When I was a kid in the 70s it seemed like every television show was talking about couples going on separate vacations. It was the height of Women’s Liberation to go where you want to go for your vacation and not have to hang out with your boring husband or significant other. To be honest, I never got why it was supposed to be such a big deal, but I’m a dude. Clearly I was not meant to understand.
Every year about this time, Peggy and I relive the 70s and go on separate vacations. Actually, she goes on vacation and I stay home and take care of our pets.
Peggy is a Personal Trainer and she works with many of her clients at a gym that was built for the Recreation Ministry at our church. Every January, the Recreation Ministry takes a group on a ski trip, and Peggy is required to go as part of the ministry staff. At least that is the story I get…
I am always invited. I was a respectable athlete as a young man, and I spent quite a bit of time on skis. Behind a boat. In the water. When I had back surgery in 2005, the surgeon told me that unless I wanted to have the same surgery again I needed to give up long-distance running and snow skiing. Let’s just say that neither seemed like a giant sacrifice.
Peggy has so much fun on these trips, and I have fun receiving the pictures of her having fun. And I don’t have to get cold or wet. Win-win…
Seriously, since we don’t live in Katy anymore I don’t know that Peggy will be participating on future trips, so I really wanted her to go this year and have a great time. And it looks like she is.
Meanwhile, I am at home planning a trip we can take together. That’s just the kind of guy I am…
As I was sitting at my desk today I realized it was January 20, the day the newly elected president gets sworn in every four years. No president is getting sworn in today, but seeing the date reminded me of this day five years before.
I cannot remember another day in my lifetime that brought so much hope to so many people. The inauguration of Barack Obama was a landmark day in American history. I never believed that I would see an African-American president in my lifetime, and I know that most of my African-American friends would (and did) say the same thing.
At that time I worked in an office where more than 60% of my coworkers were African-American. We all stopped working to watch the president take the oath of office, and there were more than a few tears as it took place.
The day after election day had been rowdy in the office, but this was much more significant and solemn. One of my friends, as she cried, said, “It’s really happening.” It was almost as if she could not believe it until she saw the oath of office administered.
As a person who remembers the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, it was amazing and humbling to see this result only a little more than forty years later. I know that forty years sounds like a long time, but that is rapid progress. Not rapid enough, but faster than I ever thought could happen.
What I remember most about the rest of that day is going to the Houston Rockets basketball game that night against the Utah Jazz. I’m sure the game was exciting and I seem to remember that the Rockets won the game. But what I most remember is the National Anthem before the game and the way the people in the Toyota Center were singing along. I wasn’t in New York after September 11, but I have never been part of a sports crowd singing the Star-Spangled Banner with more gusto than what I heard that night.
Something was different. Everything was different.
My son is twenty-five years old. Sometimes that is hard to believe, especially when you look at his mother.
We don’t see him very often unless we drive to Baton Rouge for football games, but we have seen him a few times this fall as we prepared to sell the house in Katy and move to Austin. Since the house we were selling is the house he left to go to college, it still had most of his “stuff” in it. We were downsizing, so he either needed to come get the stuff he wanted to keep or let us get rid of it.
Mike is not good at getting rid of things. He’s not a hoarder or anything, but like many intelligent people he sometimes attributes feelings to inanimate objects. It’s hard to throw something away if you are worried about hurting its feelings…
When the day came that he had to decide what he wanted to keep, he drove from Baton Rouge to Houston with a rental truck. It was hard to pass up the opportunity to furnish his rental house with our old stuff! That part of the operation went smoothly. It wasn’t until he got to his room and had to start going through his memories that things ground to a halt.
Thankfully, Mike brought along his girlfriend when he came home. Caitie is a social worker, and from what Peggy and I saw she is a good one. She helped Mike deal with the loss he was feeling about letting things go. They also decided to have a garage sale of everything he chose to leave behind. This gave Mike a real incentive to finally get rid of some things that he had been holding onto for years.
That was three months ago and was really the first time we had spent any time with Caitie. Well, we had spent time with her before but we didn’t realize it — that is a story for another time. What we saw then, however, was someone who was patient and who helped Mike complete something he really didn’t want to do. As a parent these are the kinds of things you look for. Is this person making my child better?
Mike and Caitie came to visit us in Austin today. It was a different setting and atmosphere than the last visit. We were thrilled to see Mike, and I think there was a message in the fact that he did not come alone — even if he did not tell his parents he was bringing anyone with him!
I’m never quite sure how some traditions get started. I have also noticed that you really only have to do something twice before it becomes a tradition.
Since we moved away from Dallas in 1994, a tradition has developed where we see our close friends, JR and Sue, most years for New Year’s. It actually started when we lived in Dallas because we would usually go out with a group to celebrate New Year’s. Once we moved JR and Sue just liked keeping the tradition going, I guess.
I’m sure the fact that all three of our boys were such close friends had something to do with it, too, but the tradition has continued even now that the kids are grown. We aren’t always able to ring in the new year together, but we try to get together as close to the beginning of the year as we can. This year, they came down to Austin to see the new place and to visit.
Peggy has been scouting out the places she wanted to show off on the initial visit, so we had to go up to Mt. Bonnell for the view over the Colorado River. It really is an impressive sight that is a little surprising since it is almost in the middle of Austin. Here is a picture of Sue and Peggy from the top of Mt. Bonnell:
JR and I were up there, too, but the pictures with all four of us make it impossible to see the view! It was a perfect day to be outside and seeing sights with friends.
The only problem with the visit was that it wasn’t long enough, but we take what we can get. We haven’t lived in the same city for almost twenty years now. We are used to making the most of quick visits whenever we can get them! It is a little easier now that the kids are grown, though.
We don’t get tired of showing people the sights, so come on down to visit! And Happy New Year!