I WANT TO BE LIKE YOU

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There is something delightfully refreshing about the make-believe world of children. Late Friday night and early Saturday morning, Jake fashioned for himself a make- believe fort out of cardboard boxes. When I saw it, I thought it was an army tank, but in his imagination it served more as a bunker. From the vantage point of childhood imagination, there were no limits to its representation.

 

On Saturday morning, Gram had opportunity to be the first to see it. Of course, Jake had a vested interest when he extended her the invitation. He is a little ham and he wanted her to video “the fort” along with him providing an explanation of how it works.

 

Gram then asked Jake: “So when you grow up, are you going to be a builder like your Uncle Ryan?” He provided what I could have predicted as a response. After all, how many Texas A&M shirts does the kid own? He has at least one for everyday. He answered the question by saying: “No. I am going to be a Marine”. You know what they say: “Like father/like son.”

 

Jake went on to say that after retirement from the Marine Corps, he’d become a professional football player. Gram asked: “So don’t you think you’d be a little old to play football when you retire?” He said, “No – My Commanding Officer will look at me and say: “Way to go! -That’s my Marine boy.”

 

When I finally had opportunity to go upstairs and see the “fort” for myself, Jake welcomed me by saying: “Now Granddad, this is really something to blog about! I smiled with the thought! The General gets perturbed with me when I mention something is blog worthy. Jake on the other hand has the ability to think like Granddad. I suggested he write the blog, but since he didn’t, I thought I would.

 

Like I said, “When I first saw the fort with Jake’s head emerging through a flap in the top, it reminding me of an army tank with a person peering outside. Jake’s imagination brought me back in time. When I was a little kid, we too, played soldiers. As a little kid, all I knew of war and battle were the things gleaned from movies about WWII. My dad had set aside that chapter of his life by the time I was born, but the experience had a life-long impact on him. Although he never talked of the war until toward the end of his time, he proudly served his nation.

 

Actually, my dad took us to see the movie: “To Hell And Back” starring Audie Murphy. The movie was autobiographical and garnered the life and heroism of Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier in U.S. history.

 

We also saw: “From Here To Eternity” portraying the horrors of the attack on Pearl Harbor. There were also other theme related movies, but I don’t remember the names. What I do remember is coming away from the movies with the sense that Americans fought because it was the right thing to do. Many died in the process. It was simply the sacrificial price of admission for the things we hold dear.

 

Yesterday, my brother posted a picture of Dad wearing his U.S. Army uniform. It is the picture I used for this article.  I had never noticed it before, but in the picture dad almost looks like a kid. Maybe it takes 70-year-old eyes to fully process that we send our young men off to war.

 

Dad opted to keep three mementos from the war. They included a German helmet, a 1933 Standard Dress Dagger he took from a German soldier who was being transported after being taken captive. The soldier was taking the knife out of his boot when dad noticed him. He also kept a U.S. Army issued overcoat. To my knowledge, Dad never wore the overcoat after his discharge from the army, but he also never opted to part with it.

 

At my insistence, Larry took the overcoat after Dad was no longer here. I charged him with the responsibility to keep it for the remainder of his days since Dad found it worthy of keeping. It was a selfish thing on my part for me to do. We didn’t have the extra closet space to integrate it into our stuff. I stay in trouble with the General as it is because I’m reluctant to part with things that are too good to throw away, but not good enough to keep. I feared Dad’s overcoat would fall into that category.

 

Larry, reluctantly, but amicably agreed to take the coat. I didn’t want the responsibility of keeping the coat for the rest of my days, but at the same time, I thought we honored Dad by keeping it. Karoni, Dad’s oldest granddaughter, has the German helmet and Craig, his oldest grandson, has the German dagger. Craig is the reason I know the year and description of the dagger. He took it to an expert to learn about it and have it refurbished. It is a keepsake of Dad’s that he’ll cherish for the remainder of his days.

 

I think of Dad often. It is hard to believe the 10th anniversary of his home going was last week.  He died on June 10, 2007. During my growing up years, Dad provided for our family, but he wanted more for me and my brothers than he had experienced for himself. He saw education as the key to a better future. I don’t know how he did it, but at one time there were three of us in college at the same time. It made Dad feel good to provide for us the college degree he never had for himself.

