January, 2000 February
This letter comes so late that you must have thought I forgot. Not so, and we have certainly enjoyed your cards, letters, and pictures this year. That you didn’t notice my failure to write you the past year only proves that you too are busier than you should be. Don’t get me wrong; I’m really not complaining. I just keep wondering, “How much more?” I mean – when does the volume of life peak, level off, and begin to be reasonable again?
For example, perhaps you recall last year that we were in the process of remodeling a house we placed on the corner of our property targeted for sale around April. April became August and we still have the house. Now, it’s nice having two houses. Not everyone you know has two houses. But we don’t need two houses (not yet anyway). Yet it does make a nice place for the tools to hide when you’re trying to do a job somewhere else:
Pat: “Wes, where’s the saw?”
Wes: “I think it’s up at the other house.”
Pat: “Oh. Well, would you mind going up and getting it?”
15 minutes later…
Wes: “Dad, I couldn’t find the saw. I don’t know where it is.”
Pat: “Wes, have you seen a screw driver around here lately?”
Wes: “Last time I saw one was up at the other house.”
Pat: “Oh. Well, would you mind going up and getting one?”
15 minutes later …
Wes: “Dad, I couldn’t find one. I don’t know where one might be.”
The house is really nice. Carrie and the kids did a great job on it. I get no credit because all I did was provide the funding. The project provided some great skill-building opportunities for Lindsey and Wesley. Lindsey was the number one painter/interior decorator. Wesley was the number one carpenter/plumber/electrician/lawn/honey-do handy man. Micah and Clarke contributed quite a bit of manual labor to the project and Monica found herself in charge of the little kids, meals, laundry, meals, Andy, meals, baths, meals, house cleaning, meals, etc. during everyone’s absence.
Oh yeah, Monica has also taken on some marketing duties related to the house. If there’s not a law against this, there probably should be. You see, whenever a prospective buyer comes to look at the house, Monica rides up to the house on her horse followed by her two Collie dogs. If the lookers have any kids, well, you can imagine. One guy commented, “Wow.... My Friend Flicka and Lassie all in one.” We still think it will work, but alas,....
All of which reminds me, you remember last year I mentioned Monica’s desire to own a horse before she grew up? Last March, Monica realized her dream and I realized the origin of the saying “eats like a horse.” In addition, we acquired two more pair of feet, bringing us to a total of 26 pair, that requires shoes on a regular basis. In addition, we learned that Monica bought the horse already bred, which means that by the time you read this there will be more feet to shoe and more horses to feed.
Speaking of feet, Clarke and Evan made their contributions toward bulk-life in their own particular way. One of which was their unprecedented demands on the Tooth Angel this year. You know what? I think they were getting teeth from the dogs, cats, chickens, their friends, etc... The number, and therefore, the money was a little staggering. So frequent the demand for payment and so often the failure of the Tooth Angel to deliver that Clarke resorted to on-demand payment from me.
However, one cool morning I did manage to get up in time to check and see if the teeth under Clarke’s and Evan’s pillows had been exchanged. I opened the door to the boy’s room and the soft dim light of the hallway poured into the room allowing me to see my four oldest sons peacefully sleeping in their beds, like little angels. I was struck, couldn’t move, my eyes began to water, and I became overwhelmed with . . . . . . the . . . . . . unbelievable . . . . . . stench that only little feet that had been couped up in tennis shoes for about 3 weeks until decay and rot overwhelmed shoes, feet, and everything else in its path could produce. I quickly shut the door and staggered back to bed.
Another exercise around here that continues to grow exponentially, at least according to Lindsey, Monica, and the checkbook, is eating. No sooner than one meal is produced and consumed than it seems time to produce another. The favorite dish this past year has been Lindsey and Monica’s pizza. Made with their own pizza dough and coupled with Lindsey’s yet-to-be-famous secret sauce (affectionately referred to as GSS – green slimy stuff), their pizza could hold its own with the best of any New York pizza pie. At least, so evidences the growing volume of my waistline.
Voluminous describes well the quantity and decibel level of conversation around the house while not necessarily the quality. There’s just a lot of it going on all the time. Since time operates within the parameters of a commodity, being subject to the pressures of demand and supply and, thus, subject to the laws of scarcity, it is actually easier to determine what lights the fire of your kids by whatever it is that will drive them to the trouble of hunting you down, getting your attention, and telling you.
For example, Monica likes to talk and she has a lot to talk about. But the one thing that excites her to the point that she has to assert herself, gain our undivided attention, and tell us about are her animals - usually something she just learned and usually about the horse or horselett-to-be. Fun stuff like shots, shoes, and worms.
Perhaps you remember a few years ago that Monica’s nickname was Decibelle? Well, I’m not sure if Monica has matured past that stage or if Wesley has just overtaken her as he seems to have some comment on any topic and in just a slightly louder volume than anyone else. But when Wesley is not adding his two cents worth, he is working on his most recent computer program and becomes so excited about the latest syntax breakthrough discovery that he can’t stand it unless he explains every little byte and tittle to me. Of course, we are all praying that he doesn’t complete his projects as they are, for the most part, (thanks to Mr. Parker) bothersome stuff - like prompts to click on a button that will stop some sudden and undesirable operation like formatting your hard drive but the button runs from your mouse pointer when you try to click on it, annoying screen saver type stuff, and so on and so on. Poor chap, he reminds me of myself at that age. Be sure to pray for him.
