They say our stretch of beach was named for the Satsuma oranges that used to grow meekly there until the two consecutive winters of 1927-28 when massive frosts killed them off for good. Now long stretches of the formerly-white sands, which could reflect the sun so brightly they would burn your corneas if you weren’t careful, are marinated in oil. The orange-tinged granules spread like spilled Tang from the entrance of Perdido Bay, ringed off with long lines of floating boom, through Gulf State Park, past Gulf Shores and the stacked rows of new condos and beach homes rebuilt defiantly in the aftermath of Ivan and Katrina’s twin ravagings, and on to Fort Morgan.… Read the rest
“We were watching the soccer match,” Eyegal explained to the desk clerk at the historic Park View Guest House in the Garden District of New Orleans last Friday morning.
The US v. Slovenia match had ended just a few minutes before the 11:00 AM checkout time, but we had planned ahead and had our bags packed and ready to go. The “good” US National Team had taken the pitch in the 2nd half after the “bad” one, the U-10 squad that had showed up by mistake, had gone down 0-2 in the first.
Yet the 2-2 draw to stay alive in Group C play had left both of us a bit frustrated.… Read the rest
Just to show you what kind of marriage Eyegal and I have, when it came to planning our 25th anniversary trip to New Orleans, one of the most discussed points on our itinerary was where we would watch the US v. Slovenia match on Friday morning.
I jest of course (slightly), but you know you’re made for each other when you can sort through your priorities like that and still stay married.… Read the rest
People look at you kind of strange when you tell them that you shelled out good money to attend something called a “Christian Scholars’ Conference” and that you actually enjoyed it. Reactions can range from “What’s a guy like you doing in a place like that?” to “Well, la-de-da!” But believe me, after a long season of Tim James political TV ads and rootin’ tootin’ “Ag Commish” wannabe viral videos, I was ready for a little more “la-de-da” in my life.
You know Eyegal and me–liberal arts geeks to the core. An itch like that doesn’t always get scratched sufficiently in a high tech town like Huntsville, Alabama.… Read the rest
As she thumbed through our passports with her practiced fingers and keyed the necessary data into her computer at Miami International Airport, the pleasant, Hispanic U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer was all smiles, the perfect blend of professionalism and “Welcome Home, Cherished and Valued Citizen” hospitality.
I was looking directly at her when she came to my name and her face suddenly darkened. She knitted her brow and tapped a few more times on her keyboard, double-checking, perhaps hoping to stem the flow of bad news that was appearing on her screen. Then she gave it to me, straight between the eyes.… Read the rest
I don’t always speak Spanish, but when I do, I prefer having Jose Rafael Rodriguez (aka, my translator “Danny”) somewhere in the immediate vicinity. I am neither the most interesting man in the world, nor the most bilingual.
I tried to memorize enough Spanish eye care phrases to get by on my recent trip to Guatemala, but despite my best efforts and intentions, I found myself leaning hard on Danny. I would usually start out the day doing a passable job-abre sus ojos (“open your eyes”), mira arriba (“look up”) –but as things got hot and busier and I became increasingly fatigued, I started to mangle my rote phrases more and more.… Read the rest
“What do you want me to do for you,” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
–Mark 10: 51
Like Blind Bartimaeus, all Marta wanted was to be able to see. She was no whiny yuppie who would be satisfied with nothing less than 20/20 post-LASIK. She just wanted good enough.
Good enough to see the faces of her family, especially the grandchildren. Good enough to take in the vibrant green of the Guatemalan countryside and the eye-catching reds, blues, oranges and yellows of the local marketplace where her friends would gather to sell their handcrafted wares.… Read the rest
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
I once had a war hero sitting in my exam chair who had survived all manner of jungle ambushes but was dying from an inoperable brain tumor.… Read the rest
(This is Part 2 of a series on our recent trip to Clinica Ezell in Montellano, Guatemala. Part 1 can be found here. The following are remarks that I delivered to the HTI Eye/Ortho Team on March 17, 2010 during evening devotional).
First off, thank you Cameron for having my back tonight. He loaned me his Bible after I forgot mine. I didn’t want to stand up here and scroll through my Bible app on my iPhone–I thought that would look, uh, “unprofessional” (pointing to my Bama ball cap and scrubs).
I just want to clear up one more thing before I get started.… Read the rest
The road to Montellano, Guatemala started in a small, dingy-gray room on the 11th floor of Roanoke Memorial Hospital on April 2nd, 2009. It was there around 5:00 AM that I held my mother’s head in my hands and shouted words of love and farewell over her as she drew her last breath in this life.
You don’t travel into the Valley of the Shadow with someone and then back out again without being changed forever. The Reaper’s sickle passes so close to your own skin that you feel its wind. It cuts, and if you’re standing near enough, you bleed.… Read the rest
I literally groaned when my clerk handed me the plastic reference card to place on my houndstooth lanyard. If you work for the government or a large corporation, you know what I’m talking about.
Those lovely little laminated jewels have all the answers to every conceivable scenario or crisis. Surrounded by a 10-foot wall of flames? No problem. Just remember–“R-A-C-E” (Remove, Activate, Confine, Extinguish) and “P-A-S-S” (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep).
Of course, by the time you fumble through them, find the right one and read it, the point is moot because now you’re soot.
“Don’t worry,” he said as he watched me reach around and rub my neck in anticipation of the extra weight. … Read the rest
If you’re going to stand in line in subfreezing temperatures in order to enter the holy of holies of college basketball, then you’d better know your stuff because every other Cameron Crazie wannabe standing in line with you sure will.
Well, mostly anyway.
When it comes to football, we were a motley crew, united only in our love for Duke basketball. Clemson, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, Penn State and Rutgers were just a few of the schools represented in our little knot of frozen fandom near the front of the line.
Kid Clemson, the guy in the Tiger hoodie in front of me, was a veritable walking encyclopedia of sports statistics.… Read the rest
I learned a very valuable lesson yesterday. If you’re going to be using an iPhone in subfreezing temperatures, make sure it’s fully charged. You might even want to wrap it up in a heated, insulated blanket between uses while you’re at it.
I barely had time to snap a photo or two of the Duke University campus when it completely flatlined. Can you believe that? Sure you can! It’s an iPhone! My itty-bitty blue United States map was lit up and everything, and then it just up and disappeared like the lost continent of Atlantis.
Guess I can’t blame that one on AT&T since it was a hardware issue.… Read the rest
A federal holiday means movie day around our house, and yesterday Eyegal and I trekked to the local mega-cinema for a showing of what will most likely be Best Picture, Slumdog Millionaire (forget all the preening and pretentious envelope-drama, this one’s a lock).
This kaleidoscopic, Dickensian pauper-to-prince tale came highly recommended and did not disappoint, but be warned–it’s a rough ride. There’s one scene in particular that made this Eyeguy cringe more than all the others put together, but even amid the torture, squalor and exploitation of the Mumbai ghetto the human spirit rises, irrepressible, and at the end of the bumpy journey, redemption awaits.… Read the rest
Number Two Son and I are in Pensacola, Florida this morning. It’s not the first time I’ve been here with one of me lads.
And Pensacola means McGuire’s Irish Pub, a steroid-enhanced, Gatlinburg version of one that I’m sure a real Irishman would scoff at and probably scrap over if anyone dared to call it the real thing. Aye, I think he would.
But the filet was melt-in-your-mouth wonderful and the, ahem, “root beer” was just what the doctor ordered after a hard, six hour drive. We had a seat near the stage, so we got an earful of some loud and raucous Irish music, all of which bore the same basic theme–whiskey and fightin’.… Read the rest