Well, we are now into Day 3 of the “Get Aaron all Healed up” campaign. If you have read it at all, you will recall that Friday, before almost any living thing was awake, we took Aaron over to the hospital for his outpatient surgery – taking care of a rather pernicious hernia. We went through the whole ordeal, including the ten thousand page instruction manual, as though there was a real risk that, if the hernia stuff were to come undone, Aaron would suddenly deflate, flying around the room like a balloon let loose without tying it.
So, when we got home, Cheri/Mom put together the schedule for the many medicines Aaron was to take over the course of a day. That meant, of course, that no two doses would or could be on the same schedule, or that like every 6 hours, Aaron could just gulp down one of each and call it good. Oh no – one is every 8 hours, one is two three times/day, one is every six-eight, as needed, and one is to be administered when the clock strikes a mysterious number known only to guinea pigs and sea monsters…
There was something to breathe in, so that he could keep breathing. There was a significant stretch band that he was to wear to keep him from breathing, apparently – we found that it took about three people to stretch it tight enough so that it was as close as you could get to a 21st century corset.
Adam, younger brother, had gone to the store before we got home, and secured the ice cream, chocolate milk, syrup, and a wide range of munchie and tasty goodies. I know it was to make sure Aaron ate stuff, but it also made for a nice tasty weekend as well!
The weekend has progressed pretty well, with each person taking his/her responsibility, including Adam fetching water or milk, and chatting with brother downstairs, and Mom offering what only a mother could offer – lots and lots of tender love and care. I have been in charge of financing the campaign, and ordering in foods from restaurants that might taste good, and the cats have also offered their own suggestions of how Aaron could feel better by taking care of every one of their needs as well.
It’s now Sunday afternoon – Aaron actually slept in this morning, which was good, but it meant having to reshuffle all the medicine schedule for the day. It will be a bit of a challenge when Cheri goes back to work tomorrow, since then all that tender care stuff falls to me.. maybe I’ll just have Cheri call him every hour.
Oh, and “we” bought a new blender so the shakes will be smoother and tastier. And we moved the recliner into his bedroom so he could lay back while playing his Xbox. And so it goes.
What I have realized in all this work, is something I learned, but forgot a number of years ago. The fact is, when someone in the family system is sick, or injured, or recovering, the entire family is part of the sickness, the injury or the recovering. Yes, we do other things than simply wait hand and foot, or stand nervously, expecting a need to arise. But when part of the system is affected or weakened somehow, the entire system is affected. Just like Paul talks about when he tells us that when part of the body is hurt or needing something, the whole body is afflicted or affected. It’s just the way it goes.
Now, we are blessed in that Aaron in a few days will be all the healthier, and medicines will go away, and normalcy will come back to our home. I do feel for those families that undergo a struggle with a hurting family member, and the realization is there that they probably are NOT going to get better, to heal, to become whole. Our “meantime” is waiting and working toward healing; their meantime, sadly, is waiting and caring for a sadder and harder outcome, as they have to say goodbye.
So I’m certainly not complaining these days, and Aaron has been a great sport in working through pain and discomfort, and not being a giant baby or anything, when he would maybe have the right to do so. But it’s a family affair these days, as we move into the Month of March, which hopefully means great weather and great health for us all. I pray the same for you as well!
Word for the day: epoch. Pronounced EE-pock. It’s a word most of us are acquainted with, but most often it’s used to describe a certain prehistoric period where something distinctive happened, like the Jurassic Epoch. It’s actually a bit cooler word that even that is. It travels back in time through the Latin epocha, to the Greek epokhe, which means a stoppage, or a fixed point in time. Breaking it down further, we find epi, “on,” and ekhein “to hold.” In practical terms, it is either a noteworthy or particular period of time, or a moment in time in history or in a person’s life. I like it defined as an event that marks the start of a new period in time for someone. Graduation, or a wedding, or a baby born, or even the best – retirement – are epochs of our lives. Some actually become “epochal” only at some later point, when we realize the significance of that moment. Like when I met Cheri for the very first time, and felt like a light switch turned on in my heart. That was a great epoch. Try to name the ones for you in your life as an exercise today.
I’ll tell you the story in a minute, but first, I heard a great joke that I wanted to share… Mr. Peanut’s last words: “I’ll be back in a jif…” Think about it…
We really didn’t have much snow on the ground here until very close to Christmas. In fact, I remember singing around the house, “I’m dreaming of a BROWN Christmas!” – as I could look outside and see still green grass of sorts, and not even a skiff of snow around the edges. When we put out our Christmas decorations, they looked a little odd, with no white background to make them seem magical. We even went out and hung up the artificial green wreath on the door to the gazebo, so we could look out from the dining room window and see it every day.
But as it always happens, when we least expect it, the weather changed a few days before Christmas. The forecast was for “significant snow,” and “gusty winds,” creating near-blizzard conditions. Sure enough, that forecast was spot on, because we woke up the next morning to everything covered in white, and the wind howling, and creating those near – you -know – whats…
In the course of the storm, the wind caught our little green wreath on the gazebo door, and yanked it like it was a frisbee, and sent it flying across the backyard. Neither Cheri nor I were really interested in trying to retrieve the thing, as it lay there all nestled in a little snow bed. A few hours later, the wreath was covered in snow, leaving a bumpy round image. A few hours after that, the blizzard had done its best, and looking out at the probably 9 inches of snow, the wreath was gone, buried and smoothed over, and we of course were left with the remorse that we probably should have gone out and picked up the wreath when we first had the chance.
Because you see, after that storm, the main gate to Winter was opened up before us. Weekly or sometimes every three day storms piled up the inches of snow all over, and then the arctic vortex sucked all heat from our world, creating what seemed to be the equivalent of hiking on top of Mount Everest in January…
All the while, our little wreath remained buried in the back yard. Buried that is, until we were able to break the bonds of a cursed freezing, stinking winter, and our temperature actually made it above freezing. Not far above, but with the sun shining on a late February afternoon, the yearly miracle began to occur: the snow and the ice that had hogged the blankets for the last three months finally loosened their grip, and our world started to melt. The sidewalks were dry – the streets were wet with the melted snow, and our driveway no longer was classified as a “deadly walking surface,” as the ice slipped away to the street.
More significantly, as we looked out into the back yard, we began to notice the faint outline of a circle. It wasn’t much at first, but as the days continued, it became evident that our Christmas wreath was starting to show itself, halfway to St. Patrick’s Day. Now, the path to the wreath was still pretty deep with snow, but we could see it was there. We even talked about putting on boots and trudging out to bring it inside… we talked about it, like we talk about a lot of things while we drink our coffee.
