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
The rumble of a Harley pulled up on the other side of me at the gas station pump. I was watching the money side spin a lot faster than the gallons, and glanced across the gas pump at the biker. He wore overalls, which were unbuttoned on the sides, boots, a black sleeveless Harley t-shirt, sunglasses and a skull cap.
For whatever reason, a gallon or so later I looked back at his motorcycle and noticed the trailer he was pulling. It was literally a LOL moment!
His motorcycle trailer was made out of a full-sized casket! It was meticulously welded to a trailer frame, and both the casket trailer and his motorcycle were color coordinated in matching blue paint!
I complimented the uniqueness of his trailer and he beamed a satisfied smile. When I asked if I could take a picture though, he came alive! (No pun intended.) Continue reading You Can’t Take It With You
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
It takes someone with a golden heart and an iron will to work at Hospice. My friend, Linda, is one of those people.
Hospice workers try to guard their emotions so they don’t burn out and can help the next person, the next day. Some people still get through the protective wall though and profoundly touch the heart.
For Linda, one such person was an older lady who was quite lucid at the time, but only had a couple of months to live. Every day she went to see her. They would sit and visit, and Linda did all the things she could to help care for her new, dying friend.
No one should feel alone when they die, and the lady’s family was scattered across the country and not able to be with her. Linda was, however, and she began preparing her for the final goodbye. Continue reading Baby Girl
It takes all kinds to make the world go round, but some make the trip around more entertaining.
At the gym during lunch time, there was a new guy working out, kinda. Most folks just work out to be healthy and go their own way. Not the new guy. No siree. Not at all!
He was in the locker room when I got there talking to someone in the next section over. He acted as if he was the right hand mercenary for a mafia Godfather, but I’m not sure he’d be over 5’2” even with a pair of stiletto high heels on! (OK, so I know what stiletto high heels are — I have four daughters.) Continue reading Totally Jealous
Reading a magazine in the dentist waiting room, I saw someone in my peripheral vision pushing a wheelchair. I didn’t look up until I heard the familiar voice of a man facing the receptionist window.
I looked to the wheelchair and locked eyes with a woman staring at me. Even though I haven’t seen her in a couple of years, I instantly recognized her. I smiled and waved, but she flatly stared into my eyes without blinking or a hint of emotion.
She was diagnosed four years ago with early onset dementia. We worked together for over 15 years and she was an extremely responsible, competent individual who rose to every task and challenge ever thrown her way.
But now, she didn’t know me. She was looking right at me, but didn’t see. She was there, but not here; alive, but not living.
Continue reading True Love Through
Something woke me up at 3:41 AM this morning. Sometimes it’s insomnia, but not today.
Sometimes you wake up slowly and realize you’re stretching, feeling the freedom of every muscle movement. Sometimes you wake feeling completely rested, healthy and whole. Sometimes you know something woke you, but not sure what, and your mind begins a gentle wander wondering about chicken spaghetti, Snicker Doodles and peaches.
Sometimes you think the dog may have fleas because you hear it scratching in its crate. Sometimes you think of people and see their smiles and hear their voices and hope they’re sound asleep, or like you, completely rested. Sometimes you hear a noise and question how in the world you ever missed the ceiling fan’s sound as the quiet electric motor swirls the air. Continue reading Sometimes
Two questionable characters were loitering in front on the grocery store bench. I did what all concealed handgun licensed carriers do. I slipped a small pistol in my pocket before going in.
About the time I was in front of the bench, one of the men said, “Hey brother! Why don’t you hire me?”
That’s not the first time I’ve heard that line, so I knew at some time or another he had worked or interviewed for a job with me. I looked at the man who spoke and said, “I’m sorry. I recognize your face, but your name is slipping me.” Continue reading Rock Bottom Hope
It’s odd, but when the mood for pancakes strikes, Whataburger, the hamburger place of Texas, is where I go. On Christmas Eve morning, the mood struck.
When I walked through the Whataburger doors, the woman behind the counter immediately greeted me. She was probably 45 years old, fairly small, and a little rough around the edges. She was the only one there wearing a Santa hat which covered all but the ends of her short corn rows on the side of her head. She spoke with a semi-deep smoker’s voice and was missing four, maybe five, of her top front teeth. She whole heartedly welcomed me, took my order and started pouring coffee. Continue reading We All Is