Here’s Johnny

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Last night Andrea and Kevin wanted to orchestrate a belated birthday dinner for the General. Of course, as part of the entourage, I was also invited. In all truthfulness, I can say it proved to be an exceptional evening.

 

For starters, Andrea and Kevin chose a restaurant where the General and I have never been. Truthfully speaking, I am mostly a stranger to the kind of fine dining that includes something more than a white tablecloth and dinnerware. I am not accustomed to having a myriad of choices for the first course, second course, main course and the grand finale (aka – desert).

 

It was a touching moment when Andrea looked at the menu and said to her mom, “Why don’t we take this and this and this for starters?” She offered several suggestions to include for the second course and pretty much left the third course for our own choosing.

 

Seriously, for the most part, I had looked at the menu and had no idea what was being served. When it comes to culinary choices that include something outside my regular fare or frame of reference, my first reaction is to look for something else on the menu that seems more familiar. I kind of discount the possibility that I will like it if I haven’t already tried it.

 

Andrea has a culinary charm about her where she can get by with promoting a menu selection for consideration. She does a good job of convincing you that you have a treat in store. I had a flashback to the General coaxing Andrea throughout her childhood to try different foods.

 

It was both interesting to observe and experience the role reversal-taking place before my eyes. Andrea was taking on the role of teacher and mentor. Though she’d never suggest that we were her inept students, we were on unfamiliar territory. She was pretty convincing that we would enjoy the taste. Never once did she use the line: “It is good for you”.

 

The waiter was a young man named Johnny. Actually, when he first came to our table, I missed his providing us his name. At least, I didn’t recall his name when he came back around. Consequently, when he came back around I said: “Help me with my memory. I don’t remember your name.” He smiled and said: “It is Johnny. Just like Johnny Cash, except that I don’t have any cash. Okay, so now I had a frame of reference. I would remember his name.

 

As our two-hour-plus dinner took place, I watched Johnny interacting with a host of other folks dining in the restaurant. He was attentive, personable, and had a genuine gregarious nature about him that added to the ambience of the evening.

 

He mentioned early in waiting on our table that he had just returned to work. He had been on vacation. I asked about his vacation and he provided a thumb-nailed sketch. He had gone to Arizona. While he was there, he attended his brother’s wedding. He added: “I also had a great time visiting with my mom. I sprung her from the hospital for a while. She has just finished chemo and radiation treatments”. He mentioned that in four months she has aged about fifteen years.

 

Immediately, I had the thought associated to the complexity of his family’s circumstances. His mother’s health status had to weigh heavily on the family as they rallied around and celebrated a family wedding. I’m sure there were lots of emotions surrounding the celebration.

 

I mentioned that I was sorry he was dealing with that kind of stress. He said, “It comes with life”. Who could argue with that? He went on to say: “It is interesting, but my mother has developed the most magnificent sense of humor. She had never been so funny. I guess she figures, ‘What do I have to lose’?”   He added: “I really enjoyed the time with her. In addition, my brother’s wedding provided an opportunity for me to visit with a lot of old friends I’ve not seen in awhile. It was really nice. I enjoyed my time at home, but it is also good to be back at work.”

 

Through the course of the evening, bits and pieces about his life surfaced in conversation. He mentioned George Straight’s song: “Ocean Front Property In Arizona”. He said he had recorded the song and given it to several friends. His friends had responded with positive reviews.

 

I asked: “So did you come to Austin to get in the music business?” He said he had graduated from high school at the age of seventeen and was ready to advance his career. He had started skateboarding at the age of four and thought he could make it as a professional skateboarder. California was calling his name. He had to go and give that career track a chance”.

 

I doubt that is just the kind of thing every parent wants to hear from his or her seventeen-year-old son? Actually, he told his dad he was going to request court emancipation. The dad countered that he would allow him to go, but that he wasn’t going to be emancipated. The dad wanted to keep him on as an income tax deduction. Did I mention that his dad is a CPA and his mother is an art professor?

