Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the month “January, 2016”

Top Bronco Fan Status

My wife, Miss Sugar, is a generous and creative person.

But now let’s talk about me, me, me.  I might have mentioned in other posts that I am an avid Bronco fan (and unsigned NFL free agent to be signed by the Broncos at a future date which has not yet been disclosed).  I have an official NFL jersey identical to that worn by Peyton Manning.  I have a Broncos T shirt.  I have an NFL Players Association shirt obtained in connection with service on the NFLPA Workers Compensation Panel.  I am, as you should have discerned, a pretty big deal.

Sugar is an enabler.  She contributes to my delusions.  Last week she gave me an early Valentine present — a unique silver cuff made by a Navajo artist.  Sugar commissioned the piece of jewelry pictured below.  It was made for me, me, me.  No one else has one like it.  It features the Bronco logo of a horse head.  It is beautiful.  By wearing it, I am automatically the coolest Bronco fan, thanks to Sugar.


When I am ultimately signed by the Broncos, I will show it to my teammates.  They will be envious.  But I am used to that.

Wait until they see my hot trophy wife.

Now the problem is — what can I get Sugar for Valentine’s Day?

The Right Stuff Examined

I have been told that sin is anything that separates us from God.  An extension of that might be that evil is what harms relationships not only with God, but among humankind.

The Ten Commandments are all about relationships.  Many are about what not to do to other people – kill, steal, bear false witness, commit adultery, and covet.  Why not?  Such actions hurt others.  One could say those commandments are about avoiding evil.

Jesus boiled them down to the two greatest commandments.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”  That is about our relationship with God.  The second is about other people.  “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  On these two “rest all the law and the prophets.”

Similarly, the Golden Rule is about human relations.  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  So is that admonition above to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

When we do not follow those commandments and rules, evil harms relationships with other people.

Obviously, there are a variety of things that happen in relationships that can accurately be called evil.

I know a man whose daughters seek to punish him for re-marrying after their adulterous mother divorced him.  The punishment is meted out by setting an evil condition on whether he is allowed to see his grandchildren.  The evil condition is to come without his wife or not come at all.

You might think that there must be more to this.  Is the grampa’s wife a danger to the grandchildren?  No, she is a wonderful person.  The grandchildren would enjoy a relationship with her and benefit from a relationship with her, as well as their grandfather, who, by the way was a devoted father.  It is simple exclusion.  It is simply evil.

This evil, which is clearly the opposite of loving one another as God has loved us, and leaves no room for forgiveness (although I am not aware of what needs to be forgiven by the excluders), damages many relationships, including between the father and his daughters, the daughters and their spouses, the grampa and his spouse, and the grandchildren with everyone.  It is evil.  It is the opposite of honoring your parents.  It is disrespecting, disregarding, discarding, and intentionally hurting them.  It is evil.

Heaven help this family.  Lord, forgive the evil perpetrators of exclusion and any other relative that enables the evil.

I know another family that did not allow exclusion.  My friend married a woman of another race.  His mother was so distraught that she said she did not know if she could allow him and his new wife into her home.  A brother of this friend said to their mother, “Then the rest of us won’t come either.”  The mother re-thought her position so as not to lose all her children.  Please see the distinction between perpetrators and those being excluded.  The mother was threatening to exclude and did not get support as an excluder. Loyalty should be to the person being wronged, not the perpetrator.  Loyalty is of great value.  The bi-racial couple have now been married for 34 years.

By contrast, the man who refuses to meet the condition of excluding his wife in order to see his grandchildren, has had other family members make it worse.  Instead of being united with her brother, his sister has encouraged him to visit alone, and, making it worse, told the excluders she has done that, thus supporting them.  The sister could help by saying to the daughters that she would not go along with the exclusion but she lacks the courage to call an evil thing an evil thing, unlike the brother in the other family, who had the courage to stand by his brother who was threatened with exclusion.

The courage of that brother reminds me of a scene in the movie, The Right Stuff, when John Glenn supported his wife’s decision to not appear on television because she stuttered and was afraid to let the cameras into their home when Vice President Johnson asked to come in to be filmed.  The vice president wanted the attention, Mrs. Glenn did not.

There were two exhibitions of loyalty.  First, John Glenn said he would back his wife 110%.  If she did not want the V.P. to come in with the TV cameras, then she had his approval of her decision.  (The grampa who remarried is, like John Glenn, protecting his wife.)  The second exhibition of loyalty in the movie came when the commander of John Glenn threatened him with not being allowed to be the first astronaut to orbit the earth unless he got his wife to let V. P. Johnson into their house.  Hearing that, the other astronauts said, “Then who are you going to get?”  They were saying that none of them would take Glenn’s place.  They would back his decision to support his wife – out of loyalty. (The man who married a woman his mother did not approve of had the backing of his brother, like John Glenn had the backing of his fellow astronauts.)

Loyalty is usually a good thing.  Exclusion is usually a bad thing.  It is important to discern good from evil.  Harming family relationships by divisiveness seems evil to me.

Go Broncos!

The NFL deadline for teams to sign free agents has passed and I remain an unsigned free agent.  Therefore, I will not be playing in SuperBowl 50.  Nevertheless, I will be watching intently, wearing my Peyton Manning #18 jersey, which I was wearing while I watched the Broncos defeat the New England Patriots for the AFC Championship.  I am glad to help in that way.

