Dear

Dear: (adj) beloved or loved

Not feeling rushed.

The chill of confidence that occasionally soothes my fears.

Breathing deeply.

Watching from a distance and seeing something kind before my eyes.

A fine meal that was easy to fix and settled well in my belly.

A friend who tears up when they describe their love for me.

Me, when I likewise produce the tears.

Waking up with a sense of divine inspiration, not certain where it came from.

Thinking of someone who needed to be well-thought-of.

Discovering the last of something I fancy on the grocery shelf.

Allowing myself to rest in my accomplishment.

A joy that leaves me shaking with gratitude.

Late-night whispers from little children trying to fall asleep.

Cutting open a melon and finding it ripe.

Being remembered.

Knowing that something horrible has been forgiven.

Cool water splashed on my face.

The first bite of steak.

The last bite of steak.

Knowing that life is not one perpetual highway, but rather, a series of blessed stepping-stones that allow us to travel on without sinking into the mud.

These are things that are supernal, which I embrace and hold dear.

Cremains

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cremains: (n) the ashes of a cremated corpse

She stared down at the container, fighting back tears, and turned quietly and sincerely to the undertaker, motioning with her eyes toward the vessel.

He, trying to anticipate her question, jumped in and said, “Yes. This is your beloved husband.”

Suddenly, surprisingly, while still holding the urn tightly in her hands, she did a little two-step jig with her feet, laughed, and turned to the austere mortician and said, “So, this is all that cremains?”


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Creek

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Creek: (n) a stream smaller than a river.

I’m sorry. That’s hardly a definition.

“Smaller than a river?” Isn’t that a rather broad category?

That’s not my recollection of a creek.

My memory of a creek is that if you waded in, it wouldn’t go much above your knees. The water, that is.

And there were so many rocks, fallen trees and leaves nearby that the flow was pretty brisk, a little splashy, and you could often see all the way to the bottom.

I was always taught that if you couldn’t see to the bottom of the creek or if the water wasn’t moving, you should probably not drink it. (This information was not given to me by a Native American or some scout hunting buffalo. I think it was my older brother, and I can’t count how many times he was wrong.)

But we had a little piece of land outside town that we owned, and we called our “farm.” It was a rather pitiful situation. My dad wanted to get some agrarian roots into our lives, so he tried to raise chickens, strawberries, some corn—and he built himself a little cabin in the nearby patch of woods, so he could occasionally escape, to play the part of Jack London “calling to the wild.”

Right next to that cabin, though, was a creek.

It wasn’t much of anything, but it was certainly shallow enough that every once in a while, when a fish got trapped because it missed a turn in one of the nearby rivers or got distracted from the reservoir—well, you could see it as clearly as if it were staring you in the face.

We had such a fish which I tried to catch on several occasions.

It was extremely odd. I could see the fish moving, imagine what it was thinking, but I still ended up frustrated as the fish stole my bait and wiggled away.

One day I came home from school and my older brother had an iron skillet on the stove and was frying up what ended up being a big fish.

I said, “Hey, Dan, where’d you get the fish?”

He laughed and replied, “You know that big ole’ fish that was in the creek? I caught it.”

I went to my room and cried.

I don’t exactly know the complete reason for my tears, but I imagine it was the mingling of getting bettered by my brother, not catching the fish myself, seeing it lay in the pan as an entrée—or maybe just knowing that my creek had lost its only friend.

 

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Contrite

Contrite: (adj) filled with a sense of guilt and the desire for atonement; penitent

The times in my life when I was truly sorry, I’ve been so contrite that I could barely speak.

I was afraid to utter a word. It might fail to communicate the depth of my anguish.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I simply sat, looking at the offended person and attempted to use my eyes to communicate the pain I felt inside. I had no desire to be glib and did not want to explain my position, and I certainly didn’t want to post it as a public statement on the Internet.

So great was my sadness over my actions that my contrite heart choked my words, leaving me with nothing more than gestures and tears.

Contrition is a magnificent experience in our journey. It is where we confirm that we’ve actually succeeded in graduating from being a baby, survived adolescence—becoming a full-fledged human being.

