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Nut Falls Too Close To The Tree
Thursday, November 06, 2014
Have you ever met someone who tended to be a bit accident prone? Someone who, either due to a certain degree of recklessness, or who seemed to be followed by a black cloud of misfortune?

In honesty, most of us have… and in a few instances that unfortunate individual stares back at us from the mirror each morning.

While I must admit to what seems as more than my share of ill health in the last few years, it follows a life of good health… so I really don’t consider myself among those dogged by a black cloud.

Yes, in fourth grade, there was an ankle that was busted up pretty good, and a large sliver in the sixth grade that went through a thigh muscle. There was a hand slammed in a car door a time or two, and a knee surgery — after receiving two separate injuries one month.

And about a year ago, rotator cuff surgery to resolve an issue that occurred a couple of years earlier, as well as a face plant or two off a horse before that. But, I really don’t consider myself to be be accident prone.

Still I have known a few who fit the bill.

For example, an individual I knew several years ago — of whom I might have written previously, required surgery to his right forearm following an accident in which he was looking at the engine of his old Willys jeep.

When the electrical cord on the shop light he was using became wrapped around the fan while the engine was running, it literally reeled his hand into the fan blade. He injured his forearm muscles in his effort to keep his fingers.

A few weeks later, Mike — I won’t use his last name not to protect the innocent, but rather to save him further embarrassment should he by chance encounter this column, almost fell our of the plane he was flying.

Yes, you hear me correctly. He almost fell out of the plane — a Piper Cub, he was flying when he turned around in the seat, accidently caused the plane to tip to the side, and fell out the door.

Fortunately, God was with him that day, and Mike caught himself on the threshold of the door and the wing strut and pulled himself back into the plane in time to avoid crashing.

Yes, Mike is accident prone, and it appears my daughter may be also.

Sunday afternoon, my wife and I found ourselves once more in the emergency room, accompanying my daughter who apparently received a concussion while out shooting with some friends.

According to the information we received, my lovely Jessica had already shot one friend’s deer rifle and was shooting another’s when the recoil got away from her, and she received a scope bite above her left eye.

This along with the fact that the young man who wheeled her in for a CT scan was the same individual who wheeled her in for a recent treatment resulting from a knee injury leads me to believe she probably deserves such a designation.

There have other injuries received during the past couple of years to provide additional documentation, all of which testify to her relatively active lifestyle and her personal effort to keep emergency room personnel gainfully employed.

Compared to her injury free younger brother, Jessica is probably an accident waiting to happen.

But, as I think about her list of accidents and injuries… and line them up to my own, maybe her accidental nut didn’t fall too far from the tree.

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‘It’s A Beautiful Day In This Neighborhood’
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Well, as Mr. Rogers used to remind us so well, “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood … It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood…”

Aye, and so it is!

It’s cold and clear, still and beautiful. An inch or so of white stuff blankets the ground. The sun is shining, luminescent crystal. And as the cloud blanket that had tucked us in has pulled away from the chin of my part of the world, the temperature has dropped into the single digits.

Though I fussed yet again this year about the price of firewood (partly embarrassed, I think, that as an able-bodied guy I’ve not been able to just get out this year and cut my own; my chain saw may soon rust), I’m glad I got it bought, loaded, and stacked last week and ready to go!

And, forgive me if you do, but I’m so glad I don’t live in a place where fireplaces are purely decorative. Mine’s going strong.

But I keep stepping outside onto the porch. Cold, crisp air is the very best sort for breathing. It reminds you that you’re alive. And if there’s a smell that makes a person happier to be alive than the sweet aroma of New Mexico pinion, I don’t know what it would be.

The folks I bought my oak firewood from ease the pain of the purchase (a little) by sacking up ends and pieces of pinion for kindling and tossing them into the bargain. What a fragrance!

But that’s the wrong word! “Fragrance” implies frou-frou (“fru fru,” if you’re Portuguese).

Forgive my grammar, but the aroma of pinion ain’t dainty; it’s strong and sturdy and bold. It makes you want to go out and cut three or four cords of wood, eat three stacks of pancakes, and then go out and saw through and stack about six more.

Cords, that is. I try to pace myself on pinion sniffing lest I gain 30 pounds or be tempted to strain a muscle while I’m under its influence.

I’m told that smell is closely tied to memory, and I believe it. For me, pinion has a Thanksgiving and Christmas sort of smell.

Snow’s on the ground. A fire’s laid in the hearth. I get to sing for a Thanksgiving banquet tomorrow. Christmas singing — my[favorite kind — is just a heartbeat or two away. And I’m smelling pinion.

This is good.

I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul’s sweet phrase, “the aroma of Christ.” And I love the way Eugene Peterson in The Message paraphrases the apostle’s words in 2 Corinthians 2.

We’re told that wherever Christ’s people go, God brings the “knowledge of Christ” and “people breathe in the exquisite fragrance.”

It’s because of Christ’s presence, “we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation.”

Contrary to popular belief, it is what is evil and doomed to perish in this world that gives off the smell of death. What Christ brings, the apostle says, is “an aroma redolent with life.”
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