 

From a vocational perspective, I never wanted to be just like dad, but that may have been through his urging. Like I said, he sacrificed to ensure our opportunities would be beyond his own.

 

It is interesting now that I’m in the closing chapters of life (however long or short that may be), I’m discovering that what I want most for the rest of my days is to be just like Dad. My dad represented a level of strength and sacrificial commitment that I’ve never known. The last fourteen months of his life were filled with one physical difficulty after another, but the overriding passion of his life had little relationship to himself. His primary goal was to take care of Mother.   He simply lived with a reliance on God that somehow the need would be met. He refused to give up, retreat to bitterness or fall prey to depression. He had the sense that God was with him every step of the way during the last chapter of his life and he was a testimony of how faith can make a difference.

 

If I could attain the stamina and perseverance I saw in my Dad, I’d think of myself as finishing the course in the best possible way. It was a faith walk for Dad and he never wavered. I can think of no more victorious way to cross the finish line to an eternal new beginning. I want to be just like Dad.

 

I even like the way Phillips Craig and Dean express it in their song entitled “I Want To Be Like You”. The lyrics include:

 

He climbs in my lap for a goodnight hug
He calls me Dad and I call him Bub
With his faded old pillow and a bear named Pooh
He snuggles up close and says “I want to be like you”
I tuck him in bed and I kiss him goodnight
Trippin’ over the toys as I turn out the light
And I whisper a prayer that someday he’ll see
He’s got a father in God ’cause he’s seen Jesus in me

Lord, I want to be just like You
‘Cause he wants to be just like me
I want to be a holy example
For his innocent eyes to see
Help me be a living Bible, Lord
That my little boy can read
I want to be just like You
‘Cause he wants to be like me

Got to admit I’ve got so far to go
Make so many mistakes and I’m sure that You know
Sometimes it seems no matter how hard I try
With all the pressures in life I just can’t get it all right
But I’m trying so hard to learn from the best
Being patient and kind, filled with Your tenderness
‘Cause I know that he’ll learn from the things that he sees
And the Jesus he finds will be the Jesus in me
Right now from where he stands I may seem mighty tall
But it’s only ’cause I’m learning from the best Father of them all

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z8bXcBRIU0

 

All My Best!

Don

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALL STAR BASEBALL

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“Wow! Wow! Wow!” Those three words are the hook to get you to continue reading until you discover the reason for the big WOW! Let me preface that by saying the General doesn’t always get it right. Despite her perception that her understanding of every issue is completely accurate and that you can hang on to every word that comes out of her mouth as an absolute fact, sometimes simply isn’t true. Even the General occasionally gets it wrong.

 

Of course, the General may tell you that my perception of what she previously shared with me got crossed in my head. She probably would assert that I’m the one who didn’t completely understand. At some very vague level, that is always a possibility. However, I heard her correctly on this one.

 

The issue around the misunderstanding had to do with “ALL STAR – Little League Baseball” is Sealy, Texas. Folks in Sealy plan their summer vacations around it. Never ever would they purposely be away from their “piece of paradise” while the All STAR games were being played in Sealy. Baseball has somehow emerged as a sacred responsibility. You best demonstrate your love for God and Country by being present for All STAR baseball.”

 

Truthfully, all that is Greek to me! I have absolutely no frame of reference. I didn’t play ball as a kid. Okay, truth-be-known, I didn’t make the team. It is as simple as that. I wasn’t good enough. My mother never sat foot in Sealy, but she would agree: “There is something wrong with you if you don’t play baseball”.

 

I’ll get into trouble for disclosing this, but even Craig didn’t play baseball as a kid. Why would he? He heard it from me, “The other sports are better. Stick with them”. And so he did.

 

Craig has only been retired two and a half years and the only real memorable frame of reference his kids have around school prior to Sealy, America is at Camp Lejeune, NC. In North Carolina “SOCCER” is king. Sure they had baseball, but it paled in contrast to the enthusiasm around soccer. Craig’s kids played soccer.

