Archives For Family

Life experienced with those who are our kin

A Eulogy for Daddy Joe

January 28, 2015 — 3 Comments

JaneJoeFather Abraham had many sons
Had many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them
And so are you
So let’s just praise the Lord

Abraham, the father of three of the major streams of faith in the world, is known in scholarly circles as a patriarch. He was, as the dictionary defines that term, a man who was revered by those of his tribe who followed him. Patriarchs are the rulers of a family — sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad — but they are honored for their position in the family, and more often than not they are respected for their wisdom and their management of the household. Their legacy is seen in the many children they leave behind (…many sons) who identify themselves with the tribe of the patriarch.

Joe Sadler (Daddy Joe) was the patriarch in my family. He was not the oldest child, but he was the one that the rest of the family turned to again and again as difficulties arose. He was my mother’s older brother, and throughout my years he was the rock who kept our family sane and functioning in troubling times. When I was a stupid punk of a teenage kid, he bailed me out of the mistakes I made along the way, and I am sure that I would not be the person I am today without his influence in my life.

Last night, my Uncle Joe’s body finally gave out, and he passed from this world into the world to come. Joe had been a walking miracle, for he had survived lung cancer (with the removal of part of a lung), heart disease, and a variety of other ailments in the past many years. The ability to push through those challenges and continue on made him almost appear invincible — and it’s been a struggle over the past couple of years as it became more and more clear that his body was wearing out. It’s hard to know how to respond when a patriarch becomes human and frail, and our family will mourn this loss deeply.

In Genesis 25, the author of the book tells us about the death of Abraham:

Altogether, Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.

Daddy Joe lived 81 years (his birthday was this past Saturday), and last night he breathed his last. He too was a good man and full of years. And now, we have confidence that he has been gathered to his people in a place with no more sickness, death, and sorrow. He has been reunited with his beloved Evelyn, his brothers Bill, Don, and Ray, and his sister (my mom) Jane.

His legacy will be lived out in those of us left behind. He taught us wisdom and compassion, pragmatism and faith, and the belief that family ties are not easily broken. More than anything, he taught us that we should never give up in the face of adversity. Joe survived and made the best of life . . . and he wanted his “many sons” to do the same.

Good bye Daddy Joe. You are fiercely loved, and will be profoundly missed.

Daddy Joe had many sons
Had many sons had Daddy Joe
I am one of them
And so are you
So let’s just praise the Lord


A “Fair” Review

September 12, 2009 — 1 Comment

IMG_7770 The Tennessee State Fair opened last night, and as has become the tradition of the Voorhees household, daughter number two and I traveled down Nolensville Road, braved the muddy field parking lot, and found ourselves in the middle of a world filled with the smells of grilling onions and peppers, cotton candy, with a whiff of Eau de Bovine for good measure.

For many Nashvillians, the fair has become something to avoid, a gathering of “undesirable” folks swilling beer and generally leaving an unsavory feeling to the event.  It’s become more fashionable it seems for middle class middle Tennesseans to travel to Wilson County for the Wilson County Fair, leading some to suggest that IT should be called the State Fair for it isn’t located in the middle of an urban area and draws huge crowds. However, in spite of the limited facilities at our official fair grounds, I have come to appreciate the symbolism of our state capital continuing to host what should be the recognition of gifts and talents throughout the entire state of Tennessee. And, in response to the concerns of many, Buck Dozier (the newest manager of the fair grounds and event) have done a great job cleaning things up, ending beer concessions, and moving to a new midway company which seemed to offer a more professional product.