 

He had support from his family as he pursued his dreams. In the course of the two hours we shared, he shared several more tidbits about his life. He got a degree in nursing and things began to fall apart with his girlfriend at exactly the same time that he was beginning to see a line of white picket fences.

 

I had the thought: “What a clever way to express where he was in his human pilgrimage.” Romance didn’t work out in California and he made his way to Austin. His story associated to getting into the restaurant business really caught me by surprise. He said, “It was all about the Balloon Animals”. “The what”, I asked?” He said when he was still in high school a friend had showed him a stash of cash in his wallet. He said: “He had twenties and hundred dollar bills.” His friend explained: “I’ve been working at a restaurant making animals out of balloons for children.” He said, “The parents love it and they pay me. Some pay me very well”.

 

“You’ve got to show me how to do that,” was his response to his friend. In short order, he received permission to do the same thing in another restaurant. He said, “I guess it was my gregarious nature, but folks really liked me. When the restaurant decided to stop allowing me to do that, they said I was too valuable to loose. They employed me as a part-time server while I was in high school”.

 

When asked about his passion going forward he said: “I am a writer. I was made to write. I can’t stop writing. I haven’t gotten anything published yet, but I will. I write. I can’t stop writing”.

 

Something tells me, he’s got the stuff to reach his dreams. I liked his line: “I was beginning to envision a line of white picket fences”. What an incredible way to say much in a very different way of expressing it!

 

Johnny gave me permission to share his story and reluctantly provided the same regarding his picture. It would serve you well to find him. He is an exceptionally knowledgeable server who works for an incredible restaurant. You’ll enjoy a fantastic meal and an exceptional waiter.

 

All My Best!

Don

The Excitement of Christmas Morning

I knew it was too early to be awake, but I couldn’t help myself. Rather than rush to get out of bed, I was content to go back through the resources of my memory and remember Christmas mornings during my childhood years.

My brothers and I were never disappointed. We recognized that money didn’t grow on trees, but invariably each of us always got what we most wanted.

Of course, we had ample time to pour over the Sears and Roebuck Christmas catalog long before Christmas and make a list of suggested gifts for Santa to consider bringing our way.

It was always a good experience, because we were never disappointed.

Can you imagine being a child and discovering you got nothing for Christmas? Your siblings did, but you didn’t?

How does a parent make that kind of mistake? It defies explanation or understanding. Maybe your ommision wasn’t a mistake? Maybe it was an intentional life lesson because you hadn’t been good? Would a parent really do that?

That would be a bitter pill to swallow. It would no doubt be a painful memory that you’d likely not forget or even forgive.

I recently talked to a lady who was one of four children, and on a Christmas morning during her childhood years, there was nothing under the tree with her name on it. Ouch – that had to hurt! Everyone else got a present, but she didn’t.

So, why was I awake early, and why was I thinking about Christmas this morning?

Reportedly, the framing crew is supposed to start framing our house today. Perhaps that is why I had a flashback to the excitement of Christmas mornings.

Until yesterday, the weather forecast indicated a high likelihood of rain on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. That is not what I wanted to hear.

Yesterday, the forecast was modified to take rain off the forecast for today. So would folks actually show up for work this morning?

I drove by the property yesterday afternoon to see if lumber had been delivered? It had not. I explained to myself that I shouldn’t be concerned about that. With the price of lumber, wouldn’t folks guardly want to ensure that somone was on site when the lumber was delivered?

By the way, Sears and Roebuck’s used to sell houses. You could order a house from a catalogue.

The General and I have poured over our floor plan more than I ever thumbed through a Christmas catalogue.

Of course, I am not six-years-old and I will manage not to drive to the property in the early hours of the morning to ascertain if anything is taking place. However, I do suspect that before nightfall, I will at least go take a peek.

All My Best!
Don

Jenna’s Graduation Party

We arrived before my granddaughter’s graduation party was ready to start. The decorating theme of the party was Jenna -Jenna – Jenna.

There were small pics of Jenna (with and without her brothers) displayed on almost every piece of furniture in the large living area.

I noticed a pic of Jenna with her brothers when they were very small and had the passing thought at how quickly the years have gone by.

