I have been quiet on this blog lately. I really do not know why, other than I just have been a little lazy. It is not like cool things have not been happening worth telling. There have been things like getting to see the Cubs play the Astros in Miller Park, allowing me to cross another stadium visited. Or how about getting to hear one of the correspondents from the Daily Show talk about the behind the scenes stuff of the show? That was cool. I guess the biggest news is that I now have a nephew.
Just thought I would share. And now back to more blog silence for the time being.
It is the story of movies... Boy from the big city moves to the small town. Falls for the farm girl from the outskirts of town. He convinces her to leave the farm and join his dream of changing the world, not knowing what the future will bring.
But this story I tell isn't the product of the film industry, but of real life. It is the story of a young boy, moving with his mother and sister from the heart of Chicago to the small farm town of Havana. It is the tale of a city boy falling for a gal who was literally born on the farm. After high school he took that gal from the farm and headed off to college. He dreamed of teaching. And taught he did. First in the classroom, then as a guidance counselor he made a difference in the lives of many. And he didn't just teach in the classroom. He had four of his own to raise, to mold, to impart what he knew, and then send off to the world. Even retirement didn't slow him down, as he just moved to higher education, and then to international education. Just he couldn't fully take the farm out of the gal, with him you couldn't take the desire to help youth out of him. And now he has another generation to help teach, a new task to add to his list of roles in life.
On this Father's Day, I consider myself thankful to have the father I do. I do not know where I would be without the guidance and input he has had in my life. It is no mistake that I now sit in the shadow of a school building, spending most of my days working with students. I was shown a model of working with students that never gave up on anyone, no matter how tough the situation was. I only hope that I can live up to the example I was shown.
He also did his best to make sure that his kids had everything they needed to be successful, but not too much they were spoiled. He allowed a zoo to be kept in his home, sometimes I think to his dismay. He allowed his children to roam this world, all with the knowledge that if in any trouble he would be there if he could. (I guess that is why when one child wrecked a car in Italy, one of the first things he did was call home. While he couldn't make it to Italy to help, the two minutes on the phone before the card ran out, help calm the nerves of young explorer.)
Even Superman needed a place to hide... And just like Superman, he found a place in the north to serve as his fortress of solitude. A place he could take his family to retreat from the pressures of work and the busyness of life. There he taught them to enjoy nature, how to gut a fish, and to swim. There the four learned the importance of family, the bonds of being siblings, and that everyone needs somewhere they can call home.
So Dad, if you are reading this. Thanks. You've done well raising the four of us. Just like the rocks you taught us to skip on the like, you've tossed us out into this world to make ripples. And those ripples continue to spread further and further. And just like that foundation we all helped you build a few years ago, you gave each of us a firm foundation of faith, love, and support. It was a honor to be considered a coworker with you on two continents (I'm assuming substitute teaching at MHS counts), and more so proud to call you father.
At the same time today, I can't help but think of some of my students over the years and friends who have not had the same positive experience with a dad. If you would like, you can borrow mine for a while. I'll give you his phone number or email. Although I should warn you, don't listen to all his advice. He told me years ago that I would never need German and that I should take Spanish instead. DANKE! Nunca he vivido en un pais de habla hispana.
The number of Cordells in the world just did increase As the other night it was reported I have a new neice. I once totalled my Mazda on a weekend road trip to Nice. When it hit the guardrail it didn't remain in one piece And all over the road it spewed lots of oil and grease. Guess it wasn't as sturdy as my college car, the Caprice. Have I told you how I stepped on a kid in Athens, Greece? Here is a self portrait of Alex Toth who is now decease. With Hanna Barbara, manygreatcomics he did release.
Well, it is Mother's Day, and I'm too cheap to send flowers internationally. So being the nerdy one of the family, I thought I would put up a little tribute to the lady I know as mom.
From what I have been told, over thirty years ago she took a chance. She was told her second child would be mentally disabled and would not be able to take care of himself. The doctor recommended ending the pregnancy, but she didn't even consider it an option. Months later a little redheaded child appeared to the world, and proved that doctor wrong. (Although if I lived by his expectations, tying my shoes in the morning is a great accomplishment. I could stop there, and have a great day.!)
Skip ahead a few years, she and her family are on vacation. She decides to take her child on the rope swing, as she had done many times before. While swinging that day the rope decides to break, sending mother and child to the ground. She was the only one injured in the fall. (Although I still use the excuse that I was dropped as a child when needed.)
Those that know her, know that you can take the girl off the farm, but not the farm out of the girl. She brought her hard work ethic with her when a hot shot from Chicago swept her off the farm. She has worked at several banks, a city utility office, the local A&W, a feed store (where word was she could carry heavier bags of grain than some of the male employees), and even ran a semi-truck elevator. She currently works crazy hours at a bakery. Luckily she has passed down some of that work ethic to her kids... although I think she also passed down the desire for odd and random jobs too.
I know it wasn't easy for her when this nomad left years ago for a summer in Ireland. It was tougher when I took off for what I thought was going to be two years in Germany. And I don't think she ever expected I'd end up in Asia. But I still remember the words of my parents when they told me they raised me to be independent and wanted us to be happy in what we did. They knew God was leading me in this direction and were proud that I was following. If she (and dad) didn't do such a good job of raising me, I still would be living in their basement.
I could fill pages telling stories of a woman people on several continents call Eleanor or Elle, yet I still call mom. I could also probably get in trouble for putting up more photos of her through years. So I guess I will end this post with a funny note I got from my mom. It was on a bag of Musli she sent me in a care package. It says, "To Ryan: From IKEA 11/27/05 You can take out the raisins if you don't like."
You gotta love a mom who allows you to be a picky eater, even when you are half a world away and in your thirties.
So mom, if you are reading this... Thank you for all you did to help raise me right. Thank you for being supportive of my vagabond lifestyle. Thank you for being a Godly example of caring for others before yourself. Thank you for providing a place I know I can always return to. Thank you. You are appreciated and loved.
Currently listening to: Danny Plett - (one of my mom's favorite albums)