Shared by Jenny Denton on October 3, 2019
I moved from a small town in Alabama to Los Angeles, CA when I was fairly young... I'd been 20 for less than 3 months. I was nervous, excited, and had no idea what I was in for since I was playing a lot of it by ear. Mike and Sheila kindly let me spend the night at their home while I was making the trek. While we were visiting that evening, Mike started giving advice on driving through the desert... freezing a water bottle the night before so you have cold water all day, general car care tips, etc. Then he started telling me tales of his experiences in LA Including $8 glasses of OJ as far as the eye could see, and tires melting on the highway from the heat. There were a couple of others, but those are the ones that stand out. I'd never been so far from home by myself, and was a pretty gullible person well into my 20's. I don't think it was until I'd been here for a bit that it dawned on me that he was totally messing with me and I immediately realized that he'd had a twinkle in his eye the entire time he was pulling my leg that evening. He also taught me the glory of french press coffee the following morning. It's still my favorite.

Mike’s 21st Birthday Baptism...

Shared by Howard Denton on October 2, 2019
Mike turned 21 about a month before several of us had to go to ROTC Summer Camp at Ft. Sill, OKlahoma, so serious shenanigans were simply out of the question for his birthday.  This left Palo Duro Canyon and environs as the only worthy option for innocent but memorable fun.  We made it only as far as Six Gun City, a recently closed tourist “must see” (wink-wink) attraction near the park entrance.  Abandoned a few years earlier, it had been the site of many OK Corral-type gunfights and still had several buildings, corrals, hitching posts, honestly ancient watering trough, somehow full, slime-covered, and absolutely foul smelling.  After walking around near the canyon rim and exploring (trespassing) the land and the old buildings, Mike made the mistake of commenting on how warm the weather was.  Well, it WAS his birthday, so..he put up a real good fight, but he was only one person, and there were four others of us, and after “rasslin’” him a bit in the dirt, we threw him completely in and under that nasty water!  Mike stood up, dripping green slime and smelling vile, and said, “Man, that was refreshing!”  With that, he went under a second time and came up grinning.  One of the guys offered a hand to help Mike out, and Mike snatched him and pulled him into the trough, too.  Lord, did they stink! We laughed and rode around a bit, and about sundown we stopped on a small bridge in Hunsley Hills, a new subdivision north of Canyon.  Mike said something like, “Well, the sun has set on my birthday, and y’all still stink!”  So we took off our shoes and all jumped in that neighborhood creek to rinse off the stench of that trough.

From my Facebook feed

Shared by Mary Wakefield on October 1, 2019
My father left four very detailed pages of things my mother needed to know if he went first. Last updated July 3, 2019.

The last three lines read
"Thanks for a wonderful life. It wasn't fair, but you really were the mortar that held the bricks together. I think the kids believe that, too. Take care, and I'll be waiting for you on the other side. I will always love you."

The earliest of memories

Shared by Mary Wakefield on October 1, 2019
This was one of my father's favorite stories to tell me.
My father has always been an early riser. He would get up and check on his girls on his way down the hall. I would be sound asleep, sawing logs in my crib.  You could probably bang a drum and it wouldn't make me up. But if he gently said myy name, my eyes would pop open, and I would say, without fail "is it wakin-up time?!" as bright and chipper as if I had been up for an hour.  If he skipped gently waking me up, and instead walked down the hall, and so much as touched the doorknob, I would bolt up from sleep, and he would hear the plaintive wail from my room, "Daaadddyyyyyy! I wanna go get the pa-(breath)-per!"

Walking down the front walk with Dad and dog was a morning ritual for years. Followed regularly by fried eggs and toast with strawberry jam. Apparently the first time he made eggs for me I was smitten, and though still small enough to be in diapers, I ate three.

My last visit out to see my dad this summer, I didn't get the paper with him, we both still woke up early, bright and chipper, and had eggs and toast for breakfast. Some traditions are lifelong.

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