a feat for an 18 year old. You started Volunteering for McNabb Fire Dept. around 2 years ago and recently, Bureau Fire Dept.


You have also just graduated after much hard work with your EMT Basic. This took a lot of hard work, and now your working on getting your probation hours in so you can continue in this area for a career.


Uncle Scott and Brandy were their to Celebrate with you

So continue on Cameron. “21” years old. You have accomplished a lot. I know you have learned a lot also. So keep striving forward. Remember, for every 2 steps forward, you may take a step back…..take ownership, examine, learn from it, and proceed forward. You WILL find your niche in life…….


Just Follow Your Dream……Life Can Take You Where Ever You Want it To Go…..Its a lot of hard work, but …..Anything Is Possible…..


Vacations Over, Everyone is Home…..Part 5

Tina and the kids returned home just before Easter. Is really funny how much kids pick up. The are so impressionable. The day after they return home, Tina walked into the kitchen.


Their was Austin wiping his shoes. Tina asked him “What are you doing”. He said “I’m shinning my shoes. That’s what all the little Mexican boys do.”……..Can you imagine of all things, that is what he picked up in Mexico. He watched the little Mexican boys walking the streets with their box of shoe shine products and a stool, trying to make a dollar. Easter was the following weekend. Tina went shopping and amongst all the things she bought for Easter….Guess What….



Shoe Shine Kit….Everything he needs to wash, wax, buff and shine shoes….What a nut…lol…Look how excited he is.



So he proceeded to shine Mileys shoes and then the boots. He is such a character. They went camping out at Fish and Fun, and he got to do what he loves best…..



He’s a Fisherman. This is what he loves to do…..Like Father….Like Son….He is a true Dolder.. He loves fishing, hunting, and the great outdoors. Ed and Grandpa Dan are teaching him well. Now Miley had an assignment at school to write a paragraph using contractions for English.20190616_2054356957540398378968055.jpg

She fell in “LOVE” with Texas……This is what it says……………….

“I’m hoping I can go back to Texas to see family. My mom loves it there. She’ll say yes. We’re gonna have such a fun time. I can’t wait. My dad hates heat so he’s not gonna go. Isn’t it fun in Texas? Aren’t you gonna answer me? Anyway won’t Texas be Fun.”

I hope they do come back soon. We Will Have A Fun Time.

Now Carly came home from school one day and wrote a story. Her First grade class was learning about Authors. Carly had picked out Gail Rollo, my friend here at the Park, as she met her the last time they were here. Gail Rollo wrote and published her book Gorilla of My Dreams. In fact her 2nd book in the series has just been released for sale on Amazon. Tammy made a video of Carly reading her story.


It was a full page, front and back. It was so cute. She really did good. I sent the video to Gail, and she was so happy that she used her imagination. Meeting Gail and learning about Authors had allowed Carly to unleash her imagination a write a story. Something she probably never thought about before.

Tammy decided to order some T Shirts to remember the trip. Her and Connie had some ……Quality…… Time …….. in the car on the way down, and on the way back…..The official saying that became a JOKE was…..“Get in the Car Connie”…..



So these cool shirts finally came in. Tammy surprised Connie with hers. They all had a good laugh.


So Texas Mexico “2019” is now OFFICIALLY OVER…….Hopefully they all come back again. But I bet it will be separately next time……..


Connie, Tammy and the Kids Last Days of Vacation…….Part 4

Now that Tina and the kids had left, things quieted down a bit.  I took a day to take Connie site seeing and shopping.  Our first stop was the Museum of Arts and Heritage.  It contains the actual house belonging to the founder of Harlingen, Lon C Hill.  Also their was the first Hospital of Harlingen and the Stage Coach Stop that was moved in from several miles out in the country.  Then on to the Iwo Jima Memorial.20190418_1158548738467382576573432.jpg

This is such an impressive site to see.  It is the original first sculpture.  It is the clay cast that was made to mold the bronze Memorial in Arlington Cemetery, Washington DC.  It was a picture that was taken by an AP news photographer, of 4 soldiers raising the flag of the United States at the battle of Iwo Jima against the Japanese in WW II.  It was later in years made into a sculpture to honor our soldiers in battle. 20190418_1159311359531357824814867.jpg

One of the flag raisers was Corporal Harlon H Block, just a young man from  a little town west of here, Weslaco Texas.  He is buried at this site.  20190418_1208047820625982269052270.jpg


Little did he know he would be killed in battle 3 days later.  This sculpture was given to the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen for several reasons.  1.  The Marine Military Academy was across the street.  2.  The street in between was already called Iwo Jima Blvd.  3.  Harlon Block was a home town boy.  It arrived on 10 semi flat beds in 1981 and was reconstructed.  In between the sculpture and the Military Academy lies a beautiful parade grounds used by the Academy for Military Parades.  Many visitors from Harlingen as well as far away including the students families come to view the Parades.  Nearby is a small but wonderful Museum filled with a wealth of historical memorabilia from World War II.  Also we seen a 32 minute black and white slide show, many actual shots of the Battle of Iwo Jima.  I never get tired of watching it.  It is so impressive and informative as to the reality of the war.

