Crisis? Or opportunity?

I love watching the sunrise on my morning runs – it gives me hope for the coming day!

“At every crossroads there are at least two choices: to view your circumstances as a calamity, or to view it as an incredible opportunity.” from the book Chop Wood, Carry Water by Joshua Medcalf.

I was fortunate to read this book last week, and the timing couldn’t have been better.

How could I, how could any of us realize, that just a week later schools would be closed, sporting venues empty, and stores across the country would be out of toilet paper.

Certainly, our lives have changed, at least for now. We’ll have to make adjustments to our daily lives, and it seems we learn something new each day that changes the Changes we’ve already made.

But it doesn’t mean we should give up hope.

And it doesn’t mean this can’t be an opportunity for us.

The Chinese symbol for “crisis” is the combination of two words: danger and opportunity.

In the book, Medcalf goes on to tell the story of Benaiah, who chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day, and killed the lion. Benaiah went on to become a bodyguard for King David.

“When most people come face to face with their opportunities (lions), they run as fast as they can in the opposite direction, but when you decide to embrace the lion and chase it, you have the opportunity to build your resume, your character, your skills.”

We will have to make changes (at least for now). And while we are encouraged to stay away from social gatherings, it doesn’t mean we have to hide.

Instead, let this be a time for each of us be a lighthouse to those around us, standing tall and proud and sending out a light of hope for those around us. Let’s use this time to use our individual strengths and talents to help and inspire those in our neighborhoods, towns, country, and even the world.

God never promised us more than the day we have now. I encourage you to use this day to inspire those around us.

Hope isn’t dead, my friends. It’s time for us to share our own hope to everyone around us.

Reece and the Great Penguin Race

Look what I dusted off the shelf! My blog! It’s back, well at least sort of.

I’ve been working on a children’s story, and thought I’d share a portion of it on a day when uncertainty and apprehension seem to be the norm.

This is still a work in progress, but would love to hear some feedback. It’s from a story called “Reece and the Great Penguin Race.”

Mr. Plunderdunk whipped the brightly covered blanket off the object next to him. And there, standing right in front of the classroom was . . . a penguin.

“Ladies and gentleman,” began Mr. Plunderdunk, and then corrected himself. “Or should I say, boys and girls. I present to you . . . Pedro the Penguin!

The class all stared, including Reece, who couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“Pedro is THE. MOST. AMAZING. PENGUIN. IN THE WORLD!” declared Mr. Plunderdunk.

Pedro the Penguin’s expression didn’t change.

“Pedro can juggle!”

Pedro the Penguin just stood there.

“He can work complicated math problems without paper, pencil or even a calculator!”

Pedro the Penguin just stood there.

“Pedro is a MASTER chef, and he can make scrumptious ice cream sundaes.

Pedro the Penguin looked at his toes.

AND . . . ” Mr. Plunderdunk said with a dramatic flair ” . . . he’s the fastest bird on the planet!”

Pedro the Penguin burped.

The class didn’t know what to say. No one, that is, except Reece.

“Fast? He doesn’t look fast at all,” said Reece. “He can’t even run! He just waddles around.”

“That, my young man, is where you’re wrong,” said Mr. Plunderdunk. “This animal is a rocket when it comes to running. AND juggling. I’ll have you know that he can beat ANYONE in a race.”

Reece stood up. “I don’t believe it!”

The rest of the students gasped.

“AND . . .” said Reece as he became very serious. “I challenge Pedro to a race!!”

The students gasped even louder. A race? With Reece? Against a Pedro the Penguin?
Nothing like this had ever happened at school before.

Mr. Plunderdunk just smiled. “You, my young friend, just made a serious mistake. Prepare to . . . how do they say it . . . eat his dust!”

The Best 3 Minutes of the Day

What can you do in just 3 minutes?

I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately.

This looks EXACTLY like our usual breakfast – only different!

It’s really hard to think of much. Read a newspaper article? Maybe, if it’s short. Take a quick shower? We often have to do that, what with us living in a house that seems remarkably uninfested by hot water.

Boil some water. Walk out to the mailbox. Maybe unload the groceries from the car. Answer a question on Jeopardy? Or, in my case, miss a question.

180 seconds.

It’s not much time to do anything. But I found out recently, that maybe I can do more with that small window of time than I ever imagined.

