There used to be an old tire store up Main Street surrounded by properties that have all seen better days. Years ago it was a full-service gas station built in the late 40s or early 50s out of cinder blocks and mortar.
For the most part, however, the old building was insignificant. If it hadn’t been for the man outside, I would’ve never even noticed the place.
Years ago the tire store was painted white, but oil, grease and dirt make a dark entourage at the base of the walls up to a chalky, white at the top. The concrete around it was patchy and dark, stained with layers on layers of grease, dripped motor oil and a host of other dried automotive blood. Continue reading The Waving Man
Several years ago, I stopped by a friend’s used car lot at lunch time. I didn’t need anything, just figured I’d stop in and chit chat for a few minutes.
He told me he almost sold his integrity earlier. He began:
An older man came in early that morning and wanted my friend, Dan, to buy a truck he owned. The old gentleman didn’t want a trade in, but to sell it outright. He had a nice, older truck with low mileage that was clean as a whistle. He’d bought it brand new and maintained it well over the years.
Dan had never seen the old, country gentleman before and the man seemed, well….sad.
Dan asked how much he wanted for his truck. The man hesitated, almost wincing in embarrassment, and said he hoped to get $3,000 because he had some expenses he needed to take care of.
That’s when Dan said he was tempted! Continue reading Extra Mile Integrity
His frail fingers trembled as he took the nickel from the missionary’s hand. The starving Haitian boy was wearing a pair of ragged shorts, threadbare t-shirt, and shoes that had worn out months before.
During the peak of the famine, homeless children and orphans looked for any way they could to survive. If they could get a nickel, they could get enough scraps of food to live another day.
So when the missionary was walking on a road in Haiti and came across the sickly orphan boy sitting listlessly on the roadside, he gave the boy a nickel. Continue reading When Did I See You Hungry?
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
The seller dropped the keys in my youngest daughter’s hand, and with a smile, told her he had just filled up the gas tank for her too!
I’ve bought eight, yes eight used cars for each of my eight kids as their first vehicle. Don’t be impressed. There is a set amount that has been the same for all of them. They can spend more if they want with money they have saved, or they can spend less and take the extra cash and run.
Continue reading Car Deal Gone Good
Something woke me up at 3:41 AM this morning. Sometimes it’s insomnia, but not today.
Sometimes you wake up slowly and realize you’re stretching, feeling the freedom of every muscle movement. Sometimes you wake feeling completely rested, healthy and whole. Sometimes you know something woke you, but not sure what, and your mind begins a gentle wander wondering about chicken spaghetti, Snicker Doodles and peaches.
Sometimes you think the dog may have fleas because you hear it scratching in its crate. Sometimes you think of people and see their smiles and hear their voices and hope they’re sound asleep, or like you, completely rested. Sometimes you hear a noise and question how in the world you ever missed the ceiling fan’s sound as the quiet electric motor swirls the air. Continue reading Sometimes
Two questionable characters were loitering in front on the grocery store bench. I did what all concealed handgun licensed carriers do. I slipped a small pistol in my pocket before going in.
About the time I was in front of the bench, one of the men said, “Hey brother! Why don’t you hire me?”
That’s not the first time I’ve heard that line, so I knew at some time or another he had worked or interviewed for a job with me. I looked at the man who spoke and said, “I’m sorry. I recognize your face, but your name is slipping me.” Continue reading Rock Bottom Hope
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