Posted by: frkris | December 30, 2014

World of hurt!

It is impossible to watch the news and not become depressed about some of the very sad things which are happening around the world. Family members watch live video footage and see the exact moment when the first body is recovered….so horrible and painful. We watch as people in West Africa continue to fight a horrible disease which continues to kill in an environment which lacks proper defense. A child grabs a concealed gun in a store and accidentally shoots their mom. The list is daily and long. There is also the list of police officers killed and those killed in difficult confrontations with the police. Then there is the young transgender girl who took her life because her parents refused to understand her struggle as someone born with the wrong body parts.

We all live in sadness and carry our own sadness into this reality. Our own health issues create an added bonus for us where we can become totally fed up. We reach a point where we think we can’t make a difference and it seems that the negative of the world is closing in on us. It almost seems that there is not need continuing. We might as well give up. “Everyone is bad” and “they are all out to get us” and “disaster is right around the corner”.

That world view, albeit tempting, is not the one I want to embrace. I can be aware of the pain and suffering without being paralyzed by it’s starkness. I can rebuke those places of pain and injustice, and I must. I can bring a little light to “SOMETHING” and therefore that is what I should do.

I have struggled with something personal for a couple of years. My left eye has grown rather fuzzy and my last visit to the eye doctor revealed a progressing cataract which was starting to prevent me from seeing properly. My glasses could only correct my vision so much. Something had to be done lest I look at the world through a fuzzy left eye for the rest of my life. Tomorrow I will have that cataract removed which is a little scary. I will be given a new lense which will be clear and let the light in. I will haave a sharper focus and will be able to see things anew. It is exciting…although I have to put my trust in the hands of the doctor who will hold the knife.

Perhaps life is like that. As we face these tough images it is easy to get a negative and cloudy vision as the dirt of the world covers everything we observe. God seems to want to come and transform the lense of our faith such that we can see the good….so that we can find the hope… that we can keep the faith……so that we can make our song Alleluia even at the edge of a grave. I want new spiritual eyes every day, which may mean the occasional “laying aside of the things that so easily tangle or weigh us down” (Heb12.1) such that we can run to finish.

There is one person who I have been praying for for the past few months. I can’t begin to imagine the pain they carry and the courage they must have. I hope that we both can be given new “eyes” so that the world can once again be a beautiful place where birds sing and dance, a bell pepper’s smell can evoke a memory, where a baby’s smile can bring a tear, and where holding the hand of a friend in the silence of the afternoon sunshine can push back the tide of negativity such that the sun can shine.

Yes, there is a world of hurt out there, but there is a great physician who transforms our darkness. May faith in the divine fill your Christmas season and bring into sharp focus your purpose for life.

Posted by: frkris | December 21, 2014

Struggling…..trying to find Love this Christmas

I am really struggling with the way in which several high profile cases have been tied together to form the fuel of our present struggles over issues of race, police activity, and wild accusations of black lives having a lessor value, etc. I thought my blog might be a good place to explore my own thoughts about these things in light of the execution of two young police officers yesterday by a crazed man seeking to avenge the deaths of these other men. So lets look at the reality:

Trayvon Martin….died in February of 2012. A resident of a Florida neighborhood follows a guy he thinks is up to no good as he walks through their community. Martin jumps out and punches this self appointed night watchman who is carrying a weapon (George Zimmerman). Fearing for his life, he uses deadly force to stop Martin from hitting him. The courts found that Martin was the aggressor and that the man, who did posses a permit to carry a concealed weapon, was within his legal right to discharge the weapon for his safety. Whether you feel he should have been following….playing the police…..or whatever you think, he only followed someone on a public roadway…not a crime….and was violently assaulted.

My thoughts: I stopped a criminal who had damaged my neighbors car years ago. I had to pin him to the ground as we waited for the police to arrive. He tried to bite me and I was worried it could have escalated if I had not been stronger. I know what it feels like to live in a place where crime happens and in fact have endured theft from one of our cars on our driveway two times. It is no fun and it does make you suspicious of strangers with covered heads walking through. Perhaps individuals should never follow people they suspect and the 911 operator was clear in her instruction that Zimmerman should cease following Martin. His refusal to follow those instructions are not a crime. Martin’s attack on him for following were a crime. Zimmerman’s use of force was deemed to be reasonable considering he was being beaten up. In conclusion, don’t attack those who annoy you…..use the same 911 service and call and inform them that someone is following you. The minute Martin became the attacker, Zimmerman becomes justified in his legal right to stand his ground and neutralize the force exacted on him.

