In college I worked one summer at a funeral home. Morbid? Maybe, but I wanted to be around the death process to understand, not fear it.
Sometimes though things, places, events — they change you, change the way you think, change the way you see and feel life. That summer changed me, one night in particular.
I had two jobs that college summer. As soon as I finished my maintenance job, I’d shower, put on my suit and rush to the 2nd job at the funeral home.
It was a visitation that night, just one body, with few visitors expected. The funeral home owner told me he and his family were leaving town for a short trip, threw me the keys and told me to lock up after everyone left that night.
No one was there, so I went into the state room and was shocked to see the tiny casket. Inside was a beautiful, eight month old baby girl. Continue reading Brahm’s Lullaby
One of my sons, Todd, told me a story that still lingers several years later.
He had several jobs at once in college, but quit them all to work in a college intern. He continued to work, however, for a gentleman in his 80’s he’d met a couple of years before. The man was in great shape, but hired Todd to do heavy labor work around his farm.
As Todd got to know the man and his wife, he really liked them, a lot.
Unfortunately, she had Alzheimer’s, and was getting progressively worse in the short time he’d known them.
One day sitting in the gentleman’s pickup, he told Todd he would need him to work more to help look after the place.
Staring out the front windshield, he spoke quietly, as if thinking out loud. He said his wife’s memory lapses were becoming longer, and more frequent.
Occasionally, she would snap out of it and be back to herself instead of the confused, absent minded stranger. He was was forced to move her to a nursing home for proper care. Continue reading A Thought To Remember
A cold, internal stone wall held him prisoner, but somehow, he was held captive at the same time he was set free.
Like everyone who grew up there, he loved the beach, so when it was darkest inside, that’s where he drove outside.
It’s an isolated stretch of beach where few venture, especially at night. No one was around for miles. Inside he felt in 360 degree direction, yet outside, the full moon was shining nature’s night bulb so bright you could see your shadow.
He sat on the bumper in the warm, humid, salty air. The sea, rich in smell and wet sand gave off its familiar odor. Roaring waves crashed upon breaking waves which eventually slid gently in a thin glass sheet to where land starts and ocean stops. Continue reading Beach Fix
I, like you, feel deep compassion for the people of Santa Fe, and every other school, movie theatre, club, church and public location that has experienced a mass murder.
What to do? What do we do?
Well meaning people are now looking to, in fact, clamoring for the government to “fix” the problem and solve the dilemma. People are demanding legislation for sentences for “hate crimes”, creating programs to treat mental illness, gun control restrictions and regulating behaviors.
In my simple mind, it’s a paradox. It seems common sense that after planting plum trees, you get plums. You get the fruit of what you plant.
Stay with me.
Continue reading It’s Always Been About The Heart
It was sad, really. She has no one. Maybe it was a conscience choice a long time ago. Maybe it was a forced decision that she didn’t want. Either way, the results are the same.
She lives alone in a nice neighborhood that we’ve driven through a thousand times. Her hedges are rarely trimmed and there are plants growing in the gutters. The yard is always green, but the grass always looks like it’s half grown, half mowed, somehow suspended in animation just enough to give the yard sort of a kept, but not maintained look.
She has a big sprawling house that is dark and uninviting, almost like where a horror movie could be filmed. In the four plus years of driving through that neighborhood, I’ve never once seen anyone outside, and the garage door is always closed. Occasionally, but not very often, there may be a light on at night somewhere in the house, but it would only be one, if any.
We were driving home through that neighborhood coming home from a symphony at 10:30 PM at night. Janet, my wife, told me we had just passed an old woman sitting in the grass by a mailbox waving for help. I turned around and there she sat. I left the car running with the headlights on to light the area as we checked on her. Continue reading Hermit House
Some things you never forget, like the day the sky cried in our neck of the woods. Fifteen years ago today, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated above the skies of East Texas. That Saturday started like every other normal day, but sometimes, normal days become extraordinary, memorable or catastrophic.
I had a group of employees in a First Aid/CPR class that started at 6:00 AM at the local hospital. After everything settled in, I went to the office to catch up on paperwork.
At 9:00 AM, the entire office began to shake violently and there was a steady roar outside.
Continue reading The Sky Cried