I’ve parked and walked by it, I don’t know, maybe fifty times? Enough times that I should be familiar with the surroundings and everything in, on, or around the front of the grocery store I patronize.

I”m sure a lot of folks meander by the chocolate and vanilla fake stone flanked with the chocolate syrup colored stucco pop outs and don’t really see it.

I don’t like going to the grocery store, and sure as help not twice in one day.

My first trip to the store was to get a flower arrangement, a balloon filled with helium, a card, and a few necessities, like my favorite coffee creamer.

The balloon and card both said “Happy Birthday” on them. It was my wife’s birthday and I already had the gift part taken care of, so this was just the icing on the cake, so to speak.

The card was yellow, massive, the kinda card that you open and it plays an amusing song that turns to annoying after it’s been opened for the twentieth time.

The first feeling you get when you discover you’ve lost something is violated. The first thing you do, at least people like me, is to accuse somebody else.

I dug through the trash to make sure I didn’t toss the card with the feeble plastic grocery bags – grumbling about the cashier. After I discovered the card not to be found in the trash cans, I poked around for the receipt that showed that the birthday card never made it into her hands… which didn’t make me feel any better about the situation.

As I pulled back into my favorite area of the parking lot, the space between the grocery store and the small store fronts, I noticed it. For the first time.

the grocery store

A time gone by…

A public pay phone – or the housing that used to hold a telephone. A reminder of days gone by. I stopped and took this picture inserted before I went back in the grocery store.

I was reminded how we get in such a hurry we miss the little things, the details. I was also reminded how quickly life passes and that change is imminent.

As I stood beside the car, taking the time to snap the picture, long gone memories came back for a visit. I remembered calling our house after the movies for a ride from the pay phone I didn’t have a dime for. They knew it was us, even though they couldn’t hear us and come to pick us up and take us home.

I smiled, but not one of those almost laughing smiles. It was more of a glad-for-the-memories-but-a-little-melancholy-’cause-they’re-never-coming-back kind of smiles. It was mixed with an I-need-to-stop-and-smell-the-roses-more-often- type of sighs.

I couldn’t find the card. It was gone. But I got another annoying song playing type.

The next morning I realized I’d got the wrong creamer… Three visits to the grocery store in less than twenty-four hours. I should know that place like the back of my hand.


You have to watch what you say these days. I have to be mindful even in my own house, for cryin’ out loud. I learned the hard way with kids that “picking your battles” is really just a fancy way of saying, “You gotta bite your tongue.”

Being politically correct has invaded the walls of our homes. We’ve learned to speak in code words. Not as intricate as John did in Revelation when he was warning the Israelites about the future in the same language as their rulers, but in the same tongue all the same.

After all, being politically correct is all about not offending or causing emotional distress for others. To speak words that bring any kind of spike in emotions is just downright insensitive. And we all know that speaking words that might cause others to react in emotion is just being inconsiderate and intolerant of other folk’s feelings.

We have self-imposed rules against certain words that might cause anyone in the family emotional distress.

I apologize in advance for the four and five letter words I’m going to use in this post.

“Walk” is one of the words we don’t use in our house. It is allowed only if we ARE going for a walk. When we say “walk” out loud and don’t actually take Larry for a walk he’s devastated – emotionally wrecked.
To be politically correct we use the letter “W” as the code word for “walk”.

Another word that isn’t allowed is the word “treat”. I’m not sure which Larry loves more, “treats” or “walks”, but either one is forbidden unless we’re actually going to take him for a “w” or give him a “t”.

While I’m being honest and sarcastic, I’m trying to make a point; and that is the absurdity to which the limit of being politically correct has come to.

I don’t really want to offend anyone else, but when we speak in code words and whispers in our society, shamed into it by a mainstream voice that preaches tolerance for all people but refuses to extend that tolerance to Christians, I’ve had enough.

The very First Amendment in the Bill of Rights is Freedom of Speech, bought and paid for, in majority, by the saints.

I don’t appreciate people calling me names and belittling me for my beliefs or looks, but I recognize their right to do so and support those rights. So when I express my opinions – Don’t Tread On Me.

what you say

Larry fast asleep after a “W”

I know that not everyone reading this shares my opinions, but I support you with respect regardless. I’d appreciate the same courtesy and understanding. After all, even my dog Larry will forgive you if you forget to watch what you say.