Jordan Davis is shot on November 23rd, 2012. Having watched most of the trial it is clear that this was not a case about loud music or racism, but it was about FEAR and the presence of a gun near the hand of a man who feared he would be attacked. Fundamental questions about windows being up or down as well as the clear bullet angles painted a very clear picture of what happened. It was all very sad, and there were clearly many points at which the outcome could have been different. The police failed to secure the crime scene so we will never know if a gun was present and placed in the bushes as has been suggested by witnesses. Davis dies in a hail of bullets, and the trial of Michael Dunn becomes a national story.

My thoughts: I believe that Dunn, after requesting that the music be turned down in the neighboring car, found himself on the receiving end of racist taunting which continued to escalate….not because of anything he did. Perhaps he looks back and wishes he had done what most people do in similar situations….pretend no one is there and no matter what, do not look at or speak to people who look like they may be interested in trouble. Perhaps Dunn was more brazen because he had a gun….he knew he did not have to be afraid. I believe that Davis’ door was open and the window was down at the moment of the shooting. The glass was shattered inside the door and the trajectory of the bullets show the line from Dunn to the back seat only works with the door ajar….which legitimizes the suggestion of a gun being pointed at him from the back seat. Dunn’s decision to shoot into that car in fear was ruled a crime and he will be in prison for his decision to do that. Unlike the Zimmerman case, without a weapon, his lawyer could not demonstrate a threat which justified the lethal force. This was NOT a racially motivated crime. It was a crime which sadly points to a culture of violence and the ever presence of guns in situations of conflict.

Eric Garner, died of a heart attack on July 17th…..This man had been arrested before for selling cigarettes on the streets and was known by the police. He was a 300+ pound man and so quite intimidating. He was also a person of very poor health. While confronting him to arrest him for his illegal behavior, he resists and refuses to comply with the police. He forces the police to apprehend him and take him to the ground. He continues to protest and refuses to give them his hands. One officer seems to climb on his back and chokes him. His pleas to be able to breath receive little sympathy as he is seen by officers as another non-compliant criminal. The request to “stop resisting” justifies an escalation of power until the police subdue Mr Garner. The whole episode proved too traumatic for Mr Garner who ended up going into cardiac arrest in an ambulance which was taking him from the scene.

My thoughts: What on earth is a man with multiple children doing standing on the street corner selling individual cigarettes. He is caught in the act of committing a crime and must be arrested. If he decides not to resist this case never amounts to anything more than another line on his rap sheet. I have been interested at the different types of choke holds which are allowable, etc. in the evaluations of this case, but I continue to be amazed at how the story continues to sound as if he choked to death. He was choked in a head lock to be sure, but he died of MI in the ambulance, no doubt connected to the extreme stress of his resisting the police. When a criminal resists arrest we use tasers, dogs, and all sorts of legal methods to get the suspect into cuffs. These are stressful moments and sadly only the suspect has the power to deescalate. Too many defiant criminals leave the police no choice but to deal harshly with someone who refuses to comply to the authority of the badge. At the end of the day, don’t break the law, don’t resist arrest, and don’t expect different outcomes when you don’t do the first two. This was not a case having anything to do with race or profiling. It was just another day at the office for the police fighting crime which resulted in the sad and unnecessary death of a petty criminal who made bad decisions.

John Crawford….shot in Walmart August 5th 2014……another shopper calls 911 and reports a man waving a gun around. The police respond and shoot him inside the store. He had an air riffle from within the store and the video footage shows that he was not pointing it at anyone. The caller who reported this must share the blame with the police who came in and quickly shot and killed the man.

My thoughts: Another sad case telling us how violent and fearful our society has become. We sell weapons over the counter and people who are charged with protecting people have to find ways of differentiating between the good guys with guns and the bad guys with guns. It is an impossible task. This is not a case or race or of police profiling. They are deceived by another shopper (who will probably be charged with a crime!) and are convinced that there is real and present danger. They respond to what they see and it is a horrible mistake. No doubt policies will change about handling guns in public places. No doubt stores will wrap or package anything that looks like a weapon….shame they sell them at all. Police will also have some re-training about how to make a split decision. If this man was about to shoot people, a delay by the police would have received harsh criticism. The responded not with a desire to kill a black man, but with a desire to neutralize a reported lethal threat. Not racism….just a sad accident.

