Wednesday, November 28, 2018


As a kid I used to enjoy looking through encyclopedias
and old Harding College yearbooks
I’m not sure why

This was always one of my favorite photos of Dad
from the 1950 Petit Jean
(He’s the jumper on the right)
I would ask him about it
and he would say
It looks like we’re battling for the ball
but actually, my opponent has already tipped it
He’s on the way down
and I’m on the way up
He’s tipped it away from me

25 years after the fact
Dad still remembered that night
that game
that tip-off


* Photograph courtesy of Harding College. Petit Jean 1949-1950. Retrieved from

Monday, October 22, 2018

Mom would sing

Mom would sing to me
     You are my sunshine
     my only sunshine
     You make me happy
     when skies are gray …

And on the days I got mad, she’d start in on
     Angry words!
     O let them never
     From the tongue unbridled slip …

And when she was happy—
when we were happy together—
sitting at the kitchen table
a plate of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies between us
she might break out
a sweet soprano version of
     Oh, the Lord’s been good to me
     And so I thank the Lord
     For giving me the things I need:
     The sun and the rain and the apple seed;
     The Lord’s been good to me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Old Friends

A new song has come along
planting itself in my heart
making me feel sentimental, every time it pops up on my playlist ...

It reminds me of old friends—
like my Little League teammate who recently passed away—
how we used to laugh in the dugout
and talk about comic book heroes.

Monday, August 13, 2018

I got first pick

Standing at a boat dock in Norway
waiting for the ferry which will take us to our next destination
Cheryl and I visit with a couple from Los Angeles
They’ve been married for 57 years
57 years, the wife says again
just in case we missed it the first time
How’d you two meet? asks Cheryl
The wife smiles and says
We had summer jobs together.  There was a big group of us young people working in a factory.  Several of us found our spouses there
Now it’s the husband’s turn
I got first pick, he says with a smile
It’s an old joke, you can tell
but his wife’s face still lights up
and we all laugh together.

Riding the ferry with my first pick

Monday, July 9, 2018

A day at nursery school

One morning I woke up
and decided to wear my brother’s scout scarf to school
For as long as I can remember
I wanted to be like my brother

That same day
we had a citizenship party for one of the girls in my class
Her father brought in a globe
to show us where Korea was located
Afterward, we celebrated by waving tiny flags

Did I mention
I still count several of those kids
as my very good friends

Monday, June 11, 2018

Coach B

Here’s a story I remember about Coach Bill Barden …

Our track team had been released early from school one day
to travel to a meet in Hazen, or maybe it was Lonoke

My friend Malcolm and I hopped into his truck to go grab a sandwich

When we got back to school
a few minutes later than we planned
we discovered that the bus, or maybe it was a van
had already left without us

We scrambled

Malcolm gassed up his truck
at the local Road Runner
and I looked over a highway map of Arkansas
plotting our journey

Then we made a beeline for Hazen (or Lonoke)

When we arrived at the meet
Malcolm and I walked over to Coach Barden
fully expecting to be in big trouble
but instead
Coach B just smiled
and shook his head and laughed
and put his hands on our shoulders
and said, “I thought you guys would make it down here.”

Warmth and kindness

I could tell you a dozen more stories like this
about our coach

When I heard that Coach B was going to be inducted into the Arkansas High School Coaches Association HALL OF FAME, I thought
It took this long?
Then I thought
How fortunate am I to have been taught and cared for by this good man?

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Young Preacher
Flickr photo by Infrogmation

I sat across from a young preacher
We were enjoying a meal at a small Peruvian restaurant
when I got up to refill my glass of water
As I walked back to the table
I saw that an older gentleman had taken a seat next to us

He had the weight of the world in his eyes

And as I sat down, the man asked the preacher
Would you buy me some dinner?
Without hesitation, the preacher smiled and said
Let’s do this.  Come on!
And the preacher and the man
slowly made their way to the front
and then worked sideways down the buffet line—
visiting like a couple of old friends—
so that when they came back to the table, the old man was holding a big plastic bag with a steamy box inside

The man looked pleased and bid the preacher farewell, adding
Thank you, sir.  I knew when I walked in that you’d buy me dinner
and the preacher smiled again and said
You’re welcome, Randy

In a few weeks, this young preacher and his family will move hundreds of miles away
to begin work in a new ministry
and I think to myself
That is one lucky church.