Thursday, April 30, 2015

Let's Talk Teeth

I admit that I've been spread a little thin lately with the impending opening of the new store location.  We're slated to open our doors in the next couple of weeks and there's just so much to be done between now and then!  All that to say, I'm a little preoccupied at the moment and you'll just have to bear with me as I grasp for blog topics in my one track brain.  I anticipate this condition will clear up in the next 2 or 3 weeks.      

With that being said, I don't think we've talked about my dentist visit and I'm certain that you're all about to blow a gasket waiting to hear about my annual medical visits.  Far be it from me to deny you all the details of something as riveting as that.  I believe I've told y'all that, about this time of year, I begin my checkups starting at the head and working my way down.  Usually, by the time I get all the way down, it's time to take it from the top again, but I suppose that's just the way it gets when you're just days away from your 47th birthday.     

Anyway, I had to change dentists because of insurance reasons, so this was my first visit to this office and you know how you have to go about 6 hours early if you're a new patient.  I filled out the 49 forms, front and back, and listed all of the medicines I take, the dates of my medical procedures, and circled all the conditions from which I have ever suffered.  I've always wondered what relevance Tums, a C-section, and dermatitis have to having your teeth cleaned, but, hey, what do I know?

Anyway, the hygienist came out to the waiting room to get me.  She was just precious.  She had the biggest smile and a most personable demeanor.  Speaking in the sweetest and most soothing voice, she led me back to "The Chair".  Not the electric chair, but still in that same ballpark.  Anyway, we chit chatted and got acquainted, while she got everything ready.  You know how you do.  I mean, if we're going to go from complete strangers to you having your arms in my mouth up to your elbows, then we should, at least, know a little something about each other first. 
I was glad she got all the questions out of the way before we got started as some hygienists seem to forget that it's difficult to respond to questions with fists in your mouth. "So, where do you work?"  "Ahhheeeoohaaaaaaaahuuu".  "What grade are your kids in?"  "Eeeooaaaaaaahh  aahhh iiiaaauuuhhah".

They had Jeopardy going on the televisions back there. I suppose their thinking was that if there was anything that could make having your teeth scraped with metal and drilled tooth matter splattering your face seem like the preferred choice, it would have to be watching three goobs, who actually know the answers to some of those questions.      

Well, the meet and greet was over and she started suiting up.  It was time for some deep cleaning and she grabbed her pick ax and sickle or whatever you want to call those instruments of torment.  That sweet, soft spoken girl got to work and let me just say, I've never met anyone with a more impressive work ethic.  Don't get me wrong.  I admire a strong work ethic and I really want to see that trait in certain a housekeeper, surgeon, mechanic, lawn boy, teacher.  But, my dental hygienist.........not really someone I particularly care for being an over achiever.  Yeah, them and auditors.....the lazier the better is what I say.  Know what I mean?  Anyway, I think my teeth were less clean the day they broke through the gums and into my teething ring in '68 than they were when I left there.

But, at least, we can check that off the list and proceed downward.  

Hope y'all have a great weekend! 



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Heart TV Classics

I know I'm all alone in this, but I'm just gonna come right out and say it.........I don't watch any of these new shows that everyone is so crazy about.  There.  I said it. 

No, I'm not into Dancing With the Stars, American Idol, Blue Bloods, The Walking Dead, House of Cards, Castle, The Bachelor, Secrets and Lies, Scandal.  I couldn't tell you one thing about any of them.  As a matter of fact, I had to Google their names. 

The other night, my Facebook newsfeed was full of gloom and despair and spoiler alerts about a doctor dying and I'm over here like, "Oooo, it's almost time for Everybody Loves Raymond.  As long as they don't kill off Trapper John, M.D., I'm good.

I know.  I must live under a rock. 

I'll even take it a step farther......besides some HGTV shows, I really don't watch many shows that began airing after the 80's or maybe early 90's.  I'm a TV classics kind of girl.  A Nick at Night fan. A watcher of Netflix archives.  Even the shows' old theme songs make me Mary Tyler Moore, St. Elsewhere, Hillstreet Blues, Sanford and Son, Mad About YouCheers, Taxi.

I don't really have anything against the new stuff or, at least, I don't know enough about it to have an opinion.  Maybe those old shows bring up warm, nostalgic memories of younger days.  Or maybe I enjoy the simpler, more innocent story lines.  Maybe I like seeing the old cars, outfits, hairstyles, and electronics of the day.  Maybe I just enjoy the less cautious ribbing.  Whatever the reason, it's just what I prefer. 

