When Do You Get Old?

I’m not really sure if I am old or not but then i realize two facts. For the first time in my life I am older than the President and for the first ( or second time maybe) I am older than the pastor of the church which I attend. And I don’t mean a little bit but by significant numbers in both instances. My pastor commented that he was gaining on me in age but I don’t seem to notice the gap decreasing. That ‘s probably good,huh? For if and when he catches me, we will know why.

So, I guess by empirical evidence, I am old. To my grandchildren, I may be ancient,even.But old I think was and  is a somewhat relative term. In the recent Super Bowl, one quarterback was described as ancient at age 37. To be a U S Senator, one must be at least 35.A gymnast or tennis player or swimmer at the international level is probably ancient at 25 0r 30,  depending on which sport one chooses.

Looking around our house, I wonder what qualifies as old. we have some dishes, cookware, etc that date from the beginning of our marriage, a while ago. I have a Bible that I used in high school, some 4o+ years ago and it still works okay. we have  a picture of my dad’s father, taken I guess 70-80(?) years ago, if not longer.

So,since this you’re as old as you feel stuff is to me, at least, baloney(otherwise my age would range from 10-90 based on how I feel versus how I act) what about this aging process. Our trendy and popular magazines stress ad nauseam how to look young younger or feel younger  or stay younger. Let us not forget the wonders of Botox and all its contributions, either.

I just wish that I lived in a culture that revered the old and equated gray hair with great wisdom. Were that the case, I might have reached that elusive genius stage by now. Alas,Mensa has yet to give me that honorary membership, so better get back to memorizing some  more trivia from way back in the 60″s.



February 7, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Family | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pelosi’s Prescription

With Madame Speaker and blue collar Joe(Biden) around, there is rarely a shortage of  Democrat blather. But, sometimes  even I cannot believe what issues forth from this dynamic duo. Ms Pelosi is telling us that birth control, contraception , whatever term one chooses, is good for the economy. Huh? Bet she got instant agreement from Planned Parenthood on that one. Probably will not get the same reaction from her church, Catholic, if you forget the last time they had to chew her out.

It seems that hundreds of million$ from the stimulus package is to improve family planning  services, whatever that means. When questioned on this by George Stephanopoulos, she backed down not a whit, even when given the opportunity. Pelosi maintains that fewer childern will reduce the budget pressures on states, etc.

Can you see the slippery slope that this could lead us down? How about government mandated family size, only 2 children or less? Remember what country did this? Hint, hint. They are very large and are located in Asia. Time’s up, China is your answer. But you say this couldn’t happen here. Don’t bet against it.One of the top liberal mantras is we know what is good and right for you before you do . And this would definitely fall into the category of change, would it not.Change we can believe in, hopefully not.

Biden will really have to go out a limb to top this one. Doubtless he will and probably very soon.

January 26, 2009 Posted by | Family, Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

January 21, 1977

It was a cold Friday night and my wife and I, only married a few years were home watching The Love Boat on television, guess it seemed like a good idea at the time. For an evening in which I remember so much, I cannot remember which sister called and said  come to the hospital quickly, Daddy just died. Just writing that phrase gives me a slight chill for 32 years later it can still seem just like yesterday.

There is so  much I would like to say about that time and the lessons that I learned or memories that I hold to so  tenaciously. I remember arriving at the hospital and standing in a huddle in a hallway with my wife and sisters and being  completely unable to cry . Someone must have called our pastor, Dr Ken Altom, the first pastor I had who I could also call a dear friend. I remember so vividly walking down a long hallway with him as we chatted. We reached the end of the hall and he told to put my foot on his knee as he bent over to tie my shoe. At that, I just completely broke down and learned from him that men  can and do cry in public and there  is no shame to  it .He then told me it was time to be strong for my family. I sincerely hope that I lived up to those words in the  days that followed.

