Several years ago on a cruise ship, Janet and I met a hard-working young lady named Lenora.
She was cleaning tables and carrying away dirty dishes when we sat down for breakfast.
Lenora was from Ukraine. Janet’s been to Ukraine before, so someone who knew exactly where her country was, much less having been there before, seemed a genuine treat for Lenora.
Quick observation — most people vacationing on cruises don’t really see the people working on the ship. It’s like the workers are simply working movable fixtures, walking robots, not real people at all, as if invisible.
Continue reading Lenora →
It’s the day I’ll be the exact same age as my dad when he died.
I figured out the date 10 years ago. It’s been on my work bulletin board ever since.
Now it’s less than a year away, 47 weeks to be exact.
It’s not a day to worry about, just be aware of.
Maybe I’ll take off.
Maybe I’ll go fishing at a nearby lake at the dam, a place where the turmoil of the released water churns up choppy white waters until finally slowing to a gentle roll farther downstream.
Maybe the day itself will feel like that. I don’t know.
Is it any coincidence my thyroid is acting up now? Possibly the beginning of a hypothyroid with a plausible diagnosis of Hashimoto Thyroiditis.
That’s what’s on my dad’s death certificate. The doctors tell me Hashimoto’s doesn’t cause death.
Continue reading April 4, 2024 →
Saturday I was on a mission to pick up Janet at the end of the day at a Houston airport.
I stopped to get her dinner and sat in front of the second Chick-fil-A drive through line waiting on my order.
It’s always the same, no matter where you go. They bring it out and ask your name to confirm the order while handing it to you. I say, “Thank you.” They say, “My pleasure.”
Normally, I’m itching to get it and roll on. This time though, I wanted to just sit and watch.
A guy walked out of Chick-fi-A with a coke in his hand. His pants were a size too big, his belt missed a loop or two, and his shirt peculiarly looked like it was from the 1960s.
He didn’t have on ear buds, and he wasn’t on a phone, so he was definitely talking to himself.
He stopped at the crosswalk talking away, as if an imaginary person was sitting on his shoulder. He didn’t bother looking either way. He just stepped out in the drive area, staring at the ground.
Continue reading Blue Plastic Egg →
It was a coach pitch All-Star tournament for 7 and 8 year old players. One of the grandsons was playing, so it was double fun!
But between mamas letting their little boys loose, daddies holding their tongues, and coaches reliving their Little League glory days, drama and emotion can quickly ooze into the games.
It’s usually from the coaches and parents more than the kids. Boys like the competition, but at that age, the biggest concern for most of them is what flavor of snow cone to get after the game.
And the poor umpires? They often get blasted from both sides! This day was different though. This game had a short, stocky, 40-year veteran umpire.
In the first inning, I heard him tell someone while rubbing his head that every gray hair he had was from umpiring. He winked adding, “I was 6 feet 7 inches tall when I started umpiring, but I’ve been chewed on so much over the years, I’m only 5’ 7” now! “
Continue reading Ump →
It was a Daddy Daughter Dance. Unfortunately for my son, he had to work out of town. Fortunately for me, I was the second-string back up for Grace, who is 6 years old, and in first grade.
The school dance was for elementary girls, grades one through six, at our local university Grand Ballroom. My only concern was that it was from 6 to 9 PM. Having two left feet and the coordination of a one-legged giraffe, how in the world could I fake dancing that long?! In the end, it didn’t matter.
What did matter was that my granddaughter had a good time. She was dressed in a light blue dress covered with tulle. (For the ladies, aren’t you impressed I know what “tulle” is, and for us guys, it’s said “tool”, but not spelled that way, so it’s not a skirt covered in crescent wrenches like I thought.)
Continue reading A Graceful Dance →
There are 33 people on the wall. Kids, kids-of-heart, grandkids, Janet, myself.
There’s always something going on in a big family. Someone’s always around, nearby, or on the way.
Continue reading Clear Skies →
Someone posted our high school class picture from 40 years ago!
Forty. Years. Ago!
That’s how long Moses and the Israelites wandered in the wilderness!
A little over 300 of us, all in purple gowns, grabbed a diploma, walked across the stage, and waltzed into life.
When we graduated 40 years ago — Ronald Reagan was fresh on the job, the space shuttle had just made its maiden voyage, a new disease called AIDS would be announced two weeks after graduation, and two months after that, IBM would introduce something called a “personal computer”.
A lot has changed.
With the unbridled power of technology and social media, it’s been fun to “reconnect” with some I haven’t seen since graduation day.
Continue reading Forty Years Ago →
When my first grandchild was born, I found it interesting how you can love a newborn so much. Throughout his life, we’ll share DNA, and the same last name.
He’ll carry our family name down the generational rivers entering a sea of names. Maybe it’s just a man thing, but that’s downright satisfying!
I looked back at a flash drive of old family pictures that included a scan of an article my grandfather wrote in 1974. My Grandpa is my grandson’s Great, Great Grandfather.
He only had a 6th grade education, so to write a life summary and family history is phenomenal! It was exhilarating to read! Continue reading Age to Age →
My wife, Janet, had surgery two weeks ago to remove a kidney tumor. The doctor said it’s an 85% chance of being malignant.
The last two weeks have been fast, and slow, lightening quick, yet forever.
Yesterday was the surgery follow up appointment, complete with the pathology report. It was also Janet’s birthday.
Strange, really. You find out about continued life, one way or the other, on a day designated to celebrate life.
The doctor came in quickly, and asked Janet how she was doing. He sat down. I asked to record the doctor on my phone so we could listen and rehash as much as we needed to later.
He agreed. I pushed the record button. He asked if I was ready, and took a deep breath…
Continue reading Like a Verdict →
There’s so many things I don’t understand, so I’m writing You hoping You can swoop down and take care of things, at least the questions.
Like, why do kids starve in parts of the world? And why was a child somewhere, probably a lot close than we want to think, abused beyond measure by someone who is supposed to care and love them?
And God, why do you let evil people kill in the name of false gods? And why does it rain like crazy one year, then a drought the next….wouldn’t it be better to just even it out? Continue reading Dear God →