THE INVISIBLE MAN

The invisible man died… and I didn’t even know his name. A couple of smart bottoms I told about the invisible man’s passing didn’t quite get it.

They wore the expressions of sarcasm and asked me how I would even know if the invisible man died for sure. I, in turn, flashed them my unamused expression and explained that he wasn’t really invisible – the title was just a nickname for a guy that touched so many people’s lives. I’ll bet including yours, and yet nobody knew him and his sightings were almost as rare as Big Foot’s.

His name was Rod Temperton and it’s likely that his music has crossed the path of your ears more than once in your lifetime.

the invisible man

(Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
from boom box.com

I don’t think I ever attended a wedding during the 80’s and 90’s and didn’t’ hear, “Always and Forever”, written and composed by the invisible man when he was part of the group Heatwave.

The same could be said of his next song, except that this one is still being played at weddings pushing forty years later. I’d never have admitted to liking the song back when I was in high school. That’s the sorta thing that could’ve got a kid beat up in my blue collar hood, but I tapped my toes to it.

That song was Boogie Nights and it laid the foundation that the invisible man would use to become one of the most dominant songwriters of all time.

I guess if you are famous, or even an invisible member of the music industry this year; “The Year the Musicians Died”, your spine should be tingling with the presence of the grim reaper creeping up behind.

Rod Temperton was only sixty-six years old, but the cancer took him quickly. His estimated 125 million net worth couldn’t give him even one more precious day.

It didn’t matter that he was obviously a shy or humble man. He wrote a lot of songs for a lot of people. He had a God-given gift… and yet I have no idea if he knew that or God above.

The invisible man wrote “Master Jam” when Chaka Khan was singing lead, “Baby Come To Me” sung by Patti Austin and James Ingram, “Give Me the Night”, by George Benson, “Sweet Freedom” by Michael McDonald, and “Off the Wall, “Rock With You”, and “Thriller”, by Michael Jackson… and those are just the highlights.

The invisible man had an impressive resume… if he was applying to write songs and music, but resumes are for humans – other folks created like all of us and are passing – one day closer to our last with each one.

I have no idea of where the invisible man will spend eternity, but he’s living out his nickname now… along with a lot of other great musicians and songwriters that aren’t coming back in their flesh.

I love music and I admire talent, but the passing of the invisible man reminds me that how we’re measured by this world means zero.

SEVEN DAYS OF SOUL CARE

Seven days of soul care

Dolly’s new book!

Sometimes the days in the valley’s of our lives can turn out to be the best things for us… in the long run. All of us have had trials, difficult times, places along the path of life where we reached the pit mentally and physically then reached out to God for help.

None of us are too anxious to go back and relive the dark days of our lives. A lot of us don’t even want to think too long and hard on them due to the pain it reminds us of.

Then there are those that have lived through the tribulations and are willing to share what they’ve learned with others. Dolly M. Lee is one of those people.

In her new book, “Seven Days of Soul Care”, Dolly shares stories from her own life and her personal struggles with anxiety, depression, and PTSD, and how God’s grace and love transformed her… and still is.

I’ve read this book personally and I believe there’s something in it for everyone. Dolly’s genuine heart and caring nature come through in her honest writing.

One of Dolly’s goal is to raise enough money from the proceeds of this book to support and donate to the charity that she’s passionate about. The name of the charity is International Justice Mission, or IJM. Their mission is to stamp out the horrific business of human trafficking. I’d say that’s a worthy charity to support.

You can click the link here to support Dolly and her efforts to help all people really, especially the children. You can also click this one to catch up with Dolly at Soul Stops .com where she shares her heart and wisdom regularly.

Excellent work, sister.

RUBBING SHOULDERS

We were clipping along around twenty miles an hour, heading south on PCH, on our bicycles, almost rubbing shoulders with pedestrians on one side and cars on the other.

Some of the people swarming the sidewalks between us and the ocean I couldn’t see, but I could smell. The perfume of the woman in the tiny red economy car was so strong it almost knocked me over after she passed.

The guy with no shirt and hairy armpits wasn’t smoking a cigarette by the time we whizzed past him, but the stench of body odor mixed with stale cigarette smoke made my eyes burn. It’s tough to share air and rub elbows with some folks.

A few days later, back at home, my mind still pondering the subject of rubbing elbows and sharing air with others in our paths, I took the dreaded trip to the grocery store.

I’ve come to realize I pick lanes at the grocery store about as well as I do the ones while I’m driving…

Rubbing Shoulders

image courtesy of the flavored word .com

I used my God given reason and sense. The express lane only had two people in it. The senior man with the black glasses and over exposed bald head in the front of the line was almost done checking out… or so I thought.

The old fella was asking about his coupons clearly unaware or uncaring that he’d log jammed the express lane.

I spotted a middle aged gal a couple lanes down, that had moved from behind me, bagging her groceries… and I’m still one person back.

The closer I got to the automatic doors and freedom the final hurdle dawned on me; the checkout lady. She was in her sixties, bleached golden and bobbed hair, round cheeks. She sounded like she was trying to talk with her tongue sticking out.

When I finally got to the front of the line that would have tested a turtle’s patience, I realized that the checkout lady did have tongue issues. She had one, it just didn’t work. She’d had a stroke.

“Hhhhh – uuuu – ooo – ta – deh?” she asked in a friendly tone. My mind raced to catch up.

“Uh – Good. I”m good. How are you?” I asked.

