Monday, June 30

Numbering Our Days

Moses' words in Psalm 90 were key in today's funeral message. "Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may give our hearts to wisdom."

I didn't know Sharon (Sherry) Coy. Four months younger than myself, she died two doors away from a number of medical problems. She had been living with her son for awhile. When I got to his house (after a phone call), her teenage grandson was on the phone to 911, leaning over her body at the foot of the bed, trying to get her heart beating. But she had died hours before. I answered the door for the firemen who arrived within minutes, then stayed with young Andy while they did their routine.

I was a stranger to everyone as I sat there in the fourth pew waiting for the pastor to start the service. People just kept coming, taking their last look at their loved one, talking and weeping with family and friends. The service started fifteen minutes late. A number shared their thoughts.

Our days are indeed numbered. Martin Luther always wore a ring with a skull on it to remind him of his appointment with the One who gave him life and breath. It's all about perspective.

Saturday, June 28

Half Domed

This year's spring Yosemite vacation schedule was preempted by an unexpected surgery. There are still plenty of memories to savor from last year, though, so no complaining. But it will be good to go back --- maybe this winter. Now that would be an adventure!

Adventure was pretty ordinary when we were young. Climbing to the top of Yosemite Falls, sleeping under the stars, smoking dope in a national park. Real exciting stuff! Best left for the past and memory banks. My camera caught most of the action. That was in 1969, I think.

Guess I could still repeat all of it but the smoking part. Who wants to go with me?

Wednesday, June 25

Plant Those Roses!

Yesterday's visit to the local museum wasn't disappointing, except for the wildfire smoke lending its golden cast to my photography. I used a polarizing filter to deepen the colors and eliminate leaf reflections (except for the shot of the magnolia blossom).

I took paper and pen to note the names of the various roses, so you'll be able to identify any that you're thinking of adding to your garden. I really like Joseph's Coat (a climber), Dainty Bess and Strike It Rich. E-mail me if you want to know what type of rose you're interested in (hybrid tea, climber, miniature, etc.). Go to Dave Skinner Photography to see them.

Does your town have a rose garden? This is a wonderful way to add beauty to an otherwise humdrum place. Every little bit helps.

My recovery is in its third week, and I'm almost feeling normal. Bought and planted flowers this morning, so let's hear it for God's mercy in healing! We weren't created to sit in front of the TV or computer all day. Muscles are made to move, work and then rest.

Friday, June 20

Operation Successful!

Pretty simple operation, really. Just jackhammer through some 6" concrete so you can get to the sandy loam beneath it. No complications. Smooth as silk for this sidewalk surgeon.

Next, scoop out the bad stuff, making sure you don't touch the lawn to the right, the plumbing underneath and the curb to the left. Any slips here could result in a huge lawsuit or worse: severed pipes.

Now, carefully dump the defective pieces. Be sure not to leave anything behind.

Finally, it's time for a phone call to the boss to see how much your bankroll will increase after this little procedure.

Monday, June 16

Tomorrow will mark the second full week I've been off work. It seems more like six. I never though TV would be blessing, but when it hurts too much to sit at the computer or put a book on my stomach to read or walk outside, television has become the only element of distraction that works for any length of time. Unfortunately, the quality and content of most of it is mundane, inane or insane. News is good to a point. Movies are horrible 90% of the time. The History Channel, Travel Channel and the U.S. Open coverage have been the best. Old black and white DVD movies have been fun, too.

The tomatoes are finally kicking in --- and falling over. Haven't been able to stake them up beyond the low-level cages. Maybe this weekend I can pound in the grape posts and start stringing branches.

Our three agapanthus plants are ready to grace the backyard. These are the miniature type and very petite. Only about 2' high, but wonderful color.

Barbara has worked at K/P the past three days but won't be going in tomorrow. She's been wonderful throughout this ordeal and deserves more than I can give her in thanks. Sirloin and lobster will sound good to her (as soon as I can get out and about).

God is good and reminds me of His mercy with cards and phone calls still coming in. Thank you all.

Friday, June 13

Long May She Wave

The throes of this democratic republic send us reeling left and right, dazed from the endless barrage of opinion and wondering how far will we drift from our constitutional moorings.

Flag Day reminds us of those beginnings and long journey to the 21st century. It should force us to learn that history. It should force us to learn from that history.

We are encouraged that the political wars continue, free speech survives, and a spirit of right vs. wrong prevails.

May God have mercy on a self-centered, myopic, and immoral United States of America.

(image from:}

Sunday, June 8

Counting Saples

Five inches and 15 staples later, I've finally joined the ranks of the Keep 'Em in Stitches Club. And shortly after that, the Meandering Road to Recovery Club, which I'm attending full-time currently. Of course, you never want to join these two organizations, especially the MRRC.

I think the line from Fried Green Tomatoes is "if it didn't kill you, it'll make you stronger" will be my tagline for a few months.

Thank you to all who prayed for me and especially to our prayer-hearing and answering God. May He receive glory and honor in all things.

Sunday, June 1

Standing By The Wall

First in Lodi, then Paso Robles and now in Stockton, this is the third time I've visited the Moving Wall memorial to all servicemen and women who lost their lives in Vietnam. But for a twist of Providence, my name might have been etched on it as well.

My student deferment was replaced with a 1-A classification in 1967, while I was in my third year at the University of Texas El Paso. I chose to enlist instead and tested at Fort Bliss. A knee that locked up on me periodically warranted a 4-F reclassification after x-rays. Life would go on without visiting the shores of Vietnam.

But many classmates would take that journey, including my brother, Marty. Everyone would experience the culture shock. Many would see combat. And too many would be killed or wounded. Lives forever changed. Stories never told.

So this 'almost veteran' is announcing that this day, June 1, is Hug a Vet Day. And if you can't hug one, pray for one.