MONOPOLY

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PART 1

The game Monopoly is the most played board game in the world. It’s been reported that over a billion people have played this game.

It’s a pretty safe bet that most people reading this have played the game of Monopoly. Charles Darrow was the man credited with manufacturing and selling the game. There were similar games, but he was the one who arranged production, marketing, and sold it to the masses.

Darrow got caught in the stock market crash in 1929 and ended up bankrupt. He quickly regained his losses and more, with a sale of the rights to his game to Parker Bros. in 1931.

Monopoly was my favorite board game when I was a kid. I never won in those days, but loved wheeling and dealing with adults and others. What a thrill to play the game that I thought adult life might be like.

Monopoly was a game of pretend, just like the games played outside as a kid. The difference was this game of pretend was enjoyed by adults, as well as kids.

My dad usually won, my oldest brother had the next-best winning percentage. My mom, well, She was a mom. Let’s just say negotiating with her, when close to game bankruptcy was a little more forgiving than my dad or brother.

As the old adage goes, “History repeats itself.” Indeed, it does. We as a country and world are in a similar situation now as Charles Darrow found himself in some 80 years ago.

Similar to the game of Monopoly is how a lot of us are living our real lives now. Rolling the dice, moving ahead with apprehension and hope, praying we don’t land on a place that can wipe us out. Maybe rent, taxes, improvements, or other emergencies of life.

The difference between Darrow and the rest of the majority of this country was his mindset. With change comes opportunity. He obviously didn’t sit back and wait for someone or a government to bail him out. He took matters into his own hands.

PART 2

When I was playing Monopoly as a child I knew we weren’t well off. My dad had started a business in a down economy. Like many other families, my mom and dad just made it work. My two big brothers and me shared the same room all of our childhood until they got older and moved away from home.

The Levi 501’s were worn until they were threadbare and full of holes. Thereby setting the stage for the future “torn” jeans that became fashionable decades later.

I can’t remember laughing more in my life than I did back then. Tough financial times or not, those were the days I remember in vivid detail and cherish.

I still remember my dad’s laugh when I landed on Boardwalk or Parkplace with hotels on them. I would hope and pray having done the math with my fingers, knowing which numbers to avoid and rolled the dice with urgency. I didn’t care much for the laugh. I knew what it meant. I was done and he had won the game of Monopoly.

He didn’t laugh in mockery, he was genuinely having fun with his family. This while struggling to support us every day.

Decades after some success in business, he was the same man as I played Monopoly with as a lad. At his funeral service, no one spoke of his success in business. Those are the times when everyone understands the true values of this life.

People spoke of his generosity, his integrity, his character. Traits that define an honorable life.

Times are tough all over again. I suspect this won’t be the last time either.

Here’s another old adage, “Some things never change.” It sounds quite the opposite of the one I used earlier. I guess they both are true, as difficult as that is to get our minds around.

To my point, a couple of  months ago my daughter asked, “Dad you want to play Monopoly”? “Sure, If you set it up,” I answered. After she had it set up and called me in, she asked, “What do you  want to be”? I didn’t hesitate, “The race car, of course”!

It works out pretty well due to her affinity for animals. She always wants to be the dog. I’m thinking some day when her kids ask her what she wants to be when they play Monopoly, She’ll reply, “The dog, of course”!

May she remember her family as a young girl and though we faced difficult times, we laughed and enjoyed life. May she also remember that in the trying times her dad always had hope and trust in God, and knew opportunity was right around the corner.

Maybe she’ll even write about it…..

KICKING THE CAN

KICKING THE CAN

When I was young we did a lot of walking. It was a different world then. Towns and cities were smaller so everything was closer. We, as kids, weren’t scheduled to the hilt like our children are today.

Many times while making that walk we’d come upon a can. A simple mismanaged piece of trash, sitting along the roadside waiting to become the focus during the walk. Time goes by a little easier and certainly less boring while you’re playing a game.