I was thinking about some of those old shows and cartoons and thought how some of them just wouldn't fly today.  Too much PC now for the old school lineup.  If they brought them back, some major adjustments would have to be made.  Plots would be forced to take some serious turns.

We'd find Fat Albert's friends, Rudy, Bucky, Russell, and Chuck, in mandatory sensitivity training for labeling him and Dumb Donald so negatively.

The Beverly Hillbillies are confronted by the HOA and, after the third notice about Ellie's chicken coop and Jed's truck parked in the driveway, they find themselves in the middle of an ugly lawsuit.

Elmer Fudd's home is surrounded by naked PETA demonstrators covered in fake blood.

Dr. Johnny Fever at WKRP is sued for sexual harassment, stemming from an incident in which he calls Jennifer, "Hot Babe".

Archie Bunker and George Jefferson are sent to diversity training.
Mary Tyler Moore, once a trailblazer, becomes the poster girl for the glass ceiling and the republican war against women.

Lucy and Ethel are looking for work after the chocolate factory closes and production is moved overseas.

Eddie Haskell is slapped for holding the door for a lady.   

Opie Taylor is suspended for using his finger as a pistol in a playground game of cops and robbers. 

Aunt Esther is warned that waving her big Bible around on the bus makes the atheist groups feel threatened and is in violation of their civil rights.

Wile E. Coyote is be picked up and questioned by the FBI for his stockpile of explosives and large supply of gun well as all the children who watch the program.   

Mister Rogers is sad to learn Mr. McFeely was affected by the massive Postal Service layoffs. 

Marcus Welby is sued for malpractice and decides to go ahead and retire with all the new cuts in Medicare and Medicaid payments to doctors. 

The Love Boat is forced to scrap the towel sculptures and free drinks on the Lido Deck to help cover the legal costs from the time they were stalled at sea for six days.  Oh, the millions of dollars of emotional pain and suffering that caused.
Bo and Luke Duke pose a threat to children and youth by modeling risky behaviors and are given a pink slip.  

June Cleaver is criticized for staying home and forfeiting a career for family.  She is pulled for being a poor example for young girls.

Everyone on Gilligan's Island dies, unable to survive with no cell service. 

The Olsens go to court to fight to keep the nativity scene outside their mercantile and Rev Alden is asked to turn in his sermon notes to the new Walnut Grove mayor for review. 

Samantha arranges for Darrin and Endora to appear on Dr. Phil in an effort to try and work out their in-law differences.

The skit about the Martians trying to figure out the telephone is pulled from Sesame Street because of its insensitivity to aliens. "Yep, Yep, Yep, Yep, Yep."      

Mrs.Wiggins is now to be referred to as an administrative professional by Mr. Tudball. 

Nellie Olsen is expelled from school after the implementation of the school district's zero tolerance policy on bullying. 

Howard Cunningham's hardware store goes belly up soon after the new Walmart comes to town.  He's now rolling back prices as assistant manager of their hardware department and Marian goes to work to help make ends meet.  Richie and Joanie become latch key kids.   

Yosemite Sam stirs outrage among gun control activists with his open carry and his "Guns don't kill people, I kill people" bumper sticker.  

Tootie, Blair, Jo, and Natalie are all presented with participation trophies at the Eastland School awards program, so that no one is made to feel inferior.

Flo, Vera, and Alice can't afford the mandated insurance and have to take second jobs.

Mork pays $500,000 to catch a ride back to Ork....a stopover on the one-way flight to Mars for rich idiots.

Mike and Carol Brady unload the station wagon in the Cash for Clunkers program in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Andy and Barney refuse to remove the American flag bunting from the Mayberry bandstand even though it is reported to be offensive by some, who see the flag as a symbol of oppression and superiority. 

Ralph, the Jefferson's doorman resigns after being ordered to greet tenants with  "Happy Holidays" as opposed to "Merry Christmas" amid complaints from residents of having religion forced upon them when entering the building. 

Child services pays James Evans a visit when neighbors report his spanking of JJ.  JJ sues his parents.  "Dynomite!"

George Jefferson of Jefferson Cleaners gets hot under his starched collar when he's told he and Weezy didn't build that. 

Jon and Ponch take mandatory furlough time as part of a plan to solve California's budget deficit.

The Cookie Monster is renamed the Carrot Stick Monster under growing pressure from the Let's Move program.

I don't know, y'all.

I think I'll stay back three or four decades with my old shows.  Y'all go on ahead without me. 

I might even get myself an old console television set that I have to get up and turn the dial to change the channel......maybe even a VCR and a hot air popcorn popper with the butter melting dish on top.   

I kind of like it back there when life was simpler on TV.

Real life, too. 

