Sunday, April 30, 2017

circles or lines

Do we draw circles or lines?  Circles take others in- we are all in this together.  Lines separate us from each other.  [I'm on the good side, you are not.]

"For Jesus, there are no countries to be conquered, no ideologies to be imposed, no people to be dominated. There are only children, women and men to be loved"
Henri Nouwen

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

pay attention

In life, paying attention is very very important.  If a person isn't paying attention, they might miss a beautiful sunrise.  They might miss the chance to make a new friend.  They might get in a car wreck.  If a person isn't paying attention, they may forget an appointment.  They might forget where they put their keys.  They might be surrounded by birds, but not hear their singing.  They may forget that they are in God's world,  They might not see the beauty.  If a person isn't paying attention, they might not see that piece of steel sticking out of the pile and run right into it.

Paying attention in life is very important.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, April 28, 2017

oops


Bird feeders help us see the birds and hear them sing. The other day a cardinal perched on an overhead wire 10 feet from me. He was just singing his heart out.

My friend Margaret has a bird feeder. She filled it the other day..but no birds came....She said, "I got to wondering so I inspected...I had put in some plant fertilizer...that was in a similar bag right next to the bird seed...."

Every once in awhile we need to laugh at our selves.


It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.





Thursday, April 27, 2017

Love Thy Neighbor

I was visiting some old friends last week and I saw this sign in their house.  I was reminded of the importance of loving your neighbor.


This is the only thing that matters.  As the old song says, they will know that we are Christians by our love.  That means if we don't love others, our witness is mute.  Or worse, our witness may be unkind, judgmental or guilt laden.  It is most often not the words that reach others, it is the kindness, the love.

Someone is waiting for you today.  Someone who in the past has been invisible to you.  A bank teller, a server at the restaurant, the taco bell employee.

Love thy neighbor.  On this hangs all the law and the prophets.    If I speak in the tongues of men and angels but have not love.......   Get this wrong and we are a clanging gong.  Get this right and you have life right.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

the mystery of death

There is a funeral prayer in the old Methodist ritual.  When I was young I used the funeral outline verbatim but as I grew older, I modified it to my liking.

This particular prayer has a phrase in it, "the mystery of death has stricken us again."  I stopped using the prayer because I thought that phrase was archaic.  But with the passing of my friend Dan, I cannot get the phrase out of my head.

The mystery of death..... stricken....

My heart is surely stricken.  I am not happy with God about Dan's death.  But as my pastor said on Sunday, we are not in control.  We can steer our cars, we can coach children, but we are completely powerless over life and death.  We are not in control.  It is a big mystery.

Some parts of life have to be absorbed a little bit at a time.  I'm gonna keep wading into this mystery of death.  Hopefully the feeling of being stricken will subside.  I know that Dan would not want us to feel so sad.  And I know that somewhere, in heaven, he is smiling a big smile.

It is still a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Eternal Life

My pastor said something that I liked last week... he says a lot of things that I like but a few Sundays ago he was talking about eternal life and how we think of it as pie in the sky in the sweet by and by.

He said that we experience eternal life now, in the here and now, when we get lost in the wonder of God.  I love it!

I was thinking about love.... I had a thought.... possibly the greatest proof of eternal life is love.   When we love someone, we feel it so strongly.  Our bodies may die, but love never ends.  It must go on.

If you believe in evolution, and I am ok with some ideas of evolution, but if you believe in the entire evolution story, we crawled out of a pond millions of years ago.  Even if that is true, and I doubt that part of evolution, but even if that is true, love did't just happen.... love isn't the result of years of random evolution.  Love is a miracle.  It is a giant miracle.  It is amazing and it must go on, even after out bodies die.

I love you.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, April 24, 2017

realize

A friend wrote in.  She mentioned that she had been praying for God to be with her.  Then she realized that God was always with her, she just needed to be reminded of that.

Anthony deMello, in his book Awareness, tells the following story:

different cover, same book
Life is a banquet. And the tragedy is that most people are starving to death. That's what I 'm really talking about. There's a nice story about some people who were on a raft off the coast of Brazil perishing from thirst. They had no idea that the water they were floating on was fresh water. The river was coming out into the sea with such force that it went out for a couple of miles, so they had fresh water right there where they were. But they had no idea. In the same way, we're surrounded with joy, with happiness, with love. Most people have no idea of this whatsoever.

