Anacortes

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Deception Pass

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Salami Subway

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Cool Dude

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Our Home

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Chess Princess

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Helpless Help

gurgleHave you ever felt helpless? One time, we were down in the Caribbean on our submarine out in the middle of no where and it was decided that we should have a swim call. It was a beautiful day, the water was warm and opaque, there had been no shark sightings, and there wasn’t much else to do. Sounded like a good idea. Some ropes were thrown over the side and in we went. Oh, the water felt so good. Cool and clear and clean.

But after a few minutes, we began to realize that even one or two foot swells made it kind of hard to get too close to the boat to climb back aboard – the waves would almost keep banging us up against the side of the boat and then try to pull us under. In an otherwise gorgeous setting, a frightening scenario was developing where we all were fighting to get back to the hanging ropes and pull ourselves up out of the water without getting sucked down before something bad happened. Try as we might – paddling, swimming, grabbing each other – it was taking huge amounts of energy to get through the swells and to the ropes without getting sucked down under the boat.

Some of us were getting very tired. When some up on the deck saw what was happening, they started throwing in more ropes for us to grab and hold onto until we could be pulled over to the boarding ropes and pull ourselves back up. For a few minutes, this became almost a rescue operation.

I had swallowed so much salt water. Down in the water, I was tired, scared, and getting worried that this was not turning out very well. Somehow, I was pulled over to the boarding ropes and, with help from some others, was able to pull myself back up on deck. Immediately, I commenced throwing up all the water that I had swallowed. I lay on my back for a long time wondering what had just happened.

We were helpless. We would not have been able to get out without the help of others. The strength, thinking, and willingness of others is what turned our helplessness into the story I tell today – one of somehow making it.

If you are helpless and won’t let anyone help, you will drown. If, on the other hand, you are helpless and will let someone help you, you will survive. Let someone help.

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Seinfeld Observations

seinfeldA good friend and I went to the Kennedy Center a few nights ago to see Jerry Seinfeld. For weeks we had worried that our expectations might be too high, what if we left feeling empty and sad, what if Jerry simply wasn’t that same live and doing stand-up. We probably were too worried and, I suppose, were probably wanting to protect ourselves from disappointment. I know that when we were finally seated, we both were a bit nervous.

I’m happy to say, though, that for 90 minutes, we laughed, chuckled, shook our heads, and generally had a good time. Jerry is the consummate entertainer. His timing, wit, and ability to tickle the funny-bone is dead on. His formula hasn’t changed over the years, and that’s what makes him special. He is the king of observations – why does the post office worry so much about raising the cost of a stamp by one cent (“Why can’t they afford full length pants instead of those blue shorts?”), why can’t we go anywhere without our cell phone and gadgets in our pockets, how come dads are not considered much more than the funny looking horse for the kids to ride on before bed, and on and on.

His stuff is new and current so no problem there. But he also added in the perfect mix of veiled references to his older TV days – “He’s the one guy. Where are the other three?” or “My favorite was George killing his fiance with a stamp.” The crowd loved it!

We did too. Thanks, Jerry, for a very excellent evening out of laughs and funny business about nothing.

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Sailor Redux

nautiulusI told you about a new friend who was, many years ago, a sailor on the Nautilus. We have met for the past few weeks – he in his porch chair armed with cigar and me heading out after visiting patients in the care facility where he resides. He now greets me by name and is happy to talk for a few minutes.

He has encouraged me to spend some time looking at the USS Nautilus Alumni Association website. This is an interesting website put together by ex-Nautilus sailors who stay in touch and tell their stories. If you visit the website, there is lots of interesting information along with a list of former crew members. Much to my satisfaction, I looked through the list of former crew members and found my friend’s name and rate. I took a screen shot of the page and printed it out. Looking around some more on the website, I found a July 2014 Newsletter – it seems the organization puts together an information bulletin on an irregular basis. This newsletter had just been published, though, so it was interesting. Anyway, I printed it out, too.

This past Fri, I went to where I visit patients and did what I do and was leaving but couldn’t find my friend. Oh no! After looking around a little longer, I finally went to the front desk and asked if they would please pass my packet of information on to my friend. I was disappointed that I had not found him – I was excited to give him what I had found on his old boat.

I was leaving and out of the corner of my eye – there he was! Just coming out of the facility. I turned my car around and drove up to him on the porch. I greeted him and told him I had left some boat information at the front desk. His response was classic and it made my day. He thanked me and began weeping. He touched my arm in my car window and told me how thankful he was that I had thought of him. He said he was going in right then to get the newsletter and crew list.

Well, ok! Good for him. I hope he had a good read the rest of the day. How nice.

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Time Spent

remiscingFor not enough hours yesterday, I spent time with friends from many years ago. The family moved away long ago – mom and dad are getting along in their retirement and their daughters are now beautiful and excellent wives and moms. It’s gratifying to be with people who continue to contribute positively to the world. We reminisced, told funny stories, caught up on places and people, and sighed together after thinking about things serious.

First, change is inevitable. For anyone who is trying to hang on to your kids, your relationships, your jobs, or anything else – it will all get away from you. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course. It just is. It is the way God’s world works.

Second, picking up with old friends from many months or years ago is not much different than picking up on a phone conversation from yesterday. It is odd how it works but there isn’t a need for any positioning, maneuvering, or manipulating. Instead, conversation almost picks up from where it left off a long time ago. It’s very special.

And third, our spiritual journeys are profoundly different, and yet, they are very much the same. I was actually moved by the differences in our short-term spiritual hopes but amazed that our long-term spiritual purposes all remain the same. Frankly and in all of the years we have been separated, we have all changed our denominational allegiances. And yet, we all continue to pursue Jesus and aspire to better understand his attitudes. It says much that we can remain loyal to Jesus while not getting all wrapped up in religious trappings.

It was a good day. It strengthened me. I love you E, M, L, M, and all of your precious little ones.

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