She remembered an incident that happened years before and burst into laughter. Instinctively, her hand went to the rocking chair beside her. The blade of reality cut as she returned to the present.
She took a deep breath, closed her eyes to regain her composure, and settled quietly back into the rhythmic rocking of her chair.
For years she sat each evening with her husband rocking at sunset. Sometimes they talked non-stop; sometimes they sat quietly. Sometimes they even bickered back and forth like two school children, but there was never a doubt that they were on each other’s team. In fact, they were each other’s biggest fan.
The years since he retired were some of the best and enjoyable evenings of all. Each knew, however, that the sunsets they watched from their front porch rockers were similar to themselves.
Even so, when he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer six months earlier, it seemed like a short time was cut shorter, for it was all too quick, too sudden, too complete. Continue reading A Rocking Chair of Life
It was a short run into the grocery store before work for a few apples and coffee creamer, but the only checkout line was long, too long.
The lady at the front of the line was an elderly lady and the bagger said something I couldn’t understand, then walked out with her to put her groceries in her car. The next person checked out and was on the way out when the bagger returned.
The man bagging was probably 65 years old and had a round face with sharp features and a big pleasant smile. The lady in front of me checked out ten or twelve items and the man’s face seemed locked into a smile. He’d grab a couple of items, glance at the checker and customer, as if searching for something in their faces, and then bag the next items.
After the lady paid, the man handed her grocery bags to her and said something, but again, I didn’t understand him. She smiled, spoke back to him and he laughed out loud beaming a huge smile.
I wasn’t paying attention when the checker checked me out. I swiped my card, spoke to the checker and turned to grab the plastic sack from the bagger. I caught a glimpse of his hearing aids just as he said in garbled words like someone severely deaf….at least I think he said, “I love eat apples! And coffee!” Continue reading Smiling Eyes
A few weeks back I was leaning on the rail of a cruise ship sailing the inside straits of Alaska. Miles away were large, looming mountains on the Alaska coast.
It wasn’t the land that was intriguing though, it was the hundreds of birds on both sides of the ship. They were a species of seagull and they were everywhere! Some sat on the water riding out the waves.
Most, however, flew about a foot above the water and didn’t miss a flap of the wing. Occasionally, one would scoop down to pick up some tasty morsel of food flying at break neck speed.
There were so many over the water, yet it seemed they flew with organization, almost marching band style. They were like a symphony of different instruments playing different notes that make no sense alone, but all together play beautiful music. The birds darted and dodged, skillfully avoiding mid-air collisions, moving in groups in their beautiful, living maze of feathered music. Continue reading To Who Knows Where
I told four of the grandsons, ages 3 to 5, a story before bed time.
I learned a long time ago, the hard way, you don’t tell a scary story to small boys, UNLESS you’re camping and you have to sleep in the same tent with them. Then, any old ghost, alien or crazy wild flesh-eating bear story will scare the living bejeebers out of them. Afterwards, you can go soundly to sleep in the tent while in silent terror they stare wide-eyed listening intently for any ghostly rattles, spaceships or bears creeping through the woods.
This wasn’t such a time, so story time was about four boys with names that rhymed with their own. They were just amazed how the names seemed so much like their own. 😉
The story was about a submarine adventure in the Gulf of Mexico. The four boys were looking for sunken pirate treasure.
Instead, they found a sunken K-Mart cargo ship full of copper forks, tambourines and a miniature cannon. Continue reading Where Your Story Starts
(This is based on a true story told to me by a Chief Juvenile Probation Officer.)
~~He knelt down on his knees, looked up at Jesus on the cross, and shook his fist. “I hate you”, he said loudly, “I hate you.” He said it over and over. Soon he was screaming with every fiber of his being. Louder and louder, with more and more pent-up emotions streaming out of his voice. “I hate you! I HATE you! I HATE YOU!”~~
The boy had suffered emotional and verbal abuse from his mother since his birth. When his father was around, which wasn’t a lot, it was always the same song, second verse. He could count on one hand the times a physical beating for some slight or imagined offense hadn’t followed a visit with his father. Continue reading I Hate You, But Not Really
Sometimes pictures get me. It sounds silly. Maybe it is. But sometimes, a picture hits me in my core, cutting, ripping, tearing away at soul and sinew.
Some pictures, some stories haunt me as assuredly as a ghost in a graveyard. I can’t sleep without it popping into my dreams. I can’t concentrate without it popping into conscious thought.
This picture sticks with me like a chain around the heart:
Continue reading Help This Boy
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 retired elderly couple, probably in their late 70’s, was making their way into Wal-Mart as I pulled into a parking spot. They were dressed like they had just come from church and were in no hurry to get anywhere fast.
By the time I got in the front door, the elderly woman was bent over a display table just inside the door admiring a red heart flower pot with miniature red roses growing in it. She was short, well dressed and had her blue-gray hair fixed up for her Sunday best.
He was a tall man with a relaxed, easy-going expression. He was quite dignified and had an air about him that he was a thoughtful, well-educated man.
Still looking at the flowers, she said to him, “Aren’t these pretty! They never had anything like this until the last few years.” Continue reading Miniature Rose Surprise
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