Sunday, May 27, 2007
The River Runs Red.
To get home from where I work, I drive through a rustic little town sheltered in the beginning of mountains so beautiful you want to keep driving through them. It's a quiet place, except when cyclists steal its peacefulness with their thundering Harleys, but no one seems to mind. There's room for all kinds of people, what ever they drive, to enjoy time there.

I've been so preoccupied with my new job, that I wasn't thinking about the holiday, until I noticed red, white, and blue bunting draped across old store fronts, and our flag started showing up around the town, and waltzed a little with the gentle wind, as if to announce "Memorial Day is here".

I looked at them as much as I could while waiting for the town's main traffic light to change, and felt a chill at the base of my neck, remembering what they represent; remembering that soldiers somewhere guarded our freedoms so well that very night, that we could take for granted, or sometimes forget how precious it is that we live where little towns are peaceful.

Not that we should always wear serious faces, or make the Bill of Rights a religious mantra. But if we knew the price our freedom cost, we might take time to breathe a little thank you for them.

The sons and daughters who defend us will get the job done, no matter what it costs, even if it's their own blood, but we should support them in any way we can, and do more ourselves, to make sure freedom's still around for our childrens' children's children.

Most of the time I avoid controversy, to not offend others' viewpoints, but especially lately I've noticed the death count of our country's men and women in Iraq. Since the war started four years ago, three thousand four hundred and fifty one of them have died there. From the start of this month to May 26, a hundred more have died; most of them killed by enemy car bombings, or similar ways of trying to kill us. I say "us", because each time an American dies over there, it's not an isolated death. Whether we realize it or not, their death affects each one of us, or it should. For someone to sacrifice that much for us, the least we can do is honor and respect their love of our country.

I'm not writing this to rant and rave about the politics of this war, But I understand if the Humvees they use over there, were replaced with vehicles called MRAPS, they would have a better chance of staying alive.

News reports say that for two years the troops have sent urgent requests to get the better vehicles, that they've asked for twelve thousand of them, but got less than a hundred, while almost every day, more of our soldiers die. Try to imagine how you would feel, if the next one whose blood flows over there were your kin.

The news about replacing the Humvees mentions "red tape' slowing getting the better vehicles built. How long will it take? It's already been two years.

In my own life God has solved tremendous problems that people couldn't. So I'm not asking you to call or write your congressman.

We need to take this matter to The One Who isn't fazed by bureaucratic entanglements. Take it to the One who not only stills the waters, but changes the direction of rivers.

If you would, put a little reminder some place where you'll see it. Remind yourself to pray for those who guard our lives with their own. Write it in big, bold print: Our soldiers need safer vehicles, the MRAPS now.

  posted at 1:13 AM  

Saturday, May 19, 2007
Things That Go Bump In The Night.
This was the start of three days off work, so I was most happy about that, as I poured morning coffee, and returned to the computer to savor time off. But only one cup of the hot brown stuff is never enough, so I went back to the kitchen for more, and noticed a paper stuck under my door.

Twice now the apartment manager has had to reschedule resurfacing the parking areas here, so I thought the paper was about that. It wasn't. It read:

"All apartment residents:

Three of the laundry rooms and vending machines were broken into last night. The individual responsible for this was seen by several residents. His description is:"

(to avoid seeming racist about this, I won't mention particular race)

"A male, 5' 11 - 6 feet, about 180 pounds, Hair in dreadlocks, and carrying a backpack."

The apt. manager added: "The backpack probably contains the crowbar he is using to open the locks."

By now I was wider awake, but I poured more coffee any way. and then checked to see if my son who lives nearby had gotten one of the notices, and he had. So I tried not to dwell on this too much. We know that laws are broken every day, we just don't think they'll happen to us.

So the day moved on, and a friend invited me to shop with her, and we did, and as always, enjoyed running errands tyogether, and were about to head back home, when she rememberd some items she'd need the next day, so we found a store that stays open late, and looked for them there, and as we walked back towards the car, noticed a young, tall man, who to me seemed a little nervous.

Later, when we disected the situation more, things we hadn't noticed much, became more clear. My friend was busily putting packages into the side of the car, while I was still more at the rear of the car. I had noticed the man get out of a truck across from where we'd parked, and I felt a strange chill as he headed toward me. Later we'd realize he probably hadn't noticed my friend at the side of the car.

Before he even spoke, I already didn't believe him. He still seemed antsy, as he said he'd run out of gas, and could we give him a quarter to make call, and that he'd been waiting two hours for his Dad. None of this made sense. The store would have let him use a phone, and how often do people run out of gas in a parking lot, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

But my friend knew what to do. Every time he spoke, she said, each time getting louder, "we don't have money to give you", as if to dismiss him, until finally he left, as if he was looking for someone else.

I am sure if I'd been alone I might have been mugged. He was after my purse. "You were an easy target," she said. "He was coming in on you", And then she added, "You don't shop this late at night by yourself, do you?" To which I promised not just her, but myself, I'd be much more careful and aware from now on, when I'm going any place.

When we got home, we didn't hop right out of the car. After all, there was a big theft here last night. So we stayed in the car, and used the cell phone to call my son, who hurried over to help bring stuff in from the car.