Actually before we got out of the truck, I was already beyond impressed. Their home looked picture perfect.Why I failed to take pictures is beyond me. It was a photo-op in the making, and I missed the opportunity.

The outdoor plants were plentiful and looked as though they had been tenderly cared for by someone with a green thumb.

Of course, Becky is the master-level-gardner, and she knows her way around plants. The plants flourish because of her touch. The fenced-in-garden was also the picture of organic gardening.

Inside the house, a flury of activity was taking place. John and Amanda were both busy making finishing touches.

John and Craig were fish together at Texas A & M in 1990. Their friendship has extended the test of time.

The first trip we made to Camp Pendelton to visit with Craig and Becky, long before there were grandchildren, John and Amanda lived on the same cul-de-sac on the base.

Would you believe it was twenty-five miles from the entry gate of Camp Pendleton? Middle-of- nowhere was fairly descriptive, but it was an environment ripe with adventure.

During Craig’s second assignment to Camp Pendleton, he and Becky had a very different living environment. They were two blocks from the Pacific coast.
It was in that enviornment that Jenna was born. At the time, Craig and Becky had been married for ten years.

Why, I didn’t take pictures at yesterday’s party is an unanswered question. Their home, including the oversized four or six car garage was decorated, set up for outdoor dining, and subsequently filled with people.

One of Craig’s other fish buddies, that also served in the U.S. Marine Corps was also present. For that matter, there was a sprinking of Marines at the party.

There were also many extended family members. Cat Spring is a close knit community, and my grandchildren have had the good fortune to grow up in an environment rich with family history and filled with lots of extended family support.

The party was scheduled from 4:00 to 10:00. In an effort for us to get back home before dark, we missed most of the party, but we had a great time while we were there.

Jenna looked absolutely radiant. I should have taken her picture. At face value, she looked the same. The kid has never made a bad picture.

I was mesmorized by her fingernails. I don’t have the words to describe them, but I sensed they had $$$ signs all over them.

The appetizers and food were exceptional, and it looked as though there were enough leftovers to feed three times the crowd who had already eaten.

All My Best!
Don

The John McCarty Memorial Highway

I’ve never been to a highway dedication before, but a stretch of Highway 290 has been named the John Allen McCarty Memorial Highway. This morning at 10:00 a.m. at Patriot Hall, an official highway dedication is planned in honor of John McCarty.  

John was both a neighbor and a friend. John routinely negotiated life through laughter and one would never suspect the hardships he endured during WWII during his confinement as a prisoner of war following his survival of the Bataan Death March. 

At a surface level, there was no hint from his demeanor that his life was ever subjected to what seemed like a never-ending nightmare of brutality, inhumane, horrific living conditions, and an ongoing environment where torture and murder were routine and commonplace, where illness was epidemic and untreated, and starvation and cruelty abounded.

At a surface level, one would never know. But if you accepted the gift of John’s friendship, and got to know John, it didn’t take long to discover that he was a man of incredible faith in God. He had the credentials through life experience to know firsthand about the proven dependability of God’s love and protective care. 

Throughout the ordeal of his captivity, God intervened time and time again to protect him from imminent death. In addition, he was tagged for death three times in “Zero Ward”, but survived because of his strong faith in God, his will to live, and the prayers of his mother.

John was quick to acknowledge:

  • “I survived by talking to the Big Man upstairs.”
  • When he was returned to confinement after hours and hours of enemy interrogation, he was asked by an American Colonel what he did. “I prayed sir and prayed hard…Luck had nothing to do with my coming back. God was holding my hands and putting words in my mouth.”
  • Was it luck? “No. I don’t’ give one ounce of credit to luck or to myself. I give credit where it belongs – Up There. I’ve never had a hankering to see what I would look like without my head hung onto my shoulders. Maybe it’s not pretty, but I’ve become attached to it.”

Several months before John’s death, the General and I visited with John and talked about “Ghost Soldiers”, the book which chronicles the liberation of those being held as prisoners of war at Cabanatuan. John shared his remembrances of that experience. 