Friends, we don't need for God to be with us.  We need to wake up to the fact that he is with us, already.  He is all around us.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

you are worth it

A friend recently went to a funeral where the preacher said this:

"over the years I have come to think of our personal grief as a tribute or compliment to the one we miss. He said it is like saying to/of that person "you are worth my sadness."

I love it.

If you are sad or grieving today, just think of how that honors the person that we miss. They were great. They were worth it.

 I can not imagine a life where there was no one that I thought was worth crying over.  Thank you God for those who are worth our tears.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

if the video isn't playing

Several have emailed today to tell me that they don't have a video or they can't get it to play.

scroll mouse to bottom right

There are a couple of things to try.  First of all, put your mouse on the bottom right hand corner and the download symbol should appear.  Click on it, the video will download and you can watch it.  The other option is to go directly to the web site and watch the video at www.canyouhearthebirdssing.blogspot.com

Have a great Saturday.  It is a beautiful day.

open your eyes please

So, I am standing up by Mulligans just listening to the waves roll in on the beach.  It was a beautiful, peaceful glorious moment.  A couple just slightly older than me came walking up and stood next to me.  This was their first time to Vero Beach.  They watched the waves for a moment and then she said something that I found to be so sad.

She said, "it's dirty.  Not even white.  Too much seaweed."

I thought, oh my.  How sad.
Then I took this picture and this brief video.
video

Friends, there is much beauty and glory to see in this life.  Unfortunately sometimes people stand right in front of it and don't even see it.  May we all wake up to see the good.

It is a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, April 21, 2017

I shouldn't have done it


So last week when I was driving to KC, I stopped for the night in Clarksville, Tn.  820 miles in one day is about all I have in me.

Just up from the motel are my dinnertime choices.  Burger King or Shoneys.  I know that Burger King has nothing healthy, so I give Shoneys the benefit of the doubt.  That was a mistake.

I get in there and sit down and tonight is my lucky night.  It is the seafood buffet night. Now that I live in Florida, I am getting into seafood!!!

$11.95 for the buffet, I check it out.  Ok.  lets do the buffet.

Well some things look better than they really are.  Let's see.  We have fried shrimp, fried catfish which is mostly bones, fake crab something, hush puppies, boiled shrimp... tiny not peeled boiled shrimp.

When I was done eating all of that I had one thought:  I shouldn't have done it.  My belly hurts.  I need some Rolaids.

Next time I am just going to go to Burger King.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, skip the seafood buffet at Shoney's and see the good.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ants


So I am thinking of the theme to the Pink Panther.  Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant.........

I know my wife will love this post.  On the way to KC from Florida, I stayed overnight in Clarksville, Tn at the Baymont Inn.  Nice place for what you pay for.  It is not the kind of hotel/motel that my family would have liked to have been at.

I moved into the room, got set up, and started working on my computer.  That is when I noticed all of the little critters on the desk.  Ants!  Yeuch.

I went to the front desk and asked nicely for some ant killer.  They sent the maintenance man around to spray.  That seemed to do the trick.

I guess that ants serve some purpose in God's economy, but I don't care for them in my house or in my motel room.

It's still a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Therapeutic Drive


Sometimes our brains need to get away.  Sometimes we just need some time to decompress.  How about a 20 hour drive from Vero Beach to KC?  All by yourself, no annoying cats in the car.  It might be good.

So I did it in 2 days.  820 miles the first day, 500 the second day.

One of the highlights of the trip were the Georgia and Tennessee mountains.  When you live in Florida, you forget what hills look like.

I loved driving along Kennesau Ridge and Lookout Mountain.  It was peaceful, and beautiful and the glory of those hills spoke to me.

Never let your normal surroundings become mundane to you.  If you live by the ocean, love the ocean.  If you live by the hills, appreciate the hills, if you have 4 seasons, see the good in that.

God has spoken to us all through the things that he has made.
I loved the Tennessee hills.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, please see the good.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Jack

My buddy Dan and I used to sit on his back porch and drink Jack Daniels. We would laugh and tell stories. I thought of those times and it reminded me of this Luke Bryan song.

On a side note, my daughter Jennifer loves country music. I used to like to tell the joke, I like both kinds of music: country and western.

Here are the lyrics....

When I got the news today
I didn't know what to say.
So I just hung up the phone.

