December 31, 2008

Good Luck in a Can

Preacher's Wife sent me to the grocery store today to get what she calls good luck for the New Year. I went to a couple of major stores and fought the crowd before I found the magic Bush's Black Eyed Peas. I also had several conversations with people about this tradition only to be told that I have a big problem. I have heard it all my life that eating black eyed peas on the first day of a new year brings success, prosperity and good luck to all. I don't believe a word of this, but I always eat black eyes peas on the first day of every new year. Why? Because Preacher's Wife serves them and I like them. In fact, I would eat them once or twice a week if she would fix them. But NO! They are for a special day of the year so we can have good luck. I am tired of old wives tales and things passed along to us that don't work. At this stage in my life I want to practice and do things that work, not what we have been told that works.
Please forgive me for my frustration with this day of making sure we get the happiness in a can. I will resolve tomorrow not to be so up tight.

December 26, 2008

Loving every minute

Can you tell that Preacher's Wife is loving every minute of holding and feeding baby Logan. Jake and Bo are jealous but seem to be happy just to be included in a photo shoot with Logan.

December 23, 2008

Questions Remain Unanswered

Preacher's Wife came home from having her brain scan rather pleased to inform me that she passed. I was thrilled to hear that she is tumor free but it did not resolve my 40 years of questions. I asked her how she was going to resolve seeing two of me, since it was double vision that revealed the need for the brain scan in the first place. She began this diatribe about how that in life there are things that we must go through, things we must endure, crosses one must bear, she continued on about how if we respond correctly it will build character and bring rewards in our senior years and in the next life. She started sounding so much like a preacher that I just booked her this next weekend to speak in my stead.

December 20, 2008

Lingering questions answered today..

Last week Preacher's Wife went to get her eyes checked because of double vision. She said she couldn't handle seeing more than one of me. When she came home she informed me that the doctor wanted to do a brain scan to rule out the possibility of a tumor. So she is scheduled today to get that done. Now you know I love her dearly, but today I could get the answers to some lingering questions that I have had for over 40 years. When I told her this, she replied as calm as always, "Yes, this could explain why I married you in the first place." Huh!

December 17, 2008

Christmas day is almost here. I think Preacher's Wife and I are as ready as we can be. She sent the packages today to Denver for the Cheshire family. The other children who live much closer will drop in on or around Christmas day. I really do love this time of the year.

December 15, 2008

The Cab RIde I Will Never Forget

Since some of you may not be subscribers to my free weekly IMPACT mail out, I thought I would pass this great story on to you. I sent it last week and got a lot of good feedback. Enjoy! Feel free to pass it along to others.


The Cab Ride I Will Never Forget

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. One time I arrived in the middle of the night for a pick up at a building that was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.

So I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

“It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered.

“There are other passengers.”

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware—beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

by Kent Nerburn

December 9, 2008

SAINT ANNE OF SAN ANTONIO

Let me begin by saying that being married 40 years doesn't make one an expert concerning marriage. It could just mean that two people have a high level of tolerance. Or maybe they've discovered it is cheaper to live together than apart. Preacher's Wife and I don't consider ourselves experts in this field. I have discovered what works in some marriages for health and longevity doesn't work for others. The reason being, each person and each couple are different. There are no pat answers to why some work and some don't. When I was younger I had all the answers but time and observing other marriages have so often proved me wrong. I do think there are some common threads that make for a good marriage. In the success of our marriage I contribute most of the credit to Preacher's Wife. If you know us well you will quickly agree. She has the characteristics of love as described in I Corinthians 13 working in her life. She is patient and she is kind. She is not rude, selfish, or easily angered. I believe the common threads of a good marriage are patience, trust, faithfulness, forgiveness, commitment and perseverance. Some of the things I love about Preacher's Wife is that she in independent while at the same time interdependent. She is not a clinger or a jealous person. She is soft spoken but she would never allow the children or me to walk all over her. She is generous with her time and resources. She has realistic expectations. She is spiritual but not religious. She is real, relational and down to earth. She is not easily offended or disappointed. By now you may be thinking I live with a saint. The truth is, she is a saint. The scripture says in the mouth of two witnesses every word is established. God says she is a saint and I agree with him. And that in itself make for a better marriage.

December 8, 2008

And Now Page 2....

Of course you know I saw her again. And yes I saw her the same way I'd seen her that night. We dated for 6 months before we got married because neither of us wanted to rush into anything especially at our age (her now 16 and me 19). Both of our parents signed for us to get a marriage license and the date December 6th was chosen. We were on our way to a long and happy life together. Someone commented that they wanted more details but that is probably not going to happen. You see 40 years is a long time and the mind and memory can play a lot of tricks on you. I remember it though as a normal marriage. We had our faults, our disagreements, our ups and downs, and occasional brief spats. But nothing more than what I refer to as normal. The children and I laugh about being a dysfunctional family but by the things I have seen and heard we were pretty normal. Of course the children are free to comment from their perspective if they so desire. Other than to know that we are plenty human I am sure you don't want to hear about our spats but rather about what we attribute to staying together for 40 years. Since Preacher's Wife left me this morning for Ft. Worth I will have time to massage my memory and tell you from my perspective some of the things I believe helped us stay happily married this long.

December 4, 2008

It was the year 1968...

It was the year 1968... For you sports fans, it was the year of Super Bowl II where the Green Bay Packers beat the Oakland Raiders 34-14. For you music lovers, it was the year Otis Redding released (Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay. For all you statistic lovers:
The
-Average Cost of a new house $14,950.00
-Average Income per year $7,850.00
-Average Monthly Rent $130.00
-Gas per Gallon 34 cents
-Average Cost of a new car $2,822.00
-Movie Ticket $1.50 and
-Minimum Wage was $1.50

This was the year that I fell in love with Preacher's Wife.

It was the month of May and I had just graduated from Howe High School. I was working at a local Enco full-service gas station waiting for my active duty orders from the Navy. It was a slow night and almost closing time when a car pulled up to the pump for service. I approached the window and ask how I could be of service when I saw her for the first time. I had seen her many times before because we attended the same High School, but I saw her this night for the first time. You see when I was in school I had always gone after the older more mature and experienced women. I knew her only as a young saintly, naive underclassman. I had not been the least bit interested in her. It was as if she didn't exist. She was not even on my radar. BAM! It hit me. Something had happened. Something was different. I filled her car with gas and she drove away, but I couldn't get her out of my mind. Would I ever see her again? And if I did would I see her the way I saw her that night?

December 3, 2008

40 years and still happy

This Saturday December 6th will be our 40th wedding anniversary. Yes, that's right, our 40th. I believe this to be a real accomplishment since it is reported that 50% of all marriages today end in divorce. Let me start by saying I make no judgments of anyone who has been divorced or remarried. While at the same time I will not refuse to celebrate and rejoice in our accomplishment for fear that someone might think my celebration is one of being prideful. It is by the grace of God that any two people raised in different families, with possibly different values and having different personalities, can live together for any length of time. Though staying together does require something of each individual. I think over the next few days I will tell our story. I hope you will be inspired and encouraged.

December 2, 2008

Hooray! It's done.

Preacher's Wife should be so happy. All the Christmas decorations are out. The tree as you can see is up. The stocking have been hung and all the little table top decorations have been spread throughout the house. I just finished hanging the huge 4 foot wreath over the garage door. Finally I can sit for a few moments and enjoy a hot cup of coffee and wait for her next instructions. What a joy to live your life so as to make your wife the happiest woman on planet earth. Ha!