Jay Beeler

The Beeler family is pleased to announce the birth of Sky Violet on Wednesday morning to daughter Janet Beeler and Gabe Mackillop. We were looking forward to the blessed event in January, but this little tax deduction came early at 5.78 pounds, which means that she will be under NICU care for several days.

Contractor Gabe has been busy fixing up their recently purchased home on a large lot in the hills of Oakland. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving we hosted a baby shower for the couple in Long Beach. What a surprise it was to learn those gifts would be put to use as soon as ten days later.

A trip to Oakland was planned mid-January to transport a crib and other necessities. I’m guessing that mid-December will be closer to the mark for Santa and his sleigh.


Sky is the third grandchild for this experienced “papa.” We spent Thanksgiving with daughter Mindy and her family at their Big Bear cabin. The other grandkids are Owen, 8, and Lyla Nickerson, 10, who had a cold. As is sometimes the case with kids in the family, all six of us got that bug and subsequently avoided sharing it with others in the days that followed.

My wife and I adopted our first two children: Jeff and Janet. Mindy came along with old-fashion way four years later. A few decades later, she and her husband, Bryan, blessed us with our first two grandchildren. They live in Rancho Mission Viejo, which allows for family gatherings more often than when they lived in the desert town of Indio.

It has been decades since I’ve been to Big Bear, where the population has grown to more than 12,000 and the streets are filled with tourist-type stores and attractions. It used to be a quick one-hour flight piloting a Cessna 150, but holiday freeway traffic has turned it into a three-hour drive. After a few nights of temperatures in the teens, it’s a stark reminder of why we live on the warmer side of that 7,000-foot mountain hideaway.


Children bring purpose to our lives, plus many fond memories. I remember when my wife, Anita, carried Jeff into our home for the first time. You would have thought she was carrying a carton of eggs. S-l-o-w-l-y she walked, trying not to trip. In the ensuing months it became natural for me to carry him in one arm, much like a sack of potatoes.

Jeff taught me a quick lesson about changing diapers: always keep the penis covered. Getting hit with a stream of urine in the face means that you’ll never make that mistake again.

I’m an early bird and my wife was a night owl. So, depending on when a baby awoke before or after 3 a.m. that would determine who got to do a feeding.

My fondest memory of Janet was when she’d raise up in the bassinet on all fours and peek out at her family watching television in the study. She looked just like a turtle when she did that.

So now it is Janet’s and Gabe’s turn to experience the joy of raising a child and the fulfillment that it brings.


In the words of Alistair Cooke: “In the best of times, our days are numbered anyway. So it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world crisis so solemnly that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the first place: the opportunity to do good work, to enjoy friends, to fall in love, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby.”


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