Tag: life

A Friend For A Season… by JoAnn

I believe people come into our lives only for a season. They have a purpose for crossing our path at an exact moment. For some, their season is a long one. Some may come and go briefly. I believe this to be true, especially for friends.

It took me many years and heartache to understand this concept. I remember feeling so sad when I would lose a friend for any reason. I would cry and mourn the friendship. Most of the time, I would feel either betrayed by that friend or guilty in thinking I had done something wrong that made them no longer want me in their life. These were painful lessons for me. I am thankful that I have since learned.

I have learned to look back on these friendships with gratitude and fondness. Grateful for the lessons I learned from that relationship, joy for the good times spent with that friend, and love for the wonderful memories they left me. I no longer hold anger or resentment that the friendship no longer exists. People just move on. That is life, and it’s natural. There is nothing wrong with it. There is nothing wrong with me.

I am most grateful for the privilege of knowing that individual for our time together. Looking back, I can see why we crossed paths at that particular time in our lives. It is evident that they were either there to help me or I for them. That always makes me happy.

I remember one friend I had for a season of about ten years. She was the first friend I made when we moved to Tennessee. I was nine months pregnant with our third daughter when we rolled into town. She was the town’s mail person. She had a friendly and loving personality. Each day she would deliver our mail to the front door and take the opportunity to check on me. Come to find out, she was a mother of 5 young children. I hit it off with Kathleen from the very start. We continued to grow a relationship that, to this day, I hold dear to my heart as one of my most valuable friendships. Kathleen helped me fit into a new town where I was a stranger, and everyone already knew everyone. It was a rough time for me. Kathleen helped me to navigate living in a small town and how to embrace it gracefully. She introduced me to her friends and extended invitations for lunch with the girls. She was also there for me when I needed a helping hand. Later, when we bought a house, it ended up being directly across the street from Kathleen and her family. My kids and hers, of course, became friends. We would wave and talk across the yards at each other. We would admire each other’s flower gardens and go to the nursery to pick up more. We attended school functions and church together. We had a wonderful friendship as mothers, women, and neighbors.

But things move along in life. When she divorced, and her kids were all grown, Kathleen decided to move away. I, unfortunately, had to do the same. It was a hard pill to swallow for me. To this day, I miss her. At first, I felt betrayed when she moved and didn’t keep in touch. But then I learned how happy she is now with a new husband, a beautiful home, and grandchildren. I realized she had been put into my life for a significant season. I was blessed in abundance for having had Kathleen for a friend at the time of my life that she showed up. I believe with all my heart that God placed her there for a reason. Many reasons. She did her job, and now her season is over. I have nothing but love and fondness in my heart when I reflect on my friendship with Kathleen. She is top of my list as one of the best friends I’ve ever had.

I have been blessed with several lifelong friendships. Those are the rarest of all and should never be taken for granted. It truly is a blessing to have the privilege of knowing and caring about someone for a lifetime. That season is never-ending.

I consider each and every one of you that takes the time to read my writings a friend. Thank you! You are indeed appreciated.

Lets Go Get An Egg…by Larry

This story is from the Spring of 1961 at Hiwassee Junior College in Madisonville, Tennessee.

“Some memories just won’t let go at all. Every time I hear or see a chicken, I think not necessarily of eggs, even though I am pretty fond of them: fried, boiled, poached, scrambled, deviled, pickled, dyed – it doesn’t make any difference.” Grundy Coach Frank Spraker said this as well, so I’m in good company.

Also, I have several dozen egg and chicken jokes that I’ve gathered from the barnyard of my life if you’ll eggscuse the eggsaggeration.

Of course, everyone has an answer for why the chicken crossed the road – to get to the other side or to prove to the possum that it can be done (probably the most popular).

But why did the chicken cross the playground…? To get to the other slide…! You knew this, I bet!

Or why did the chicken only go halfway across the road? She wanted to lay it on the line.
He-he-he. Cluck! Cluck!

If you’re not eggsasperated yet, let me cut to the chase and tell you about an incident during the Spring Quarter at Hiwassee in 1961. One of the guys (John was his first name, and I think his last name was Townsend…no way of checking since I’m sure that John dropped out of school to get a job).
John lived in the room right next to Willard Owens and myself, and he was BIG on breakfast. Nearly every morning, he would knock on our door shortly after daylight and say:
“Let’s go get an egg boys! Let’s go get an egg!”

For at least a month or two, both Willard and myself were awakened at the crack of dawn by Rooster John with about three lusty crows of, “Let’s go get an egg! Let’s go get an egg! Let’s go get an egg!”

And really, it was starting to get a little tiresome. Especially those nights when we’d played Rook or Hearts ’til after midnight, or even those rare occasions we studied ’til midnight or later.

So, it wasn’t much of a surprise when Willard told me what he’d done one night after John had left our room about midnight to go to his room next door. Willard told me he had conspired with John’s roommate to change his alarm clock setting from seven o’clock to one o’clock. John’s roommate told Willard that John always just pushed the “set” button before getting in bed since he “always” got up at the same time…. seven o’clock…

“And he’s always wanting breakfast at the ‘Crack of dawn’!” Denny, his roommate, said.

