Tag Archives: parkers

Tenacious D (G?)

My neice, Grace Parker, whose Fort GIbson Junior High basketball team never lost a game, recently made her debut with the high school varsity and JV teams.   They won both games, but her uncle’s indoor no-flash sports photography wasn’t very productive (Obviously, I need more-expensive lenses).  Here are a handful of shots, though.  Grace is the one with the blue headband.

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The Parkers in the Virgin Islands

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I got to spend ten days or so in the Virgin Islands with my sister’s family (Jana and Bill Parker, and their ‘kids’ Tyler, Caitlin (in pink dress) and Grace.  We stayed on St. Thomas and then St. Johnr.  In the middle, we took a sailboat trip to Jost Van Dyke (one of the British Virgin Islands, which gave the Parker clan a chance to get a real stamp in their newly-minted passports).

These few pictures surely don’t do the place justice, but since most of our activities were water-based and my camera isn’t waterproof, there weren’t many pictures except for a few on the sailboat trip and an impromptu photo shoot the final night’s trip to dinner.  The stranger is Captain “Hollywood” Joe, who owned the sailboat.

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Oregon — JB and Joyce’s 50th Anniversary

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I love this story.  In 1961, my dad was “pipelining” (i.e., working on a crew burying pipeline pipe) in Oregon.  My then-teenaged mother hopped in a car with her soon-to-be mother-in-law (and sisters-in-law) and they all headed out for Oregon.  In my mom’s suitcase was the wedding dress she had sewn herself.  And the rest is history.

Anniversary parties aren’t exactly my Mom and Dad’s “style.”  So instead, we (JB, Joyce, Jana and Jeff) went to Oregon on the week of their 50th anniversary.  We visited the church where they got married, their first apartment (the white building with green doors and roof), and the beach where they spent their Fourth-of-July honeymoon.  We even found the pipeline.

I also posted a few great old pictures from that period in 1961 — the pipeliners’ honeymoon.  The pinup girl is my newlywed mom.  A few of the pictures show my grandpa, Joe Cotner (in the overalls) and my great-uncle Bill, all pipeliners in that era.

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Alaska with Joyce and J.B.

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My first post-retirement priority was to take a trip with my Mom and Dad.  Most Alaska tourists apparently spend their time on cruise ships.  I had raised this option with my Dad.  Predictably, his response to the cruise ship idea included a good bit of profantity and the word “prison.”  So we flew to Anchorage in mid-June, rented an SUV, and for two weeks traveled the majority of the relatively-few roads that exist in that section of Alaska.

Along the way, we chartered a small boat for a private glacier cruise, took a horseback ride in the Kenai peninsula, took a ‘flightseeing’ plane trip to McKinley (including a landing on the Glacier), and spent a day on those terrible old school buses that are the only way to actually go into Denali National Park.

If you get off the tourist-beaten path, you can really have the place to yourself.  One day, for example, we drove into Wrangell-St. Elias National Park — the largest national park in U.S. at 13 million acres.  There are only two roads in, so we picked one and drove 2 hours, which was as far as you could go in a vehicle.  In that time, we saw maybe one or two other cars of sightseers.  Meanwhile, most of the visitors to Alaska were sharing a boat with 2,000 other tourists, or at best sharing bus with 40.  I think my Dad was right.

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My nephew — at Second City in Chicago

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If you’ve been around me much in the last 22 years or so, you’ve likely heard of my baby nephew, Tyler.   If you’ve been around me in the last one year or so, you’ve likely heard that little Tyler is about 6’5,” that he was the captain of his collegiate basketball team (OBU), and that his team won the NAIA National Championship in 2010.

After graduation, Tyler headed to Chicago to try his luck at the Second City comedy/improv “institute” there.  Transitioning from the sheltering arms of OBU in Shawnee and moving to the Windy City to take a run at show biz shows a level of bravery and spirit that his uncle never mustered at that age.  Everybody asks, “What’s he gonna do?”, but of course neither he nor I knows the answer to that.  But I’m proud he’s willing to take the adventure.

Last week I flew up to Chicago to hang out with him a bit, and to see him at a short ‘showcase’ at Second City.  It was dark and my pictures are no good, but at least you can recognize him in his debut on a Chicago stage.  Remember this day.