Tuesday, January 31, 2012


So, this morning I was looking out the kitchen window watching the snow gently fall. It was a beautiful snowfall really. A Christmas card snowfall. I swear I could almost see the little red cardinals perched in the holly bushes complete with glittering snow on dark green holly leaves. And I know if I would have stood there for just a bit more, shining stars would have started settling on snow covered pines. It was that perfect. Yeah…beautiful. We get about one of those every five years around here. Most of the time though, our snow comes in sideways on wicked winds that bend those holly bushes in half and have those cardinals clutching branches for dear life. Or it comes in heavy wet glops that jam up snowblowers and give middle aged hearts reason to pause. Our snowfalls mean our sleigh rides have to deal with frozen morning icy streets and dead sleigh batteries. And our winter wonderlands are all too often blanketed with snow that’s rather brown and crusty. Every once in awhile though, we’ll get a perfect snowfall morning like this. And it never fails to remind me that…it’s only every once in awhile. Let’s go see if the sleigh will start.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Old Friends

Tonight I think I’ll build a fire and spend a little time with a few of my memories…a few of my old friends. Oh, I won’t linger long. There’s too much future to get to…too many new memories to make. The old ones though are so very special. And every once in awhile they need a little tending to. They need to be taken from the shelf, dusted off and shined up a little. Memories are the landmarks of our lives. They tell us where we’ve been, who we’ve touched, who touched us and how we became what we are. The good ones are treasures...the not so good ones…hopefully teachers. They are images, places, people, smells, sights, sounds, smiles and tears that take us back to special moments in time past. Moments that our hearts have captured and our souls hang on to for us. They are precious indeed. Some short as a wink...some long as a loved one’s lifetime. But they all need to be tightly held and tended to with great care. Because you just never know when life might really need to take a moment…and remember. So, tonight I think I’ll build a fire and spend a little time with a few old friends. Don’t worry…I won’t linger long.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hair...Not the Musical

I have this theory about us older guys…and hair. Is this theory based on anything scientific? Absolutely not, but it makes sense to me. See, I think for a lot of us guys our hair ages much quicker than the rest of our stuff. This, as you can imagine, can cause some problems. As us guys age we tend to get more forgetful. It happens. That’s life. I truly believe though, that same phenomenon happens to our hair…and much more quickly. And when our follicles get forgetful…chaos reigns. As these premature geezer hairs make their way up through our bodies…they forget where to go. They lose their way. And instead of making it all the way up to our heads, confused geezer hairs start appearing on our backs…in our ears…and other strange and not so wonderful places. We have to remember though, it’s not their fault. They don’t like it any more than we do. Can you imagine the little guy’s frustration? Sometimes, late at night, I’ll be lying in bed and I swear I’ll hear a wee hairy voice in the dark excitedly proclaim “Made it!” Then comes a soft, painfully sigh…”Crap…it’s his ear!”

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Face of God

There is an exhibit going on at the art institute right now called “The Face of Jesus”. It’s a collection of Rembrandt masterpieces portraying one master’s interpretation of another. The radio spots for the exhibit have different people describing what they think He might have looked like. And the announcer, with the help of some pretty cool music, announces that no one really knows what the face of God looks like. All pretty heady stuff. The face of God. It’s the kind of stuff that has had scholars pondering for centuries. I got to thinking though, all they really had to do… was ask me. I know what God looks like. I see Him and Her almost every day. She looks like the most beautiful 5 year old little girl with no front teeth you’ve ever seen. Even if I do say so myself…and I do. She told Her Grandma once that if kindergarten wasn’t challenging enough, maybe She should just go on to oneth grade. She is very wise indeed. He looks exactly like the 2 ½ year old little boy who runs full speed down the aisles of Home Depot shouting “I running Gwampa…I running”. He’s very fast on His little feet you know. She has the incredibly, soft brown eyes of a 2 year old sweetheart who gives her Grandpa the best hugs ever. Nobody hugs like She hugs. And His face lights up a room with the dancing blue eyes and laugh of a 9 month old who’s always happy to see me. And with no disrespect intended, I must say He’s a chubby little Guy. So yeah…I know what the face of God looks like. He and She…look like love…pure and simple. I have seen the face of God…I’ve even changed His diapers.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cute...I don't think so