I took a walk to clear my head,
This is where the walking lead
Can't believe you're really gone
Don't feel like going home

So I'm gonna sit right here
On the edge of this pier
Watch the sunset disappear
And drink a beer

Funny how the good ones go
Too soon, but the good lord knows
The reasons why 

Sometimes the greater plan is kinda hard to understand
Right now it don't make sense
I can't make it all make sense

So I'm gonna sit right here
On the edge of this pier
Watch the sunset disappear
And drink a beer

click the link below to listen to the song....

luke bryan song on youtube

Monday, April 17, 2017

Stephen Wright

My buddy Dan loved the comedian Stephen Wright. If you are unfamiliar with his humor, here is a smattering of it. Dan sent me this collection some years ago.  This is a small part of what he sent me.... I hope it makes you smile.


All those who believe in psychokinesis raise my hand.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.

OK, so what's the speed of dark?

How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked

something.

Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have.

When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.

Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.

Shin: a device for finding furniture in the dark.

Many people quit looking for work when they find a job.

I intend to live forever - so far, so good.

If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded.

Boycott shampoo! Demand the REAL poo!

What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

I used to have an open mind but my brains kept falling out.

I like to skate on the other side of the ice.

I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.




It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter

This is the first Easter in a long time that I was not offering the Sunday Sermon.  I have to tell you that it kind of hurts to be on the sidelines.  But for one moment, let me make it not about me.

It is Easter!  Jesus is risen!
We have new life!!!

I used to love Jesus because I was ensured a spot in heaven.  Believing in him saved me from the fear of hell and death, as long as I was good.  So there was always some level of doubt, because I could never be good enough.

Today, in my old age, I am loving Jesus because of the amazing grace that he offers freely to every human.  I am accepted.  I am loved.   I don't even have to do anything.  He has done it all.  I am tearing up as  write this.

Life is beautiful.  The message of grace has been delivered.  We are free!

Happy Easter.  Receive the grace.

It is the beautiful day in God's world.  See the good.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lion's Den Man

 Left to Right - Gary Glenn, Tyler Stephenson and Dan Horn
I have terrible news to share.  My dear dear friend, Dan Horn, passed away suddenly Thursday night of a heart attack.  Dan has posted with me on this blog for 10 years.  He wrote under the name of Lion's Den Man.... a brief riddle matching his first name with the Biblical Daniel in the Lions Den Man.

When I was sad or empty, we was always ready to write for me.  He always had my back.

I am in shock.  I am in shock.  I don't know what to say.  I love him so much.  Please grieve with me.  Please cry with me.  I am heartsick.  He was one of the finest human beings.

Dan was one of the most kind, gentle, gracious humans that I have ever known.  It took a while to get to know him because he was quiet, but oh, what a treasure of a person.

He loved the St. Louis Cardinals, All kinds of music, the comedian Stephen Wright, fishing, canoeing, and of course his family.  My deepest sympathies to his dear wife Joni and to their two delightful children Laney and Eric.

I am heart sick.  I loved this man.  55 is too young.

So please hug your friends, hug your family.  Life is short.
Goodbye my dear dear friend.
You will be missed and you will be grieved.

Friday, April 14, 2017

I used to be someone

I was in church a few weeks ago.  After service a man came up to me and said, "hey, I recognize you.  Where do I know you from."

Whenever this happens I have two stock answers.  One is, "oh, I have a generic face."  The other is, "have you ever been in prison?"

I tried both on him.  Finally he said, "oh, I know, you used to be a pastor."

I know that he didn't mean anything by that, but way down inside of me, it stung a little bit.  It was kind of like, well, you used to be someone, but now......
Yes now, now I am a hobo, now I am a nothing.

Well, let's talk about that.  All of us used to be something.  We used to be younger, we used to be better looking, on and on it goes.

But all of us are something.  All of us are somebody.  We are all God's children.  We are all dearly loved.  We are all more valuable than we can ever imagine, regardless of what job we hold or don't or what age we are, or how much money we do or do not make.

You still are somebody.  So am I.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure  to see the good.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Fight Between Carnival and Lent


The Fight Between Carnival and Lent is a 1559 oil painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a Dutch painter.  I was introduced to this painting during an excellent sermon given a few weeks ago by Pastor Angie McNeil.

Since her initial comments on the painting, I have spent several hours looking at it and reading about the message that it carries.