Have a good one, y'all!!    

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Bride, An Archer, and the Fall of the Red Kitchens

So, my precious niece, Erin, got married this weekend.  It was a sweet, intimate ceremony on the beach.  She wanted something simple and stress free and I think she achieved just that.....except for maybe the thunderstorm that was threatening just before the ceremony.  She was a beautiful bride and everything went great despite that!

Erin was my first baby.  The baby I doted on before I had my own.  You know how you are with your first niece or nephew.  They're about the most wonderful thing you've ever known!  You could drop by and hold and play and spoil them at your leisure without any of those inconveniences called parental responsibilities.  What's not to love about that? 

They say, sometimes, your siblings' children can even look more like you than your own children.  I think that may be the case with us.  Some people think Erin favors me or, should I say, the younger version of me.....more than my own daughter.  All I know is that it's hard to believe she's old enough to be getting married!  She was born two months after Davis and I married, so life has a way of making the circle in a big, ol' hurry!

My sister-in-law made a handkerchief out of one of my Daddy's old shirts and embroidered their initials and date on it and it was tied into her bouquet.  It was a sweet way of having a piece of her Grandpa there with her at the wedding.
I was, somehow, put in charge of transporting the two tier wedding cake........and my mother, the worst backseat driver on the face of the planet, on the 2 1/2 hour journey to the beach.  So, the combination was a real treat.  Anytime, I had to make a sudden stop, she'd make this noise.  It's the same noise she's made since my brothers and I were buckled into the back of our old, blue Ford and my Daddy would be driving too fast.  It's kind of a sucking air through clinched teeth kind of noise.  Yeah, there was a lot of air sucking between here and there, but, despite all of that, the cake made it safely to the restaurant.

The next day, we decided to stick around for my nephew's 4-H bow and shotgun competitions that were also held in that area.  I've never seen so many kids in all my life!  It was great to see how they'd all been trained in the safe and responsible ways to handle weapons.  It was an impressive event. 

My nephew, Casey, hit 13 of his 15 skeets, which I thought was awesome, but he wasn't so happy with it.  He did even better with his bow, so I was proud of him!  I told him that there was something that he probably didn't know about me........I don't like to brag, but I used to be quite advanced in archery on the Wii.  His aptitude in this area, clearly, comes from his aunt. 
And there's more news on the home improvement front.  I believe the last time we spoke, we'd completed our guest room project.  Well, Davis got the kitchen repainted this weekend.  Since we've been married, we've had nothing but red kitchens.  Three houses......three red kitchens.  Well, no more.  I now have a "Park Place" kitchen and I absolutely love the change!  Hopefully, it won't throw my cooking game off. 
Poor Davis.  And to think that one question, "What would you like for Valentine's Day?"... set all of this into motion

Also in the news, Carson's baseball team advanced to the second round of playoffs this weekend.  I was out of town, so there are no pictures of this achievement.  Blair breezed through on her way back to college from a weekend trip.  And the church choir, accompanied by a 21 piece orchestra, held our spring music program tonight and, if heaven is anything close to that, it's going to be a good time!

Y'all are up to speed on our weekend now.

Let's get this week started off right! 


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

That House with the Old Sofa in the Yard

This past weekend, Davis and I worked on transforming our fourth bedroom from the kids' TV/gaming room to a proper guest room.  We had a sleeper sofa in there and that was the closest thing we had to an extra bed, so someone would invariably get booted out of their bedroom when we had overnight guests. 
When we moved in this house ten years ago, the thought was that the kids needed a place to watch movies and play video games with their friends without being right up under us.  This set-up worked well, but, as they've gotten older, we decided a guest room was becoming the more pressing need.

I'd purchased the bed, mattress set, bedding, lamps, nightstand, blah, blah, blah, and all we needed was to clear the room and I could begin the transformation. 

Back when four men contemplated, calculated, removed legs, removed doors, and maneuvered every which way to get that sleeper sofa in through the awkward angle of that room and still damaged the door frame, we vowed that when it was time for it to come out that we'd just saw the thing up........and so, we did.  It was over 10 years old and having been wallowed on by kids/teens for over a decade, we felt that it deserved to be euthanized.  It had suffered.  In the silence of the moment, we thought we could hear it pleading to be put out of its misery.......with its crumbs, wrappers, bobby pins, loose change, Legos, gummy bears, and all manner of childhood funk embedded within its crevices.  We don't even want to know what a swab test would've revealed, so we made the tough decision.       