Mornings around our house aren’t quite chaotic, but it’s in the same zip code. My son and I are both morning people, so that helps. And I keep all the clocks in my house at least 5 minutes fast (a whole nother story) and that helps, too.

I’m in the kitchen, cooking breakfast, vitamins for my son, for me. Making a school lunch – wait, have I eaten any fruit this morning. Trash goes out (if needed), get the dishes washed (will be needed). Finish with the breakfast, pour some milk, add a banana, and – Taa-daa: breakfast is served.

And speaking of magic, my son then proceeds to make is breakfast disappear in a fraction of the time it took me to get it all ready. I found that frustrating at times, until he made a comment about it.

“I’m sorry I eat that so fast,” he said, with a true tone of contrition. “But that breakfast I have every morning is the best 3 minutes of my day.”

Wow. I would never have guessed. That the meal I made for him every morning was so important to him. Or that ANYONE actually liked my cooking.

But it’s not the cooking that makes the difference. It’s that time we can spend together before the demands and chaos of the day pulls us apart and sends us spiraling in our lives.

Three minutes. It’s not much time. But sometimes that’s all it takes to make a difference in the lives of those who are important to us.

 

 

Eclipse can’t block long arm of the law

The buildup for the eclipse had been building up all summer, and we were more susceptible than most.

It had all the elements for an event that we would enjoy: the sun, the moon, staring longingly at the sky. Oh, and some really gnarly sun glasses that I thought were broke because I couldn’t see ANYTHING with them on.

My son and I began talking about the eclipse early in the summer, and just how cool and un-geeky it was going to be.

We talked about it. And we talked about it some more. And when we weren’t talking about it  . . . well, we probably weren’t thinking about it during those times.

But as the eclipse drew nearer, we worked up a plan. It seemed very simple: I would check him out of school, we’d go to lunch, then watch the eclipse.

Simple, right? A nice father-son afternoon, playing hooky and eating non-school-cafeteria food and everything

Except for one small problem.

After I picked him up from school as we drove to the restaurant, there was one looming thought on my son’s mind:

“If I miss school this afternoon, will I be breaking the law?”

I was stunned. But before I could answer, he launched another question. “I’m not going to get in serious trouble am I?”

I could picture it now. We’re sitting in the restaurant, when suddenly a swarm of police cars surround the building. A SWAT team in full gear busts the door. “Down on the floor!” They scream. “Don’t move! DON’T! MOVE!!”

Then they would escort my son, hands cuffed behind his back, shove him into the back of the squad car, and race off to police headquarters.

Keep in mind, that when I was a kid, I thought it was totally acceptable (and yes, perhaps even expected) to miss school for something as mild as a mosquito bite.

We enjoyed an assault-free meal, then headed to my office. After worrying about rain all weekend, we were treated to sunshine and mild temperatures (a rarity in Arkansas in the middle of August).

We weren’t in the area with the full eclipse, but we did get about 90 percent. And it was even better than I thought. Of course, I’m not really sure what I expected, but the actual event surpassed that.

My daughter and her boyfriend joined us before it was over. It was one of those family events that you look back on fondly, and say “remember when . . . ”

It was an afternoon I’ll treasure for a long time. It was perfect all the way around – even if we did have to lay low from the law.

 

Dog’s Unusual Name Causes Confusion

In honor of my aunt Shirley who passed away last week, I’m re-posting one of my most popular blog posts. I hope you enjoy.

Several years ago, my wife, daughter, and I lived in a small town next to a church, where I served as the youth director. One day, we found a beautiful border collie. Actually, she found us, because she just appeared at our house one day. We mistakenly thought the dog belonged to our pastor and started call the dog “Preacher.”

My daughter at a young age along with our dog, Preacher.

My daughter at a young age along with our dog, Preacher.

We quickly discovered she had no owner, and we were lucky enough to keep her for our pet – and we kept her rather unusual name.

Preacher had been well taken care of and knew all of the standard dog tricks. She quickly became a favorite with everyone at the church. However, as I’m sure you can imagine, working at a church and having a dog named Preacher can often cause some confusion. For example, when she became sick, I caused quite a stir when I told people we had to put Preacher in the hospital. The congregation was ready to send flowers to their pastor until I explained it was only our dog who was sick.

But this mix-up was mild compared to the problems Preacher caused for my mom, Carolyn. When my family and I moved about a year later, we had to take an apartment that didn’t allow pets. My parents, being the wonderful parents they are, agreed to keep Preacher. They quickly became attached to the dog. So it was with some sadness when my mom called me to tell me Preacher had been killed when she was hit by a car. But in addition to calling me, she also called her sister, Shirley.

