Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Red Handled Srewdriver Incident of 1974

Good morning, I pray that the day is finding you well. I do not know about you, but many people live under the old Visa moniker of, “Don’t leave home without it.” For my father it was a red handled screwdriver. There was nothing extra special about this particular screwdriver; it had a red handle, it was a Phillip’s head screwdriver with an 8” shaft. It had a logo on it, something like Craftsman or something, but it was covered with paint blotches. My dad was always doing and redoing things around the house. The house was his hobby. For most of us In farm country pliers along with the proverbial pliers belt holder, so named because it attached to one’s belt and held pliers in it, was the tool of choice. Not my dad, his tool of choice was the red handled screwdriver. He used it for: Screwing in screws. Making scratch marks on things when he measured. Opening paint cans, thus the paint blotches. Making the dent required before drilling a hole in something. Tapping a child on the head when needed, usually me. He always had his red handled screwdriver with him when he was doing a project. One day, Dad came into the house yelling, “Clare (my mom’s name) Clare, Claaaaaaaaaaaaaaare!) Mom usually waited until dad yelled, “Claaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare” before answering, I think she did this just to make sure it was not a false alarm and that she was really needed. It was either that or she just liked hearing her name in an extended format. Mom comes around the corner, the bellowing had already brought the rest of the kids into the room, when dad bellowed we would come running, it would be nice to say it was out of reverence but we were not all that well behaved. We usually came just to see what was going to transpire, cable had not been invented yet we were still amazed at the traveler’s mug invention so this was just another form of entertainment for us kids. Mom says, “You do not need to bellow, (I always thought that mom caused this behavior by waiting to answer) what do you need honey.” Dad says, “I cannot find my red handled screwdriver.” Mom says, “Have you looked for it yet?” Obviously, she was privy to some of dad’s behavioral traits that we kids were not. Dad says, “Of course I have.” Dad starts to shout orders. You need to read this next part out load, using a deep, authoritative voice; much like General Patton would have used in the Battle of the Bulge. Kids you look here. Clare you look there. When you find it let out a yell letting the others know that you have it, I will do the same. We will all meet back here in fifteen minutes if we have not found it. Go! Ok you can use your normal voice again. Dad spins on his heals to go look and that is when we found the red handled screwdriver. It was sticking out of his back pocket. He had obviously grabbed it earlier and forgotten that he already had it and had spent the next thirty minutes looking for it before he assembled the troops to look for it some more. We had an option before us. We could either tell dad that his precious screwdriver was in his back pocket, or we could remain silent. For, for whatever reason choice option “B,” we did not say a word. Dad looked for another fifteen minutes, we pretended to look for fifteen minutes, it would not have been much of a rouse if we did not pretend. At the predetermined time limit we reassembled at the staging area. Dad was distraught over the loss of his screwdriver and was beginning to pout, this usually brought on the sandwich that made everything better. That is when Katie says, “Look in your back pocket.” Then she giggles, Katie giggles like Betty Rubble for the Flintstones. If you don’t know how Betty Rubble giggles watch an episode, Katie is spot on. Katie was the chosen spokesperson for our group. She could get away with things that the rest of us could not. It was like she had secret information on Dad that gave her immunity. I am not sure what this secret immunity was because the “Ketchup Treaty of 1978” had not been established yet, but she had something, I am sure of it. Dad looks in his back pocket and sure enough there is his red handled screwdriver. Dad had become paralyzed without his red handled screwdriver. He could not even start the project without it, even though he had other screwdrivers available and a bunch of other tools. The screwdriver had become so important to him that nothing else mattered at the time. It had become his idol. Christ warns us about being too attached to “earthly things.” That having an idol is a bad thing. You see, Christ knows that if we get too attached to earthly things we become focused on the wrong stuff, like a red handled screwdriver. We spend our time looking and not doing. There is another parable of a man who found treasure in a field and sold everything that he had so that he could buy the field because he knew about the treasure. If we have Christ with us, in our back pocket so to speak, we spend our days focused on the things that Christ focusing on. If we cannot find Christ, “A dark night of the soul” experience we should look for Him and when we find Him let go of everything else so that He can be our focus. My prayer is as we go through our day that we recognize the red handled screwdrivers that are in our lives and put them in their proper place, that we let them go and replace them with Christ. Blessings,

