Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Yeah. That’s the title. He did, too. Cristy was in Lubbock Saturday, he was saying he wanted to go home, like he always does. Said he wanted to go to church….they told him there were a lot of churches in Lubbock, but no. He wanted to go to MY church in Bovina, the one that had been sending him all them prayer grams for like….FOREVER! And yes, he could see people in Lubbock….in this church, in that church…..WHATEVER! He wanted to see THOSE people….the ones that had been praying for him……the little kids he didn’t even know, that had been sending him get well soon cards….them ones que sent him brownies and stuff for his birthday and he didn’t even know their names….he wanted to go see THEM people! He was pretty adamant. Their jaws were agape.
Duh! How do you argue with that? They didn’t. He went. He was a little late, he wanted to change clothes at home first. Gotta wear good clothes, dress up on Sunday….some things are just ingrained. They were Cinch jeans, pressed and ironed (guess that was better than Wranglers). He was prepared (mentally). We got there during greeting time. Just barely got in the door before he was DROWNED in greeting….but he was not overwhelmed. I was afraid he might be…sometimes he does get over stimulated. He wasn’t. He was fine. I was standing behind the chair….listening as the people told him how good it was to see him…that they loved him, had been praying for him. I’m kinda a hard case, not easily convinced. But I heard their voices tremble, tears in their eyes. They were sincere….Levi knew it, that’s why he wanted to come here, to see THESE people. There are a lot of other churches that faithfully send him prayer grams. But he could only be in one place today…and that was HOME! Maybe one day he can visit the other churches that have been lifting him up. He is actually a little overwhelmed by it…all these people…praying for me? WHY? I don’t even know most of them!
That’s alright, Bud. They know God, and love Him. He knows you, and loves you. So….they love you, too. “Dad, you’re not BS me, are you?” No, Bud…I’m not THAT good…..look in their faces….see the old ladies crying? The little kids eyes beaming? Them little kids think you’re a walking miracle…just the other day you told mom it would be a miracle if she could get that @#$! phone to work! LOL. The preacher today, Brian, he was talking about seeing God, in the image of a man, his vessel. These people, Levi, they look at you and they see God’s vessel... Dad, that makes me feel small…..and unworthy. I know, Bud…..all you wanted to do was come and say thank you, huh? Uh-huh. That’s ok, Bud, they’re just trying to say thank you, too. BUT, DAD….THEY’RE LOOKING AT ME!!!! It’s ok, son….they may be looking at you, but they are thanking God. That’s creepy, Dad. It gets better Levi.
We sang “Victory in Jesus”. Levi wanted to stand, everybody else was standing….and after all, how can you sit and sing Victory in Jesus? His diction is not the best, he slurs a little, anyone who wanted to find fault surely could have, but I dare anyone to challenge his sincerity. I was on his right, Cristy on his left. I was trying to think….probably been at least 10 years since I heard him sing in church. But, you know me, I was thinking a myriad of other stuff also. By the first verse I was already thinking of Grandma Leone….remembering sitting with her there as a child in that same church, singing that same song. I remember it was often a highlight of the church service when she would whistle on the “crystal sea” part, but that doesn’t come till the 3rd verse. Aren’t I bad???? I am wondering if Sharon or Jeff or Toya or Tom or Bill or Beck or Leah (the other cousins) if they remember sitting with Granny, hearing her “whistle” Victory in Jesus? By now Sheryl, Regina, Glenda Kay, Rocky, Elaine, Richard, John, James….other cousins may be rolling, but I think not….I think they are remembering those bygone days also….and smiling. And their kids….they’re just sitting and saying “WHAT??? You have to explain all this stuff!” They never wanted to hear all those boring stories before did they? (wink)
Yeah, Levi didn’t used to want to go to church either. But then today its like he’s the main attraction… and the preacher is preaching about seeing the spirit of God manifested through the vessel of man. And God’s handiwork and intervention and all that stuff….yeah, just a coincidence…..and J.L. Bass just winked at me from Heaven.
(J.L. Bass was our preacher when Esther and I were a young married couple. And our Sunday school teacher. He baptized Luke. )
When they asked Levi where he wanted to eat lunch, He said “DuuuUH!...NANA’s” “I haven’t had her cooking in like 4 years!”. Well, 4-5 months maybe, Levi. We had chicken-fried steak and a whole table full of trimmings. We all ate our fill. We sat outside a while and watched the kids play freeze-tag and stuff. Levi saw the horses, but said he’d wait till another time to ride. He saw pictures of the crashed plane on the computer that Dale, Doyle, the Holts and others had taken. He was amazed. (Aren’t we all?)
By 5 he was getting pretty tired and took a short nap before it was time to head back to Lubbock. He said, “I’ll be back”. Ever think about running for governor of California, Levi? (smile)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hello from weatherford

Steelman Family and Levi,
I know you guys are busy doing day-to-day activities, responsibilities, therapy, and even though you haven't posted recently it doesn't mean we are not thinking of you. The Garner boys ask about Levi daily and we usually go down memory lane with one story back when the kids were little and thought i was smart, funny, and cool to stories of working with and for the boys on the farm and also with Levi on the plane. One wonderful memory was when Joe (dad) was gonna take the boys and buy boots at Joe's Boot Shop and I had a pair of red ropers and Levi always put them on and loved the color red. Well I told him what every kid needs to hear, "You need some red boots too!" Then the strong headed, intelligient Levi retained that information and asked for red boots which mom and day (meanies) would not buy him the red boots. Levi was not a happy camper. Then this past summer when Mike worked for Levi and he was running errands all over town. Because of Mike paranoia he told Levi he did not have a license to drive and Levi said, "Looks like your doing it to me, that ought be license enough". :)

Levi we love you and will continue to pray for annointing on your physical body. Steelman family we will continue to pray for strength and grace as you minister to Levi.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hello from Joe!

