Test from Admin, please disregard
Everyone is busy today, going about their Black Friday shopping frenzy, so I’ll cut to the chase. No deals in this post, unless you consider the great deal of Thanksgiving memory scraps I am sharing for free below:
Parades and Football – I grew up a Cowboys fan, so I knew Thanksgiving meant getting to watch my team. As a kid, I would put on my Staubach jersey and reenact the game on the floor in front of the TV. As for the parades, I tolerated them and preferred the CBS coverage because they played it straight. Bullwinkle and Snoopy and marching bands and Santa. Great. Perfect. Now on to turkey and football. NBC, on the other hand, always had a theatrical spin to lengthen the parade process. Everything is going well – the bands are playing and the floats are floating and then, inexplicably, the parade stops and a poorly lip synced Broadway show tune performed by the cast of BJ and The Bear or CHiPs breaks out. What? Back to the safety of CBS.
1987 - It was the Monday before Thanksgiving and I got called to the principal’s office and was informed my dad got sick at work and was on his way to a hospital in Nashville. Even though he was begin transported by ambulance to another state, I truly never had the sense that it was serious. Everyone was reassuring me and even my dad seemed to think things would be OK – so I let my defenses down and relaxed. Thanksgiving went on that year as planned and we talked. Later, I made my way over to visit, but don’t remember staying very long. Things seemed like they were going according plan. He had lots of visitors and cards. He was at peace and recouping well. Discharge plans were made. He looked healthy.
That was the last time I saw him – almost 26 years ago.
The Drive - The drive home from college between Lexington and Hopkinsville was long, boring, crossed time zones and had toll booths. All that didn’t matter on the Wednesday drive home for Thanksgiving. I passed the time with mixed tapes, coffee and anticipation of seeing old familiar faces. Cramped housing and fast food gave way to the familiarity and warmth of home. Those weekends were filled with family, friends, parties, stories, food, and laundry. I always returned to school with more than what I came home with.
Basketball - After having gorged on turkey and stuffing, a group of us would cap the day with a couple hours of basketball in a grade school gym. “Grade school gym” meant two things: a short, full-court and 9ft goals for dunking. The short court gave the illusion that we were athletes (we weren’t) and the 9 ft goals gave the appearance of great leaping ability (we couldn’t). Running the full court gave way to a labored jog, which decreased to a moderate walk, which devolved to not venturing past half court, which bottomed out by not bothering to raise my arms to catch passes that would just bounce off my chest. Pathetic, tired, cramped and sweaty. Oh the good ol’ days!
Smoked Turkey - My aunt makes a truly awesome smoked turkey. You can’t help but circle around it once it comes off the smoker and pick at it when nobody is watching. After my uncle died, the carving duties went to my cousin Matt. He would stand over the bird in a white oxford, cutting the tender meat, and sneaking quick bites in between disproving glances from his mom. Who could blame him? I’d have done the same thing.
The Kids Table - Other than being required to be present for the blessing (or returning thanks as my granddad called it), I always got the feeling that kids were not to be seen or heard the rest of the night. We were exiled to a nether-region of the house, but the joke was on the adults, because we loved it that way. The real action was at the kids table. We tried to make each other laugh, talked, and swapped food. One year I year I sat with three cousins and we played cards for most of the night. As the game went on, we came up with nicknames for each other. Just about every Thanksgiving since – try as we might – we can only recall three of the four names (Sticky, Cousin and Queen Nicole of Dorkshire). We also had signs that went with each name, but can only remember two of those: Queen was a butterfly and Cousin was a Chevy Camero on blocks (I always pictured it in someone’s front yard under a tree). Or was that Sticky? Anyway, the memories have faded a bit, but we laughed all night.
Slow Burn - I am from a tobacco state, so smoking was common (for instance, my high school had a smoking area). When my friends and I reached the age of 16 and got drivers licensees, we had new found freedom. Part of that freedom was to make poor choices like smoking, which I did on occasion. My friends mostly smoked Marlboro Lights (although one smoked Reds and one smoked Menthol – gross), so I decided to go a different route Thanksgiving of my 16th year. Camel.