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The case of the Chicken Cup

Good morning, I pray that the day is finding you well. One of the things that I do is sit with people that are going through a particularly hard time in their life. Many times, it involves a transition of one sort or another. During these sessions, I do a lot of listening. They are looking for answers that I do not have. They always ask the question, “Why?” Growing up on the farm was very different from how we live today. Life was much slower, although we did not realize it at the time. We learned to wait. One day in early October, we decided to take a family picture. No, we did not get a professional photographer we took the picture ourselves, that is how one does it on the farm. It was a brisk autumn day and we all had our coats on. We lined up in front of the house, Boppa, who was the photographer of the day stood in front of us, giving us direction; move to the right, move to left. Katie stop making faces…you know the drill. Mom had her coffee in her hand, she had her favorite cup; when I was a kid there was no such thing as a travel mug with a lid. We all had those ceramic mugs with our favorite picture on it. We got used to drinking only a portion of what was in our cups, as most of it jostled out of the cup before we could drink it. I can still remember when somebody showed up with a traveler’s mug for the first time, “Ingenious, this is simple ingenious.” Was the usual response. “We should have thought of this, we could have made a fortune.” The fact is we were too busy to invent a traveler’s mug. We were too busy spilling our drink, complaining about spilling our drink, going to get more drink…with all that going on who has time to invent anything. Mom was holding her cup that had a picture of a chicken on it. I think the chicken was a Rode Island Red, or something, it most definitely was not Pit Silo. A coffee mug with a picture of Pit Silo picture would not improve the drinking experience at all. Boppa was getting ready to take the picture with his instamatic camera, Tinker, one of our horses who was half Shetland pony and half quarter horse, came walking into the picture; yes, she was lose on the farm. She was part of the family and tended to be wherever we were. Now Boppa had a completely new set of instructions to give us. Finely, Boppa took the shot. He said, “Cheese.” I always thought this was funny thing to say, but then that is just me. The flash goes off. If you are younger than 45 years old, you probably do not remember the instamatic camera with the magnesium flashcubes. I believe these “cubes” were responsible for early onset retinal blindness. Every time one of these “cubes” went off everyone would wander around blinded seeing nothing but dots . I am sure that if some alien was watching they would think, “What a weird ceremony?” People standing very still smiling, than a bright light goes off and these same people start wandering around with their hands out in front of them, bumping off each other and other things. I am surprised that some attorney, (I apologize in advance to all my attorney friends reading this), has not created a class action lawsuit. I can see the commercial now. “If you or any of your family members have ever had your picture taken with an instamatic camera with a magnesium flashcube, you may be entitled to a cash reward. Having one’s picture taken with an instamatic camera with a magnesium flashcube has been linked to rentinalmiophlagination, a disease associated with walking around with hands out front of you bumping off of other people.” When the picture had been taken and we could see again, mom went to take a drink of coffee from her chicken cup. It was empty. The question, “Why?” came up. Back in the old days we did not have digital cameras, we used film. Looking back, having an instamatic was not so instant after all. A typical roll had something like 35 shots on it. I could be wrong, but it had what we thought of as a lot of pictures on it. After you take a family picture, you naturally want to see the picture. I now realize where all those pictures that make you go, “Hmm.” Come from. After you take a set of pictures there was usually a few pictures left on the roll. One cannot send in a partial roll of film and waste those left over possibilities, one shoots up the rest of the roll