Category Archives: Family Life

Selling the ol’ Winnebego

We are willing to part with our 29′ 1979 Winnebego. An interesting attribute is that it has a very solid roof that you could use for a variety of things. Storage, watching the NASCAR races, set the band up there or just read books like my daughter does. Do not attempt to jump on the roof of a modern RV, you’ll crash right through!

Click here to see our Craiglist post

Ode to my Mom

Ode to Pat Fieser

by Jim Fieser

Raphael and Viola,had a daughter they named Pat,
around Kirkwood Missouri,
where the land is not so flatRaphael’s health was bad,
Dr. said “Seek Clean Air”
They moved to Wilhelmina,
not for managed health care.

No buses, phone or fridge:
Pat missed these luxuries.
But after Rafe was gone,
They owed no utilities.

The day Pat turned 16,
Against the wishes of her Mother,
She moved to St. Louis
To make money for the others.

Finding work was tough,
With so few qualifications
She stretched the truth a bit
On employment applications.

One job she took was
In a Hospital
To the health profession
She strongly felt the call

Pat met Bob in her 20’s.
Tom was a mutual friend,
Told Pat a story of Bob’s conquests
Bob said, “You believed him?”

April 28, 1956
Our family got it’s start,
Here in Wilhelmina
At the church of Sacred Heart.

Mary Lea was first born.
But stayed not long with them.
Then in a span of 5 years,
Came Steve, Karen, Dan and Jim

They moved around a bit’Tween Memphis & St. Lou
Lost the home of their dreams
When the refrigerator blew.

When she had the kids
Away from a water source
She would lick a Kleenex
And wipe them down by force!

She drove the bus & met trucks
When they delivered The Club it’s ale.
She was the very first woman
To carry Dunklin Co. mail.

She’d work a job and be nice,
No matter how mean the boss,
Trying to keep her family,
Insured with that Blue Cross.

She worked at Three Rivers.
Later went to RN school there,
She fell in ‘Disco Roller Skating’
And broke her derriere! 1

A 2 year degree makes passing
The Nursing exam very hard,
But Mom passed the first time,
By knowing every drug card.

She enjoyed the VA job
on the Nursing Home Floor
Was called to Hospice care
Helping folks through their Final Door.

She helped a lot of people
Through Life’s Valley’s and Hills
With loving care & concern,
And her communication skills.

1True story. Three Rivers Community College offered thisclass for PE Credit and Mom broke her tailbone the first day.

Ode to Uncle John

As a child he was taunted, But he as able to transcend,
At Waffle House and Berkempers He sure made a lot of friends.

We left our PlayDoh cylinder on the table; wasn’t our fault,
That John stopped in & left a note, “This dough has too much salt.”

John liked to argue politics, In his attempt to educate,
If you agreed with his view, He’d switch to spur debate.

If you needed help from John, All you had to do was ask,
He taught me by example To accept most any task.

John took lots of jobs, That others wouldn’t take,
Told me if I quit college It’d be a huge mistake.

His faith in God drew him, To where daily mass was said,
He prayed not for himself, I think, But for each of us instead.

It’s not too late to ask John To help you with a favor,
There’s no doubt where he is now, With our Lord and Savior.

14th Anniversary Poem

I got up early this morning, thinking about my bride of these 0.7 score years and jotted down these lines:

Early on in our marriage,
I worked, you pushed the carriage.
Later ABC,
Swung the ax at me,
Before retirement age.

We had said that we’d change roles,
You would work, I would bake rolls.
‘Problem with that map,
Is I ain’t cleaned crap,
Done Laundry, dish’s or killed moles.

Recruiters have been calling,
Opportunities’re falling.
B’ Tax & Insurance
Would eat the difference:
I should do chores where I’m stalling.

I know what I should do,
To make it up to you.
I’ll teach our 3 kids
To wash pots & lids-
We’ll be a cookin’ cleanin’ crew!

Happy Anniversary Ann!


Baby Kitty’s Weight Problem

Ann had our oldest son weigh the cat the other day. Kate aka “Baby Kitty” weighs in at over 17 lbs. Ann called her “Fat Cat”, but I covered her ears and said, “Don’t label her!”


