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
At church, a boy about seven years old was baptized. As is custom before a baptism at our church, the media team shows a video of each person talking about their life, why they chose to believe, and why they want to be baptized.
In the boy’s video, he spoke sincerely, and his contagious smile was memorable because he had lost both front teeth. He said several times in the video that he wanted to be “babatized” and talked about how he wanted someone special from out-of-town to “babatize” him.
Turns out, the special person was the boy’s godfather, a young man in his late twenties who could easily pass for a military soldier. Where we go to church, immersion is the mode of baptism, which means going completely under water from head to toe, or maybe if you’re seven years old, getting dunked. Continue reading The Best Babatism Ever
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
The alarm goes off at 5:05 AM. It made enough noise and took the perfect amount of time to rouse from a deep sleep. A pull of the blanket over the head won’t make sleep return. Besides, a nagging conscience says get up and exercise.
By 5:25 AM I’m hitting the road. At the same time the day before, I walked with my daughter, Jessica, while she walked the neighbor’s dog.
Today though, the dog will be walked in the afternoon. And besides, today Jessica wouldn’t wake except for a five-alarm fire and Janet’s allergies would go ballistic in the midst of the pine pollen blizzard.
The first steps are always the hardest, especially walking by yourself. It’s a battle of wills as the body objects to the mind’s intentions. After a quarter-mile, the body submits. After a mile, body and mind are in harmony.
Continue reading It’s All Good
We had a financial audit at work. Ronnie must have been worried. He dressed up. He even wore a tie for the auditor. That’s how it started. In a business where Sunday best is casual Friday attire to most, a tie is an anomaly.
He picked up on my sarcasm, grinned, and ignored me carrying on about how good he looked and how he brought up the class of the whole joint! He dismissed me with an amused smile and talked about how he used to wear a tie every day to work, 25 years ago, in another job. And after all, he was the company Accountant!
I droned on and on about how professional and competent he looked wearing a tie while the rest of us, the other 194 ragged, wretched employees, wore boots, old jeans and Carhart shirts. When I suggested he wear a tie the next Tuesday also, he pursed his lips and looked away, like he was deeply considering it. And why shouldn’t he? He was the Accountant and had garnered more attention from co-workers while wearing a tie for a day than he had the whole last year. Continue reading Tie Tuesday
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 get to say hello. Community. Continue reading Heart of Community
My dad, Daniel Rab, was best friends in high school with Jimmie Jones, who lived right across the street. Dad was the fifth of 9 Rab children and Jimmie was the oldest of 8 Jones kids. Needless to say, under those circumstances, they were always at each other’s house and there was always something to do.
Dad got to where he would go over to Jimmie’s house, but not so much to see his best friend, but rather Jimmie’s younger sister, Jo Ann, my Mom.
And so it was over time Mom became a Rab.
Continue reading I See Daniel
In my junior year of college, Aubrey came to the Gulf Coast from Mississippi State for a college internship. He was in every way a young, southern gentleman, a kindhearted fellow with a charisma that shined when he spoke in his slow, southern drawl. On top of it, he was mature beyond his years.
We met at church and Aubrey immediately became a part of our college group. In fact, not knowing a soul from Texas, we became his local social network. He became a friend.
Even under the best of circumstances, things can go bad. For Aubrey, it did. Continue reading Hayride of a Lifetime