and then pays for those pictures to be processed. A brilliant conclusion that probably is another indicator why we never invented the traveler’s mug. When I see a stack of pictures that has all these really cool pictures in it and then toward the end of the stack there are 3 or 4 pictures of dad asleep on the couch, mouth agape, arms splayed out, one leg on the floor…those are the pictures at the end of the roll. We would take the picture, finish the roll, drive into town, and turn our roll of film in at the store. The store did not have the ability to process film so they sent the film to Goodland or Denver, somewhere that had the magical film-processing machine. They would process the film, send it back to our store in town and we would pick up the pictures, simple. This process could take up to three weeks. When we got the family pictures back, complete with dad asleep on the couch. The case of the missing coffee was solved. Just when Boppa took the shot, Tinker who was standing right behind mom, reached over very gently and carefully and stuck her tongue into the chicken mug, successfully lifting the entire portion without anyone noticing. We had this really nice family picture complete with a horses tongue in a chicken cup. Often times, when I sit with people who are asking “Why?” I know that we do not have the answer right now. God will eventually, as time goes by let us see glimpses of “Why.” Christ will, if we will only submit to Him be able to use us to help others who may be going through the same thing that we had gone through before. As much as we would like to think that we do; we do not live in an instamatic world, and our faith walk is a marathon not a sprint. As I have grown in my relationship with Christ I have learned to be patient. I have learned to be less interested in “knowing right now” and am content with knowing that Christ loves us, loves me, and no matter what happens He is with us, with me. Blessings,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"A Chicken named Pit"

Good morning, I pray that the day is finding you well. I apologize for not talking with you for a few days. We have family in town and we are still getting settled into our new home; I know this is not an excuse but I guess I am looking for one and this is what I came up with. Many of you have responded to the “Ziplock incident of 1976.” Bread. I do like all the conversation. There is a group of you that seem to be really interested in the “Dreaded red handled screwdriver incident of 1974.” I will have to get around to talking about that one soon. This morning I started thinking about my favorite chicken. Back on the farm, we had a chicken. Actually, we had many chickens, geese, one rather strange one-eyed duck, Guinea hens, horses, a pet pig, sheep cats, and two dogs. The farm had a corral, barn, two cattle/ horse pens, an area that either sheep or pigs could reside in, if they were so inclined, we also had a chicken coup; our farm was more of a petting zoo and all the animals regarded themselves as part of the family. I think this was because we were not real farmers but people that liked living on a farm. We also had a pit-silo. A pit-silo is a silo that goes down instead of up. If you have ever driven along in the country and spotted a tall huge cylindrically shaped structure, that structure is a silo. If it is blue, it is a Harvester silo: one of the expensive ones; kind of like the John Deere tractors, everybody wanted a Harvester silo and a John Deere, not everyone could get them. A pit silo is just like those tall above ground silos but it is dug into the ground. Our pit silo was made out of concrete, I am not sure how deep it went, there was always silage in it. Silage is code for chopped up corn stalks and other stuff that cattle like to eat; I am glad that cattle like to eat silage because I don’ t think it tastes very good, yes I have tried it, and since cattle find it so appetizing mom did not feed it to us. We had a chicken named “Pit-silo.” She was a rather ugly chicken, as chickens go. She seemed to be in a constant state of molting, which made her look like she was not very well. She was very healthy but the bald patches made her look rather scary. We called her “Pit-silo” because she liked to nest right next to the pit-silo. She had the annoying habit of laying an egg, jumping up excitedly and promptly fall into the pit-silo. One of my jobs on the farm was to get “Pit-silo” out of the pit-silo. The silage was always around 20 ft. down from the top. My job was to climb down the ladder that was on the inside of the pit-silo and chase a chicken. Dad’s job was to lower a metal pail on a rope and after I put the chicken in the pail haul the pail up, remove the chicken and tell me to get out of the pit before the fumes would overcome me. I learned three things on my first foray in the pit-silo. First of all it is round, try cornering a chicken