Sometimes it’s best to hold firm and decline a gift of disproportionate value and, in fact, it’s down right selfish to accept it. At first, I thought this was one of those times, so I thanked the man I knew from work and politely declined.
“I can’t accept this. This needs to go to your kids and passed on in your family!”
He squared his shoulders and looked me straight in the eye, “Yes, you normally do, but in this case, I want YOU to have it.”
He was holding a small maroon pin which he was awarded for serving in the Army. He explained the pin’s significance which represented where he fought and served. The pin’s actual value is minimal, but the sentimental, sacrifice and emotional value is priceless!
Again, I told him I just couldn’t accept it.
“You don’t understand”, he said, “You have to take it!” Continue reading Thank You Isn’t Enough
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
Three balls for $2 or nine for $5 — man after man, boy after boy, redneck after redneck, stepped up from a large semi-circle of spectators around the dunking booth at the Brazoria County Fair, Texas.
Sitting in the dunking booth surrounded by carnival rides and loud music, the little clown face painted man was easily heard above it all. “Ayayayayayaya!“, Bobo hollered into a microphone. He had no shortage of insults for anyone who dared pick up a ball trying to drop him in the water.
They’re only prize was to see Bobo drop in the water, but he and his worker were making money hand over fist. His abrasive voice rang out over loud speakers and like flies to a spider web, one by one he lured guys in to plop down their money. As soon they stepped in his web, Bobo started. His constant chattering, challenges and chastising made you laugh hysterically at times, wince at others.
The nature of young men is to battle, in one shape or fashion, to show their dominance, and Bobo capitalized on this — all the way to the bank. Everyone knew what was in store as some overconfident ego filled guy stepped up like a gladiator to throw a ball. In most cases, the gladiator walked away humiliated. For spectators like me, it was hilarious. Continue reading Bobo
It’s not about lifetimes. It’s about moments.
No one intends to forget the taste of life known during their early years. Yet as the earth rotates and circles the sun, life gets busy, rushed, stressful. We tend to brush aside today for what seems more important, making it to the next paycheck, planning for retirement or just getting through today.
It’s easy to lose sight of the road we’re rolling over now and focus on the mile marker of the next destination. In hindsight, it’s a tragedy to bypass today for tomorrow, assuming tomorrow actually comes.
When life’s sun begins to set in the Western sky, human nature ponders more moments of the day. Moments tend to become more precious. The mind begins to wander, wondering what was forgotten, downplayed or just missed altogether in the past. Life goes so fast.
No one on their deathbed asks for their 401(k) statement, primps in the mirror, or looks just one more time at a problematic carpet stain in the hallway. We want people. People we share life with. People we love. Continue reading Today’s Firefly Moments
The bride was beautiful. It wasn’t just her dress, makeup or natural beauty. It was the radiance of her heart from the inside to out. To top it off, she wears beauty, both the inside and out, with a genuine, sincere grace and humility. Her face glows. Her heart shines.
It was the day she’d always dreamed about, and it was glorious. The groom is a top of the line guy, and soon after they met, their spirits danced. They fell in love and quickly grew into soulmates.
Any time you’ve lost a close family member though, there’s always a certain yearning that rustles the memory of those who won’t be there. The bride’s father was a good man, and marked her life profoundly well. He passed away unexpectedly after her 5th grade year, and making it even harder, she and the rest of her family were with him on vacation.
It’s hard for children who can’t touch, hear or talk to their hero. Some children respond negatively and grow up cold, hard and calloused. On the other hand, some choose otherwise. Continue reading The Bride’s Dance
Carl knows better. I don’t know how he knows, but he knows. Carl and I have a working relationship, but most of the work’s on my part. Even how Carl got here was an arm-twisting escapade (read here.) He does nothing, absolutely nothing!!
Really, the worthless feline folly should be dragging up mice, gophers or little dead snakes. He doesn’t. Half the time the flea bag is asleep flat on his back by the garage door. The other half he sits under a shade tree near the barbed wire fence watching the neighbor’s horses.
It’s a one-sided relationship! He can be totally out of sight, but if he hears his stainless steel feed bowl slide on the floor or the crinkle of the cat food bag, he comes running like he’s Lion King and I’m two days late.
I could live with it if every once in a while if he would do something for us, his “people”, as Carl likes to think, that would justify his meager existence. As it is, I’m going to have to renegotiate a month to month deal, maybe charge him cat rent, something.
Trouble is, Carl doesn’t know his place! In his messed up wheel of fortune mind, he’s Cat Sajack and I’m Vanna White! Continue reading Carl, The Species Confused Cat!
It’ll be dark in an hour. I jump in the pickup and start driving aimlessly in the country. After a sweltering hot day, it’s cool. With both windows rolled down, it feels like heaven on earth air conditioning.
Smells of a freshly cut grass, honey suckle patches on fence rows and the scent of distant rain clouds permeate the air. Red dust flies up behind the truck. It envelops the branches of the trees looking like a Picasso painting in the rearview mirror.
A little further down a pickup pulling a trailer is in a field being loaded with hay bales from last week’s cutting. Just past that is a house where a boy rides his bike in a big circle over and over. He finally gathers his courage to take another shot to go airborne off the ramp he made from two 5-gallon buckets and a stiff piece of plywood.
It’s the South. It’s the country. It’s rural living. It’s a culture where most folks like a slower pace of life, and not being crowded in at the gills by neighbors. Continue reading Dirt Road Drive
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 hope this letter finds you doing well. In your last letter, you asked me to describe more about Jesus to you. I’ll do my best:
As you know, I am his father, at least in name. His existence has literally nothing to do with me. He would have been here, one way or the other. I know that. Really, I’m just lucky, blessed that I get to be where I am.
The angel told me what happened, and part of what would be. I knew then my part in His life was an honor and privilege.
Some people frown at me, particularly some of the high and mighty people around here. They look down their noses at Mary and I and sometimes say cruel things. We just keep going.
I want to react, to fight back and tell them how the camel eats the grapevine. Instead, Mary quietly reminds me to relish today. After all, the end is the prize, not the present.
Continue reading I’m Kind of HIS Father