Codger

Codger: (adj) an elderly man, especially one who is old-fashioned or eccentric.

It is not because I keep piling up birthdays–nor that there seems to be a new wrinkle in my countenance.

No, it is the fact that I believe that “codger” is not based on age. Instead, it’s a disposition.

Going through the store the other day, I noticed a fellow–no more than twenty-five years old–who was with his wife and little daughter.

He trudged.

I’m sure he didn’t need to. I’m quite positive that his legs were still filled with lots of power. But somewhere along the line, he convinced himself to adopt the profile of the masses when it comes to everyday living.

I describe that condition as a perpetual visual and emotional proclamation of, “It’s too much.”

  • It’s too much debt.
  • It’s too much crime.
  • It’s too much trouble with the kids.
  • It’s too much argument with my spouse.
  • It’s too much pressure on the job.

Once convinced of this, any individual–at any age–becomes a grouchy codger.

He or she spews the venom of a sour soul, giving up on the possibility of the possible–checking out, absolutely certain that there’s no need to check in.

Now, I will grant you that many old people have also donned this persona in honor of their ancestors, simply to prove they were no better nor worse than their predecessors.

But it seems to me that it keeps starting younger and younger, and considering the fact that we seem to be living longer and longer, it certainly might make for an awfully dreary lifespan.

If you want to keep from being a codger, you have to use both eyes and ears:

One eye on what’s going on, and one eye on the blessing that might be coming your way.

One ear on the complaints that surround you, and the other listening intently for the song of hope.

 

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Cauliflower

Cauliflower: (n) a cabbage of a variety that bears a large immature flower head

“I don’t like vegetables.”

A typical complaint shared by an average adult.

It doesn’t make any difference that vegetables are healthy. Somewhere along the line, we’ve convinced ourselves that our opinions on all
matters reign supreme and might even move the God of heaven to alter His efforts.

People say:

  • “I don’t like traffic jams.”
  • “I don’t like long lines at the DMV.”
  • “I don’t like people noticing my weight gain.”

One after another, we express our disapproval for common portions of everyday life.

Since vegetables work very hard to keep us alive, we might at least take a moment and try to figure out some way to consume them.

Cauliflower is a friendly one. It can be riced, diced, cut up, slivered, fried, baked, dipped and nearly disappear into any variety of dishes.

It also is white–so you don’t have to worry about the “fear of the green.”

It happens to be delicious if you mash it, and does a remarkable job of imitating the potato.

It’s time to grow up. The childish little whine of “I don’t like it” needs to be followed by the adult counter of, “But I will find a way to enjoy it.”

Without that, we spend our whole lives childish–minus the advantage of remaining cute.

 

 

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Breadline

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Breadline: (n) a line of people waiting to receive free food.

I’ve actually said it out loud.

“I’m starved.”Dictionary B

Truth of the matter is, I have rarely been hungry enough to justify a complaint. Maybe lunch was a little late and I claimed low blood sugar, which justified eating a Snickers while waiting for my Big Mac. But I’ve never really been malnourished to the point that my innards were trying to take over my brain.

When I see pictures of human folks standing in line to get nourishment, a meal which I would mock for its insufficiency, I am temporarily humbled and shaken.

Much of the world will go to bed tonight without dinner.

You don’t make friends by bringing this up at a party, and you don’t feed ten children by putting them on your prayer list.

What truly astounded me was when I found myself touring through Haiti, I came across a man who had picked up a few pennies on the street to buy two tomatoes. He also had saved some grains of rice from a bag which had a hole in it. I watched him put that in a pot over a little fire and stir it together as he realized he needed a little something else. He walked over to a patch of grass and pulled out a handful of blades and threw it into his concoction with a smile on his face.

At that point I realized that I had no comprehension of hunger.

Would I be willing to stand in a breadline, waiting for a paltry parcel of portion?

Actually … I think my stomach might insist on it.

 

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Birthplace

Birthplace: (n) the place where a person was born.

My birthplace is Ohio.Dictionary B

I suppose I could end the essay right there.

But perhaps it is my responsibility to make comment, storyline or even complaint about the location.

Having traveled for many years all over the U.S., I will tell you–there is no such thing as a natural Eden or a perpetual hell.

Once a birthplace has been secured for you due to the proximity of your conception, what follows is a needful series of feelings, which make that place tolerable–even blessed.

They tell me that the Son of God was born in a barn. Yet when we want to insult people, we make reference to the fact that they act like they were “born in a barn.”

So is the problem our birthplace?

Are there really regions of the country which are outposts for prejudice, anger, antipathy or intellectualism?

Of course not.

Being born requires a vagina and gravity.

After that, if you’re going to make a human being, you must mingle love, responsibility, work ethic and humor.

If you’ve got those four working, the place of your birth is truly insignificant.

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Anchor

dictionary with letter A

Anchor: (n) a heavy object attached to a rope or chain and used to moor a vessel to the bottom.

It was made of aluminum, about twelve feet long, with three wooden, bench seats inside, one of the perches broken.

It was my dad’s boat.

It more resembled a canoe with a thyroid problem.

But whenever my dad launched his vessel onto the great and mighty waters of Hoover Lake, he suddenly transformed into some sort of John Paul Jones, which to me as a boy, appeared as a nautical monster.

He began using the lingo of the sea and was perpetually angry with his crew–embodied solely in myself.

He explained that the best way to fish was to find a quiet, deep lagoon and drop your anchor so your boat wouldn’t move, and you would be present with your bait, to lure in the schools of fish. (Often we often must have arrived during some sort of fish holiday–because the schools were usually out.)

Nevertheless, he yelled at me to drop anchor, which was a forty pound cube of cement block, which he had put together by pouring it into a plastic bucket and then destroying the bucket to free the cement once it had hardened. Attached to this heavy clump was a rope.

Now, you must realize–we only had twenty-five feet of rope on our anchor–which is fine is you happen to be perched in twenty-three feet of water. But as I lifted the huge mass over the side of the boat and dropped it into the water, I was never sure if it actually hit the bottom.

So after an hour or so, my dad would look up from his fishing pole, where he had frozen his eyes intently, and realize that we had floated far from our desired spot.

This initiated a whole new tirade of “captain-to-deck-swab” complaints. I tried to defend myself by explaining that we did not have enough rope to reach the bottom of the lake, but he never seemed to quite comprehend that if the anchor doesn’t land on the bottom, it really doesn’t keep you in place.

What great symbolism.

After all, if our anchor is floating along with society’s ideas and standards instead of landing firmly on solid ground, we, too, tend to drift from our preferred placement.

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