At this point, I’ll let Shirley tell the rest of the story as she told it to me.

Your mom called me the other day just a ‘crying and said, “Our preacher has been killed.” Well, the first thing I thought of was Brother Guthrie at the church and his poor widow and their two kids. I just couldn’t believe it.

How did it happen, I asked.

“A car hit him,” said my mom, still crying.

“A car hit him?” I asked. I just couldn’t believe how tragic this was. “Was he out walking?”

“No, he was probably running,” my mom said.

Well, I knew Brother Guthrie used to jog, but I thought he had quit. “Well, where did it happen?” I asked.

“He was out in front of our house.”

Well, I could see now why Carolyn was so upset – having someone killed right in front of your house would upset anyone, but I was still in shock. “How on earth did a car hit him? Did it swerve over or did the driver just not see him?”

“No,” replied my mom. “I think he ran right out in front of the car.”

Well, this was the strangest thing I had ever heard. “Why would he run out in front of a car. Wasn’t he watching where he was going?”

“I think he was probably chasing a squirrel,” said my mom.

I was shocked! “Brother Guthrie got killed in front of your house while he was chasing a squirrel?!”

“No! Our dog Preacher!” said my mom, almost offended. And in her distraught condition exclaimed without thinking, “I wouldn’t be this upset if it had only been our pastor!”

Just a moment

“What two colors make cyan,” I asked. Not your typical question at the dinner table, but my son and I were at Chili’s and were playing Trivia Crack on my phone.

“It’s sigh-uhn,” said my son, emphasizing the second syllable.

“Yes, that’s right,” I said, missing his point. “What two colors make sigh-ann?” I asked again.

“It’s pronounced sigh-uhn,” my son said matter-of-factly, as he dipped another chip in the quest dip. “And it’s green and blue.”

I picked the correct answer from the four choices on the screen. “That’s what I said. Sigh-ann.” I was confused.

We were eating chips and queso and chips and salsa as fast as we could. We were on our way to see the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie. We had both loved the first one and had been anxiously awaiting the new one. But my son wanted to stop for lunch first, and he chose Chili’s because “everyone can find something to eat there. And the cheese dip is really good.”

And it was good. But my glass of tea was less than a fourth full. And even more trouble, all my ice had melted. I like a lot of ice in my drink, but on this day it seemed like Chili’s was rationing it.

“It’s sigh-uhn,” he said again. “Here, I’ll show you.” With that he quickly grabbed my phone, clicked out of our game app, and began a Google search on the internet for the correct pronunciation of cyan.

He found just what he was looking for and pushed the play button.

“Sigh-uhn” said the mechanical voice.

“See,” declared my son.

“It sounded like he said sigh-ann. Do it again.” He pushed the play button again.

“Sigh-ann” came the reply from the voice on my phone.

“See,” I said. Now I was the one in the right.

My son looked confused and began to push play over and over.

“Sigh-uhn.” “Sigh-ann.” “Sigh-uhn.” “Sigh-ann.”

“It sounds like he’s saying it both ways,” I said. All my son could do was nod. “It’s probably just some guy sitting at his computer who has to say whatever word somebody looks up. And you keep making him say that word over and over!” We both laughed at the image.

“Ok, I’m going to start a new game.” But then I paused as the waitress stopped by again.

“You guys doing ok? Your food is coming out next,” she said. But she’d already used that promise. I didn’t care, though. We still had plenty of time before the movie and we were having fun.

But there was one thing. “Could I have a refill, please? And a glass of ice?” Ok, two things, but I do like a lot of ice.

Now that she was gone, it was back to the game. “Ok, let’s see if we can answer a question right.” Normally, between the two of us, we can do pretty well. But today we were struggling.

“Here’s one I think we can answer. What continent is Kansas on?”

“Is it Canada,” my son said laughing, joking at one of the answer choices.

“So how do you think the movie is going to be?” I asked.

“I don’t know. But one of my friends said there are three sad parts. I’m wondering what those sad parts are.”

The music in the background at Chili’s had been just that – background music, upbeat and fun. Until suddenly “Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack came on. It almost seemed like it should have been featured on that segment of Sesame Street, “One of these things is not like the others . . . ”

“That’s kind of a mood killer,” I said. “It’s so sad compared to all the other songs they’ve been playing.”

