Posted tagged ‘AARP’

Growing My Hair Back

April 12, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     April 12, 2018


The question has repeated itself countless times since March 4.

“Did you shave your head for St. Baldrick’s Day?” St. Baldrick’s is a day in March when money is raised to help find a cure for childhood cancer. People get their heads shaved at this worthy event.

“No!” I reply.  “I lost a bet to one of my freshman basketball players.”


I won’t go into the details of the unfortunate bet, just a summary. I had made a wager with one of the boys on my basketball team who was atrocious at shooting free throws. I promised that I would shave my head if he shot 90%  from the free throw line for the season. I lost! He was 2 for 2 for the whole season! (You can go to the archives of “” and read the story entitled “My Last Day With Hair…For A While”, which I posted on March 4) 

So now the hair on my head is growing back…slowly! I’ve gone through stages. The first stage was called “Sluggo”, after the character in the old Nancy comic strip. Little specks of hair dotted the top of my head, like pepper spilled on the kitchen table. Okay, spilled SALT and pepper!

The next stage had me taking on the look of a human pin cushion. I didn’t have to worry about bedhead, but I did have to watch out for short sharp objects accidentally being pushed into my scalp.

And now this week I’ve entered into the realm of the porcupine. My hair is at that growing back point where people look at you and wonder if you’re possibly an escaped felon on the lam. No one on the front of GQ magazine has hair like this. Come to think of it, no one on the front of AARP magazine has hair like this either. I am in the hair equivalent of the wilderness desert where Jesus spent forty days roaming around.

The next stage I’m afraid may be called “crabgrass” and my wife will try to run the spreader quietly past me dispersing it’s “Weed-B-Gon”. This may be the stage where I break open the tube of Brylcream that my sister shipped to me. It had been my dad’s. Maybe the slicked back look would make it look better! Ahhh…no!

I’m just hoping that I’m sporting enough of a head of hair a month from now when I go to a writer’s conference in Estes Park, Colorado. I’ve got appointments with a few literary agents, and I’m hoping to get interest in the book I just recently completed. I need to have grown past the crabgrass stage into looking presentable and publishable!

One thing I’ve learned from all this is to qualify the wagers I make with my basketball players better, and to choose a player who will get fouled a lot during the season. Three of my players who shot 64% of all of our team’s free throws had a combined free throw shooting percentage of 46%. Next year I’ll pick one of those kind of players who won’t avoid contact like it’s the bubonic plague.

And then maybe, just maybe, I’ll actually get my head shaved next March for St. Baldrick’s!

Poking Along At 79 MPH

February 20, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                               February 20, 2017


Carol and I were driving on I-25 Saturday morning heading to Greeley, Colorado, a small city about an hour north of the Mile High City. I was speeding at 79, but it felt like I was a covered wagon at Daytona. Cars zipped past us like we were sitting still.

I realized, that at 79 miles per hour, I was now my dad! He would have been doing 70 in a 75 speed zone, but the speed of pokey people has now been raised to anything under 80! Call it the evolution of driving! Some of the cars that lead me in the dust should have NASCAR numbers on the side panels!

A motorcyclist shoots by us on the right like a fireworks rocket launch. A pick-up truck with tires as tall as I am thunders by…obviously on his way to the monster truck show. In my rearview mirror I see a BMW bearing down on me quickly…and then threading the needle between the car in the lane on my left and my left front bumper.

Is it the white Honda Accord that gives me away? Do people now see that car and think AARP? Should interstates have one lane labeled “Safe Drivers’ Lane?” Or perhaps a toll lane for those who want to go over 80…with rubber bumper railings on each side, like a bumper bowling lane!

Our driving habits and fights at early morning Black Friday sales are two indicators of a cultural affliction. Most of us live by the theme “It’s all about me!” Who cares about the mom with three pre-schoolers trying to navigate the highway and parent crying babies at the same time? Who cares about the senior citizen whose reflexes are now a little slower who has the impatient over-caffeinated twenty-five year old riding his bumper?

Our highways reflect how we live our lives…out-of-control, living for the moment, thoughtless, risky, entitled, and ready for the excuses to sputter to the Highway Patrol officer.


Hitting Safely, Falling Hard

May 8, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                      May 8, 2013


I was playing my first softball game in a decade. It had been so long since I’d played that I had to dig to the bottom of the “odds and ends” barrel in our garage to find my mitt. Unfortunately, I could not find my old pair of rubber cleats that I used to wear. They probably made their way to Goodwill a few years ago, and have since gone on to “Glove Glory.” So I fished out an old pair of tennis shoes that were missing a few years of thread and headed for the ball park.

I had told our manager, Kimberly, that I was content to “ride the pine” (except it was aluminum), but she said “No, everybody is playing.”

I didn’t even have to share my career stats with her. This might be a similar story to the movie “The Natural”, starring Robert Redford, about a former player, Roy Hobbs, coming back to play after disappearing for a few years.

It might be…but it isn’t! If there was a sequel entitled “The Elderly” I could have played the lead.

After a less than memorable first two times at bat, but a nice backhand glove pick-up at third of a screaming grounder, I came to bat for the third time in the fourth inning ready to hit opposite field. The pitch was begging me to hit it, so I pounced on it and hit an almost-line drive that actually landed just inside the first-base line just out of the infield.

“Run, Forest, run!”

I made the turn at first base to head for second as the ball continued to bounce away from the first baseman and right fielder.

The capacity crowd of four woke up and cheered (I think).

Then it happened. I had a tennis shoe blow-out fifteen feet past first base. I hit black ice disguised as dirt…and I fell hard…I mean the ground shook…almost!

My left knee hit the ground first and then my right leg took an unnatural twist…better known as “An AARP side effect”…and I felt the muscle pop. It’s quite a mental shift to hit safely and then fall hard. Come to think of it, first base has been my injury nemesis in the past as well. About 20 years ago I hit a ground ball to the short-stop whose throw to first base was a little up-line. It connected with my jaw and broke it in two places. I was safe at first that time, also, and then slumped to the ground.

Some have reminded me that I hit 59 last Sunday, so there must be some correlation between 59 and falling hard. Perhaps my old cleats being at Goodwill had something to do with it just as much! I’m going with the cleats story.

It reminds me of the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18 where he defeats the 450 prophets of Baal. He is in the groove, on a tear! But then Jezebel makes death threats, and Elijah falls hard. He goes down. His stumble takes the form of a flee for his life and then a hiding in a cave.

Sometimes our stumbles happen as quickly as trying to turn a single into a double. Sometimes our stumbles happen gradually as we allow pride, power, and position to blind us to the cliff we are hovering on.

Following my stumble something else happened that is significant. After I hobbled back to first base  and got a sub to take my place, my teammates came to my rescue with concern (and maybe a little chuckling) and encouragement. Thelma, a lady I deeply admire and respect, asked me about a dozen times during the rest of the game if I was okay. Others gave me pats on the back. No one said “That should be a lesson to you about whether you should be playing this game or not.”

When someone in the faith community stumbles there needs to be someone to pick him back up again. Being the church is not a spectator sport.

After my Roy Hobbs hit and titanic crash…we all went out for ice cream! There’s just something extremely right about that!