Davis unscrewed the bed mechanism from the sofa frame and then came the crow bar and the saw and, piece by piece, the once lovely sofa was dismantled.  He knew it would be a day or two before he could haul it off, so he just piled it up in our backyard.  We decided to go with the backyard as opposed to the front, because, well, we're just fancy like that....and, you know, we have those cool neighbors across the street and all. 

Coincidentally, they were outside with their kids in their front yard, wearing sweater vests, driving moccasins with no socks, putting golf balls, and practicing their chip shots.  It looked like the country club over there.....or maybe a magazine ad.....I don't know which.  Meanwhile, on this side of the street, Fred Sanford is bringing out our mangled couch, limb by limb, with big hunks of foam dangling from it.  He made a large pile of sofa debris and, oh, did it look lovely.  If only Southern Living had been in the area.  I hear they're partial to lawns featuring old, upholstered furniture.  Listen, we were just a junk car and an old refrigerator shy of an emergency HOA meeting.  But, Davis assured me that it would only be there for a short time and then he'd haul it off for proper disposal.

Well, a couple of days later, Davis loaded the unsightly furniture carnage onto his truck with all manner of rope and straps for security.
There was only one problem......getting it out of the neighborhood.  I was such a grizzly scene of furniture butchery.  And you can't really dump large household items in the nighttime hours under the cover of darkness, which was really unfortunate in this case, so Fred and his son, Lamont, just hopped in the truck and made a run for it. 

Down the driveway, right past the "country club", and to the end of the street, they went.....leaving all the neighbors to think........

"Dang.  Those Millers........they sure are hard on their furniture." 

Oh, well.

If you need a place to stay, though, we've got a room for ya......close to the golf course, too. 

Happy Hump Day, y'all! 


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Prom Pictures Abound

I'm sure your social media feed is a lot like mine in that it's eaten up with prom pictures right now.  Every weekend around this time of year, the sweet pictures start appearing on Saturday evening and run throughout the night. 

I've always had a soft spot for prom.  I've got one child, who's past that stage and one, who's not quite there yet, so I just have to look through my friends' kids' prom pictures for now. 

There's something so very sweet about that night.  A young man showing up to a young lady's house in the nicest car in his family's garage, which he likely spent the whole afternoon vacuuming and washing.......or a limo, whichever the case may be.  He looks a tad bit uncomfortable in the fancy clothes and extra accessories, which he doesn't normally wear.  He had to ask his dad how to put on the cuff links found in the little bag that came with his suit.  His shoes are shiny and he's wondering now if he shouldn't have gotten a half size bigger.  He can be seen tugging, straightening, and wondering if he has everything on right as he gets out of the car and walks up to her porch.  

He makes it to her doorstep and rings the doorbell, making final adjustments to his tie as he waits for someone to answer.  All of a sudden, he's feeling a bit warm.  He wipes the bead of sweat from the side of his face and takes a deep breath.  His heart is beating a little faster and his stomach feels like a butterfly sanctuary. 

Her father answers the door, but his date and her mom are nowhere in sight.  The guys introduce themselves to each other and the boy reaches out to shake the dad's hand.  He remembers to look him in the eye and use a firm handshake just like his father taught him.  The dad explains that she's not quite ready, but will be out soon.  He asks the nervous boy to have a seat while they wait.  Oh, this was not how the boy wanted this to go at all.  He prays she won't be long as he sits there clutching her corsage box in his sweaty hands.  He politely answers all the questions asked of him like "Where do you plan to go to college?"  "Are you a sports fan?"  "What do you want to study?"  "Do you have a job?"  You know......the typical dad questions.  The boy starts to feel awkward about how many times he's said, "Yes, sir" in this one conversation. 
Finally, to everyone's relief, his date emerges into the family room with her mother right behind her, pulling on her dress and smoothing the back of her hair.  The boy stands to his feet and he likes what he sees, but he's not sure he should say so in front of her parents.  He lets out a sheepish, "You look very pretty", and she responds with gratitude and compliments his appearance as well.  Her dad chimes in, remarking on her beauty, too.  He tells the nervous boy that he'll be the luckiest guy at the prom.  Oh, and there goes another, "Yes, sir".  The mother comments on how well his tie matches her dress and then hurries off to grab the camera and his boutonniere out of the refrigerator.

She comes back and hands it to her daughter and steps back to capture the moment of him placing the corsage on her wrist.  He nervously opens the box, his hands trembling just a little bit.  He doesn't handle flowers very often and he hopes he gets it right for the audience he has.  He slides it over her hand and onto her wrist and the mom is snapping away with the camera.  The girl gets the boutonniere and looks over at her mother to verify she's pinning it on the right lapel as camera flashes are going off right and left. 