Willard and I were dozing off with our clothes on when we heard the faint sound of John’s alarm clock coming through the concrete walls. A short while later, we were ready (but made a show of primping) when John and his roommate came by, and John cackled…
“Let’s go get an egg! Let’s go get an egg boys!”
And across the Hiwassee campus we went.

Rooster John is in search of an egg & all the fixins. Meanwhile, the three others were intent on pulling off a prank.

Out the back door . . . across the parking lot . . . past the Library . . . past the old gym . . . and right up to the front door of the dining hall . . . and not a soul in sight!

But that didn’t stop Rooster John from placing his face against the glass when we arrived at the silent and closed Dining Hall shortly after 1:00 in the coolish March air.

John was searching up and down the dining hall for any kind of movement.
“Hey, John! What does that clock on the wall say?” Willard asked with a muffled chuckle.

“Dang boys!” John said, “Somebody’s clock is lyin’…
And there ain’t no sausage fryin’. Let’s go back to bed!”

So, back across the still silent campus we went – kind of afraid to mention to John that it was all a joke. (Perhaps on us more than John.)
All of us slept in that morning, and several weeks passed before Rooster John knocked on our door with:
“Let’s Go Get An Egg Boys!”

John dropped out of school after that semester, and rumor had it that he returned home to Townsend, Tennessee, to take a full-time job serving breakfast all day long at a Waffle House. Shucks! He may have even been the originator of that chain of my eateries… Waffle & Egg.

O, what I wouldn’t give to go back and make that walk and hear those six words just one more time:
“Let’s Go Get An Egg Boys!”
And hear Willard say one more time:
“Good night Roomy!”

But Hiwassee has closed its doors. Hard to believe with all of the new buildings and modernization. Just thinking that we only had one phone in Bruner Hall at the time & it was a Rotary on the wall on the 2nd Floor. It was rarely used, for we were too busy playing games and pranks.

And the roads are paved now also, but no school at the road’s end.
Back then, it was two miles from town along a dusty dirt road & when we got to school, we took a winding path up through a cemetery.

I know several Harman boys that really enjoyed our time there. We thought those days would never end.

Seeing My Younger Self

🎡 Every morning, I quietly get out of bed, trying not to disturb my wife’s sleep, slip on my clothes and head down the hall to the coffeepot waiting patiently in the kitchen. I press the “Start” button twice. It begins its steady progression to 210°, the same temperature that Starbucks uses for coffee (the night before, I carefully measured the coffee that went into the basket and the amount of water to use). I then head to our bathroom to wash my face, comb my hair and shave.
Each morning, as I stare into the mirror, I search for the 18-year-old me, the young guy who wallowed in the richness of life and all the potential it offered. And worried about nothing. Content with whatever came his way. I can tell he is still in there somewhere because I sometimes see glimpses of him, and then he’s gone. I miss that carefree guy, and sometimes I try, with little success, to emulate him.
Instead, what I see in my mirror is a guy way past his prime, with quite a few well-earned lines scattered willy-nilly across his face. His eyes are still a deep brown, with a hint of glint, indicative of an optimistic view of his future. The 18-year-old me believed there were only better days ahead. The person I am today is just trying to hold on to what he has, knowing the potential for unwanted issues lies just around the corner.
Practically, I know that young man will never return, that it’s a pipe dream to contemplate such a thing happening. However, it still gives me joy to know that he’s in there, somewhere, and that he allows me to see him now and then. I like what Michael Altschuler said, “The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you’re the pilot.”

🎡 From all appearances, winter is over; daffodils, tulips, and forsythia are in full blossom. There are buds on all the trees. My wife is busily working in her flower gardens, as happy as one could be. I love to watch her work with the beautiful things that grow around our home. She has a natural touch with plants, and, in her presence, their goal is to impress her with their splendor and magnificence. Some people have the proverbial “Green Thumb,” but most of us, I suspect, do not. My father was a talented gardener because we always had plenty to eat of whatever he put in the two or three of his gardens each year. I tried my hand at it when I was in my fifties and quickly learned that my thumb was not the right color.
We have a section in our retirement community called the “Funny Farm,” where residents can have a small plot to raise vegetables. I have not reserved a plot because I neither have the time nor patience for such an endeavor. Knowing we could buy a tomato for less than the cost of raising one also factored into it. We often walk by the “Funny Farm” and always admire the gardens that grow there. Ahhh, this would be a perfect place for my dad and grandpa to retire. George Washington said it best: “For it is a fixed principle with me, that whatever is done should be done well.” I somewhat agree with old George. I also realize you might’ve thought the name of our retirement center was “Funny Farm” 😊.

