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Archive for Dad Show Blog

Bill and Tim

I heard the last words I would ever hear from Tim Gray when he jumped out of the passenger side of my Ford Truck last Summer, a jump that was a seamless, quick, effortless motion he had maneuvered many times before, so many times that he made it seem like magic. He then said, ‘Buddy, be careful….I love ya.’ I have agonized over those few words since I got the call from Scott, his oldest brother, telling me Tim, my life long friend, that friend closer than a brother, forty-five-years-old, had died earlier that day.

To say I grew up with Tim and and his brothers is to grossly understate….. continue…

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My Daughter’s Dark Gift

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I’m a middle child. I just feel I need to say that up front, in case I start defending some of my nine-year-old middle child’s missteps. Irene Mills Smith was born St. Patrick’s Day, 2003. It was a rainy day, windy, a couple days before America invaded Iraq. I remember President Bush giving Saddam 48 hours to ‘run and tell that,’ to get out of downtown, to put ’em up or die. I hardly paid attention because I was holding my brand new baby girl in my arms. I had a four-year-old boy who was as close to perfect as any child I had ever been around. Parenting was easy, I had four solid years of being the perfect Dad. The first time Irene opened those baby blues and looked me square in the eyes that March morning, I knew immediately I would pay dearly for my many past transgressions. Like Saddam, I was warned.

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Daydreaming about ZZ Top

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My youngest child and I were out looking for some big black frames yesterday. We had big fun. Rose didn’t know that she was caught in the web of my latest obsession and subject of nightly recurring dreams, ZZ Top.

Right, Billy, Dusty and Frank have dominated dreamland for a couple months now. I YouTube the boys every night looking for everything ZZ, ..and, at this point I hide it from family and friends. I can’t exorcise it. I hate to compare the boys to bad spirits, but lately, I’ve felt haunted and oddly…… continue

The dream started out of nowhere. Goes like this, …a friend and I are front row at a ZZ Top concert circa 1984, arena rocking. We hear two full songs that seem to rotate, they change from one night to the next. Sharp Dressed Man, La Grange, Just Got Paid, Legs, Jailhouse Rock and Tush. There must be more, these I remember. The kicker, and killer, the dream always suddenly ends after the first 10 or so seconds of Cheap Sunglasses. Never do we hear the song. It is painful, really painful. I wake in a panic, sweating, unsatisfied. Nothing helps, so here’s a post. I hope you catch this, sorry… but.. continue

Three weeks back, I found every ZZ Top cover on YouTube,…some awesome, some pathetic attempts that I watched anyway. I was pathetic, or maybe just lost to a band that put roll back in the rock, saved millions of music fans at least a few times and had to have lip synced through every concert. Can that three piece play a perfect song with every live attempt?

The bright spot, there’s a band, actually a few bands I discovered during my search for ZZ Top covers. Deer Tick, Dawes, Delta Spirit, Middle Brother. Bands are driven by guys like John McCauley, a talent missing in 2000s Indiana rock. It may be the most brutally honest song writing I’ve heard in years. Just listen to Middle Brother, super hero indie band featuring McCauley of Deer Tick, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit.

Ken Tucker, from NPR, called Middle Bro the best band of 2011. Great bands, especially great songwriters are almost always underestimated, however. I believe,… I’m sure I am right, this trio isn’t getting the credit they deserve. Like ZZ Top, these boys are saving rock music. It’s what super hero groups do. Now, save us from music festivals and all will be good in the world. I dreamed of Deer Tick last night. John McCauley belted out Cheap…. continue.




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My youngest child, my daughter, my five-year-old, Rosemary, surprised me this week when she proved to me that she taught herself to tie her shoes. She did this by, while I was watching, tying her shoes. She then said she planned to teach my nine-year-old daughter to tie her shoes because, as she put it, ‘it was time.’

Rose is a doer, a worker, she’s independent. She takes things apart and puts them back together, or mostly back together. She may be the brightest child I’ve ever made. I made two before her, a supersonic aspie son who can make any book tremble, and a nine-year-old daughter, Irene. ‘The Machine’, my lovely middle child, my wild child with… continue

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Dad Show: I Love that Aspie of Mine

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‘My name is Bill. I’m a Dad and a radio man. These are my shorties. This is my family.’

It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m still trying to determine what to give my three little sweethearts. My two youngest, my daughters, nine and five, will be more than thrilled to take chocolate and stuffed bears off my hands. I’m having a tougher time deciding what to give my oldest, my thirteen-year-old son, my Aspie, my son who fights his way through a form of Autism called Asperger’s Syndrome.





AS is an Autism Spectrum Disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties ocial interaction, along with restrictive and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other Autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Physical clumsiness and atypical use of language are also often reported.

The photo I’ve included shows him at eight. He was diagnosed the following year with OCD and Depression. Once the doctors were able to get these two debilitating disorders under control, they determined that he had AS. I knew my son was good, good to the core. I just thought it was a result of my awesome parenting. It turned out he was fighting his way through more than any adult should face in a lifetime. I could not be happier with the school he attends, but kids are cruel and ignorant of mercy. He’s an easy target because he simply doesn’t have the capacity to interact socially, especially in a group, especially in middle school.

This morning he said he planned to give a certain girl in his class a Valentine’s Day card. He asked, ‘Dad, should I ask her out?’ My heart began to break at the thought of rejection, a feeling he has faced time and again. I could not be prouder of my straight A student, my well mannered kid, my son with a heart of gold. I hope, like I always do, that today will be different, and some unsuspecting thirteen-year-old girl will realize the prize standing in front of her with a heart in his hand.

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