The mother insists on getting a few more pictures before they leave.  Maybe one or two by the fireplace and then a couple of outdoor shots by the blooming azaleas or the snowball bush.  Of course, then she asks the date to take a picture of them with their daughter.  Then, it's finally time to leave.  To the boy, it seems like three or four hours have passed since he arrived.  Nerves always have a way of slowing down the clock.   

The parents tell them what time to be home and then come the stern warnings to the boy about careful driving, the precious cargo he has on board, and how they expect him to take good care of her.  He's reminded that she is their most prized treasure and he gulps with the responsibility as he sees the seriousness on their faces.  "Oh, yes ma'am.....yes, sir", he assures them.

The couple walks over to the sparkling car with the fresh coat of tire shine glistening in the setting sun.  He walks around and opens the car door for her and then shuts it behind her.  He knows parents like to see their daughter being treated like a lady and he is right about that.  The mother is impressed.  He tells them to have a good evening as he gets into the car and slowly creeps out of the driveway to insure them of his careful driving.  The parents wave from the steps and head back inside.

I think prom reminds us of an old fashioned, more formal time of dating that is nostalgic and endearing to most of us.  There's something about a rented suit and a dress with sequins that makes you feel a bit more special and little more enamored with your date.   There's nothing sweeter than a nervous boy with his wallet full of the money his parents gave him plus his yard mowing money, so he can treat her extra special.  There is a sense of mystery, awe, innocence, and respect.   

I guess I'll never get the women, who oppose men opening a door or offering their seat to them.  Maybe it's because I'm from the South, where that is commonplace, but I've never thought of it as anything but a sign of respect.

I have a soft spot for all the nice, young men, who've come in our doors and treated our daughter like a lady through the years.  They've "Yes sir"-ed and "No, ma'am"-ed....opened doors, shook hands, complimented her, gotten her home on time, used their manners, walked her to the door, sat on our couch, eaten meals here, traveled with us, and posed for pictures.  They've never been anything but perfect southern gentlemen.  Their actions showed/show her and us that she was/is valued by them.
And behind each polite, young man are parents, who taught him well before he left home.  Parents, who emphasized to their son the importance of protecting, appreciating, and respecting women.  As a mother of a daughter, I appreciate that more than they'll ever know.

Happy prom picture viewing!



Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Saturday Night Regimen

Well, I'm finally sitting down from my "night before church" regimen and I'm just exhausted.  Listen.  Looking this average doesn't come easy, let me tell you. 

First of all, it's spring and since swearing off the sun, I am the color of Cool Whip and needed to rub a little tanning lotion on these legs to get them to a less offensive level on the whiteness scale.  Oh, who am I kidding.....I put on one coat and then decided it was a two coat kind of night.  The first coat took me from Cool Whip to more of a cream cheese hue and the second coat has delivered me all the way up to the tint of evaporated milk, so I am beyond pleased. (It's obvious that my late night hunger is influencing my metaphors and, apparently, I'm craving dairy.)  

Anyway, I don't know if you're a self tanner user, but you're working with a small window of time when you apply the stuff.  You smear it on and if you don't start rubbing and smoothing it out right away, you could find yourself stuck with some embarrassing markings for a good 4 or 5 days.  I learned this lesson the hard way when I overlooked a glob on my neck one time and woke up the next day looking like Davis had been groping me in the back of our car.  We felt like awkward teenagers until it finally faded.  So,'ve gotta work fast with this stuff and it can be quite the vigorous workout. 

By the time I covered my arms and legs and chest/neck area and then did another coat......rubbing it all in as fast as I could, I have to admit that I was winded.  I know..... a new low has been set in the physical fitness rankings when one becomes out of breath from applying her sunless tanner.  Leave it to me to break the barriers. 

So, after that beauty booster, I decided my nails needed some attention.  Another reason why I love  Anyway, I do my own nails because of several reasons.  First of which, I'm just highfalutin like that.  Second of all, if there is laughing and rapidly spoken foreign language being exchanged as someone is holding my feet, I can only assume that I am the source of the multi-lingual humor.  I'm just paranoid like that, I guess.  And, not the least of which, because of a plantar's wart incident which Blair mysteriously experienced after a pedi visit a couple of years ago........but, I've said too much.  Anyway, I suppose my mother's germ consciousness has, at least, influenced me enough to not want other people's foot gunk floating around in my water, so I achieve the same results in the comfort of my own home, in water that only contains my foot gunk, and for a fraction of the price......albeit not as relaxing or indulging.    