Being a novice, I didn’t understand the spectrum of Camel offerings and when the kindly attendant at the Dodge Store asked me which type I wanted, I just pointed and said “Camels”. It was no skin off his nose, so he gave me a pack of filterless….as in no filter. A friend watched as I soon realized my mistake but stubbornly stood by my decision to smoke these things. Questions popped into my head like:
- Am I even lighting the right end of these things?
- Should I have embers in my lungs?
- Am I turning green?
- Am I being laughed with or laughed at?
Although I would flirt with smokes off and on for a number of years (have not had one in almost 10 years), it would be a cold, cold, cold, cold day in H-E-double hockey sticks before I ever touch a filterless cigarette again.
Soundtrack - My mind’s soundtrack for Thanksgiving varies widely, but nearly always includes Linus and Lucy, Bad (U2), Homeward Bound (Simon and Garfunkel) and Take Me Home Country Road (John Denver).
What if I did nothing?
Here is a short list of what doing nothing looks like. On the one hand:
- it’s easy
- feels like rest
- gives you time to reflect on things you could have done, but opted for nothing
- saves you for a time to do something
On the other hand, doing nothing:
- could have helped someone
- could have made a difference
- costs you time you can never get back
I don’t think we are called to live a life of doing nothing. I’ve done some very fulfilling
things like getting married, becoming a father, buying a home, having a career and so on. My life has been filled with blessings, activities, events, experiments, excursions, and stuff. Each minute of each day is occupied, but the true stand-out, pure joy, never forget moments across the span of life are relatively few. Not that I’m disapointed with life – there are many stand out moments – but it occurs to me that much of it is filled doing nothing. There is a better use of my time. There is something not yet done.
But why? Why haven’t I done something about doing nothing? Risk? Uncertainty? Am I fearful of how I might be judged? It’s kind of like the feeling you get when you watch a really good movie based on a true story and feel inspired. I watch and think “Wow, they really did that. Why not me?” Then I think that’s just a movie about a good story and I could never do what they did and go home and go to bed and wake up the next day and go about life (tick, tock)…and still there is something I’m doing nothing about.
The older I get, the clearer I see the cost of doing nothing. It’s another day gone when I could have jumped in. It’s another cause or person not fought for. It’s another face in the crowd passed by. It’s another hungry child in the world, who thinks that they are unworthy and unlovable.
I have interests, dreams and goals, but there comes a time when the research is complete and the results are in. I’ve worried and prayed. My eyes are open and I know. There’s no doubt in my head and heart.
It’s time to do something.
Friday marks our 10th wedding anniversary. So with that in mind, here are 10 random wedding day memories in no particular order:
10. One Regret - We did a beach wedding in Florida and my granddad was not able to attend….a true regret.
9. Rain - Whitney Rietz, bless her heart, made a valiant effort to get things set up on the beach for the ceremony, but the rain came ashore and we moved in doors.
8. More About The Rain - The rain came from what was left of the outer bands of a one-time tropical storm named Larry which had degraded into a tropical depression a couple of days before. Larry happens to be the name of my father-in-law and the man who gave Kelly away. How about that? If he can summon up tropical storms….better treat his daughter well.
7. A Night In The Ruts - Some folks in the wedding party were out all night in Rosemary Beach FL. How? Where? Why? Actually, I don’t want to know.
6. All In The Family - There were Hancocks, Thomass, Garretts, mothers, fathers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and if memory serves, even a crasher, but I was really impressed the entire McPherson clan was on hand! We’re not kin, but we’re family.
5. A Near Miss - My mom was in a bad car wreck the afternoon of the rehearsal dinner. She was very fortunate to have walked away from it with hardly a scratch and our dance at the wedding was even more special.
4. Another Mention of Larry - Before the wedding, Larry was outside doing a little cleaning up. In fact, he was in his shorts vacuuming the sand. I suppose it was helpful and I think he found it therapeutic, but others found it alarming because guests were arriving and he was in his shorts vacuuming the sand!
3. Can You Repeat That? - I remember the pastor was a nice man with white hair….but I don’t remember what he said between “Welcome friends and family” and “You may kiss the bride.”
2. Black and Blue - The groom and groomsmen (total of 4) were to wear black suits. Three of us delivered on that, while one opted for dark blue…..and I’m OK with that now.
1. Final Mention of Larry - In a very sweet moment (the kind of moment I hope to have with my daughter on her wedding day) Larry reached over to wipe a tear from Kelly’s eye during the ceremony.