I must go back and forward for a moment. Many times in the days that followed Daddy’s death there  were times to talk and remember and reflect. Let me hasten to say that they were not all  bad.  But ,sad  to say, a memory of that is recounting to someone my last words to my dad. At the time, I had no idea they would be such, for none of us , I don’t think knew he end was so near.Anyway, I remember telling him about supper that night at my oldest sister’s and how I was allowed to eat all the french fries that I wanted. And he smiled. Looking back, that still seems as such an inane thing to say, After all, I wasn’t a kid at the ripe  old age of 26.

Moving on, I remember the scramble to find cemetery plots, pick out a casket and the bitterly cold day of the funeral on the 23rd. For a family who was so unprepared , it all went so fast. Days later, the final hospital bill arrived and I recall having to look at it in  detail as those cold facts and figures detailed the medical effort to try and sustain his life. I often wonder what I was trying to find.  Perhaps, those memories come back every time I see television docs employ such lifesaving measures.

For the rest of my family who experienced those days, I hope I did them some justice.

January 21, 2009 Posted by | Family | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Family Ties That Embrace

The past week has been for me a good example of Psalm 23:5 …” my cup runneth over ” . In this period of time my son and his wife have travelled from their urban domicile up here to the hinterlands. We had several good days together and were even blessed by the companionship of the world’s most talkative feline, my first grancat, Galadriel. Due to their schedules and the distance between us we see each other about twice a year so a Christmas visit was an extra special treat. Definitely good times !

This week my 4 sisters made their semi-annual trip from their scattered homes to our west, coming this time in 2 waves since one brother-in-law was able to come also . Just to prove that miracles do happen all around us, the Mello Yello    htmghtml224 express rolled in with afresh supply of the golden nectar. Heartfelt  thanks to each of  you for your contributions in that regard. Alas, they could only spend a few hours so we  made certain to pack that time full of food, fun, storytelling and as much frivolity as we  could muster . Sisses, it is never a dull moment when you  come and  the wife and I certainly enjoyed it.

So, I am most assured that my family ties do not bind but rather bring us all closer together .

Shalom !

January 3, 2009 Posted by | Family | , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Dog and the Pastor

Some parts of our country are being blasted with wintry weather, snow by the bucketload with howling winds to boot . Thankfully , that is not the case here, we have already had an inch of snow and that’s enough  for me . But lo and behold,  the sermon at church yesterday was about snow . I was reminded that we have a pastor who loves it and actually preached a   rather good sermon about snow . There are a number of references in scripture to the white powder and they are generally positive in nature LBJ’S  favorite verse was actually Isaiah 1: 18 ; look it up , it’s a keeper .

At the onset of his sermon , Mike asked how many liked snow and then how many didnt . Being an honest sort I identifies with group 2 . So he called all of us pagans ( I thought it was a great line by the way ) . So I guess that makes snow lovers to be rather saintly .

On the way home , my wife reminded me how much our much beloved golden retriever , Rameses, loved snow although he didnt experience a lot of it . One of the great puppy pictures shows he and our son at about age 9 having a blast playing  in the snow together . This was a trait he carried with him to almost the end of his life . Numerous times , he would ” throw ” snow in the air and try to catch it or just lie in the midst and enjoy . We have  a picture of him the month before he died enjoying the white stuff one last time .

So I have another reason to feel positive about our pastor . Both he and ” the sainted Rameses ” have a cool thing in common . An that aint bad at all .

December 22, 2008 Posted by | church, Family | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Carolina Blues

I knew I should have done it sooner . i should have written this on November 8, no matter how late  I got home . Then the sense of euphoria would have still been present . But now, a scant 15 days later , the euphoria has departed, has been probably ran under the bed and hidden , afraid to emerge lest it be bashed once again into submission.

On November 8 , my wife and I met my youngest sister and her husband in Chapel Hill for our first Tar Heel football game in more than a decade . The day began early  and ominously with rain and clouds for much of our westward trek . But miraculously , blue skies appeared near Orange County ( if God’s not a Tarheel, why is the sky Carolina Blue ?  Sorry, couldnt resist ? ) and the weather cooperated the rest of the day .

