Father Knows Best

“Kids rarely listen to their parents but seldom fail to imitate them.” Those words were on my mind shortly after the completion of our Tuesday night Bible study. That, in turn, shifted my attention to a very talented songwriter, singer and storyteller who left us during his prime. As talented as Harry was, it was difficult for his songs to be played on AM rock stations, since they were mostly stories that expanded beyond the usual 3 to 4-minute recording. They included such hits as “Taxi,” “A Better Place to Be” and “Mr. Tanner.” His most popular recording, released in […]

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Special Delivery

Yes, I played cowboys and Indians as a child; yes, I always wanted to play the first because, reasonably enough, a gun is preferred to a bow. Yes, I shot the Indian many times, who was played by my best friend Raúl. And yes, he always went unscathed during my search and destroy missions, which meant the battle continued for many months until we matured into flipping baseball cards. Yes, I am guilty. But if the truth be told, a cowboy was not my first preference. What I really wanted to be was a pony express rider, but there was […]

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Trials and Tribulations

As someone who today enjoys the limelight, it is interesting how anonymity was my greatest ally during my formative years. Sitting in the middle of the classroom and utilizing the student in front of me as a shield allowed some protection from total disaster…the teacher calling on me!! The mere thought of being singled out and asked to speak was more than I could bear. It made no difference if the correct answer was available; fear took over. The Trial Begins That all came to an abrupt end when I became a federal agent. There were so many exciting aspects […]

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The Final Exam

A few days ago, as I loitered at the gym in an impossible attempt to acquire muscles at this advanced stage of life, an adolescent girl of Asian descent interrupted my pretense to join me in conversation. She had learned that I had taught classes at a local university where she planned to attend and wanted “my take” on the institution. Always amenable to take a break from exercise, we proceeded to converse about the value of education and how it impacts the work ethic and performance of the individual upon graduation.   The chalkboard Jesus used parables to teach […]

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Intentionality and Participation

For a 16-year-old boy nuzzled in such a confined location as Key West, Fla., it was indeed an adventure to travel “all the way” north to Jacksonville during the summer of 1964. Particularly if it involved the “Pony League” Baseball State Tournament where our team was considered one of the favorites. After winning the first game, we were pitted against Fort Myers, a squad we were supposed to handle easily, yet despite my offensive contribution, we were defeated in extra innings. As we awaited in the locker room the next game of the loser’s bracket in a double elimination affair, […]

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Here Comes The Sun

Darkness before the sun My mother was born in 1924, which makes her 98. The year she took her first breath coincided with the formation of the Mercedes-Benz Corporation, the naming of J. Edgar Hoover to head the FBI, the fascists winning the election in Italy by 2/3 majority and the end of construction of the Wrigley Building. As one of 11 children, she has witnessed the passing of eight of her siblings; only two “young” sisters are living, one 86, the other 92. She has attended dozens of funeral and memorial services during the past 30 or so years […]

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Mission Accomplished

(What mission is God calling you to do? Scroll down to leave a comment.) What could these disparate folks possibly have in common: John the Baptist, Mahatma Gandhi, Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, John Lennon and Betty White? They were all reared as only children… as I was. Although this is not the time nor place to do a “deep dive” on this cast of characters, most experts agree on the basic characteristics of “unaccompanied souls” like me. “We” tend to be independent to a fault, are overachievers, appear wise beyond our years, can keep ourselves amused, don’t care much […]

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Opposites Attract

(Scroll down to leave a comment on these two opposites) The Princess The luxurious European vehicle sped from the Hotel Ritz Paris with pursuers in tow. It traveled to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel, where shortly thereafter the car was involved in a horrific crash that caused the death of three of its occupants, among them a member of British royalty and her  rich boyfriend. It occurred just after midnight on August 31, 1997. The passing of Diana Spencer, the beloved former Princess of Wales, convulsed the world into such a state of grief that three million mourners and onlookers […]

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Trading Places

Marriage seminars were never really “my cup of tea.” Not that I feel my performance as a husband is exemplary and does not need adjusting. Personal failures of both the witting and unwitting variety are sufficient to merit a closer look. Yet, the idea of sitting in a closed space with couples bearing their burdens for an extended period of time while a “trainer” provides helpful advice was not appealing to me. Of course, my stalling tactics fell on deaf ears and subsequently Julianne and I “agreed” to attend one sponsored by a friend. And, you know what? It wasn’t […]

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Dawn to Dusk

I am not a Facebook aficionado. Being both old and old fashioned, my preferred human interaction involves being able to smell the other person’s breath. I would much rather be “in your face” than on your Facebook. So it was somewhat out of character to open a message from Mike Garland, a former co-worker, to find a photograph of a sunrise taken from his ocean home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. For some strange reason, my immediate reaction involved not so much the beauty of the shot, but rather the thought that since sunsets and sunrises look identical to the […]

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