After the fingers and toes, comes the plucking.  Saturday night is a good time to get out the ol' 12x mirror and check yourself over.  You ever notice how you tend to be seated more closely to people at church than you are at most other places?  The last thing you'll want is to feel the stare of those next to you in the choir, who've spotted one of your chin hairs that's so long it's blowing in the breeze of the air conditioning.  It's hard for them to have the right frame of reference and spirit of worship singing, "I Stand in Awe of You", while looking at something as oddly impressive as that next to them.  And you'd never want to become a stumbling block.   

Ladies, if you're well into your 40's or up, you know what I'm talking about.  Something just happens.  It may not be too much longer before I just start getting out Davis' Barbasol and Mach 3 Turbo with the triple comfort blades and settle things once and for all.

Anyway, I'm "wore slap out" and headed to bed. 

I'm looking forward to church in the morning!  It's a privilege denied to many.

Have a restful Sunday, y'all!                     

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Only 527 Days until Election Day

Well, it's that time of year again.  A new presidential race is getting cranked up and we, the citizens of the United States of America, couldn't be more excited about embarking on 18+ months of being bombarded with ads, speeches, mudslinging, news coverage, junk mail, robo-calls during dinner, yard signs, and televised announcements and debates interrupting our regularly scheduled programming.

As these politicians announce their candidacies, one by one, and coverage starts to heat up, I'd like to give them all a few, bipartisan reminders from us, the voters.

1)  Always bring your spouse along with you and have them speak on your behalf on the campaign trail.  We may be unsure about you, but we know we can trust them to tell us the truth.  Oh, wait........scratch that.  It may depend on what your definition of "truth" is.  Anyway, throw in some well-behaved children and a grandchild or two and you'll really start to gain ground.  Having your family dressed in flag colors also adds additional bonus points.     

2)  Always hold the babies.  Don't lick the babies, Senator, but holding is good.  There is something endearing to us about someone who will take time to hold our children for a quick picture, however awkwardly you may do it.    
3)  Be sure to remember that holding babies does not, however, carry over to holding other men's wives and teenage daughters.  Ahem, Mr. Vice President.  Let's not try to push the envelope with the holding a baby thing.  Your definition of a "babe" is a little broad for comfort.    
4)  And for your own good, try to keep animated facial expressions to a minimum.  They will find their way onto billboards and social media feeds, emblazoned with an unflattering caption before the light of morning.   
5)  Don't forget to remind us that you're just like us.  You put your pants on one leg at a time.  We like when we see that you, too, drink Big Gulps and eat at Chipotle.  We like that you're down to earth like us.......we often wear our sunglasses at night to eat chicken burrito bowls, as well.  

