Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thanks, Evelyn!

I just finished reading Ev's blog regarding her return to writing after a hiatus of some years (2?). My hiatus has been much longer but here I am now. In truth, I have nothing in particular to write about but I just wanted to give notice that I am also back. Maybe you have started a renaissance, Ev.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The Trouble With Horses
5/30/2014 3:52 PM
Okay, here is why I don’t want ponies at my birthday party.
When I was 4 or 5 (not sure and no one to verify it with, anyway) I was staying at my mother’s sister’s house (just to differentiate between maternal and paternal aunts) in Alabama. She either had a farm or lived close to one but, at any rate, she lived in the country. There was a shallow creek that meandered through the countryside on or near her property. As a child, it appeared to be fairly wide and the channel was fairly deep; as an adult, I would guess that the creek channel was a total of about 6 feet wide and probably 2-3 feet below the surface of the ground. The water was probably no deeper than 5-6 inches but it was deep enough to sit and play in on hot summer days.
One day, my brother, oldest sister and myself (and perhaps various cousins but I don’t know for sure) were playing in the water when I heard the sound of horses running across the ground coming closer and closer. Suddenly, about 10 – 12 horses jumped directly over our heads – a most unnerving experience to me. Fortunately, we were sitting in the water and not standing but I have been distrustful of those beasts ever since.
I have other negative experiences with horses that I will recount in due time – but for now, I am about out of time and I feel ill due to remembering that traumatic childhood event. I must go lay down.
5/30/2014 4:02 PM
The Trouble With Horses (Part 2)
6/2/2014 5:36 PM
Okay – to continue my journey (on foot, obviously!). Time marched on after that affair and, to be honest, I didn’t really know that this experience actually had a lasting effect on me where I would be reluctant to actually ride a horse. I think the first time I ever rode a horse, I was probably 14 or so and I was actually riding behind someone else. I was living in Green Cove Springs, FL and one of my friends came up to my door on a horse and asked if I wanted to ride with him. Now what boy aged 14 is going to admit that he just might be afraid of horses? Not me, for sure. So, somehow I managed to get up behind him (he was on a saddle and I was on the horses haunches – see any issue here, yet?). I did, however, take off my glasses and put them in the new metal case that they had come in (actually just got them that day after being without glasses for a week) because my dad had threatened my life if I damaged or lost them (we were pretty dang poor). No way was I going to risk my new glasses just for a horse ride that I didn’t really want to take. Nonetheless, I got up behind my friend and although it was a little disconcerting to bounce up and down and side to side as the horse walked, it wasn’t all that bad. However, within 5 minutes, my friend urged the horse down into a fairly steep ditch and the side to side, up and down became more than I could deal with. I fell off and, as I did, manage to do a complete flip and land on my butt. Guess where my glasses case was?
6/2/2014 5:46 PM
The Trouble With Horses (Part 3)
6/3/2014 7:17 PM
And then there was San Diego. I was coerced into going horseback riding at a horse stable. How bad could that be, I thought? The horses were (so I assumed) pretty much tame and probably pretty slow as well. When we got there, there were a few people ahead of us and I stood there (sweating in fear) watching them mount the horses and ride away. The horses were in a sort of corral and as one was needed, it was led into a narrow causeway with split rail fences on both sides and gates fore and aft. The customer would climb a couple of stairs to a platform which made it easy to get onto the saddle – not bad! It was getting close to my turn; in fact, I was second in line and the guy in front of me was getting ready to get on his horse. He had no sooner placed a foot in the stirrup (or perhaps his butt in the saddle – not sure now) when the horse went absolutely berserk – wait, berserk is too tame – he went destructively, frenetically violent and pitched, bucked, bit, smashed into the split rails, fell down with the man smashed between the horse (horse? – DEMON) and the fence. Yep, I turned right around even though the guy who was running things promised me that this was really unusual behavior. Right. I believed that a whole bunch – in all probability, all the other horses had really unusual behavior and the one in front of me was normal!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Delusion of Christians

Do we delude ourselves when we say that we are Christians? Or do we prove our Christianity by what we do?

"But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of a person he was." (James 1:22-24 NAS)

Delusion is one of the great tricks of Satan; with it, he can convince us that we are indeed practitioners of Christianity when, in fact, we may merely be thespians in a Christian role. Oh, I don’t think we intentionally don our dramatic persona; I think we’re just afraid to look at the truth about our Christianity. If we did, we might find ourselves recognizing that our professed faith requires more of us than we are willing to give. The great hallmark of Christ was His giving – He gave us hope, salvation, eternal life with God, and a purpose to our lives. That purpose is to give so that others might come to know Christ and receive that which He would give. To do that, though, requires true Christianity.

Christianity is both faith and action; by faith we accept Christ as our Savior and by action we demonstrate to the world that our faith is tangible. Faith, without demeaning it in any way, is simply believing in something that cannot be empirically proven. We all have faith – faith that gravity will always be there, faith that the sun will rise in the morning, faith that we will be loved by our spouses. Action, though, demands something of us – our energy, our willingness to give of ourselves, a commitment. As James so aptly puts it:

"Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself." (James 2:17 NAS)

When James speaks of our looking at our natural face in a mirror and, immediately upon turning away, forgetting what kind of a person we truly are, he is reminding us that we are incapable of seeing the genuine reflection of what and who we are. A true mirror will exactly reflect our image but through our own self-deception and Satan’s distortion we believe that we are something other than what our image displays.

