Cheri is a petite woman. I’ve taken to calling her “fun size,” but she is barely a whisper over 5 foot nothing, and weighs in – well, let’s just say it is significantly below 110. When you take that physiology and put a baby inside, well – she gave birth the second time (and last) when Adam showed up, weighing 7 pounds 11 ounces. Plus, from first labor pain to “hello Adam” was just about two hours. And true to form, he was born with his right arm over his head, just because he could.
Adam was a happy baby. It didn’t take long for him to learn how to giggle – actually, to laugh with a big deep belly laugh. His prime comedian was, and still his, his big brother, Aaron. In those times when he was a bit fussy, usually when he was waiting for the food to come, Aaron would climb out of his chair, get Adam’s attention, and then do a silly dance, which then brought the belly laughs, and bought a few moments before the chow came.
One of our best videos came when we filmed both boys singing “Frosty the Snowman.” As always, it takes a bit of encouraging, but finally they sang – very quickly – “Frosty the Snowman was a jolly happy soul…” and then nothing. Off camera, you can hear me cuing them, “With a …. With a….”
Finally, Adam seems to remember, at about age 2, and he belts out “Krack, Krack here, and a krack, krack there…” (at that age, it’s hard to say “quack”). Apparently Frosty and Old McDonald are related…
One of my finest construction efforts was to build, and then expand a sandbox in the backyard. First, it was 4’x6’, which worked well during Aaron’s time, when Adam was a baby. However, as soon as he was able, he got in the sandbox, and… well, there just wasn’t enough room in 24 square feet of sand for both of them. Ol’ Dad went to work, and expanded it to 4’x12’ – 48 square feet seemed more workable. When Aaron would play in the sandbox, he could spend hours in there, and still be clean enough to go to an opera right away. Hardly did even his palms get dirty. Adam, on the other hand, would spend most of his time, belly down in the sand, at the same level as the cars and farm implements that would become encrusted with sand. He was able to infuse sand in every crevice and crack in his chubby body. We would have to do a pre-wash outside, just to keep the tub inside from choking on the sand…
Adam has always had a particular way of presenting a “proposal,” which usually meant a grant from the Bank of Dad. He would, and still does, step up to the table, and begin by saying, “I was thinking…” and then lay out the plan for the purchase of some very important item, like a new tv or exercise bike, or for us to take a trip to the toy store, or drive through for supper or lunch or breakfast. He’s a much better negotiator than Aaron, because he plays the percentages. Aaron will ask for one thing, and if it’s a no, then he’s done. Adam, since very little, would ask for a hundred different things, until worn down, we would agree to “this one, not that one.” From brand of cereal to Hot Wheels car, he has crafted that excellent sales pitch.
While Aaron and I took the path in college of going to one institution per degree, Adam followed Cheri’s path. Cheri went to four colleges in four years. Adam went to the same number – just more expensive, but graduated with honors from Tennessee, and then on to a masters from the University of South Dakota in sports management. He even landed a paid internship in Palm Springs for six months.
Today, Adam is not working in his dream job, but he’s working. He is in management in a health care insurance corporation, and since March has had his office in his bedroom downstairs. He knows his stuff – but his heart is still in sports, and perhaps someday, his skill and his passion will match up.
But today is the big day. 32 years old, and still calling the shots. We’ve ordered breakfast in for this morning, and then we will order supper in tonight. His dream day – full of college football, and taking things easy. Angel food cake, lots of presents, and even being greeted by all three cats when he came upstairs this morning.
You gotta love the guy – his smile is easy and genuine, and he cares hopefully for our world. So, today, we celebrate, because that is what we are made to do, and Adam makes that such an easy thing to accomplish. Happy Birthday, Buddy—we love you.
Word for the day: zenzizenzizenzic. Three words of “zenzi” put together, pronounced as it looks: ZEN-zee. It’s a word that is a great example of how language changes. It actually comes from the Italian censo, meaning “squared.” The Germans took the word and change it for their own language of zenzi. At one time in mathematics, there were no superscripts, and so after a number was written out, if you wanted it to be squared, you would have to write, “zenzic.” Two zenzic was two squared, or four. Two zenzizenzic meant, “Two squared and squared,” or eight. Then we have today’s word, which means “squared and squared and squaredly.” Two squared, squared and squared would be 16, or two times two times two, 4-8-16.
However, in the 1600s, Rene Descartes invented the superscript to denote exponents, and almost overnight, words of incredible importance, like zenzizenzizenzic became obsolete, and rendered to the ash heap of word history. Rest in peace, zenzi, and all your relatives…
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.