He also talked about the emotions and feelings he experienced as the ship carrying a cargo of living skeletons made its way back to the United States. 

When the ship arrived in San Francisco, they were met with a jubilant welcome. He never forgot the emotions as the ship went under Golden Gate Bridge. There were people everywhere welcoming them home. It was an emotional moment.

John Allen McCarty was born in Henly on April 23, 1915. He died on Father’s Day, June 15, 2003, at the same place of his birth at the age of 88. 

[Note: The book chronicling John’s experience is the book entitled “Cabanatuan Japanese Death Camp”]

All My Best!

Don

The Way We Were

Last night the General and I colored outside the lines. We opted to do something we’ve not done since we moved into our current home.  That was over seven months ago.

I naively thought we’d be in our newly built home by now. Obviously that was magical thinking on my part.  Okay, I get it. It wasn’t magical thinking. It was delusional thinking.

Last night proved to be reminiscent of the way we were.  In our last home, we often had friends over for dinner. In this home, for whatever reason, this was the first time we’ve had anyone other than family over for dinner.

Historically, when we invited folks over for a meal, I routinely used my cast aluminum charcoal grill that I purchased in Fort Worth in 1973 to grill steak. 

I’ve purchased a couple of other grills since, but I always go back to the cast aluminum grill. From my perspective, nothing gets as hot as the cast aluminum grill or cooks a steak better.  

When it came time to move, only one grill came with us. It was the charcoal cast aluminum grill. 

Of course, in the garden home community where we are temporarily living, dwellings are only ten feet away from the closest neighbor.  For safety reasons, that distance seems way too close for starting a charcoal fire.  I’m  not going to take that kind of risk.  For all I know, restrictions in the neighborhood may ban the use anyway.

Of course, I realize that  many folks have learned to steer clear of menu items other than fish or chicken for heath reasons. I figure steak on a quarterly basis can’t hurt.  

As you might surmise, in our current environment, steak is off the menu. For that matter, for the most part, so is home cooking. 

I picked up the meal for last night’s dinner from Rudy’s Bar-B-Q.  It wasn’t as good as a steak, but it proved to be an enjoyable meal.

Sharing  a meal with folks, is a great way to get to know them better.  Consequently, it was time well spent. We enjoyed it immensely. 

Hopefully it will become our new routine rather that something reminiscent  of the way we were.

Before the evening as over, we all gravitated outside. It was a  nice night for being outdoors.

All My Best!
Don

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Last night’s late-night excursion to the airport went far more easily than I anticipated. For starters, I didn’t know how alert I was going to be as the midnight hour approached.

All it took was two cups of coffee before my departure and a quick run to 7-Eleven for a cup of crushed ice. There is no way you can chomp on ice and fall asleep behind the wheel. It is a technique I often use. Of course, any passenger in the car finds it very irritating.

Obviously, Andrea and Kevin had an incredible trip to the British Virgin Islands, but I think even they were glad to get home. I am eager to hear more about their adventures.

A decade ago, when the General and I went on an eighteen day Mediterranean cruise, when we arrived at the airport in Rome for our flight back home, we found the airline was overbooked.

They were offering to put passengers up in a nice hotel in Rome in exchange for delaying the trip by a day. We declined for a number of reasons, but at that point nothing before us had the appeal of what we left behind at home.

I have a good friend who for years didn’t want to go anywhere. He was content to be at home and longed for nothing more. His wife and his daughter’s often traveled to far away places, and he was content to keep the home fires burning, so to speak.

I talked with him this week by phone. He recently accompanied his wife on a Danube River cruise through the heart of Germany and found it preferable to keeping the home fires burning. He has now booked two additional river cruises and is pumped with the thought of more travel.

Actually, the thought of travel is pretty appealing to me. We are now in a place were we are healthy and free of previous commitments that would have been hard to keep if we were traveling. Perhaps now is the time?

What am I thinking? We have a precious special needs rescue dog. We can’t easily go anywhere for an extended period without him. Don’t get me wrong, the dog loves to travel in the car.