However, last week, the forecast suddenly went from a dusting of snow, which reminds you of powdered sugar donuts and the way you always end up eating them wearing a dark shirt on a windy day… it went from that, to “better bundle up – and keep those snow shovels handy!”
When we looked out the next morning, sure enough, our wreath was gone. AT least, it had disappeared again beneath the veil of a mid-to-late winter storm that did dump significant snow on us once again. I have to tell you that the population of our fair city did not wake up cheerful and humming a tune when they saw that what was so recently going away had come back again – kind of like a pimple on a teenager’s face.
However, God is good, and now once again, with a few hiccups, our world is melting. Late yesterday, we were able to see a glimpse of a green circle. We didn’t even fake it enough to suggest we go out and get it – I think we will wait until it’s all melted away. Our forecast shows highs for us in the 40s, which is a delightful temperature after hearing for weeks that we are going to make it up into the 20s if we are lucky..
So, this year, we gauged our winter by the measure of the Christmas wreath. Nothing much intentional to see here, wouldn’t you agree? No one put it on the ground, and as yet, no one has picked it up. The snows came and went and came and went, and it looks like they may be gone “soon.” But what a different way to approach life itself, leaving everything to chance and only a possibility. Now, to be honest, this exercise didn’t matter – we had invested probably $11.99 in the wreath, and it by no means was a core part of our Christmas celebration, or a part of hardly anything, except watching the snow rise and fall.
But I would urge you to end the accidental nature of living at that point, and begin to live intentionally and purposefully in the parts of your life that do matter. Live that way for your families, and for your other loved ones. With another image – put your feet on a rock, and push off to purposefully fly and discover what God intends for you as well. It’s a good day to begin, won’t you agree? After all, it’s almost time to retrieve the wreath…
Word for the day: Hiccup. You know how to pronounce it… it is fascinating, because similar words occur in almost every language: French “hoquet,” Danish “hikke,” Persian “hikuk,” and even Hindi “hickki.” The word is known as a onomatopoeia, or a word that is written to reflect the actual sound that is made by something. Like the word, “hiss,” or “thump,” hiccup is what it does. The first part of the word is the actual sound: “hic” (no one really says the last half), and the last half means “little” – so when you hiccup, you are making a “little hic.” Everyone – even babies in the womb – hiccup. The longest recorded hiccupping belongs to a farmer in Iowa, who hiccupped for 68 straight years. Can you imagine? Most doctors believe it is a spasm in the diaphragm. The best cure, of course is to take a spoonful of white sugar, and put it in your mouth, and let it dissolve. Works every time. Funny little word, don’t you think? Nothing cuter than a baby hiccupping, by the way.
Cheri woke me at 3:30. AM. “What time did you want to get up?” I didn’t want to say, “Certainly not now!” Instead, I thanked her, and rolled out of bed, going over to check my alarms – I set two of them – and sure enough, one was set for 3:45, and one for 3:50, so it wasn’t too bad. I just knew I wouldn’t need much time to get ready.
Let me go back and set the context of it all. Our eldest, Aaron, went to the doctor, and came home with a diagnosis and an appointment to do out-patient surgery for a hernia that had been plaguing him for a few years. It was to be on this Friday, which is Cheri’s day off. As you know, I carry the anti-word for love with me whenever I have to enter in any form in the medical world. I quickly recalled that they had put restrictions on the number of non-patients a patient could bring with them to the hospital, and believing that number to be ONE, I brought up the honest fact that medicine was Cheri’s bailiwick, and that she should be the one to be with Aaron that day. I graciously volunteered even to drive them and pick them up, so they wouldn’t have to find a parking spot at 4:45am. It was a grand scheme. Unfortunately, a couple of hours later, Aaron was reading the literature for the hospital, and lo and behold, they had changed the number of visitor at any one time to TWO persons who could come with the patient. Stuck and on the hook.
Now, I figured that with the need for Aaron to be there at 5am, that meant the operation would happen about 5:45, lasting an hour, in recovery for about a half hour, in the room for another little while, and we would be home by no later than 8:30am. That’s how I would run a hospital. I’ll tell you in a little bit how very wrong I was with my estimation.
But first – I’m sure it’s happened to you that for some reason you had to wake up far earlier than your body wanted to… the time of my deepest dreams, my most active REM sleep is between 3 and 6am – maybe even 7am every night. Therefore, to wake up at 3:30 meant that I was down, deeply asleep with a myriad of dreams, resting and restoring my body. At 3:30, I was ripped out of dreamland, knowing that we were going to leave at 4:30. Even to write those hours makes my neck and most of my spine hurt from how early that is. There is a reason God did not bring me to be born on a dairy farm. Under my care, the cows would explode.
So, I got up, had a half a cup of coffee, brushed my teeth, did whatever else I needed to do, put on my clothes, my shoes and socks – and it was 4:15. AM.
So, at 4:30 we headed over to the hospital, which I had been telling folks, at that time of the morning would only take us 15 minutes to travel. Sure enough, we pulled into the parking lot at 4:45, and walked up to the front door. We were met by the security officer, who told us we were the first ones to come this morning. Wow. What a distinction.
We made our way deep into the middle of the hospital, wearing our masks, of course. How fun to spend the better part of a day behind a mask! As we checked in, and got to Aaron’s first room, the prep nurse then described how the day would go. I must say it in no way or shape took the form of the way I described the day a little earlier. My learned estimation was a 5:00 in, 8:30 out proposition. In Italian, they say, “Ma no.” It means, “But no….” Indeed, we were there at 5am so that we would be ready when the anesthetist came in at 6:15 (!) to talk about knocking Aaron out. After she was to be done, we then would see the doctor at 6:40 (!) – almost two hours after we were already at the hospital. This was not going well. He then told us Aaron would get wheeled down for the surgery about a half hour later, to be prepped and given all sorts of drugs and such, and that the doctor would then begin the operation (minor and done every day) at about 7:30. AM. Four hours after I had been awakened, and the sun just coming up.
I was still hoping for about a half hour surgery and clean up, a half hour in recovery and a half hour in the room – bringing us to 9am. A half hour later than I had figured. Ma no. As they went through the work with Aaron, we stepped out and went downstairs to have some breakfast. Can you imagine our shock to find we were the first and only persons to order something for about a half hour?