The game of “Kicking The Can” is played with one to several players. The rules varied depending on if there were curbs or sidewalks. Distance was always the most impressive task as I recall. Accuracy was a distant second.

Whether alone or with friends it always made the walk a little more enjoyable.

No matter how far anyone kicked that can we’d always catch up with it. In fact, we’d catch up a little bit quicker than just an average speed of walk, due to the four or five step “run up” to the can. The purpose of course was to develop power and speed to concentrate directly to the can in order to send it flying.

It seems our society has taken to that game of “Kicking The Can” down the road. It’s an old game, probably just changed from a rock to a can. Since we started packaging food and drinks in convenient packages, namely cans, It’s gotten progressively worse.

It also seems as though everyone has turned a blind eye to this problem of “Kicking The Can” down the road.

Like children, no one wants to be the one to pick up the piece of trash. We want to play the game, we just don’t want to be responsible for the clean up.

The problem with this game of “Kicking The Can,” is like another child’s game. The game of “Musical Chairs.” At some time in the future, the music will stop and there won’t be enough chairs for everyone to sit. Someone will be left out.

Like that kid who didn’t get a chair, so will a group of people be without the basic necessities of life we now take for granted.

The people we send to represent us are in fact doing exactly what we want them to do. We are choosing to “Kick The Can” of problems facing our society down the road for the next generations to have to clean up.

Our elected officials play on our emotions and weaknesses. I believe they tell us what we want to hear. We as adults tend to forget the basics of mathematics. 2+2 still equals 4.

Like children, we avoid the consequences as long as we can. As we do, the consequences get greater. Worse than that, we are punishing the ones we love in order to avoid the consequences.

Can you imagine a gunman demanding a hostage and a mom or dad pushing their child in front of them saying, “Take him or her”!

If that doesn’t make sense, then how does putting the problems facing our society off to the very ones God’s called us to protect?

It is our choice, but we have to demand it. We need to stop the game.

We, as a nation, have reached our destination. We’ve gone far enough.

Let’s pick up the trash and put it in its proper place.

The right thing usually is the hardest thing. It’s going to take another “Great Generation” to pull this off.

The “Great Generation” was characterized by their selflessness.

What word will the historians use to describe this generation?

Changing Of The Seasons

ONE OF OUR STATE CHAMPIONSHIP CELEBRATIONS (to small for me to see)

Repost from last October.

I enjoy the changing of the seasons. If I had to pick my favorite one it would have to be Fall.

The cooling of the air seems to refresh not only my body but my brain as well. It’s more than just the relief to have made it through another summer, but more a sense of accomplishment for having done so.

When I smell the first burning of wood coming from distant fireplaces at the beginning of the fall season, it takes me back to a time and place when I was young…

One of the first Falls of my life, when I first recall that sense of accomplishment mixed with the smell of burning logs in the Fall air, was after football practice.

Summer was over. No more two-a-day football practices. I enjoyed walking home from practice taking in the cooling air while walking barefoot. The concrete actually felt good on my feet. No more sprinting from shade spot to shade spot when I was dumb enough to leave the house with no shoes on.

There hasn’t been a Fall of my life, when the air starts to change and I smell distant fireplaces burning, I don’t think of that Fall so many seasons past.

I fast forward some years and recall the smell of burning wood at the end of a work day. I still remember the gratification of having worked hard with my hands, and looked back at what I accomplished in a day. Surrounded by perfect air temperature, I actually felt bad for the people who didn’t get to experience what I was in my life.

Each changing season brings about new challenges. With each test or challenge, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I can’t say I come out on top every time, but that is my goal. Regardless of the outcome I’m filled with a sense of accomplishment for having stayed in the challenge, for not giving up, even when sometimes I wanted to.

I flip the fast forward switch in my mind yet again. This time I leave the button pressed a little longer to take me to a specific part of my history.

I land a couple decades further into the story. This remembrance of Fall lands me in a Lacrosse field. I remember the smell and feel of “my season.”