The First Time I Saw Eileen

The first time I saw Eileen, I must admit that I was underawed. Here was a woman with an Afro that stuck out about 12 inches on either side of her head. She was wearing a peasant blouse with 2 tassels in rather obvious locations and an old pair of faded jeans. She had on hippie-styled granny glasses and no shoes. She was sitting in a sort of lotus position on the sofa in the house of my shipmate Robbie. It was a blind date; you know, the kind that you say that you will never participate in and yet you somehow end up being a part of.

My day had been quiet – in fact, it was about 9 AM and I was asleep on the ship when I was told that I had a phone call on the quarterdeck. You must remember that this was prior to the invention of cell phones. After getting dressed and stumbling up the ladder to the quarterdeck, I heard Robbie saying that a friend of his wife was staying with them and would I like to come over and have dinner with them. My brain was saying “No thank you – I have something to do tonight” but my mouth was saying “Sure, Robbie, what time?” I immediately tried to correct the situation but Robbie didn’t give me time. “About 5,” he said and hung up.
Great. Just great. Well, I wasn’t about to make any special concessions for someone that I had never met, so I went in my very best (well, at least it was clean) plaid flannel shirt and jeans. Did I mention that I had on my Navy-issued glasses? The ones everyone called “birth control” glasses? And I arrived in my white Ford F-150 pickup truck. Definitely a man of distinction and impeccable taste. But back to Eileen.

We obviously had nothing in common other than we were both breathing and alive. I’m sure she was contemplating a sit-in or something as a protest against the military-industrial complex that she thought I represented and I was anxiously hoping that the cops would show up and save me from someone who was undoubtedly an anarchist. No such luck. We ended up sitting across from each other at dinner and I had to admit that she was good-looking although I probably wouldn’t want to introduce her to my folks.

The evening kind of dragged by and I was glad that soon it was about over and I could escape. I had managed to survive without creating any problems or making a total fool of myself. As I was getting up to leave, I was going to say “Thanks, I had a nice time” and head for the door but it didn’t work out quite that way. Instead, I said “Hey, would you like to go to a movie tomorrow?” And the rest, as they say, is history.

Something Unexpected in a Happy Meal

Now, don’t get me wrong but Happy Meals aren’t exactly my thing. I know, I know – the kids love them but, for me, there just isn’t enough food in there to keep a mouse happy, let alone a gourmand such as myself. I have on occasion bought one, although I am careful to indicate it is for my grandchild. Honestly, I only buy Happy Meals for the toy in the box – not the food.

I did find something in a Happy Meal one time that was so unexpected that I couldn’t believe my good fortune in receiving that particular box. After all, how many people do you know that have a ¾ inch plastic pistol that can get you arrested if you carry it into a school? Aren’t those things illegal? Well, don’t tell anyone but I did get one and I have to admit that it is definitely scary, especially after I used my pocket knife (also illegal in schools and in airplanes) to remove some of the excess plastic that tends to extrude from little plastic toys. And, the fact that it is green makes it look almost like it has been sitting somewhere in an area unprotected from the weather and it gained a patina of verdigris. Almost an antique.

I think I am going to give it to the little brat next door and encourage him to take it to school to show his friends – won’t his dad have a hard time explaining why his “wonderful little Tommy” has been arrested and is in jail awaiting trial for terrorizing the school teachers with his gun. I can only hope that none of them have a heart attack at seeing such an obviously dangerous instrument; however, should it happen, I doubt that I would lose much sleep over it.

Light My Fire

“Come on baby, light my fire. Come on baby, light my fire. Try to set the night on fire”

Thus sang Jim Morrison in early 1967. The inference is, of course, obvious and although this is certainly not the only song that influenced the fire of the sexual revolution of the 60’s, it was almost certainly one of the songs that helped to fuel it. Compare those words of Jim Morrison to the words of Elvis Presley just 11 years or so earlier:

“Love me tender, love me true, all my dreams fulfilled. For my darling, I love you and I always will.”

Not quite so much fire involved there – more of a quiet, caring and thoughtful approach that would, in just a few years, be considered trite and old-fashioned.

I, for one, loved both songs. "Love Me Tender" evoked that soft side of my nature (yes, there is a soft side of my nature) while "Light My Fire" appealed to my fascination with that which is chaotic and agitated (yes, believe it or not, I can be chaotic). And, even though I was only 11 when Elvis sang his song, I knew that love was supposed to be tender and caring. I knew that love was supposed to be permanent and committed. I knew that there was supposed to be one love in your life.

At 21, well – that was a different story that we will not go into here. All I can say is that I am delighted that I have come back around to that 11-year-old’s point of view again. As I get older, I realize that chaos is not all I thought it would be - can any of us say that life is better now than it was when Elvis sang "Love Me Tender"?

My Version of Gone With The Wind

Just for Miss Ev and with sincere apologies to Margaret Mitchell

Gone With The Wind

A poem I sat to write but ere a word was penned
I found, to my chagrin, my thoughts were gone with the wind.
Alas, now what to do? I don’t think Evelyn would buy
That my words had been stolen by Yankees, evil and sly.

The dog ate my homework seemed less than appropriate
And I didn’t want to risk that she would expropriate
My seat in writers group henceforth and for evermore
I cringed at hearing her proclaim “Nevermore!”

I’ve got it, this excuse she will have to believe!
I swear my assignment I had achieved,
But that final act of Sherman’s occupation
Caused my paper to burn in Atlanta’s conflagration.