Sunday, August 28, 2005

Ocean water, go beachy

I have it on a good authority that “ocean water, go beachy” was one of the first sentences I spoke. This is not surprising, because my father loved going to the beach and we usually went to the beach every Saturday during summer, from the time I was very little. At first it was just me (and somewhere there is a picture of me in a seaweed hula skirt). Eventually four children would climb in the back of the pick up truck (and any neighbor kid who happened to want to go too) and off we’d go. I can only imagine how much my mother must have enjoyed those quiet Saturday mornings. I think my sister is the only one who carried on the regular beach trips with her children. She e-mailed me earlier in the week: “I got Dad down to the beach on Monday. What an absolutely gorgeous day. Perfect beach weather. Just loved it. He did okay walking along there. It is a bit of a struggle, mind you, for him especially on the sand but he plugged away and we made it without him falling down. The current and the white wash was pretty strong that day, and I just didn't think it wise for him to try to manage getting in the water much. I didn't want him to get knocked down. So I felt bad for him in a way, but he's fine about everything. Just so happy to get down there and see the sights and smell the smells and enjoy the beauty of the ocean....” And I guess that’s my dad in a nutshell. At nearly 81 years old, with two knees having been replaced and blind in one eye, he is full of joy at life and he has, along with the Apostle Paul, managed to learn the secret of “being content, no matter what the circumstances.”

Sunday, August 14, 2005

I’m so glad to be here and I’m not worried about a thing.

This sounds suspiciously like something Minnie Pearl might say (“How-dee! I’m just so proud to be here”). That’s not who it came from, although everyone in the family does tend to smile some when we hear it. When I was a teenager (back in the 60s), a motel a within short walking distance of the church we attended went out of business and was turned into a group home for mentally disabled people. These people began coming to church, which presented quite a challenge for the congregation. When the minister invited people to share testimonies, Barbara, this middle-aged woman from the home, would stand up and say, “I’m so glad to be here and I’m not worried about a thing.” This was a source of great amusement to the younger set, and I suspect some of the older folks as well. We did not behave with a very Christian attitude toward these poor people. In any event, what she said is rather profound. Today, “I’m so glad to be here [in my house, with R and without N].” N has moved out!!! He finished paying off the last credit card debt and he chose to move in with some other people. These people have got some problems and we urged him to just give it a week-long trial run to see how it goes. He spent a couple of nights there and then made up his mind. I saw him briefly yesterday afternoon and he said he really liked it. Now comes the other rest of it. Am I “not worried about a thing?” Well, I’m struggling. I know worry is a sin and I try not too, but my joy at having him gone is greatly tempered by the situation into which he has moved (which I won’t go into). The red warning flats have been run up to the top... but it’s out of my hands, that’s for sure (I say, that's for sure -- ok, now shame on me for poking fun at my step-grandma) , and besides, that’s tomorrow’s trouble and I guess I have enough to not worry about today

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Baja Pals

Mom says Dad’s week-long surf-fishing trips to Baja California first started in late 1950s. She knows because my sister (probably the best thing to happen to our family), who was born in 1958, was an “accident” that happened after his first trip. There was always a group that went, consisting of Dad, Gene Rogers (the minister at church), other assorted men, and eventually when he was old enough, my brother Andrew. They were serious about it. Called themselves “The Baja Pals”. They had the name printed on caps and windbreakers. They had a great time doing guy things there on the beach and they always brought home coolers of wonderful fish – ocean perch and halibut. Unfortunately, the 40+ year tradition finally drew to a close: Gene died, both of Dad’s knees had to be replaced, and he was no longer able to cope with the rough terrain at the fish camp. The Baja Pals were in good company when, on Aug 5, 1994, they laid the 35 fish they caught on the beach and took a photo. About 2000 years ago, another group of men went out in a boat with their nets but didn’t catch anything. Then they were told to put the net on the other side of the boat, and suddenly it was filled with fish. “Jesus said to them, ‘bring me some of the fish you’ve just caught.’ So Simon Peter got into the boat and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 156 altogether (John 21).”