Michael Brown was shot and killed Aug. 9th, 2014…….This 18 year old robs a store with force and then walks with his friend up the middle of a street. He is confronted by a police officer who asks him to get out of the street, and then drives ahead. An APB goes out and the officer realizes the two men he just confronted match the description. He reverses the car and swings it such that the drivers door is in front of these two men. There is a verbal exchange and then the officer is prevented from exiting his car by Mr Brown. There is a tussle, which many witness and the officer is punched at least twice which in the front seat of his car. There is a reach for the officers gun and the gun is discharged. A wound on Brown’s hand and side could be this shot. He and the other man begin to run. The officer exits the car and shoots the fleeing man who has just attacked him. Many witnesses agree that Brown stops, turns, and utters something, and begins charging back toward the officer. He covers something like 30 feet until a final shot in the top of the head stops him. It is important to see that final bullet as Brown was charging with his right arm up and head down, according the the autopsy information, and that final shot caused Brown to fall about five feet from the officers feet. The officer went for treatment for the punches to his face.

My thoughts: This is another case having nothing to do with race. The HANDS UP, DON”T SHOOT myth still permeates the airwaves with people thinking that Brown surrendered. At least six witnesses attest that he charged “like a bull” at the officer. Many of those same witnesses saw the fight at the car door and heard the first gun shot. This tragedy began with the commission of a crime…a strong armed robbery. It ended with an officer shooting a large aggressive man who violently threatened his life. The way in which lies were told to defame the officer are shameful. Suggesting that he shot a man with his hands in the air, a story which many continue to believe is true, is what has fueled our present troubles. The simple truth here is that if this man does not commit a crime this does not happen. If this man does not resist the officer, he will go to jail but will not die. If this man does not run at the officer he will probably not die from the first gun shot. If the man goes to the ground, he will be cuffed. No bullets were in his back…..none! This is an important fact.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I have written a lot here in the hope of being able to say what has become my thesis from these senseless tragedies. ALL LIFE MATTERS….not just black or white lives. Lives of police officers charged with protecting the innocent matter. Lives of young black men walking home from the store. Lives of fathers going home from the wedding of their child. Lives of boys listening to loud music. Even the lives of people who make bad decisions and commit crime matter. I think they matter so much than we must rebuke the present culture of violence which persists in our society. We must make demands of our population to say living in fear clutching a gun is no life. When did it get like this? And add to this the terrible murder yesterday of two police officers in retaliation of the above cases. Two young officers sitting in their cars are brutally shot and killed…..and now it would seem that other police officers are targets with mobs chanting “what do we want, dead cops, when do we want it…now!”

So stop already with the stupid racial rhetoric and telling me that this is all about race and black lives mattering. To make these arguments is to turn the clocks back to the 60’s and to fail to embrace the incredible progress of the last 40 years….for perhaps it is easier to cry racism rather than embrace the truth of our present problems. We have a problem with crime. We have a problem with the disrespect of law enforcement. We have a problem with broken families and broken homes which leave kids wandering the streets. We have a problem with gun control and the ready availability of weapons which kill. We life in a climate of constant fear where we lock our doors in the “wrong” neighborhoods and become suspicious of strangers in our midst. We need to rediscover the humanity in our neighbors and learn to love again. I am sick and tired of seeing and reading about senseless violence. All of the energy  being expended to protest should be redirected into a call for LOVE…..and a call to live in harmony with each other. Don’t destroy and steal stuff….but share and radically embrace your humanity. Until we refocus, our society which continue playing the blame game and await the next horrible story of someone dying unnecessarily.

Posted by: frkris | December 16, 2014

Who do I blame this Christmas?

I am amazed at what happens when things go wrong. There is the initial outburst around the discovery of the wrong followed by an immediate expression of defense or appeal for forgiveness followed by a time of reflection and then perhaps demonstrations of moving forward. Parenting can be hard work and at the best of times emotionally draining, becaue we love our children and want what is best for them….or what we perceive is best for them. It is a dance and often requires keeping in step.