 

They came home to Texas for a visit one year when the kids were really young and Craig later shared with me: “Dad, it is really embarrassing. Becky’s family thinks there is something wrong with my kids because they don’t play baseball.” Well, “What would people think?” It has been the family curse we inherited from my mother. She went to her grave being embarrassed that I got a failure slip in Spanish in the 8th grade. She probably was also still stressed that I didn’t play baseball.

 

At some point, Craig’s kids added baseball to their regime in North Carolina to supplement their love for soccer. The reason has to do with Sealy America and Craig’s embarrassment that his kids didn’t fit it with their cousins. Everybody in Sealy knows that you are a “little funny” if you don’t live for the “All American game”.

 

I was puzzled when Craig made a response associated to my blog yesterday. I mentioned that Jake’s team was “out of the play” because they had lost their game the previous night. Craig responded that he would be taking his familiar place standing at the fence line in left field last night. I was puzzled by the assertion that there was a game. The General had told me it was over because Jake’s team had lost. She got it wrong because she didn’t understand the roster is set up as a double elimination.

 

At any rate, we headed to Cat Spring yesterday around 1:00. As we were leaving the house, the General mentioned that I was going to be late for my 5:00 meeting with a couple that are being married this evening. I was dropping the General off in Cat Spring and then heading for my meeting that was thought to be about an hour away. She asserted that if I hadn’t spent so much time on the computer, I wouldn’t have been late. I knew it would be close, but I thought we had time.

 

Fifteen minutes later the General wanted to know where we were having lunch? Are you kidding me? She already knew we were on a tight time frame and yet she anticipated that we would stop to eat. “She could have been having lunch while I was on the computer”. However, I thought it was in my best interest to keep that thought to myself. See, I really am smarter than you think.

 

Okay, so I threw out the possibility that we could stop by a convenience store and pick up a package of chips. Trust me, WWIII could be started over a statement as simple as that. Fortunately, we averted gunfire, but she made it clear that she had to have lunch. She mentioned a restaurant in a traffic-congested area of SW Austin. I gave that a thumb’s down!

 

In a strategically conciliatory fashion, the General suggested corndogs from Sonic. At least that would be quick. Okay, so we stopped at Sonic between Austin and Bastrop. She suggested I also order “tater-tots”. She didn’t want a whole order, but she’d share with me. “Okay, Okay Whatever – it just had to be quick”.

 

“What are you doing?” she asked as I opened my door and got out of the truck. “Come on”, I said. “We are going to sit outside. The tables are in the shade”. Even my grandkids know, “No one eats in Granddad’s truck.” Of course the General considers my truck community property and she had a very different plan in mind.

 

In my defense, there are times a “Man has to do what a man has to do”. We were NOT eating in my truck. My truck is five years old, has twenty thousand miles on it and it looks brand new. The interior seats are cloth. Had they been leather, I might have seen it differently, but the one thing I knew is that we were NOT eating in the truck.

 

I don’t think the General said: “Thanks, but No Thanks”. She simply said: “I’m not getting out.” I didn’t make a verbal response, but I held my ground. I went to the patio section and ordered four corndogs and an order of tater tots along with drinks and took a seat at one of the tables.

 

I guess hunger got the better part of the General because she did opt to join me before the food arrived. She said something about “this being the last time…”. Fortunately, there was a breeze and the tater tots were good. The corndogs, well, they were filling. Once no longer hungry, the General was in a much better mood. Like I said: “Sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do.”

 

I was able to get back to Sealy, America in time for the 8:00 game last night. Wow! Wow! Wow! All Star Baseball is a lot more exciting than regular baseball. I was amazed at how good the team was. Amazing! I can see how it could get in the blood stream and be an overriding force. Never have I enjoyed a game as much! Of course, it helped that the team my grandson was on was winning.

 

As the game came to a close, folks were looking on their cell phones for the roster of tonight’s time slot for the play schedule. Like I said, ALL STAR playoffs in Sealy are the happening place. Unfortunately, tonight’s game is at 6:00 and I’ll be at a wedding. Had the wedding been in Sealy, I could have opted to skip it even though I was officiating. Everyone would understand. Baseball is King!

