Mr. and Mrs. BigandMean
We’ve always known our Daddy/Pop was special.
He’s generous to a fault.
He’s has the kindest, biggest, most loving heart, which he tends to wear on his sleeve.
He’d walk through fire to give a perfect stranger the shirt off his back.
He’s the funniest person we know.
He’s a master story-teller.
His eyes twinkle when he says or does something naughty.
He’s the pied piper to all children. They flock to him, and he loves them all.
The ones fortunate enough to really know him, whether related to him or not, call him Uncle.
Every person lucky enough to meet him, adores him.
There's just something magnetic about him that is difficult to explain. You just have to "experience" him.
When he loves you, he loves you with every fiber in his being.
God truly blessed us with this wonderful man.
Love you Daddy, Love you Pop!
Jennifer and Doug
......And now Dad, lots of people wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday! It's quite a motley crew of family and dear friends. The outpouring of love for you made me quite verklimpt. I know you are going to be floored. :)BigandMean’s “BW” (Beautiful Wife), aka “Little-and-Nice
We met when I was a 19 year old freshman in college. He smiled at me, his beautiful green eyes sparkled, and he made a dumb joke that only I thought was funny. That set the pattern for the next 42 years of our life together. I’m convinced that God was guiding us that day – how else did we find each other in this crowded world? We created two wonderful children together and we’re patiently waiting (Jen inserts – “patiently waiting” my foot!)
for some grandchildren to love and spoil together. I’ve consistently refused to weigh in on the blog, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to say happy birthday to the love of my life. So, “Happy Birthday and many more”!!Ala from Blonde Sagacity
Various friends of mine have had someone in their lives that they referred to as their ‘second father’. I never had anyone like that until I had the immense pleasure of meeting Big & Mean. Even before we actually met face to face, I had the distinct feeling that he was routing for me, that he cared when someone 'crossed the line' and upset me and that he 100% had my back. I am not a trusting soul by nature, but I immediately knew that he was someone to be trusted. Big and Mean and I share a striking similarity (other than our superior cerebral political views) and that is the fact that people often take us too seriously when we are sitting in our respective computer rooms laughing at what we have just written. I was so happy when ~Jen~ told me that she had asked B&M to co-blog with her and I have really enjoyed reading all the stories that make up their wonderful family. Big and Mean, you know how much I enjoyed meeting you and your beautiful wife. You have added laughter and a feeling of security to my online life and for that I deeply thank you. Have a wonderful birthday and have ~Jen~ introduce you to one of those Buttery you-know-whats!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!Bigeaux
There are more unforgettable stories between your Dad and I than you could put into a dozen volumes. He has always been one of my favorite people and I have always enjoyed him as a friend and brother in law.
One time when you were a baby, he decided (I am sure he had help deciding from his frau) to replace the seat on the toilet in the house over near Hobby airport. Nowadays those things are held in place by nylon bolts and nuts. Back when, they were secured by a brass nut on a brass screw and invariably the nut would freeze up on the bolt and be a real chore to get off. He was doing fine until the head of the bolt pulled out of the plastic seat began to spin freely. It was shaped just so you couldn't hold the bolt with a pair of pliers or vice grips. When he tried to hacksaw it, he couldn't get the blade to the bolt and if he did, it just spun.
In a fit of frustration he decided to just get a hold on it and jerk it free. He jerked and the whole toilet shattered and water went every where and was spraying from the refill line all over the bathroom. By the time he got the water off and replaced the toilet his frustration level was way over the top.
There are other stories about the time he and I hooked up the water to your mom's new ice maker and flooded the attic and the time he cut off the door to your room after you got new carpet but we will not go into those just now. I will say that we were just about as proficient as a Patrick McManus character in our escapades.Charlotte
Ode to Big and Mean
There once was a man, Big&Mean
Known as the Kill It and Grill It King
His words, they are wise
I like the world through his eyes
Because he’s never petty or mean!
OK, that is my weak attempt at a limerick. Happy Birthday Mr. Mean!!! What a great day to celebrate – the day God graced the world with your presence. I can’t wait to have another bowling match – maybe when your girl returns from the Big Apple! Here’s a great big hug, coming your way!Gill
I don't have an anecdote, or any particular story about my uncle. I just thank God we've had a mn like your dad to anchor our family all these years. While most of us were being tossed about like foam on the waves in this sinful world, he has been like a rock.
