Posted tagged ‘Cracker Barrel’

Married To A Spontaneously Kind Person

October 7, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                      October 7, 2018

                          

We were sitting in Cracker Barrel enjoying an unscheduled dinner out after a hectic day of substitute teaching and coaching (me) and watching the grandkids (Carol) for our oldest daughter and teacher, Kecia, who had parent-teacher conferences. Our conversation traveled through the wanderings of our days…the things the kids said, the players for the 8th Grade basketball team that I was deciding on, and national news items.

And then she was up!

A table of three sat behind us and to my left. I had noticed people sitting there on our way in, but I hadn’t given it another thought. Carol had! She went back to their table as they were finishing their meal. They were three senior citizens, one in a wheelchair, one with a cane, and the third now pushing the wheelchair as they began to leave. I heard conversation and thank you’s, but I didn’t know what exactly was happening. 

And then Carol brought their meal check back to our table and put it on top of our own check. “We’re paying for their meals!” 

“Okay,” I agree, knowing that it really isn’t a vote that she’s asking for. It is just how it is!

The three people are hobbling out as I say to Carol, “Well, I’d better go pay this so they don’t think they’re trying to sneak out (An impossibility taking into account their lack of speed and that they have a wheelchair!). I’ll be right back!”

The three thank me again as I come up behind them. The looks on their faces are priceless. Someone had done something really, really nice for them that had taken them back. I could tell that they’d be talking about it for the rest of the evening.

My wife is like that. She is spontaneously kind. She’ll give a quarter to a kid who is short on change for the candy he wants to buy at 7-11. She will ask someone who looks like they might be confused or lost or both if she can help them in some way. When our daughter calls at the last minute to see if Mom can watch one of the grandkids who has suddenly become ill Carol is out the door before she ends the cell phone call. 

Her kindness is sometimes scheduled, but, more often than not, is spontaneous…lived out in the doings of the day. She would tell you that the Lord led her to pick up the check for those three people. It just happened. In the midst of eating her bacon and eggs God cleared her vision to see what she needed to do. 

When I say “cleared her vision”, what you probably don’t know is that she had a cornea transplant operation thirty years ago because of a disease called “Keratoconus”, which is a gradual deterioration of the cornea. Her vision will never be good. She now plans her driving trips with “an eye” on when sunset is scheduled to occur because she does not like to drive in the dark anymore. 

Side note: Her vision at sporting events is always 20/20 however! She sees things that the officials miss all the time!

Spontaneous kindness! It’s who she is! She will open doors for people, and always say thank you to someone who opens the door for her. She’s also not afraid to give a piece of her mind to a middle school student who has someone be kind to him, but does not acknowledge it.

And the thing is, I see that tendency towards spontaneous kindness filtering down through the next two generations of our family. Kecia goes over and above for her third grade students and her school. I remember David, our middle child who is a restaurant chef, stopping at Chick-fil-a one morning on his way to work and buying a bag of chicken breakfast biscuits for his cooking staff just to say “Thank you!” Lizi, our youngest, works with families whose children qualify for Head Start and other resources. 

And now the three grandkids are showing tendencies towards being kind, not coerced to do so but rather out of the doings of daily life.

The three people walking out of Cracker Barrel with smiles as full as their satisfied tummies is just the latest blessing from the woman I married, and for the woman I married!

Up Yours: Colonoscopy Highlights

July 27, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                July 27, 2017

                 

I had procrastinated more than a frantic income tax filer looking at his empty forms on April 15. There’s just something about having someone stick something up your butt that is a little uncomfortable to my personal space! And so instead of waiting ten years since my last venture into Wonderland it had been almost twelve years since I shook hands with my gastroenterologist! As he extended his hand to me I hesitated for a moment. I had memories of a story my dad has told me several times of an equine veterinarian back in Kentucky who always walked around with a cigar in his mouth. Some men had called him about a horse that was having problems. The horse doctor knew right away that the animal was just plugged up…in other words, constipated… and he reached his hand “up there”, helped the horse get cleared out, and then, with the same hand, took his cigar out of his mouth to say a few things before sticking it back in his mouth. The men who needed his assistance promptly went around to the side of the barn and threw up.

And so with that memorable story in my mind I hesitated for a moment before shaking hands. His right hand looked clean so I shook it!

When we leave on vacation we prep for it by packing our suitcase. For a colonoscopy I had to “unpack.” 128 ounces of Powerade with a bottle of powdered laxative called Miralax. Their parade down to my inners was preceded by taking four pills that must have been like “scouts” going ahead of the fluid army to scope out the territory.

Being a smart and wise person I had bought a pack of ultra gentle toilet paper earlier that day!

