We saw the toddler boy with his parents waiting to board a tour of Mayan ruins in Mexico. That’s not normally where you’d take a toddler on vacation, but he was too little to care. Besides, it was his parent’s vacation.
The toddler was clinging to his parents, no one else. The mother even told a well-meaning worker trying to help them off the bus that he never, ever went to strangers.
Two hours later, standing a distance from the Chichen Izu ruins, the toddler pitter patted away from his parents right up to my wife, Janet. He looked up at her and held up his arms to be picked up.
She simply said, “Awe”, reached down and scooped him up in her arms. The little boy looked at her closely, then laid his head on her shoulder in peaceful contentment. Continue reading A Child’s Wisdom
A cool front came in and all the windows in the house are open. Ahh! Fresh air from a cool, refreshing breeze! On days like today, forget Montana, Italy and every other place on the bucket list to visit. Sitting in the backyard with a hot cup of coffee and the tree leaves rustling is as good as it gets!
Even the puppy dogs are energized with more bounce in their pounce and bite in their bark. Maybe it’s just the wind’s relief after a frigid cold winter. Maybe it’s just a change to something new. Maybe it’s just enjoying the moment. I don’t know, but sitting here watching invisible air rustle visible leaves makes me envious of the wind.
Somewhere right now the wind is blowing through an early spring potato field and elsewhere, over the top of a sky scraper, an anemometer is turning in circles to measure the wind’s speed. Continue reading What Wind Sees
In church I was probably the least prepared person there, and most likely, the one who needed to be there the most. The preacher started talking about togetherness, belonging, unity, community.
Somehow, someway, sometimes something will hit you right between the eyes and just smack across the brow. Today it smacked me. Community.
I looked around. A few rows over sat a young couple who are privately grieving a miscarriage and wondering when, if ever, will they have a child. They hurt. Only those who’ve been there know how hard it is to say goodbye before you say hello. Community.
Continue reading Heart of Community
Reading a magazine in the dentist waiting room, I saw someone in my peripheral vision pushing a wheelchair. I didn’t look up until I heard the familiar voice of a man facing the receptionist window.
I looked to the wheelchair and locked eyes with a woman staring at me. Even though I haven’t seen her in a couple of years, I instantly recognized her. I smiled and waved, but she flatly stared into my eyes without blinking or a hint of emotion.
She was diagnosed four years ago with early onset dementia. We worked together for over 15 years and she was an extremely responsible, competent individual who rose to every task and challenge ever thrown her way.
But now, she didn’t know me. She was looking right at me, but didn’t see. She was there, but not here; alive, but not living.
Continue reading True Love Through
It’s odd, but when the mood for pancakes strikes, Whataburger, the hamburger place of Texas, is where I go. On Christmas Eve morning, the mood struck.
When I walked through the Whataburger doors, the woman behind the counter immediately greeted me. She was probably 45 years old, fairly small, and a little rough around the edges. She was the only one there wearing a Santa hat which covered all but the ends of her short corn rows on the side of her head. She spoke with a semi-deep smoker’s voice and was missing four, maybe five, of her top front teeth. She whole heartedly welcomed me, took my order and started pouring coffee. Continue reading We All Is
Stillborn — that’s what the doctor said, but to your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and extended family, you very much lived! Thank you so much for entering our lives, even if ever so briefly. It is sweet, yet bitter, to miss and love you so much at the same time. Goodbye seems impossible before hello.
Your mother knows you better than anyone. She loved…no, she loves you dearly, Emmitt! You made her really sick those first few months. She was miserable in the mornings, and certain smells, like baking brownies, made her really nauseous. By the third trimester though, she was talking about how much you moved and how hard you kicked. We knew you were there because sometimes your mommy would let us put a hand on her tummy and feel you move. You would roll and stretch big, then give a hard kick just for good measure! I think you got all that energy from your daddy.
Continue reading Dear Emmitt
Problems knock on everyone’s door. If not today, tomorrow. Troubles come. Troubles go. Some work out. Some don’t. Some people crater in the storm, some thrive, others just survive. Eventually the valleys, tunnels, the dark roads all reach an end, and in the end, there’s relief.
Still, it may seem impossible to get through. The mountains look too high. The valleys are too dark and deep. The water is over your head and you’re quickly losing strength. Energy fades. Determination wanes. Encouragement leaves. Continue reading It’ll Be Alright
The knock on the door was intense and extra loud.
I figured it was more 10 to 12 year old boys who had been trick or treating by the droves. The last group of 4 boys had been dressed like zombies and the boy closest to me at the door was in character, acting like he was going to bite my arm. I told him to be careful because the last ghoulish little boy who acted like he was going to bite me was buried in the back yard. The boy was simply amused, but the boy farthest from the door stepped back away from me while pushing his open trick or treat bag up for candy. Continue reading Happy Hawwoween!
At the Rec Center of the local university, a guy wearing sun glasses was making odd, random movements while music played over the loud speakers. He was near the swimming area and sand volleyball pits, and the closer I got, the more I wondered if he was drunk. At best, I figured he had some sort of muscle coordination problem, plus he had what looked like a goofy grin on his face.
Every step closer though it became clear I was wrong, way wrong. He was blind. Continue reading Dancing in the Dark
The green grass fades while the blue sky darkens to shades of gray. A magnificent array of red, orange and yellow spatter the clouds with peace, contentment, hope. A single bird flies across the sky, as if it were homeless this evening, searching, seeking, wanting a place to safely land and call its own. Yet the bird flies on with something, something unknown to man, on its mind.
The wind turns to a soft breeze as the cool, gentle breath of nature begins to blow through heaven’s air conditioner vents.
The front porch rockers face the west and glide back and forth as the sun shoots off its version of fireworks in the clouds, as if to say goodbye, and goodnight, until tomorrow’s morning light. Continue reading The Sun’s Hope