One Year Ago

For a moment, I forgot I was grown up.

Life is a timeline of events that affects us in ways too small to notice in the moment, but in a retrospective, taken all into account, undeniably establishes who and what we become.

One day you’re riding your “Space Invaders” Huffy bicycle, wearing red-ringed tube socks. The next day, you’re mourning the anniversary of the death of a loved one.

Losing a parent is perhaps one of the last chapters in that timeline, at least in the normal current of events. Like everything else, no one is the first to go through it, but it feels like it is to each of us when it happens.

My father died one year ago today. He was my “adopted” dad, but he never said that. I was always his son. He was not perfect, and I’ve found out how even less perfect he was since he passed.

But he always was, and always “shall be” (to steal a line from Spock), my Dad.

We miss you Paw-Paw.

Dad Bowling for blog

Robert Raymond Souther, 83, of Mills River, passed away Wednesday, October 17, 2018. A native of Henderson County, he was the son of DeWitt Talmadge and Reba Case Souther. He was preceded in death by his brothers John, Thomas (Tommy), and Floyd Souther, and two sisters, Florence Clay and Louise Houk.

Robert attended Mills River High School and in 1953, his Dairy Team scored 1100/1200 in the state dairy show, a record that may stand to this day. No is quite sure what they did with the $400 they won, but they didn’t use it to go to “Nationals” in Iowa–we do know that :).

After high school, Robert spent 8 years in the U.S. Air Force, but got out early to care for his ailing father, who passed soon after.

Professionally, Robert worked as an instrument and electrical engineer most of his life. He never met a problem he couldn’t (at least attempt to) solve, nor something broken that couldn’t (at least attempt to) fix. Robert was a quiet man, but possessing a great sense of humor. Few who met him didn’t immediately like him, and when together with his siblings, would happily recount stories of “four of us on a bicycle,” “wildcats following us through the woods at night,” and other childhood tales.

He is survived by his two sons, Robert J. Souther, of Franklin, NC, and Christopher D. Souther and wife, Megan Souther of Roswell Georgia; his brother Frank Souther and wife L.E. of Hemet, CA.; three grandchildren: Ethan, Aiden and Marissa; and numerous beloved nieces and nephews.

He is remembered fondly by his first wife, Carolyn Souther, also of Henderson Cty.

Robert asked that there be no funeral or memorial service. Instead, the family asks everyone to take a moment and think of the loved ones in your lives, give them a call and tell them you love them.


Behind every memory…is a Coffee Mug?

If there’s an adult male in your house over the age of 30, it’s a pretty good bet that if Gordon Elliott and the cast of “Doorknock Dinners” were to suddenly show up at your house and go scrounging through your pantry, they’d find a number of unmatched coffee mugs, complete with various pictures, logos, and catch-phrases.

I thought about this as I was emptying the dishwasher and trying to find a place for some of our mugs the other day. Now, CareerMom is an avowed packrat and I’m generally a “tosser” (and not in a British kinda way). I don’t normally get sentimental over knick-knacks so its easy for me to just throw things out.

Knowing this, I was taken aback to discover that, as I was moving the mugs around and trying to decide which ones to keep and which ones to toss out, that more than a few held very strong sentimental value. Like markers in my life, each of them pointed at some very good, or notsogood, time in my life and I was hesitant to get rid of them.

If you’re interested:

IMG_2320I got this mug at the Georgia Renaissance Festival back in 2000. CareerMom and I had just gotten married the fall prior and I had quit a very lucrative contract job (making the same money 9 years ago that I’m making now) so I could move back to Atlanta and get married. I remember that we really didn’t have much spending cash, but I really wanted one of these cool mugs (filled at the time of purchase, with beer) because it was a typically steamy June day and because I really liked the mug. So, CareerMom bought it for me and I’ve treasured it ever since.

IMG_2321I grew up in Alabama, and though I wasn’t lucky enough to go to the U. of Alabama, I will forever be a fan! CareerMom got her B.A. at U. of Texas and did her graduate studies at Georgia Tech. And though we don’t actually use these cups much, they are as much a part of our lives as anything else. I just can’t seem to part with them.


IMG_2322Much like my career, this mug symbolizes the hayday of my single life. I was young, I took contract jobs where I often got to do very fun and different things. One time, I worked for a railroad company planning a large telecommunications rollout. Part of my job was to help complete some maps. This was in the day before everything was on the Internet, so I was poring over what few maps were available via Mapquest, plus some maps we had on a program on disk, trying to figure out where the railroad tracks went across the U.S. The logo on this mug has long since worn off, but the underlying color is still there, shiny and bright. I don’t even remember specifically where I got it; only that it meant something special at the time. Still does really…

IMG_2325…the hell did this come from? It looks like something CareerMom got in a crappy “Thank You” basket at at a baby shower.
It’s outta here!

IMG_2324CareerMom brought this mug, along with a set of platters and such when we got married. I think I’ve seen a similar set at Target on and off over the years. But we pull these mugs out around the Christmas holidays. They are a beautiful green with a snowy scene on them that reminds me of the “Christmas that could be.” We will probably never have a white Christmas here in Atlanta, but like seeing the first leaves drop and feeling that first bite of cool Canadian air in October, these mugs always lift my spirits a bit.

IMG_2323When MLE was born, I wanted to make something people could keep. So, I took this picture of him, one of the very first,  and had a mug made up and sent it to all of our family members. For very obvious reasons, I can never throw this one out. I thought about this cup this morning as I was eating breakfast and MLE came down and asked to sit in my lap. I really love that little guy!

IMG_2327CareerMom brought this and another mug like it back from San Francisco recently. Not that I’m a fan of San Fran mind you, but the mugs are very interesting. The  scenery is raised on the mug making it a very tactile drinking experience. They also hold a LOT of coffee, which is a boon in the mornings when you’re already making umpteen trips up and down the stairs retrieving various things for the kids while trying to get ready. They seem kind of fragile though, so I suspect I’ll break them before I actually tire of them. Since these are relatively new, I’m not sure yet what the memory of these will be in 5 years. Perhaps thinking back of all the time I was able to spend with my boys by myself as she traveled for work. (*whisper* It’s kinda really fun when she’s gone!)

IMG_2326Ah, our old standby coffee mugs. These are our everyday, eat and drink whatever you want outta them, cups. Fruit, teas, coffee…they take them all. They aren’t flashy, but there’s lots of them and they do the job.

It’s kinda like our marriage really. Maybe they’re not the most exciting all the time, but they’re strong, and there whenever you need ’em.

People collect things specifically for the memories they make, but coffee cups are one of those things that you just sort of pick up along the way, no special reason. But, that’s what makes them special. Like the picture on the wall that, in time, you tend to ignore, pulling one of these gems out of the back of the cabinet and reliving the sentiment behind it is special.