We finished our breakfast, and then went back up to the “waiting area” where a few other folks were lounging around, waiting for their own person to get done. The hospital has a fancy way to notify families via text, and so every so often, as we sat there waiting, another text would jump into my phone: Patient ‘s procedure has begun. Patient is doing well. Procedure progressing as expected. These all came during the 90 minutes of Aaron’s surgery. Notice: not a half hour… at 9:04, we got another text with the exciting news that Aaron was in recovery! Ok – my guess for freedom time got pushed back a little, but I still figured we’d be home by a little after 10am.
It was all pretty quiet, until I got a phone call from the hospital. Now realize, we are in the hospital. Maybe they were just shy. Anyway, at the time I thought Aaron would go to a room, they told us that, as is the case with Aaron, he never does things simple and done. Apparently they first had trouble getting him to wake up after the surgery, and then they had trouble getting his pain level down to a reasonable number. No matter what combo of things you should never put in your system on a normal day were injected or ingested, it wasn’t working, but they called just to say hi, and to let us know they were “working on it.”
The curtain of silence descended at that moment. No more texts, no phone calls – just the patient number that Aaron had been given, showing up on the lit up board telling us that he was in recovery. Nothing else. It’s a long wait to wait for something that you know is going to happen at a certain time. It is a terrible wait to wait for something that you know you don’t know when it is ever going to happen!
We waited, and waited, and went down to the gift shop and back up, and waited and waited. Finally, I noticed, two and a half hours later, that his number had turned from bright green to dark green. This meant something. It meant that he was moving out of recovery and into another room – apparently to recover from the recovery. At this point, it was 11:30am. Remember that I was expecting to be home at 8:30? Not good.
We saw Aaron, kind of beat up looking, but not too worse for the wear. His nurse then explained how Aaron had to have some things happen before he could go home. I thought that was something like put his clothes and no long show the world his backside, but she meant for him not to be on oxygen, to eat something, to go to the bathroom, to stand and walk a little, and all the other kinds of things we desire our two-year-olds to master. She estimated he could leave around 2pm. For crying out loud! It’s not fun to begin with, but to have the leaving time about 5 ½ hours later than I wanted – well, this was now crazyland, to be sure.
To shave a bit off the story, he did manage to eventually do all those things we cherish, and we did get him in the car, and now he is home, drinking a milkshake, eating some toast and sitting in a recliner with a huge elastic band across his midsection. The good news is, we probably won’t have to go through it again…
There were a few good things about the day, if you have to have a day like that. First and foremost, Aaron went through it all with no real complaints, although he would have every right to do so. He kept a strong outlook, and will make a great recovery. Secondly, I have to say that from the first staff person to say hi, to the final goodbye from his last nurse, Aaron – and we – were treated like we were celebrities, with every need met, every question answered carefully, and as though they understood and respected the fact that people like us don’t go through this every day. It was refreshing to see such professional and caring attitudes from the people who worked there.
The third good thing about the day – was Brahms’s lullaby. More than a couple of times while we waited in the various rooms, there was broadcast throughout the hospital about ten seconds of the sweet music that we have all heard, or have in a music box, or maybe even played on the piano. The lullaby was to tell us, and the world, that a baby had just been born at the hospital. Even with the grind of waiting endlessly, there was a sweetness to each of those moments that somewhere in the hospital, a child came into the world, hopefully to be loved and cherished their whole life – even when they become old enough to have to have a hernia fixed, and Mom and Dad will spend the day – just waiting and caring.
You know, we really don’t know what each day brings. Some of it will be anxious, some frustrating, some boring and waiting and some full of joy for yourself or someone else. And you know what I am going to say: It’s not what happens to you that matters today – it’s what you do with what happens to you that makes the difference, and makes a day significant and nearly holy as we live it under God’s care. Enjoy the tomorrow that is on its way!
Word for the day: palmarian or palmary. Pronounced PAL-muh-ree. It nearly sounds what you think it might be. From the Latin palmarius, meaning “deserving the palm.” Not your palms clapping together, although that’s nice, but it refers to the tradition of the Romans in presenting a palm leaf to the victor in a competition, or a conquering general, or some other person of pre-eminent status and nature. A palmarian individual is someone deserving of a prize, or superior praise for what they have done. Interesting that the crowds laid palm branches before Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem, ‘deserving of the palm,” with their highest praise – until they crucified him.
When I was growing up in 1960s South Carolina, when you never went out to eat unless it was a very important occasion, Mom was still really good at introducing a veritable United Nations of meals throughout any given week or month. We ate Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Eastern European, British, Australian and more – of course, the Italian consisted of spaghetti or sometimes mixing up two boxes of Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee’s pizza, where you had to put the yeast in warm water for about 15 minutes, and then mix in the flour, and then let it sit for another 15 minutes and then mash it out on a cookie sheet, put the sauce on, and then, strangely enough, we would sprinkle on the parmesan cheese that came in the box. We never saw pepperoni, and never heard of mozzarella. Canadian Bacon was a strange idea that had not arisen, and so we had cheese pizzas. We never lived in a time of frozen pizzas, or ones that might be delivered. It truly was a different time.
When it came to Mexican meals, of course had to include chili, which I’m sure was made as bland as could be to accommodate my little sisters’ inability to eat hot stuff. On those nights, Dad would pull out the jar from the refrigerator that held the hot peppers – I don’t know if they were banana peppers or what – just that they were hot! He would, in front of our eyes, reach into the jar, pull out a big pepper, and bite the stem off with the entire pepper in his mouth. Without crying or dying. In that moment, he revealed what we believed to be one of his super powers. We also came to wonder if that was not the reason why he sweated so much. Hot peppers. Works for me today…
The other Mexican food that was served for supper was tacos. I know today when you go to the supermarket, you can find 20 different packets of taco seasoning, and another 12 types of tortillas, plus jalapenos and five shelves full of salsa – what we always called hot sauce. In my world, however, it was far easier. You went to the shelf – one shelf – and got THE packet of seasoning that you would mix with a pound of hamburger, and you got THE package of taco shells, hoping that they weren’t broken. In the refrigerator at home, we always had the taco sauce, and we would be put to work shredding the cheddar cheese (which always gave us the opportunity to woof down large helpings of the cheese in the process, with Mom looking at us from the eyes in back of her head, saying, “Don’t eat all the cheese – we need for everyone to have for supper…” It was one of those few meals that really required everyone to build their own plate of stuff. Added into it would be lettuce, maybe some onions, at least for Dad, and maybe some tomatoes – again, for Dad. My sisters would eat the shell, a little bit of hamburger and a load of cheese – no hot sauce. Mom would also open a can of what I always considered truly disgusting looking food – refried beans – which, by the taste of the beans in my mouth made me wonder why they would cook them once in the first place. That light brown goop would bubble in the pan like mud in a lava pit, but somehow, this too was considered a delicacy by Dad, and Mom.