 

All My Best!

Don

 

Superstition – Déjà vu

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When it comes to superstition, I don’t have much of a frame of reference. I’m not even sure how you’d define superstition. Isn’t superstition: “A widely held belief related to consequences for certain actions that really are without a basis?” For example: “It is really bad luck to spit in the wind?” I guess the real answer to that question depends on the direction you’re facing related to the wind.

 

Take the number “13” for example. Some folks see “13” as an unlucky number and opt to stay in-doors on Friday the 13th. They choose not to press their luck by taking unnecessary chances. Not me, I’m going to celebrate that it is Friday. Besides that, if you don’t take a chance every now and then, you might miss out. I don’t care what numerical day of the month any Friday falls on. Fridays work well for me. Obviously, that thought leaves me optimistic for today.

 

I don’t have an aversion to staying in a room on the 13th floor of a hotel, but I have stayed in hotels that didn’t have a 13th floor even though there was an open deck on the roof or near the top of the building. I figure the open deck represents more of a risk than the 13th floor. Did I say: “I always consider it a little strange when the number 13 is not an option on the elevator select button in a multi-story building that is much higher?” Obviously, there is a price to pay for superstition.

 

Though I don’t consider myself superstitious, I do find it problematic or concerning when a black cat crosses my path. You know what they say about black cats?   Of course, the color of the cat isn’t the real issue. I interrupt it as bad luck when any cat crosses my path because they intuitively do a U-turn and head directly toward me.  Before you write me off as irrational and uncaring, Isn’t it true they smother babies? Oh, I guess that, too, is a superstition.

 

At any rate, I am a cat magnet.  Passive aggressive is the only way I can describe it. Cats love me, but only because they know they have the negative impact of making the hair on the back-of-my- neck stand up. There are two kinds of people in this world. There are people who like cats and there are people that don’t. I obviously fall into the latter category.

 

I’m resistive to the notion that I’m superstitious, but how many times do I say: “Knock on wood” while I’m knocking on wood to signify my hope that something I’ve just said doesn’t happen? I guess maybe I am a little superstitious. After all, it always bad luck when I break a mirror. For one thing, if I break it, the mirror doesn’t belong to me and the General would be a little miffed. For another you know who would have to clean up the mess. Consequently, it would be back luck on two counts.

 

I do remember at some point in my junior high school years that I had a rabbit’s foot keychain attached to the zipper on my notebook. That sounds really gross.  What was I thinking?  In addition, do they even make notebooks like that anymore? Surely you remember the type I’m talking about? It was a notebook for the storage of 3-ring paper and the notebook was held closed by a zipper that kept the paper and pencils inside.

 

Speaking of bad luck, I just discovered that it is bad luck to make a cup of coffee on a Keruig Coffee maker in the dark. Do you want to know why? I just went to retrieve my coffee and was in for quite a surprise. When I picked my cup up, I discovered the cup was upside down. I guess I’m stating the obvious, but I now have a mess to clean up. Call it superstitious if you want to, but I guarantee you it won’t serve you well to make a cup of coffee the way I just made mine. Fortunately, the General will never know. Right now I could be listening to lecture #2693 about the need to pay attention.

 

So, I had a rabbit’s foot keychain for good luck. Where did the keychain come from and why did I want it are questions that immediately come to mind? I don’t have the answers. I’m sure it was a fad back-in-the day and that many in my peer group also had a rabbit foot in their possession.

 

So did you ever carry a “Good Luck Charm” with you? Apart from the rabbit’s foot, I don’t think I did. However, I have thought of getting a James Avery silver cross to wear hanging from my neck. I wouldn’t consider it a good luck charm. I prefer to think of it as a good look and a visual reminder that it isn’t about luck, but about love that matters most.

 

I have a leather notebook stored in the top of my closet that belonged to Ronnie. It has been years since I looked inside, but as I recall, the notebook includes a slide rule that he needed for coursework at Texas A&M. But of course, he also had a slide rule in high school. Besides using it to draw a straight line, I am clueless related to its use. Would it bring me bad luck if I opted to give or throw the notebook away? What about the slide rule?

