Are you frustrated sitting in the lobby of your doctor’s office? Are you bored riding public transportation on your way to work? Let me join you and tell you a story through my blog.
I tell my wife and daughters constantly to manage their expectations.
Whether it’s a new job, new boyfriend, new place, new car, new neighbor, fast food, new conspiracy theory, new elected officials, or new girl scout cookie flavors, manage your expectations.
You get the picture.
Manage your expectations about pretty much everything in life.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations of anybody or any place or anything.
Don’t believe that Wendy’s commercial about their food.
Once, I accepted a new job. It was in East Tennessee.
Now, East Tennessee is beautiful and sometimes I miss living there.
I grew up in South Alabama and was unaccustomed to any geographical feature higher than 10 feet.
The closest I’d gotten to hills in South Alabama was the roller coaster at the Mobile county fair.
While my new little part of East Tennessee wasn’t quite in the Smoky Mountains, it was sure close.
Like I said, it was a beautiful place.
I was the new preacher at a little church in a little community near Chattanooga.
Maybe I was 26 or so. This was my first preaching job and I had no real expectations.
I was single and the very definition of insecurity and doubting my choice to have moved so far north into Yankee territory.
But all my insecurities were put at ease one Sunday morning after services not long after I had begun my journey.
A little lady was speaking to me.
Yes, that little old lady. She was a retired teacher, prim, proper, and she knew how to spell and such.
Anyway, she stopped me at the door and felt called by someone to share the whole story of the church’s recent decision about whom to employ.
And by “someone” I don’t think it was God or any of his agents.
She begins: “There were two men that we were considering to hire for the job.”
‘Oh,’ I said with a barely interested vibe.
‘Another guy and me?’
We were the candidates for the preaching job at this little church in this little community.
Because there was no real leadership in that little church, it became a sort of sloppy democracy. Just the other guy and me running for office.
I bent down closer to listen to her report the news of the election. An election that I had obviously won.
So, I was somewhat smug because, well, I was there and he wasn’t.
She whispered: “I voted for the other guy.”
And just like that, things started looking up – for a short preaching tenure.
So, let’s manage those expectations.
The impact threw me from the motorcycle into the air in the opposite direction of the way we had been traveling.
Physics is funny like that!
I landed on my right leg, which snapped like an unlucky baseball bat in the hands of an angry Bo Jackson who just struck out.
Things were worse for my friend Tim, who lay screaming on the ground because the car’s chrome trim had peeled off and sliced into his right leg making just a big mess.
We used to breed miniature Dachshunds.
The moms would usually give birth in our front bathroom. The official bathroom name was “Hotel Bathroom.” Although I suppose the Birthing Center would be more appropriate. We saw several liters come and go through that bathroom.
Tigger is the male. He doesn’t normally get to stay in Hotel Bathroom.
As we sat down at the table to eat, I noticed a big screen showing a video of a large and beautiful Christmas tree sitting all alone in a nice house.
Suddenly, there was a spark.
In less than 30 seconds, the house was engulfed in flames.
Strange way to start supper.
I like new routes home
New roads to me
Roads I’ve never taken before
Especially on clear nights
Tonight the sky looks like
Sparkling beyond the trees
And I’m driving home
From Fort Campbell, KY
A sign says, “Golden Bayou”
Who are they kidding? Continue reading “New Roads, Pop Stars, and Staying Awake”
Our main job was to clean her refrigerator.
It’d been about a year since our last visit to clean the icebox and, well, grandma hadn’t done anything since then to prevent a perfect storm of chemical reactions from destroying the house, county, and possibly the western hemisphere.
So, once again, my parents and older siblings negotiated the scientific experiment in grandma’s kitchen, which likely would have made any high school science teacher, or any research chemist, jealous.
Basically, they’d throw everything out.
Ever seen a glass jar of tomatoes after a year of bacteriological shenanigans in the refrigerator?
It’s not pretty. Continue reading “Just Outside of Silas”
“Where are all the ducks?” Sam asked in his sleepy four-year-old voice. Normally a large group of ducks congregated in the narrow path to our home, making driving tough if we were in a hurry to get home.
“Well, Sam, they’re sleeping,” I assured him.
“No way silly,” Sam protested.
“Ducks don’t sleep.”
Remember he’s four.
Sam’s only experience with ducks was that they were always active, always on the move, and usually in our way.
“No, son,” I said quietly,” they’re sleeping. Just like we sleep, they also need their rest.” Continue reading “Sleeping Ducks”
Russia – 1992. My translator’s mother, who had a broken leg at the time, hops into the small Russian made Lada (see this picture and think of a ripoff of a 1970s Corolla). She makes her way into the passenger’s seat. Her daughters also squeeze into the tiny car. Four people with thick cold-weather gear pressed and sautéed into a tin can.
We pull out of the parking lot after church on a Sunday morning and head for lunch. Fifty feet down the snow-packed road, the engine stops. I have a terrible feeling because I know the exact reason why it’s not running. Continue reading “The Price of Russian Gasoline”