All of this, then, consisted of our trip across the border, usually twice a month. It was good, so long as the taco shells weren’t in the oven too long to heat up, so that they turned a darker brown than intended. It was a meal you ate with your hands, but had a fork ready, because the first time you bit into the shell, most often it would break in two, sending hamburger and cheese cascading down to your plate. Actually, in a local restaurant here, known as the Red Pepper, which serves arguably the very best “grinder” or sub in the known world, also offers a delicate item on the menu known as the “garbage plate.” Usually ordered by college males, the server will pull out from under the grate where things are prepared, a pile of “stuff” made up of everything that dropped through while a item was being prepared – lettuce, cheese, meat-like taco stuff, bits of ham, turkey, and more. Basically, they sell the stuff that they would normally just toss, at a reasonable price for poor college students.
Back to our family. I don’t recall pulling anything out of the freezer and cooking it in the oven. Hamburger was always frozen and fried up by turning it over and over and scraping the cooked part off, but unlike today, when you can go to the grocery and find a month’s worth of meals just in the frozen foods, that seemed non-existent for us. Plus, I don’t recall seeing a single Mexican restaurant until I was 13, living in Grand Forks. Therefore, we never had burritos, or enchilada, or tamales, or other exotic foods from our southern neighbor. If it wasn’t cooked on the stove in our home, it really didn’t exist.
When I grew up, therefore, and began to sample restaurant fare, I became a great fan of most every Mexican restaurant you could find. Mexican Village, Taco the Town, The Taco Shop, La Campana, Paradiso, Chi-Chi’s, El Chico’s, Taco Bell, Taco Johns, Taco Tico, and of course, Panchos, where you went through the all-you-can-eat line, got your huge plate of food, ate it fast, and then raised your little flag on the table, so the server would come, and you would order more and more and more food, until as a young adult, you knew you could simply eat no more. It was wonderful, especially the cheese enchiladas…
I then stepped into a different world when I once ordered the steak fajitas. Usually the most expensive item on the menu, it came out sizzling on a hot plate with all sorts of extras that you then loaded into a soft tortilla, and enjoyed mightily. I love fajitas, and I understand, until you load it up with all the extras, that it’s supposed to be a rather healthy meal, with very lean meat, and vegetables and stuff. Even today, if we ever go out anymore to eat at one of those restaurants, it’s the first item on my mind.
So – tonight at the Crosses, we are going to venture into that strange land, and actually make fajitas ourselves. Well, I’m going to make them – the meat is already sliced and in the marinade, and later I’ll go at the onions and peppers, and grate the cheese, and see how it turns out. I’d grill the steak on the outside grill, except I don’t want to shovel to get over to it…
I hope it turns out. Still in basic quarantine, due to the fact that I hate face masks, and get tired of the routine of shopping anywhere, making and eating supper is about our biggest event of the day. The nice thing about fajitas, especially, is that you can start out mild – for Cheri – and end up blazing hot – for the rest of us.
I hope you find something interesting to eat tonight. I hope it doesn’t turn out for you like it sometimes does for us, and we end up with a default of looking in our own freezer for something to eat. That’s accidental meal-making, and it’s never really joyful. Step out and try something new! I think there are probably 500,000 recipes on the internet now, for whatever floats your boat. Intentional eating is always thoughtful, and usually delicious, like everything else we do in our lives on purpose, and with purpose, and with the intention of doing it well. Enjoy – let me know how it turns out!
Word for the day: finifugal. Pronounced fi-ni-FYOO-gul. I have to admit the word is not used very often, but should be, I think. It comes from two Latin words, fin or fini, meaning “end,” and fugi, from where we get “fugitive,” so it means actually, “flight.” To be finifugal means you run away from the ending. It could mean you are afraid to finish something, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a psychological issue. Some things, like a great day, we wish would never end, and other things, we don’t want to see the ending of – like the last ten minutes of the movie, “Braveheart.” I just shut it off. So, if you find yourself finifugal about something, it’s ok, so long as no one gets hurt, and nothing is ruined as a result, like defusing a bomb or something like that. It’s probably better to just finish it, and then feel sad later…
Well, the snow yesterday didn’t really amount to anything. During the day, at least. All the advisories and concerns and near warnings about a terrible commute home were unfounded, and I picked up Cheri and drove home on nearly dry streets. We actually had the window shades open during supper, and again remarked that the meteorologists must have muffed it again.
Chere went to bed around nine, as usual, and there was a tiny bit of snow falling – sort of like background snow, which only showed up when we turned on the outside light.
I went to bed at 10pm, and as I went to shut the window shades, I noticed that the snow had picked up a bit. Not much, but some. As is sometimes the case, around midnight, I got up and got a glass of water. I happened to glance out one open window, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a pretty decent, nearly raging snowstorm! Looking out another window, I saw that the driveway was completely white, and the sidewalks, also white, showed only slight indentations from the snow on the ground. Who’d a thunk?
Between 2:30 and 3am, I was again awakened, only this time, it was to the sound of scraping. Beautiful, lovely scraping. You see, for years living in the northland, when snow was predicted, it meant I would bundle up before dawn, carry my trusty 30 pound steel snow shovel outside, and move the snow off the driveway so we could get out and get to work often after the sun came up (but not always!) Finally, in 2001, I broke down and purchased our very own snowblower – a bit brute that weighed more than Cheri ever did, and with ability to grind through the newly dropped drifts on the driveway. This was a great idea, except when my job meant that I was going to be spending a number of night away, especially in the winter. The boys were still too young to run the blower, and there was no way my bride was going to be able to wrangle it.
I then made the best decision of my life, outside of going into ministry and marrying Cheri. The gal that cut our hair on a regular basis was part of a team along with her husband, and they would clear out driveways and sidewalks after snows. The price seemed right, so we contracted with them to take on the care of our winter outside…
Since then, when I have had to travel, I could do so with the wonderful assurance that Cheri would be taken care of, driveway wise, and I also would avoid the possibility of dropping over while moving tons of snow, even with a beast of a snowblower.
So, at 2:30 this morning, with the snow done falling, to hear what must have been elves in the night, scraping away the snow, and the hearing a pickup with a blade clear off the entire driveway – it was a sweet sound, to be sure.