🎡 The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has started, and it is always one of my favorite times of the year. I am an ACC fan, but I also pull for Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Those three teams have family connections, so we always cheer for them to win. There have been some disappointments, with Kentucky (#2 seed) losing to Saint Peter’s (#15 seed) and Virginia Tech (#11 seed) yielding to Texas (#6 seed). But there are still a lot of exciting games to be played, and the tourney doesn’t end until April 4th. We get to watch some fantastic athletes dazzle us with their basketball prowess during that time. The experts say the best team in the tourney is Gonzaga, a small Jesuit University in Spokane, Washington. They have a powerhouse basketball team every year and always play well in the tournament. Since 2015, their earliest exit was in the “Sweet 16” in 2016 & 2018. They have never won the tourney. I’m sure my good friend Nancy B knows much more about the tourney stats, and I’m confident she watches more of the games. Her favorite team (Va. Tech) is out now, so some of the shine may be gone for her 😊.
I think it’s fun to watch the young play sports. As a young guy playing high school football and basketball, I never understood how the game fascinated the adults in our community. I now know they enjoyed the enthusiasm and excitement it generated. Humankind has always enjoyed games, back to the Romans and beyond. The primary motivation could be that games distract us from the plainness of our everyday lives, give us something to cheer for, and make life enjoyable. We always need that.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are but tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.” Well said, Ralph.

🎡 Well, it appears as if we are in decent shape as far as containing our Covid-19 crisis. I noticed in today’s paper that recent daily cases are down to 29,650 in the USA. Sadly, we have lost 975,000 lives because of the pandemic, and worldwide, we have lost over six million lives. By far, the costliest tragedy in human life was World War II (1939-45). The total fatalities, including battle deaths and civilians of all countries in that war, are estimated at 56.4 million people. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has been devastating. Still, it has not progressed to the use of nuclear weapons. If we get into a nuclear war with Russia, that total will pale in comparison. Life as we know it will be forever changed. As badly as I want our country to help Ukraine, I expect President Biden to refuse to get us involved to that point. Vladimir Putin has revealed himself to the world as a despicable human being. After watching Hitler kill so many, people all over the globe vowed they would never sit idly by and let it happen again. But the risks are too high, the Russians have weapons that Hitler didn’t, and they are much deadlier. There will be no winner in this war. The citizens of Russia should have maintained the term limits of their president. Not doing so allowed him to become too powerful, which is never good. We can hope for successful peace negotiations: Ukraine agrees not to seek entry into NATO, and Russia stops its senseless bombing and pulls its army back to the borders before the war starts. I do not expect that to happen, but I would be grateful if it did. Unfortunately, what I suspect will happen is that Ukraine will eventually fall to the Russians, and guerrilla warfare will continue for years.
Sadly, as it appears, we can never confront a bully that has an arsenal of nuclear weapons for fear of him destroying our civilization. The possibility of a nuclear war before Russia invaded Ukraine was close to zero. Now, we are much farther away from that number, enough to have the entire world’s population on alert to a potential tragedy. As Jack Kornfield said, “Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control.”

Begin Again… by JoAnn

How many times can we begin again? Of course, the technical answer would be every day! Whether it’s in our careers, love life, where we live, or our health.

Each morning we awake to a brand new day. Everything that happened yesterday is now a part of our past. It can never be revisited, redone, or relived in the same exact way. We can try, but it will never be exactly like yesterday.

That can be a sad idea, but it can also be quite freeing. If yesterday was a good day, it’s a shame we can only relive it through our memories. But if yesterday was terrible, we may have the opportunity to make things right today.

As a Christian, I believe that each new day brings a brand new portion of grace from our Lord. If we repent for our failings each night, the new day will meet us with a clean slate and an abundant amount of grace. We can begin again with all the grace we need for a brighter day than the one past.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the days that have been negative in our past. To let them color our future is the last thing we should do. I, for one, am trying to start each day brand new, just as it’s meant to be. What is wrong with beginning again every day? Instead of waking up, feeling that you have the same struggle at work or home, why not awake thinking I have a brand new day, slate clean! Maybe starting your day off with that kind of attitude will make a difference. I certainly don’t think it could hurt.

I believe a person should begin a new life as many times as they need for their own happiness. If you’re not happy where you live or work, try everything to start over somewhere new. I regret letting myself become stuck in the same places for so long when I was indeed unhappy. Now I realize there is nothing wrong with moving around. I was brought up to believe that a person puts down roots and stays. Now I know that is one of the most challenging things a person can do. It can become very depressing and certainly not for everyone.

We are to continue growing and learning all the years of our lives to be truly happy. I don’t believe that’s possible without beginning again over and over many times. Many people think that to start again means you have failed. I realize now that is not true. It only means you are growing into something new to avoid getting stuck. That’s a good thing.

The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on her tombstone, from the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth. And spoke of the following date with tears.

But, he said, what mattered most of all–was the dash between those years.

For the dash represented all the time she spent alive on Earth.

But now only those that loved her know what that little line was worth.

For it matters not how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash.

What matters is how we lived and loved and how we spent our dash.

So, think about this long and hard, are there things you’d like to change.

For you never know how much time is left, you could be at dash mid-range.

If we could just slow down enough, to consider what’s true and real.

And always try to understand the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more,

And love the people in our lives, like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile.

Remembering that the special dash might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read and your life’s action to rehash.

Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent the dash

… Author Unknown

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