It all started a few months back with a conversation with a friend at church. He’d said that he’d never seen the “Lord of the Rings” movies, didn’t plan on seeing them, and really had no desire to see them. But I just knew that he’d appreciate the story if he would just take the time to watch even the first of the three movies. Now, this friend is newly married, and I know that his wife appreciates a good story – and she likes LOTR. So I convinced her to ask him as one of her Christmas presents, for them to come to our house and have dinner and watch the first of the movies (“Fellowship of the Ring”) with us. He relented. What else could he do, right?
Well, it’s taken a few months and having to re-do our plans at least once, but last night they arrived at 5:30pm with pizza in hand. My job was to pick up some orders of chips and queso from Chili’s on the way home – oh, and a large half-Coke-half-diet Coke for my wife. As I was leaving work around 4:50pm I called and asked if she could have our youngest son look for the movie in our collection so that if it wasn’t there I could pick it up somewhere on the way. Response back was that he was sure that it was on NetFlix so we had no worries.
Made it to Chili’s, picked up the order, and headed home – would be there by 5:20pm (early, which is amazing). I was literally five blocks from our street when I get a text from another of our sons: “Dad, I’m at so-and-so’s, can you pick me up so I won’t miss dinner?” I had just passed that friends house on my way from work to Chili’s – why couldn’t that text have come 15 minutes ago? Back into the heart of rush-hour traffic to get him, and then finally get back home 15 minutes late for our friends arrival. Thankfully my wife was already home. Continue reading →
I have this crazy dream. It’s not the normal thing that a guy who has lived most of his life in Florida would probably want to do, but I want to do it anyway. I want to go on a cattle drive. You know – riding like a cowboy on a horse, yelping and making noises as I try to get cattle moving in the right direction. Boots, the hat, the whole thing. Now, I did the “City Slickers” thing and told myself I would have it done before my 40th birthday – well I’m 41 now and I haven’t done it yet. Funny thing how money is always involved. But it’s still inside of me rumbling around wanting to be done – and I just KNOW that someday I am going to do it. I guess this probably leaves you wondering why any sane person would want to do something so unusual, right? That’s an easy-enough answer… It’s God’s fault.
If you’ve been reading these posts, by now you know I love history… and maybe you’ve also picked up a bit on that part of me that yearns for the big, sweeping, and epic moments of life. I love movies like “Dances With Wolves”, “Glory” and “The Patriot” – anything full of big, wide, panoramic shots of the openness of America, all packed in with historical moments and zipped up in an overwhelming sound score. Something in me craves to know that there is more out there than the laid out streets of our neighborhoods. When I was a child, I had a subscription to Arizona Highways magazine – just so I could look at the pictures of the Grand Canyon and life “out West”. I would also play for hours alone in the woods near where we lived with an old WWII-era training rifle, letting the hills and streams of Delmar, NY and Walpole, MA become the battlefields of Bunker Hill and Normandy. Fallen logs would turn into the walls and ramparts at the Alamo or the fences surrounding Gettysburg. I don’t think that there was a major battle in our nation’s history that I didn’t fight in. I covered a lot of ground for a kid in the 4th grade. Continue reading →
I spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s this year pretty much in bed. I woke up two days after Christmas with a bad bug and spent the next few days either in bed sleeping or in the bathroom being sick. The first time I can ever remember being sick like that was when I was in the third or fourth grade and we lived in New York. I just remember being so sick that I could barely get out of bed, and had to eventually end up sleeping on the thin box-spring or platform that are made for bunk beds. Three decades later and I can still remember how uncomfortable it was, and the delirium and strange dreams that always accompany these kinds of sicknesses. It seems like those dreams are the strangest when you lay their watching television, so this time at least I made sure it didn’t come on until the intensity of the bug had passed. Either way, it seemed like an almost prophetic way to end 2011.
“I am sick, discontented, and out of humor. Poor food, hard lodging, cold weather, fatigue, nasty clothes, nasty cookery, vomit half my time, smoked out my senses – the Devil’s in it; I can’t Endure it. Why are we sent here to starve and freeze? What sweet felicities have I left at home: a charming wife, pretty children, good beds, good food, good cookery – all agreeable, all harmonious. Here all confusion, smoke and cold, hunger and filthiness…” – Surgeon Albigence Waldo, Valley Forge, December 14, 1777 Continue reading →
In the last six years or so, I have had the opportunity to take part twice in a winter retreat of pastors from all over the greater New York City area. This retreat, organized by Concerts of Prayer Greater New York, brought together pastors from every denomination and was held in a quaint retreat center in the country located on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. Being a history buff, I remember more than once sitting on a simple bench looking out over that cold, icy, winter river and thinking about what it was like for George Washington and his men to cross this same river near Trenton some 65 miles or so away. We are all taught in school of that famous crossing that Washington made on Christmas night, 1776, and how important the capturing of the city was for the war effort. What most never learn is that just a week later most of Washington’s troops were ready to give up and go home. As a matter of fact, up until that famous midnight crossing and defeating of the Hessian troops, that’s what a lot of the Continental soldiers had already done. Continue reading →