But that’s not my story. For the first time in a while, I actually had to scrape ice off my windshield before we could drive it anywhere. I needed to take it to the garage to get some maintenance done. Now, we live south of 32nd avenue, and the folks that clear the streets must be paid much better than the folks north of 32nd, because our streets were wonderfully clear. I dropped Cheri off, and then headed further north to the car place.
It took me half a block before I ended up behind a blue van (aren’t they all blue?) driving about 10mph. Now, I don’t speed, but the speed limit is 35 on that road, and so I felt for a moment that I was in a parade. When I was able to go around her, from my seat, I could see the steering wheel being crushed under the grip of fear by a middle aged woman who most likely did not want to be driving…
I went on, and within a block, ended up behind another parade float. Unfortunately, I needed to turn from that lane to another street, so I bided my time. She actually went right when I went left, so I was free to assume normal speed. Yes, it was a bit slick, but we weren’t driving Model As, or 1970 Cadillacs with rear wheel drive. Another two blocks, and parade float number three was in front of me. This was a red Camry, driven by an admittedly scared new friend to Fargo from Africa. He actually was driving slower than 10mph, and when it came to turn left, he nearly stopped in the intersection. You would think he was driving on one of those mountain passes in Bolivia or something.
I am mostly patient, but this morning, I was passed off from one driver to another in front of me, none of them going over 15mph. Caution is one thing, but if you are just plain terrified to drive on anything other than dry pavement, then park the car! Or call an Uber! I finally, once again, broke free from the parade route, and got to the dealer, and got the maintenance done.
My next job was to go to the grocery store – another one of my cherished tasks. Sure enough, with three blocks to go before my turn, on a 40mph, five lane city street, I ended up behind the parade marshal, going 30mph. Just when I thought I was free, and put on the right blinker to turn, so did she. This street now was only three lanes wide, and 30mph – actually way too slow for the street, but that didn’t matter. As she drove 30 on a 40mph, on the 30mph street, she then reduced her speed to 20mph.
You know, I made a rule when we lived in Nashville, that when the weather got bad, I stayed home. Not out of fear that I couldn’t navigate, but out of caution for those who truly are self-created hazards. Now, this is Fargo – in February – so it wasn’t like this was the first snow of the season, nor even the first ice. I was glad for their concern, but I am going to watch the weather and road reports more carefully, and when we get another one of these kinds of days, I’ll just stay in the driveway, and make vroom sounds while I sit in the car. It’s both safer, and far less frustrating!
On the road to a significant life, and driving in the car of intentionality (did you like that imagery?), it’s important to take assessment of your surroundings, and to find the route that helps you get where you want to go with the greatest convenience and safety. That being said, there indeed are times you should just park, and wait for a while. We heard the news today of Tiger Woods involved in a one-car crash this morning. The only plausible explanation is that he was either driving too fast, or too emotional for the road. I dare not drive that way – nor should you, so unless there is a dire emergency, which happens so rarely that we could hardly count one, it’s best to drive a sensible life, a reason-able life, a response-able life, or to just stay home and have another great cup of coffee, and plan your day differently.
Word for the day: conjubilant. Pronounced kahn-JEW-bill-unt. It’s an easy word to figure out, but it is such a neat word that it needs a place today. From the Latin roots, of com, meaning “with” and jubilare, which sounds like what it should – “shout for joy.” Conjubilant describes what happens when you and I are so happy about something, or so full of wonder and excitement about what is happening, that together, we “shout for joy,” It’s as simple as that. It’s like singing with the angels, or being in a large room, where everyone is singing the Hallelujah Chorus together. We are also conjubilant with the birth of a baby, or as we applaud a new married couple, or even something as mundane as winning the ND boys hockey championship. Everyone, at least on one side, will be “conjubilant” then, for sure!
It is darker now at ten minutes before 8am than it was at 6:30 this morning. As I drove Cheri to work around 7am, we both remarked how beautiful the sky looked, just as dawn was breaking. It was a bright red sky to the east. Of course, right after the remark, we spoke in unison, “Red sky at morning, sailors take warning…” It’s an old saying, that strangely enough falls true. When you see a red sky at dawn, you can watch for the storms coming. I’m not a meteorologist, but it happens that way. I did a little research, and apparently, the morning red sky occurs because the sky is actually clear below the cloud shelf, and the sun is able to light up the underside of the clouds, which are full of moisture. Of course, when the cloud shelf drops down too far, all you see is a dark, getting-ready-to-rain skyline.
Or, in the case of the Dakotas in February, it’s a getting-ready-to-snow skyline. Yesterday, the temperature at the airport registered 40 degrees, which after a few weeks of highs in the -teens, made it possible to go get the mail at the end of the driveway in shorts and flipflops (of course, avoiding the four inches of slush that accumulated from the melting snow!). Still, it was a glorious day for February, and it led you to think that maybe Spring was closer than we thought. I mean, March comes on Monday, and usually by the end of March, the weather is looking a bit jollier, barring any blizzards or massive snowstorms…
So, back to the skyline. And darkness. Hearing today’s forecast yesterday afternoon left everyone shaking their heads, because in the midst of melting Monday lay the promise/warning of a turbulent Tuesday. The graphic didn’t show the deep red color that is the background for wind chill, high wind, winter storm or blizzard warning – or flood – but it did offer the “yellow” background of the “winter weather advisory.” It’s a step more serious on the scale than what I call “embarrassment snow.” You know, a half inch, even up to two inches, that, unless you are fanatical, you just drive over on your driveway, instead of having to shovel it down to the concrete. There are those, even in our neighborhood, who must remove from any hard surface any evidence that it ever snowed, sometimes shoveling while the snow is still falling. The only thing I can contribute that to is perhaps severe toilet training as a toddler. My philosophy in recent years has been, “God put it there, and God will take it away when it’s time.”
But we do have yellow in our weather background, which the weather forecasters promise will be “between 2-5 inches” in a swath of countryside nearly 100 miles wide. I really think they get away with poor weather predictions by making the future plans so wide and so varied that they of course are right. Now, I’m not much of a gambler, but when I watch in a movie where they are playing roulette, and you pick a number or a color for the little ball to land on as the wheel spins – if you put down money on every single square, then certainly you will win. Trouble is, you will also lose more than you win. So when the folks on tv say that we can expect between a trace and 6 inches of snow somewhere over a path that is 100 miles wide, well, when your wife asks you if we are going to get snow, the best you can interpret is to say that that somebody is probably going to get something, somewhere. That’s what I call true focused predictions.