in a space that has no corners. Second, there are pockets in the silage. You could be running along, take your next step and poof your gone. Luckily, I sank up to my chest; still it is a bit unsettling. Third, as the silage ferments; yes, silage ferments. I think that is why cattle liked it so much; deeding time was probably “cattle happy hour.” Gases were produced which could replace the oxygen and you could literally suffocate. I was always worried about suffocating, not the suffocating part, but the funeral part. As I chased this chicken around this cylindrical structure, chickens are fast by the way. I kept thinking about my eulogy. “Roger died chasing a chicken around a pit-silo; he suffocated on fermented corn stalks.” This would be a embarrassing way for a 14 year old boy to go. Eventually I would catch the chicken, and as time went on “pit-silo” would not even run from me. She would lay her egg, get excited, fall into the pit-silo and wait patiently for me to come pick her up, place her gently into the metal pail, dad would pull her to freedom and I would climb out. An offshoot of all this pit-siloing was that “Pit-silo” would come up on the porch, and if anyone was sitting on the porch she would jump right into their lap for a pet. The real farmers would come over and just shake their heads at this family sitting on the porch with a featherless chicken on one lap, a cat in another, a dog resting on the porch, and a pig lying on its back in the lawn. As I sit here at the YMCA, my office is right by the welcome center. I listen to the conversations as people come in. Many of the conversations are about lives that resemble my chasing a chicken in a pit-silo. Another way to look at it is, “life on a hamster wheel.” What I love about our welcome center is that after listening to these gripes, which are actually cries for help, the staff talks about how the “Y” is a place to let the world flow off their backs. People come and workout, they come to sit and read, they come to decompress; we are welcoming community of people that are not so interested in what a person looks like on the outside, we are more interested on what they look like on the inside. We look past “pit-silo’s” and see the beauty of the heart within. “Pit-silo” eventually learned to not fall into the pit. Her feathers grew in and she was a beautiful on the outside as she was on the inside. We see the same thing here at the YMCA; people healing inside, people becoming healthy which shows on the outside too. If you have not been in a YMCA lately, check it out. Chances are there is a place for you. 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21) I look forward to seeing you. Blessings,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The ZipStrip incident of 1976

Good morning, I pray that the day is finding you well. I woke up this morning to the sound of pitter-pat; rain falling softly on the roof of our house. I was cozy in my bed and thought how wonderful it is to be snuggly warm with rain falling softly on the roof. That is when I realized that Laurie and I had moved all the stuff from the garage outside so that an inspector could come and look at the garage. A few days ago we had received an email stating that “they” would like to look at the garage and we needed to move our “stuff” outside so that the inspection could take place. The email went on to say that “they” could not properly inspect the garage because of all our “stuff.” I responded that we would be happy to comply, and that we are more than willing to move our “stuff” outside for the event. I reminded them that the “stuff” was our belongings and we would rather put our “stuff” outside on a sunny day. After much scheduling the decision was made for today, since the weather reports showed sunny weather. Last night Laurie and I moved our “Stuff.” In case you are wondering why I keep putting stuff in quotation marks, it is not because I think it is particularly fun to say; in fact, I could find many other words that are more fun and paint the same picture. It is because I found the term more than a little insensitive. The email could have been written, “We would like to inspect your garage. We will not be able to do a thorough inspection because of the limited access that we have. If you would be willing to help us by moving your belongings to a temporary location for the inspection we would greatly appreciate it.” When I was a kid growing up in Kansas my dad would take on projects that initially I would think had a low chance of success. Here is a short list of things my dad tackled: Red; no, not the color but an old appaloosa horse that had been foundered. Foundered is a term used to describe a horse that had become lame because there hooves had grown so long that they actually walk on the frogs of their feet. Needless to say, without going into what frogs are, Red could not walk. Dad bought him, we carried