“I’m glad they played it,” said my son. “You should get that song for your ipod.”

I nodded. He was right – I should.

Now you might be wondering how my 13-year-old would be familiar with a song that came out 40 years before he was born. But we both love the movie “About a Boy,” and we love the concert scene that features that song.

“Ok, who was the National League Cy Young award winner in 2012?” I asked as I looked at our next question.

“Was it Clayton Kershaw?” he guessed at one of the choices.

“I think it was R.A. Dickey,” I said, wondering how I, not really a baseball fan, knew that.

“Kershaw was the only one I had heard of,” said my son.

Finally, they brought our food. Sometime over the last year or so, my son had discovered barbecue ribs. And he loved them! So he ordered those. We talked of ordering a full rack and splitting them, but I decided on something else. But his order looked small enough that they might have come from a pot-bellied pig.

Then my son said what I was already thinking. “Maybe I should have ordered the full rack for myself,” he said, eyeing the tiny portion.

“You’ll be fine,” I assured him, what with the chips and salsa and his fries and all.

“We might need to order a dessert,” he said. I knew this was coming, but I had to admire the way he worked it in, working the sympathy card for the deprived kid.

“We’ll see,” I said, smiling.

And on it went like this. Eating. Answering questions between bites. Laughing. Arguing. Soon we would be off to the fun and excitement and all the CGI effects of the latest Marvel movie. And the next day would bring school and work and all the other things that make up life.

But for now it was nice that we could share this moment, this lunch, the afternoon. The small moments that are often hard to pinpoint and remember. But as we look back, they’re what produce the good feelings of our life.

 

I Eat 3 Filet-O-Fish Sandwiches a Year . . . Whether I Want To or Not

Bears know when to hibernate, fish know when to shed their skin, and cats know when to use the bathroom in your suitcase (well, mine does). Nature has equipped creatures around the world with an internal clock to know when to do IMPORTANT STUFF.

I’m no exception. Nature has given me an invaluable gift – the ability to know exactly when I should eat a Filet-O-Fish sandwich. And that time is at exactly three times a year.

I can’t exactly explain why. It’s not the only food that I have an internal alarm for. I also have to eat at KFC twice a year. I don’t know when or where, but I know at two points during the year I have to respond to the greasy smooth smell of KFC.

But it’s not the same as the craving my body feels for the filet-o-fish. I’m not sure if it’s the naturally-shaped piece of fish or the disturbingly excessive amount of tartar sauce, but there’s something about that sandwich I love. (It should also be noted that I love the word tartar sauce and hearing it always reminds me of this scene from the Simpson’s.

But probably one of the biggest reasons I cave to the crave of the filet-o-fish is that each of my kids have been, at one point in time or another, a big fan of McDonald’s.

At the present time, my daughter doesn’t even want to drive by the golden arches, much less eat there, but back in the day she loved the nuggets. I’m not sure where I went wrong, but now she only wants to eat healthy food.

When she was young, we lived in a town so small, it didn’t even have a McDonald’s. The nearest one was about 10 miles away. And we would often go with a couple who had a daughter same age.

What made it even better was that this particular location had a nice playground, and the girls would often approach the event with a level of tepid passion that’s usually reserved for paying taxes.

So in an attempt to get our daughters to play, us two dads would often begin playing on the equipment (keep in mind, only because we had to! We certainly didn’t want to. Well, not very much). But instead of excitement, we often received stares that almost bordered on looks of embarrassment. We don’t know these guys, they seemed to be thinking.

Come to think of it, that’s pretty much the same look I get from women now.

After my daughter outgrew Happy Meals, my son was ready to start chowing down on some tasty mickey d’s food. But his was usually more of a pick-up-at-the-drive-thru kind of meal. And he would only eat nuggets and fries.

But it was risky taking him inside. You never knew when he might have a meltdown and start screaming about things he didn’t like in the third person. “Sam can’t LIKE a cheeseburger!” So it was much smarter keeping him locked (ummmmm, make that safe) in the car.

The person I was dating at the time suggested that the only way he would start to act better in public was to start unleashing him (ummmm, I mean taking him) out in public more. So that’s what I decided to do – to take him to more public places . . . the minute he turned 21.

It turned out I didn’t have to wait quite that long. He began to settle down and I began to take him out more, which wasn’t long after he reached double digits in age.

The good news is Sam still enjoys eating at McDonald’s from time. So I can enjoy a Big Mac or a . . . well, you know.

