It Can Be Fixed

My two year old granddaughter’s face appeared on my phone before I could even answer. Alligator tears were streaming down her face and clearly something was wrong, something it seemed I was needed to fix. We, her mother on one end of the call and I on the other, eventually got Adela settled down enough to show me the problem. Some thirty-five years ago, I had made a small rocking chair for my daughter. Please understand that other than the fact that it was still in use all these years later, it was not exactly a work of craftsmanship, hardly worth the effort it would require to fix it. It was however, clearly loaded with sentimental value. My granddaughter Adela had now claimed it as her own. But accidents do happen. She had been towing the chair to her downstairs playroom when it found it’s way down the stairs the hard way. She was now showing me her rocking chair with the lower half of the rocker broken off, and thus the tears as she pleaded with her Opa to fix it!

Long story shortened, the chair was just returned to her, fixed, almost good as new! After a trip to the “furniture hospital”, aka my good friend Larry’s unbelievable wood shop, some glue, clamps and a patch, the chair now sits proudly in Adela’s playroom, once again allowing her to rock and coo her babies.

Things can be fixed and there in lies the point of this story. Even though we try our best to be careful, things break. Sometimes they are just that, things. Other times they are much more important, our relationships. When we believe they can’t be fixed, we tend to take the easy route and toss them away. All too often we don’t take the time nor put forth the effort to repair them. But remember, it is only a mistake if we fail to try. If there are things or relationships in your life that are broken, consider this. Look at the problem, consider any possible solution and then put forth the effort, even if it means swallowing your pride, and attack the problem.

It was only a chair, but what it represented for my granddaughter meant the world to her. Thank you Larry for helping me resurrect a crude little rocking chair and thank you Adela for having faith that I could.

How to Bank Points

I just returned from a movie, a blockbuster to be sure. I am sure you think I am talking about the latest Star Wars or maybe Uncut Gems or Ford vs. Ferrari. Oh I wish it were so. Let the man shaming begin. It was Little Women and yes I was the only male in the place except maybe for the older gentleman asleep several rows behind me. I had offered my wife a movie date, somehow thinking she would be so excited about the simple gesture that I would get to pick the flick. Sorry guys, as you are probably shaking your head in disbelief, you know that’s not how it works.

So there I was, buying two tickets for Little Women with the cashier clearly rolling his eyes. First question, “Are either of you seniors?” Is that a respect for your elders thing or do they just figure that when you’re old you’re also poor? Next question, “Where would you like to sit?” I desperately wanted to say as far back in the shadows as possible, but I demurred to my date who chose two perfectly placed prominent seats front and center. Proceed to my “thriller”.

At this point, I need to say that things began to improve. Turns out we were in the theater that serves food and more importantly, mixed drinks! This might ease the pain for a movie junkie who thrives on speed, mayhem and science fiction. Cue the movie, authentic historic costuming and historic period set in the Civil War. Maybe, seeing as I am a history minor and enamored with the Civil War Era, I should give this a chance. Cue the leading character Josephine March, aka Louisa May Alcott, and I am immediately identifying with her love for the art of writing as story telling. I hate to say this, but I was starting to ignore the chick flick phobia I was having about this movie.

So, I am ready to say, two hours later I found myself admitting that this was a great film and, deep breath here, glad of the choice my date had made. But here’s the kicker, I think I may have added some bonus points to my oft nearly depleted Love Bank. If there is a moral to this story, it might be worth the time and effort to actually make a bonafide date. She picks the movie,the place or the activity. She gets her hand held and the door opened. And, you say all the appropriate things at all the appropriate times. Okay, good luck with the last one because we men have never been good at that move. So men, follow these steps and know that you will have earned points for the bank and don’t pretend for a moment that you can ever have enough points in that institution.

So that’s it. I wanted Star Wars but I got Little Women and I am a big enough man to admit, it wasn’t half bad. A great Margarita, a comfortable seat and a good movie. Excuse me now, but I have some points I’d like to cash in.

How Big is Your Family?

I have been thinking about family a lot recently or I guess reminded a lot. Last weekend we held the funeral for the last remaining sibling of my father’s family of twelve. A week ago my well respected and deeply loved aunt Hazel, passed away a month shy of her 99th birthday. It was a day filled with reunions, stories and celebration of her life. It was surprisingly easy to reconnect with my cousins, some whom I had not seen for years. But, as they say, the years fell away as we shared our stories and caught up with our past.

What struck me more than anything else is the closeness that exists in strong families. I know as I write this there are readers who may have come from less functional families. From families where relationships may have been strained through time and differences. My heart has always gone out to them. I was fortunate enough to come from a family whose bonds were strong and remain strong to this day. That is not to say that there weren’t some relationships that were not as strong as others, but for me to remain as connected as I am to the cousins produced by a family of my father’s size, there must have been more that connected us than just our common blood line.

Families are a dynamic entity. Thus the question, “How big is your family?” Who does the term family encompass? How big is the circle that defines your family? Mother Teresa was once quoted as saying, “The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small.” Think about that. We spend so much time making our circles smaller, exclusive in their make-up. If we agree on principals, if we share the same beliefs, if we have common friends, then we draw our circle to include these people but not others. If we thought of the people we know, the people we work with, the people we simply interact with as family, then we would have widened our circle. If we then think of them as family, think how much better we would treat each other. Widen the circle. Make it inclusive, not exclusive.

Once we have widen the circle we draw to define our family, then we need to follow by being positive. By loving our circle unconditionally regardless of the differences that might try to separate us. What follows is compassion versus intolerance, unity versus divisiveness. Start to imagine what a better nation, what a better people we could be.

Today I listened to a sermon by our new minister, Heather Hayward and wanted to share an experiment she told us about. The experiment was done with water by Japanese author Masaru Emoto. Emoto experimented with water molecules and the effects of positive and negative words and music on the structure of the crystals they formed. (see: ) The results were stunning and beautiful when positive words and music were applied. They were confused and in some ways ugly when the opposite was applied. Whether you choose to believe his experiment, the images are impressive. When you consider that the human body is comprised of 60% water, isn’t worth at least trying positive words versus the negative words we are bombarded with daily.

We do not choose our family. We are born into it. But we can choose the people we would treat as family. So I ask you, how big will you draw the circle of your family? Will you make it big enough to include me?