Thursday, August 23, 2012

A grandmother’s love

Today I saw

a little girl’s love for her grandmother

and a grandmother’s love for her little girl

Caretaker with caregiver,

and vice versa.

The grandmother reading a great big picture book

out loud,

and the little girl playing with her grandmother’s curly brown hair.

Completely engrossed.

Completely at ease.

Loving one with loved one,

and vice versa.

I saw it all

in a 1-minute train ride

from Federal Triangle to Metro Center,

and somehow

it reminded me of God.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A beach proselyte

In the wide-world of vacations, there are beach people and there are mountain people.

I have always thought of myself as a mountain person.

Cabin-dwelling. Hiking. Maybe even throw in a little bit of canoeing or kayaking.


Maybe this mountain-love began with the old Harding University PEMM Club* spring break ski trips? Back then, we’d spend a week in Colorado, skiing our brains out and eating tons of pizza.

With that in mind … for the past few years my family has “suggested” a trip to the beach. The Outer Banks, NC. Or, in the local vernacular—OBX.

And now, I think the conversion is complete.

I am a beach person.

And as we settle into our rental unit, I trade in my work and home to-do lists for a vacation one:


1. Make coffee. (You can never go wrong with Dunkin’ Donuts.)

2. Feed the cat. (Confession: my wife usually does this one.)

3. Pray.

4. Read. (Dust to Dust, a book my friend Andrew loaned to me.)

5. Walk and/or bike.

6. Tear a page out of my wife’s Sudoku book and pencil in a few numbers.

7. See a movie (that the kids like).

8. Watch the Olympics (even the diving and volleyball parts).

9. Repeat all of the above.

* The PEMM (P.E. majors and minors) Club—plus anyone else who wanted to go—used to take an annual trip to a Colorado ski resort. The trip leader was Dr. Karyl Bailey, the HU women’s volleyball coach.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My teammate’s tat

For some reason this week, I was reminded of a guy I knew in Minot, North Dakota way back in 1992. He had a Winnie-the-Pooh tattoo on his lower left leg.

Yes, Winnie-the-Pooh.

I always wondered—in the whole wide world of tattoo design—why he had gone for Pooh Bear.

He was a young guy, maybe 20. Quiet. Nice. Serving his first Air Force tour of duty in the frozen north. We played together on a squadron volleyball team. I wore tall socks and sweatpants. He wore short socks, exposing Pooh to the entire Air Force base population. He didn’t seem one bit ashamed of the little yellow bear on his leg. He almost acted proud of it, like “Yeah, I’ve got a cartoon tat. What’re you gonna do about it?”

And nobody did anything about it. Nobody even asked him about it. We just nodded and bumped the ball over to him like, “Cool Pooh tat, dude.” It was the elephant (or bear) in the room.

And, at the time, it seemed awfully short-sighted to me. I’d think, “Do you really want a tattoo on your leg when you turn 30 or 40? And, if the answer is yes, do you really want that tattoo?”


Nowadays, I wonder if the tattoo was about something deeper than we all thought. Maybe it was a story about a boy who spent long afternoons at home alone. Maybe there was a good deal of shouting there late at night. Maybe Pooh Corner somehow brought calm into a turbulent world.

I suspect it’s story my teammate couldn’t tell us when he was 20 … but maybe he could tell it now.

I’d certainly like to hear it.