The last thing I wanted was a diversion. It’d been a long day.
Sure enough, diversion.
As I drove out, he was walking the opposite direction into a cold, 20 mph wind with light drizzling rain.
“Stop. Turn around and give him a ride” was the quiet, still message inside.
My internal response was, “Aww man!”
A quarter mile down the road, I felt bad, so a U-turn and a quarter mile back, I pulled up beside the tall, slender man.
He was probably 55 to 60 years old, carrying a plastic grocery bag in each hand. His clothes were old and worn, but clean and well cared for.
His head was ducked down, leaning into the frigid wind, and his arms remained close to his sides to try to stay warm while carrying milk in one bag and can goods in the other.
He looked up with a tired, worn expression, but when I asked through my truck window if he wanted a ride, his eyes lit up instantly. Continue reading A Little Favor
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
The tenth grandchild is coming in October! Can’t wait! Grandkids are great!
Last year I built a swing set for the grandkids, then a fire truck (you can read that here).
The boys had something, but JJ, daughters, daughter-in-laws, and even granddaughters said they wanted something for the girls, specifically, a playhouse.
I drew up plans for a little 10’ x 10’ playhouse, bought the materials and started work.
It’s insulated, with lights, porch lights and a plug for a heater or fan powered by an extension cord.
Like everything that comes from your hands though, I know where I messed up. I see my mistakes, things others, besides building professionals, may miss.
But I see them.
I shake it off. Remind myself that the goal isn’t perfection, even if I want it. Demanding perfection, whether in a playhouse or a child’s life and behavior, destroys the goal. Continue reading Playhouse to Lighthouse
Three months ago. Saturday. 8:04 AM. Work rings. Never good. Answer phone.
“Dee’s mom called. His wife is a nurse and woke up and heard him gurgling. She called 9-1-1 and started CPR. They don’t know how long he was without oxygen. He’s at the ER now, but non-responsive.”
My heart sunk. We’d worked together 23 years. Dee’s a quality guy. I knew then I’d never see him again, not the same. At minimal, brain damage from oxygen deprivation would forever change him.
~~Something awakened Dee’s wife, Alanda, at 6:15 AM. She heard Dee gurgling from fluid filling his lungs. She flipped on the light, called 9-1-1 and started CPR.
Alanda saved Dee’s life. He’d crossed death’s doorway, but at the threshold, Alanda grabbed the tip of his little toe toenail and began pulling him back.
Five minutes later paramedics arrived. They took over CPR and used an AED.
One electrical shock to the heart. Two. Continue reading You Come From Good Stock
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
One of the most consistent things in life is that it changes.
Change constantly swirls around the atmosphere of life in the spiritual, emotional and physical spheres.
Change allows sunshine, and rain, to fall below.
It’s not all bad, not all good.
It is, however, inevitable.
Yet change, maybe just for me, is usually difficult and often seems unkind, unremitting. Continue reading Life Changes
Maybe it was congenital. Maybe brain damage. Either way, he was effected.
His leg drug faintly when walking. At the repeat of each pair of steps, he swung his hip to the left so he could pivot his right leg up for the next step. It would have been slow and tedious for others, but he’d had a lot of practice, probably a lifetime, so he was fluid when he walked, even if it wasn’t smooth.
He was short and stocky, wearing simple blue jeans with his plaid blue shirt neatly tucked in. His glasses were thick, and although his eyes seemed to move just a hint slower, they were overshadowed by the peacefulness of his face.
We all walked into the church auditorium, and as circumstance would have it, we ended up sitting diagonally behind the stranger in church. Continue reading Singing in the Rubble
There is something beautiful about clocks, but they seem to move so fast.
It’s true time speeds up with age, or maybe, we just speed up busyness and slow down awareness. I don’t know.
An early childhood memory is sitting still watching a wall clock and realizing that if you stare straight, stare straight and concentrate, you can see the minute hand move each second in the tiniest of tiny movements.
Not intentionally, I sit now staring at a clock deep in thought. Slowly an awareness of time dawns. Continue reading Swinging Pendulum
He hobbled slowly to a stone wall to lean on it, caught his breath to gather strength. A few meters away, he half fell, half sat in a shady spot on the dusty ground.
His threadbare clothes were so tattered and thin that most people wouldn’t even use them for rags.
He carefully placed a beat-up cup within reach right in front of him. He’d learned that given half a chance, other beggars more agile than he would snatch his few coins and run. He was barely able to move across the street now, much less give chase. He tried in vain not to close his eyes.
There was just something about closing his eyes though that eased his pain. Every joint in his body seemed to ache, right down to his bone marrow. He wasn’t sure why, but sometimes sharp pains in his side doubled him over, causing him to curl up in a tight ball until the pain subsided. Continue reading Just For Crumbs
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