him into the trailer and brought him home. I thought dad was nuts. Changing a duplex into one large home. Stucco; a term that describes a lath and plaster system of ceilings and walls. Just think, “I wonder what they used before they invented drywall, “stucco.” Installing a hot water heating system all by himself. One day dad was stripping paint off one of the window sills of this duplex turned huge house and I walked in. He turns to me and says, “Do me a favor and go to Milton’s and get some zipstrip.” Milton’s was the name of the lumber yard in town, it was named after Milton Lampe, the guy who owned it. Otherwise known as Lampe hardware. As I think back to my little town, most of the shops had people’s names in them. I had learned over time, mostly from the redhandled screwdriver incident of 1974, to ask clarifying questions. I asked, “How much zipstrip do you need?” Dad, who was obviously frustrated said, “You know how much I need, just go get me some blankity-blank zipstrip.” So I did. I drove the pickup to Milton’s. I walked into the office and said, “I need all the zipstrip you can spare.” Milton looked at me, seeing that I was more than just a little tweaked said, “What’s going on Roger?” I recounted the story and told him my plan. Milton laughed and said, “Let’s go to the warehouse.” We loaded all the zipstrip that he had, everything from pint cans to 5-gallon buckets. Milton said, “Just bring back what you don’t need, and tell me how it goes.” I get back to the house and I walk in with a little pint can of zipstrip. Dad who had cooled off while I was gone said, “Thank you.” I said, “No problem.” And went back to the pickup to unload the rest. Dad watched in fascination as I proceeded to unload into the house enough zipstrip to strip the paint on every house in our little town. A smile came to his face and he said he was sorry for overreacting to a simple question; especially since the red handled screwdriver incident of 1974. Dad even went back to Lampe Hardware to help me return the ziptrip. Milton had a good laugh. Dad thought it was pretty funny too. I remembered the zipstrip incident of 1976 as I read the email about our “stuff.” The thought occurred to me that I might find some way to make him pay for his insolence. I am much older now and have hopefully learned a little during my life. One of the benefits of memorizing scripture is it tends to come to mind when you are faced with things. This scripture came to mind. “A kind man benefits himself,
  but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.”(Proverbs 11:17) Laurie and I ran outside and covered everything with tarps, the blue ones. We are grateful that the inspections are being done. We are thankful that Christ is in our lives. Christ gives us the ability to see things differently; to not get upset over trivialities. I thank God that thru Christ there will not be another zipstrip style incident of 1976. Blessings,

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thank God for parking meters...Say what?

Good morning, I pray that the day is finding you well. When I got here today, I was not sure what I was going to talk with you about. I went about my normal morning routine. I talked with staff. I talked with members. I checked in on people, and listened to their stories. I was getting ready for a meeting that I was going to have this morning with a friend. I left the “Y” and drove to my meeting. When I got there, there was a parking spot open close by, and it had one of those old parking meters, you know the ones that actually take coinage. I actually prefer the old ones to the new ones. There are few things more aggravating to me than to put in a credit card for parking. The simple act of putting a dollar or two on a credit card goes against my grain. Throw in the much too often-times-happening; I’m not really sure this is good English, in fact I am quite sure it isn’t, but it was fun to say non-the-less. Scanner malfunction, accompanied by the uncertainty that I am not being charged multiple times as I reinsert my card, over and over again. All the while wondering if some hoodlum is going to come up behind me, hit me over the head, and run off with my card. It’s the hitting me over the head part that worries me the most. I can always cancel my card, which is a real pain, but I can, so the hitting over the head is the real dangerous part of the deal. As you can see, I have many reasons that make me like the old-time parking meters. Even when the occasional meter is broken, I know it immediately and I can move my car, which is less aggravating to me than holding my card out for every Tom- Dick and Harry to see. I park my car in West Vancouver at one of those old-time parking meters, and what do I find? I find a little button on the side of the parking meter. I push the button; that is what buttons are for, pushing, so I push it. Low and behold, it gives me 20 free