Saturday week ago we were on family vacation at Surfside Beach, Texas. We rented a 5 bedroom beach house that sleeps 30. That’s a lot, but if everyone was there, 28 would be piled in … at least until the next grandchild is born in October.
On the verge of cocky, we guys planned a fish fry (fish we hadn’t yet caught) Saturday night for the 18 of us there. Thank goodness it wasn’t on the keepers I caught. Gandhi ate more than that!
We fished off the jetties the first day, and my sons locked into a dozen or so speckled sea trout. They just quietly grinned like cats at a dairy farm every time I reeled in a small fish.
In the end though, we had more than enough fish.
We ate and ate, but cooked way too much. (That’s what you get when five men cook a meal.) Continue reading Catching Men With Fish
I was making my way to a book store downtown in my own little world, absorbed in my own thoughts, with no desire to interact with anyone other than get through and get gone.
A man came out of God-Tel, a local homeless mission, up the sidewalk from me. He started walking towards me and I dutifully moved to the right so we would cross in the socially acceptable manner.
He walked with no sense of purpose, and his steps had no urgency. I glanced at him to give the slight nod of the head that men give each other that says, “I see you. I recognize you and respect your presence, but I have no intention of talking to you”.
Instead of making the acceptable brief, expressionless eye contact and responding in kind with the same nod back, he looked away toward the street.
Not giving eye contact raised a red alert alarm, so I steadied my gaze on him as he ambled toward me. Continue reading Why Me?
I once had a chicken with a small injury on its tail. I caught it, doctored it, then made a terrible mistake. I released it back into the large coop with the 15 or so other birds.
The next day the chicken was in a corner of the pen, alive, but barely. Its tail feathers and many on its back were gone and the small injury was now a gaping wound.
I stared in disbelief as one by one the other chickens went by and pecked the wounded bird. As if its spirit had been broken in 24 hours, it sat facing the corner of the pen cowering down in a defensive posture.
It didn’t even move when pecked, except when it winced in pain when another chicken hit the wound directly.
I did what I should have done the day before and separated it in a small protected pen, but it was to late, the chicken died shortly afterwards. Continue reading There Go I
I’ve been thinking back about an older couple I knew when I was in college. Loved them! Great, rock solid, influential people!
He developed cancer. After a valiant fight, Hospice was called. Hospice was there round the clock during his last days at home.
They were always a very kind, loving couple, quite expressive in their love and admiration for each other. They used pet names, like Sweetie Pie and Sugar Plum, Honey Bear and Honey Bunny, along with other pet names as terms of endearment.
They would greet each other, usually in a higher pitch voice with great emphasis on their tones, sounding like they were talking to a bouncing baby or a favorite animal.
Their transparent physical, emotional and verbal affection for each other was fun to watch. I learned a lot from them.
But that was in life. Death was a little different. Continue reading Sweetie Pie
Paula Ratcliffe of Great Britain set the women’s marathon world record in 2002, broke it in 2003, and was the odds on favorite to win the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
She started strong and was in the lead, but the 95 degree heat began to weigh heavily on her. At mile 22 of the 26.2 mile race, she suddenly stopped and sat down on a curb. She couldn’t finish. She put her head in her hands and began sobbing uncontrollably.
She was officially classified as DNF – Did Not Finish. A small Japanese woman crossed the finish line first for the gold, a Kenyan won silver, and an elated American finished third for bronze.
I remember the race vividly, not because of those who won at the top, but those who won at the bottom. Continue reading Finish the Race
He walked in front of me. He was on a mission. So was I.
Shopping in a grocery store is easy. Little list. Grab it. Go.
He was quick too, except his handful of items needed a shopping cart.
Two 5-gallon containers of peanut oil, five boxes of fish seasoning, eggs and four bags of cornmeal.
His clean overalls said he had already cleaned a ton of catfish from either trot lines or baited holes. And now he was about to have a party, a fish fry, and he was fidgeting to get the fryer started.
There was still one thing in his basket that didn’t make any sense to me. He handed the little deli bag to the cashier who asked if he had two, or three, fried chicken tenders. Continue reading Help One
It’s our large family tradition. Easter egg hunts for the children AND adults.
The kids go first, eggs with candy, bubbles, little toys, and more candy.
Then the adults hunt. We had 13 adults hunt this year because 5 of our adult gang couldn’t make it. Janet and I sat back and enjoyed watching the 13 go after it.
It’s basically the same each year, but with new twists thrown in. The twist this year was games made up of random teams.
The first-place team in points from the Egg Toss, Egg Spoon Race and Rabbit Race (tow sack races) got a first-place head start hunting eggs, followed by the second-place team, then the lowly third-place team. Continue reading Everybody Wins
It was a brainchild for a number of years. He imagined an art exhibit with nothing but Jesus pictures.
But who would come? And where would he get all the pictures?
He began collecting. Originals, copies, professional, homemade, any and all works that in some form or fashion displayed Jesus.
He had almost 40. All different and unique, but it wasn’t enough, so he threw a wider net. His congregation caught a vision to celebrate together, and at the same time, reach out to the community on Easter weekend.
Members, friends, families began to offer and loan their works of Jesus art for a museum quality exhibit.
Continue reading Picture Perfect Jesus
He fell face down in the dirt. The field was plowed a week before and the small clods crumbled between his fingers with dry chaff and stems of the previous crop.
He couldn’t get up. This Valley of Elah, of sorts, was too much, too hard. The mountain was too high, the valley too low.
His energy was drained, resistance exhausted, and he was so weary of well doing.
Dirt on his forehead began to clear from the sweat of his brow while dirt below his eyes washed clean from tears. Continue reading Stand Up, Warrior!
I like broken people, the ones whose frames are scratched, dented and their corners don’t match up well. I like people who have discolored pictures, broken glass, torn canvases. Somehow troubles, pain, turmoil, and suffering tends to create genuineness.
There’s something about pain and trouble that acts like a cleansing fire burning out the impurities of life. Those who emerge from hard times are tempered, refined, and often, real. It’s not that anyone wants a broken frame or cracked glass, but life breaks and shatters us anyway. Continue reading Broken Picture Frames