I remember something we told the kids years ago. We said if you are ever at a party or function and want to be picked up early, all you have to do is phone us with the code word and we will come and get you. As agreed, we arrive and collect the child and watch how the social group decides we are not very nice people and in fact are unreasonable for not ‘letting’ our child stay longer. When the car door closes there is an expression of relief that we are going home as agreed. Sometimes people want to blame the parents for the departure from the party rather than taking a good look at the climate of the party which forced the phone call in the first place. It is easier to assume that there is nothing wrong and therefore blame anyone who is an ‘outsider’ to our experience. But that is not good enough. It never is good enough….and yet that is where a lot of people live in this world. In a place of shallow indifference or self deception. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with the kids who left the party early. Perhaps there is something wrong with the party, or in our case, something wrong with those in charge of supervising the party who were doing a lousy job. But a good parent knows that it is okay to let friends be mad at them for the sake of doing what is right for their child. “I am happy to take this for you” is a response to a child who expresses worry over someone saying bad things about you.

The older I get the more I realize how important one’s integrity really is. We come and go from proverbial parties constantly in life and what is important, if not vital, is that our integrity remains in tact. We ask ourselves, “have I loved” and “have I remained trustworthy and honesty” to the depths of our soul. We move through the obstacles of life knowing that the bumps cannot shake our integrity and forces us to compromise ourselves. We serve a heavenly Father who rescues and reassures us and calls us to the high road. A life lived in trust and in companionship of the Holy Spirit will never be filled with fear over blame and accusation.

Perhaps this is where I am this Advent. I am developing a growing sense of thankfulness that I can still call out to God and he comes….no need to blame anyone…O Come O Come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel !

Posted by: frkris | December 11, 2014

The Way

As I make another quiet journey through Advent I find myself moving through my thoughts at a particularly deep level. Our world is distracted by protests, killing, and innocent people wandering as refugees. There is pain everywhere and fear engulfs us, as we imagine all the bad people with bad intentions who may seek to destroy us. It is quite a crippling reality. To be wholeheartedly consumed by the “changes and chances” of this world.

I am reminded of the movie Awakenings where the lead character is catatonic from the rapid movement of his mind. From the outside it appears that things have stopped, but with the help of the doctor, they discover it is the frenetic movement which causes everything to seize. Life around Christmas, especially this Christmas, seems to run the risk of just grinding to a halt.

So I am trying to imagine the secret of slowing down. I am trying to grasp a way of thinking and consuming the whirlwind of information in such a way as not to be paralyzed in fear or constantly imagining the worst in others. My Advent discipline has been looking for the goodness in the people I meet, imagining their capacity for good, and looking deeper than superficiality to a place of commonality…..where I can see my relatedness to others.

My Advent begins to feel like a long walk…..a long quiet walk filled with reflection. I see an old man hold a door for a young woman and see the simple joy in that moment. I watch a child nuzzle around her mother’s leg in the check out at the store and see the beauty of family and love. I hear the laughter of my children as they act silly and enjoy their respective creativity, and I feel warmth from knowing that they love each other.

Yes, each Advent is a long walk of preparation to welcome the Christ child. We are called to clear the clutter and to say our prayers. We are truly called to rise above the storm of life’s conflicts and find a place of deep peace. So I sit quietly watching a couple of birds taking a bath on the edge of a lake and find reassurance in the truth of God’s care and Grace. There is peace in that for me.

I imagine walking to Bethlehem over the next week. The climb from Jericho…..the roughness of the topography and the sense of wilderness. I imagine bumping into a few shepherds along the way and sharing food. And then arriving at manger square…..with the multitudes of others….and a story of the birth of a baby who would change the world is re-told. It is so simple, and yet it is almost magical. Simple and magical….that is my Advent discipline this year.

Allow me to finish with another movie thought. I enjoyed a movie from a few years ago called THE WAY starring Martin Sheen. Perhaps the story of this purposeful walk and the community which is formed along the way can be a model for Advent for us all, we who walk filled with our pain and grief, we who are not who we thought we would be and are struggling with things we never dreamed would saddle us. Keep walking, and occasionally clutch the stone to be reminded of your mission. Keep walking forward and stop occasionally and enjoy wine and friends. Keep walking and stop a say prayers from time to time. Allow your world and your heart to be redefined by your Advent walking. Imagine a world filled with pilgrims, seeking to follow and find God….a world where peace on earth might even be possible. And with that thought….I am off to have a walk on the beach. Wasting time with Jesus looks like a life well lived. 

Create Your Own Visited States Map

Posted by: frkris | November 18, 2014

A few things from an old sermon I just bumped into

If you died tomorrow, what would you like to have on your tombstone??? Perhaps a strange question to start a sermon with, but I think it is important for us to consider this.

He loved bacon….o and his wife and kids too!

