"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Third time is a charm...42 years ago

"It will probably be a boy."
So said the doctor, before ultra sound let parents know the gender and health of a child. We already had two boys, and that was his advice, and what we expected. We had always said we didn't care, but prayed for healthy, normal children.
Sitting down the hall from the delivery room in the Clarinda, Iowa, hospital, those were my prayers 42 years ago today. For some reason, the door to the delivery room was open and when the doctor lifted the baby up, I knew immediately we had a daughter.
"Third time is a charm...a charming little girl," was the headline on the pink birth announcement we sent out. We've been charmed ever since. We named her Dallas Page...Page being an old family name, and we were in Page County, Iowa. I'd wanted to name her Clarinda, but was mocked and outvoted, and Dallas just so fits.
Dallas and Todd Bell
We soon moved back to Duncan, Oklahoma, where she developed an alarming reputation for independence--climbing on kitchen counters, or fences, or opening the door latch and wandering outside. If you didn't hear her in five minutes, you knew to panic, and indeed she scared us more than once. 
I even had to take her outside one night, and walk her around the block, trying to scare her with the dark shadows so she'd not wander. I'm not sure that worked. As far as I know, about the only thing she's afraid of are bugs. So it's fitting where she and her family now live in the country near Canyon, Texas, her house has seen centipedes, tarantulas and rattlesnakes.
One of my favorite photographs--one I can't find now--is of a smiling young daddy, short hair and big ears, on all fours on the floor at Duncan, with the two-year-old daughter clinging to his neck, riding horsey. Her brothers also learned quickly who was in charge, and while they might fuss or fight, it was always prudent to yield to her. "Big D, little D, what begins with 'D,' Dallas...." was heard often. And she always got in the last word.
Her independence grew--she seemed to need a brief spanking about once a month in the early years--which didn't seem to have much effect. She came to love cats and animals. She'd eventually become part of the high school flag team and excel at the piano. At OSU  she met her future husband in church, a smart Arkansas country boy in vet school, who later switched to med school. Dr. Todd Bell now teaches at the Texas Tech med school in Amarillo.
Today, they have three terrific children--Erin Ann, Abby Page and Max Samuel, and they are fortunate to have her as a full-time Mommy. When she was younger, she looked some like my mother, and now she looks much like her Mother. She has her Mother's strong character, genuine faith and goodness, and some of her Dad's sense of humor and determination.
We've been so blessed and charmed because the doctor was wrong. Happy birthday.


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