Hold on, I think I feel my internal alarm going off now. . . Oh, wait, that was my apple pie alarm. No need to worry – it goes off every day.

 

 

 

Wrestling with Writer’s Block

There was a time when, quite smugly, when I would laugh when I read about or someone told me they were suffering from, writer’s block. I didn’t laugh out loud. Instead, I would have a concerned look on my face and nod gravely, much like a doctor listening to the symptoms of a patient.

But inside . . . well, inside I was kind of laughing. Thinking to myself that this is some made up excuse for not writing. I should know, because I’ve got plenty of experience with excuse-making-upping as a runner.

But I’m not laughing anymore.

For more than a year (a YEAR! I honestly didn’t know it had been that long) I didn’t write a blog post. Occasionally, friends or family would ask about writing. Or even say something kind, like they missed my blog posts and hoped I would start posting again soon. I would nod and smile, in a much different way this time, and agree that I did need to post something. Or that I had been busy with kids or work or laundry or watering the cat or any other such number of excuses.

However, I knew that wasn’t true.

I think probably writer’s block is different for different people. And I’m still not sure I completely understand what it has been for me. It seemed to take the shape of a number of things mixing together, combining into one formidable foe. It was a combination of fears and anxieties that became not just a mental block to coming up with new ideas; it also became almost a physical block, like an invisible force that stood between me and my keyboard.

I do know one thing: most of the time I didn’t even want to write. After my last post in March of 2016, I would have writing ideas come to me from time to time. Usually they were very vague. And most of those ideas were (how can I say this nicely) lame.

Or at least they seemed lame to me. It seemed that most of my ideas and even my writing (if I got that far) was not very good. Certainly not good enough for . . . for what? Well, for anything. Or anyone. It didn’t seem that anything I wrote could possibly be good enough for anyone else to read. So why bother writing?

That led to another aspect of writer’s block for me: even if my writing was any good, I didn’t think anyone would want to read it. I mean, I didn’t have anything worth saying, so why would anyone want to read it. Garbage all. Or so I felt.

So it went on. Days without writing stretched into weeks. And weeks into months.

Last summer, I bought a new laptop. As you can probably guess, like most of what I do, I don’t do it like normal people. Buying a new computer is no exception. Most people look at things like memory and speed and important things like that. Not me; I always test it out to see how it feels typing on the keyboard.

The one I picked out had the best “feel” to a keyboard I’d ever had. “Oh boy!” I thought. “Now I’ll really do some writing!”

But if anything I became worse. I had this beautiful new piece of technology (I’m a sucker for the latest in new gadgets) . . . that sat on my desk, nothing but an expensive paper weight.

Occasionally I would get it out and surf the net. And every once in a while I would think about writing, maybe even venturing to my website. But that’s as far as I could get. At that point, my heart would either literally race or I would be struck by a great big feeling of Who Cares.

On it went. Until finally just a couple of weeks ago. I’m really not sure even what happened. But I think it’s something my son did. He asked me if it would be okay if he showed my blog to his friends. (Yes, I know that’s sad. Teenage boys who read blog posts for fun. Another sad and troubling commentary on the youth of our country. But that’s a blog post for another time.)

Whether it was that or something else, I felt like writing. In fact, I felt a need to write. Something. Anything. But would it be good enough? Would anyone want to read it?

That’s the thing though. Was I writing for other people or was I writing for me? And if it wasn’t “good enough”, who really cares. I needed to write, to express myself in my own goofy, warped way. But it was my way.

Have I overcome writer’s block? I don’t know. I’m not sure if anyone ever overcomes a fear. Overcome is a strong word. Instead, I think we learn to tame it. To live with it. To face the thing that you fear and do it anyway.

That’s where I am now. It feels like a good place. No promises, but I hope I can stay here, and continue doing this thing I enjoy so much.

 

Downward trend in American values traced to deficiency in apple pie

Are you sitting down. If not, you need to. Because what I’m about to tell you is shocking and (yes, I’m not afraid to admit it) deeply disturbing.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, or maybe heard on the news, that some of our American values may be slipping. That we as a country might not be as great as we once were.

The apple pie I bought for Sunday school . . . IF it survives a Saturday alone with me.

Well, here’s the shocking part: I have traced the problem to it’s root.

It all happened innocently enough – (cue ominous, shocking music) in Sunday School!