The NFC champs, the Carolina Panthers, are favored by the Las Vegas oddsmakers.  Peyton and I do not worry about that.  We will just do what we have to do to win.

Despite being unsigned by the Broncos, I do not hold a grudge.  There is always next year to make the roster.  In the meantime, I have explained to my supportive wife that it is important for me to keep my weight up.  I am married to the right woman for that.  This weekend Sugar made a wonderful Italian dinner for thirty people.  As usual, she overdid it.  We have leftovers.  I love her lasagna.  Therefore, I ate lasagna for breakfast the next day.  Breakfast of Champions!  And for dinner?  The dinner of champions — ziti and bread and a canoli for  dessert.  Don’t worry Coach Kubiak, I am the perfect weight for an NFL linebacker.  Give me a call sometime after the SuperBowl victory.  I will be ready for next season.

Facing Fears

In the sci fi movie, The Highlander, certain people who are “immortals” cannot be killed by anyone except another immortal cutting off the head of the vanquished.  (Otherwise, the immortals live for centuries without aging).  When the victor cuts off the head of his opponent, an electrical power surrounds him, somehow bestowing the power on him from the one he defeated, making that victor even stronger.

Sometimes I feel like that.  When I face my fears, I emerge stronger than before.

There is a phenomenon that a person who survives a battle, even with wounds and scars, becomes stronger for the next battle.  Most battles are not in war, but personal problems of a normal life.  Most scars are not physical, but emotional.  Most courage is not a lack of fear, but a facing of fear.

John Wayne, my favorite philosopher, said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”

You, dear readers, have your own examples from your own lives, when you have saddled up and gotten back on the horse.

john wayne quote on courage

The Gift of Hospitality

Miss Sugar and I went to Carl’s Jr. restaurant again today.  We had a coupon for a combo meal with the purchase of another meal.  While we were in line, Luis gave us a big smile and waved in recognition.  Luis is a young man who works there.  He had taken  our order on our last visit.  He gave us the coupon then because he decided that we had waited too long for our malts.  We told him then that there was no problem, but he insisted.

Today he came over to our table while we were eating to thank us for coming back in.  Understand that this is a fast food hamburger joint.  We thanked him for the coupon again.  We told him that we appreciated that he even recognized us.  We chatted some more and learned that he also works as a landscaper AND is taking classes online.  I told him that with his personality I hoped he would continue to work in a job that includes contact with the public.

By contrast, we had lunch at another place the day before and were welcomed by a young man whom we had met probably seven times in the past month.

He asked, “Have you been in before?”  That was his robotized greeting for every diner.

Now I do not expect everyone who meets us to remember us.  However, I do notice when a person who has met us several times has no recollection or acknowledgement of our loyalty as regular customers.

In this case, I reminded him of a conversation that we had on our last visit.

I replied, “Yes, we have been here twice a week since you opened last month.  When we talked last, you told us that you were going home to watch a John Wayne movie marathon.”  (I was wearing my cowboy hat just as I had during that prior conversation).

“Oh, yeah.  I watched three John Wayne movies, Pilgrim.”  That was clever but he still did not have a glimmer of recognition.

I am reminded of a waitress who amazed us a few years ago.  We went to a restaurant in Denver with another couple before we went to a play at the University of Denver, a few blocks from that restaurant.

Months later, we were back at the restaurant and got the same young woman as our server.

When she came to our table, she asked, “Did you make it to the play on time?  I remember that you and the other couple were cutting it close on time.”

Wow!  That lady has an extraordinary memory, but more than that, she makes her customers feel important.

I am married to a lady with the gifts of hospitality and enthusiasm.  Sugar is hosting an Italian dinner for 40 people on Saturday in connection with her art gallery.  She is having artists do live demonstrations from noon until 5 p.m.  then the dinner.  Lest you wonder about my contribution, I want you to know that I am the guy who got up on a stepladder to hang up the festive lights.  Sugar is making lasagna, ziti, bread, cannolis, and Italian green beans.  I will pour the wine.

Sugar will know everyone’s names.  Like I said, I hung up the lights.




Things We Learned From the Fire


A year ago, we were recovering from a fire.  (See post entitled “Fire in the Hole.”)

It seems long ago and it seems like it just happened.

It was hard but we got through it.

We learned that some people we did not expect to help were there for us; some people we consider friends did not offer to help.

It was bad enough but could have been much worse.

Now our house is better than ever after the fireplace was replaced and some new furniture.

God protected us and provided for us.

Throw Away the Key

My wife sent me this for the new year.  I think it is excellent and want to share it.

Throw Away the Key

I’ve shut the door on Yesterday,
Its sorrows and mistakes;
I’ve locked within its gloomy walls
Past failures and heartaches.
And now I throw the key away
To seek another room,
And furnish it with hope and smiles,
And every springtime bloom.
No thought shall enter this abode
That has a hint of pain,
And every malice and distrust
Shall never therein reign.
I’ll shut the door on Yesterday,
And throw the key away—-
Tomorrow holds no doubt for me,
Since I have found Today.

Author Unknown

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