 

I don’t know if you’d call it back luck, but I would feel like something important was missing if I didn’t have it. Just saying that is really stupid because other than collecting dust in the top of my closet, the leather notebook serves no useful purpose other than to trigger a memory when I take the time to glance toward the top of my closet.

 

Of course, as you might suspect, my primary focus when I look in my closet is to look down. Could I have inadvertently dropped one of the yellow tags attached to my laundry on the floor? That, too, is guaranteed to bring you bad luck.

 

So what about the All-STAR baseball games taking place in Sealy, TX this week? What place does superstition hold related to winning or losing? As you might suspect, I am on very shaky ground with this one because I know folks who are more than just a little superstitious when it comes to baseball. Smart people really, but maybe not always?

 

Maybe the term is “Déjà vu?” If your son’s team won the first All Star game, you guarantee a win on the second by exactly duplicating the first game. If you are observing the game, you sit in the same spot or you stand in the same place. Nothing can be altered, you march to the beat of the same drum you followed previously. If you wore your favorite whatever for the first game, you leave the good luck unimpaired and unwashed and you wear it for the second. I mean, after the third consecutive game, wouldn’t a fresh look guarantee some level of success?

 

In Sealy, Little League baseball is King. In fact, someone recently mentioned that All-Star week is not the week to have your wedding. What you’ll find is an empty church because nothing, I mean nothing, is of higher importance that the All Star Games in Sealy.  The crowd might show up for the reception, but they are not missing the game for a wedding.  In Sealy, that probably would include the father-of-the-bride.

 

I recently heard of a very successful entrepreneur in Sealy who invited an elderly couple to come watch his son’s team play. The couple previously invested highly in the man’s business. They arrived for the 3rd game. With there welcome to the game came the pronouncement: “If the team starts to lose, you’ll have to leave.” The man agreed that he understood. Maybe the man is a local that knows you change nothing including spectators to continue the winning streak.

 

At any rate, the General wanted to go to the fourth game last night. I said: “Not on your life. If the team should lose, we’d always be suspected as the cause”.  No, I’m not overly superstitious, but I wasn’t going to take that kind of chance. Some risks are acceptable, while others are not. Hopefully, I have the discernment to know the difference.

 

I’d like to have another cup of coffee, but after the first cup should I take the risk?

 

All My Best!

Don

Cadence Count: “One, two, three, four…sound off”

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I generally don’t pay that much attention to the calendar. The days come and go in such rapid succession that it is like having to keep up with the swift movement of a cadence count. You know the drill: “One, two, three, four …sound off.” Whether voluntary or otherwise, most of us plod along to the rhetorical beat and quick time rhythm of life without fully processing the steps we take.

 

Somehow we manage to go the distance. For most of us that has never been the issue. Getting from point A to point B isn’t the problem. The problem is that we often don’t take advantage of simply enjoying the experience. We live our lives as though we are regimented to carve out seven minutes for a fast food lunch and we race throughout the day as though we are going to a fire.

 

For example, to prove my point, let me ask it this way: “What do you most remember about yesterday?” What treasured gift did you glean along the way that added contentment and fulfillment to your life?” Perhaps a better question than that is, “Whose life was touched by yours? Did the connection add quality and joy to both of your worlds?”

 

This isn’t rocket science. It is simple enough that all of us have the capacity to get it, but somehow we routinely miss it. Truth be told, that is one of the reasons I carve out the time daily to write something down. I don’t want to live life up without at least taking the time to notice where I’ve been and where I’m headed.

 

I’ve learned through the act of writing that it is better for me to dedicate a couple of hours a day to chronicling a memory or thought. That ensures that I devote some time thinking about the topic or experience. The time shared in giving it thought is of value to me.

 

Like I said, “I don’t pay a lot of attention to the calendar.” Consequently, the fact that I remembered the significance of today is almost unprecedented. Today, June 15th, is our 49th wedding anniversary. Where did the time go?