My wife gave me a new hat this Christmas. It’s…well…an interesting hat. It has a real Norwegian look to it. She thought it would keep help my ears warm while I am out blowing the snow…or herding reindeer in Greenland. Like I said, it’s an interesting hat. So, the other day it snowed and knowing that the reindeer herding responsibilities for that day in Greenland were probably covered, I put it on to go blow some snow around the driveway here. As I passed my wife to head out the door she said “Don’t you look cute”. And it cut like knife. Now I am a Grandpa and while quite often, older people such as Grandpas in reindeer herding hats are referred to as being…cute, this Grandpa is not at all ready to be referred to as being cute. Handsome…rugged…experienced…even older reindeer herder sure…but cute…I don’t think so. In fact, don’t even refer to me as an older person. Make it older guy. Because older guys are younger and never cute. I’d still like to think I could suck my belly in…walk into a room and maybe turn at least one head. I’d still like think maybe someone might refer to me as being hot… or at least very warm. Cute…I don’t think so. Now, while I will wear the reindeer herding hat again because it really did keep my ears warm, I’ll guarantee you this. I will refuse to look cute in it!

Friday, January 20, 2012

It’ll be alright…really.

Listen…it’s going to be alright. Honest it will. It’s not your fault and you’ll get through this. It wasn’t that long ago I went through it myself. Well…OK…maybe it was that long ago, but I got through it and so will you. I promise. This “being young” thing will be over soon enough. Just hang in there. Sure, you feel indestructible now, but it’ll pass. Really…it will. I know what it was like when I thought I could change the world. I also know you’ll get over it just like I did. And right now I know you think you’ll be thin and athletic forever. Trust me the weight will come and the speed will go. You just have to believe. Before you know it the day will dawn when you’ll actually feel vulnerable and you’ll experience your first worry. I promise…it’ll happen. Even though…I know… you feel those days will never come. They will. You’ll feel responsible, you’ll take care…you will get over this “being young” phase. Like I said it’s not your fault. It’s just when you happened to be born. Someday, I promise, you’ll look back through your bifocals and think…I made it through. I really did. And you’ll never have to experience that “being young” thing again. And you know what else? That too…will be alright.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hey...no big deal.

Hey…if you’ve got other things to do please feel free to let this one slide on by. It’s no big deal. I just want to get a couple of things that have been bugging me off my chest. Let’s start with something I hear a lot among the younger folk. Let’s start with…verse. When did "versus" become "verse"? It’s the Packers "versus" the Patriots…not the Packers "verse" the Patriots. And here’s another one that I hear all the time. When did “by accident” become “on accident”? It happened “by accident”…it didn’t happen” on accident”. Sorry, but it didn’t! Which brings me to turn signals and the lack of use of said mechanisms to let us other folk know what the heck that non user is going to do. It’s done mostly by people who are much too busy using their phones. Wait though…maybe I’m missing something here. You know, I’ll bet they don’t use their turn signals because with one hand on their phone… they would have to take that other hand off the steering wheel to use the turn signal. And that just wouldn’t be safe…would it? And finally for today, to all you hockey fans who bang on the glass when the play gets close…just what the hell is that all about? I think that’s really all I want to say about that. And I’ll save people who walk beside their grocery cart…and not behind it for another day.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Trail

As we live our lives we all leave a trail behind. A trail that bends and winds up, down and around the years…through darkness and light…calm and storm and on occasion over more than one cliff. A trail that takes its direction from choices made or not made, road signs seen or missed and chances taken or lost. A trail that has led us all to the place we are… right here and right now. So, what was it that determined the trail I took…what were the events that steered my course…what does the trail I’ve left behind so far look like? If I stop, turn and look, what will I see? Not that I can do anything about anything now. I’m here…in this place…at this time. Looking back through the fog of time though, I can see a trail that is littered with quite a few “What ifs” and “Might have beens”. I can see a trail that I sometimes blindly charged down, flying past roads I never gave a thought to taking. I can see a trail stained with more than a few tears from damage done to me…and by me. If I could do it over again would my choice of trails to take be the same? I’ll never know, but maybe…just maybe, by taking a moment to stop and look back down my crooked trail, I will move forward with a softer, more thoughtful step.