Ann said the cat and I must have the same diet and exercise regimen. I said, “Hey, at least I started flushin’!”

Mom and Dad’s 50th

We celebrated my parent’s 50th anniversary this weekend in Cape Girardeau. They had to drive up from Wilhelmina, but so many relatives now live in STL, and my brother and sister and their families are in Cape County, it just worked out great to be in Cape.

Aunt Lois commissioned the following poem from poet Vivian Barks. I wish I’d written it, but at least I was able to step up to the mike and read it aloud for our extended family nubering ~100.

A card I recieved in the mail today,
Saying a Golden Anniversary is on the way.
April 30th – it did say,
Come and Join us on this special day.
For Pat and Bob, both loving and kind,
A happier couple you could not find.
Fifty years – they have been as one,
April 28th – their new life begun.
Pat with her sweet and witty charm,
and Bob with his heart set on the farm.
Working together, side-by-side
Knowing their marriage would survive.
And to this union, God saw fit,
To put 4 childeren in the midst of it.
Three boys, one girl; bundles of joy
Was sent for Pat and Bob to enjoy.
To raise them in the nurture of God,
And teach them the right road to trod.
As in that love story long ago,
“Wherever thou goest – I will go”
Togather you’ve been through thick and thin,
To know you’ll endure to the end.
Life get’s better along the way,
When you put your faith in God each day.
So Congratulations! may I say,
As you celebrate this beautiful day.
“God Bless you both”, is my prayer,
And may “He” keep you in “His” care.

It was a great party with lots of friends and family we had not seen in years. My God-daughter had been up late assembling a slide show of old photos from an album my sister had put together. Brother Dan had plenty of tunes, a few from their wedding.

We had to pose for a few photos and as the crowd around Mom and Dad expanded to include more family someone thought we should turn sideways and form a smaller frame. Unfortunately, turning sideways didn’t help, in fact we had to step out a bit!

Invention Idea

My oldest son had a great idea for an invention today. He even found a web site that takes invention ideas and typed it in. Trouble was that the web site required users to be 18 and he’s just 11, so they wouldn’t take it. I think it’s a fine idea, so I’m going to publish it on the web for him.

This is how he answered the web site questions.

My idea for a new product is…

a mix between a nintendow controler and a gameboy. It has an “A” and a “B” button on the back and the control stick on the front of the handle. It kind of looks like one of those handheld fishing toys but it plays gameboy games. It will be very comfortable unlike treo or a regular gameboy. You can play it in one hand so it can be more confortable, easier, and relaxing.

I came up with my idea when I was…

in the bathroom. I was plaing my gameboy when my hand started aching. so I turned it off and started thinking about other gaming divices. I thouht of a nintendow thing and still had my mind on the gameboy. so I thought “What if I combined these two things two make one.” I put them together in my mind and came up with a one handle gameboy.

I don’t know enough about these controllers to know if his idea has real merit or not. I do know I can’t afford to bankroll research on these game devices, or invest in a decent patent lawyer. But I’m still proud of the inventive spirit he has. What makes me swell with hope for him is that he has the honesty not to indicate that he’s 18.

I took him to the University of Missouri this morning for Saturday Morning Sciencea talk they had invited kids to. This Saturday the talk was on Radiopharmaceuticals. I expected him to enjoy the bagels, but he listened in and even doodled several technical terms.

The middle child, 7, came as well. He tired of the language and subject matter, but was content to simply snuggle with his old man. They both enjoy parking at the top of the 6 floor parking garage so they can run up the stairs and leave me wheezing far behind. It is good exercise, for all of us.

They wanted to hurry home to play with the Vex Robot kit we have borrowed from 4-H. In my haste to play with them, I forgot to take one kid to his 4-H Citizenship project and arrived hopelessly late.

I am trying to assist in the development of a Robotics project. We assembled the simplest unit today which is basically a skid steer, radio controlled car. It’s fun for starters, but I’m looking forward to having it perform more logic.