 

Day-before-yesterday, when we lived in the other house in Henly, Treva and I bought a grandfather clock to commemorate our 12th wedding anniversary.  It doesn’t seem that long ago, but it was a lifetime ago. Andrea was one year old at the time. Today she is 36. How could that be possible? Of course, Craig was twelve and today he is 45. I won’t even begin to mention Treva’s age or mine. All I can say is that the grandfather clock has held up well.

 

For both of us, the grandfather clock is probably the one item most cherished by either of us in our home. There is something about the chiming of a clock that adds a flare of warmth and coziness to a home.

 

I’ve often said that I married way above my pay group. That is obvious to even the most casual of observers. Treva has it mostly all together and I’m mostly still a work in progress. Somehow, she hasn’t given up on me and she’s willing to go the distance.

 

Across the years, the things I valued and loved most about Treva when we were first married haven’t changed. She is still the same person I married a lifetime ago. And yet, it is also true that she isn’t at all the same person I married a lifetime ago. I like her better now than I did way back then.

 

In my arrogant stupidity, I will take credit for having taught her a lot. For one thing, during the first several years of our marriage, Treva hated to go shopping. Consequently, I purchased all of her clothing. You probably think I’m making this up, but it’s true. Do you remember Scarborough’s Department Store on Congress Ave and Sixth Street in downtown Austin? I shopped often for her at that location.

 

I don’t actually remember the year that the tide shifted, but trust me, the General no longer no has an aversion to shopping. She’s gotten it down to a fine art form.

 

If Treva were contributing to this posting, she’d probably tell you that she’s taught me a lot as well. She’d hasten to add that I am a very slow learner. We’ve learned from each other. Despite the distance we’ve come, we are still as different as night and day and yet, we’ve never been more alike. I just read those two sentences over twice. It sounds like a contradiction, but it is 100% factual.

 

It is almost uncanny; I know what she’s thinking before the words come out of her mouth. Even if I’m in the midst of doing what she wants me to do, she’s still going to verbalize the request. And yes, that makes me a little crazy.

 

She will tell you that my procrastination makes her a little crazy. I never miss a deadline, but I am also a fan of the last minute. That’s just the way I roll. She’ll never understand it, but if we agreed on everything, can you imagine how boring life would be?

 

At the end of the day, when push comes to shove, Treva is my greatest fan. She freely offers the gift of encouragement. She also mixes that with a lot of other advice, but I glean out the things that work for me and I don’t always pay attention or so she says.

 

Our life is good. It has worked well for the two of us and I am looking forward to going the distance. Since she doesn’t need me to shop for her clothing, I may pick up some ear plugs hunters use when hunting.  That way I can enjoy the volume on my car radio while she muffles out the sound. If you believe that, I’ve got ocean front property for sale in Arizona.

 

It was Browning who said: “Come and grow old with me, the best is yet to be.” I’ll offer that same invitation to Treva except that I’m fairly resistive to the concept of getting old.

 

All My Best!

Don

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old and Long Ago

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It was years ago, but seeing the building brought back a memory from long ago. For one thing, I can’t believe I ever thought the place was a suitable venue for lunch. It was a hole-in-the-wall kind of restaurant that no unsuspecting soul would ever venture into on their own initiative. The restaurant must have come recommended by a friend or I’d never have darkened the door. I mean, even forty plus years ago, it looked bad. It really doesn’t look any different today except that it is no longer a restaurant. Seeing it in my peripheral vision as I drove south on South Congress near Ben White took me back in time.

 

Of course, as you might suspect, the restaurant was Tex-Mex with just the right amount of grease. A group of us from the office ate there at least once a week. Sometimes if I played my cards right, I could find a colleague willing to eat there twice in a week. I was always game.

 

At the time, the General and I lived in the Castlewood addition off of Manchaca Road just south of Davis Lane. It was a Saturday. I don’t remember where we were headed, but I do remember I was wearing a new shiny silk-blend casual shirt that looked sharp. I had never worn the shirt before. What was I thinking? I’d no more wear a shirt like that today than I’d go to a restaurant without one. You know what they say: “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service”. I thought from a fashion perspective that I was the cat’s meow. Shiny and sleek – it was the new style and I was on the cutting edge.

