A Passionate Love of Life...
As previously stated, this site primarily deals with me and my car Herbie. My dad and mom basically put this website together since I have issues putting my thoughts together due to the disability I was born with. Back in the day, they did not deal with pregnancy like they do today and I was basically a 10-month baby weighing in at 10lb, 7oz, and being around 21½ inches in length. Since I was now going a month over my moms due date, the doctors did what they always did back then and using a pair of forceps, reached in and grabbed me by the head and pulled me out. To tell the truth, I really do not remember that much about my birth, but the stories told over the years are quite memorable. Anyway, once I was out into this bold new
world, it was very noticeable that I had what was called twin Cephalohematomas on the top of my head, in other words, a pool of clotted blood in my skull more than likely caused by my size and the use of forceps. Other than that, I was perfectly fine. I had 10 fingers and 10 toes, great color, and all the other parts seemed to be in the right place as well.
Dad graduated with a BS in Engineering and started working for a large aerospace company immediately after graduation. Mom had completed her requirements for working as an LPN and did so for the first year of their marriage until I was born. After that, I was blessed that mom was able to stay at home with me throughout my early years up to and including today. My mom and dad were both dedicated Christians and dad had to really juggle between our church, his family and his work. We had a good solid church, but dads work did require him to travel more than normal, even working out of state a number of times for extended periods, but he made sure that we would be able to travel with him whenever possible and we even moved twice so that we could be with him.
Our travel included a number of trips across the US and even to Europe where dad was a guest speaker at an International conference on state-of-the-art electronic development that his company was involved with. Dad was considered one of the leading experts in the early development of micro-electronics and spoke often on the subject. While we traveled, we saw some of the most memorable sites there are in the US including places like Washington DC, New York, the Grand Canyon, the Grand Tetons, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Glacier National Park, and so much more. We would spend numerous vacations in the Great Smokey Mountains with close friends and with dad's sister and her family. We also traveled across Canada and then we had the most memorable time in Europe traveling from Frankfurt Germany to Paris, Rome, Zurich and all the places in-between. We were able to visit places like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower, the Vatican, the Louvre and everywhere else we could think of including going to the top of the Zugspitze Mountains in Germany.
Dad also loved the water and early in his career, he and mom purchased a relatively large boat to replace a smaller one they had when they got married, and we started to spend more time on the water, both fresh and salt. We would go on fishing trips offshore and usually bring back numerous types of fish that we would catch. Dad made up the cabin on the boat so that my brother and I could spend the day watching TV or simply playing while they fished. We also used the boat to go on camping trips along various rivers in our state and simply cruising on the lakes. This lasted for around ten years until dad became simply too busy to maintain the boat and take time to fish, so they sold the boat and eventually they purchased a 19-foot boat that we had up until just a few years ago. It was on this boat that we learned to ski, kneeboard and just have fun being pulled behind on our bob sled and other toys that we had.
As though the traveling, camping and boating were not enough, dad also led the young boys at our church in what was called The Royal Ambassadors. He and mom were heavily involved in trying to teach us guys about God and his mercy while he also got us involved in frequent camping trips across the state, competing in archery with other churches, canoeing, and even in yearly Missionary Fairs that he and a friend set-up where we competed with other churches in building and displaying the latest artifacts from countries around the world where our missionaries would travel. These fairs were held at various skating rinks where we would set-up our booths and then enjoy skating until wee hours of the morning. To say the least, we were always on the go and there was never a dull moment around our house.
Well, things began to change around 1987 when our church went through a major split leaving us basically with nowhere to go on Sunday's. It was a personal decision by mom and dad after they saw first-hand how thoughtless and prideful other Christians could be, so for many, many years we stayed away from church all together and spent the time we would have been in church enjoying our new home and boat on the various lakes including a pristine chain of lakes that we now lived on. Also, with the free time we now had, mom and dad decided that we could take up another sport that we would probably enjoy due to our love of the water, and that was scuba diving. Over the next three years we all became certified Open Water II divers which allowed us to dive open water and even on shipwrecks down to around 125 feet underwater. It was a great time and we spent much of our time diving whenever we could including ten miles offshore. We did not think much about our time away from the church until around 1993 when dad actually collapsed at work when the electrical circuit in his heart basically shorted out and he continually went into ventricular tachycardia as well as fibrillation. He was able to return to work for a while after having a defibrillator installed, but due to the continuing shocks he was receiving, finally had to retire in early 1994.