I recall stopping the practice for a few moments to have the girls look at the skyline, noting it’s progression north on the horizon. I asked them to take note of the smell of the air. The moist grass, the dampness in the air, and, in particular, the smell from distant wood burning fireplaces.

I encouraged them to remember the moment, the smell and the sense of accomplishment. I asked them to recall this time during the future seasons of their lives. I reminded them how special and fleeting each season is.

It was magical, just the sound of hard breathing from wind sprints, mixed with the inhaling of the smell of life. This is when the scent becomes more than a smell. The scent mixed with the hard work coupled by the gratification becomes a state of being that we can always travel back in time to visit.

The hard work that brings a sense of accomplishment mixed with the scent in the air becomes the trigger we engage to ride our minds back in time.

This year will be a different Fall season for me. As the seasons change, so do our lives. I will not be coaching Lacrosse this year. I’ll miss the smell of the grass, mixed with the smell of chewed up earth from cleats, and the aroma of wood burning in the distance.

Mostly I’ll miss the girls and the sense of gratification and accomplishment gained by having an impact on their lives.

This year when I smell my favorite Fall scent, I’ll remember the ones past. I’ll cherish the years and the paths that have brought me to this fork in the road.

I’ll choose the path less traveled. If I have too, I’ll blaze my own trail.

When I stop at dusk and breath in the Fall air bursting with the scent of burning wood, I’ll remember the good old days, and look forward to this day becoming one of them…

 

Shared at http://peterpollock.com/2011/10/season-blog-carnival/

“REMEMBER THE ALAMO”!

DANIEL BOONE

As a youngster, I had several heroes. One of my favorites was Daniel Boone. He was an American frontiersman portrayed on a TV show by Fess Parker.

I even had the coonskin cap to emulate my hero. The hat was designed for warmth. It used a raccoon hide to wrap over and around your head. The coolest part of that hat was the fluffy raccoon tail that hung down the back.

In the opening credits of the show, Daniel Boone would throw his hatchet at a tree and split it in half. WOOOOW! He was cool!

Davy Crockett was another one of our heroes. I’m not sure who said it, but in honor of him, when we were playing Cowboys and Indians or Army, we’d scream with 5-year-old honor, “REMEMBER THE ALAMO”! Running full speed into a make-believe battle, pretending to be ready to risk our lives for a just cause.

Societies heroes in those days were people who lived principled lives. Those people who risked their real life for friends, family, and country. The sports celebrities were admired and appreciated for their talents but were still regarded as entertainment.

It wasn’t long ago when a handshake meant something, a persons word was their bond. Now? A signature promising to keep our word doesn’t really mean we’ll keep our word. It just means we’ll keep our word as long as it’s good and painless for us. This isn’t new to our society, it’s just more prevalent and accepted today than it was in the past.

Television in earlier years reflected a society and its values at the time. Many of the sitcoms still had at their core a lesson about principles. What are the values of our society today?

Sometimes I feel like Daniel Boone and want to throw a hatchet right into the middle of my TV! I bet the real Daniel Boone would do it!

Consider a real bonafide hero in Pat Tillman. The man who walked away from an NFL contract at the height of his career. His sole motivation was to serve his country. I’m not sure why that hasn’t been made into a movie. The only movie made about Tillman was the controversy after his life was over. It seems Hollywood avoids principled lives like they do morality.

It’s been a long time since this country saw the likes of Pat Tillman. He was a throwback. It looks to me like we need some more throwbacks, or what the old-fashioned preachers might call a revival. We need to revive our consciousness from a stupor of liberal media that celebrates immorality.

We need to revive the spirit of God in this country. Is it still possible for us to do the right thing instead of the easiest thing?

The lives lived by honorable people with a simple perspective was brought about by what they believed and how they thought. The principles that guide a great nation are the same principles that guide great people.

Jesus Christ said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (partial) Putting others before ourselves is the example of the one we are named for, Christ himself.

The young ones in a society learn to cherish what the elders cherish. By our actions, what are we showing the young ones in our lives that they will learn to cherish?

