Friday, February 16, 2018

California Dream'in

 
 
Sifting through boxes in the garage the other day, I came across this old license plate.  A long time ago we bought a new 1976 - red Ford Fiesta, back when we lived in California.  We moved to Texas in 1981 and took this old plate off and replaced it with the new Texas plate. 

 
So then I was California Dream’in.  Growing up, I lived on both coasts, and in another country.  Depending on who asks, and my mood – I’ll tell someone either that I grew up in New Jersey, Kenya, or California (because I did).  They each have their own intrigue, but I admit – I like to use the California line.  Invariably, someone will ask: “did you surf a lot there?” – to which I always say “Yes” – even though I really only did it a few times – in my mind, I was a legendary surfer from Southern California.  If it wasn’t for school and work I probably would have advanced to the professional level, traveling back and forth from Hawaii, Costa Rica and Indonesia – the Endless Summer (in my dreams).

 
When I wasn’t surfing, I was skiing the powder on Big Bear Mountain, Mammoth and Snow Valley.  That’s a true story. 

 
When I wasn’t surfing or skiing, I was driving my car - up and down the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway / 101), listening to the radio – the best music decade of all time – the ‘70’s.

 
  • The Eagles
  • The Bee Gees
  • The Commodores
  • John Denver
  • Rod Stewart
  • Neil Diamond
  • Gordon Lightfoot
  • The Doobie Brothers
  • Simon and Garfunkel
  • Glen Campbell
  • Bread
  • The Carpenters
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Elton John
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Bob Dylan
  • James Taylor
  • Chicago
  • Jim Croce
  • Marvin Gaye
  • America
  • Neil Young
  • Fleetwood Mac
     
That’s what I remember most about California – driving in the car, radio on - - and how it all seemed to sync to the surroundings: the beaches, the surf, the mountains, the palm trees, the desert. 

California Dream’in . . . Great times..
  
What's in your garage?

 
 
 


Friday, February 9, 2018

4 Beach Chairs

















I was looking through some pictures I had taken in 2017, and found this one of four empty beach chairs sitting on the sand, facing the vast ocean in the early morning, in Pensacola, Florida.  While we were there, early each day, a guy named ‘Larry’ would setup 4 chairs with umbrellas for us.  At the end of the day, he would take it all away.  He prepared a place for us. 

It got me to thinking.  The beauty is what got me to thinking.  The peace, the sound of the surf, the feeling of sand between the toes, the rising sun, the soft breeze, and the enjoyment of company that happens in those chairs each day.

For me – that would-be HEAVEN – a bunch of beach chairs, setup each morning, facing the water and the sun (Son).  But now, I see 4 significant people in my life, in those 4 chairs: 1) Dallas Bateman, 2) Cynthia, 3) Tom, and 4) Dad.    


Just as I’m writing this, I’m listening to Bethel Music – Kristene DiMarco – "It is Well" - - and it rings true:
“Through it all, my eyes are on you.  This mountain that’s in front of me, will be thrown into the mist of sea.  The waves and wind still know His name.  So, let go, my soul, and trust in Him. Through it all, my eyes are on you, and it is well.  It is well with my soul.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqo4Un2uZI



Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Paradise Station - Dallas & Don





Since dad passed away 2 months ago, I’ve thought about what he might be doing up there all this time.   We all have these preconceived notions about what it will be like when we die and go to heaven.  The Bible says that we are in a ‘spirit’ form during this time, before the physical rapture, when Christ returns to Earth for all believers.  Then, at that point, we take on our physical forms – our new / old bodies.  Then again, time doesn’t exist there.  So, I figure, we will be immediately transformed into both the spirit and physical – in a flash.  

Regardless – it will be exciting – we will, at that moment - finally see all those who went before us.  The grand reunion.  

