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”.
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
I went to a football game, alone. It was second half of our local 13,000 student Stephen F. Austin State University football game. It was Parent’s Weekend, so literally half the people left after the 2nd quarter.
It was a stifling hot Texas evening, so I sat at the top of the stadium where there was virtually no one, but the team flags blew in the breeze. That breeze was nice!
I participated, without involvement. Was part of the crowd, yet not crowded. With people, but all by myself.
Plus, high in the stands you can see plays develop.
Perfect! Continue reading I Went to a Football Game
A college student in an electric wheel chair was moving up the sidewalk beside our local university.
She controlled her chair with one hand while tapping a cane back and forth in front of her with the other. She was partially paralyzed, and on top of it, blind! Yet there she was, out in public, on her own, making her way from place to place! Amazing!!
I respect her immensely for doing what seems impossible to me!
She reminds me of a blind friend named Randy I knew in college. Randy was 7 or 8 years older than me and had lost his sight his senior year of high school when he caught a rare virus. Continue reading To See The Way
I saw a co-worker and his wife in a social setting. The man turned to his wife, “Tell Jeff the story you told me.”
Her face lit up as if she remembered something important. She began a story from the high school cafeteria where my kids went.
She told me about a young man who doesn’t “fit in”. She said the student being picked on wasn’t popular, struggles in school, and in all reality, is not very socially skilled. By all accounts, he’s a little odd. Add it up, and he’s an easy target.
The young man’s primary defense mechanism is to blend in like a social chameleon, then avoid others. That’s impossible during school days when he would unwilling become the center of attention. He’d shrink alone, virtually defenseless, and silently absorb any words, jokes or laughter directed his way. Continue reading The Other Table
My daughter said she was thinking about taking a college philosophy class.
I swallowed, hard.
My exposure to Philosophy 101 in college was a single day many moons ago. I figured it was going to be a blow off elective course. I mean, easy, right?
But when the sweater wearing professor came in with pointed shoes, coke bottle glasses and five pens in his pocket protector, well, there’s your sign.
He walked straight to the lectern, cleared his throat and started.
He didn’t introduce himself, say hi, nothing.
He could have at least said, “Hey y’all! What a dad gum good lookin’ class this is! I’m Professor Nerdman, and this here is Philosophy 101! You’ll all need this textbook I’m holdin’ up right here and I’m passin’ round a syllabus for ya now.” Continue reading Philosophy of a One
“You’re going to cry when I graduate, aren’t you?”
“Yes. Yes, I am.”
That was enough to satisfy my youngest daughter, Jessica, back in September. She’s the last of my eight children to graduate high school.
She graduated Friday.
We have a few college graduations left, but by and large, the work is done. The time is finished. The investment complete.
I cried, not why she thought I would, but I cried… Continue reading 31 Years, 3 Months, 1 Week, 2 Days
We sat in assigned seats. She sat next to me. I didn’t understand why she would keep her arms crossed, as if holding herself, and rock back and forth while looking down at her desk or staring at the blackboard. Back and forth she rocked, back and forth.
We were in second grade. I understand child abuse now, but then, I didn’t even know what it was.
Looking back, she did. Continue reading Maybe For One
Today was Jessica’s last, first day of school. It’s always different for a senior during their last year of high school. It’s the beginning of the end, but also an end of the beginning. It’s a celebration, yet a mourning, and both emotions run a parallel course.
Most seniors. whether high school or even golden age seniors, inherently seem to make more effort to savor the time. A sentimental process of looking back and remembering starts.
At the same time, seniors usually seek out more opportunities to make more meaningful memories with their friends because the looming reality is that it is all about to change.
It’s strange. I’ve noticed that even kids who don’t like each other tend to unite during their last year of high school. Maybe it’s because they share a bond of we’ve done this together and belong together. We belong to this school. We belong to this year. We belong to this graduating class. We, we as a group, we have walked a path together, even if on different trails, and we will end this journey together as a group, so we will enjoy each other on the path because after this year, it is no more. Continue reading Last First Day
I posted Little Bitty Gator several days ago and, as crazy as it sounds, it’s an absolutely true post! A blogging friend, Judy at (theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com) suggested a fictional follow-up story from the alligator’s point of view! Thanks Judy! This post is fictional…just in case you wonder… Here goes:
Weird things happened to Buck. He’s an 8 foot long, adult alligator that lives on the Texas Gulf Coast near the Louisiana border.
When he first popped out of the egg, Papa Gator immediately noticed his teeth were all messed up. All the other hatchlings had nice, straight teeth. In a fit of anger he told Mama Gator, “That buck toothed, crooked smile, cross-eyed thing can’t be my son!” Papa called him Buck from then on.
Papa and Mama Gator had it out more than once over Buck! Papa Gator accused her of going several miles over and visiting one of the Louisiana riff raff gators when Papa and some of his buddies were on vacation one week trolling for house cats in golf course ponds. Continue reading Little Bitty Human
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