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Comb

Comb: (n) a strip of plastic, metal, or wood with a row of narrow teeth, used for untangling or arranging the hair.

There are actually brave storm troopers who might use a comb to free their hair of knots.

It is not recommended for the squeamish.

Actually, the purpose of a comb is to prove that one’s hair is not tangled. Whatever you have to use to separate your strands, at the end of
that process, to confirm to yourself and everyone else that your “do” is without dead ends, you run a comb through it.

For combs are unmerciful. They will find any hairs lying on top of each other that might be in the way and pull on them until tears come to your eyes.

This is the purpose of a comb.

A comb is also used if you don’t have much hair at all, and therefore little danger of interaction with your locks, just for good grooming.

That’s why we often say, “they combed the desert” or “they combed the woods” to find something or someone.

Matter of fact, it might be good for all of us, after we’ve brushed up on our ethics and kindness, to run a comb through our lives to make sure that we’re free of being entangled.

 

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Church

Church: (n) a building used for public Christian worship.

Sometimes I need to laugh. I require a place for that.

Tears are often demanded. Once again, having a location where I can share them with others would be beneficial.

I need to go somewhere and know that I’m not the most important thing in the world. Where’s the address?

I like good music. I’m a little bit country; I’m a little bit rock and roll.

I need to see that I’m not alone. Difficult to do if you don’t gather somewhere.

Over and over and over again, I must be reminded to “love my neighbor as myself.” There should be some sort of joint that advertises that.

I know my money is to cover bills, but every once in a while, I need to think about the “Bill” that’s on the street. Any group of people willing to teach that?

I need to find agreement in the midst of a disagreeable world. Let the conversation begin.

In my moments of clarity, I do understand that I’m lost–in need of a Savior. Any candidates?

Even if I find out after I die that there is no heaven and no hell, I need to live my life as if heaven is available.

We sure could use church if church were what it’s supposed to be. If it’s merely an overblown expression of appreciation for some particular definition of God, then basically, it’s more of an annoyance than a bounty.

Let’s find the church.

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Cafeteria

Cafeteria: (n) a dining establishment in which customers serve themselves

My mother wouldn’t let me. (There are innumerable possibilities to go along with that statement.)

But in this case, it was eating in the cafeteria at school. Growing up, we lived so close to all of my schools that she insisted I come home
for lunch. So as is often the case in childhood, what you are forbidden to have becomes the source of your lust.

As I prepared to walk home to my house to eat my meager sandwich and soup, I would see all my friends on their way to the cafeteria to enjoy a mutual feast–and I assumed, great frivolity.

I felt cheated. I felt like an alien. I felt I had been presented a privilege which offered no visible benefit.

Then, one week my mother was going to be away helping out her sister, who was ill. She didn’t think it was right for me to come home without her there, so she gave me 75 cents a day, to eat in the cafeteria.

My joy knew no bounds. I was bouncing off the walls in anticipation. My friends squinted at me, confused about why I was so enthralled with eating at the common trough. They tried to explain to me that it was really pretty bad, and that I would be greatly disappointed.

But as I shuffled through the line, watching how my friends conducted themselves while conversing with the old women in hair nets who were dipping out the provision, I immediately noticed two obvious problems. All the food looked a little bit gray, and there wasn’t much of it.

For the first couple of days I pretended to enjoy the cuisine, but by the time Day Three came around, I found myself yearning for my fried bologna sandwich and tomato soup (with a few crackers.)

I made it through the fifth day, and when my mother returned on the weekend, she asked me if I would like to continue to eat in the cafeteria. I think she thought it was a pretty good deal–especially since she wouldn’t have to play cook and waitress for me at lunch time.

Inexplicably, I broke out in tears and was very embarrassed, but sobbed, “No, I wanna come home…”

It was pathetic.

But it was better than eating over-cooked macaroni, processed cheese and room temperature fruit cocktail.

 

 

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Box Office

Box office: (n) a place at a theater or other arts establishment where tickets are bought or reserved.