“Guhh,” she smiled.

My anxiousness from being in the express line traffic jam quickly faded.

Mid check out, the cashier stopped, stuck her tongue out, and clumsily pinched around the edges of her tongue with her thumb and forefinger, searching for what I assume was a hair.

I didn’t say anything, but my eyebrows almost touched my receding hairline.

The cashier didn’t even wipe her fingers off. She grabbed my groceries with the same fingers and started pulling them across the scanner… That’s hard for a germaphobe to take…

A lot of us go out of our way to keep our world as germ free and medicinal as possible – I’m no exception.

The truth is we share this beautiful but fallen world with all kinds of folks. We worry about germs sometimes without a thought to the souls of the other we’re rubbing shoulders with.

FRIENDS

Certain days stand out among the masses we’re gifted to get. I had one of those today, and not just because I got presents. I met with friends over a late morning cup of coffee – friends I’d never met before.

Although we’d never laid eyes on one another, I knew them, especially Mary. I knew her warm personality and caring nature. Yeah, words are that powerful.

I met Mary via our sites, hers is Piles of Smiles, aptly named, by the way. We both call Arizona home, Mary, and Tom in the high pine country, me in the sweltering Valley of the Sun. The “I-17” connects us, but before it was blacktop, it was the internet. Kinda reverse how it used to be.

I walked in a few minutes late only to be greeted by Mary’s brilliant blue eyes and contagious smile. Then the hug, despite my slightly sweaty shirt, to let me know I was among friends… family really.

Tom, Mary’s husband, reminded me of my cousins; a Vietnam veteran at ease in his skin. The type of man you look up to, and not just because of his imposing stature.

We chatted about life, family, of course, writing, and God, along with our mutual understanding of His sovereignty.

Here’s the thing about real friends; they give it to you straight. They warn you upfront that they’re being honest, which I’ve come to figure out the only kind of honesty there in in this world is what we call the “brutally honest” type.

friends

A Hillbilly Memoir

Over the years I’ve had a lot of friends, and family for that matter, discard my words, had more than a few unsubscribe from this site for various reasons. I’ve learned or instinctually developed calluses when it comes to feedback regarding my writing.

But writing and editing are different than asking an acquaintance, “How you doin’ today?” The obligatory, “Fine, how are you,” expecting the same generic response won’t do for someone trying, as Mary says, “to polish their writing.”

Of course, Mary’s words have merit. She’s kind, generous, and gifted with wisdom from God. Mary spent so much of her gift of time on my words that she spoke in detail about the manuscript that she edited for me. The good stuff first… followed by the truth.

I left my pride and ego in my truck. Funny how those traits distort hearing… then understanding… and finally wisdom.

Mary’s edit is going to cause me a boat load of work… but I do believe the manuscript will be better because of her work and honesty.

A good friend will do everything they can to deliver truth as gently as possible. I didn’t even need a Kleenex. Of course, Mary and Tom’s gifts of cookies, pumpkin biscotti, and a book for my new grandson helped.

Isn’t that just like a good friend? Even if I did just meet them today.

Stop by Mary’s site here. Tell her that her friend Floyd sent you.

ON THE ROAD

I think about Dave Dudley from time to time. And yes, usually when I’m on the road.

It didn’t seem like it, but Dave Dudley was a bad influence for kids way back when. Mr. Dudley was in a hurry to get home and was unashamed by the fact that he was breakin’ the law to get there – post haste.

With my driving record, I try to be more mindful of the speed limit these days. I learned in traffic school, over and over, that cops on a highway, generally speaking, give folks about a ten mile an hour leeway. After that, you’re throwin’ the dice.

On my way out of town on business, I set the cruise control right at ten miles an hour over – feeling pretty impressed with my willpower to do so. There was a time when a gas pedal, any gas pedal, owned me.

Sleeping in a strange bed and eating in restaurants, usually by yourself, has a way of making most of us a tad homesick. Or at least sick of not sleeping and crummy food.

When work was done I was like an antsy dog desperate for a walk.

It was windy and raining. The sky was black, grey, and brown. The Arizona desert was getting a rare break, the saguaros, creosotes, and mesquites were drinking up the sky.

I set the cruise control to ten over, cranked the satellite radio to trek the lonely blacktop that’s so far out in the middle of nowhere that an A.M. radio airwave couldn’t find it back in the day.

I waited for oncoming traffic to clear before I passed the stray eighteen wheelers, justification for speeding, pulling back to ten over less and less with each pass.

The speed felt like an old sweatshirt.

Speeding is a lot like parking; park in the loneliest part of an empty lot and it attracts others like flowers do bees… and speeding does cops.

The Nissan, desperate to catch this Dave Dudley disciple, didn’t see the cop hiding behind the creosotes in the median. My stomach shot a little bit of poison when I saw that cop pull out with his lights flashing.

The cop could have had a red light special; two for one, but he settled for the trailing Nissan.

Bending the rules isn’t like adding a little bit of white paint to a big bucket of black. In their purest form, there’s only black and white, right and wrong, there is no grey. And trying to justify our actions to suit our emotions reveals the hypocrite in us.

I throttled it back to nine over. And when the miles were counting down from being on the road, Dave Dudley, and his famous tune, came back to me for an encore visit.

“My home town’s uh-comin’ in sight – If you think I’m-uh-happy, you’re right! Six days on the road and I’m-uh-gonna make it home tonight.”