I help teach a class of first and second graders. And on this particular Sunday we were having a discussion before a discussion. In other words, I was chatting with the kids before the lesson began. And so I had asked them what their favorite fruit was. Most said apples. Some said bananas. One said oranges. Another really like strawberries.

Then one of the kids said she liked green apples.

To which I said, those are great for making an apple pie.

Blank looks all around. I expected to hear crickets chirping at any moment.

But there it was, the mention of apple pie and Not One of the Children Knew What I Was Talking About.

“You know, Appppppppple. Piiiiiiiiiiieeeeee”. I pronounced it very slowly as if they had suddenly lost their ability to comprehend the English language.

They just looked from one to the other, thinking, I’m sure, what have we done wrong.

Or, maybe more probably, what the heck is wrong with this guy?!

But by this time, I didn’t care. I’m not completely sure, but I may have started to hyperventilate as I began to realize that our country was much closer to teetering over than I had ever thought possible.

“How many of you,” I asked, trying to calm the tremble that had crept into my voice “have ever had a piece of apple pie.”

Not. One. Hand. Was. Raised.

It was at that very moment (cue patriotic music, preferably Stars and Stripes Forever) that I vowed to right this wrong! To make sure that the kids of this country got away from all of this junky healthy food that they’ve been eating and set them on the right path to some good, non-nutritional sugary snacks – the kind our country was founded on. (Or I could rewind this, and instead argue that apple pie is a healthy snack, what with apples and all in it. Naaaaa. I’m not going to do that.) This sounds like the kind of tasty new policy President Trump could really devour! (Ok, that was pretty bad. Real bad. But can’t you just see this as something he could support?)

And so, after more discussion they decided that they too would like to do their civic duty for the good of the ole US of A and try some apple pie.

So that’s what I’m going to do. This Sunday, I’m going to make an apple pie and take it to church.

Wait. That’s not quite right. I’m going to make an apple pie APPEAR and take it to church this Sunday. I’ve already ordered and picked up the pie. And we’ll see if I can right this ship and get our country sailing back in the right direction, even if it’s only a few young’uns at a time.

That is, I’ll do that unless I get a hankering for some pie this weekend myself. After all, if nothing else, I’m VERY patriotic.

 

Learning to Shave

“Dad, I think I need to learn how to shave.”

I had known those word were coming in the near future. I had noticed that my son had something growing on his upper lip that was something a little more noticeable than the residue of chocolate milk.

When I helped my son shave for the first time, it wasn’t quite a Simpsons moment, but I probably had a similar expression on my face.

Now keep in mind, this is coming from someone who still to this day only needs to shave two or three times a week. And a “full beard” for me looks about like the crumbs on a plate from a couple of cookies. Needless to say, I didn’t need to shave at his age. In fact, I didn’t really need to shave until a couple of weeks ago. Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but not by much.

But he did need to shave. And it was starting to bother him.

So, a person always does in small town in the South – I went to Wal-Mart. Picked out a razor and foam, brought them home, and . . . stalled.

Not sure exactly why. But probably I was delaying that step. That move being a kid to being a (ahem) man. I’m still waiting on this to happen for me, but my son is already to that point.

I realize that he’s the same age whether he needs to shave or not. And he’s not any older whether he shaves or not.

But the shaving itself seemed so symbolic. So . . . growing up. Way too fast, at least for dad.

It was hard to imagine the little kid who could turn a soft, rubber spoon into a lethal weapon, the kid who could find a way to break things in another room without ever actually entering that room, was now going to be armed with a real honest-to-goodness razor.

So I stalled. I waited. And I guess, deep down, I hoped it would all just go away. But the only thing that happened was that he continued to need to clean up his face.

Then, it finally happened. He said it was time to learn how to shave. So off we went to the bathroom and got started.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I was probably the last person (well, last adult male) that he would want to teach him the process of shaving – he’d be a lot better off finding someone with a tad more experience.

But I was I was the only one around. So get started we did. And we went through all of it – the hot water, the shaving cream, the razor, the basic how-tos.

And just like that, it was over.

“How does it look?” was the question at the end. Only when I looked at him, it wasn’t the little boy who was almost banned from Appleby’s in three states. Instead, I was looking into the face of a young man who was almost as tall as me. (I keep telling myself that, just so I feel better. But I think he might actually be a little taller.)

Another milestone of our ongoing journey of growing up. And another reason to be proud of him . . . even if he does have a heavier beard than I do.