While I liked the coonskin cap, that wasn’t why I admired the character of Daniel Boone. He wasn’t for sale, he stood for morality and backed it up physically if he had to.

That’s how I want to be remembered as well…

MASKS

PRESS HERE FOR BILLY JOEL \”THE STRANGER\”

ALBUM COVER "THE STRANGER" BILLY JOEL

We learn early in life to hide how we feel and who we really are. It’s like preparing our children to play the game of life as if it were Poker.

Like our parents before us, we do it to protect our children. It’s common knowledge that the world is made up of a lot of people that will prey on who they perceive as weak.

This is true not only in physical predators that live among us, but sometimes also the ones closest to us. Certainly everyone else that falls in between.

Before our oldest two daughters went to college they spent some time in self-defense classes, learning how first to avoid an attack by being aware of potential dangers and looking the danger squarely in the eyes. Secondly, in the event of an attack how to turn the predator into the prey.

The mask worn in this scenario is a mask of courage. Put on to portray a strong confident person ready and willing to fight.

I read a book back in the 80’s by one of the pioneers of the secular “self-help” authors and speakers. In his book, he explained in detail how to act to get what you wanted in life. I recall one of his techniques was called “mirroring.”

This technique basically was to slowly do what the person you were trying to sell or persuade was doing. If the person crossed their legs, you would eventually cross yours. Thereby copying or “mirroring” the person being persuaded.

Subconsciously the person being persuaded would naturally become drawn to the seller, by seeing in the salesman the same characteristics as themselves. I guess we could call this form of manipulation the “mirror mask.”

Many times the most popular masks are the ones we wear in front of our spouse and family. There was a song in the 70’s by Billy Joel. This was the title track of the album that put him on the charts so to speak. The song is titled “The Stranger.”

The song was about a couple who wore masks around each other and never revealed themselves or the truth. My favorite line in the song wasn’t the chorus. It was the climax of the song-story. It went, “When I pressed her for the reason, she refused to even answer, it was then I felt the stranger kick me right between the eyes.”

At home should be the last place to wear a mask. Even The Lone Ranger and Batman didn’t wear their masks at home! If someone’s has to wear a mask at home, it can’t be a happy one.

When I’m in church, although hesitant to admit it, I fear there are more masks there than anywhere else. These are the Christian masks. The world accepts masks as part of our culture everywhere except there in God’s house, where truth is to be the foundation.

The masks that are worn there are usually supernaturally stripped away to reveal by their actions the hypocrite. God’s house isn’t a masquerade party and the Host frowns upon mockery.

“The truth will set you free.” If we have to walk around  with a mask on to “act” the part, by implication of this verse, we are slaves.

Truth is freedom. Masks are slavery to the flesh.

When I was young I heard my dad say more than once, “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.” My dad was a wise man. He knew and taught us what human nature looked like. Even though humans tend to take advantage of the weaker in our world, he never fell into the temptation to put on a mask. He was secure with himself and he knew who he was to God.

Some people would occasionally mistake his kindness for weakness, but not for long. It’s amazing how quickly weaker people wearing a “strong mask,” when confronted with the truth and power of “no mask” scatter like rats.

To write honestly takes removing my mask. I’ve noticed as my mask slowly comes down from my face, it reveals receding hair, moles, wrinkles, scars, my eyes, graying whiskers, and finally me.

Since I’ve done that, I see people around me as we speak, lowering their masks as well. The truth of who we are is much more masculine or beautiful than the ugly masks we were hiding behind.

Behind or without a mask we are all more alike than we are different.

For those reading from behind the mask of your computer screen, do me and everyone else a favor. Subscribe, comment, and pass it on to friends family and even the ones who might not know who’s behind your mask. It’s time to show them.

The mask we sometimes hide behind is choking the joy and life out of us..

Real life… Is sharing all of it, the good, bad, and the ugly.

“AND THE TRUTH SHALL SET YE FREE”…