I have a rule of thumb that I’m not driving more than six hours a day. Isn’t that the reason they make airplanes? I have a friend currently on a road trip and he doesn’t mind a 13-hour day behind the wheel. That falls into the definition of insanity to me.

Oh well, to each their own, but I’m ready to travel.

All My Best!
Don

The California Gold Rush Is On

When it comes to the cost of housing, we often forget that the year 1980 has passed us by. One of the shows the General and I watch on HGTV is House Hunters International.

Of course the person relocating to a far away place has lofty ideas associated with what they desire in an apartment or house. They are not short of ideas when it comes to the “must haves” needed for the new place.

I am always amused when the marketing agent then asks the price range they are hoping to pay? Invariably, there is a disconnect with expectations and the reality of the actual costs associated with the place of someone’s dreams.

Seldom if ever, does a space actually come in at budget. Such a place most often doesn’t exist.

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to relocate to California during the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s?  Three hundred thousand people came from far away places to cash in, so to speak, on the hope of finding a fortune.

Reportedly, in 1978 Larry Gatlin’s idea for the song “All the Gold In California” came to him while in was stuck in a traffic jam in front of the Hollywood Bowl. He said of the experience:

“I was stuck in a traffic jam in 1978, right in front of the Hollywood Bowl. The car in front of me was a 1958 Mercury station wagon with Oklahoma license plates. It had a bunch of kids and boxes and, you know, pots and pans and stuff.

“And I said to myself, because I had read John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” … “These poor folks, they’re coming out to California to get rich and famous, and they’re gonna find out all too quickly that all the gold in California is in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills in somebody else’s name.”

Reportedly, he grabbed a pen and wrote the words to the song on the back of the Hertz rent a car slip while he was sitting in the parking lot of Warner Brothers Pictures and Warner Brothers Records while he was waiting to go to a meeting.

Fast forward to 2022. The California Gold Rush is on! People from California are coming by the scores to Texas to purchase property for a fraction of what it would cost in California.

Last week a friend told me of a couple who live in WestLake. A realtor from California initiated a telephone call to their home and told the wife who answered the phone that she had a client who wanted to buy their house. The wife responded, our home isn’t for sale.

The realtor said, but my client is willing to pay you $3 million for your home. Trust me, this is all site unseen. They couple had never been inside the home. The wife was steadfast in her position. She said, Our home isn’t for sale”.

The next evening the same realtor telephoned to revisit the conversation from the evening before. She telephoned to report that her client was now prepared to pay $6 million for their home.

The wife responded, “We have a lake home. We will just move there and take the $6 million.”

The California Gold Rush is on! Folks with gold in California are rushing to Texas to buy real estate. Consequently, it has become a seller’s market in Texas.

Like flipping a switch, real estate prices in the part of Texas I live in have doubled in value in the past year.

All My Best!
Don

Long Term Relationships

The interim pastor of our church is a man of many gifts. He is especially adept at looking at passages of Scripture highlighting the stories most of us have heard and then weaving a thread of commonality and familiarity between those stories and our own experiences.

Take, for example, the upside or downside of living in a relatively small community. I think there are more upsides than down, but all would probably agree that people in a small place know most of the other people.

Lonny Poe, our interim pastor, mentioned personal friends of his that assisted their daughter in moving into a university dormitory. The single college dormitory housed more students than the entire population of the small town where she grew up. He then said, perhaps tongue in cheek: “It was like taking a prized unblemished Stradivarius violin and putting it in a den of iniquity.”

I know from having lived in Henly for the majority of my life, that small towns often develop into more of an extended family-like environment than you find in more populated places where people can go unnoticed. Familiarity and connection are often the catalysts for people to become relatively close-knit.

Five of the twelve disciples that Jesus chose were men from Capernaum. Five of them – Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Matthew – came directly from Capernaum and all the other disciples were from the Galilee area.

In terms of Jesus’ public ministry, Capernaum is where Jesus mostly lived as he carried out his ministry. There are references related to Jesus in Jerusalem, but most of the chapters in the New Testament describe what happened while Jesus was living in Capernaum – from his baptism to the last week of his life.