I’ve been reading the blog, just like everyone else. My family’s been posting, pulling the slack…like they always do. I haven’t posted in quite a while, because I didn’t know what to say! It’s kinda like watching corn grow…or paint peel, for the non farmers. Day to day you don’t really see that much change…no “epiphanies” or such. Yet Levi has improved tremendously over the last 6 weeks or so. His cognitive function is much better; his reasoning. He has a sense of humor. He can maintain an extended conversation for like two hours, if it interests him, but maybe 5 seconds if it doesn’t….:) Not that much different than his old self, is it?
Levi doesn’t remember crashing the plane. He kinda thought he fell off the horse and hurt his knee. He called me last night and said Cristy had told him he crashed, broke both arms, both legs, and was unconscious 2 months. He couldn’t believe it! He kept apologizing, he was sorry he didn’t remember. I reminded him, by definition you don’t remember stuff when you are unconscious….he knew, but he was still sorry.  He was really worried about Jeff Bertrand, too. Worrried he crashed Jeff’s plane and put him in a bad way…eventhough I told him repeatedly, it was a plane Levi had leased. He said Jeff had been nothing but good to him, and he didn’t want to do him bad like that. Call him, Jeff. Be forewarned…He may not remember any of this tomorrow.
Physically, he is doing better also. Esther reports that he stood between the parallel bars 35 minutes today and walked 300 feet! That’s a football field! His stamina is improving. I already knew his strength was: When I helped him stand, he can support his own weight…I just steadied his balance. He still says his knee hurts, this is curious. The patella was displaced, but replaced…there should be no problem there. Esther is calling doctors, investigating. He says he would walk, but that one leg, its broke. He also got his right hand re-casted. It’s not broke, but the doc is gradually raising, inclining the hand to make it more functional.
He got a new cell phone…he loves it! He called us at least 6 times on Sunday as we were driving to Lubbock to see him….just wanted to make sure we didn’t get lost! Reminded me of “Are we there yet, Dad?”
I sometimes wonder what to write here. Don’t want to get too personal or embarrass anybody or any thing, you know? But the whole time I have been writing (and that is considerably longer than it took you to read it!) I keep thinking of two particular people. One is Aunt Carmen from Florida. I can remember her, so often when she would come to Texas to visit us, she would look at my three boys and remember her own three boys! Many times she would be lost in thought and remembrance…smiling. Aunt Carmen always gave us “educational” gifts at Christmas. One year she gave me a book about George Washington and the battle of Bunker Hill. They about froze that winter…hungry, shoeless….but Hell, what are you going to do? Its “Root hog or die” as Grandpa used to say. Levi didn’t have much better choices, you know. Curiously, when Luke did give him a choice about his Christmas present….and he chose a book about political commentary over a REALLY nice pocketknife….he chose the book. I thought of Aunt Carmen!  Their family has medical problems of their own…Charlie was even on Good Morning America recently, speaking somewhat of his battles with insurance companies. Keep them in your prayers, as you do Levi.
I also think of Ace (I call him Donnie, even if he doesn’t like it). His wife, my cousin, Sheryl, helped us out so much when we were in Amarillo. She came twice a week to do our laundry and visit with us. Turns out, the apartments we were staying in (our first apartment) were the first apartments they lived in, too! Ace came to see Levi in ICU. If Levi was conscious, it was only barely. He went in, came back in a bit….told Sheryl “I told he was going to be OK”. From his face you could tell he thought that was “Nuff said”. He wasn’t being arrogant or dismissive or anything…..He was being a man. We oftentimes don’t know how to express ourselves. I’m quite sure that was exactly what he told Levi…..but how many volumes of other stuff was there that he did not have words to express?
I remember playing pool with Donnie down at Woodrow’s Pool Hall when I was in 7th grade. That’s been near 40 years ago! We played a lot of pool. A lot of talk. A lot of reading facial expressions, body language, and yes, foul language. I remember a football game in Bovina, we were playing Friona (Donnie was from Friona). I think Dean Stanberry was our running back and he was doing good, according to the concession stand talk. What I remember most though, was the sight of Donnie taking off his prosthetic leg and chasing some guy down the street, hopping, threatening with all sincerity to “Whup his ass” with this wooden leg! He went at least 300 feet. Like Levi. He didn’t have a broke leg, Levi, he was missing one, and he could run, hop, whatever, just pretty dern fast! Donnie told Levi he was gonna be alright. I think he was right.
Everybody has battles, Bud, you’re gonna make it. You’ll be alright. We’re all rootin’ fer ya!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Esther wanted me to make a special notation to thank the Trust Point Hospital in Lubbock. Isnt that name peculiar?

I think its not just befitting to Levi and his situation but to us all. We have to reach a point in our lives to TRUST in the Lord and lean not on our understandings. That's a scripture that I've paraphrased somewhat.

To all the therapist, doctors, medical staff, CNA's, case workers, janitors that helped Levi and yet they argue its a job they provide, we know they provided much more than that. The opened their hearts and loved Levi and his entire family. (that's pretty amazing-right?)

Upon arriving back at Trust Point, Levi had not even sat up in the bed and they helped him tremendously. They began the process to mobilize Levi because if you can remember he was immobile for 2 months.

The family appreciates all the employees from TRUST POINT and miss them as well.

Til next time