Friday, May 26, 2017

The cost of doing life

I dreaded the conversation at the garage where I took my truck to have the tire fixed. There was no fixing the tire. None of them. I gave them my debit card and told them to be gentle.

When I got the call late this afternoon, I asked what the damage was. The owner told me she'd prefer to tell me face to face. I think she wanted to make sure I didn't have any sharp objects in my hands or pockets. The lights dimmed as she ran the charges through the credit card machine.

The phone in my pocket buzzed a moment later telling me a large charge had just hit my if I needed a reminder.

On the bright side, the truck rode and drove great. I wrote the whole thing off as a cost of doing life.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Out of gas

I was on the road before seven this morning. I had an appointment in North Alabama in a studio to shoot video for upcoming Facebook promotions for the program at the college.

The session didn't take long. I think the producer was a little surprised that it went so smoothly. I knew the routine and I've done TV work before.

My phone was ringing as I walked into my office. The day never let up. After knocking off work, I headed to the parts store to pick up a belt for the lawnmower. While I was out, I ran by the newspaper to pick up tickets for the Chamber of Commerce Banquet which started at 6:30 p.m. 

After picking up the tickets, I hopped in my truck for the ride home. As I pulled out of the parking space, I felt a bump, bump, bump. I thought I'd hit a critter. Shifting into park, I stepped out to get the scoop. My left front tire was flat. WELL CRAP (the words I used were unsuitable for this blog.)  

I worked up a sweat changing the tire. The outside of the tire looked fine, but the inside was down to the tread. Who knew that actually being able to see the air in the tire was not a feature? After the spare was on, I headed home dripping sweat. 

Taking a quick shower and changing clothes, I finished up just as Jilda walked in from work. She freshened up and we headed to the banquet. 

Tonight, I'm tired. It's time to rest.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Life 101

I went to the way, way back machine tonight. The photograph below is from May of 1968 – 49 years ago. It was the month I graduated from Dora High School. With a head full of dreams (and hair) I was ready to kick mister future's butt.

Life is an interesting journey. The things that seemed so important to me when I was 17 years old, turned out to be brief pitstops in the race.  You could have captured all my wisdom on a cafe napkin and had room to wipe catsup off your chin on the unused portion.

I've done stupid things in my life –things that could have been costly. But somewhere, somehow the Universe gave me a "get-out-jail-free" card and I skated.  I've been lucky.

When I look at the kids graduating today I'd like to tell them to maintain friendships, and that their parents are a lot brighter than they realize. At 17 you don't realize that it's better to think with your heart than with a brain that knows very little.

Jilda and I are practicing for a gig on Sunday evening. We're opening for a Celtic performer. One of the songs we plan to do is one we wrote with our friend Tracy Reynolds. The title is Life 101. I think it fits for anyone graduating from high school.

Eighteen and ready
To set the world on fire
Diploma says he made the grade
Can't tell him nothing, he don't already know
Thinks his dues have all been paid
But there's a jungle out there
That will eat him alive
He'll find the journey
Has just begun
Welcome to Life 101 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Driftwood bear

Sitting at the table this past weekend when the bride and groom cut the cake, my mind wandered. It often does that. But as I sat there lost in through, I could hear the surf pounding the shore a few hundred feed from the tent under which we were sitting.

A band with horns played in the room next to the tent. They were good, but not as good as the sound of the ocean.

My eyes the driftwood centerpiece had hundreds of oyster shells. The mother of the bride told Jilda that she was doing something interesting with the table runners, but this must have take a great deal of time. It was a work of art.

When I looked at the end of the driftwood, I immediately saw the face of a tiger, bear, or perhaps a space alien. 

I think the people at the adjoining table must have thought I was hitting the sauce, but I was fascinated. The light was questionable but I took several pictures anyhow. It turned out better than I thought it would.

Do you see the face in the driftwood? 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Planting seeds ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Graduation season is upon us. Each year we receive invitations from the grandkids and great grandkids of our friends and neighbors. It’s an interesting crossroad for kids walking down the aisle. The road ahead into the future seems so bright and limitless. It’s a time when it seems anything is possible, and it is. If a high school graduate asked me for advice, I would tell them it’s the time to start planting seeds.

When I find it hard to explain something, I often turn to metaphors. I got the opportunity this past week when my great nephew Jordan spent the day with us. He was a little under the weather, and his mom decided to keep him out of school. Instead of her taking the day off, she asked if we would mind if he stayed with us. We never pass up an opportunity to spend time with “our younguns,” so we told her of course.

One of the tasks on our to-do list was to go over scholarship applications. Each year Jilda and I fund a scholarship that we give to a graduating senior from Dora High School. We’ve done it for years. We send our application to the counselors at the school and ask that they distribute them to any student who plans to continue their education.

This year we had a stack of applications. Based on the energy they put into answering the questions, we select one student and award the scholarship to them. This year, we’d narrowed our list to four. When Jordan sat down to sip juice and munch on string cheese, we asked him to help us decided on who got the scholarship. He’s 9 years old but bright.

He carefully read over each application and weighed the merits of each. Every few minutes we’d exchange applications until we’d read all four. He thought for a long time and pointed to a couple of the applications we’d placed on the coffee table. “I think it’s between these two.” Both Jilda and I smiled because we’d arrived at the same decision. After re-reading the final two, we made our choice.

After finishing, Jordan and I walked out to the back deck, while Jilda put on her walking shoes. Jordan seemed lost in thought, but after a while, he said, “Why do you give those
scholarships?” I told him it was to help one of the kids from our high school alma mater with college. That was the short answer, but Jordan rarely settles for the short answer. He continued to look at me.

I pointed to the apple tree in the garden and said, “We planted that apple tree almost 40 years ago. It grew from a sapling not much taller than you. We knew when we planted it that it would take several years before it produced the first apple.”

He kept looking at me quizzically. If you want good things to grow in your life, you must plant things. He’s helped us in the garden since he could walk, so he understands that concept of sowing and reaping.

Our scholarship is like planting seeds, I explained. Some kids may waste the money and drop out of school. But others will use it to buy books or pay for a class that can help them grow and do remarkable things with their lives.

I asked, “Do you understand?” He slowly nodded his head. I’m not sure if he understood, or was tired of talking and wanted to chase some butterflies in the garden.

At this stage of my life, I can’t think of a better investment in the future than planting seeds.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pure joy

We're home now. We arrived weary just after lunch and promptly laid down on the couch for a nap. Both Jilda and I were so tired from the road that we couldn't rest. We got up, unpacked, and sorted a mountain of sandy, salty clothes. I had one tee shirt that could have stood in the corner on its own.

Later this evening, I ran to the grocery store to fetch some organic chicken and crusty bread to have for supper. I was afraid of being too tired to enjoy the meal, but it was perfect.

I shared a couple pictures from the weekend already. I took over a hundred. At the risk of posting too many, I'll leave you all with one last picture of pure joy. I'm my great nephew Jordan boogie boarding in the surf.

It's been a delightful weekend. Even as tired as we both are, neither of us wouldn't trade it for anything.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


Today was windy. Our nephew Haven, his wife Alesha, and their young son Anthony joined us at the water's edge.

Our great nephew Jordan was ecstatic. He had a partner in crime. When they play together, they leave it all on the field (or beach.) The run, jump, dive, chase, tag, and wrestle over water rights, sand castle stomping rights, or dibs on who gets the first snow cone.

Life is about snippets of time that linger long after they have passed. This weekend has been a good snippet.

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