Capernaum, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, included a total population of only about 1,500 people. It was a relatively small place. It was a community where people knew their neighbors.

Capernaum wasn’t a locality famed for great accomplishments or academic prowess. The population was comprised primarily of what most people in our day would refer to as a blue-collar community. Folks who lived there were the working class. Their primary occupation was fishing.

It never occurred to me before that some of the disciples chosen by Christ could have been childhood friends. Five of them were from the village of Capernaum.

It was an expectation that Jewish male children begin school in the synagogue at the age of six. Is it possible that Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Matthew were all friends before Jesus’ call on their lives? Ours is a very transitional culture, but that was not the case for folks during Jesus’ day.

When Simon Peter was arrested for preaching, we are told the early church prayed for his release. It never occurred to me before that Peter’s imprisonment could have been the cause of extremely great anguish on the part of his friends who may have had ties with him that went back as far as childhood.

As I considered that, I thought about friends with whom I share that kind of history. When the tie that binds goes back as far as the first grade, the relationship shared is one of significant value, and the level of concern weighs heavily on a person’s heart.

I continue to have several friends with whom I started the first grade. For that matter, any of the friends with whom our connection goes back to childhood years seems special and significant.

In recent years I have been privileged to officiate at the funeral services of three classmates from childhood, one of which went back as far as the third grade. The other two were back as far as the seventh grade.

The interim pastor’s point was that when we face overwhelming difficulties, we can pray. Of course, the early church prayed for Peter’s release, and when the prayer was answered, they were in a state of disbelief.

What lessons can we each learn from that? If we are gifted with friendships and connections that have withstood the test of time, we are blessed. Famiararity and connections are a gift! Cherish the time that we share.

All My Best!
Don

A Deadly Oversight

I am fortunate to continue some level of work in the child welfare field. The professional organization of children’s homes and residential schools where I work represents the best of the best. Despite the professionalism and expertise available to serve children and families from hard places, there continues to be a groundswell of opposition related to children being separated from their families and entrusted to the care of someone else.

I spent a portion of yesterday looking at recent reports of children left in harm’s way following abuse investigations. The names, ages, and circumstances all differ. All were recipients of life-threatening abuse/neglect at the hands of those responsible for their care.

Substance abuse and addiction often play a role in the lack of prudent judgment on the part of the parent(s). There are those who argue that the use of recreational drugs or alcholism doesn’t make a parent a bad parent.

Research indicates that drug usuage and alcoholism make a parent three times more likely to physically, sexually and emotionally abuse their children. Parents who use drugs are four times more likely to neglect their children.

In far too many instances, authorities responsible for the delivery of children’s protective services have been notified, investigations have been conducted and the child is left without a veil of protection or hope for anything other than a duplication of what has been.

Have you ever wondered how many deaths it will take to garner legislative intervention or action? Collectively, scores of children in this country die annually from abuse/neglect while left in care with their families following abuse/neglect investigations. Often, CPS maintains an open case on the family, but too many children left in harm’s way don’t survive the experience.

In some states, following the child’s fatality, they are subsequently only identified by a case number. No effort is exerted to identify them through the use of their name. The deceased become a statistic without thought given to the brokenness of a child welfare system that yields to the belief that children are routinely best served when left with family.

Most of the reports I review relate to smaller children who subcumb to the neglect where parent is perpetually in a drug induced state. Yesterday, I read the story of an eight year old who was the subject of child welfare investigations for the entirety of his life. When he collapsed and was nonresponsive in his own home in March of this year, he weighed only thirty-pounds.

How many child deaths resulting from children remaining in abusive neglectful situations in their own homes does it take before we collectively take notice of what is actually taking place?

The preventable deaths of children remaining in harm’s way in an effort for families to remain intact while receiving support services is an egregious and deadly flaw in the current child welfare system.

All My Best!
Don

It Isn’t Rocket Science

I awakened this morning with the thought that sometimes little things make a difference. Last week or the week before, I purchased a new protective case for my cellphone, but it appeared the screen had a couple of unsightly cracks. So was the glass on my iPhone cracked, or was it the clear protective cover? I feared the worst.

