Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Masked Marvels

May 1, 2020

The designs are creative, almost fashion statements. Wearing masks is the new frontier. I saw a man this week whose mask made it look like he had a baby pacifier in his mouth. And then you’ve got a young lady making me look twice at the bright pair of red lips decorating the front of her mask, and another guy who looks like he’s got a set of extra-wide choppers smiling for eternity.

Me? My mask is as plain Jane as you can get. I don’t need extra attention. I just want to get by.

What intrigues me still- mystifies me, if you will- is the number of people who still walk face-naked into the supermarket. Or Walgreen’s!!! Walgreen’s, you know that place where you go to buy medicine when you’re not feeling well, as well as pick up prescriptions. Hello!

My wife heard an interesting analogy about wearing a mask compared to not. The person compared it to two naked people urinating on each other. That’s how it is when two non-masked people are within a couple of feet of one another in a store. She went on to say that if one person had pants on and the other peed on him, at least he’d have the pants as a layer of protection. But if both people had pants on and urinary issues, no one would have the other person’s…business on him.

Disturbing visual there, but it draws the importance of wearing a mask to the forefront. At Lowe’s today, an unmasked man who looked to be about 60 was walking into the store holding hands with a lady about his age- I’m assuming his wife- and she was wearing a mask! Okay, what’s wrong with that picture?

Listen! I’m not infatuated with masks. I began running again this week, but I don’t wear a mask as I’m getting red in the face during my run. When I take my morning walk around the neighborhood at 7:30 I’m unmasked. Ain’t nobody else out at 7:30, and if I come upon someone we make room for one another.

Masks may be here to stay for a while. We may get to a point where we recognize one another by the design on their mask. I need to get a Michigan State Spartan mask. If the Spartans play bad, at least I can hide my face behind the mask. If they take it to the Wolverines I can wear it like I’m a proud papa.

I wonder if guys whose pants always seem to be sagging wear sagging masks. Or maybe they pull them further up their face for the contrast.

The only thing I don’t like about wearing a mask is that it sometimes causes my glasses to fog up. It’s kinda’ strange having to pull my eyeglasses off so I can see better.

I need to be honest. I’m starting to make judgments about people on the basis of their missing masks at King Soopers supermarket. Are they that determined to exercise their personal freedom that they feel they have the right to sniff the cantaloupes? That just doesn’t seem right. Seeing someone sniffing the shampoo with an unmasked extra-long snoot makes me want to hurl…and I’m wearing a mask as I’m gagging!

Bottom line: Be safe. Be responsible. Be anonymous!

mona lisa protection protect virus

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Returning to the Sky Vue

April 27, 2020
food snack popcorn movie theater

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WORDS FROM W.W.                                          April 27, 2020

Driving by the empty movie theater parking lot is strange. It brings me back to the days of boarded-up Blockbusters. Who would have thought that would happen? And now who knows when theaters will have vehicles parked in them for the evening showings?

Maybe it’s time to bring back the drive-in theaters!

When I was growing up in Winchester, Kentucky, my parents would load my brother, sister, and me into the car and head out to Sky Vue Drive-In Theater on Lexington Road, just a few miles out of town.

We’d already have our pajamas on, complete with fitted feet. (To this day I can’t wear socks on my feet at night. Maybe it goes back to the memories of their incarcerations in those smothering pajama feet!) Because we were PJ’ed we were never allowed to play on the swing set and slide down front by the giant screen. Mom and Dad were wise people. I’m sure they thought about three sweaty kids smelling up the Ford and making the family outing seem like we were in a middle school boy’s lockerroom.

It seems that I, being the youngest, always sat in the front seat between Mom and Dad. I was the insurance that they wouldn’t start smooching and causing my brother and sister, sitting behind them, to start gagging.

Mom would have popped popcorn and Dad had gathered a few bottles of RC Cola for the trip. The images of a dancing soft drink and bucket of popcorn trying to lure people to the little white stone building that served as the concession stand didn’t work on us. Mom made good popcorn anyway. We always ate it on Sunday nights as we watched The Ed Sullivan Show. Sky Vue outings were the only other time Mom would make it.

I remember watching The Bridge Over The River Kwai at the Sky Vue. I think we may have seen an Elvis Presley movie there once or twice, as well. Presley didn’t impress me as much as the army movies. Being four years old, gyrating hips weren’t understood yet. As Elvis swayed, I never thought about what my mom was thinking about. Still don’t!