Norman walks the Christian walk without having to say anything, and has a great time doing it. He is a big kid at heart - but when people are in trouble - he is the man. Just like Jesus.
So I wish him the following on his birthday:
-the perfect vacation home by the perfect pond
-an eager fishing guide
-a peace that he will see Peatie in heaven
-a decent round of golf with old friends
-a republican president as long as he lives
-many more years to enjoy his family
-to hear the words "Well done, good and faithful servant" when his race is over.Jason
My favorite Uncle Norman story has to be the summer we were staying at the beach house in Galveston, and he played a very naughty joke on Grandma. I think he was at his best when she was around, wasn't he? He left a piece of baloney on her door knob, and then a trail down the hall from her room to the kitchen (I think). I believe the intent was to poke fun at Grandma's healthy appetite for snacks. Oh, and she wouldn't believe it was Norman, she thought my dad had done it! I laughed so hard, tears were running down my face. I can't think about it now without a little laugh. Good times!
As for mushy stuff, I guess I can make a contribution. Your dad is one of the most kind-hearted and generous persons I know. If you were serving in the military together, you would know without a doubt that he would always have your back covered. Once you're a friend, you're his friend for life. I admire, respect, and love your dad very much.
Justice of Little Green Army Men
Dear Big and Mean:
Thanks for all that stuff from Texas. It's all hanging on my wall because I really liked it. I hope that you have a nice birthday. And for your birthday I am going to make you a book about a guy named Big and Mean. I hope that your birthday is fun in Texas.
I have known Norman since I was 11 years old. The first word that comes to mind to describe him is charismatic. Everyone loves Norm! I don't think he's ever met a stranger. He was always my favorite dad of all my friends because he had the greatest stories. The only problem was you never knew if they were true or B.S.. That's part of his charm. I always enjoyed exchanging jokes and hearing his latest tale. When I had my first child, Norman's witty advice was to spank it and ignore it all the time! That sarcasm was especially funny coming from one of the greatest dads out there. Here's to you, Norman. May you have a wonderful birthday and be surrounded by love.Mike and Sue
Three of the luckiest, most fortunate people on Earth are my sister, brother and myself. On second thought luck had nothing to do with it, we were just fortunate enough to be born to parents who were genuine salt-of-the-earth people; people of integrity and character. For my "little" sister's entire life and most of my and big brother's youth we lived on a small farm near a small town in East Texas. A town that in many ways could be compared to Mayberry RFD.
During our youth, people in this town didn't lock their houses, much less their cars, as there was no reason for distrust. Most people in that town were givers, not takers. Making a positive contribution to society was viewed as worthwhile and important, and considered one's civic duty.
Dad worked as a Forest Ranger but also farmed the land to make ends meet. Mom was often out in the field by his side, trying her best to lighten his load. Dad also had a chicken house with 1000 laying hens. Obviously we all pitched in - if you ever want to teach someone about work habits and good work ethic, just send them to be a farm hand for one season. The example our parents set for us could not have been better.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, I believe it gives you some insight to my big brother who I understand sometimes feels stranded here on Blogger Island. If you ever wonder where he is coming from, this is it, he is a product of his environment. He has always been a giver, the kind of person who wouldn't just loan you the shirt off his back, he'd give it to you, no questions asked, never expecting to be repaid. I am truly fortunate and proud that he is my brother. This is a special time of the year for him and all us who know him and love him, you see, he was born on Friday the thirteenth of August many moons ago.
Happy Birthday from your little brother Mike and wife Sue.Riceburner
B&M I hope this isnt too late. Tho I missed the chance to meet you in Philly, I believe we could have a blast doing whatever. Besides having a cousin that i would like to meet (hint-hint) I admire everything i know about you and especially the father that you are to your children and the Husband you are to your wife (aka MRS. B&M) Look forward to fishing with you someday here on the Delaware or (better yet) in Texas. Happy Birthday (49 ?) and God Bless.