This drastically affected our family in that dad wouldn't even get behind the wheel of a car for around 3 years and due to the reduced income, we were experiencing due to his disability, we now had to sell our beautiful custom home and start looking for a replacement that we could afford. We finally found a piece of property about 20 miles from where we had lived for a decent price and started looking at what it would cost to buy or build a replacement. Finally, around a year later, mom and dad were able to put enough money together and to get a loan where we could build a new home. It was modest, but more than what we thought we would ever be able to afford. So, in 1997 we finally moved into our new home, and we still live there today.
We still had not sought out a new church when in 1999, I had a medical issue that was said to require a minor surgery to remove a small portion of my lower intestine. Everything was looking great until day three, when my temperature spiked and within six hours I had coded due to and infection called MRSA. I spent the next three months in the hospital where it was second by second as far as my chance of surviving. Finally, after running a temperature of around 103 degrees for over a month and every organ in my body failing, the doctors decided to try an experimental drug on me to keep the blood basically pooled around my heart which was also failing, and hopefully that would keep me alive. Well, I survived, but the drug also kept the blood from circulating to my legs and hands and slowly but surely, they started to die off. First, my legs were amputated around 5 weeks and six additional surgeries after being placed in ICU, and my temperature finally started to become controllable. It seems like my legs losing circulation and dying off was causing my temperature to spike.
Anyway, I was in the hospital for around three months and during that time, I lost both legs and all ten fingers except for part of the thumb on my right hand. I also was left with a large abdominal opening which was basically closed the best they could using a skin graft off from one of my legs, and a colostomy. In other words, I was a real mess. Over the next couple of months, I was fitted with prosthetic legs and sent to physical therapy where I learned to walk relatively quickly. Mom and dad encouraged me every step of the way and a little over three months from leaving the hospital, I actually danced the New Years in with a young lady at a special event that we had gone to.
I had started to work for an Arby's fast-food restaurant in 1993 and was actually able to return to work around February of 2000 and have now been with them for around 30 years. I have found that I can do most of the things I always did, but on a somewhat limited basis. As much as I love the water, it takes a lot of preparation for me to now go into the water, so I have given up most swimming even though we have always had a pool at our homes. Dad did make up special swim legs for me with fins and we did go diving a few times, however with dads and my disabilities, mom no longer feels comfortable being our only lifeline while in the water. I didn't mention bowling, but before all this happened, we participated in a bowling league, and we did return to bowling for a while where I used a couple of balls with retractable handles that I could slip my hand under and then the handle would slide back-in after release. I don't like to brag, but even with two artificial legs and no fingers, I still was bowling around scores between 150 and 200. In addition, we did travel out west one year where I had the opportunity to try my hand at snow skiing for the first time, dad fixed me up with an electric assisted bicycle so that we could go bike riding and of course we still stay busy with travel and going to car shows. I still help with cooking at Arby's but primarily work with stocking the materials they need and maintenance.
Now with all that being said, we finally found a great Independent Baptist Church to join where we immediately got back into serving the Lord. I believe all that we went through made it perfectly clear to mom and dad that we needed to keep our eyes on the Lord instead of on the people that make up the church. We have now been with the same church for right at 20 years and love every minute of serving at least three times a week. We love the preachers we have, our missionaries, and the people. Dad and mom stay busy with everything from running the sound and video as well as live streaming and processing the services for the church website, nursery, working with the children and more. I spend most of my time welcoming everyone by name as they enter, ushering, working with the children during special events and more. To say the least, life is good, and we all agree that the Lord has blessed us over the years so much more than we deserve.
Well, enough about me, let's talk a little about my car Herbie.