Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 62

By | March 26, 2024

[March 26, 2024]  It was Sunday and Father’s Day.  We were hurrying to get to the beach on Padre Island to have fun on such a glorious day.  I want to express my gratitude to my father and grandfathers, who helped raise us kids and ensure we grew into responsible teenagers, rational thinkers, hard-working, God-fearing, and upstanding community members.  On this day, our Dad took us for a picnic on the sandy beaches with all the family, six of us.  The sky was clear with moderate temperatures, and the ocean waves were pounding hard on the island.  We had some surprises in store for us kids, having never been to the ocean.

Sun poisoning, for those unfamiliar with it, as we were, makes you wish you weren’t part of the land of the living.  We’d only recently moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, the city of bright sun, wind, salt, and an occasional hurricane.  The day Dad drove us into this small city, the summer of 1966, we saw the destruction of a massive tropical depression that had wreaked havoc up and down the Gulf Coast of Texas.

Swimming in the ocean on Father’s Day was a new experience for a kid who was used to freshwater lakes and bayous.  The salty ocean water irritated my delicate skin, and the sun did its job on my white-boy skin.  My Mom said that my brother and I looked like lobsters, which was no compliment.  I thought I saw a touch of regret in her eye as my brother complained that the ocean water stung more than it should have on his skin.  We’d been raised in the Deep South, and we never witnessed the sun from horizon to horizon like in the flatlands of Texas.  We suffered for two full days and another week of peeling skin that came off in six-inch swaths.  We learned also about a plant sap that helped relieve the pain, aloe vera.  It was a lifesaver as it cooled the burning pain.

It was an overcast day the first day we drove into the city.  I immediately liked what I saw: palm trees, the ocean, and a few insects, especially lacking in the kind that bite or sting.  This Texas city was open and fresh and fabulous.  I also saw downed trees, power lines, and several buildings with the siding stripped away.  It was a confusing scene for a young teenager, good and bad.  Surprisingly, our house was cool and breezy, with a swamp cooler that relied upon low humidity to work efficiently, something lacking in a coastal town.  It was hotter here than in Arkansas and Louisiana.  But we were excited about all the new experiences, like hearing Spanish spoken for the first time, learning to skateboard, and new toys like the small troll doll, Superball, and Silly Putty.  My sister Terri got an Easy Bake oven that year, and she enjoyed making “cookies” and “mini cupcakes.”

My Dad quickly learned that you don’t drive your car on the beach or that doing so would rust out the undercarriage and be worth less than junk.  We bought a late 1950s green Plymouth Belvedere, a 4-door sedan, to be our “beach car.”  Those cars are prized antiques today.  That summer, Mom drove us to the beach nearly daily while Dad worked.  On the way home, we always stopped at a car wash, hosed off the salt, and inevitably got water under the rotor cap and stalled out the engine.  One day, as we headed home, we stopped to get gasoline at a Texaco station.  The owner told Mom she had won a prize and we would be on a television commercial.  Wow, we were going to be famous.  We weren’t really famous, but the commercial was cool.

That year, I joined the Boy Scouts and discovered that I had a lot of learning to catch up with the other boys, but they also did some neat events outside, like cooking over an open fire.  I was the only scout that had hunting experience, so I was looked upon with some respect, but most saw me as a “hick from the sticks.”  It was good to have joined up because there were not many kids where we lived; being on the edge of town, the houses were far between.

One day, my brother and I found a rusty old water-cooled World War One, M17 Browning Machine Gun.  It was in rough shape, and the tripod was missing.  How it got into the creek behind our house is anybody’s guess, as it was likely stolen and dumped there.  Dad made us throw it back into the creek.  He didn’t want us to get in trouble with the police or the Army.  A week later some local kids had their picture in the newspaper with the machine gun they had found.  I was disappointed, but I wasn’t in jail for theft.

We were on our own that year a lot.  Philip and I explored the neighborhoods and stayed out of trouble.  We learned where all the best places were for skateboarding and hanging out and where to pitch a few pennies and play marbles.  I was never good at it; it was very frustrating, but it could have been worse.  At least there were no bullies on the prowl hunting for loner kids.  Yet, my brother and I stuck together close just in case, and that was a good thing.  We would fondly remember Corpus Christi, Texas.


NOTE: See all my letters here: https://www.theleadermaker.com/granddaughter-letters/


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.

30 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 62

  1. Patriot Wife

    🇺🇸 Gen. Satterfield is a great American patriot. 🇺🇸
    Reading these letters to his granddaughter, I’m beginning to see why.

  2. ZB

    Gen. Satterfield’s dad taking the family to the beach. Classic story.
    See this article, “A Tribute to Daddy”
    [September 21, 2022] Two days ago, my dad passed away at 93. He is now with his wife Mary of 71 years (and my mother), who passed away a mere two weeks ago. My heart is broken, but it would be ungrateful to think, even for a minute, “Why me?” when I was privileged to have Daddy until I was 70 years old! Everyone should be so lucky.

    1. Bryan Z. Lee

      This shows how close Gen. Satterfield is to his family.

      1. Stacey Borden

        Yes, and is one of the many life lessons here in his letters. Never ever ever forget or betray your family. That is why it is one of the Ten Commandments.
        Honor your father and your mother
        Bible reference – Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”

      2. Eddie Gilliam

        Family matters. You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family. I am blessed to have a close family. We are within years apart from the oldest grandchild to the youngest. My oldest aunt Emma who also is the oldest of the family has the oldest grandchild (4). My aunt during her senior year of high school drove the school bus.
        I loved going to the beach after church on Sunday. It was fresh water.

    1. osmodsann

      DPG, I do think there will be coming our way for us to read as pleasure and to sift out life lessons. Those lessons are what makes us human, imperfections and all. Gen. Satterfield is the best of the best.

  3. Idiot Savant

    The competition for the best letter to his granddaughter is maybe something we all could get into. BTW, Gen. Satterfield, I hope your new series on “Advice for young men” takes off. The first one on ALCOHOL was very interesting and tells us succinctly why so many have a hard time giving it up. The best thing is to never drink alcohol. And one of your letters tells us about what turned you off on alcohol and cigarettes too. Thanks for your series.

  4. Rowen Tabernackle

    Thank you, Gen. Satterfield for another beautiful letter to your granddaughter.

  5. Plato

    Finally, we get to hear that Gen. Satterfield joined the Boy Scouts. I’d like to know more about what he learned in the short time he was a member.

    1. Audrey

      Gen. Satterfield occasionally mentions being a member of the Boy Scouts but he doesn’t go into any depth about it. I agree, I’d like to read more about it because otherwise he would not mention the fact that he joined up while living in Corpus Christi, TEXAS. Maybe that is part of the reason he did well, knowing how to hunt and survive in the woods. And how to shoot and clean a kill and how to cook it properly.

      1. Willie Strumburger

        Correct! Gen. S., please write about your Boy Scout adventures.

        1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

          Willie, I plan to. It might be a few weeks before I do but that letter is on my list. I don’t plan to stop this series until I get to 100 letters, or more. It all depends upon the reaction and feedback that I get.

  6. Eric Coda

    Finding the machine gun from World War 1 was surprising. That gun was definitely stolen and dumped there.

  7. Library Helmsman

    The beginning of a new chapter in the life of Gen. Satterfield, now a very young teenager from rural Louisiana.
    ” It was Sunday and Father’s Day. We were hurrying to get to the beach on Padre Island to have fun on such a glorious day. I want to express my gratitude to my father and grandfathers, who helped raise us kids and ensure we grew into responsible teenagers, rational thinkers, hard-working, God-fearing, and upstanding community members. On this day, our Dad took us for a picnic on the sandy beaches with all the family, six of us. The sky was clear with moderate temperatures, and the ocean waves were pounding hard on the island. We had some surprises in store for us kids, having never been to the ocean.” – Gen. Doug Satterfield

    1. Liz at Home

      Yep, just like I love it. Gen. Satterfield is all over it. The more letters I read, the more I want to read.

      1. JT Patterson

        Same here Liz, I do. As you know, I’m one of the original readers and commentators on Gen. Satterfield’s blog. He is darn good at making you feel welcome here and tries his best to remain the gentleman that he certainly is.

    2. Bernie

      Always capturing my attention, Library Helmsman. I’m not sure any kid today would want to live this life. No iPhones, no computers, little or no television, no car, sometimes no electricity, leaky roof, but rich in family. Our youth today are weak. And when the finally grow up after 30, they are still weak adults. 🤣

  8. Pastor John 🙏

    It is now hard to believe that we are on letter 62 already, seems like only last week Gen. Satterfield started to write them. I find these letters comforting for several reasons. Most of all, I see a love of family and God. And that is a foundation that no one can destroy without someone giving up and Gen. Satterfield never gives up. God Bless Gen. Satterfield for all his has done.

    1. Karl J.

      ❤ Love these letters to Gen. Satterfield’s granddaughter, and I assume that they are also for all his grandkids, just that his granddaughter is the oldest of them all. ❤ Watson Bell, you are right to write WOW, because these letters tell us much more than what Gen. S. is writing on the surface. Behind these stories are reasons why he because so successful in life. For example, he wasn’t stealing hubcaps or hanging out with a criminal gang or roughing up old ladies or hijacking cars like the inner city youth are doing today. It is wonderful to read about a good boy, most of the time good .. ha ha … and how he turned his fear of the world into something positive.

  9. Jeff Blackwater

    Great letter, thank you Gen. Doug Satterfield for another dose of reality from the mind of a young boy from the Deep South. Your contributions are superb.


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