Here lies cannonball Hatfield, his last words were hey y’all, watch this!

Playing with names in a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery:

Here lies

Johnny Yeast

Pardon me

For not rising.

Memory of an accident in a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery:

Here lies the body

of Jonathan Blake

Stepped on the gas

Instead of the brake.

In a Georgia cemetery:

“I told you I was sick”

Anna Hopewell’s grave in Enosburg Falls, Vermont has an epitaph that

sounds like something from a Three Stooges movie:

Here lies the body of our Anna

Done to death by a banana

It wasn’t the fruit that laid her low

But the skin of the thing that made her go.

More fun with names with Owen Moore in Battersea, London, England:

Gone away

Owin’ more

Than he could pay.

On a grave from the 1880’s in Nantucket, Massachusetts:

Under the sod and under the trees

Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.

He is not here, there’s only the pod:

Pease shelled out and went to God.

Oops! Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York:

Born 1903 – Died 1942

Looked up the elevator shaft to see if

the car was on the way down.

It was.

On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:

Here lies Ezekial Aikle

Age 102

The Good Die Young.

In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:

The children of Israel wanted bread

And the Lord sent them manna,

Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,

And the Devil sent him Anna.

In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery:

Here lies an Atheist

All dressed up

And no place to go.

Posted by: frkris | November 13, 2014


I had someone call me the other day and say, “I just wanted to hear your voice”. I have been in that frame of mind so many times in my life where I was filled with worry and frustration and just wanted to touch base with those I love and know that it is okay. Often those feelings happen around the time of a crisis. I remember the long waitbusinesshonorclub1987 I had with a parishioner on 9-11 as we tried and tried to contact her daughter in New York. We had nothing to say in particular, but we just wanted to know she was okay. An hour or so after the second tower fell we got word from her that she made it out. There were tears for those who died mixed with tears of joy for the loved one who had made it.

Life seems rather full of these pivotal moments and in the midst of them we have an opportunity to see with new clarity. We are able to explore  the depths of our heart and connect with deep feelings of love, affection, frustration, and faith. It is good, therefore, to slow down in the curves of life and explore these  moments of clarity. They can teach us FCA1987about ourselves perhaps in ways that nothing else can.

Death of loved one, birth of first child, end of senior football season, relocation to new house, beginning of new job, or beginning of new relationship….these are just of few of those sacred spaces. Life is full of them to be sure. Sometimes you can have several in the span of a week. It would be tempting to grind to a halt and give up hope in the midst of the stress of change. My hope is that I can learn to breathe more deeply during these times, and deepen my faith in God during these winds of uncertainty.

I spent some time looking at some old yearbooks this week and in them found some photos of old friends and a few of and old Kris, complete with full head of hair! I remember so many positive and happy things when I see tdanceinlofthe black and white images of the past. I remember some of the difficulty and awkwardness of those same years and yet I find myself skimming through happy thoughts and happy times…..the blessings are there, in the short chapters and long chapters of life. I remember those moments when I just needed to hear a voice and I remember moments when it was my voice that was needed.

Ryan Ferguson’s was featured recently on TV. He was convicted of a crime which after ten years was overturned. Imagine the anger and frustration at the injustice. Imagine his family and their worry that he would never be free. What can ten years of wrongful incarceration teach someone? What does it teach the rest of us? Perhaps the greatest lessons of life are the reminders of how quickly life passes and therefore how precious life is. But more than that, perhaps the greatest lesson is that life itself is not the end but points us to an end beyond our end….a place where our ultimate separation from the voices of this world might be greeted with the ultimate connection with all things heavenly. With faith in that reality as the context for human life, may we commit ourselves to rise about theConcertandDanceCommittee1987 temporary squabbles and skirmishes of this short life, and find joy and happiness….and love and hope….enough hope that might even drive me to pick up the phone and say in love to someone else, “I just needed to hear your voice”.

Posted by: frkris | November 9, 2014

Sunday ramblings…

There was once an annoying boy who begged his father to go out and play. He kept asking and asking but the father was tired and wanted to continue watching the football game. Feeling rather desperate, he devised a plan. He took a full page from the morning newspaper and began cutting it into small pieces on the floor. When he was finished he told his son to take the tape and reassemble the giant piece of newsprint. The father went back to watching the game when to his amazement his son showed up with the newsprint reassembled….and said, okay then….lets go outside! The father feeling defeated said, okay, but could you tell me how you did it. The little boy said, it was easy……there was a giant photo of a man on the back side of the newspaper so when I put his face together, the page came together.

