Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States.
It is a day to be with Family and Friends.
Wherever you are – enjoy this day and we will see you tomorrow.
PEOPLE COME AND PEOPLE GO. Over the course of a lifetime how many people drift through our consciousness to be seen, meet, stay for a moment, and then disappear back into the fog.
I was thinking about that last night. I saw someone on TV who had the same name as a person I knew briefly some forty years ago. It was not the same person. It could have been a relative I suppose, but just that momentary memory bump had me thinking about both of the people who shared that name.
WHY I THINK OF SUCH THINGS I DO NOT KNOW. I certainly could find a better use for my remaining brain cells. There are days when I worry that my gray matter is slipping away by the cup full. Those days are usually Mondays.
The substance of my obsessive thoughts for today is: Lunch
WHAT WAS I THINKING? I know better than to behave like that. Alas, I will end up paying for that the next day and for several days after that. It was stupid – legal, but stupid.
Just about every Sunday we – my wife, the lovely and theologically eloquent, Dawn, and I go out for lunch with friends. After church we gather our amiable selves and head off to the preselected dining destination of the day. Our Sunday choices range from small neighborhood cafes where the chef looks like everybody’s Grandmother and no two plates match up – all the way to those Monster All-You-Can-Eat Buffets that always charge too much.
OH, SWEET JESUS IT IS GETTING UGLY. Last weekend that was a phrase I said several times. I said it usually right after I looked out of the window. Weather conditions were deteriorating at a rapid pace.
I did not like that.
It was Friday evening and the predictions from the various weather networks, websites, and TV Weather Dudes told us to expect snow and ice – anywhere from one inch to two feet. Don’t you just love such precision?
These predictions of doom and gloom had been coming all week. The forecasts were all over the place. One person would say that it was going to be nasty in northern Maine, but not bad at all in Indiana where we are. The next person would say that Indiana was going to be wiped from the face of the earth. The third source was saying…Somewhere in between.
His name was “Chopper.”
“Chopper” wasn’t his real name of course. It was a name that he earned in the Military. I knew him after his Army days, but I heard the stories – a few from him directly, but most from his brother. “Chopper” himself was somewhat reticent to talk about his time in Southeast Asia.
“Chopper” was a young Irish boy from Cleveland. He came from a family of Firefighters who lived life like it was a nonstop wedding reception. If something was worth doing – it was worth doing at full speed.
THE OTHER DAY AN ACQUAINTANCE OF MINE moseyed up to me and asked me about the license plate on my car. What is on the car is called a “Vanity Plate” – a customized message for which I pay extra every year.
The plate on the Toyota reads: “KRAFTY.”
My acquaintance asked me what that meant, or to quote him – “What’s that all about?” If we had actually been friends he would have already known.
I explained to him that KRAFTY has been my nickname since childhood. It was a rational play off of my last name. Duh! He then asked me if I had any other nicknames. I didn’t know what he was fishing for, but I played along.
“RING AROUND THE ROSEY, A POCKETFUL OF POSEY
ASHES, ASHES, ALL FALL DOWN.”
According to some sources this old nursery rhyme has come down to us from the time when The Plague – The Black Death – swept through Europe killing millions.
“OK, kiddies, let’s all sing about contagious diseases and mass cremations. Ashes, Ashes – All fall down!”
What brought this to mind was a story in the local newspaper.
“BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER” someone once said. It wasn’t me. I’m the kind of person who actually likes the sound of bagpipe music…in small doses. I once owned a car that was the same color as me – kind of a pasty, sickly, Eastern European – needs to get out more, flesh tone. People used to say that it looked like someone’s elbow coming down the street. So coming to me as an Arbiter of Beauty is risky business.
What brings this all up as a topic of conversation is – Wallpaper.
WHO NEEDS TELEVISION? Who needs movies? Who needs any form of traditional entertainment when you’ve got people walking around? Every day, free of charge, there is a non-stop parade of the Human Animal passing by in all its variety. I almost said, “Passing by in all its Glory,” but Glory is rare in humanity. Variety is a better word to describe the people I see every day.
People Watching is more fun than Movies or TV. With the actors on the screen, who are always good looking and mouthing someone else’s words, they are following a Director’s commands. Their moves are predictable and rarely surprising. However, the folks wandering in front of my astigmatic eyeballs are anything but predictable and continue to surprise me on a daily basis.
The other day I was about to head off from home to take care of some errands and chores around town. I’d already had my morning coffee and I was ready to face the day.
I got into the Toyota and headed down the driveway. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed some motion coming my way. “Oh,” I said to myself. “A dog is coming down the street.” I stopped the car out of sheer courtesy. As the dog approached I again spoke to myself. “Oh, that is one ugly dog.” Then the dog passed right in front of me as I sat in the car. It was then that I spoke to myself yet once more – this time out loud.
ONE OF MY MORNING RITUALS, AFTER SAYING “THANK YOU,” putting on my socks, etc. is to check my email. Most mornings I get about 20 new messages from around the globe. Some are trying to sell me something, some are unleashing thunderbolts of wisdom that have been common knowledge since the 14th century, and some are asking me questions. Some of the questions are philosophical, some are more “religious,” and the rest are in reference to the blog and are your basic “What in the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks are you talking about?”
I MISS THE DAYS when any road trip involved stopping along the way to enjoy all of the wonderful Roadside Attractions. When I was a kid my Dad would pull off the road so we could “ooh” and “ahh” at the Rattlesnake Farm and the World’s Largest Ball of Twine or to stop for a snack at the café that boasted 72 flavors of ice cream.
These days there aren’t as many of those reasons to stop along the way. To find such interesting sights you have to tune into the vibes along the highway and keep your eyes peeled. That is what we’ve been doing while on the road.
IN JUST A FEW DAYS WE WILL BE HEADING SOUTH to attend the NACCC Annual Church Meeting. It is always a good and refreshing time. The delight of seeing old friends – I think that the best word is “Fellowship.” That means more than sitting around with a cool drink and shooting the breeze with everyone.
It is a time to exchange ideas, joys, sorrows, and hopes and plans for the future. It is also a time to recharge the batteries of faith – faith in God, Humanity, ourselves and each other. Time and tribulation can drain our batteries, but this Annual Meeting works to plug us in and reenergize us all for the year ahead.
The chores of daily life draw from our batteries much like accidentally leaving on your car headlights. You may be casting out a light to illuminate the way, but it won’t be long before you find yourself in the dark. The Annual Meeting acts like jumper cables to restart our engines and get us back on the road. Perhaps the old Willie Nelson song, “On The Road Again,” should be added to the Hymnal?
“On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again.
The life I love is making music with my friends.
And I can’t wait to get on the road again.”
“How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see.’
Maybe it’s just me and my life experience, but I see so much in both those songs. Both carry a message of life renewed, rescued from days without joy and bearing the power of the music shared with friends.
Both songs sing of recharging our batteries and seeing our life with renewed energy. Whether you are singing “Amazing Grace” or “On the Road Again,” you are leaving behind the time when life was hard and are entering a time of happiness and energy.
Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia – brace yourself. We are on our way and we can get a little loud at times. There will be a fair amount of singing and laughter. There will be looking back at our past and a lot of looking to the future. There will be joy.
For the first week here it was like living inside a really bad carwash. Now, all of a sudden it feels like a day at the beach might be in order.
Facebook? Philosophical? Two words I never think of being in the same sentence.
I crawled down the street to St. Arbucks, turned on my phone and the first thing I saw was not another cute cat picture or a snapshot of somebody’s breakfast, but someone asking the Universe a question.
“What if it is my destiny to be alone?”