Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Harmony of the Locust

It was dusk. The clock said 7:35 PM. We thought we heard water running in the bathroom but it seemed a few minutes early for Brock to be in the shower. I went to inspect and discovered that shower was not on. I listened and determined that the noise was outside. With the windows closed and the air conditioner roaring I could hear the sound of a swarm of locust that had settled in the trees for the evening. In unity and in harmony they filled the air with their cadence. A locust is a small creature, about the size of the end of my thumb. But when they work together with one mind and one purpose they make a sound that not only fills the air outside but penetrates brick and mortar and wood and plaster and glass to make their presence known inside. Their sound is clear enough and distinct enough to be heard above other sounds and cause creatures far more intelligent than themselves to go searching for the source. Did I hear someone say our voice is too small and insignificant to be heard? Maybe we need to just find enough like minded people to stick together and speak together. If we speak loud enough and clear enough we will attract some curious listeners.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tomato Pie

It finally happened! My wife Jeanette and I have been married 30 years, 5 months, and 15 days. In all that time she has never made a pie. Oh, she has made plenty of cakes, cookies, brownies, candy, and sweet rolls. She has even been known to make a cobbler. But never has she made a pie. She says it is because she does not like pie. But she likes me, doesn’t she? Yes, I am sure that is true, but that like has never translated into a pie. Despite my request, my begging and pleading, cajoling, sad faces, and perhaps even attempts to shame her she has never made a pie. I have had to rely upon friends and neighbors and family members and the nice ladies from the various churches where I have been pastor to satisfy my craving for pie. I have had pies from some of the finest cooks on earth. I have received pies that not only satisfied the pallet but were pleasing to the eye. I have had sweet pies and tart pies. Hot pies and cold pies. I have been blessed with nut pies and cream pies and pies made from every fruit imaginable. But my sweetheart has never made me a pie. One would think that after the all the nice things I have done for her and all the wonderful things I have said about her she would bake me a pie. But it has not happened – until today. On the 30th year, 5th month, and 15th day of our marriage my beautiful wife surprised me with a pie. It was a tomato pie! I must say it was very good. I ate two pieces. It was the first tomato pie I have ever tasted or for that matter the first tomato pie I had ever seen. Jeanette has never lacked for creativity. Now understand this was not a desert pie. But it demonstrates love and effort and progress and it was good and it proves that she can do it. Oh yes, believe me it counts, it was a pie!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

George and Barbara

I was pleased and honored this morning that my Uncle George Williams and his wife Barbara were a part of our worship service at North Side Baptist Church. Afterwards my wife Jeanette and son Brock enjoyed visiting with them as we shared a meal together. We were their last stop on what had been a 10 week, 14,000 mile circuitous trip that took them north from London, KY, across Canada, into the Yukon Territory, into Alaska and back via the northwest and mid-western parts of our nation. Truth is, life has been a long and circuitous trip for George and Barbara. They met at a roller skating rink and have been rolling along together ever since. George was 20 and Barbara was 17 when they got married. That was 52 years ago. Not long after they were married George joined the Army. The Cuban crisis was happening and he was soon shipped off to Panama for two years. My memorabilia box still contains a Panama quarter he gave me upon his return. After Panama George went to Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and sent to Vietnam. He had two one year tours in Vietnam and later a temporary assignment there as well. They also spent two years in Berlin and during that time they toured much of Western Europe in a tent. (That sounds a bit more rustic than the 40 ft. travel trailer they made the trip to Alaska in).  Somewhere in the midst of all these adventures they had their daughter Tammy. After ten years they decided they had had enough of Army life. They were living in northern Virginia at the time, Barbara had a job she liked and George began a career in sales. Then at the age of 40 he went back to school, received his Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and spent the next 21 years working the night shift as an ER nurse. Over the years they have together visited all 50 states. Upon retirement they moved back to their home town of London, KY. I would call that a long circuitous trip. I am so glad I got to share a small piece of their life journey with them today. George and Barbara, I do not know how long it has been since you have had on a pair of roller skates, but some how or another find a way to roll on.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Fancy Expensive Ride

I took a ride today in a $95,000 car. At least that is what a new one like it would cost. It was long and black. It had plush leather seats and power everything. The ride was smooth. The destination was not far away so the ride was short. Nevertheless I had a chauffer. I got to ride in the front. Over the past 30 years I have taken probably 300 rides in similar vehicles. Sometimes I have taken as many as 20 such rides a year. Most people only get to ride in this kind of car once and they have to ride in the back. But I have always got to ride up front and I have always had a chauffer. Are you impressed? Well, I am not. The fancy car I was riding in was a hearse. Our destination was the gravesite of the other passenger. It seems a little twisted that the fanciest and most expensive car most people will ever ride in is a ride they will not know anything about. I have concluded that fancy and expensive do not mean very much. What do you think?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Just for the Experience of It

There are some things one simply has to do for the experience of it. Tonight, my wife Jeanette, my son Brock, and I went to eat supper at the Hard Times Fish Market in Grayville, Illinois. We did it just for the quirky experience of it. The Hard Times Fish Market is an open air seasonal fish restaurant located on the banks on the Wabash River. The hours are limited to Thursday lunch from 10:00 until 1:00 and Friday supper from 4:00 until 8:00. The atmosphere is rustic. We sat in simple chairs. A 2” x 12” board that surrounded the cooking operation served as our table. The menu was simple. Three kinds of fish all caught from the Wabash River, locally grown fried green tomatoes and fried yellow squash, baked beans, slaw, hush puppies and for desert deep fried doughnuts. It is all the same price so eat all you want and drink all the tea and soda you like. The Hard Times Fish Market has been owned and operated by John and Sue Farmer for the last 21 years. John catches the fish from the Wabash River, Sue helps him clean them, and on Thursday’s and Friday’s John cooks and Sue oversees the service and takes your money. John and Sue appear content and seem to enjoy their lives. As Sue says “we are not going to get rich but we will make it through the territory”. If you tend to stress out about your cholesterol you probably will not enjoy it. But if you like fish then I recommend that you bring your appetite and your wallet and enjoy the experience.

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