 

It was a short-lived fantasy. One of the waitresses in the restaurant inadvertently dropped a plate of cheese enchiladas down the back of my silk blend shirt. Actually, it was really only the right shoulder and sleeve and a portion of the back, but why underplay it? It was messy. As I recall, she didn’t announce that it was a “Hot Plate”, but worse than that, it was a greasy plate. It didn’t blend well with the look I was hoping to achieve.

 

The waitress was like a storm trooper in an immediate attempt to eradicate the damage and wipe it away. I mostly sat there speechless while she used one of the dishtowels used to bus a table to wipe away the misplaced plate of enchiladas. She couldn’t have been more apologetic and I couldn’t have been more surprised. I can’t say that I looked as good as new when she was finished, but I have to give her a hand for giving me a hand.

 

In case you’re wondering, it wasn’t my order that she dropped. As I recall, we had not yet been served and the misplaced enchiladas didn’t squelch my appetite.   I don’t remember if Craig made any comment to the waitress or not. He was probably in preschool at the time and always had a knack of saying just the right thing to make people feel better. He was a positive kid. For that matter, he still is.

 

I remember that he and I were sitting in the car in a parking lot waiting for Treva once when the guy next to us bumped into the side of our car with his door. Our windows were down and the guy couldn’t have been more apologetic. Craig assured him that it was okay because: “It was nothing but a trash truck anyway”.

 

I wonder where he heard an expression like that? I bet you can guess. One thing about the General’s persona is that she has always been predictably consistent. If anything is out of place, immediately it falls into the category of unacceptable.

 

The trash truck that Craig was referring to was a 1973 Oldsmobile Cutlass – 2-door hardtop. It was green with a beige vinyl roof. Never ever did it resemble a trash truck and it always stayed in pristine condition. It was like new the day we traded it in for another car. In fact, I wish I still had it. I guess it was a coming of age car for me because I traded it for a full-size Oldsmobile in 1976 .  The full size Olds carried with it a “middle aged married feel”. It was not a good look.

 

Out of curiosity, I checked Google for the 15 Best Hole In The Wall restaurants in Austin. At least two or three of them are located on William Cannon Street. Back in the day when I was sporting around town in my shiny silk-blend casual shirt and 1973 Cutlass, everything on William Cannon Drive was brand spanking new.

 

Have you ever stopped to wonder how some things carry the feel of old and dated while others seem timeless? That is particularly true of neighborhoods. Maybe it has something to do with landscaping, fresh paint and pride of ownership, but you know what I mean. You can instantly tell the difference.

 

So my request of you is simply to respond to the today’s posting by sharing your hole-in-the-wall dining experience. If you’ve ever had a plate of enchiladas spilled on you, I’d like to know that as well.

 

Truthfully, the experience didn’t spoil my affinity for the place. We ate there regularly until we moved to Dripping Springs. Of course, back in the day, Drippin’ didn’t have much to offer in way of restaurants. Somehow across the years things have a way of changing, but still remaining the same. Someone recently asked me for the name of my favorite restaurant in Dripping Springs. I was speechless. It doesn’t exist.

 

All My Best!

Don

 

Location, Location, Location

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They say it rains on the just and the unjust.  At various times it probably could be said that I fall into both categories. Our lawn is currently green and lush, so I’m not complaining, but we’ve missed some really good chances for rain.  The man who has taken on the responsibility of maintaining our lawn has done a tremendous job.  He is a perfectionist and his rate is very affordable.   He actually does a much better job than I’ve ever done. Consequently, I don’t plan to go back.  Why should I “sweat it” since he’s set a higher standard and seems to enjoy the process.  Interestingly, his own lawn is xeriscaping and it purposefully doesn’t take up much of his time.

Last year when the General had half of our lawn replaced with river rock, I opted to get rid of our lawnmower.  It was taking up too much room in the well house.  I also tossed my old weed eater and bought a new one. I used it one time, loaned it to a friend who found that it didn’t work, and put it back without resolving the issue of its brokenness.  I mean after all, it is still in warranty, but getting it repaired is such an inconvenience.  I’ve only been to the SEARS repair center one time and that was thirty years ago.  I truthfully don’t even remember where it is located, but it was a long way from where I live.