But it was a red sky this morning, and now it is as if the sun never rose today. The west is a deep, deep gray/blue/black, and there isn’t any wind. After years of driving off into the countryside on mornings just like this, only to be hit with blinding snowstorms about a half-hour into what should be a four-hour drive, to me it sure looks like snows-a-comin’.
That’s why we are switching up tonight’s menu a bit. Instead of fajitas, or Chinese noodle, which would require me going out to the grocery store to pick up those extra ingredients that I didn’t realize we needed when we shopped two days ago, I’m going to wait until tomorrow, when I have to take the car over to the dealer anyway to have some work done (again…), and I’ll just grocery shop (again…) after that. No, tonight seems like it could and should be the crowd favorite of Chili. And cornbread. Actually, it’s Cheri’s favorite, which she would have on the menu nearly every week, to the rest of the family’s chagrin. (We will look at that fascinating word at the end of the column.)
You see – Cheri is Norwegian, with some Swede thrown in for good measure. Given that fact, with over two dozen different hot sauces, salsas, ground pepper, pepper flakes, and pepper juice and habanero sauce that reside either on the shelf or in the refrigerator, my bride will only allow a small portion of the sauce from Mexican Village to go on her plate. Now, Mexican Village hot sauce is best described as a micro-step hotter than ketchup. I actually could not really count the number of times we have been in a restaurant, and she orders chili, or chicken tortilla or some others Hispanic/Latino sounding soup, takes one spoonful, then covers her mouth and exclaims, “Oh – that is SOOOOO spicy!” and pushes the bowl away, only to instead have a meal of tortilla chips.
The saddest, of course, is when before she eats something, she has me try it, like the royal food taster whose job is to make sure the queen isn’t poisoned. What’s sad is that after nearly 44 years together, she will ask the person whose tastebuds and tongue have long ago been burned completely to ashes by every-increasing hot “things” – I never really know what to say. “Well, it’s sort of hot, I guess.” At which opinion, she takes a spoonful, and then looks at me as though I betrayed national secrets, and she was being led to the firing squad. I guess that may be way too many analogies, but what I’m trying to say is that when our family has chili on the menu, it goes unsaid that any effort to put any heat under that soup is forbidden. Now, I know it’s possible to add cayenne and chili powders or other Tabasco or hot Habanero sauce (is there any other kind?) after the soup is in the bowl, but it’s just not the same. But that’s too bad.
So, today, I will whip up some tasty Norwegian chili, which in some areas in the world would be the equivalent of bland spaghetti sauce. And no beans, either – even though the word “chili” means “beans.”
The thing is – I am happy to make that kind of chili for my beloved. The saddest day of my life indeed might be the one when I don’t need to care how hot the chili is, since someone would not be there to eat it. My intention is for that day to be so far into the future as to not matter, and my intention is to make her wonderful chili just the way she wants it. I’ll even throw in some intentional corn bread while I am at it…
Oh look – it’s starting to snow.
Word for the day (like I promised). Chagrin. Pronounced sha-GRIN. As you may have noticed, often when a word has a French connection, it still arrives at its birth in Latin, since French is a Romance (meaning from Rome) language. However, today’s word appears to have sprung up within the heart of the French mindset. The word means everything from grief or sorrow, or sadness, to even embarrassment or distress of the mind. Say the word with a French accent, and you will catch on. It is used as both a noun (to my chagrin) and as a verb (I was chagrinned) that describes the uncomfortable and uneasy sense of nearly being mortified at an occurrence or situation. Although it may not quite fit, some experts believe the word is related to another French word of the same sound – chagrin – or shagreen, which means the rough leather or rough skin. When you rub up against the shagreen, it’s the same feeling as being chagrinned. Nothing to grin about, for sure.
This is always a fascinating day in my year, since – even though we don’t celebrate on the proper date anymore – it’s Washington’s birthday. The more I read about and study who George Washington was, the more I am convinced that he truly was the father of our country. His accomplishments on behalf of our new nation is really overwhelming, when you think about it, and then, as much of the country was ready to simply name him king of America, at that moment he stepped down, and handed incredible power back to the people. February 22 should still be celebrated for the day it is. Now, I love Abraham Lincoln too, and many other (but not all!) presidents who served our country, but George takes the pie as #1. Cherry pie, of course.
However, a quick study of what else has occurred on February 22 gives us quite the unusual list of persons and “things that happened.” Let’s look at a few, and how they match up with George:
896 – How could we forget the date, way back when, when Pope Formosus (remember him?) was crowned Arnulf King of Carinthia AND Holy Roman Emperor. For someone practically forgotten in history, he sure had some cool titles.
1630 – How about the date when Native Americans introduced the Pilgrims to popcorn! It ought to be movie theaters’ grand celebration day! And they introduced it at that year’s Thanksgiving, held in February. However, notice that it was NINE years after the first Thanksgiving… were they holding out on the Pilgrims, or what? Seems like a long time to “just forget” about popcorn…
1732 – George’s birthday. We’ve already been over that.
1819 – This I didn’t know, but it was after the War of 1812, after the Revolutionary War, and even after the Louisiana Purchase, that the US finally bought Florida from Spain. And college students on spring break, and retired snow birds have never looked back.
1879 – A scant 70 years after we got Florida, just to show how much can change, the First Woolworth 5 and dime store was opened up in Utica, New York. A new concept in a store that truly was meant to sell small, inexpensive items that homemakers and elementary children have needed ever since. Of course, the first store closed almost as quickly as it opened, and the second one, which did succeed, opened in Lancaster, PA.
A few more…
1903 – during a terrible drought, Niagara Falls ran dry. At least it gave them a little time to clear out the skeletons and broken barrels left from bad decisions.
1935 – we knew it was just a matter of time. The ruling went out that airplanes were no longer permitted to fly over the White House. I guess Franklin and Eleanor were tired of getting buzzed by pilots on their way to spring break in Florida.
1980 – Here is a more recent and important memory. It was on this date that the incredible “Miracle on Ice” happened, and the US Olympic hockey team, made up mostly of rookies and all amateurs, actually beat the USSR team, which was packed with soldiers and professional hockey players. USSR had taken the gold in the previous 4 Olympics, and USA didn’t have a chance. Except they did, and they took it, and took home the gold.
1997 – last one. We took a peek through the cracked open doorway to the future, when on Feb 22, 1997, Dolly was born. The first animal successfully cloned.