Micah, too, likes to build things though he is more interested in the tangible rather than the abstract. It seems that every time I take a walk around the property I find another fort in mid construction. His willingness and ability to construct some fairly neat things with nails and lumber as well as K’Nex and Legos secures his leadership position among the middle three boys, of which he is the oldest. And while he does quite a bit of building on a day in and day out basis, I know it is something really special when he takes me to his bedroom for my inspection and approval.
But voluminous building is not all that Micah is known for around here. Praying not to appear too crass, yet the humor is too much not to mention, it is the accepted fact around the house that when the boys’ bathroom commode requires plunging it is only because Micah has performed one of his constitutional number 2s (which, by way of investigation, I have determined happens only once or twice a week). Suffice it to say that this is NOT one of those things that Micah hunts me down to tell me about and I’ll leave the rest of the details to you and your own experiences.
During the process of writing this letter, Lindsey has turned sixteen. Her interests and skills are fairly broad. Though she spent most of the summer covered with paint and dust she didn’t allow that to distract her from reading, sewing, or playing the piano. She is diligent with her schoolwork, seldom rides the horse and less frequently joins us on the shooting range for family practice. Lindsey’s pretty steady and unexcitable. But the one thing that will add a little more curl to her hair is her latest discovery on the theological front whether it be the latest book she is reading or the most recent find on the internet. She is presently consuming everything in sight on apologetics, which should be of no surprise, after all, she is her mother’s daughter. Whether it be Bahnsen on Van Til or Van Til on the Internet, she faithfully keeps me abreast of her latest discoveries and thoughts while probing me for my response and ideas.
On the other side of the spectrum is Melody. Just turning three, she spends most of her day dressed in her red cowboy boots and hat while walking the dogs or any other animal she thinks she is big enough to boss around. She’s only been stepped on by the horse once. In this sense she is her own person, not a little girl or somebody’s sister or such, but a person and quick to remind you of said fact:
Carrie: “Melody, you’re such a sweet little girl.”
Melody: “I’m not a little girl. I’m a person.”
Lindsey: “Melody, be a good little girl and go clean up your room.”
Melody: “I’m not a little girl. I’m a person.”
I guess every family should have at least one radical feminist in the group.
While it may be true that Melody is well capable of entertaining herself, don’t think that she doesn’t spend a good amount of time shadowing Allison. Which is OK by Allison as they are pretty good friends. But when not entertaining Melody, Allison enjoys drawing pictures and sewing. Not many days go past that she is not displaying either her latest painting or sewing project. Allison is following in the footsteps of Lindsey, learning to cook and enjoying doing so and being a mother to any who will let her, especially Andy.
Andy is the one person in this family who hasn’t been swept along at the break neck pace of the past year. We would have missed much of the fun time of infancy that you have with a baby except for Andy. Andy, nineteen months, is the pride and joy of the whole family. Everyone loves to play with him, sometimes fighting over him, and we are very proud of all his accomplishments. We all think he is the smartest baby ever. He is Mr. Personality, is saying “hi,” “mama,” “dadda,” “Micah,” “bye-bye.” He also waves bye and loves to blow kisses.
Holding it all together while pushing the projects forward is wife and mother Carrie. The house project has been pretty engrossing and sometimes frustrating. But projects like this, whether big or small, turning nothing into something, are what Carrie truly enjoys and, therefore, an ever-present topic between us. There are moments when I have a hard time figuring it out. One day she will be venting her frustration with regards to the current project and the next day telling me her dreams for the next project. It kind of reminds me of how women complain about being pregnant and the pain of childbirth, but then long to have another baby.
Which reminds me, did I mention to you that Andy is nineteen months old? Now, if you know the Hurds, well, I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but there are other applications of general revelation and the natural order of creation than just apologetics and theology.
Perhaps our paths will cross again soon, whether here at home, by letter, telephone, or some other occasion. We do look forward to seeing our New Mexico friends again in April, in Albuquerque, and perhaps we will have the occasion to be in your neck of the woods too.
In the mean time, this year we elect a new President of these United States. While we may not like who represented us the past 8 years, we can’t complain much for he has only personified the religion of that Vietnam era generation, of which many of us were a part of, but alas, too young and ignorant to grasp the significance of the consequences. Worse though was it for our parents who should have been wise enough to know the significance but whose voices were either too faint or the flood too loud. Or maybe they were too tired or distracted. Whatever the case, it seemed as if they just turned it over to us to figure out on our own. Be that as it may, we should be mature enough by now to have learned some lessons from the past 8 years of living with President Clinton. First, the complexion of our nation forty years from now will be that of today’s children. Therefore, and second, if we desire a better nation for our children in the future we must work on our nation with our children today. Third, since everything is religious in nature, religion is important. Therefore, and fourth, theology is not only important but critical and, therefore, apologetics, eschatology, etc… are critical. Last, we can’t expect our children to discover for themselves today the theological system they will need forty years from now to make a real difference in their nation.
The challenge for our generation is not to be overwhelmed by the flood nor become distracted or tired and, thereby, miss the significant contribution we are called to make toward the future of our nation through the Godly training of our children today.
We pray God’s grace to you and your family.
Pat & Carrie Hurd, Lindsey, Wesley, Monica, Micah, Clarke, Evan, Allison, Melody, Andy, ??????