We drove across the street and slowly drove thru the Marine Military Academy.  I showed Connie the dorms, Gymnasium, Cafeteria, Class rooms and many others.  The school is a private college preparatory academy for classes 7th – 12th.  It is extremely expensive to attend therefore I have been told the average stay for a student is 2 years.  If the student attends all 6 years, they will likely graduate with an entrance into West Point or any other High ranking college, graduating with a very high rank.  Next we went shopping.  Amongst others Connie wanted to do Burlington Coat Factory.  First time for me.  We seen lots of bargain stuff.  I bought Carly an outfit.20190418_1711324737293413788877434.jpg

Of course we found something else.  This cool unicorn trunk to put stuff in.  We also went back to the Island to the new Sea Turtle Inc.  They rescue and treat the injured and keep the ones that cannot be rereleased in the waters.  It is a new building with a number of huge tanks for the ones that have found their forever home.20190419_1307384700962464836390273.jpg


This one is Gerry.….Hes been here since 1980 and was on Johnny Carson.



This one is Allison, she arrived in 2005 and has rudder attached to her back.  She is missing 3 of her 4 flippers. 20190419_1340591719390303973342248.jpg

Their was a very interesting display on the garbage that is found in the ocean waters and how dangerous it is to animals.  So much plastic is thrown overboard or washed out to sea.  The turtles think it is food and take bites.  It is so dangerous for them to ingest.



The girls found a tank with a bubble in the bottom.  They crawled in from underneath.  It looked like they were in the tanks.  From their we went to the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center.20190419_1437415067563501753533916.jpg


It is a beautiful place full of birds, butterflies, and some alligators.  Its trails are all boardwalks that are built above the ground.  The birds, gators and wildlife have so much area to roam and be free and we are above them and…..SAFE…..20190419_1458192968984700477143471.jpg

This was a sleeping Alligator.  Or at least he looked like it.  He never moved.



This was a beautiful walk out to the pier.  This was all shallow water full of crab, fish snails and ducks. 20190419_1515471042480478050570140.jpg


Such a beautiful view of the bridge coming from Port of Isabel to the island in the distance.  On the walk we seen several turtles.  They loved to dig in the mud. 20190419_1552485231534597102920834.jpg

Many bird watchers were their with their binoculars.  The area was full of lush foliage that was a home and haven for birds and wildlife.  We came across 1 more pier and found another sleeping alligator.  He was right next to the post and never moved.  He was much smaller than the other one.20190419_1603116609505219380753557.jpg

Finally after a full day, time to head home.  The next day we took off to Boca Chica Beach again.  Tammy loves that place because she can drive down the beach in her jeep.  We went through Brownsville and past the Border Patrol check point, past Space X again and right down to the beach entrance.  I wouldn’t let her go south as that was Mexico.  So we went north on the beach.  It was such a beautiful day.  I had also checked the Tide report.  I certainly didn’t want to be marooned on the beach.  We drove 4 or 5 miles on the beach, watched the ocean waves beside us, passing  vehicles fishing and grilling out.  Just enjoying a fun day of sun and water.  We approached the end and found ourselves in front of the Port Of Brownsville inlet.  Just across from us was South padre Island.



It was so pretty.  We parked the Jeep and climbed up the big concrete/stone retaining wall.  Right in front of us was South Padre Island and one of the Dolphin Watch Cruises.



It was windy but so pretty.  Behind us was a number of houses on a hill.


These houses do not have any utilities to them.  They are all owned by private owners.  All water has to be trucked in from Brownsville.  They all require generators for power.  We are told when you take the Dolphin tours that if these houses are ever demolished in a hurricane, the government will not let them be rebuilt.  They don’t want them their.  So far they seem to be fine.  What a great Vacation home away from civilization.  But I bet the weather is brutal at times.  It gets the direct wind and rain from the Gulf.  We turned around and started driving back slowly.  Tammy, Connie and Carly started walking the beach while I drove the Jeep.


It was so beautiful watching them walk, listening to the waves roll in from the ocean.  The wind blew and the sea gulls swooped and fly from the shore line to up in the air, chasing anything that looked like food. 20190419_1911514184852462720873849.jpg


I came upon a log that had been washed to shore.  It had apparently been submerged for a long time.  It was full of barnacles that had attached to it.  I had never seen them before.  Pretty interesting. 20190419_191923165950046638024157.jpg

It was nearing time to go.  We still had to go over and visit my friend Gail Rollo.  She has written a series of Childrens books.  I bought Carly one last year and now her and Tammy wanted to purchase one for her First grade Class.


Gail was so Happy to see us and Carly Gail dedicated a book to the first grade class.  Carly was so excited.  She read the whole book to Gail and all of us.


She really reads well for only first grade.  Gail has just released her 2nd book in the series.  Its called …..”Gorilla of My Dreams”……Its a dream she had as a little girl and has never forgotten it.  She has self published her books and they are available on Amazon as well as many book stores.  She is an ….”Awesome”….. lady.  You can also check her out on Facebook as well as Amazon.  Finally it was Easter Sunday and time for them to go.  We went to Golden Corral for Breakfast.  When we came home guess who had been their…The Easter Bunny…



Carly was so happy.  She thought the Easter Bunny might miss her.  She got her bag and started collecting all her eggs and surprises.  The Easter Bunny left Cassidy her new hair iron that she has been wanting.  Now they had to pack.  You  would never believe all the stuff they had to pack.  The little trailer was so loaded down.  They had bought so much, including bags of fruit.  They also brought back the things Tina had bought that she couldn’t put on the plane. 20190421_1251364733610969203983122.jpg


Finally it was time for them to leave.  Their was just enough room the kids to sit.  After Hugs and Good Byes they took off loaded to the hilt.  24 hours later they pulled into home again.  I can’t imagine driving with her,  packed in tight like the kids were, but it is what they do.….lol….. and Connie survived….