meanwhile . . .

mdThe following is based on a true story inspired by this post, as told by my dad.

I followed her into Starbucks. Actually, I arrived first. I was a gentleman: I opened the door.

It was the right thing to do, of course, though I was in a hurry. It was 7 a.m. I had to be at the office in less than an hour. But she, too, appeared rushed. It was the hurried click, click, click of her heels behind me that I had noticed first.

She was on the phone but mouthed “Thank you” as she and a small child walked past. Once they were through, and after a businessman had darted out, I abandoned my post and got behind them in line. Starbucks was busy that morning. I couldn’t afford to be chivalrous all day. Continue reading

the world is too much with us

Sunrise in the Sierra Nevadas

Sunrise in the Sierra Nevadas

Forgive me. I was an English major. My last post reminded me of this poem by William Wordsworth.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn. Continue reading

finding good in bad

Funerals—especially ones that involve flying across the country and back in a span of less than 72 hours—aren’t usually much fun. My grandfather’s was no exception. There were tears and formalities. Grandpa Joe was a Korean War vet. A United States flag laying atop his casket was folded and handed to my nana. She was sobbing.

I was crying, too.

A bugler played Taps. Outside, it began to pour.

So it goes.

But good things can come out of not-so-fun situations, too. Like the tales of Grandpa Joe’s lighter side that we heard from some of his tow-truck buddies after the service. Also, the letters I discovered later that night at my nana’s house. Apparently, my grandpa was quite the jokester.

Take, for example, the way he addressed this birthday card to my nana:


To: Mrs. Doris L. Wilson
Any place she is at
On her day


From: The one that loves her
But don’t understand her
And lives at the same place
Where the card came from

There was a Fathers’ Day card, too, from my nana to my Grandpa Joe. In it, she had scratched out text and replaced it with some of her own:

For my Hubby

A Fathers’ Day note about the finer things of life:

I can do without sports cars cranes

and fancy clothes tow trucks,

original sculptures tow motors,

and opening-night shows drivers’ dispatchers,

I don’t need ritzy clubs flat trucks,

antiques pickups,

mansions junk cars,

or yachts affidavits.

There’s just one thing I need, and I need lots of it—

You (and your love!)

Happy Father’s Day,


It’s not surprising, honestly, that such silliness could come from or be married to a face like this:

Grandpa Joe

Grandpa Joe in the 8th grade

It was also good to see Grandpa Joe’s old stomping grounds.


The old tow yard.


Shed where Grandpa Joe used to like to play tricks.

photo 4

Tow yard with scrap cars.


One of Grandpa Joe’s trucks.

And to see pictures like this one of my grandpa in action:


Grandpa Joe working on his crane.

So, you see, good things can come from bad situations. It all depends on what you’re looking for and how you’re looking for it. Will you focus on the negative, or will you seek the possible good angles of rotten situations, too? Grandpa Joe may never come back, but his memory will live on with those who loved him for forever.

We love you, Grandpa Joe!

P.S. A big thank you to my brother, Derek, for playing photographer with his iPhone for me on this trip. I forgot my camera!

For an interesting history lesson on the origin of Taps, check out this video. Pretty cool!