It was called a tongue twister. And twist the tongue it did. Someone with absolutely too much time on their hands and brain thought of putting words together that tripped up speech patterns. They revealed just one of the weaknesses of the flesh.

My favorite one I eventually mastered, with entirely too much time on my hands and brain. That, after failing and bungling the words like a baby.

image courtesy of photo

We were challenged to say, “Rubber Baby Buggy Bumper”, as fast as we could. A couple of words in and it sounded like the baby in the buggy just discovered the letter “B”.

Then there was the “Magic Pencil”. It wasn’t really magic, but it bent the brain through the eyes like the tongue twister did through the mouth.

The Magic Pencil worked best with a brand new one. The trickster would hold the pencil opposite the silver crimped pink eraser side and between their thumb and forefinger. They’d move their whole hand up and down a couple of inches each way, keeping their wrist locked.

After a few seconds of wagging the writing utensil, it began to look like it was flexing in the middle of the wooden pencil like it was bending, hence the Magic Pencil.

It was just an optical illusion. I know, I grabbed the first couple of pencils and snapped them in half, thinking I was getting worked by a fraud and a fake rubber pencil.

The flesh and our senses are easily fooled, and I mean far beyond that of a ventriloquist act. The weak flesh wants to believe a lie. Need proof? Just look at how many on-line scammers there are. Bad folks preying on the weakness of gullible people who struggle to learn the truth in the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.

We want great deals and we want security.

Most of us have learned the hard way that to get a great deal you have to compromise. And compromising never gives us the return on investment we’re dreaming of, no matter if it’s physical or spiritual.

Many of us have also learned that the price paid for security, as promised by other humans, cost us our freedoms… and when that’s gone… so is the security.

We’re like sheep – in need of guidance and protection. But unlike sheep, we’re more easily lured away from our security and true freedom. We’re deceived into believing that we can find peace, joy, and security physically.

If that were the case, a lot more rich people would be a whole lot happier.

The Good Shepherd and His good Word reveal that the world and it’s inhabitants for what they are; liars and deceivers.

If someone believes the promise of security and freedom outside the sovereignty of God… then they’ll fall prey to the flesh as easily as the Magic Pencil and Rubber Baby Buggy Bumper… said really fast.



image courtesy of

repost from 2011

Big personalities seem even bigger in small towns. Maybe the “big fish in a small pond” analogy has some merit, then again maybe the personalities would be gigantic anywhere. I grew up in a small town and everyone pretty much knew everyone else, but we had ourselves some bigger than life fish.

Of all the local yokel famous folk, there was none bigger than Bob. Bob started catching everyone’s attention even as a kid, I guess he was watcha’ might call a “man-child.” Bob just seemed to be full-grown overnight while in early Jr. high and he never had what us regular folk called an awkward phase as a kid.

No Sir, he was just big, fast, quick, and what some of the parents considered handsome, not to mention he had some brains to boot.

In Jr. high while most kids were stuck in class trying to get a passing grade, Bob was paling around with the vice-principle in his fancy car – traveling over to the high school to arm wrestle the guys on the football team. Only thing Bob had to do to keep good grades was just keep winnin’. He never did lose…

Bob use to make extra money by bettin’ kids how far he could ride a wheelie on his bicycle. I saw him ride around the block twice, I swear… I ran beside him to make sure he wasn’t doin’ any cheatin’. This was long before the BMX bikes became what it is these days.

I can’t recall how many bicycles frames Bob snapped jumpin’ over cars, creeks, kids, or anything that struck his fancy. A few years later when people started drivin’ the foreign jobs, Bob would bet people he could pick up the back of em’. Did one while the car was tryin’ to back up…

No one was too surprised when Bob took playing football seriously, after all, he had what it took. More than the sport itself, we all knew Bob didn’t mind puttin’ the hurt or a beat down on someone he thought deserved it.

Don’t get me wrong, Bob wasn’t a trouble maker, you might say he was more like a good old-fashioned vigilante. If someone was picking on weaker kids or disrespecting friends, Bob never stopped to consider anything other than his own brand of justice.

