Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy 63rd Grandaddy!

The birthday boy and his little man...

Today is my dad's birthday. Three years ago when I was pregnant with Raegen {my due date was 2/12}, he had really, really hoped I'd deliver his newest grandson on his birthday...and name him Rucker Jr.!! :) Seriously! :)
As you know, babies only come when they're ready...or when you take them! ha
Three days AFTER dad's birthday, my doc decided to induce labor and get that baby out!! :) Today, three years later, there's another chance his newest grandson could be born on his birthday. But once again it's quite unlikely.
Sorry daddy! :)
I may not be able to give him a grandson today, but we {B & I} can give him a grandson with his name!
That's right folks, we officially have a complete name for baby Lynden...
Lynden Rucker Stain
This was not an easy decision and in fact, Lynden's full name was decided upon with many tears and prayers. As I shared yesterday, our second child did not make it through the first trimester of pregnancy. However, had our baby survived and been a boy, we would have named him Warren Rucker Stain. Giving Lynden Warren's "middle name" was not an easy choice. Of utmost importance to us was that we were honoring our second child and not merely taking his name. As I just mentioned, after much prayer and many tears, we both feel this is a way to honor my father and his family name as well as act as a reminder of the child we never got to remember that our baby was and is real.
It has been amazing to see God work in both our lives through this naming process.
Happy Birthday Dad!
as well as Happy Birthday to:
Kayla B.
Tim G.
Marc I.
Tim I.
Martha S.
Jessica W.!!!
Today is quite a popular birthday-day!
Though I know my father will be deeply touched and honored that his eighth grandchild, and sixth grandson, will bear his name, I know he truly will be touched that I included the following newspaper article in his birthday post:

Bald Knob paid price for not letting Bob R.I.P.
By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

LITTLE ROCK — Dear Otus,

When I was growing up in Augusta back in the late ’80s, we always looked forward every Groundhog Day to driving over to Bald Knob to join the crowd and watch Bald Knob Bob come out and see his shadow at sunrise.

We moved away in 1994, and we were thinking of having a family reunion around the celebration but we were told Bald Knob quit having it last year. Can you tell me what happened?

- Erlen Meyer Flask, Mo.

Dear Erlen,

It was wholly a pleasure to hear from you and a sad duty to report that the 2008 Groundhog Day celebration in Bald Knob was, indeed, the final one since Bob, the groundhog, collapsed and died following the festivities on the steps of Lyda P. Miller Public Library.

The crowd, estimated at 24,500, was aghast.

Dr. Allen Breckenbridge, owner of Bald Knob Veterinary Services, was nearby and rushed to Bob’s prostrate body. He performed standard sciuridae resuscitation techniques on the little fellow, but to no avail.

Bob was pronounced dead after 35 minutes of heroic measures.

Dr. Breckenbridge performed a necropsy and said Bob’s demise was from “natural causes.” The critter was, after all, 26 years old. That’s more than four times the lifespan of groundhogs in the wild.

Bob broke - by two years - the previous longevity record set by the legendary Wiarton Willie, a Canadian groundhog from Wiarton, Ontario, who died in 1999.

In addition, Bob weighed 65 pounds - twice the normal groundhog weight - due to a lifetime of gorging on strawberries and strawberry products left over from the annual Bald Knob Strawberry Fest held each Mother’s Day.

Bald Knob Bob was, indeed, Arkansas’ answer to world-famous Punxsutawney Phil who lives outside the small Pennsylvania town atop Gobbler’s Knob.

Legend has it that if Phil emerges from his burrow on Feb. 2 and sees his shadow, he’ll be frightened and there will be six more weeks of winter.

The groundhog legend goes back to Candlemas - the feast of the purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of Christ in the temple - and an ancient Scottishpoem written in Brythonic verse.

The verse says, “Ca’ d robh tu m’ oidhche raoir, cait an robh thu a-raoir.”

Loosely translated, that means, “If Candlemas be bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.”

In olden days, the Scots would gather Feb. 2 around the Gaeltacht of Gaoth Dobhair and await the emergence of the Marmot of St. Gododdin. If the marmot saw its shadow, the villagers would catch it, kill it, dice it and eat it in a stew.

If it was overcast and the marmot did not see its shadow, the villagers would catch it, skin it and roast it upon a fire of dool wood from Blairquhan.

Scottish immigrants brought the midwinter tradition to American shores.

Bald Knob bought the young Bob (his original name was Goober) in 1982 from famed Hollywood animal trainers, the Weatherwax family.

It was Rudd Weatherwax who trained the original Lassie for film and TV. His son, Winston, trainedPunxsutawney Phil and Bald Knob Bob. Their first trick was not to bite, since that’s the inclination of any groundhog being picked up.

In addition to Lassie, the Weatherwax family has trained Francis the Talking Mule, Rin Tin Tin, Old Yeller, Cujo, Mr. Ed, Benji, Flipper, Baretta’s pet cockatoo Fred, 87 of the 101 Dalmatians, Lucky (who played Morris the Cat in 9 Lives commercials), Milo (but not Otis), Bruiser the Chihuahua from Legally Blonde II (who also starred in the first six Taco Bell commercials), the stunt double for Eddie (who played Moose) on Frasier, Hooch from Turner & Hooch, the four ducks of the Aflac commercials and Nigel, the Geico gecko (they use CGI to animate him for the ads).

After Bob died, the Bald Knob Chamber of Commerce feared the loss of revenue so they stuffed Bob, put him in a little coffin and tried to have him preside over the 2009 Groundhog Day activities. A disgusted crowd moved down the road to Searcy.

Until next time, Kalaka reminds you that you can view Bob’s mounted carcass in the coffin in the window of Frankie’s Fine Furniture on the corner of Elm and Arkansas 367.

Fayetteville-born Otus the Head Cat’s award-winning column of humorous fabrication appears every Saturday.


This article was published February 6, 2010 at 2:28 a.m.
HomeStyle, Pages 38 on 02/06/2010

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