I think our walk with God can sometimes be like that experience of the little boy faced with what looks to be an impossible task. He can choose to look with a confounded spirit at the many and varied columns of text and images and contort his mind to imagine how the shapes and pieces might fit together, or he can look for the image and put the face together. In my daily walk with the Lord that means choosing to look deeper than the temporal fragments of life and to find a way to see the face of Christ. The things of this world may confound us at times and seem pointless and directionless, but it is just in that moment of frustration that we are called to find the faith to turn the pieces over….to look at the world in a new way…and to find the face of Christ and the knowledge of his love.

I am reminded of a sermon I heard years ago by a preacher contemplating the direction of the parish he was serving. He reached a point in his discourse of frustration with not being able to articulate a black and white plan for the coming days and years for this wonderful congregation. In his moment of consternation he shouted, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future!” There was hope in that moment for me. The continues to be hope in that expression for me.

I guess I struggle to discover how God wishes to use me in this world, but I will continue to pick up pieces and look for Jesus. I will rejoice in the hugs of senior football players after their last game knowing that they allowed me to walk with them for a while, sharing laughs and football excellence (44.5 per punt avg and a 32 yard field goal….good night!).

I used to go to a place called Shrinemont in Orkney Springs Virginia every year enjoying this amazingly beautiful place which was always filled with a collage of wonderful people. There was a community room near to the dining room and by the front window was a large table. Invaribly there was a puzzle on that table. You only occasionally saw it completed. We would spend a few minutes before or after meals finding a few pieces. Sometimes in the quiet of the afternoon you could sit their quietly with a stranger finding pieces. Only two times in all of those years did I see a completed puzzle. That reality never stopped me from sitting down and rejoicing over the discovery of an edge piece or another piece. I guess that experience always left me feeling a part of something bigger….part of a community….important, but not more important…connected. I imagined as I drove South on I-81 someone finding that last piece and enjoying the full image. I imagined them putting the pieces back into a box for someone else. It is a good memory….and perhaps it really was time well spent….or “wasting time with Jesus” as we used to say.

Today I find myself praying for faithfulness and completed images. I remember the saints who have gone before and did such an amazing job of assembling the pieces such that my faith has been made stronger. “I don’t know what the future holds”……well, that could be a frightening reality which would cause one not to want to sit quietly assembling puzzle pieces! “But I know who holds the future!”….a statement of faith which means that the Grace of God is truly and ever present help in the time of trouble and can help us to transcend all of life’s frustrations.

Since the image is reassembled, I guess I need to go outside and play!!! Rejoice in the Lord…..and again I say rejoice!

Below is the music which was beautifully played after the sermon. I invited you to enjoy it.

Posted by: frkris | September 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Dad

I sit here trying to figure out how time passes so quickly, how life zooms by at almost a reckless pace. Birthdays come around more quickly these days. I guess the older I get the more time I spend looking back and remembering stories from days gone by. That is not to say there are not new memories to create, but sometimes the adventures of tFamily RC Transatlantic in FLL 2013 formal dinnerhe past become great legends and make the present and present. I remember riding the great American Scream machine when I was really young. The safety bar rested upon his stomach which meant that I had quite a bit of wiggle room. As we crested the second hill I was airborne and loving every second. My dad held the back of my belt and I knew I could trust him with my life. We had such a wonderful ride, and my love of coasters has never stopped. I told my children that story the first time I rode with them on a big one….we smiled….and then they laughed at the thought of me and Opa zooming down the tracks of a fast coaster. Another great memory through the years was sneaking off to Asheville with my dad for the annual Asheville Christmas parade….probably known as a Holiday parade these days. We would either visit the Paradise Chinese restaurant where I was called Papa-son and could always be sure that egg foo young would arrive whether I ordered it or not (still love the fact that they closed the place for professional wrestling so the grandmother could go wave her pants at ringside), or we would go see old Tom at Tom’s grill and have slaw dogs and french fries. These places are now gone, just rich memories and reminders of love and trust. Birthdays are good times to celebrate those things, to remember and to remind those you love that you have not nor never will forget them. Being a good dad is not an easy thing and raising and providing for children is a task that challenges me daily. Hope you birthday was filled with good food and good football. Looking forward to making a few more memories in the years to come. (Found this postcard from a place that might bring back some memories!!!)mckeesport-pennsylvania-postcard

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