Hearing from the AT&T store employee that my phone was too old for their store to have a replacement for the protective glass cover left me without a lot of hope. Seriously, my phone is only three-years old. It shouldn’t be outdated.

I blogged about my experience. A friend thoughtfully sent me a link to order a new glass protector for my dated phone. His phone is the same model and age as mine.

So, how difficult is it to replace the protective cover for the glass? I watched a YouTube video and thought it seemed more complicated that it actually proved to be. Of course, I had the kind of questions that most people would think to ask. What if I don’t get the new cover on exactly in the same place? That would have to pose a problem! Hey, it proved not to be rocket science, and the procedure was pretty fail safe. The new protective cover is on in exactly the same place as the previous cover.

Surprise of suprises, once I removed the cracked protective cover, my phone looked brand new. The case didn’t have a scratch on it. The process of cleaning the glass and installing the new protective cover was simple. The outcome is my phone now looks new instead of dated and worn.

This morning before I got out of bed, I thought about the difference little things can make. I am not a list maker, but I resovled to take my wife’s car to the carwash today. Isn’t it true that nothing drives better than a freshly washed car?

So for all intents and purposes, I am carrying a new phone, and the General will soon be driving a new looking car. In fact, I’ll take my truck to the carwash later today as well. Why not drive a new fleet of vehicles at my house? Of course, the Miata is included in that line-up as well. It needs to be washed.

Without the General on my case, I even straightened up my desk and filed the mounds of paper stacked next to my computer. I guess you could same I am on a roll.

Little things make a big difference. How can you improve your world by making a few tweaks today?

All My Best!
Don

It Was A Nice Diversion

This past Sunday proved to be a high-stress day. After getting Andrea and Kevin to the airport, I should have gone home and gone back to bed. Of course, I didn’t know that until I got to church and took my place in the pew. Embarrassingly, I dozed off.

Thankfully I made Pastor Lonny aware that the possibility did exist. That didn’t make it any less embarrassing, but at least he knows it had nothing to do with his message or his delivery.

For years I have heard the expression: “I’m as sick as a dog.” Until Sunday, I didn’t have a concept of what that could entail. No, thankfully, I wasn’t sick, but we returned to Andrea and Kevin’s house after church where we are keeping their dogs over the next two weeks to discover that one of the dogs was sick.

I will spare you the details, but it wasn’t pretty. Much later, as the daylight hours were fading, and the arduous task we had faced was completed, I suggested that we take out a few minutes and set foot on our new foundation. That represented a 20 minute drive.

The slab had been poured on Friday. It was now two days later and foot traffic would not pose a problem. I guess it is impossible to get a full understanding of the view until you see it from the vantage point of standing on the foundation.

We accessed our view from the foundation by stepping up on the garage side of the slab. It is far more accessible on that side. The sun was going down in the west, and it affirmed that the house has the north/south exposure that we wanted. We aren’t going to have to fight keeping the sun out of our windows. There mostly aren’t any on the west or east side of the house.

We walked over the foundation and attempted to imagine where walls would be located. The General expressed concern that the primary bedroom wasn’t as large as she anticipated. I pointed out to her that her focus was all wrong. She was standing in what will be the master bathroom area, rather than the bedroom.

Though we are very pleased with the view, we won’t really get a sense of room sizes or layout until the house is framed. Hopefully that will begin to fall into place next week. The builder said that framing would take three weeks.

At any rate, we are pumped with anticipation related to home construction. We have been out of our previous home for over seven months and until now were beginning to think that building a house was a pipe-dream. Finally things are falling into place.

In the interim, the General and I are becoming experts on dealing with “sick as a dog” issues. Samson spent yesterday at the veterinarian’s. He came home with a handfull of medications and some will require our assistance in getting in his mouth. Only time will tell.

I’ve always heard: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Trust me on this. If Sampson opts to decline taking the medication, I’m not sure what we will do. That’s not really true. We will try, try, try again.

All My Best!

Don