Dad would hang the speaker on the driver’s side window and, if the mosquitoes weren’t too bad, keep the windows down most of the way to allow the pleasant Bluegrass breeze to float through.

Sky Vue always had a double-feature, but I never kept my eyes open for more than the first five minutes of the second movie. I’d lean against one of my parents and drift off into a distant Dreamland, where PayDay’s and Pepsi’s were the main menu items.

And then I’d wake up the next morning in my bed, magically transported there sometime during my slumber.

Those were good days. The Sky Vue opened in 1948 and finally closed in 2014. Judging from the last Yelp reviews, its closure was probably about twenty years past when it should have. But, maybe, just maybe, it’s time for drive-ins to make a comeback. Maybe it’s time for new families to be able to Bluetooth in the sound of the main feature on the screen, and girlfriends snuggle up to their latest squeeze, who is having a hard time staying focused on the film.

I’d go. Maybe even position the grandkids in the backseat! The only problem now would be that I’d be asleep five minutes into the second feature and they’d still be wide awake.


My Doubts In Self-Controlled Entitled Folk

April 24, 2020

I notice it at the four-way stops around our neighborhood. Perhaps it’s because the pandemic has lessened the amount of traffic, but my three-times-a-day walks have me seeing numerous kinda’ stops. That is, people slow down a little bit as if the stop sign is a suggestion.

That’s an indication, in my opinion, that the lessening of restrictions about to happen is also a bad sign. Our governor has emphasized that people should exercise self-control and continue to observe safe social distancing, as well as “staying safer at home.”

In our culture of entitlement, however, there will be numerous folk who will use this easing of the mandates to do what they very well please. Others be damned is the battle cry for many.

Call this optimist a skeptic, but I see it in the supermarket. A little step of courtesy and community concern like wearing a mask is ignored by so many. Here are the store employees all wearing protection gear (masks and gloves) and unmasked Johnny Cool comes waltzing in as if the world revolves around him.

That’s why I’m uneasy about reopening. Many businesses have thought through it and are ready with new procedures and safeguards. I applaud that. One restaurant owner said his establishment would go to a “no cash” system where the customer could pay, using an app. He also said the menu would be available on cell phones, instead of using paper menus. That’s thinking ahead of the best ways to run a business and keep people safe.

The problems are the Johnny Cool’s and Betty Not-So-Bright’s who feel enlightened to exercise their free will at the expense of others.

Self-control is an antiquated term and characteristic of our culture. In Scripture, it’s almost always written about as being an indicator of maturity, wisdom, and a part of someone who has a consistent spiritual journey. Conversely, the lack of self-control is a sign of depravity and stupidity.

There have been encouraging signs of how people have stepped up to help one another, contributing food, money, and creativity. It’s just all of those self-absorbed, it’s-all-about-me folk that turn his grey hair greyer.

And, let me tell ya’, I’m very careful crossing streets!

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April 20, 2020

Last Sunday night I began doing a Facebook Live reading of the novel I had come out a couple of months ago. Red Hot: New Life in Fleming is a story of an unlikely friendship between the thick-lensed, freckle-faced seventh-grader named Ethan Thomas; and his new neighbor, Randy “Red Hot” Bowman. Randy’s nickname is bestowed on him because of his bright red hair and hos basketball shooting touch. Ethan is the kid in every middle school class who doesn’t have any friends. He’s the one who gets picked last in P.E. class, and the kid who never gets invited anywhere. Randy’s father is coming to the small West Virginia town of Fleming to be the new pastor of the Baptist church. Fleming doesn’t get many new people, and now the new kid stands out because of his newness and his hair.

The two boys help each other face their giants. For Ethan, it’s the two school bullies, and for Randy, it’s the two seniors on the basketball team who are threatened by the 9th grader’s talent.

The story includes the victories and struggles for each boy and drives home the life principle that a true friend never leaves you no matter what.

If you’d like to listen to my reading of Chapters 2 and 3 on Sunday, April 26, I begin at 6:30 Mountain Time. The reading of Chapter 1 is on my Facebook page under my name “Bill Wolfe.”

RED HOT is available on Amazon in either the Kindle version or paperback connected to my author name, W. D. Wolfe.

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Things Change, Even Churches

April 19, 2020

I stood in front of a class of eighth-graders this past September 11th. The topic that day was what had happened on that day in 2001. I talked to them about how 9/11 changed things, airport security in particular. Some of them took on surprising facial expressions when I told them that people used to be able to meet their arriving family members at the gate, as well as escort them all the way to the gate for their departures.

