Wanna Get Away? –Yes, Please!

Don’t ask me why, but one of my most embarrassing moments recently popped into my head, more than 25 years after the fact. . .

It all started ages ago when Eric, our firstborn, was a toddler. We enjoyed sharing treats with him, like half of our cookie or bites of our ice cream. We had to be careful, though. Sit him in your lap and give him one spoonful of your ice cream, and you had to be pretty wily to get any more of it for yourself. He would maneuver his face to anticipate your movements and intercept every possible bite.

We developed this weird, awkward straight-arm method of eating ice cream, lifting the spoon waaaaay higher than his head before arching it back toward our own mouths.

One Sunday evening, we attended a party for choir kids and their families at our church. I was there because I helped in Kindergarten choir. Standing around with Eric on one hip and a cookie in my other hand, I chatted with a choir mom.

Eric pointed to my cookie. “Bite?”

What can I say, my guard was down. “Sure, honey, you can have a bite.”

I held the cookie in front of his cute little mouth… which kept widening and widening until it looked like an open garage door.

The omnivorous maw engulfed my cookie. I was left holding a piece the size of a dime.

Eric chewed happily. No kidding, he had taken a mega bite before there were megabytes.

I gave in to the snark side.

Just a bite, huh? This kid’s gonna be an IRS agent when he grows up,” I observed aloud.

The other mom blinked at me, absolutely bewildered. “My husband is an IRS agent, and he never does that…”

When my heart started beating again, I changed the subject, then went to look for a toothpick. See, I needed to remove a foot from my mouth…

Your turn: Surely I’m not the only one with an embarrassing moment… what’s yours? You can share in the “Leave a Reply” box below.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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.38 Special: The Fellowship Gathers

Last week, I told you about my failed attempts to get rid of my dad’s old handgun before someone got hurt. Between the post itself and Facebook, my sad tale garnered a variety of responses. Congratulations, commenters! You are now members of The Fellowship of the .38 Special.

Of course, the characters in Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring offered to join Frodo via heroic remarks like, “You have my sword!” “And you have my bow!” “And my axe!”
My Fellowship, on the other hand– well, below you’ll find their comments, followed by my Tolkienian translation…

 
S: You could probably just bury the thing. Only make sure you do it at midnight. And keep your flashlight hidden.
“You have my sarcasm!”

C: LOL — What you have there is an oxymoron: a German-made piece of junk.
“And you have my bluntness!”

J: That was hilarious.
“And my laughter! With you, not at you.”

D: You could always throw it at a burglar.
“You have my sass!”

E: Yeah, that gun is worth the scrap value of the metal parts.
“And you have my disrespect!”

J: Oh my goodness, that is too funny. Your dad would really be laughing… It made for a great story, though…
“And my utter lack of sympathy!”

Okay, it’s really only brass and lead. Not silver.

Fine. I see how it is.

But one commenter stood head and shoulders above the rest. Yes, the Gandalf Silver Bullet of Helpfulness Award goes to my friend Drew. His winning remark?

I’d take it off your hands!

>Cue pastoral music and beam of sunlight; Mordor begins to crumble. . .<

I’m happy to report that I handed off the revolver and accessories yesterday. My home is now a Gun-Free Zone!

That is… at least it’s a Revolver-Free Zone.

And the SWAT team didn’t even have to come.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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Entitled Much?

Silver Spoon

Not long ago, I re-read Jesus’ parable of “The Prodigal Son” in Luke’s gospel. As often happens with the Bible, something jumped out at me that I’d never noticed before…

It was after the Prodigal Son’s (PS’s) Big Brother (BB) got mad and stomped out of the “Welcome Home” barbecue–because PS didn’t deserve the party their dad threw for him. In fact, as the responsible one, BB thought he deserved the party. For being, you know, responsible.

The dad came outside to try and make peace with his beloved son BB, even though BB was being a drama king.

BB verbally strafed his little brother for being so foolish, then made his case:
“…these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.”

Wow, what a mean father. Refusing BB even one young goat? Have you seen those little guys? Not much meat on them.

Oh wait… BB didn’t say “You never would give me” a goat, as in refusing a request. He said “You never gave me” a goat.

BB’s wording suggests that he (retroactively) expected his father to have thrown him a party it had never occurred to him to ask for.

It hadn’t occurred to the father, either. You can hear the surprise in his reply to BB’s complaint: “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours…”

I know, the story is just an illustration. But I see myself, and our “entitled” society at large, in BB’s attitude, which leaves me wondering…

Why do I expect God to give me blessings that I don’t bother to ask for?

And am I grateful for the blessings he does give, or do I feel… entitled?

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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Happy Juneteenth!

All I can say is, they didn’t have motor vehicles or the Internet in January of 1863. That’s when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in the United States.

Except the word didn’t get out very fast. Even where slaveholders were aware of it, the executive order was all too easy to ignore as long as no Union troops came along to enforce it. Which they finally did, notably in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. Better two and a half years late than never, right?

Race relations in our country have improved a lot since the horrific days of slavery, but we still have a long way to go. And racism flat-out stinks. In honor of Juneteenth, would you join me in these three simple exercises? As near as I can figure, all of us could use the practice.

Celebrate freedom.

Let go of assumptions.

