A beautiful day here in Central Texas, and a much better day all around.
I knew it would get better.
Work was smooth and easy, and the nice Mr. Clark was in attendance pretty much all day today. It's teacher appreciation week, or some such nonsense, and tomorrow they're serving us some kind of sandwiches for lunch. Things like this are always a gamble. To bring a lunch or not bring a lunch -- that is the question. I figure the sandwiches are going to be pretty good, so I'm going to take a chance on starving for the day, if things don't go well.
With only 30 minutes for lunch, there's no time to make a mad dash somewhere if the sandwiches suck, so it's a bit of a roll of the dice.
Meanwhile, in the news today.
Another of my sports heroes is Kareem Abdul Jabbar, also known as Lew Alcindor, considered by some to be the greatest basketball player of all time. Hard to argue with that. Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambus. Man, those were the days, my friend. Are there teams like that anymore? Magic Johnson and the L.A. Lakers against Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics. Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson, Robert Parish, Danny Ainge. Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman, Isaiah Thomas. The NBA will never be like that again. I don't even watch it.
Jabbar was in the news today, and I was really proud to read his comments about Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, who is in all kinds of trouble and will probably be forced to sell his team because of comments he made that were recorded and made public by a scorned gold-digging girlfriend.
I haven't always agreed with things Jabbar has said and done over the years, but in this case, he says that Sterling should indeed lose his franchise for the negative comments he made about black people, but he also thinks the whole thing is an invasion of privacy.
I agree wholeheartedly.
Sterling didn't say the things he said during an interview with some newspaper, radio or TV station. It was supposed to be a private conversation.
Meanwhile, it's warm, there's a nice breeze blowing in through the back screen door, and the birds are chirping outside. Five days until golf ...
Ciao, y'all ...
It's a wonder I didn't blow a gasket today ...
From the time I got out of bed this morning, today sucked. I just felt bad. In a bad mood. Really bad. All day long. And I don't think I'm being negative, really -- just telling the truth.
I did my positive-thinking affirmations, and my little prayer, several times today -- closed my eyes once, took a few deep breaths, said my prayer -- but it never got any better. One of the positive thinking messages I got on my Facebook was something like, "Every day is a gift, even if it sucks." So it's OK. Today sucked, and tomorrow will be better. I feel a lot more relaxed now that I'm home.
The news item that caught my eye this morning was about a blind high school pole vaulter, Charlotte Brown, of Emory, Texas, a junior and one of the state's top vaulters, who is gunning for a state championship. Brown, who also runs the anchor leg for her team in the 4-by-400 meter relay, uses beeper devices to help her in the pole vault. To somehow find where to plant that pole, and fly 12 feet in the air, as she speeds down the approach run.
On a high note locally, one of my publishers, Matt Stone, says the paperback re-release of "Finding God in Texas" is coming soon. Some production snag has pushed it back a bit, but the new Kindle release is available now! click here Before long, there will be some outstanding promotional offers for both, so be ready and help support me and the cool people at Archangel Ink. Please and thank you.
So, it's on to brighter days. For one thing, there now are 22 school days left in the year. As one colleague put it, at the lunch break, "Next Monday, it will be in the teens!"
Ciao, y'all ...
A beautiful day today for golf. And oh so close to sensational ...
Gator and I went and played at the courses on Fort Hood, as they are having a tournament at our usual Sunday venue. There are three excellent nine-hole courses on the military installation, which are all open to the public, and you play two of 'em, whichever ones they assign you when you check-in. One of the nines is fairly open and lot more forgiving to errant shots, while the other two are recipes for disaster if you're not hitting it straight.
We played the harder of the three nines today, and I was playing really well. A nice birdie at no. 1 got things off to a great start. I could easily have been one shot over par at the turn, except for three really short missed putts. So I'm out at 40, and looking at possibly shooting something in the 70s, unheard of for me at Fort Hood, and admittedly rare any time.
Things went a little south, though, on the second nine and I started driving the damn ball all over the place, sailing it into the woods five or six times, and wound up with an 84. One of these days, though, one of these days ...
Now, it's on to a lazy afternoon, cooking some drumsticks and thighs on the grill, watching a little golf on TV, and just a-chillin'. I may wrap up my story for next week's Cove Banner. It's a profile of a friend who served with the 82nd Airborne, and who was told nine years ago that he needed a heart transplant. This guy thought about it for awhile, prayed about it, and then turned down the transplant, even though doctors told him he was gonna die without it. He told them that Gold told him he wasn't going to need it.
Turns out, he was right. That was 2005, and he's still with us.
Have a good week.
Ciao, y'all ...
Arriving home from the store this afternoon, I looked at Facebook on my phone and saw a message from a Camino friend and fellow Texan, Tom. We met last summer at a restaurant in Sahagun, I think it was, around the midpoint on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.
Tom was walking the Camino with his sister, JoAnn. He's a big, boisterous, happy-go-lucky, retired Air Force guy, movie buff and scratch golfer. We have yet to get together for a round, but I think it'll probably happen this summer.