Carnival represents, joy, merriment, and Mardi Gras.  Lent, well lent is lent.  Serious time.  The painting is about the clash in our hearts and minds between the enjoyment of life and the seriousness of life.

On the left of the painting is an Inn where people are drinking beer and enjoying themselves.  There is a parade and silly merriment.  On the right side of the painting is the church.  People on the right side are contemplating life, helping the poor and being reflective.

In the center of the picture, as pointed out by Angie McNeil, is a woman, maybe the woman at the well.  She is looking into a bucket of water, considering her image.

The idea of looking at our image from time to time is not just for lent.  Every now and then we should pause to ask ourselves who we are and what are we about.  I think that life should have its Inns and it's churches.  I think that merriment is as holy as contemplation.  Both are gifts from God.

Sometimes people are too serious.  Too heavy.  Sometimes, too frivolous.  We all need from time to time to stop by the well, look in the bucket of water and take stock of our lives.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

shhh!! pt. 2

Last week I posted on the value of quiet.  Silence is a spiritual discipline.

In response to that post, my friend Margaret Lightfoot replied, "if there is constant talk or tv, one can not hear the birds sing."

Well said.  It's not just that we can't hear others when we are talking, we can't hear the basic message that God has infused in all creation.

 I should probably listen more.  Pat Stark tells me that is why we have one mouth and two ears.
Can I hear the birds sing?  Not if I am talking.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

we are small

Zach Collins #32
We can be small.  Well, at least I can be small.

So I was watching the NCAA basketball tournament.  I was, as many of us were, rooting for whomever I wanted to win.  Now I am aware that all of these kids that we are watching were recruited by all of the schools at this level.  That means if you have a favorite player on the Villanova team, he may have been a hair's breath away from playing for Duke.

Yet we get all tied up in this team or that team.  Our egos line up for or against whomever we wish to come out on top.  So I was watching the Oregon vs Gonzaga game.  Since I usually root for the underdog, I was rooting for Oregon and against Gonzaga.  Nothing against Gonzaga, nice kids and all, I just wanted the Oregon Ducks to win.  Anyone who names their team mascot the Ducks, needs someone to cheer for them.  Kind of like the Arkansas Razorbacks... the Hogs.  Someone should root for them.  [I inserted a small joke there.]

Anyway, I am rooting for Oregon and against Gonzaga and particularly against this 7' kid, Zack Collins.  I don't know anything about him, I just want him to lose.  But Gonzaga won the game and life goes on.

Then last Monday, Gonzaga is playing North Carolina in the final game.  Now Gonzaga is the underdog, so I am rooting for them.  A turn of loyalties on my part.  No offense to the Tarheels.  Good team, good guys, all a hair's breath away from playing for Duke or KU.

So I am watching the game, rooting for Gonzaga, and ironically, rooting now for Zack Collins.  North Carolina went on to win that game.  

And I was struck with the fickleness of my cheering.  Of the rampant self-interest that floats freely through our lives.  Against a thing or a person one day, for the person the next day.

We are a funny bunch we humans, and we should not take basketball games, or ourselves quite so seriously.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Uncle

When the kids were little, one of my favorite things to do when we would wrestle, or when I would tickle them, would be to make them say, "Uncle.  Dad you're the master."  I would not quit tickling them until they said it.

Now when you are wrestling, the last thing you want to do is lose, and you certainly don't want to be humiliated by being forced to say, "Uncle. Dad you're the master."

As the kids got bigger and their pride grew stronger, they could hold out longer.  Sometimes they would even say, "Never!  I will Never Say it."  Then they would say things like "Dad, you're the stinkpot!"  Then great laughter would ensue and I would torture them more.

Well as the kids grew into adulthood, our wrestling episodes went by the wayside.  Until the other day.  My son had hurt his shoulder.  Yet, he was still messing with me.  So I went after him.  He was a bit handicapped.  And yes, I got him to say it, "Uncle, Dad you're the master."  It was a great moment of victory of an old man over a youth.

I am victorious again.  I am, I was for one moment, the master.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

2 lions

This is one of my favorite Anthony DeMello stories....

Once upon a time, a lion cub was found by a momma sheep. Being a kind mother sheep, she took the lion cub in and raised it as one of her own lambs. So effective was his indoctrination that he grew up thinking that he was a sheep, eating grass, baa-ing, and walking with a stiff little sheep gait.

