Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 52

By | February 5, 2024

[February 5, 2024]  A few days before the start of my Junior year in High School, me and a few of my best buddies sat around a large fire pit eating, drinking soda, and yakking it up about whatever we wanted.  The conversation strayed to many topics, and most of all, we spoke of girls.  All summer, we did our thing: bike riding, dirt bike racing, selling fireworks, and sleeping late.  Our get-togethers were just south of Abilene, Texas, and that summer was a scorcher that even the scorpions and horny toads hated.

We were a bunch of uncoordinated, nonconformist twits, and we were proud of it.  “Don’t trust anybody over 30” was the common mantra of the times, and we adopted it fully as we loved the freedom of ignoring what our parents told us.  We all assured one another that we were all very handsome and manly men because we were now a year older than last year.  Perhaps that was one of the few truths that day.

Topics ranged from girls to upcoming school, politics, looking buff in our t-shirts, and the latest Mexican Restaurant that served spicy food so hot I threw up the first time I ate there.  Or perhaps it was something terrible in the food.  We talked about what we’d done over the summer, like visiting the zoo and seeing animals having sex in the open or one poor dog that got into the leopard area and found out that cats come in all sizes.

We were turning 15, real youngsters, pushing past the seventh-decade mark.  We griped about President Lyndon B. Johnson and his “ill-advised” involvement in Vietnam and our slowly rising fear of getting drafted at 18.  Saying that Johnson was a good patriot to our nation was like saying that alligators like vegetables.

My closest buddy, Bill Smith – now that’s his real name – would later go to college and become an Electrical Engineer.  Maybe it was his fear after getting nearly killed by an electrical outage at our school.  He tried to fix it by putting a penny in the electrical fuse box, a solution our dads told us to get things working again.  His right arm was looking gross after he was knocked several feet away.  Only a passing janitor saved his life.  Thanks to that janitor.

Each of us had taken a few severe crashes dirt biking; in particular, I had several spills that tore up my legs, arms, chest, and back.  My helmet saved my head.  Several of our crashes were unexplainable, like when we got a big head start to zoom up a 100-foot, clay-faced, rock-encrusted hillside.  My bike, a yellow 250 Yamaha, took my 120-pound body up about halfway before giving up.  I went flying off.  To this day, I wish I had a video of that one because it would indeed have won a prize in America’s Funniest Home videos.

A few of our falls are easily explainable.  Henry, a friend who would later become a Pediatrician, had a nasty fall.  Carrying a large box for his mom, he went to mail it at the Post Office when the box blocked his sightline – not smart – and he didn’t see the rise in the floor entrance as he stumbled, Frankenstein-like like for several feet before finally falling forward on his hands and knees, all while trying to balance that box.

None of us in our fire pit group got the Darwin Award we deserved.  We are all still kicking today.  We were called “the gang” – yeah, I know, authentic – but what we did outside of school made up for our dumb stunts and just below-average grades in school.  The only class we had together was Chemistry, and I hold the record for starting a fire by exposing pure sodium metal to air and water.  It is incredible how much damage that caused to the “indestructible” marbled chemistry lab countertops.

We gathered our vestige of knowledge and devised several things to do before we turned the ripe old age of 30, kind of like a kid’s bucket list.  These were stupid, and I’m embarrassed to write any of them down.  One was to get a naked lady tattooed on our arm.  Thank goodness I never succumbed to that one.  I can only shudder to think what my Mom would have said.  Imagine her explaining her 15-year-old’s tattoo to her lady friends.  Another was putting our tongue on a turtle’s face.  Yeah, that works.  They bite pretty hard.  Of course, we all had to jump off a cliff cut by a river below.  None of us landed in the water, but only Bill broke his leg, landing in the gravel on the bank.

My Dad’s advice was to have many great friends, and if they are funny, all the better.  But avoid crazies.  I don’t know how I would have made it this far without good friends.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

34 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 52

  1. Julia

    Such a beautifully written letter to your granddaughter, Gen. Satterfield. These letters have become my favorite part of your daily blog.

    1. Willie Strumburger

      Yes, Julia, I agree. It makes my day each time I read one and makes me want to write my own letters, although I will not be as great of story teller.

    1. Mother Picasso

      Emoji Girl. Yes, like we all do. These letters are amazing in so many ways. But, I must also point out that we must also know how to read the letters and interpret or unpack the meaning of them too. We just cannot read these letters to Gen. Satterfield’s granddaughter as entertainment but much more. That much more means that we use our on brainpower and not rely totally upon Gen. S. to pull the meaning out (altho that would be nice). Use your brain, folks. That is the message.

