When I think of the Christmases of my youth there are few presents I can remember receiving. A gallon of pickles when I was about 10 or 11, because I really loved pickles. A remote controlled airplane that I crashed and destroyed on the playground of my elementary school on its first flight. An electric typewriter, when I was 15 or 16, which I learned to type on while listening to a cassette tape of Sting singing “We Work the Black Seam Together”. To this day, if I’m really in the groove, I type to the tempo of that song. Continue reading
My beautiful wife often asks a question that I really love: “does it bring you joy?” Continue reading
It’s nearly midnight and I’m thundering a mile a minute across the high, empty desert of central Arizona, singing loudly and pounding the steering wheel as the music from my new cassette tells me to Shout! Shout! Let it all out! And I was, because come on, they were talking to ME! Continue reading
Hurry up and wait.
During my years in the Army this was probably the most common phrase I heard and one of the few phrases used throughout all the branches of the military. We had different missions, different uniforms, different ranks, different words for the same things, even everyday things like where we went to the bathroom (we called it a latrine, the Navy called it a head, the Air Force called it who knows what and the Marines just go wherever). Continue reading
I remember well the day I discovered irony. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking a lot about “them” lately, and how if they would just see things the way I do the world would be such a better place. If only they would just understand – if they could only see! Sometimes I can’t believe how foolish they are, or how much they must not care, or what terrible people they are or what horrible parents they must have had to have raised them this way. It’s all their fault. I wish they would just get out of the way. They’re destroying our way of life, our country and our planet. Continue reading
When I was 10 or 11 years old my Uncle Frank gave me a book titled “Cathedral”. It was an illustrated book, mainly, but the story that ran through it was about a fictional town in the 12th century that elected to build a new cathedral after their existing church had burned down. In this age this was no small decision: a building as large and as expensive as a cathedral could take over 100 years to construct, meaning that those who initiated the project were highly unlikely to see the finished product. What motivated them, then? Certainly not personal glory or fortune, as those rewards would not come in their lifetimes. Prestige for their town? Perhaps, but even that boast could not be claimed for many, many years, if at all. So just what would move a community to pitch in and undertake a difficult, costly goal with the payoff a century away? Continue reading
17 years ago I had an opportunity to visit a friend of mine stationed in Germany. About a week into our trip we found ourselves in Munich, and since I’ve always been an avid reader of history I suggested we visit the concentration camp memorial at Dachau, just northwest of the city. We drove up to the camp on a warm, sunny spring day and pulled into the lot, only to discover that the memorial was closed on Mondays. A little disappointed, but with a beautiful day still in front of us, we headed back down into Munich and, with beer and bratwurst to be had, Dachau was soon all but forgotten. Continue reading
I dropped Ben off at YMCA Camp Seymour this evening for a weekend of Winter Camp and as I walked the nearly pitch-black trail from the dining hall back to the parking lot my heart was heavy with the thought of what happened in Connecticut today. I stood on the trail for a moment looking down at the foundation of the new dining hall, poured just yesterday, and listened to the singing and laughing drifting up the hill, wondering just what the solution would be to put an end to such horrible violence. It occurred to me as I stood there in the dark that the answer was right in front of me. Gun control is unlikely to be effective. Endless debate and compromised legislation would probably just polarize the country even more. But in the midst of such darkness, what works best, what lights the candle of warmth and hope that lets us move through times such as these, is to lean ever more firmly into providing the children we have before us the opportunity to play, to be respected, to be honored, and to be loved. I’m proud to work with so many who are part of the solution.