Thanks to my brother-in-law , A UNC grad , the logistics to the stadium as well as our seats were flawless .Both my wife and I love the atmosphere of college football in Chapel Hill . The band , the cheerleaders, the message boards ( really cool ) the Famous Rameses XXII ( not sure about the number ) mascot with his tasteful blue horns , the food, the pregame , halftime etc . Oh yes the game was excellent, a 28-7 Carolina win over Georgia Tech .

One thing surprised me a bit , I found myself a bit overcome with emotion during the pregame buildup  but finally decided that was ok . Ah, postgame , the alma mater and the cup collecting were highlights. Cannot wait till next year .

Being an unfortunate pessimist particularly when it come to Carolina football, we arrive at part deux . The very next gane , the Heels were poised for a big road win that would have put them into position for a shot at the ACC championship which they have havent won since 1980 . Alas and alack ,  a late field doomed that and brought back my sense of limited predicting . I think that in the course of a Carolina game i can often tell the outcome, usually a loss. My wife thinks this is bunch of hooey but I doubt it.

Anyway, yesterday , another golden  opportunity , Senior Day against an archrival from Wake County . we were favored and so what happens, an early Thanksgiving, the Heels turned the game into a turkey shoot for the opposition and lost big . Oh well, one more game and then a low level bowl game when it could have been so much more . Hang in there fellows , next year will be better . Besides the women’s soccer team  is still on the march !!

November 23, 2008 Posted by | Family, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Old Mother Hubbard

Old  Mother Hubbard went to her cupboard

To fetch her poor dog a bone

When she got there, the cupboard was bare

And so her poor dog had none

I know you are familiar with the  above nursery rhyme . My wife might very well say that it represents my philosophy of grocery shopping  . Not quite true but there is an element of accuracy there . As I get older , I find that I dont necessarily eat as much  so I dont ‘” need ‘”  as much food , so less shopping . Voila !  At this point my beloved and I part ways . I have a shorter list, shall we say , of food stuffs ( used in a broad sense of the word ) that I would consider essentials  than my wife .

My list would probably be somethimg like this “

  1. Coffee
  2. Coffemate
  3. Tea bags
  4. Sugar
  5. Bread
  6. Mello Yello
  7. Something quick for breakfast ( poptarts, Quaker Breakfast cookies )
  8. Utz chips
  9. Good   Bread

To run out of one or more of these items is just crazzzy !! My wife on the other have would have a more extensive list of essentials, not there is anything wrong with that , I probably accept some of her list , but more as optional / I realize how risky it is to list for her , so I will just suggest some of what might appear.

  1. Kashi or horsey food
  2. Yogurt
  3. Kleenex
  4. Bathroom  tissue ( isnt there duplication here )
  5. Vitamin C

So let the games begin.

November 19, 2008 Posted by | Culture, Family | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Talk or not To Talk

My apologies or thanks to Shakespeare for the title . One of my tongue-in- cheek hopes for this blog was that my wife would not have to burdened with listening to my various and sundry rants and raves on whatever topic happened to appear on my radar . When I mentioned this to her recently she ” sorta laughed ” and said now she gets to listen before I write , read what I write and then listen again later . Sounds almost like a qualification for sainthood does it not ?

Anyway, for a number of years , perhaps even until early in our marriage , I was a very quiet person . You know the type – try to be invisible in school ( please dont call on me )  poor in groups and and heavens above , no speaking in public . When a group of young people in one of our Sunday School classes was told this they were to say the least , incredulous . Him, quiet ? Impossible ! And so it is now. I dont know exactly why or when this transformation occurred but it did .

Now , I fear that I have the opposite problem . When to be quiet , when not to share my opinion, when to realize that I dont always need to have the last word . Scripture as it is wont to do has much to say on this subject – James 3 , in its entirety ; Proverbs 10:19

In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin, but he that refraineth his lips is wise (KJV)

Ouch and double ouch .