We talked a little before they left, and as they went out the door, my friend spoke in an almost motherly tone, and said" "Lock that door!". To which I thought "Yes Mam!" That was the second time I heard love spoken tonight. I am very clear it sounded like love.

This particular night I wasn't wearing my shrill sounding whistle, but I'll remember to next time, and I put the phone number for the police right by my phone, and I guess it's time to use that ugly fanny pak again, and not cram it full of important legal papers and cards.

How I wish we didn't have to live around lowlife scumbags who steal under the night's cover, and single out victims less able to defend themselves, to take advantage of. But we do have to share this planet with them, and perhaps what weakens us most is our thinking it can't happen to us. It can.

Please pray that whoever's breaking into the laundry rooms here is soon caught.

  posted at 1:59 AM  

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Starting Over.
A meeting was held today, the date for it set some time back. I was up and ready to go, when my son pulled his van into the drive, and we headed out. Familiar scenes faded behind the car, as mountains unfolded a beauty so quiet, it denied how strong they are.

The meeting was for a grandson's hearing, for possible parole. I couldn't resist looking it up. Parole, from the Latin, parabola, meaning speech. "The release of a prisoner whose sentence has not expired, on condition of future good behavior."

When this grandson began to get into trouble, at first the situations didn't seem so big. But they continued, and became too much to ignore.

We found the meeting place, and parked the car, and began again the process of being checked
in, and like all the times before, my metal knee replacement set off alarms.

I looked around to see if my grandson was there, and saw a sudden blur of a blue shirt, pitifully too big for him, as well as the pants he wore, and his shoes showed the effects of too many skateboard wrecks. Later I would understand the shirt was his Dad's.

The room where the hearing would be held was big enough for more than the three officials, whose faces you imagined had so much practice looking stern, they seemed to have grown that way.

Besides them, three counselors and a parole officer were there, and my son and grandson, and me, and after introductions, it began. At first some technicalities were explained, and then we got to the meat of it. I liked the way one grim looking official instructed my grandson to recount everything he had done that got him there, and what he would do different now.

All eyes and ears inside the room were pointed at him, as he gave unpolished accounts of his past few years, and took responsibility for himself. I know more than a few adults who wouldn't have done this as well as he did.

All the counselors recommended that the parole be granted, and it was. For the next six months he has to obey and cooperate with a long list of conditions, and curfews and future planning, and paying restitution, and things like that, but when he was done with where he's been for a year, it was time to set the serious stuff down. It was time for a non-institutional meal, and a surprise shopping trip.

I remembered seeing clothing and shoes for guys at a place called Ross, so we checked it out. I think he thought we'd get only a few, but I had my plans, so I got him started choosing shirts and pants, and a new belt, and when he'd done that, I headed him to socks and shoes, one pair for everyday, like for skateboarding, and a nice leather pair, and then I said, though it might be a little embarrassing, maybe he needed some underwear?

He checked out a few, then came up with some really cheap ones, saying those would cost less. But I didn't let it go at that. I told him when he's applying for jobs, to always wear more expensive, feel good undies, 'cause it will give him courage, meaning of course, some self-regard. I gave him a little grandmotherly speech, pointing out how I've shopped cheaply all my life, and have little to show for it except cheap stuff, and feeling cheap when I wear it.

"Get the better ones", I said, pushing it a little, and then I asked, if he needed anything else, and he said, could he have a basket ball, and I said, "Sure, you can, but you'll need those pants guys wear when shooting hoops", like I knew what I was talking about. I made sure he got two dress shirts too, and waited while he tried it all on.

As we gathered the packages and started to go, he gave me a hug and some genuine thanks. And I said "This is for your graduation day, since you just passed the GED so well." There's no cake and decorations, but it's still your party, so we should celebrate."

As we drove toward his Dad's, he talked of how strange this all feels, with the regimentation of being locked up stripped away, and how it might take a little time to adapt, and how people may not understand that he's stopped breaking laws. And when he feels on overload, it's alright to take things slow.

I told him to not crowd himself, to make sure he includes some approved fun, with the job hunting and checking into schooling.

Now let's see, next time I go, I'll take him a desk dictionary, and art paper and pencils.

I'm very clear what my job is for him, besides insisting on the more expensive underwear, I must pray, pray, pray, and please will you pray too. He made high scores on the GED tests, and wants to go to college, and I so want him to have a chance for his life to count.

  posted at 1:18 AM  

About Me
Name: Judith

Location: Colorado

My profile

My Family
A Chelsea Morning-Barb
Relishing My Little Pickle-Leslie
Owl Creek Cottage-Sarah
Sweet Tea and Sass-Bev
In A Moment...-Mandy
Missing Marbles-Krissy
The Gibson Family - Dan & Janae

Favorite Places
A Broad In Athens
Big Mama
Call Me Grandma Dawn
Decipher the Fog
Diane's Page
He Thinks I'm Funny
I'm Thankful for the Thorns
Jungle Hut
Mary's Writing Nook
Overwhelmed With Joy
Over the Backyard Fence
Random Thoughts
Rocking Chair Reflections
Thailand Adventures

Add Snippets to your site

Christian Women Online
Blog Ring

Join | List | Random

Previous Posts


Blog Design by:

Image from:

Powered by: