Thursday, July 16, 2009


Dating was never my strong suit. Lets just say, "I was no heart throb.” What can I say? I was raised in a family of boys… with the exception of my poor mother who continually apologizes to my wife and my sisters in law saying, “I really tried hard to civilize them but it didn’t work.” When I was in my late teens I still would rather have baled hay than “sit and talk” even with a young lady I found to be attractive. I hated it when girls called just to talk and would find excuses to hang up as soon as possible. I had a handful of guy friends with whom I made it a point to plan fishing trips during school dances.

At church camp there was always pressure to impress the girls so that you didn’t look like a chump at the end of the week by going to the banquet alone. My style of impressing the girls was to throw dead snakes into their cabin and laugh hysterically when the predictable screaming commenced. I gave my friends wedgies when they were “putting the moves” on prospective banquet dates and teased them for talking to girls when they should be playing tackle football. One unfortunate girl who went to the banquet with me left in tears when I sang to her. My singing was fine it was just that I sang Lionel Richie’s “You’re Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady” while expanding my hands out from my waist. She wasn’t fat but she didn’t understand that I was joking. I didn’t get it then and had to roast a wiener by the bonfire alone. I think I understand now.

I improved marginally in college. Instead of snakes, I threw water balloons into dorm rooms. I was the cafeteria champ for wadding up napkins and throwing them at an unsuspecting female from whom I was hoping to garner some attention. I got really good and could hit a girl clear across the room. I don’t guess it ever dawned on me that a paper napkin careening off of your forehead and into your mashed potatoes might not be a turn on. Then again, I’m not sure I cared. If she didn’t go out with me it just freed up a Friday night for fishing. There were a few girls that tried to put up with me but after a few dates of wading in the creek and going to the library to read hunting magazines, they invariably lost interest.

But as for most of us guys there was one girl who was different. I prefer to believe that she saw a diamond in the rough (and there was a lot of rough) and persevered to find it. She put up with the water balloons, snowballs and wadded up napkins. She rolled her eyes at the impressive burps and sat by me on the shore while fishing. She even gave hunting and golf a try; both of which produced stories that are funny but I won’t go into here. She laughed at most of my jokes and cried when I tricked her into touching a vending machine that had a short in it so that when touched produced a mild but painful electric shock. I still feel bad about that one.

Saturday, July 25th will mark 22 years of her patience. The city girl having to refine the country boy a bit but every day being worth it. Thank you Lenore for hanging in there. I love you.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


The media coverage for the Michael Jackson funeral has been nothing short of intense. It is impossible to watch or listen to a news broadcast in recent days without hearing someone comment on some area of minutia revolving around his life or his death or the battle for his children and his sizeable estate. I am confident that it will go on for some time. Soon there will be Michael Jackson sightings, conspiracy theories, and of course the army of impersonators who will dishonor his memory with poor singing and dancing.
While I would never call myself a Michael Jackson fan I couldn’t help but be impressed by his talent. There was no one who could bring a song to life and infuse the level of energy into it like he could. When the “Thriller” video came out I was not a video watcher but I couldn’t help but watch the amazing precision and energy in that work. It must still rank among the greatest music videos ever made.
There were several of his songs that were memorable but there is one I noticed on the list of his greatest hits that I believed had spiritual applications. The song, “Man in the Mirror,” was written to highlight the plight of the homeless. In it Jackson underscores a key to change that has Biblical roots and impressive insight. The song speaks of ‘making the world a better place by looking at yourself and making a change.’
Remember these lyrics?
As I turned up the collar on
A favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin' my mind
I see the kids in the street
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer's disregard
A broken bottle top
And a one man's soul
They follow each other
On the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change, yey
(Album – Bad, 1987; Songwriters: Ballard, Glen; Garrett, Siedah)
Whether we want to change the world, the church or our families, the place to start is now and has always been with the ‘man in the mirror.