Finally , what I call my 3 S verse- …be swift to hear , slow to speak, slow to anger — James 1:19

This is a verse that I often quote to myself at the beginning of the day, sometimes it is effectual, other times not so much . Gotta keep at it though, perhaps I will reach that needful balance.


November 17, 2008 Posted by | Christian living, Family | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ode to a Good Dog

Were he alive today , our beloved golden retriever would have been 16 years old . But about 20 months ago, Rameses finally succumbed to the maladies of old age and illness, leaving us with am old leash and collar, an urn of ashes, a small headstone given to us by our daughter, a bunch of pictures and hundreds of wonderful memories . Some of those memories are what I will attempt to share . This is still difficult for me , although I know he was just a dog . And to the casual observer, he was nothing special , had no great talents or skills except that he loved his people , his family . I wish that I could chronicle these memories in some semblance of order but alas they choose not to return that way . So here goes .

Rameses dearly loved ” his boy ” , our son Jon,  for many reasons . One of the neatest memories occurs just over 7 years ago when  Jon called on his way home from college for the first time , a very long drive . When he called from about 2 hours away , we told Rameses that Jon was coming . He promptly went to the front  door and looked out . Not seeing anybody , he looked at us as if to say , where is my boy , you said he was coming ? So he proceeded to wait right there until Jon arrived.

Rameses seemed to love everybody and kinda thought the world and many of its occupants were on site just for his benefit . Scratch my ears , rub my tummy , how bout a biscit, time for a walk etc . But he had his favorites . We left the radio on many days when he was home alone and kept it tuned to WGPS , a local Christian station . The station broadcasts  sermons of Pastor Chuck Smith from Costa Mesa , Ca  somewhat regularly . I was fond of telling people that he was Rameses’ favorite preacher because of his kindly voice and  his teaching methods ,Rameses  said  he  must love dogs also . With a  favorite preacher , one must have a favorite musical group and so he did , Caedmon’s Call , a somewhat mellow , folky Christian group ( an area where he and his boy differed quite a bit ) .

Obviously , this could go on and on , but I will close for now with this . We all nickname our pets and our dog had many attached to him . One of the best came from Jon and was simply ” The Dog ” . When Jon and I would talk from Florida of Georgia or whereever he was the conversation would often end like this . Rameses said to remember that he is still ” The Dog ”

The response, Indeed he is . And so he shall remain .

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Family | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Long Ago Yesterday

This week is an anniversary week for  my wife and I  . Not wedding but that which precedes the wedding . On October 14 , 1970 we met for the first time and might I add I was definitely smitten. On October 16 we had our first date which thankfully led to other dates and to the sharing of our lives together . But some detail . It  was one of those do you know anybody that might be interested kind of things . Appalachian home coming was near and I had no date and no prospects thereof . But looking back at what had to be the Lord at work , a blind meeting was arranged between a young lady from Elizabeth City ( which i had no clue about ) and a socially awkward guy from Eden . The place  was Cone dorm on the ASU campus and it was a Wednesday . In those days one didnt just waltz up to a girls dorm room- there were guys and girls dorms of course . One had to march bravely up to a desk and tell an intimidating woman who they were there to visit  . By the magic of the intercom the young lady was called, informed of her potential visitor at which time she had the option of saying yes or no . To my dying day , I will be glad she said yes . My wife actually remembers what she was wearing that day, all I remember was wow ! I still wonder at times why she said yes , maybe just to hear the Four Seasons sing ( yes they were popular then ) when she in all likelihood could have made a different and perhaps better choice . But wonder of wonders , she even agreed to attend the football game on Saturday after the concert . I couldn’t have foreseen what was to come of course but I have had a faithful , loving partner to experience it . So, thank you Boone NC and Appalachian , for putting us together . One postscript, years later we drove through the ASU campus with our children and pointed and told them, see that building , that was your mom’s dorm, where we met for the first time . Their collective awe struck response – So ?

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Family | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment