Street Signs


Here’s an idea that I like.  Regardless of your particular religious affiliation or lack thereof, the notion the we all need to ask forgiveness and we all need to be nice is a good street sign.  I first saw this sign at 25 or 30 miles per hour as I was headed out of town and I thought it simply said “Forgive” and “Be Nice” and I liked it then.  Today I stopped to take a picture of it and realized it isn’t so much a command or suggestion, as it is a plea and a question.  In small letters next to “Forgive” is the word “me,” and just above “Be Nice” in equally small letters are the words “can you.”

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Wandering Back

Well it has been a while since I wandered to the keyboard for a few notes on things.  Sorry.  I recently got to take a road trip with my daughter.  We drove from home to college in her car and moved her in to her sophomore dorm.  Lessons from the trip include: the danger of poorly prepared fast food burgers (a night of unpleasantness and rapid weight loss in my case); the importance of elevators (equal access and all that, but mostly heavy shit and summer heat should make them required in EVERY college dorm); and it is not the size of the living space it is the size of the living in the space.  Oh, and, daughters that are sophomores in college are about the coolest thing out there when it comes to just tackling the world at large and showing what it means to wear your confidence on your sleeve.  At least mine is.

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Your Papers Please

It’s a far cry from the edge of the Grand Canyon to the department of motor vehicles license renewal line.  The scenery and grandeur of one of the world’s most amazing structures gives way to a room full of government chairs filled with the variously dressed, marked, and pierced forms spanning the spectrum of body shape and type from waif to I need two chairs and an oxygen tank.  Life is like that.  It teases us with grace and beauty and then slaps us with a trip to the DMV.

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Though the blog post mentioning Nicaragua did make it up into the blogosphere, it was hardly a memorable one.  Sorry.  We were having the time of our lives and the internet connectivity was present only insofar as it showed a little skin every once in a while, but never the full frontal way that we all need to get anything done.  As a result, I would blog, try to post, fail, get angry, try again with smaller post, etc. etc.  Getting pissed off about internet connectivity seemed hardly the point of sharing a casita with my family on an island amidst active volcanoes and howler monkeys and green parrots, so I quit trying.

I am home now and found the garden improved in my absence.  A message, I am certain, about my needless fiddling, but one I choose to ignore in favor of morning picking and pruning and messing about.  It’s been raining for two days.  A slow, steady wetting down and soaking through that always seems to come at just the right time for my lucky little vegetable patch.  The squash is blooming in the shade of its great prickly leaves and the okra is as well.  It is rooted and well fed and happy.

That’s what it feels like to be home.  With no reflection whatsoever on the pleasure, even awe, of our travels, there is something about having a home and being at home.  I can’t write it, but the cool shade of the squash leaves sheltering that beautiful blossom which will become a nice fat fruit and then replenish us at the table helps me know it.  Home I mean.

Marriage, Memorial Day and Family Trips

We spent Memorial Day weekend with some great friends and celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. I remember in late 1987/early 1988, somewhere in there – after I had asked Leah to marry me and she had said yes – I got a phone call from a close buddy who wanted to know how I knew getting married to Leah was the right thing to do. I thought about it for a minute and said, “I simply can’t do anything else.” I have a much more romantic answer than that and use it regularly, but there is a simple truth in what I said. Every element in my being was moving forward at whatever this pace of existence is, and every element in unison was expecting that march to continue with Leah. Period. Now I recognize it on a more biblical level – she completes me, and the two of us are truly one in the image of God. Back then, I told my buddy the truth. I couldn’t do anything else. 24 years later, I’m glad I was so helpless.

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To live near a high school, probably any school for that matter, on the last day of classes is to see a world transformed.  The sullen teenagers who only days before were slouching disheveled and out of sorts down the road to the schoolhouse are now re-born; titans of all they survey, heads high and spirits light they have the energy of a thousand suns.  With today’s schedules, though, it will be more like 70 or so, after which they will hear the dreaded call to breakfast and for another school year.

But that’s for later. For now, summertime is a tonic, a cure all, a relic revived at this time every year when we all realize that once we were those laconic kids who so sought this one day, this beginning of everything good, that it practically hurt to move those last few days of May. Tomorrow held no demands save our own wishing. Remember?

Summertime.  And, if you leave enough room, the living is indeed easy.

The Single-Mindedness of Vegetables


We had a bad storm last night.  Kids-and-wife-safe-in-the-basement-dumb-ass-father-standing-in-the-(exterior)-doorway-trying-to-see-if-the-garden-was-okay-kind-of-storm.  Like a couple of tomato plants and some beans are worth taking a bolt of lightning for.  Maybe.  Now that I think about it.  Anyway, the hail whacked things up a bit, but everything survived.

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Good Theology

Having been caught up in countless discussions lately regarding the proper reading of scripture, or the real intent of our Creator, etc., it was with some satisfaction that I listened to my son play “Farther Along” during the service on Sunday morning. Not only was his version of the hymn very moving; somewhere about midway through I decided the Appalachian simplicity that brings a trusting commitment to one’s faith and the realization that “we’ll understand it, all by and by” is good theology.