minutes. How cool is that! I am not really sure of the business plan behind the 20 free minutes; I am sure that there is an MBA out there somewhere ready to critique the whole idea, just as I am sure there is another MBA out there thinking, “Ingenious.” I did not go down any of those roads. I thought, “This is a wonderful blessing, a gift from the city of Vancouver to those that park downtown. I was talking with a staff member the other day and he asked me about faith, and seeing God. We talked for quite a while. I told him that it is easy to see God in blue Skies and puffy clouds. The trick is when you start seeing him in mud puddles, or parking meters. The definition of Grace is, “Something freely given, when there is no chance of obtaining it yourself and no possible method of repayment.” Believe it or not, that parking meter gave me grace. I bet if you look up the business plan for these parking meters the term “Grace period” is in there. If an inanimate object can bring grace to the forefront, I wonder what we could do if we gave it just a little thought. Blessings,

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Good morning, I pray that the day is finding you well. Simplexity. I wish that I had made up this word, but I didn’t . I read it in a book. I looked up simplexity in the dictionary and this is what I found, “The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary.” So I entered “simplex” into the dictionary, this is what I found. Simplex (noun) a spatial configuration of n dimensions determined by n + 1 points in a space of dimension equal to or greater than n. a triangle together with its interior determined by its three vertices is a two-dimensional simplex in the plane or any space of higher dimension. While this is a fun and interesting definition, in fact, as this is a mathematical definition for the word, it is a definition that allows me to think in terms of me and the life that I live while simultaneously contemplating God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. It is a definition that really doesn’t put the cookies on the bottom shelf, It is worded in a way that unless you are a mathematician it tends to make you go, “Huh?” So I looked up another version of Simplex, I looked it up as an adjective. Simplex (adjective) Allowing telecommunication in only one direction. a simplex system. While this is obviously a viable definition for Simplex, as an adjective, this definition is not defining what made me ponder as I read this book. This is a definition for a person that pontificates over the phone. We moved to Kansas when I was thirteen years old. We moved from a suburb of Chicago. Spending my first thirteen years in Chicago formed me in certain ways. We did not talk to strangers, we always walked to school in a group (that is when we walked and not dropped off by our parents in front of the school). People seemed to be in a hurry, not very friendly, there seemed to be a lot going on; life seemed to be in a hurry, rushed, it seemed complex. Spending the rest of my growing up years in Kansas formed me too; or should I reformed me. When we moved, my parents rented a farm fourteen miles from town. I can still remember; that was a funny statement to make, if I couldn’t remember I would not be sharing this memory with you, the first night we spent in that little town in Kansas. We were staying at the motel; we were going to move into the farmhouse the next day or two. Mom made the statement, “I cannot believe that there are no taxi’s here.” I said, “Mom, why do we need a taxi? We can walk across the town in less than 5-minutes.” When we ventured out of the motel the following morning I started to notice things. I noticed that everyone waved at you. At first we thought something was wrong with our car and people were trying to tell us something, we did not wave back. We would stop the car and look it over, never finding anything. After we had been waved at numerous times, people smiled when they waved, but frowned when they passed by us, not waving back. We realized that we were supposed to wave back at them, like saying, “Hello, or hey there.” I noticed that people at intersections would not pull out into the street if a car was coming down the block. In Chicago people pulled out in front of people all the time, if there was room to get your car into the flow of traffic, you went. We found out quickly that pulling out in front of a car in this small town was a very rude thing to do. “What’s the hurry, people would say. In fact, I often wondered why people drove at all, As I mentioned earlier a person could walk across the whole town in less than five minutes. We learned to wave. We learned to wait. We learned that this seemingly simple place had a complexity all its own. Simplexity, the seemingly simple combined with the seemingly complex. I actually like the definition that I read in the book: There are two words I wish