Now, my mind can’t help but to be in wonder about what is going to occur on this February 22 in all the years to come. Will another Washington be born? Or will it be another Pope Formosus? What will be the “new” popcorn? Or the new Florida? The wonder-full thing about the future is that it’s not here yet. What will occur is only limited by the people involved, and sometimes not even that – when you think about Niagara Falls, and all…
I believe it is important, as I’ve said before, to not walk into the future just looking at the toes of our shoes. Not to get caught up in the tiny, minute, really-not-worth-wasting-time-on little stuff, but instead to dream, to imagine, to think of what “might be” – and to wonder – can make each day a day in history worth looking at, and hoping for, intentionally as the dreamers we can be, when we allow ourselves to look at that far horizon. Enjoy this day in history!
Saying for the day: Today, you get a two-for-one. First, from Walt Disney: “The way to get started is to stop talking, and start doing.” Second, from Margaret Mead, a wonderful anthropologist: “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
Enjoy finding ways to insert those two sayings into some conversation before the day is over!
When we moved into our home in 2015, it was beautifully decorated, with great painted and wallpapered walls, very expensive window coverings, and solid oak paneled doors, like they would build in 1996 in a nice neighborhood. One of the rooms, which eventually became my office, was used by the wife to house her extensive collection of dolls. The first time we walked through the house, the room actually was a bit scary, seeing hundreds of dolls everywhere in the room. There was half a wall with built in shelving, and another desk and bookshelf arrangement, again, all filled with dolls of every size and shape.
Fortunately, when we finally moved in, the dolls of course were gone, but the desk and bookcase, pretty well built in, remained. I filled the shelves up with my books and other wonderful items. Right above the desk itself was a 3x5 foot cork wall, that happily carried all my notes and incredibly valuable information…
One day, however, I walked into the office, and something seemed a bit amiss. I looked at the desk and bookshelf, and noticed it was no longer snug up against the wall. I’m pretty sure I felt just like the builders of the Tower of Pisa, when they first noticed a bit of a lean to the building. I had the leaning Bookshelf of Pisa. I guess I had not calculated the difference in weight load between a shelf full of little dolls, and one carrying heavy theology books.
My first thought was to try to repair it, or get it straightened back up against the wall again, instead of hanging in space. Again, not accurately calculating the weight of all the books, I pushed on the structure, and I was as successful as the fellows pushing of the Tower. It didn’t budge – it just sat there, leaning with a sinister smile of its face. I thought of shimming up the front legs, but the whole weight was too much to even move them up to shove anything underneath. I realized it was an entire system failure, and the only way it would possibly go back to normal would be to take all the books out, and probably replace them with little dolls, which wasn’t quite the theme for my office that I was looking for. It seemed to be a bit silly, also to have a nice, fine bookshelf standing empty, while all my books were piled on the floor – also a look that I had not planned for.
After a consultation with my marriage partner, we agreed that what probably needed to happen was to actually take the structure down, and donate it to someone, and then go out and buy a new desk and bookshelf. Actually, the area I was using as the desktop was better suited for a 4th grader, so I looked forward to the change.
So indeed, all the books ended up stacked on the floor. As I looked closer at the bookshelf/desk, I realized they had originally been put together from sections, with each of them secured to the other with brackets on the back side of the piece. This meant that, instead of just taking it apart piece by piece, I would have to do what the owners of the Tower have yet to commit to doing… I would need to slowly pull the structure completely away from the wall, and lay it down on its face on the floor. Of course, you remember the books. I indeed did take them out of the bookcase, but stacked them up all behind me on the floor. When I started to pull the bookcase down, I realized the thing was taller than I thought, and the drop would land right on top of all the books. Don’t you love having to repeat a job? I moved the books – again – and put them on the other end of the room.
Next, I had to move the recliner that was also in the way, and I had to make sure the cats were out of the room, since they love nothing better than chaos, and big messes.
I finally, slowly, tipped it completely over, and began to detach the pieces from each other. Of course, the next problem, not considered before, was what to do with the separate shelving and desktop and such once it was apart. You see, the books were taking up the spare area of the room where they normally could be stacked…
I finally was able to get ahold of a charity that actually wanted the unit, and they came and hauled it away. As I stared at the empty wall in front of me, I realized all too quickly that it wasn’t empty. You will recall the 3x5 cork wall. Well, it wasn’t part of the unit that came down – what I discovered was that whoever put up the desk and bookshelf, decided that instead of hanging a cork board up, they would glue a roll of cork to the wall itself! Of course, the cork had been cut to make room for the pieces of the bookshelf to sit right against the wall – which it didn’t – and so instead of a nice rectangular shape, it looked more like a map of Idaho, or Oklahoma.
No problem, I said. I’ll just pull the cork down. Well, they used some mighty fine glue, I tell you, because halfway through the process, I was taking as much of the top layer of sheetrock off the wall as I was the cork. Plus, besides the glue, they had tiny, incredibly sharp pin-like nails to also hold the cork in place, which remained in the wall once the cork came off.
It would be kind to say that, after more than a year or so, it’s still a work in progress. No longer 3x5, it’s now about 21/2 x 4, looking more like the Hawaiian islands, with clumps of cork and bright white untextured sheetrock.
Yes. It is a mess. Yes, I’m still trying to figure out what to do with it, short of hiring someone to come and “fix it.” Yes, my dear wife – every time she comes into my office – remarks about how ugly that wall is, and that “we” should really do something about it, and it will have to be fixed when we move. Now, I figure to be in this house for at least another 10-15 years, so I figure there is time, and since I’m not entertaining anyone from the outside world in my office, it’s fine. For now.
I’m sure you have, like I have before, had “projects” that in concept seemed to be easy as pie, and then they unfolded into a colossal mess. This is an instance in which one “intends” and acts intentionally, on purpose, to accomplish something, but the intention fails to discover the unintended consequences that may arise. I guess in one sense, that’s part of life itself, but I still believe the best path to take is to think about things, be intentional and think about what may occur, even if we have to go ahead and hope for the best after all.
Anybody know how to “fix” an interesting looking wall?
Word for the day: balatron. Pronounced BALL-uh-tron. A rarely used word anymore, but an effective descriptor. It sounds like it should be Greek, but it’s actually from the Latin balatro, meaning “jester, or buffoon.” A balatron is a joker or clown, but not in a witty or intelligent way – a balatron, by most definitions is a buffoon—speaking a lot of nonsense, and simply acting the fool, but taking it on as a life’s work.