6)  Let us see you in everyday life, so we can connect with you better.  I mean....we like to know that you chug beer, dig footings, and run in fuchsia shorts like other red blooded Americans.
7)  And never, ever pass up a chance to be photographed with a gun.  You may or may not know what you're doing, but it could help you as we're partial to the second amendment.  This will boost your poll numbers in the South, especially.   
8)  We like to see you get in there and do some good, old-fashioned hard least, until the cameras are gone.  We favor a politician, who isn't afraid to get his/her hands dirty for a few minutes. 
9)  Eat everything that is put in front of you.  Even if you have to eat things that would make your personal chef faint and fall over.  It's gross, we know, but it shows the common people that you're not out of touch.  You have to squeeze the bottle, Hillary.....oh, and it's called chicken, Mr. don't eat that hard thing in the middle.         
10)  Always promise that you will put an end to government waste!  We want to hear you speak passionately about how you're going to stop the out of control spending.   Assure us that there will be no squander or misuse of our money on your watch.....and then we'll all have a big laugh and go home.  
11)  Never fail to mention global warming and reducing ecological footprints in your speeches......just before you get back on your private jets and fly back to one of your modest homes.  We love that.     
12)  Don't forget to pack the flags.  We love the American flag, so the more you surround yourself with, the better!  We know that the number of flags around you directly correlates with your love of country.  So, if you have a lot of flags on site, we know that you'd never do anything to harm your beloved America.............unless there was something in it for you or your career or your district or your party or your friends or your wallet, of course.   
13)  Always find someone in the crowd of factory workers or school teachers that you can pretend to know!  This makes us feel like you rub shoulders with all walks of life.  "Hey, Lisa!  Haven't seen you since we worked at the Piggly Wiggly!  How are you, girl?"   
14)  If your numbers start dropping in the polls, just send a friend out with some made-up gibberish about the other candidate not paying taxes for 10 years.  We'll fall for that every time.....but be careful because, sometimes, what goes around has a way of coming back and smacking you in the eye. 
15)  Never let a good disaster pass you by.  Be the first on the scene at any sign of calamity.  You'll be all up in the way and a serious distraction from where the attention really needs to be focused, but it will do your numbers a world of good.  Never's all about the numbers........I mean the people.  Yeah, the people.    
16)  We implore you to cut down on the gaffes.  It tires us to have to listen to endless recounts, clips, and analysis on every channel of what you said and what a sexist, anti-American, bigoted, out of touch, uneducated fool you must be.  We do receive some enjoyment from the SNL skits, but, please, measure your words carefully for the love of all humanity.  
17)  And let's try to keep our scandals to a minimum, shall we?  These things always have a way of coming out eventually.  Just ask Herman and John......and Bill and Anthony and Newt and Eliot and Gary and.......well, we don't have time to list everybody.  Al didn't make the internet big enough for that.  You know who you are.   
18) And last but not least, we know that some of you are good, decent people and you head to D.C. with the best of intentions, but 99% of you, Republican and Democrat alike, lose your minds about 5 minutes after getting there.  As soon as you drop your bags onto the floor, your ability to relate to us mysteriously vanishes.  Your level headedness, straight thinking, and common sense all ooze out of your pores and evaporate into thin air, rendering you out of touch and part of the problem.  We don't know if it's the intoxication of power, money, lavish living, the crony system, or the lack of transparency that causes you all to forget about the people you represent, but you do......almost every, single time. 
I also want you to know that there is a hunger among us for integrity.....for bravery, honor, and honesty.  We want leaders, who we can actually believe.  At this point, we'd be happy with just one, single, truthful word that we could really trust.  We want someone to have the courage to do the right stand up against their party, if they have to, and fight for what's best for this ailing nation.  Forget your career security, the next election, the polls, your party allegiance, your cronies, and just do what's best for America and our children and grandchildren.  We want real leaders, who will have what it takes to make the tough decisions for a better future.  Someone who will speak the truth.    Someone who will speak for us.....who will be the voice for how we feel.      
Most of us are hard working people, who get discouraged when we see the money coming out of our checks and then watch the news to see the IRS taking bubble baths and sipping champagne bought with it.  Yeah, you have hearings and committees and subpoenas and horrible things are brought to light, but that's where it ends.  Meetings are adjourned.  People are reassigned or given paid leave.  There's no accountability or integrity or consequence.  Honesty is extinct.  Taking responsibility is not necessary.  It's enough to make the rest of us, who live in the real world, want to pull our hair out by the bloody handfuls and scream at the top of our lungs until we faint from exhaustion.
And though we're made to feel like we're the minority, my feeling is that most of us are God-fearing people, who believe this nation has been blessed so richly, because it was built on a Christian foundation.  Most of us believe it functions most effectively and smoothly when we have a true, unchanging moral compass.  More and more, each day, we're labeled as old-fashioned, out of touch, and narrow-minded.  Tolerance for everyone and every group is stringently required......except for us.  We see our nation drifting further and further from its founding principles and we are grieving. 
It would do you and the rest of us a lot of good if, after you've shut the door to your new offices, you drop down to your knees and ask for divine guidance from the One, who is much more powerful than you.  Yes, there is power greater than yours.  Ask Him for His help, because He is more wise than you.  Yes, there is wisdom greater than yours. Ask Him to give you discernment and to give you courage to stand firm on the side of right......not just firmly on your side of the aisle.  Ask Him to guide you in the decisions that you make that affect millions of people, their present, and their future.  You can't do this alone and expect good results.    
In return, the Christians of this nation will pray for you......and for us.  It's promised that if we assume a posture of repentance and humility and dependence before the One who gave us this great nation, then He will heal our land. 
We want you to succeed in your jobs.  We want you to make a difference.  We want you to represent us.  We're in this together.        
Just, please, give us something.  Let us see a glimmer of hope up there.  Let us hear stories of sacrifice, self-denial, conviction, cooperation, hard choices, going against the grain, uprightness, fairness, restraint, strict standards, responsibility, morality.......anything good.  Please, give us something in which we can gleam a little bit of faith in you again. 
We're so desperate for you all to cut the games and lead.   
A Concerned Citizen       

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Leaving it Behind

My friend, Julie, and I spent all day Friday snooping around the local flea markets.  I was looking for pieces that could be used for display in the new gift shop and Julie was just doing some general browsing.  It was a good excuse for us to spend the day together and, of course, to eat.  I can't think of any occasion or activity onto which we can't tack some eating.

Anyway, we looked through store after store and room after room of old artifacts, cool finds, and a good measure of just pure junk.  We saw it all.  We walked through pieces from every decade, every walk of life, every category, and it all had one thing in common.....they were all things that were useful and important to someone at some point and now they weren't.  Each piece had a story and each had been connected to a different life, family, and place in history.  They'd all served their time, put in their hours, fulfilled their purpose.

We saw an old, chartruse recliner that I imagined some insurance salesman or banker sat in and watched Walter Cronkite everyday after work.  An old, iron crib that held babies long before any safety regulations came into play.  Lovely rust colored Tupperware canisters that probably perfectly matched the floral wallpaper in some early 70's kitchen.  Crystal bowls and tea cups that were likely wedding gifts given to couples, who are long gone now.  A washboard that scrubbed dirty, farming clothes before life became a little easier for us.  A CorningWare coffee percolator in the blue cornflower pattern, which surely made a pot or two for the Avon lady and the preacher in its day.  There were Coke bottles that were probably sipped from on the porch of an old country store.  And a screen door, through which I could see somebody's mama yelling for her kids to come to supper. 

There were artillery boxes, maybe, from a battlefield in WW11.  Beaded curtains from the room of some 60's teenager, who's a grandmother now.  There were dolls that belonged to little girls, who are surely old ladies today.  Cast iron skillets that had probably browned a lot of cornbread to go with some fresh, garden vegetables.  A sewing basket full of old buttons from who knows what.  Antique luggage that may have gone on a train trip or was loaded into the trunk of an old Hudson.  Pedal cars and rusty trikes that haven't been ridden in half a century.  Colorful broaches worn to church by someone's grandma on the day they were baptized.  Car tags, record albums, rusty tools, iceboxes, kerosene lamps, window frames, dressing tables, old radios, golf clubs, a wooden wheelchair, wash tubs, antique fishing lures, dressers, toy trucks, wooden ironing boards, crates, trunks, tea sets.......the list goes on and on.
I thought about what all I'll leave behind when I'm gone.  As we made our way through the maze of clutter, I contemplated how someone will likely rummage through my stuff one day and make a small keep pile, a bigger giveaway pile, and a gigantic trash pile, which will most likely require a dumpster rental.  There will be things that our children will want....things that will remind them of home.....and maybe a keepsake or two that a future grandchild would like to have, but, for the most part, I bet a lot of the things we've acquired, worked hard for, and put a lot of time into, will end up scattered here and there with little value or use to anyone.   

Makes you think about how we spend our time.   We spend a good bit of it acquiring all these things that we think we've got to have and then, when we're gone, they get dispersed in every different direction....mostly irrelevant and obsolete.  We put a lot of our concentration on the stuff that will get cleaned out about a month after we leave this earth and, sometimes, not near as much on the things that will remain and make a real difference.  Something seems awfully backwards about that.  So much time and money are spent on our houses, hobbies, clothes, jewelry, furnishings, cars......things that will be of no use to anyone in 30 years.......and I'd say a lot less of our resources are spent on loving, giving, helping, teaching, volunteering, and ministering. 

I want to leave behind more than just a bunch of stuff that no one knows what to do with.  As our youth minister said today.....the legacy that we'll leave is being built today by our actions, the decisions we make, the use of our time, and the words we say. 

Our legacies can be left in the hearts of our children or our nieces and nephews or our students.  In the soul of a lost friend.  The ministry of a church.  The hearts of desperate strangers.  The needs of the poor.  In showing God's love.

We can invest our resources in things destined for scrap yards, garage sales, flea markets, and dumpsters, but, maybe, there are better places to make our largest deposits.

"Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there is your heart also." Matthew 6:19-21                            


Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Birthday Dinner

When it's your birthday, your family may take you out on the town for dinner to celebrate, especially, on milestone birthdays like dog years.  I can't let a number like that slip by without turning up the party.    
You'll want to look over the menu carefully.  Don't make any rash decisions, because this only happens once a year, you know.  Tomorrow, it's back to the Caesar dinners that we keep under the sink, so you'll need to take your time, choose wisely, and talk it out if you need to.  
"It's so hard to decide when they've got all these pictures on the menu.  It all looks good to me. Chicken.....I love chicken.  I wonder if it's fresh.  Burgers.....can never go wrong with some good cow meat.  Hot dogs......I think I ordered that last year.  Mmmmm."  
"Ok, I think I've decided......I'm going with the cheeseburger.  Yeah, a cheeseburger-hold the ketchup and mayo."
Excellent choice, ma'am.
After a big birthday supper, sometimes, you just want to go home, loosen your collar, have a little night cap out of your water bowl, and get in your comfy bed. 
Life goes by fast when you age 7 years every year.  
You've got to take the time to stop and smell the mailboxes.