Pursue understanding.

Well, friends, that’s about all that’s on my mind today.

Your turn: If you have experienced a racial barrier being overcome, I’d love to hear about it. You can use the “Leave a Reply” box below.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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Tolkien and the Fellowship of the .38 Special

It’s been almost seven years since my dad died, and occasionally I still find a loose end that needs tying up. Case in point: his cheap old revolver that’s been hidden away on a shelf in our closet since we closed the house.

It’s a “.38 special,” complete with yellowing parts list and a box of bullets. I don’t want to say this type of gun is unreliable, but I hear that if you use it to shoot at an intruder, it’s even odds as to which of you gets wounded.

Recently we decided it’s ridiculous to keep a capricious handgun that we wouldn’t know how to use even if we wanted to, which we don’t. Brent pointed out that SWFA, a nearby gun and sporting goods store, buys guns from individuals.

“Great; I’ll take it in tomorrow,” I said.

It’ll be a slam dunk, right?

The next day, I drove over with the goods in a small bag…

ME: “Hi, I’m hoping you’ll take this old handgun. Mostly we want it out of our house.”

SWFA (removes gun from holster, raises eyebrows): “Yeah, I can’t take this. No one’ll buy it.” (Puts gun back in holster) “Try a pawn shop. They’ll take it.”

ME (pictures thug buying Dad’s gun and shooting me with it during a holdup): “Umm, thanks…”

Then I had the bright idea of turning it in at the police station for disposal…

ME: “Hi, I’d like to turn in this old handgun for disposal.”

POLICE RECEPTIONIST: “Oh… we don’t have a buyback program.”

ME: “But it isn’t safe. I think it should be destroyed.”

PASSING OFFICER (looks at revolver): “Yeah, these aren’t safe.”

ME: “Someone suggested pawning it, but I’d hate for it to be on the street.”

OFFICER: “Hmmm… We can’t destroy a weapon without a court order.”

ME: “Aaaah!”

OFFICER: “Maybe you could take it to the steel plant.” (grins) “They might smelt it into your next car.”

ME: (pictures self trekking to Mordor, climbing the volcanic Mt. Doom, and throwing the stupid revolver into the lava)

OFFICER: “… Of course, they’d have to run the serial number to make sure it wasn’t evidence in a criminal case … Besides, they wouldn’t have any way of knowing whether you were trying to destroy a murder weapon…”

ME: “Aaaaaaaaah!”

OFFICER: “Seriously, check with the bigger cities’ police departments like Dallas or Arlington. They have gun buyback programs.”

ME: “Will do.” (goes home, calls Arlington PD)

ARLINGTON: “We can’t take guns, we don’t have room to store them. Try a gun store.”

ME (silently): “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

We’ve circled back to the gun store? Maybe that’s why they call it a “revolver.”

So much for the government trying to take away people’s guns. I can’t give this one to them. They won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.

The lady in Arlington was really helpful, though. She offered to get hold of a man who might take the gun for parts. If not, I think she said something about calling 9-1-1 and having the police come pick it up.

ME: (pictures SWAT team approaching house with extreme caution…..)

Dad would laugh his head off.

Your turn: Have you ever struggled to get rid of some albatross in your home? Tell me about it in the “Leave a Reply” box at bottom!

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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What I Did on my Summer Vacation: 2017 Edition

Okay, call me a slacker. I missed posting on Monday. In my defense, we’d been in Washington State visiting our son and his beautiful family. Eric and Heather needed an overnight getaway, and Brent and I needed the Grandpa/Grandma fix. Win-win!

While Mommy and Daddy were away, the kids and Grandpa and Uncle Greg played. We hit the Children’s Hands-On Museum…

… and motored around the indoor pool at our hotel.

On Saturday, the whole family was back together for a day of adventure at a nearby state park. We hiked and hiked through a magnificent forest that made even my East Texas Pinewoods look a little tame.

Seriously, those ferns!

The elusive “Angry Bird Berry” grows here. Yeah, I totally made up that name, but don’t you think it fits?

So nice to have the two brothers together. (You see why I get their names mixed up)

Eventually, we emerged into sunshine and the spectacle of Puget Sound at low tide. Waaaay low.

So there you have it. I’m back to my home and computer, so expect more of my usual posts. I promise not to show any more pictures of my grandkids… at least, not in every post.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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What Matters Most, by Kellie Coates Gilbert

Why yes, as a matter of fact I did prop the book up on my desk and take a picture. Don’t judge.

I just finished reading Kellie Coates Gilbert’s What Matters Most. It’s a novel in her “Texas Gold” collection and I couldn’t wait to tell you about it.

This Great Weekend Read features Leta Breckenridge, a smart, capable young woman living in Austin, Texas. She struggles with an income deficit (been there!) and a parent suffering from dementia (done that!).

At her most financially desperate time, Leta catches a break: she gets an almost-too-good-to-be-true job for a public relations firm. Meanwhile, a chance meeting with a handsome and principled young senator has made her mundane life more interesting.

But maybe that job really is too good to be true? Before long, Leta finds herself drawn into a dilemma between her much-needed paycheck, the senator, and her integrity.

No cardboard cutouts, Gilbert’s characters come to life, with all their good and bad, their strengths and weaknesses.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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