Rose from Anonymous Rowhouse
One of the highlights of my year was meeting Mr and Mrs BigandMean in person here in my hometown of Philadelphia this spring. My husband and daughter and I met them in a little playground downtown -- a playground where none of us had been before. We proceeded to have a lovely conversation and were gifted with the best popgun and book of poetry that the great state of Texas had to offer. Then I had the honor of taking them on a brief tour of Old City before our dinner engagement.
During our walk, I can't explain how sharply into relief the notion of being from the birthplace of liberty came to me, particularly when BigandMean and his wife and I stood in front of Carpenter's Hall and walked past the Liberty Bell. He spoke about how he had taught his students about these icons of our country's history and now he was looking at them. I was so honored, that here I was, some random blogger from a rowhouse, sharing this with them. It was one of those moments you don't forget.
Over the course of that marvelous evening, we spoke about the differences in spaces and topography between our regions. We were regaled with stories of four-wheel rides on his ranch and lots of antics that little Jen and her brother got entangled in when they were kids. We discovered how Mr and Mrs BigandMean met, and were treated with tales of their family's history. We spoke about raising children and the joy it brings. We spoke about everything under the sun, and I felt as if I had finally found marvelous relatives that I should have known all along.
It reminded me of how much we take for granted, in a way, coming from our respective places: but how a few words on a screen can draw us into a shared history that is at once highly individual and completely collective. That really is the miracle of blogging. It is from people like BigandMean and his wife, and the evening that Ala and 92Alpha and I were privileged to share with them, that we build what becomes a treasured personal history. And through friendship remember what is genuine, enduring, wonderful and true.
Norm, until recently, we've been the ones that married into this family. Melodye and Scott are still newbies to the clan (but that doesn't lessen their contributions!). Certainly, I concede your seniority but since I've just celebrated 25 years of wedlock in the family, I think qualify as an "old timer" -- is that a good thing? Anyways, you have been "the man" for many years now and everyone admires your steadfastness. We love you and honor you this birthday!! But don't for one minute think that we who have long memories have forgotten some of your finer moments -- chasing Chelsea with a crawdad, sitting in a blow-up pool with Kai, giving your daughter away at her wedding, graduating an Aggie and the list goes on. As you turn 83 this month, we salute you!!!Scott
What can I say about Norman that people already don’t know from the instant you meet him. He was so kind and accepting from the first minute I met him. Hmmmm could it have been the fact that I was the one who now would take over all the things that are Jennifer (Car repairs, shopping bills, etc…). Nah it was just in his nature. For example, how many fathers would not get furious over a boyfriend wrecking the car you gave your daughter, that used to be her grandmothers, and had to bring her to the hospital. Not Norman for sure, his only concern was that we BOTH were going to be ok. From that day on I knew what kind of awesome man he was.
Hehe. Another little story that I always get a kick out of that shows how awesome he is. It was after I left my traveling job to get one so that I could return home every evening. Money was tight for a little while but I manged to save some to pay for the deer lease dues (Money is OK now Dad). Norm and Susie both came out to our apartment and we were going out to eat (I believe this was also when I was home from work with a broken ankle). The topic of the lease and deer hunting came up and Jennifer asked about how much it was this year. So Norman says “Oh don’t worry the boys overpaid last year so they don’t owe anything this year”. Jennifer and I just looked at each other and shared a silent chuckle. Jennifer always told me stories about how her dad did these sort of things. I can honestly say that my life has only gotten better since becoming apart of his family. Happy Birthday!Susie S.
My association with Norm was second-hand for years -- Susie used my office as a lounge back during the good old days (when we all smoked) and I heard casual family tales. Then Jen came to me as a student worker and I got a daughter's view. Shortly thereafter, Doug joined my workforce and I discovered the 'guy' Dad. My direct association was still pretty much a professional relationship, but he was always so warm and friendly and humorous and sincere, I felt like he was a 'friend.' Now that he IS a friend, I know there isn't a difference -- he's still warm, friendly, humorous and sincere. His "Well, hello there!" always sounds like you are JUST the person he was hoping to see today -- and makes you feel that any day you don't hear that welcome is somehow less. LOVE YOU, NORM -- HAVE A HAPPY!!Tesco from Blank Forever
BigAndMean, thanks for always getting ALa's back. You are the man.
Thank you so much everyone! Dad is going to be overwhelmed by all this love and affection.
Happy Birthday Daddy!