The Old Man

old man.jpg

My father, Owen Bennion, lives in rural Missouri where he walks every morning on the roads near his home. He is 85 and underwent bypass surgery over ten years ago. He is careful about what he eats and gets out every day to walk.

Following his example (and not wanting to follow him into surgery) I go out every morning and walk with my dogs. Dixon always goes and Mr booh sometimes. We start out at 6am and walk by starlight, watching as the grey darkness gives way to colors and light. It is a great time think and be alone. Sometimes Lee come along but not much. She is usually saving herself for a ride with her horses.

I like to think of myself as following my dad’s path in this life. He has done a lot of good and little harm to anyone. He is surely the source of my desire to have faith. He taught me that.

This morning as Dixon and I walked in the darkness I called him on the cell phone and visited while mom was getting breakfast on for him. They are happy together. I count myself lucky to still have them around.

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2 Responses to “The Old Man”

  1. Greg Miller, From NCECA via Wisconsin Says:

    Hi Joe,

    You might not remember me, but we shared some time together at the Las Vegas NCECA conference. I still have a lot of warm memories of our time together. I think of that time often and regret that I haven’t stayed in touch. I am notoriously a poor correspondent. It is something I am working to change.

    Your sight allowed me to get some idea of major happenings in the lives of you and your family. Though I don’t know any details, I was sorry to learn of Lee’s health crisis. It sounded rather serious. I hope she has been blessed with returning good health. Your family will be in my prayers and meditation.

    I was excited to learn that, as empty nesters, you and Lee are planning to build a new home. Sally, my wife, and I have entertained a few thoughts of doing the same. In our case downsizing would not be the goal. We both would like to rearrange our living spaces to better suit our lives and to greatly reduce our carbon footprint. Like you, we are empty nesters, so we are entertaining possibilities for changes we would like to make for our future lives and that of the planet.

    I have taken an interest in “alternative and green” building for some years now.
    Straw bail construction is of particular interest to me. It is an astoundingly energy-efficient material, which is being used in virtually all climates where straw is grown. I have a cousin in northern Wi. who has bail home and studio buildings. He, his wife and two teenage daughters, lived in the studio for several years while they planned and built their bale house. Both buildings are off the grid, so they generate all of their own power. My cousin’s wife, a graphic designer working at home, worked in the studio building throughout the process. I haven’t seen the home since it was nearly completed, but that was several years ago. They have been living in it nearly that long. I’m planning to attend the Midwest Renewable Energy Conference which is held in his area later this month. I think I’ll learn a lot. I will visit them then.

    My daughter Carly and I are interested in politics and the environment. I’m glad we share that and our interests in music. Carly just graduated from Hamline University in St. Paul with a major in Political Science. Her plans include law school (tentatively) but she is planning on working for the next year. she is also very interested in Art History and has been entertaining the idea of doing graduate work in that instead. She is conflicted. I remember feeling that way myself, so Sally and I are encouraging her to take some time to reflect. Carly has always done extremely well in school. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and could do either one well. Heck she could do both if she chose to. There are plenty of legal issues in Art.

    Well I guess I blabbed and bragged enough here. I have so enjoyed your web sight and will visit again.

    God Bless,

  2. Ishaan Says:

    Claudia,I completely agree with you. Nesting is an awful seraino and should never be considered in high conflict divorces, divorces with custody disagreements, and without some type of financial agreement which is enforceable by the courts. My divorce was final on March 6. I was in a marriage with an alcoholic spouse. As is in most cases with alcoholics, they are selfish, disrespectful, immature, and refuse to take responsibility and accountability for their actions. The Guardian forced me into a nesting situation. I was not given a choice. I had already been paying the mortgage and utilities without assistance from my former spouse. He refused to move out of the house, regardless of making financial contributions to the mortgage, utilities, maintenance and upkeep of the marital residence. Nesting accomplished the following for us: 1) More conflict and stress in an already strained environment for our children. -conflict over household responsibilities -conflict over food and clothing left in the home -conflict on how to raise the children. -conflict over the 2) Removal of myself as their primary care giver from the home. (extremely traumatic for the children) 3) More financial burden on me due to paying for a rental facility for 5 months as well as two sets of utilities and the mortgage by myself. *While my ex spouse lived free of rent and utilities with his mother. 4) Less consistancy for the children due to two extremely different parenting styles. 5) A breakdown in consistant enforcement of discipline, boundries and schedule. 6) Physical and emotional stress in that i was forced to take care of two homes not only financially but physically. 7) Caused my 6 yr old daughter to develop seperation anxiety. 8) Caused my 12 yr old to have no respect for myself, his sister and women in general.It is my honest opinion that a court should not be able to force you into a nesting agreement without consideration of the following: a) some type enforceable financial agreement between both parties. - I went from November to June without an any financial agreement in place. All the while knowing that I would be the primary custodial parent leaving me without the ability to save money for a new home, neccessities for my children, and support for childcare, healthcare, extra curricular activities for the children and school fees. b) never considered as an option in a high-conflict divorce or c) when it is evident that there is such a serious discrepancy in parenting stylesb) when it is evident that co-parenting is not working and so clearing not an optione) when alcohol and/or drugs is involved with one of the parentsf) when the children are clearly more dependant on one parent as a caregiver than the other. g) when children suffer from difficulties with transition, learning disabilities, and change. My son has ADHD and has always have difficulty with change. I used to have to prepare him when he would have a substitute teacher in grade school. The end result was that I became financially devestated; Endured so much stress from moving twice a week that I lost my job; and became depressed being seperated from my children every Sunday. I got myself and my children the help that we needed to overcome the trauma of the divorce and the nesting. Taught myself how to maintain a home and home repairs myself. I overcame such adversity with only the support of strangers. I lost all my friends, had no family near by, and an attorney and court system that forced me to spend my time defending my every expense and every action. It was random acts of kindness that kept me going and continues to keep me going. It renewed my faith in others. It is amazing how much support or care you can get from a stranger. It always would happen at the most devastating times and the times that I was most in need. A woman picking me up while I walked to the gas station because I could not put gas in my car until payday. A woman at Target letting me take $30 worth of groceries even though all my credit cards were declined. A woman pediatrician, not charging me for a doctor visit with my daughter and giving me $20 in cash to take her to lunch. A woman giving me $180 cash that she always kept with her as what she would call sisterhood money. No quetions asked and pay it forward and not back , she said. I am now still in debt due to the irresponsible decisions made by the court. It will be years before I am able to fully recover financially. Somehow I have made it every step of the way. I am proud of what I have accomplished. Empowered by the fact that I have overcome every obstacle and continue to do so. My children and I have a home that we now rent in one of the best communities and school districts in IL. We have all sacraficed to get here. We no longer can join an activity without considering the financial impact. We buy our clothes at Goodwill instead of brand name stores. We make sacrafices everyday and there has been a significant change in our quality of life. The amazing thing is that I was the one that made the money in the family. I am the one that ended up with primary residential custody and all of the expenses. The child support although needed and welcomed only covers groceries and maybe a few incidentals. So there you have it the impact short and long term of nesting agreements.Amy

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