Those of us who knew Bob well knew that certain smile on his face meant certain pain and damage to someone else…

Bob took that physical dominance with him to the football field. You might say football fit Bob just like a glove. Wasn’t too long and he was even more famous in our little town than before. Folks can overlook a lot in a small town when they’re football team is winning’ football games.

Soon even big city folk took notice too, Bob started gettin’ scads of letters from colleges all over the country. Seems they all wanted that big ole’ frame with his speed, quickness, agility, and skill.

Some things just aren’t meant to be I guess, least that’s what Bob says nowadays. See. A teacher, prone to mistakes like all of us, made a couple of em’ that changed the course of his life and Bob’s life forever. The teacher pushed the wrong girl, then with the teachers throat in the big left hand of Bob, he made one last mistake. He hit Bob in the face…

They hauled the teacher off in an ambulance and Bob was kicked out of school, had to finish the school year in another state. The big city colleges weren’t too interested after that, I guess they figured Bob was one wild bronc they couldn’t bust… They were right…

To hear Bob tell the story at first you might think he’s still wild, he’s not, that’s just passion. He’s got no regrets. Bob says God himself broke him, quieted his soul.

Bob will go on to tell you that everything happens for a reason and he wouldn’t trade his wife, kids, or grandkids for anything, definitely not any amount of fortune nor fame. He says God’s blessed him more than he could have ever imagined.

I talked to Bob just last week, I’ve talked to him quite a bit over the years. The folks who never really knew Bob would never guess how much he’s taught so many. Then again, only a handful of folks outside our home ever really got to know my big brothers, especially Bobby. If I don’t miss my guess, they probably likened Bobby to handling a stick of lit dynamite…

Bobby doesn’t talk like he used to these days, he talks as though God really did calm the raging beast inside him. In fact, right before we hung up the phone he said, “I love you, brother”…

I said, “I love you too Bobby”…

I guess I’m pretty blessed to have older brothers that give me good reason to look up to them.

Interesting how different the reasons are now than they were then…


(Continuation of the manuscript based on 2 Tim. 3:1-2)

It got even more troubling for the great generations, shoe fashion was on the move as well, and not just in the tennis shoes that went from black and white to technicolor like the TV.


image courtesy of

Penny loafers and wingtips were being towered over and tossed aside for the new style, the platform shoes. The taller and thicker the sole the better.

And just when those tougher-n’-nails generations thought that the sissification of society couldn’t get any worse… it did. They could never in their wildest imaginations dream anything could get any worse than long hair on guys… but it did; hand held blow dryers for men. It was bad enough that men had hair long enough to be able to dry it like girls, but style it like them too? Sensory overload.

I got my first handheld blow dryer for Christmas my freshman year in high school… My dad didn’t say much. He’d already surrendered the war between generations of long and short hair. He had a friend that gave his oldest son an ultimatum, “Cut that damn long hair or get the hell out”.

When my dad’s friend told him the story it had been years since he’d seen his son and he grieved the loss of his son. Our dad didn’t think winning the battle of the hair was worth the same risk. He just told us, matter of factly, that if he ever saw it dirty or unkempt, he’d shave it all off. Not one of my two brothers or myself doubted his word or ability to back it up.

My dad looked a little confused when I unwrapped my brown handheld blow dryer from Sears. His forehead creased and eyebrows almost met in the middle. He then opened his eyes wide but kept his opinion to himself.

Another thing he kept to was the tradition of his generation – namely, not ever using a hand held blow dryer, not a day in his life, even when he still had enough hair to be able to use one.

Our dad was numb to the changes of society in his children’s generation. He’d watched the change from black conservative combs to flamboyant colored ones with Texas-sized handles that rode prominent in the bright colored pants that were too tight to suit real men in his generation’s estimation.

He’d seen the black and white high top canvas Converse tennis shoes become obsolete as the new colors and shapes of various logos began to rule the day.

As a boy, my dad pulled a cotton sack across other folk’s fields along with most of his eight other siblings. They weren’t working for extra spending money to use for themselves and a good time on the weekends. They were draggin’ that sack for survival.