“9/11 changed things.”

The coronavirus

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, likewise, is changing things and will change things. Despite our incredible reluctance to admit it, things will not return to what and how they were.

Hopefully, faith communities will grasp that. Churches sometimes have a difficult time accepting that things change. Even as the elephant has thrashed around in the sanctuary, some communities of faith will insist that we need to keep things as they are.

Well, like the Titanic, that vessel is no more!

Streaming worship services are here and they are not going away. When most churches are able to gather in physical worship centers again, streaming the worship service will be an additional way of being connected to the body of believers. It is not just a temporary solution. In fact, many churches will increase their audience because it is not restricted to a geographical area. Today I listened to my friend in ministry, Chuck Moore, speak to his virtual congregation of First Baptist Church of Savoy/Champaign, Illinois. I’m a healthy 16-hour drive away, but I was in the same room with him.

Most of us long for the intimate surroundings of a sanctuary, but we’ve learned, in this time of change, that we can worship online with our faith community and it’s okay. There will be those, like during the worship war battles over hymns and praise music in the 1980s, who will scoff at the new ways, and probably send nasty letters (ironically, the email type) to their pastors about how disgusted they are with all these newfangled ideas. They may even leave the church to find another that is anchored to the past.

So be it! Let them climb into another sinking boat and pretend that it’s a Viking River Cruise.

Things change, and some faith communities are feeling the chains be broken loose during this time as they have to be innovative and creative. The choir has left the building, not virtual choirs are appearing. Last Sunday I listened to a virtual choir from Nashville sing an amazing version of It Is Well With My Soul as a part of the Mason, Michigan Community Church Easter worship. Then I found the video on YouTube and played it another five times. Just think, I’m in Colorado Springs watching the service of a church in Michigan as they air a Tennessee choir connected by about 35 iPhones singing a song.

I remember when my grandparents, farmers in Eastern Kentucky, got indoor plumbing. Before that my grandmother had used a handpump and we’d go to a well in the frontyard and lower a bucket to get a nice cool drink of water. When the indoor plumbing went in my grandfather never went back to the outhouse behind the garden. Indoor plumbing was the new norm for him, and my grandmother didn’t quite know what to do with herself when she just had to turn a faucet on.

Things change, and the churches that don’t recognize that this pandemic has changed from now on how we do ministry will be left holding the bucket.

Background Books Obsession

April 15, 2020

I can’t help myself and I’m getting a crick in my neck because of it!

Yesterday, ESPN’s Adam Shefter was talking about NFL draft possibilities…who could be picked early and who could be picked late…and all I could focus on was the books on the shelves behind him. There was Louie Zamperini’s story, Unbroken, that I’ve seen in the theatre and read the book. Other titles seemed harder to make out so I moved closer to the TV and leaned my head to the right, trying to read titles.

It’s my ADD indicator. Put books on shelves behind the NBC News Correspondent and I don’t even hear him saying that the sky is falling. There’s David McCullough’s 1776! And what was that? Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals! Classic!

I have yet to locate a James Patterson novel showing on one of those shelves. Probably located lower so the camera doesn’t pick it up. I did see a Daniel Silva on one shelf, trying to be hidden by the cookbooks on either side.

Thankfully the remote shoots don’t last too long. Otherwise, I’d be walking around with a warped view of my surroundings.

Some shelves have more literary works than others. Some are more opinions lengthened to 300 pages of print. Shefter had some classic-looking book covers whose contents I couldn’t make out. Perhaps they were classics like The Tale of Two Cities and The Last of the Mohicans. More likely, they were George Plimpton’s Paper Lion and Out of My League.

Fox News shelves tilted to the right and CNN readjusted my neck posture to the left. Al Roker had shelves of LPs.

Meanwhile, the news and commentaries resonated at background noise as I concentrated on what was in the background. I wonder…I just wonder…if I sent a copy of my book, Red Hot: New Life in Fleming, to Adam Shefter would he put it on the second shelf from the top, right between Michael Lewis’s Moneyball and Grisham’s Calico Joe? I’d even autograph it for him!

assorted books on shelf

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Meeting Behind A Closed Door

April 12, 2020

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                  April 12, 2020

                          The Disciples socially distanced themselves on that Resurrection Sunday, but Jesus came to them and said: “Peace be with you!”

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