Before the scout pills and the fluid army began their assault, I had spent the previous day abstaining from pretty much anything that I would classify as normal food. Carol fixed a bowl of lime jello, which I stared at as it sat in the refrigerator. It is still sitting there in the refrigerator, firmly anchored away from my interest. I had a cup of chicken broth and pretended I was sipping won ton soup…minus the won ton! Always being a cream and sugar coffee person I drank two cups of coffee that morning…black! Just about everything in our refrigerator and freezer had received amnesty from being consumed by me! I could hear the package of Nathan’s hot dogs mocking me: “You’re no Joey Chestnut, that’s for sure!”

And then the first wave of the Powerade force marched through me with a vengeance. I played Word With Friends as I awaited the next assault.

A 4 A.M. initiative was planned for the second wave of Powerade infusion! The last remnants of whatever the assault fluid ounces were meant to clear out finally gave up the ghost. By 7:30 A.M. I was thanking God for the invention of ultra gentle TP! Feeling light on my feet we walked out to the car to make the journey.

As we entered the office of the gastroenterologist I noticed that they had a little merchandise section…kind of like Cracker Barrel, but without the smell of bacon in the air…with various memorabilia to buy to help you remember the experience. A tee shirt with the words “Up Yours!” was prominently displayed. A beer mug with “Bottom’s Up!” didn’t seem to be a threat to disappear from the shelf. I like jigsaw puzzles, but the one of the GI tract did not peak my interest! Neither was the for sale DVD on “The Inner Workings of a Colonoscopy!”

You can only window shop for so long in a place such as that, and when I was called to come on back to one of the waiting rooms I breathed a sigh of relief. And then they gave me presents! A sweet little pair of shorts with an opening in the back. For some odd reason it made me think of that classic movie, Rear Window! They also gave me a nice pair of “no slip” socks that I decided I didn’t need. But, hey! Our wedding anniversary was just two days away so I had Carol’s present taken care of! Awesome!

And then they rolled me back, gave me an awesome anesthetic that put me out in fifteen seconds. Before I knew it I was back in my waiting room and it “was all behind me!” I had made it!

But (one “t”) now for the most important and the only serious part of the adventure! The doctor discovered a good size polyp in my colon. Because of that I’ll need to have another colonoscopy in two years, and he said this. “It was pre-cancerous! In another five to six years, if you hadn’t taken car of this, you’d be looking at colon cancer!”

So in July of 2019 I’ll gladly welcome another invasion of “Powerade and friends”, drink black coffee, stare at lime jello, and put another sweet little pair of shorts on…and I’ll consider myself blessed!

Trusting in Siri

October 18, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                      October 18, 2015

                                        

This past week I was traveling from Chicago to my dad’s place located in the southern tip of Ohio. It’s a trip that I did many times when I was in seminary…36 years ago! In 36 years, however, roads change, new configurations of asphalt are created that seek to baffle the wisest.

But I have my iPhone friend, Siri, to lead me and guide me! She shares mileage numbers, how many miles until I come to the next road I’m suppose to turn on to. I even asked her to tell me where the next Cracker Barrel restaurant is.

I put a lot of trust in Siri!

When I arrived on the outskirts of Cincinnati, which must have every road under construction, she navigated me through the maze of I-74 to 275 to 71 to somewhere else. She took me over the river and through the woods to the business district of Cold Spring, Kentucky. I began to doubt as I passed the First Baptist Church of Cold Spring; doubted even more as the speed limit decreased to 35 as the road wound itself past a Waffle House. She took me to Highway AA, which I’ve never heard of. Roads have always been numerically marked in my experience, and now I’m following two capital letters into the dark.

She gave me an arrival time in Proctorville, Ohio, and, by golly, she was right! I followed here directions through hill and dale, past surging coal trucks and lounging late-night drivers.

Siri could have led me into the Ohio River, not over it, if she wanted to. She could have not been current in her understanding and sent me to Virginia instead of briefly passing through West Virginia. She could have been quiet or garbled in her directions, or given an instruction and a few minutes later added a “My mistake!”

I trusted her, even though I’ve only heard her voice.

It occurs to me that my trust in the Lord often doesn’t run as deep as my trust in Siri. I pray for his guidance, I ask for his direction, and yet I’m prone to not follow it. I sing the song “Where He Leads I Will Follow”, but am content to take personal detours that lead me into periods of wilderness wanderings.

Scripture gives me story after story of people who followed the Lord, or heard his voice and didn’t heed his warnings. Scripture tells me of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It tells me of the hope of the gospel, the perseverance of the saints, the journey of the people of God. I’m reminded again and again that God is faithful, that he will never fail me.

But I exhibit limited trust in the absolutes of the Almighty! If I could figure out why that is I could bottle it and make billions, or travel the country giving over-priced seminars to a multitude of others who have issues following the leadings of the Lord.

But I have a hard time figuring out myself. I’ve got a streak of idiocy within me mixed together with a hint of common sense.

And so…I am continually amazed by grace. Grace is essential for the faith traveler whose strength is getting lost! Grace excuses where there is no excuse.

Grace stays with me even when my trust has exited the highway.