Monday, November 20, 2017


NOTE: I used pieces of past blogs to write this column for Sunday's paper.

I’m coming to another intersection in my life, and I need a good thinking place. Some folks reach out to others to help make hard life decisions. I tend to look within.

All this was running through my head this past weekend. I’d gone to Lowe’s to pick up a heater and some plastic sheeting. We plan to enclose the screen porch. The sheeting and heater will keep the cold winter wind from turning the porch into a fridge. Our tender plants could winter out there.

Outside the Lowe’s entryway was a garden bench. With eyes closed, I could picture it under the oak and hickory trees down by our barn. It would be a perfect thinking place. And if I got tired of thinking, I could take a nap. At least that’s the movie that played in my mind. I bought the plastic and the heater for the porch. Before leaving, I stepped back and asked the cashier about the garden bench. It was on sale. I decided to buy it with the money I’ve made writing this column. Before she rang up the purchase, she asked if I was a veteran. When I told her I was, she also gave me a veteran’s discount. Nice, I thought as I put some of the money back in my pocket.

When I got home, my great nephew Jordan was in the yard playing with my other great nephew, Anthony. Jordan helped me unload the bench. He’s curiously strong for a nine-year-old. We placed it in the shade and moved it around to a few locations until we found where the feng shui and the afternoon light felt right. Anthony supervised.  

Once the bench was in place, we all sat for a long time in silence. “This is my new thinking bench,” I told the boys.  Anthony who just turned seven nodded
his head as if he understood. Jordan’s mom came down to check on him, and she snapped a picture. I never pass up an opportunity for a photo op with the young’uns I love.

The change I mentioned earlier is my work at the college that I’ve been doing the last three years. Unless something changes, it will end soon.

I’ll get a chance to practice what I teach when it comes to careers. I’ve learned that life is like a gently flowing river. No matter how hard one tries to hold on, things change. How I react to change can make all the difference.

I plan to continue working, but I want to do work that makes a difference, not just work that makes money. I spent years working for the phone company. The friendships I made while working there are enduring. At times the work was interesting, but I can’t say that I ever got the feeling that it “made a difference.”

Over the coming few months, I plan to spend some time on the garden bench reflecting on the things that matter most to me. Hopefully, my thinking time on the bench will help me to set a new course on the river of life.


  1. I hope your new thinking bench brings you to shore just where you are meant to be (and pardon the very mixed metaphors).

  2. Nice to have a thinking bench and some wonderful boys to help you too! Every person has a purpose and we forget sometimes to appreciate what we do. Even someone who works for the telephone company plays a part in helping our world to be a better place. The thing is that whatever we do, we should do the best we can. Just think about what a messy world it would be if we had no garbage men. Maybe while you are thinking, you might think about what really does make a difference.

  3. Is Jordan your great nephew, or is he a great nephew? Probably both.

  4. I have the feeling that Jordan will also be using the bench as a thinking bench. I wonder what kind of great idea will come out of that Thinking Bench.

    Hugs, Julia

    1. I can't even imagine, though I'm sure it will be fantastic!!

  5. You look good with those boys. All three of you young and looking toward the future.


  6. I have found that the older I get the more I resist change. Wonder why.

  7. We all need a thinking bench, change and me are not good friends

  8. That expression on Jordan's face! :)))
    Jo-Anne (above) just said what I wanted to write. Love it when that happens.

  9. I hope you find a path that will lead you to fulfilling tasks that make a difference.

  10. The bench seems to be a great find since you got a deal which I think is a sign. The kids like it and you have already settled in with this find.


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