Go ahead and tell your big brother that you have always considered him a great balatron, and see if he takes it as a compliment, at least until he looks it up!
Now, I wouldn’t call us hoarders. I’ve seen hoarders. I’ve helped now in my life to clear out two houses that were the victims of hoarders. I say the houses were the victims, because as a result of the hoarding tendencies run amok, the very structure and safety of the houses themselves came to be at risk, from rot and mildew, to terrible problems with animals, to even the presence of rats coming to make the house their home, since it was so cluttered and had such wonderful options for meals around the clock. In both experiences, the hardest part was having to try to clear out the clutter, when every step along the way, the hoarder was standing over the work, trying to explain that they “were going to do something with that,” or they “hadn’t had a chance to go through that,” when the garbage to any reasonable person would be just that – unable to be rescued, or so full of just bad stuff that it probably should have been removed with a hazmat suit. In one of the houses of a friend of mine in college, we went downstairs to the basement/cellar, opened a door and realized it was a huge “pantry.” There were literally thousands of cans of food stacked on shelves and on the floor, nearly to the ceiling. His parents would shop for groceries, and were simply unable to turn down a sale on any item, and so they would buy ten of the same can, and simply put it downstairs. As we began to look at the expiration dates, and the labels themselves, they were years, even decades old. The decoration of the cans was fascinating, but it also meant that the food inside was deadly. We spent nearly five hours simply hauling cans out of the room, and carefully putting them in the dumpster, so they wouldn’t explode from being so bulging and outdated.
I’ve been in homes where hundreds and hundreds of empty pill bottles from the pharmacy were in bags. I suppose the true sign of hoarding is that there are so many, many, many of the same item sitting next to each other, as though one or two were not enough – you need a dozen or more opened bags of snack chips, just for variety’s sake.
My hope is that you have never had to deal with a home like that. My sympathies if you have. When it comes time to clean out a parent’s home, then, there is a fear that it may devolve into that same kind of exercise. You see, you know that each year that you live in a home, unless you are of the personality that continually just throws things, no matter their value, extrinsic or otherwise, things accumulate. Every time I would come home from a trip to Mom’s, after a few days of sorting and clearing out, I would be eager to start just clearing things out of our own home! The trouble is, each time I came home, it was with a car load of things that were so very valuable, from my childhood, or our family’s life together, that it became more an exercise in where we might be able to put the things without overcrowding what we already had put in place.
Frankly, it’s the worst kind of accidental living that can happen. It’s like walking down the sidewalk, and only looking at the tips of your own shoes. Not only do you miss things that are all around you, but you stand a great chance of running into something because you haven’t looked ahead. Hoarding, whether a minor case, or an extreme one, is still a way of trying to fulfill what feels like an empty life. There is a strange comfort in having more than you need, because it seems like it is simply all you want.
One day, after I had come home from a trip, I looked around our living room, with all the knickknacks, some of pretty high value, and I thought of our sons. Cheri and I finally asked the two of them, to think about what things in our home mean something to them, and we gave them the permission, when we were gone on to heaven, to just have a huge auction and take the money and run. Their response was just what I would have said to my folks had they approached me in my 30s. They said, “Don’t worry about it – we’ll figure out something when the time comes…”
It reminded me of a woman in our church back in the 1990s. It was Lent, and for a discussion, I asked the class what they would do if they knew they only had 30 days to live. As we went around the circle, some folks would travel, others would be sure to spend time with family, and even others would spend time in prayer and study. When we came to the one elderly woman, she said, “I’d clean out my basement!” I was stunned, and I asked her why that would be her number one thing to do. She responded, “Well, it’s a mess, and I’m not going to let my kids get down there and see all that stuff!”
Still, in amidst what I call “ballast” in our home, there are still those things of particular treasure value, sometimes unexplainable. I’ve mentioned some of those items before. I have a cross stitch that my mother gave to me 30 years ago, of a little cat sitting on a cushion. It was made, she said, not by my grandmother, or great-grandmother, but, it seemed, by my great-great-great grandmother in her last years. It has a date of 1888, which was about the time of my great-grandmother’s birth, and the looks of it makes you think it was made by an older woman even at that time, not a young mother with a baby. For decades it had been folded up in my mother’s cedar chest. It now hangs, nicely framed, away from the sunlight, to be enjoyed, even after 133 years.
On the other end of the spectrum are four carved wooden characters who make up what looks like a hillbilly band. Playing a flute, a squeezebox, a fiddle and a banjo, Lem, Clem, Ben and Pete were made in about 1942. I really don’t know where they came from, but they sat on our parent’s bookshelves in front of the books, precariously ready at any moment to fall to the tile and get chipped up – but they didn’t. They just stood there, playing their musical instruments in silent fashion. I remember being a little boy, and thinking they were the most fascinating pieces of fine art ever created. I memorized their names, and frequently, I would stop by their post on the bookshelf, and repeat the names out loud, and then be on my way.
When you talk about something having “intrinsic” value, not openly showing its jewels and gold, but deep down, it evokes in the person seeing it a sense of wonder or even cherishing. That’s Lem, Clem, Ben and Pete.
Today in my office, there hangs a little shadow box that was intended to display shards from my trip to Israel. Instead they hold two little wooden items that Mom remembered from her trip to Minnesota with her grandparents when she was little – one has a burn on the back that says, “Dent, MN,” which is actually not too far from where we live today. Also included are two of the small eagle statues that Cheri and I gave my dad for birthday or Christmas as part of his collection. And in the center, are the four musicians, carefully protected behind glass finally after these years, playing daily in my office, just to the right of my desk.
I hope in years to come to help my sons know at least my cherishing of these now-nearly 80 year old figures, and then let them decide if they will have a place in their home. For now, I have intentionally made a place in ours. Maybe someday a grandchild will see them and want to learn their names. We’ll see.
Word for the day: argent. Pronounced ARE-gent. One of my favorite words, mostly in the way it sounds, and the image it captures in my mind. It comes from the Latin, of course, argentum, meaning “silver, or silver money.” Even earlier Latin is arg, “to shine,” or to shine white. Writers for centuries have the described the “argent moon,” although the popular song from the beginning of the 1900s was by the light of the “silvery moon.” It conveys a sense of glowing, or shimmering. It’s not the same as gold, but in my mind, it carries a more exotic and beautiful image. Argentina is named after probably the Silver River, or Rio de Plata (Plata meaning “silver” in Spanish), yet the country was not named Platina, but Argentina. Look for something argent today, and enjoy the mysterious beauty you find…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.