Parenting: 31 Years Ago Today, I was 14. Today, My Eldest Daughter is 13

On July 3, 1979, then-President Jimmy Carter came to Merced, California for a townhall meeting.  Lillian came with him.  The Merced Sun-Star held a drawing the days prior to his arrival and I was one of the 2,000 people luck enough to get in.  I wasn’t a fan of Carter’s, and my late Grandpa Andy Sheptak is about the only person I know who years later still admits he loved the guy, but since elementary school I’d wanted to meet the president. 

Today, my daughter Chandler, 13, is going to an all-day outdoor concert.  She’s got her heart set on meeting some bubble-gum rock guy who sounds to me like Tiny Tim, but that’s another story.  It’s Christopher Drew and his band is called Never Shout Never. I hear her exclaim those names and words constantly.  I bet she even says them in her sleep.

But early in the morning the morning of July 3, 1978, my dad dropped me off at the Merced Community College Gymnasium to stand in line to see the president.  This morning, I took Chan over my Flip camera (Gawd, do I hope she doesn’t lose it or it get soaked) and took the chance we father’s do and let our kids begin to accept more and more responsibility.

Our adventures are different, but ultimately, at that young age, we both struck out to find out more about life than sitting at home watching TV.  That makes me proud for her, and makes me snicker a little bit, that I’ve been able to have such a positive influence in spite of others.

BTW: I’ve met every president since Carter, save for Mr. Obama.  And at the rate he’s screwing up the country, I’m not in any real hurry to keep the streak going.

This is an image of the tree line from the new County Road 510 Bridge near Marquette, Michigan.


Donald J. Claxton | The Timberlander, a selfie from camping for 13 weeks in 2022 on the Claxton family land in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northwest of Marquette.

Donald J. Claxton is
‘The Timberlander’

Hello, I’m Donald J. 

I refer to myself as “The Timberlander” because I love off-grid living and woodworking.

My Great Pyrenees, Maycee, and I enjoy spending our time in the woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

In the UP, I craft, make, grow, run, carve, and generate:

  • Custom crosses
  • Timber frame shelters
  • A garden
  • My water
  • Basswood figurines and ornaments
  • My own power

Check out my crafts for sale in The Timberlander’s Treasures.

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