It is the logic of processing input and responding to it that makes it a robot. I was taught that a mouse trap is a robot; it senses that the quarry is in the vulnerable position and snaps the trap. A thermostat also is a robot that senses the temperature of the room and reponds accordingly, turning the furnace on or off. The valve that senses the level of water in the toilet tank and automatically turns it off is another example. In modern computing, a robot is a program that seeks information on the web to store it in a search engine database.

All of those jobs would be boring or impossible without these devices: imagine waiting for the mouse to come along so you could spring the trap on him. How successful are you likely to be when the mouse can sense that you are near? Expanding the participants view of robotics to include these simple devices would be a key goal of a successful Robotics project.

We can only hope that the kids who take a 6-hour Robotics project will be a little more prepared to use, adapt or invent technology to improve their world.

Mission from God

Yesterday, my oldest brother Steve and I were sent on a “Mission from God” reminiscent of the old Blues Brothers movie. The Catholic school we attended 30 years ago had some furniture from a donor in Kansas City and required our unique talents to deliver these items. The unique talents Steve brought included his willingness to fund the excursion, drive nearly 1,000 mi. and his ability to borrow a pickup from one friend and a 5th wheel stock trailer from another. Me? I was willing to take a day off work for a good cause and shove some furniture around with my brother.

Steve drove up to stay with my family in Columbia Wednesday and read to my kids at bedtime. Early Thursday we drove to KC and met Mary, another St. Teresa alumni and the cousin of the current principle, at a warehouse. She brought a teenage neighbor to help us load. Items donated included 7 heavy fire-proof cabinets, a refrigerator and 2 conference room tables, one of them >20 ft. long.

As with any adventure, some things don’t work out the way you planned. We didn’t expect the stock trailer to be as old as it was and had anticipated features like brakes or at least brake lights to be functional. We had also not expected it to be padded with straw and horse crap. The truck however, donated to our cause byGreg Hobbs, performed admirably and could easy out-pace my 73 Charger pulling a 28 foot trailer. It sustained some damage when some wimp in an H2 Hummer insisted that Steve move the truck around the tiny lot: the tailgate was down and was torn off by the trailer.

There was ample opportunity to talk to my brother and explore the myriad of similarities and differences that make us family. We both have kids in Catholic schools: that we have in common. It’s politically that we differ. He brought up the high cost of fuel and I mentioned ExxonMobile’s $10B profit last quarter. Steve mused, “That’s going to make it challenging to elect another Oil-Man President.” God, he makes me laugh.

We filled the trailer with chairs, tables and dry erase boards and he had me back to work in Columbia by 1:30 in the afternoon. He still had 300 miles to go, but as far as I was concerned it was: Mission Accomplished.

Kids say the Darndest Things

Tonight, my 4 yr old girl was finally hopping into bed. As I tried to climb in next to her to read from the books she’d picked out she said,

No Daddy, you kneel (on the floor), I don’t want you to ‘toot’ in my bed.

 I told her I was going to publish that on the web, so here it is. I’m personally proud that we have taught our kids to use toot for flatulence, it would not have been as cute if she’d used any other term.

While I was on my knees, I took the opportunity to say a quick prayer with her for our family and pets: her value-add. I managed to pray with the 6 yr old boy as well, after reading a cowboy story from a 1950’s Reader.

While I didn’t exactly pray with the 10 yr old, we did study for his science test on atmospheric gases. I digressed as usual on the balance of gases and the carbon cycle. We talked about how both fires and animals like ourselves use oxygen to “burn” carbon giving off heat energy (I am warm, fires are hot) and we produce carbon dioxide as a waste of that chemical reaction. Plants like trees absorb that carbon dioxide and use the power of the sun to create leaves, stems and wood to fuel another fire. A by-product of that photosynthesis is also the same oxygen, stripped of it’s carbon and ready for a fire, or to be somebody’s breath of fresh air.

I watched as the wheels of science clicked in his head. Then I mentioned that I believe it was the atomic choreographer I call God who developed this dance between Carbon and Oxygen that maintains the balance of the bio-sphere and fuels, well, life as we know it.

It was a successful night of evangelization in my own home. I only missed a final moment with my bride before she went to sleep. That’s an action item for another day.