Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mommy Dearest

For the last three weeks Jane and I have been caring for my mother. It's not that she needs someone to look after her, it's just that we were in Topeka for almost two weeks preparing for and celebrating her 80th birthday. Then we brought her home with us for about 10 days. This past Monday I drove to Oakley, Kansas, where my brother met me and I gave him my passenger. Mom. He took her back home to Topeka.

When mom is with us she's usually pretty low maintenance. She goes to bed early (now that I have a TV in her room) and she sleeps late. She doesn't eat much and her demands are few. But Jane and I like to treat her to some special activities that she doesn't get to do back in Kansas.

Just about five miles from our home is the entrance to Pike's Peak. At the foot of that road is a tourist trap/Amusement Park called The North Pole. Naturally it's built around the Christmas theme featuring everything from Santa on duty every day to an actual frozen pillar of ice functioning as that mythical spot....since the north pole isn't and never has been found in Cascade, Colorado.

And the best part? Admission is free to persons over 60. Bingo! All three of us walked in without dropping a dime. Now, I'll admit that we weren't interested in many of the rides, but we did venture on a few. Mom was more interested in the gift shops, which make up the majority of the park. And yes, she found several treasures to take home with her.

But here's what I noticed. My 80 year old mother is 4'10" tall. She's SHORT! trying to get her on the rides was sometimes a challenge. Then I realized that I had been facing the same challenge everytime I'd helped her get into my Escalade. She's SHORT. And then when my brother arrived to pick her up, he arrived in his Avalanche. Thank God for running boards.

Come on mom. They're holding the train for us.

Hop up in there mom

Hurry mom! there's a car behind us.

I guess it's something we all have to look forward to....if we live long enough.

And then I'm driving home and I run up behind this character.

Look closely. That's right. He's got a pair of crutches strapped to the back of his MOTORCYCLE. Either he's alredy hurt or hes anticipating problems. Life is always interesting. Laugh Often, Love Deeply, Shine Brightly.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lost in a Small Town

Last Sunday I was scheduled to preach in the 10:30 service at the Valley Church of the Nazarene in Monte Vista, Colorado. I owed pastor Michael Staton big time. You see, he had scheduled me for a series of services back in March. Several weeks before the first service was to occur I looked at my calendar. As I turned the page from February to March I realized that I had double booked. The other scheduled event? A trip to Hawaii. I got on the phone before calling Pastor Michael to see if I could book someone else to take my place. I was able to do that. My friend Norman Moore had that week available. When I called Pastor Michael I told him I'd come to Monte Vista ANYTIME he wanted me and I'd do it at no cost to him. Thus, my trip to Monte Vista last Sunday.

Monte Vista is three and a half hours from our cabin. That meant an early morning. It means EARLY for us. By 6:00 we were in the car and on the road. Naturally our first stop was McDonald's for some nourishment to hold us on the trip. It was the first time I've ever been at McDonald's before they had the sign turned on. There were lights on inside, but my car was the first one in the drive thru line.

The trip was uneventful. Traffic was light at that hour on a Sunday morning and the scenery was terrifuc. Blue sky, elk in one of the meadows, oldies playing on the xm radio. It was a good mornig.

Monte Vista is a community of about 3500. How could a person even imagine getting lost? Well my contact there was Carolyn Sullivan. She told me the church was on south Jefferson. I found the street but not the church. Finally I called her on my cell phone and asked where the church was. She said, "Jefferson." I said, "I'm on Jefferson." She said, "I'm standing in front of the church. I don't see you." Then I could hear her ask someone, "What street is our church on?" Then I heard the unidentified stranger proclaim, "Madison."

Monte Vista Church of the Nazarene

I was one block off. When I turned the corner there stood Carolyn, cell phone to her ear, talking us in the last 100 yards.

The worship experience was great fun. Music was terrific. One song featured two banjos, a guitar, a standup base and a fiddle. Good. Really good.

The sermon was one of those "so, so" sermons. The preacher (me) spoke so long and said so little. But it was a good day.

The youth pastor, Josh Smith, told us we were going to his house for lunch. The pastor's wife said, "Follw me, I'll be in the gold truck."

So....we followed the gold truck.

Following the gold truck

For a small town there was a lot of territory to cover. A couple of times we lost sight of the truck but we were always able to catch up and stay close on their bumper.

After driving what seemed like miles, the truck finally pulled in to the driveway. But the pastor's wife didn't get out. It was a family. A very curious family. Wondering what the couple in the Escalade were doing following them all through town and I'm sure a bit disturbed by the fact that we were taking pictures of them at the same time!

Fortunately, they recognized us. They had been in the worship service at the Valley church. I explained my delimma and they laughed with us....or it might have been "at" us. The gentleman's name was Ken Sears and he graciously offered to lead us to the youth pastor's home.

Meet Mr. Ken Sears. My new friend in Monte Vista

I started wondering if I could be trusted to find our way home.

While I was lost....twice....Pastor Michael was in Alaska working as a guide. He should have stayed home. I would have paid HIM for a guided tour Monte Vista!