Getting back to the rain, a couple came to church yesterday and their car had literally been through hail. The car was covered with huge dents.  I guess I needed the visual imagine to really process the level of damage that hail can cause.  Reportedly, a portion of Dripping Springs incurred golf-ball size hail one evening last week.  In case you’re wondering, that causes a lot more damage than the nickel and dime stuff.

I guess when it comes to a hailstorm; it is a lot like the real estate market. It gets back to location, location, and location.  The only variable is where you are at the time.  Hail is no respecter of persons.  If you find yourself in its path, brace yourself for the damage it can cause.  You literally have no option but to ride out the storm.

Reportedly, many who found themselves in the hail headed for the closet bank to safely park under the portico extending over the drive-in banking location.  Wouldn’t you know it? Everyone had the same idea and most didn’t find save cover. Consequently, there are dented cars in Drippin’.  Fortunately, mine is not one of them, but only because I wasn’t in that location at the time.

It is interesting that when bad things happen, someone always wants to assign some level of blame.  Sometimes people point the accusing finger  to themselves.  If only I hadn’t done this or that, I wouldn’t be dealing with this…  You can play that game out and to the nth degree and it doesn’t alter one’s circumstances or situation at the end of the day.  The blame game isn’t a silver lining that leads anywhere other than an attitude of regret unless it carries with it a lesson learned that leads to life-altering change.  Then it may be worth the price of admission.

Living under the auspices of blame and shame doesn’t often add quality to one’s life.  I’d much prefer to think each day is an opportunity to hit the reset button and with the Lord’s help choose to do it differently. 

I recently visited with a young man at the hospital who said with a smile on his face something closely akin to: “My days of drinking, wild-ways and running around are over”.  I had the thought: “Good for him!”  Yet, I’ve known the guy a long, long time and I wouldn’t have described his lifestyle as being filled with any of those things.  Back in the day when he prided himself on being a “wild bull rider who liked to rodeo”, maybe I would have been in agreement, but not now.

Fortunately, he has come to the place where he can live and learn, but I’m not sure it was a lesson he could have learned earlier.  Maybe he should have known better, but I’m not sure without last week’s wake-up call, many of us would have gotten it.  Even though he previously was forewarned by his doctor, he precipitously and unexpectedly found himself in harm’s way. 

Though he was fully alert last week, he was moved from his hospital room to the intensive care unit with a blood sugar level of over 500.  He knew something wasn’t right, but he didn’t know he was diabetic. 

The year before the doctor mentioned a “pre-diabetic condition” and suggested a dietary and life-style change.  The young man processed the information in exactly the same way that many of us would.  He saw it as “cautionary and suggested” rather than a life and death mandate.

This time, there was nothing cautionary or suggested about the doctor’s warning. It was a mandate and it effectively garnered his attention.  Just hearing the mandate made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. 

The doctor’s pronouncement was grim. Without an immediate and abrupt lifestyle change, there were three things the young man could count on: damage to his kidneys, damage to his extremities and damage to his vision.  All three were at risk.

Some may question the doctor’s bedside manner, but the physician was on a roll.  There was more to the warning on the off-chance that his mandate for a life style change weren’t followed: “In all likelihood, the kidneys would be first to go. Consequently, the young man could count on coming to the hospital three times a week for dialysis”. The doctor wasn’t finished.  “Next, we’ll start cutting off your legs and someone will be pushing you in a wheel chair to get you to dialysis.  Next you’ll lose your vision and you won’t even known where you are, but someone will still be pushing you in a wheelchair to get you to dialysis.”

So what are the young man’s choices?  If you’re thinking: “Get a new doctor”, that doesn’t really change the game plan.  I’d turn to God and ask for the perseverance and stamina to go the distance in making dietary and life-style changes.  Seriously, I think he has done that, but the journey is far more difficult than one might think.  Consequently, please remember my anonymous friend in your prayers.  I know that he would appreciate the prayer support. 

All My Best!

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Don