Friday, April 13, 2018

Plano Cops & Me

The siren shocked me – very loud.  I looked in my rear-view mirror and sure enough, a Plano cop was on my tail.  A big cruiser, and a big guy driving.  I pulled over quick – and sat there.  Two ladies were walking their dogs across the street, and one of them shouted out at me – “looks like you were speeding!” – and they both laughed, annoyingly.  I yelled back – “I’m sure I was!”.  I thought to myself, ‘that’s pretty rude’-   I had never heard a sidewalk commentator when someone got pulled over by a cop.

I was hot and sweaty, running late, and annoyed.  The cop got out of the cruiser and headed toward me.  Sure enough, he didn’t look happy and he looked like he needed a fresh Dunkin Donut to calm him down.   I said – ‘hello officer’.  He said, “would you mind turning down your radio sir, please?”   I said – “well, actually I do – it’s harder to do than you might think.”

He says- “really?   Would you mind standing over here on the sidewalk then?”   I said ‘ok’, and went to the sidewalk and turned to him and asked – “officer, what is this all about, is this really a good use of your time, really??”    Now, the second those words left my mouth I realized I should have held it back.

He immediately started wagging his finger at me and said “do you realize you just ran a stop sign back there?!”   I said, “no, what stop sign?”.      He said “there” – pointing at a corner, one block back.  “Do you have your license”.   I said “no, actually, you won’t believe this, but I left it at home.  But I live in the neighborhood, you can follow me to my house and I’ll run in and get it.”  

Incredulous – very annoyed, he says – “never mind.   I’m just going to give you a warning – you HAVE to STOP at all stop signs!!”

I couldn’t believe it!  He turned and walked away. My lucky day. 

And I got back on my bicycle, and finished my Friday afternoon 20-mile route.    Plano cops.  Can’t live with’em, can’t live without ‘em.  

Saturday, April 7, 2018

$13 Cup of Coffee

Why would anyone, in their right mind, pay $13.00 for a cup of coffee?   You would have to be nuts, on an expense account – or very rich.   Even still – no matter what - it just ain’t right to do that. 
But if you ever do – this is what it looks like (at Starbucks ‘Reserve’ – Legacy West).  They put on a show for you – and everyone sitting near you, so the entertainment is part of the price.  This kid named ‘Jonah’ knows far too much about coffee and the regions of the world that grow it, the altitudes that are best for the beans, and the special techniques used to brew the perfect cup.   Not many people get this show  - and I’m hearing a lot of ‘ooooh’s and aaaaah’s’ in the background.  I’m the center of attention, and I like that.  The crowd thinks I’m a big spender, a player, somebody to deal with.  For this special occasion on a Saturday morning, I wore my new Robert Graham shirt and my best worst Levi’s, and styled my hair (meaning I held my head out the window of the car to dry on the way over).  If I still had a dog, like my old best friend Kahlua, I would have brought him – then everyone would really think I was cool.
Today – is my birthday – a milestone birthday.  I do appreciate a good cup of coffee.  It’s the first time for this, and I’m running out of time.  Plus, this one was FREE (a gift from Starbucks) – so no, I’m not crazy.  What am I supposed to do – say No?
Priceless. Funny thing is, this fancy cup of coffee tastes, mysteriously, like Dunkin Donuts.
Day #1 – of a new year. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

That Rainy Day

There's something to be said for consistency and patience.

It was about 1990 I think - about 28 years ago.  I would go out, come back home, and toss my extra change into a jar under the sink.  Then, the next day, I would do the same . . . . on and on, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.  As a jar was filled, I'd get a big coffee can and pour that jar into the can, then get another coffee can, and another, and another . . . .

I never spent the coins - I never took them out of the jar - never.   (in the early years, some unknown family members would take coins out of my cans when I wasn't looking, to buy gas, pay tolls, buy a coke - who knows - -  (you know who you are!) - it's ok, I really didn't mind).
I told myself that this change was for a 'rainy day'.  blah, blah, blah . . . .
Years have gone by (28 years).  And in the back of my closet I've had this stack of cans.  Now, i need that space for my other stuff (and if you know me, you know I have a lot of other 'stuff').

So this week I started rolling coins.  It was hard - especially the dimes, they are a pain, so small.  I had to go to Wal-Mart three times to get more sleeves for the coins - it never ended - quarters, nickles, dimes, pennies.  My fingers are actually stained with I don't know what - some sort of oily, dirty, coin dirt.  Gross.
Quarters = $1,720.00
Nickles = $152.00
Dimes = $570.00
TOTAL = $2,442.00   
Consistency and patience.  and a little crazy . . . . will buy a lot of car washes.  Do you have a rainy-day fund?  It doesn't have to be money.  The best rainy-day fund is simply having the Hope you find in Christ, that daily belief that He is in control of your future (regardless of the number of quarters you have in the can . . .. ).
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty"  Ps 91:1 


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..  Now, with the proliferation of Christian Contemporary music on the radio - that's all I listen to.  I wish it existed in the 1970's.  There's nothing better or more uplifting than worship music. 
"Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always."  Ps 105:4
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.”

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.