Anyway, Tom's message said that he has been sending these blogs that I've been posting on Facebook to JoAnn, because she doesn't have a Facebook account. He said she told him that she stayed up late Thursday night, reading my blogs all the way back to the Camino (Camino blog) and that she was buying a copy of my book from Amazon. Guess you have a fan, he said.
How cool is that?
Maybe I'm onto something here, with this daily blogging thing, putting myself out there. I'm not very comfortable marketing myself, but it's something I've got to learn to do.
By the way, my newly redesigned "Finding God in Texas" is out now in Kindle format, available on Amazon, along with the first edition of the paperback version. (Finding God in Texas) The redesigned paperback is due out any time.
It was a pretty exciting day today, for a middle-age, slightly overweight, somewhat bored homeowner-type person. After I got my pickup back from the shop (turns out nothing was wrong with it; just some residual fluid from the previous repairs), I went to Walmart and bought 16 bags of red mulch. Spread that stuff on the garden I turned half my front lawn into a few years ago, after our trees started getting so big and thick they were blocking the sunlight all day from reaching the Bermuda grass lawn. By this time, it was about 1:30 and starting to get a little warm, so I went inside, turned on the air conditioning and flopped on the couch.
The golf tournament was starting at 2, and the pre-show was about a high school girl who came down with some serious form of leukemia, and how golf pretty much saved her life. And then there was a story about a soldier who was blown up overseas, and eventually had to get the lower half of one leg amputated. Discovering golf brought a spark back into his life and gave him a new sense of pride and accomplishment.
When you see things like that, you say shame on me for ever feeling sorry for myself.
After a few hours on the couch, I cranked up the truck again and went grocery shopping. Oh, yeah, and in between all that I did my laundry. A pretty hum-drum but productive, satisfying and positive day. And tomorrow ...
It's time to play golf. And thanks, again, Tom, you made my day.
Ciao, y'all ...
"Life isn't going to wait."
That was way back last November, and both my brothers, Bobby and Joe, have been encouraging me ever since.
It's been a fine day here in Central Texas.
Ciao, y'all ...
Closer and closer to summer vacation. I can smell it. Smells sweet ...
I remember when school let out for summer my first year as a teacher. I wasn't sure what to do. The most vacation I'd ever had before was three weeks, and I never took that all at one time. All summer long that year, it felt like I should be going to work. I kind of wondered if I should, in fact, be going to work or doing something. Fretting about it and feeling uncomfortable kept me from really enjoying a lot of the time off.
The second year, though, I was ready.
The last day of school is a great day, for everyone. I remember two or three years ago, after we escorted our students out of the building so they wouldn't trash the hallways or do anything else ridiculous, and it was all empty and quiet. It was amazing, as I stood there and literally felt the stress evaporating. I could actually feel the tension leaving my body.
Last year, I vowed to dance in the halls on the last day of school. And I did.
Since I started my "30 days of positive" project, I've honestly been having pretty darn good days at school. It's a little tough to remember everything from back in the day, but I swear we did not run wild in school, the way they do now. There was some pretty crazy stuff, like the bathroom across from the gym where everybody went between classes to smoke cigarettes. It was jammed with boys and thick with smoke. Teachers had to have known about it; it was always more of a smoking lounge than a bathroom. But when we did get out of line back then, and got caught, there were consequences. Maybe the consequences had little to no effect, but at least we learned that there are consequences in life for doing wrong. When I was a senior in high school, I was tardy to first period pretty much every day. My teacher, Mr. Watts, told me that he would either send me to the office every time I was late, or I could take a swat from him. He wasn't mad at me, and I knew he wasn't mad at me. He was just giving me a choice. I chose swats.
So nearly every morning, I walked in late, and we walked back out together, just down the hallway to the stairwell, where I bent over and touched the steps, and he walloped me with a wooden paddle. One swat that echoed up and down the empty hallway. Then I went back to class, trying to act nonchalant while my butt was on fire. Did it deter me from being tardy? Obviously not, because I was tardy all year long. But I guarantee you it deterred some other kid from being tardy. Because there would be a consequence -- and it involved pain. Oh yeah, it definitely hurt like hell.
And to me, there's not a thing in the world wrong with a little pain in a kid's life, and a little healthy fear. That's why I behaved when I was a kid. I was afraid of my old man. He could inflict some serious pain on the buttocks. A leather belt across the backside stings pretty good. And we kids who were "abused" like that by our parents survived. Somehow, we survived getting spanked. My mother slapped me right in the mouth, one time, hard. It really wasn't that big a deal, because I knew I deserved it. I was standing with her as she talked to a friend at the baseball fields where we played ball, and her friends's little daughter came running by. I don't know why I did it, but I stuck my foot out and tripped her. On an asphalt parking lot. Boom! Right in the mouth. Today, mama might be arrested.
Ah, the good ol' days ...
Oh, yeah, for all you local people, check out a copy tomorrow of the new Cove Banner newspaper. My friend, Larry, is resurrecting the newspaper that dates back to 1900, and I'll be writing a weekly column for it. The first edition is due out Friday. Look for it at area convenience stores.
Ciao, y'all ...