One day a lion came out of the forest and found the flock of sheep, and saw the sheeply lion. The sheeply lion ran as did the other sheep. The forest lion, not believing what he was seeing, gave chase. Finally, he caught the sheeply lion and cornered him at the base of a large tree. Cowering in fear, the sheeply lion said, “please don’t eat me, please don’t eat me.”.

The forest lion came near the sheeply lion and inquired of him, “what are you doing…cowering and shaking in fear?” The sheeply lion replied he was afraid the forest lion would eat him.

The forest lion grabbed the sheeply lion by the neck and dragged him to a nearby poor of water.

He forced the sheeply lion to gaze into the reflection from the pool. “What do you see?” inquired the forest lion. The sheeply lion looked at the forest lion, back at the reflection in the pool, and then back to the forest lion.

For the first time, he saw himself as he really was. The sheeply lion raised up from the pool and gave a great roar. He was never a sheep again.

Maybe it is time for you to stop cowering in life and see who you really are.  An amazing person that God loves very much.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.



Saturday, April 8, 2017

Grace

I was sitting in church last Sunday and the pastor talked about how the "incredible, amazing grace of God reaches out to you."  I got to thinking about this.

We think we need to earn God's love.  Since we are used to having to earn human love, we think that we have to earn God's love.  But we don't.  In fact, we can't earn it.  Think about that.  YOU CAN'T BE GOOD ENOUGH TO EARN GOD'S LOVE.  It is a free gift.  It already belongs to you.  God made men and women, he stepped back and took a look, and he said, IT IS GOOD.  See Genesis 1:31.

The incredible amazing grace of God reaches out to you.  Past your sins, past your worries, past your perceived sense of unworthiness.  His grace is reaching for you, if you just open your arms.

Revelation 3:20 says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock."  This passage has been used in many guilt laden ways over the years to press people into salvation.  Like God wants to press people into salvation..... But forget the guilt for a moment and look at the grace at work in that picture.  A loving gracious friend is knocking at your door.  He wishes to come in and smile and extend grace.  Why would we not open the door?

The incredible amazing grace of God is reaching out to you.
It doesn't get any better than that.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, April 7, 2017

trouble with kids

just wait until they are adults!
So I used to think that when our children grew up that I would stop worrying about them.  Well, I guess I was wrong.

I got to thinking though.... Jacob's sons sold their brother Joseph into slavery in Egypt.  At least my kids aren't selling each other.  David's son Absolom sought opening to kill him.  At least my kids aren't trying to kill  me [as far as I know.]  Even God had trouble with his first children, Adam and Eve.

So there will always be something to worry about, no matter what age they are.  The question is, to what degree do I allow myself to succumb to worrying about them?  I am not in control of what they do, but I am in control of the extent to which I allow myself to be consumed by what they or what others are doing.

Thank God that they aren't selling each other or trying to kill me.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

April Fools recap

Ha ha ha.  Gotcha.  Got a bunch of you guys.

I have a big grin on my face.  So many of you sent in your regrets that the blog was closing.  I received 30 emails and 4 phone calls expressing regrets...... Several of you did catch that it was an April fools joke.

My favorite comment came from Kim who saw through it all and posted this, "Thank goodness. I never ever read this blog anyhow and do not look forward to it every single day."

Next year, if I remember, I will post on April 1 that the blog is closing.  That is, if I live to see next April 1.  I hope to, I plan to, so be ready.

Thanks for giving me a chuckle.  Thanks for reading.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

fear

"What saves us from fear is not courage, but compassion."
                   Hubert Neth

I hate to speak for this great man, but what I heard him saying was this... When we are struggling personally, when we are broken, when we are a mess, you can't power yourself through it.  The sacred act that saves us from ourselves is the act of caring for another.  When I care for another, my mind is off of me and onto you.  When I show compassion to another, my heart is no longer focused on myself, but is now moving towards another.  My pain is swallowed up as I am lost in your pain.

Compassion save us from fear.
Something to think about.........

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

the rule of three

So I was talking with my buddy Bob Tuttle about quoting people in your sermons.  When do you quote someone?  When do you ignore the fact that you are using some of their stuff?

We talked about how there is nothing new under the sun.  No new ideas.  We talked about how for every idea that you throw out, there are five people that you could probably attribute the idea to.