I had invented but didn’t: glocal and simplexity. Like the word glocal, which brings together the global and the local, simplexity yokes the simple and the complex. The mystery of simplexity is the complex embracing the simple and the rational embracing the imcomprehensible. (Leonard Sweet, Viral. Colorado Springs: (WaterBrook Press, 2012),44.) Our life with, and in Christ, is filled with simplexity. Conversion is simple, it takes only a moment. Transformation is complex, it takes a lifetime. Jesus when teaching His disciples was asked what the greatest commandment was. Jesus said, “30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31) Simple, simply love. Complex, love; what does this look taste and feel like? Our lives are filled with simplexity. Our faith is filled with simplexity. Let us be at peace with this fact. Let us be at peace with living in the mystery of living our simple lives confronted with the complexity of the higher dimension. Let us not be content with what we already know. Let us be filled with the wonder of a child, and allow Christ to teach us at a deeper, higher plane. Blessings,

Monday, June 4, 2012

Things Boppa taught me

Good Morning, I pray that the day is finding you well. We had a retirement party for a very good friend of mine, Ken V. and his wife Rachel. I was asked to M.C. the event. I joined the Navy in 1983. I was in navigator school down in Florida during the winter months of 1983. Coming from the high plains portion of the United States, I was not used to having 80+ degree weather in November. To me it was just plain hot. I never did get used to having my glasses fog over every time I walked outside. School was fun, and even though I had been to college, this was a very different environment and I missed my family. I would call home weekly just to hear their voices and to find out what was going on. I usually did this on Saturday evenings. Those were the days before cell phones; pay phones were the only option at the time. I had a choice, I either could line up a bunch of quarters on the little metal shelf in the phone booth, and every two minutes or so be interrupted by the operator, telling me to insert another $2.00 or call collect. I opted to call collect. One Saturday evening I called home, my grandfather answered. We called him Boppa. I do not know why we called him Boppa, we called our other grandfather Grampa. I never understand why we give things the names that we do, I try not to think about it, when I do think about it I end up with a headache. I do not like headaches, hence the “I try not to think about it” part. Boppa was a cool grampa. He taught me how to hunt. He taught me how to weld; he was a welder by trade. Boppa accepted my call after giving the operator a hard time about never hearing of anyone by the name Roger. Me yelling into the phone, “Just accept the call.” Him keeping up the gag, and just when the operator is about to hang up, Boppa accepts the call. Boppa was quite the character and always told wonderful stories. Nobody else was home so Boppa and I had a great conversation. As the conversation started to wind down, Boppa told me that he was proud of me. I had an almost uncontrollable urge to tell him that I loved him, but I did not. We weren’t that kind of a family. The guys would tell the girls that they loved them and the girls in the family would tell the guys that they loved them, but the guys didn’t tell the guys that they loved each other, I could give a thousand conjectures why, but we just didn’t. Boppa and I hung up the phone. Two days later, I get a message from the Red Cross. The message simple read, “Your grandfather, Boppa died. Call home. I have been fairly lucky in life. I do not have a lot of regrets. The one regret I do have is not telling Boppa that I loved him when I had the chance. I know that he knew that I love him; at least that is what I keep telling myself. When I called home that day, my actions changed. Not only did I tell my mother and sisters that I loved them, I told my father too. I M.C.’d Ken and Rachel’s retirement celebration Sunday afternoon. As I talked, Boppa came to mind. I mentioned that so often we wait until it is too late to tell someone how much he or she means to us. How many times we let the moment pass without saying those words. I asked everyone to not let this moment pass without telling Ken and Rachel how much they love and appreciate them. Ken and Rachel know that I appreciate and love them very much. My family knows that I appreciate them and love them very much. The people in my life know that I appreciate them and love them very much. How important is it to know that a person is loved? God tells us the following: Better is open rebuke 
    than hidden love. (Proverbs 27:5) It was the last lesson Boppa taught me. My prayer is that we do not miss any more opportunities to let those that we love how much they mean to us. Blessings,