Ben… A Recovering Idiot (who often relapses) Friend of many (or so he thinks) Foe of one, two or maybe a few (hundred) Grandfather of twelve (and not a bad one in the bunch) Father of six (that he's been notified of) Married for 38 long, arduous and worthwhile years (readers of The Book all agree it’s a miracle) Husband of one (which is fairly unusual for a Mormon) Jack of no trades (and master of none) Inventor (who’s not that successful but keeps the bills paid) Dodged certain death at least 5 (00 times) Broke 27 bones (and wondering which one will fail next) Missing only two fingers (and had just one lobotomy up to this point) Over the hill (and can’t remember if he was ever really on top) Legal owner of Michele and this blog (his favorite?...depends on the day)

My wife and I went to Phoenix for Christmas with our six kids and their fams. While sitting together and getting reacquainted, the family asked me to share a few thoughts. I thought they would be totally enthralled with my narrative but then…

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My wife showed me this picture. It made me feel like Rodney. I get no respect.

After viewing, I initially decided I wanted to change my will which meant second son Will would get more out of my vast estate and second daughter Meg much less. But then again, maybe Meg and Jake were just taking careful notes of my speech. I decided to take the high road so that’s the thought I’m going to cling to. I don’t believe it but I’m still going to cling to it.

Now Meg is back in the will and Will will still  get just 1/6 of  that big lump of black coal I’m leaving behind.

My first wife Michele has spent pretty much this entire Christmas season playing music at retirement centers. Othello, Tri-Cities and Phoenix. She gets around.

The ole girl is driven to serve others with no desire for recognition. I used to help back her up with a guitar in the past but right now I can’t find my fingers. (You need fingertips to play the guitar. Not so much with firecrackers, drums or tambourine.)

All the kids have moved south so when we’re in the north country they’re no help with music.

But while in Phoenix, we cornered the kids and their kids and visited a memory care center where a few of them played.

I wonder how many more years until I get committed to one of these facilities? My guess is anywhere from 1 to 5. Sounds like a prison sentence. I wonder if Michele will come and visit? Maybe even play me a little music.

Since I lopped my tips off, I can’t participate in activities like this. But a thought came to me. I could play a tambourine and then I’d be back in with the family band. After a few months of practice, I will be ready.

And speaking of frosty Phoenix, here’s proof:

Frosty Phoenix

Looking out over the frosty shingles toward the fire-ravaged lot that used to be filled with nasty Mesquite trees. Until the Phoenix Fire Department and I came along. Not necessarily in that order.