Thursday, October 20, 2011

An Amalgam in Starbucks...

Firstly, if you don't know what an amalgam is....look it up, I did.

Secondly, I'd like to express my gratitude to the great people who invented the salted caramel beverage I had tonight.

And know to the amalgam...

This evening, as I sit in front of a borrowed laptop living what formerly was known as the American Dream I can't help but be more than ordinarily attentive to my surroundings.  As a franchise, Starbucks has one hell of a story.  A roller coaster of success if you will.  But its the inerts of Starbucks that I think about right now...

While I slide myself into a small side table to set up shop, its nearly impossible not to brush shoulders, bump elbows and make awkward eye contact with my fellow patrons.  Nevertheless, I settle in and wait as this laptop boots up, if you will.

Immediately...I get caught up in a conversation that I'm not even a part of.  Don't judge me, I don't have much relational contact these days.

And then another conversation ensues directly a table in front of me.  And even in the interaction between the employees of this glorified establishment seem to be spirited tonight.  And the non-verbals being displayed is absolutely amaz...sorry, I was a communications major.

Anyhow, with all of this going on around me, my mind is about to explode because I realize that there are so many languages being spoken. 

Let me explain.

Directly to my northeast, there are three younger girls.  Younger means probably high schoolers.  They are listening as one of their friends discusses the Facebook affair her boyfriend is having on her...In the words of Will Ferrel, "You know I don't speak Spanish!"

Then in another instance, immediately north of me, a couple of middle-Eastern gentlemen carry on a conversation in what I would stereotypically assume to be their native tongue...That one's pretty self-explanatory.

I order a drink...a salted something that I've never heard of.  The hostess politely invites me to choose from an assortment of sizes including tall, venti, grande and I think she may have offered up something about a tall-vented-grandious sized drink called the Yetti...

Further north, two students appear to have their noses crammed in books that I wouldn't know anything about.  For our purpose, lets call it ontology.  Sounds yummy.

So here I sit, in the melting pot that is Starbucks.  Wondering about so many things.  Do teenage girls know what a drama-less life is like...are the middle-Eastern gentlemen talking about me...was my degree worth the bank breaking debt I'm bogged down with.

Is it inhumane to not interfere with the stresses that are everyday life...I don't think so...

If we surpassed all of our hurts, aches and pains of daily living, there would be no growth and purpose in life would be very hard to search for and find.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Here's to You, Pops.

I'm currently reading a book.  Well, I guess you would call it a book.  If not called a book, you could call it a stack of collected columns.  They aren't random by any means, they are columns written during the career of newsman and a personal unofficial mentor of mine, Nick Clooney.  Yes, I know, I'm a news geek.  It fits, trust me.

Anyhow, I was inspired by some of Nick's columns about family and it started an itch.  An itch that I scratched all Summer long while writing for a local newspaper in Northern Kentucky.  I'd like to have a column some day. That way I didn't have to get every fact verified and I could write from the heart and not from the mouth of a stuffy politician or the rhetoric of a county official hiding behind the comfort of a mahogany desk.

So here's a pseudo-column devoted to Dad...

In my opinion, few things in life are more coincided than the devastation and revelation that can be offered from a certain event.  That event?

The Dad v. Son Argument.

At first it may be hard to picture such a happening as devastating and/or revealing.  So allow me to illustrate.

One Summer, Dad's birthday had come around for its yearly visit and as in most cases, Mom and I struggled to find that perfect gift to suit him.

The suitor came in the form of a new stainless steel grill.  So while bringing the grill head into our home, ready to start construction on the mammoth project...I did the unthinkable. 

The following adjectives in Dad's mind would accurately describe my next action:
feel free to add any more on your own...

So what did I do that was so terrible?

In all of my inherited, glorified, clumsiness, I bumped the refridgerator with the grill head and put a small mark in it.

(Enter gasp here)

And the Kraken surfaced.  Dad was in an outrage over this blemish to the fridge.  And I wanted to be sure he knew how I felt about the situation as well.

So what followed turned out to be one of the most intense, vile disputes I've ever had with Dad.  And over what?  A tainted fridge.

So what made this argument into the devastating revelation that it was?

It was the effect that it had on Mom.  Because while all this was going down, she was stuck in the middle, trying to make cooler heads prevail.  And when they didn't, she sided with me, because I'm her baby and the only child of the family. 

So by taking my side, she was pitted against Dad, whom already held a vendetta with the presupposition that Mom and I tend to gang up on him.

The fight went from fridge to parental rivalry which turned into a long time of silence between my parents.  Something I would never want to happen.

That argument devastated our small family unit for a bit by putting distance between my parents.  Let me tell you how it was revealing.

I've never thought of myself as being a lot like my father.  His addictive personality is the complete opposite of mine not to mention we look nothing alike.  So it takes special moments like an argument to bring out the Eugene in me.

And I realized in that moment that I am in fact, my father's son.  Hardheadedness, a temper only he can bring out, and the uncanny need for a good victory all led me to this epiphone. 

A lesson learned and a note taken here?  Not particularly.  Anymore its almost charming to let those instances where the Eugene in me comes out. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Driving home once, A Gardener noticed a beautiful sunset.  The most beautiful red-orange glow accompanied the setting star, leaving a presence long after the Sun was below the valley walls.

And while that glimpse of beauty brought an immaculate joy to A Gardener, a deep sadness also came when the glow faded.  The warmth of day was replaced by the chill of night and the path A Gardner was traveling became harder to see and even harder to follow.

A Gardner felt alone, isolated and abandoned.

And when all hope was thought to be lost, A Gardener was reminded of an elementary level earth science lesson, and A Gardener sought out the moon.

And there it was, the moon.
Large and full.
Glowing bright.
A comforting reflection of the Sun.
A memory of the warmth.
A glimpse of the light.
A mirror of the promise.

And A Gardener knew that the night was necessary. 

For when A Gardener wanted more than anything to be greeted by the kiss of the Sun, a splash of warmth on the face and the bright comfort of day; the realization came that A Gardener would have to wait patiently and faithfully through the night. 

James 1:2-4 says,

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (NIV)