He told me a story.  He and a friend would sit in lectures and in continuing education events.  When they heard something good, one would look at the other and hold up three fingers.

The three fingers were a sign.  Three days.....
Day one:  I quote the person who said it.  As Bill Smith has said.....
Day two:  I make it generic.... as someone said.
Day three... I make it mine.... as I have said.

And so you see that it is possible to make an idea your own in three short days.

some things that I have always said......

1. Those who say, don't know.  those who know, don't have to say.
2.  Everything is spiritual.
3. No one knows.

Take a great idea and make it your own.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, April 3, 2017

silence

Shhhhh!!!
Some people are not comfortable with silence.  Some that I know, seem to have to fill every single moment with the noise of their voice.

Silence is golden.  I love people who know how to be quiet.  If you were raised on a farm, you are used to silence.  I tend to love people who were raised on farms.  I was not, but I still love the silence.  The sound of the wind, the sound of a train rumbling by, or the sound of  a car on a gravel road.

I love silence.  I am good with it.  Hey... the next time that we sit down together, lets talk for five minutes each, then lets just sit there and say nothing.  Just taking in the ambiance of being together.  remind me and let's do it.

Silence is the door to contemplation.  Do you want to grow in your prayer life???  Stop talking.  Say good morning Lord.  Then just listen for 20 minutes.  We learn more by listening then we do by talking.

Silence is the door to contemplative prayer.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April Fools!!!

Alfred Toll House
[next door is the Jacob Loose Mansion]
Yesterday I told you that the blog was closing. Some of you got it. Some of you knew.....   But for those of you that were wondering............. April Fools!!!

One of my favorite April fools stories comes from 1971.  I was 14.  My grandma, my dad's mom came to live with us.  My sisters got to share a room so that grandma could have her own space.

Her name was Mary Lee Toll Brinkman. She was born into big money. The house of her childhood is now the Catholic Reporter building on Armor road and Warwick in Kansas City. [Or it was the last time I was down in that area.] The house and the money were gone long before I was born, but my Mom used to tell the story of going to dances in the ballroom on the top floor of the "Toll Mansion."

We called Grandma Toopta. No one knows why. She used to babysit us on Friday nights so my parents could go to lodge meetings. Years later we found out that lodge was really Dad's AA meetings. Back then we had one little black and white TV, an RCA Victor model. Sometimes I would go with Dad to the store to replace the tubes. Do you remember when the grocery stores had little tube testing stations where you could test and buy tubes? Anyway, we would sit up on Friday nights with Toop and watch TV. She taught us all the song, "the incy wincy spider" and the more obscure, "I don't know why she swallowed the fly" rhyme. I will have to say it for you sometime.

So, anyway, Toopta came to live with us when I was 14. She liked Hawaii 5-0 "book em Danno." She watched the Today show and General Hospital. She drank Sherry [something like wine or brandy I think.] She attended the Episcopal church. My mom didn't like her. I am not going to speculate why. There were a number of possible reasons, but it was a real sacrifice for my Mom to have Toopie living in our home. It only lasted for about a year, and then she was gone. As quickly as she had arrived, she was gone, traded off to another Uncle for a player to be named later.

One morning, I heard a thump, thump, thump, coming down the stairs. I ran around the corner and there was Toopta in a writhing ball of pain at the bottom of the stairs. I called for help, and in a few moments, my mom and both of my sisters were there. We were all gathered around Toop. My Mom took over. Kids step back.

Mom: Toop, where does it hurt?
Toopta: Oooooo. [groaning]
Mom: do you want me to call an ambulance?
Toop: Oooooo.
Mom: where does it hurt?
Toop [quietly]: what day is it?
Everyone looks at each other. We are puzzled. She must be losing her mind.
Toop: what day is it?
Mom: Toop it is Wednesday.
Toop [a bit louder now]: no, what day is it?
Mom: it is April 1st.

April 1st!!!!!!!!! It is all a big joke. She is not hurt, she did not fall down the stairs. My sisters and I start laughing. Mom is furious. She does not think it is funny at all for a 72 year old woman to pull such a stunt. She storms off into the other room. I help Toop up and Toop and the kids go on about our business, somehow the better for the story.

That's the way it was, April 1st, 1971.

Oh, and by the way, The blog will continue.  As long as Scott Connors reads this, I am going to keep typing something.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

I'm sorry

I am sorry but this is going to be my last post.  I closing down the blog.