In the midst of my human journey, which I’m sure some people would consider a cavalcade of bizarre experiments and perpetual oddities, I, for a season, wrote screenplays, which were produced into low-budget, independent films, and showcased at festivals.Dictionary B

On top of that, we had a premiere of each film, which could be viewed by all of the participants, actors and family members, so they could “ooh and aah” over their participation (and also confirm that the camera really does put ten pounds on you).

I was in Michigan and they were shooting my script entitled “Wonderful,” which was a tipping of the hat to the Capra film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when it was determined that we would rent a big metroplex theater for our premiere.

It was a bold move.

The place seated about 300 people, and we had no reason to believe that such a multitude would be willing to come and see our little endeavor.

I vividly recall sitting in the parking lot, staring at the road leading to the theater and watching as the cars–one by one, then three by three, and finally ten by ten–began arriving for our debut.

It was thrilling.

By the time everybody gathered, the place was full, the movie was screened, the energy was supreme and the human interaction of joy and fellowship that followed was the definition of what our lives should truly be.

I will never forget that box-office moment, when the people poured out of the theater, some in tears, some laughing, some grumpy (maintaining their nature) but all aware that they had broken down their barriers, and allowed themselves, for a brief moment, to truly be brothers and sisters.

 

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Bottle

Bottle: (n) a container with a narrow neck, used for storing drinks or other liquids.

Kids like money.Dictionary B

I suppose you can try to change that.  Good luck.

Actually, the best you can do–so as not to become a personal ATM for your offspring–is to instruct them on various methods they can use to earn small sums of cash.

When my seven-year-old son came to me complaining that he didn’t have funds to buy a toy, I suggested that he go out and collect bottles. This was a time when such an adventure was plausible, and paid off with two cents per container.

He became extraordinarily industrious. In no time at all, he had collected 268 bottles. He was so proud.

So I drove him down to the local grocery store, which had promised to pay the deposit, and let him go in with a  cart, completely packed to the brim.

He was gone a long time. I almost decided to go in and check up on him, but felt he might consider that interfering.

He finally returned to the car with a little money in his hand and tears in his eyes. He didn’t say a word. So I finally asked him why he was so upset.

He shared that the store manager told him that today they would only give one penny for each bottle. He didn’t want to argue with a grown-up, so he accepted his half payment.

We just sat there for a moment in silence. Finally I asked him, “So what do you feel about that?”

The tears avalanched down his cheeks.

“I think it stinks,” he said.

I explained to him that since he felt that way, he should probably go in and make a stand. He nervously agreed.

Being a proud father, I couldn’t miss this. I made sure he didn’t see me sneak in behind him, but I was bound and determined to catch the discussion.

My little fellow was very respectful, but he challenged the manager and said that he had worked very hard to collect the bottles because he had been promised two cents.

Amazingly, the manager decided to stonewall. But as my boy made his case, a few customers came around, listening in on the exchange. One of them took my son’s side, and before you knew it, there were four or five people frowning at the store manager.

He realized he was going to lose more business than the $2.68 he was withholding. So he reached into the drawer, handed the money to my son and told him to be about his business.

I quickly scurried to the car to be there before he arrived. When he opened the door, he had a big, beaming smile.

He learned to stand up for himself–even though there was the risk that nothing would change. The truth of the matter is, if you’re being cheated by a penny on your bottles, you’d better pipe up.

Because bottling up your feelings can leave some nasty deposits.

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Bereave

Bereave: (v) to be deprived of a loved oneDictionary B 

I’m a silly goose (even though I’m not quite sure why that bird got crippled with such a characterization).

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but often I will be sitting alone and suddenly be overwhelmed with the remorse that will be felt by those around me at my passing.

I don’t know why I feel the right to project on them such a breakdown–but tears come to my eyes as I imagine them weeping over my demise.

Honestly, I cannot say that I get nearly as worked up about considering the death of another.

No, it is the absence of me on the planet that bereaves me.

I can’t imagine an Earth without my charming personality.

I’m reluctant to write this article, but having a certain anonymity due to the expansiveness of the Internet and my own obscurity … I assume I am fairly safe in maintaining this secret devotion to my own mortality.

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