Facebook and other social media have afforded us the wonderful privilege of knowing more about our friends than we ever really wanted to. "I just blew my nose. Thought you all should know." Best of all, we can share our "selfies"; pictures of me, taken by me. Because it's all about me, right? No! Well, at least it's not supposed to be.
I've got this card in my wallet that has bailed me out on several occasions. It has the simple word "Treasurer" on it. No, it has nothing to do with any offices that I hold; it's my bank card. Okay, so I go to the money machine at my bank, the ATM. You can just stick your card in it and you get the money you need, provided there are some resources in your account to cover it. I guess the faster paced our lives get the more we need these quick fixes. I mean, we need instant access to the resources we need.
As an airline passenger, those video images from the Los Angeles airport that day were just plain disturbing: a human stampede, terrified passengers, fleeing from a gunman on the loose in the terminal.
I was on the road again so it had to be a fast food lunch. You know, I keep the nutrition guides from several of those fast food places, even if "fast food nutrition guide" sounds like an oxymoron. I try to think calories before I order because my food too often goes from a moment on the lips to forever on the hips. Interesting thing about the food we eat, the same meal can turn into fat or turn into energy. It depends on what you do after you eat it!
It was November, and we were thinking turkey, not tornadoes. Right before Thanksgiving there were some 68 tornadoes that didn't consult the calendar. From EF-2s to EF-4s, they left a swath of erased homes and devastated communities across the middle of America. Washington, Illinois was clearly one of the epicenters of the violence in the skies. And the pictures from there are all too familiar; splintered neighborhoods, and residents trying to figure out which pile of rubble used to be their home, and what one reporter called "the good stuff." Like Steve Bucher, who had no home address as of the night the tornado hit. He told CNN that his attitude was "in the next minute and a half, we're either gonna be in heaven or we're going to be in the hospital, or we're going to walk out of here." Thankfully, they walked out safe, but minus pretty much everything else they had.
A college student was supposed to pick me up at this small town airport, and I was going to go to his college to speak. He had my press photo in his hand; just one of those typical head shots...you know, you have to send out to newspapers sometimes. I didn't, of course, have a photo of him. So who would you expect to find who in that airport? It wasn't exactly LaGuardia or Kennedy or Newark Airport. There were only two gates.
It really bothers me when I go into the next room for something and I can't remember why I went in there. You ever had that experience? So, as long as I keep having birthdays - and I hope I do - this memory thing is going to be getting worse and worse I guess. At least that's what they say. Now, my wife's grandfather? He lived to be 93 years old, and frankly there wasn't much that he remembered near the end. She called him one day and she told him who it was, and he didn't say much. And then she said, "Granddad, this is your granddaughter." And then she said, "I love you." Well, it seemed like he was almost embarrassed. He said, "I...I don't know you." He's thinking, "Who is this strange woman calling this old man and telling him she loves him?" That was pretty tough for my wife, because she was very close to her grandfather. Well, she bounced back, though, and she gave her granddad one more reminder. Then we found out the one memory that the years had not erased.
I once had a very exciting night at Chicago's very busy O'Hare Airport. Just as I was getting ready to leave, they informed us that the radar in the tower had suddenly gone down. Do you know what that means? That means the flight controllers have no way to do anything mechanically to get your plane in or out, so they had to shut O'Hare down to one runway and limit themselves to visual landings. Well, needless to say, many of us didn't go anywhere that night, and I was frustrated because I couldn't get out of the airport.
When my wife Karen was a girl, a lot of people said she looked like Queen Elizabeth. I know this for sure - Karen was always my queen. Karen and the Queen shared a more important resemblance - a selfless dedication to a life of service to God and others. So Queen Elizabeth was always a little special to us.
My friend Dave was a veteran sailor, and our family got to enjoy his seamanship several times when we were guests on his sailboat. Of course, I asked him tons of questions, but I was never able to stump him. I remember the day we were leaving the harbor, and I asked him about those big open gates we sailed through on our way into the Sound. He said, "Oh, those are hurricane gates" - which it turns out are closed when hurricanes are approaching so the boats that are anchored in the harbor are protected from the worst of the storm. Interestingly enough, that very afternoon, Dave sensed a surprise storm coming up, so we raced the storm and just before it cut loose, we made it back to the safety inside the hurricane gates.