One downside to the event is the way that ticketing is handled. For several years its been the practice for Kroger to sell wristbands that would all unlimited rides as a reduced price. However, these wristbands have to be purchased in advance and are not highly promoted. What the fair doesn’t make clear however is that wristbands are not available for on-site purchase, even at a higher price. Once on site, tickets are sold at a fairly high price ($25 for 22 tickets with most rides requiring 3 or 4 tickets). What they also haven’t promoted is that wristbands ARE available for purchase through the fair’s website. These wristbands are sold for $29.50 (including processing fees) and are worth every penny if you are going to have a child (or yourself for that matter) want to ride more than 7 or 8 rides. In our case, we were lucky enough to meet up with an official who had her MacBook up and running and let us purchase the wristband at the site, but I wouldn’t expect this to be a regular practice, especially during peak hours, so go on-line and purchase your tickets in advance. You may want to also know that parking is free to all comers.

IMG_7741 In many ways the TN State Fair is very predictable. The exhibits of produce, cakes and pies, and all sorts of other random stuff is at the top of a hill in the exhibit halls and sheds.  Our practice is to park in the back lot (at Gate 1) closest to the sheds and walk up the hill to check out these exhibits first. You never know what vendors will be demonstrating things throughout the building, but there is always a pumpkin weigh off (this year’s winner weighed close to 2,000 pounds) and the local dairy industry has an area where free samples of ice cream, cheese, and milk are available (Anna and I especially loved the cheese!). In between the exhibit halls is a series of food vendors, including the fresh squeezed lemonade, which seems to be a specialty of the fair. It isn’t cheap (nothing is) but it’s very good and they do offer refills at a reduced cost.

One thing that our family usually bypasses is the animal barns, due to the overly sensitive olfactory nerves of our children. We did pop in for a minute this year and my sense was that they were far cleaner this year, and the smell was not as strong, although it was strong enough to lead daughter two away at a quick pace.

In between the exhibit halls and the formal midway with the rides is a series of shows and exhibits by vendors. There is a petting zoo here, but this year it is hidden in the back of the Kid’s Zone area which is in the back of the old country village display area. We rarely have the patience to wait for a show to start (you usually have to arrive early to grab a seat) but from afar they seem like a lot of fun.

Going down from the hill toward Nolensville Road is the midway, which first features all the normal food vendors, trinket salesmen, and hucksters trying to get you to spend $5 to put an 8” basketball through a 8.5” hole. After being in Jerusalem, I’ve become pretty calloused about high pressure salesmen, but just be prepared that you will have to face the gauntlet until you reach the rides.

The rides are generally focused around a large circle with the younger kid rides toward the front of the hill, and the older kid, more rambunctious rides at the far end. All of the normal suspects were there, but it seemed to me that this year there were more rides geared toward the younger crowd than the older. While we were there (between 1 and 6 p.m. on a Saturday) the lines were relatively short, and in most cases there was no waiting. This was where the wristbands were invaluable, for very often my child would exit the ride and immediately run back to the entrance to ride again. I lost count, but I think she may have ridden the caterpillar roller coaster 8 or 10 times during the day.

Scattered throughout the grounds are food vendors, with several large groupings with seating near the exhibit halls and in the midway. The offerings are varied, but it seems like most folks settle on the traditional funnel cakes, polish sausages, and of course, the lemonade.

For dinner we decided to try out one of the stands on the midway which featured a Lebanon based family, the Tuckers. This stand has the advantage of having its own seating area which is under tent, out of the way, and generally not crowded. While daughter two went for the standard hotdog and chili cheese fries, the smell of the Polish sausage wafted out of the trailer and called to me. It’s a good size sandwich, covered in grilled onions and green peppers to die for. Add some fries to the mixture (which appeared to even be possibly fresh cut) and you get a meal that fills you up and refreshes the soul as well. If you make it to the fair, check out Tuckers for they seem to be good folks and the food is great.

All in all, we had a great experience and I have no problem recommending that you take your family sometime between now and the closing on the 20th. It felt safer than in past years, was cleaner, and general is a great family experience. Expect to drop some dough along the way, but given the time that daughter two and I had today, it was money spent on something we will remember throughout our lives.

For more information on the Tennessee State Fair, visit