Friday, January 13, 2012


The other day I found myself thinking about…well…me. Which I have been known to do now and again. On that particular day though, I found myself thinking about the fact that I have now lived longer than I’m going to live. I have more days behind me than I do ahead of me. And that’s OK. Really! In fact it’s kind of cool. The days I have lived so far have given me so much. Sure there have been some tough ones along the way. It certainly hasn’t all been sweetness and light, but all in all, the journey so far has been pretty good. All those days past have added up to a wisdom and a confidence that only that many days can teach. I have a manuscript of memories, both good and not so good, that took that many days to write. I have a best friendship that has taken that many days of marriage to develop. All those days past have earned me the title of Grandpa…which I cherish. I have now lived longer than I’m going to live and that’s OK. If this is the Autumn of my life…it’s my favorite season so far. If it’s all right with you though, I’d prefer that the younger backs rake the leaves.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bird Feat

There is a rather large hawk that will sometimes spend part of its afternoon lording over his…or her…domain from a low hanging branch on a big, old, oak tree in the corner of our backyard. That’s what hawks do in their royal hawkiness you know…they lord over domains. It will sit there, dignified and proper…quite handsome really with not a feather out of place. All in all a fine looking hawk, probably a nice enough hawk, unless you happen to be a field mouse, ground hog or a bunny. Then I suppose you might have a different opinion. Because along with the lording over stuff you know he or she is looking for some lunchables. On this particular afternoon, I really don’t know what the crow was thinking or not thinking as it calmly, though obviously distractedly, cruised in for a landing…on that very same branch currently occupied by said large hawk. Now, I couldn’t really see the look on its face as the crow suddenly realized that it was in a…well…interesting situation, but let me just say this. If you’ve never seen a crow try to make a mid-air, all out panic stop while at the same time attempting a 180 degree, reverse curl, triple salchow, death defying spin-a-rama…you must put this sight on your bucket list. And even though a change of feathers was surely necessary, it remains truly one of the greatest aerodynamic feats of birddom ever seen.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Declaration

OK folks…important stuff here. I have just heard…are you ready for this? I have just heard…this very afternoon…the declaration of the century. OK…maybe not of the century. Let’s call it the declaration of a lifetime. Ok…so it’s only a two and half year old lifetime. It’s still a pretty darn big deal. “Gwampa…I went peepee in the potty!” Told you didn’t I? The declaration of a two and a half year old little boy’s lifetime. A destiny of diapers turns incredibly into a universe of undies. “Gwampa…I went peepee in the potty!” Now just imagine the possibilities. Dresser drawers overflowing with Superman undies…Spiderman big boy underpants…Cookie Monster and Buzz Lightyear…Burt on the front and Ernie bringing up the rear. “Gwampa…I went peepee in the potty!” Truly a life changing moment. Will there be setbacks? Just as in any great “movement”…of course. From now on though, the meaning of “Here we go” will never be the same again. “Gwampa…I went peepee in the potty!” OK…so it’s not “We the People…” it’s still a pretty amazing declaration.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

God Bless the Christmas Sweaters

God bless the Christmas sweaters. All those Seasons Knittings displaying snowflakes and Christmas trees…cardinals on holly branches…snowmen and snowwomen and reindeer with red noses…even wise guys and mangers and good St. Nick himself. They start showing up around Thanksgiving and multiply through the season like little Holiday bunnies until just before Christmas…in any given church…in any given city…there comes a Sunday that explodes with a massive, magnificent display of wooly Christmas spirit that takes the breath away. A display that confirms to all mankind that despite this world’s greed and meanness… thoughtlessness and ego…selfishness and blindness…there are still good people. Good people who in their hearts, still hope that reindeer can fly and that angels really do talk to shepherds about wondrous things. Good people who still wish for Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward men. God bless the Christmas sweaters.