One reunion I’m sure is happening now is between Dallas Bateman and Don Kanaley.  Maybe the conversation is going something like this:

The train pulled up to the station.  Don looked out the window of his first-class car, and saw a big sign swinging from a chain that read “Paradise”, it sparkled in the sun light, with a spectacular piercing brightness.  The letters were made of the biggest cut diamonds he had ever seen.   Below it, in smaller precious stones, read “Last Stop”.  He stepped outside of the cabin to the top of the stairs - and took a deep breath of pure fresh air.  He realized that he had no luggage.  Hands free he swung himself like a teenage boy, from the top step, down to the stations platform.  It was crowded, smiling faces and laughter filled the air - people everywhere, beautiful, smiling, healthy people, hugging and shouting with delight as they found friends and relatives everywhere.  It was uncontrolled excitement and joy.  And, not one piece of luggage was anywhere, not even a purse or a briefcase.


  Running toward Don was a man, shouting: “Don!   It’s you! – I heard you were coming and I’ve waited here at the station all morning – I wanted to be one of the first to greet you, and welcome you home!

  “Dallas Lane Bateman, it’s you!. Come here, let me see you closely!” Don said excitedly.  They wrapped their arms around each other for a big extended hug.

   “Holy Cow” said Dallas, “you aged some down there –  in a good way!   I haven’t seen you since 1975 – 42 earth years ago – the gray, and those wrinkles! – or as we call them ‘paths of wisdom’!.  I’m so glad you’re here – finally.   What took you so long?” 

  “It’s true, I’ve aged, I know – that’s what happens when you grow old in earths atmosphere.  I’m glad that’s over with, and now I can’t wait to get my new body back.  Lucky you Dallas – getting out of that mess when you were in your 40’s.  You never had to fight the aging – the body fat – the health issues - and look at your face – such a young man!  And, you’ve still got those classic side burns, and that Bateman grip – strong as an ox!”.

  “You’re right Don, I was the lucky one – wait till you see what we do up here – the fun never stops”.

“Still”, Dallas continued, “while I have no regrets, I have to tell you – I wish I had gotten a few more years down there to physically touch and hug all of my 4 girls, like you did.  I was watching of course – I see everything they do and hear everything they say.  But I haven’t been able to do what you did all those years – man you had a full quiver buddy!”.

 “We’ve been blessed in different ways I guess”, said Don.  “In fact, I have a 3:00 with Jesus to ask some questions – 1:1 – he sent me an invite when I arrived.  I have a long list Dallas, I hope he doesn’t mind”.

“He won’t mind – I had my list too – believe me – pages and pages of questions, and he answered them all pretty quick.  After he explained it so clearly, it all made perfect sense.  Actually, Don, once you see him, it’s so over-whelming, the questions you have will pretty much disappear – they won’t matter anymore – you’re gonna be blown away when you see his face and shake his hand.

“Let’s step over here for just a few minutes – grab a Starbucks, before the big crowd gets here to see you.  I saw them Don, on the way over, thousands, no, tens-of-thousands – on their way here to thank you.  There’s a party tonight in your honor, one of the biggest preparations I’ve seen in a long time!”.  Dallas handed him a cup of coffee as they stood by the train.  “By the way”, said Dallas, “we only have ‘Reserve’ up here, none of that cheap coffee you’ve been drinking down there!  You’re gonna need a lot of energy to shake a lot of hands and get a lot of hugs today!”.

 “I’m just glad to be here, I’ve never felt so worry and fear-free as I do now!” Don said.
----------------
Then, leaning in, Dallas whispers - “OK, really quick, Don, before the crowds get here - I’ve been wanting to ask - that kid of yours, Scot . . he and my girl, and those 3 kids, and now those 5 grandkids.  I only met him a few times on earth when he was a teenage boy in Kenya  . . . but I've always wondered, what's it like to touch them all, to press your lips to their cheeks, to smell their hair - what's that feel like? . . .

---------------------------------------------------------
And so it goes on – the big catch up between Dallas and Don - sipping coffee at Paradise Station.


I Can Only Imagine.