  2. Grayson

    Gen. Satterfield is a surprising breath of fresh air. I’m new to his blog.

      1. Eddie Gilliam

        Yes my friend Gen Douglas. Welcome Grayson to the blog. You will find the articles are incredible interesting especially the letters to his granddaughter .
        Good friends are great to have. I’m blessed to have so many friends who still continue to call me from high school.
        Proverbs says a friend loves at all times and stick closer than a brother..
        A friend will tell you the truth evening if you don’t want to hear it.

  3. Peigin

    15 years old, now that is an adventure for Gen. Satterfield when he was a boy. We all wish we were 15 again, well maybe not. That was a time for many of us as we were in early HS and that brought about too many problems, in particular with older HSers. I hope that this move into Gen. S’s teenage years is full of the kind of experiences he had when younger. This one is a good example. His friends were doing dumb things. And let’s not jump too fast into the “boys will be boys” thing and make too many assumptions here. Boys are very active in those years and they need an outlet for all that energy. Those that survive those times will often become the best among us.

    1. Audrey

      And Gen. Satterfield made my day again with his letters. I’m sure his granddaughter will appreciate these. Keep the letters coming for our education, entertainment, happiness, and …. well, just loving them all. Gen. S. you have made my day and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart that you have given me. We all recall our childhoods but only you have made yours come to life. Your sharing is a godsend.

      1. Good Dog

        Audrey, you wrote what I was thinking. We are all thinking pretty much the same thing. I look forward to each and every letter and this one is # 52 and I hope there are many many more.

      2. American Girl

        Got that right, Audrey. ✔ And don’t forget that Gen. Satterfield is also a great American Patriot. 🇺🇸

  4. Idiot Savant

    Gen. Satterfield has once again done it with a wonderful letter to his granddaughter. This series is his very best.

  5. Ted

    Just another way of saying that even if your life is hard and simple, and you find yourself behind in academics, social life, city life, and any level of sophistication, you can even succeed in most areas of life if only you put effort into it, treat people properly, invest in your education and physical strength, learn to be brave, and be sociable, then you an achieve anything that you reasonably want. Don’t be a victim, one of Gen. Satterfield’s most important rules of life.

  6. Lynn Pitts

    Letters to My Granddaughter ……….

  7. KenFBrown

    Can’t you just appreciate these letters? I certainly do. I can appreciate them ALL. I hope Gen. Satterfield never stops writing them. They all make me laugh … his boy life similar to my life.

    1. Janice Williamson

      HE HE HE HE HE….. I find all these letters informative and also very very funny as well. Number 52 is spot on. Looks like Gen. Satterfield (as a kid) and his friends were doing the stupid like most HS boys do.

  8. Max Foster

    Gen. Doug Satterfield wrote, “We gathered our vestige of knowledge and devised several things to do before we turned the ripe old age of 30, kind of like a kid’s bucket list. These were stupid, and I’m embarrassed to write any of them down. One was to get a naked lady tattooed on our arm. Thank goodness I never succumbed to that one. I can only shudder to think what my Mom would have said. Imagine her explaining her 15-year-old’s tattoo to her lady friends. Another was putting our tongue on a turtle’s face. Yeah, that works. They bite pretty hard. Of course, we all had to jump off a cliff cut by a river below. None of us landed in the water, but only Bill broke his leg, landing in the gravel on the bank.”
    This is the kind of story that is compelling.

  9. Pumpkin Spice

    Gen. Satterfield, thank you thank you thank you.
    Finally, Number 52, your High School days. I’ve been waiting for you to progress to these years and now we are getting there.
    Well done with this series, your most popular and most in-depth.

    1. Yusaf from Texas

      Yep, that is exactly why I’ve been a loyal reader of this blog for so long now. Many years and never disappointed. Keep these “letters to my granddaughter” coming out weekly or more often than that. The best is yet to come as Gen. Satterfield is now moving into his teen years. That is going to be really and truly helpful to help me (and us) understand what made him so successful as an army officer. This is where, I hope things get even better and more life lessons start to come out. Also, I hope he ties these lessons to his “55 Rules for a Good Life.”

      1. JT Patterson

        Yep, and mine too. Gen. Satterfield has had his blog now for over 10 years. His latest and greatest series, Letters to My Granddaughter, is the most outstanding of all. Thank you, sir for giving us this wonderful view of your early life.

        1. Jonnie the Bart

          I agree with you JT Patterson. We are all appreciative of these letters to his granddaughter. I only hope she is able to read them and understand and appreciate them for what they are.

    1. Eric Coda

      … we can also say lovely. ❤ Why? Because it is both beautiful and lovely and Gen. Satterfield has made it clear that we all seek beauty. ❤


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