Cook

Cook: (v)  to prepare food by the use of heat.

Traveling on the road doing musical presentations with my family, which bounced us often from poverty to temporary riches, I discovered that our little gathering of souls required—every day—to eat.

This became an interesting situation, because we stayed in motel rooms before these establishments began offering microwaves and funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
refrigerators. Since there was no refrigerator to keep food cold and no microwave for cooking, I purchased two—count them—TWO electric skillets, for the purpose of preparing meals for our family band.

Everything had to be cooked in these two skillets, and food that was perishable needed to be purchased daily. My wife had no desire to become the chief cook, and even turned down the position of bottle washer. I didn’t blame her. She was busy being Mama to the kids and helping out to secure our arrangements for gigs.

So I took the job on myself, and began teaching my nine-year-old son, Jerrod, to be my fellow-cooker. Some people might consider this to be cruel or unusual—asking a child to figure out how to make hamburger helper, vegetables and a side, using two electric skillets, for eight people. But honest to God, this kid was great. I don’t know whether he just enjoyed working with me, or actually found it intriguing, but by the end of the summer he had taken on the entire responsibility as the chef of the motel room.

Because the front desk at these establishments did not want cooking in the room, he had to be careful that smells did not escape, and that his washing of the pans at the end of the experience wouldn’t clog up the sink. Even though I cannot tell you I would do the same thing again—either traveling across the country with my family or asking my nine-year-old son to be in charge of the galley—it turned him into a dynamic young man who grew into a fabulous human being, married with two children of his own, and still continues to cook with glee.


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Billboard

Billboard: (n) a large outdoor board for displaying advertisements.

Dictionary B

I am gradually learning to be reluctant to assume that my common practices or inclinations are universal across our species.

It is a natural posture we tend to take when justifying our feelings to make ourselves a part of the mass instead of separated like the math nerd from high school who’s too skinny and has pimples.

So I will phrase it this way: I read billboards.

I don’t know why. Probably because driving on the highway, I am a prisoner to the miles. And even though I may be listening to the radio or having a great conversation, 5,280 feet, which makes up only one mile, can still be a long way.

So I’m grateful for the reading material along the side of the road which fortunately is set in a large enough font for me to discern.

I read ’em all.

So I’m not so sure that television advertising always works with me. I have heard many commercials on radio and never given them a second thought.

But I have often stopped at a Chinese buffet advertised on a billboard, which was only five miles ahead, finding myself more and more excited as I speeded toward it.

I’ve gotten good deals on motels.

I have occasionally found an inspirational message.

There are folks who consider billboards to be an eyesore, but I do not believe anyone can claim that they’re ineffective. In the course of a single day on an average freeway in America, tens of thousands of people pass by and at least have to glance up and see the promo.

It is very effective–at least with me.

And I don’t even think they’re ugly, even though the ones in Kentucky that say “Hell Is Real” may totally and completely disprove my assertion.

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Bed

Bed: (n) a piece of furniture for sleep or restDictionary B

As an itinerant so-and-so with an inkling to go-go, I do not have the opportunity of referring to the word “bed” by prefacing it with “my.” In the course of a normal month, I will stay in motels and sleep in as many as ten beds.

They make a difference.

In the motel industry, they fall into three major categories–and that’s without considering the Goldilocks Syndrome of “too soft, too hard and just right.”

  • Some are too low.
  • Some are just tall enough but are lumpy.
  • And some are way too high.

I do not like to get up out of a bed like I’m sleeping in the wilderness on an air mattress.

I am also not favorable to locating the correct mountaintop or valley within the landscape of the mattress, where I might be able to settle my bones, free of ache.

And finally, I also do not like to fall out of bed from a dizzying height.

Yet it is amazing how well we can adjust to circumstances if we avoid the craggy chasm of bitching and climb the exhilarating mountain of good cheer.

After all, if I get a good bed, it is temporary.

But also, if I get a bad one … the road calls.

 

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Bat

Bat: (n) a mammal whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making it capable of sustained flightDictionary B

To a certain degree, everything in life seems normal until you have a chance to escape the circumstances and reflect on the weirdness.

I traveled the country with my family for a season, sharing music and ideas with audiences in coffee houses and churches. That in itself might be viewed as bizarre. But we were together, loved each other, attempted to maintain civility with the world around us–and laughed a lot.

So it didn’t seem particularly odd to arrive in rural Nebraska at a church in the middle of nowhere, which had invited us to come and share, and set us up to lodge in the fellowship hall so that we could save money on a motel (which did not exist anywhere nearby.)

We were grateful.

I should have known there was something wrong when we arrived at the location, set up our equipment, and I went to the men’s restroom to urinate. Totally preoccupied, I failed to look at where I was peeing and suddenly discovered there was a bat which was fairly upset over my splashings.

Yes, I peed on a bat.

I quickly departed, figuring it was just an aberration. But that night, as we lay on our makeshift mats on the floor, we began to hear the scratching, creaking and high-pitched squealing of creatures directly above our heads, in the ceiling.

It was very disconcerting–a soundtrack from the worst horror movie you’ve ever heard.

I suddenly realized that the bat I had pissed off–or pissed on, depending on how you look at it–had friends in high places.

We were surrounded.

Matter of fact, turning on the lights we discovered there was a hole in the ceiling where the bats were obviously finding an exit to fly around and check out the rest of the building.

We went on a frantic search to find a place where we would be safe. After careful inspection, we found that the only place in the building that was closed off and private seemed to be the nursery–and only a small portion of that room.

So we all huddled together in the midst of the bassinets, stuffed our ears with cotton, covered our heads with blankets and tried to sleep, praying for morning.

Needless to say, we checked out early … just in case the bats were getting up for continental breakfast.

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