Sign of the times

A young woman walked into my office the other day. My first thought was that she was lost as she certainly did not have the appearance of anybody who would come to see me. I judged her to be in her twenties somewhere and certainly not of means. Of average height with blond hair pulled back, she had a gentle and quiet quality about her. The first thing I noticed was she had on a fairly worn coat that was open to reveal a dirty white t-shirt. Her tennis shoes were long past their useful lifespan. When I got past her appearance, I noticed that she was scared. She asked me where she could buy a latch for her truck. “You are in the right store but not quite where you need to be yet” I said. I walked over to the door to point her in the right direction. My gut told me to take her over to the parts department myself. I told her to drive her truck around the corner to our Parts Dept. and I would meet her there. She got into a well worn black Chevrolet Blazer and headed in the direction I had indicated. On the way over, I remember asking myself, “Where is her husband or Dad?” It was not my place to ask. As she drove past me, I noticed she was holding the door of her truck shut. I stopped her and confirmed that fact and then showed her where to park. I asked if she wanted to buy a part or get it fixed. “Depends on what it costs,” she said. I cannot explain it, but my heart went out to her at that moment. This young woman was probably my daughter’s age so my fatherly instincts sprang up. I went into our shop and asked Jon to see if he could help this woman out. “Looks like she is on her last dime,” I said. Jon is a good sort and went out to look. With a little bit of spray-lubrication and monkeying around with the latch, Jon got the door to shut. She wanted to fix it but it would require a fair amount of money that she did not have. Jon made a temporary fix to the door and advised her to use the passenger door until she could afford to fix it. Before she left I reminded her that she knows where my desk is and to stop by if I can be of further assistance. Off she drove into the cold Indiana winter, scared and almost certainly lonely. I do hope she stops by though I doubt that she will. All I know about this young woman is she drives a black Chevrolet Blazer. I know that she is scared too and my heart breaks for her and so many others that are victims of either the times we live in or the results of their own decisions. I am of the impression that she has a gentle and nurturing soul caught up in the struggle for survival. She is somebody’s daughter, somebody’s wife or sister. Where are they? My heart hurts for such as these. Note to woman in a worn out black Chevrolet. Do stop by. I want to know that you are ok.


It is amazing how something like invasive  intraductal carcinoma, better known as breast cancer, can change everything. Such has been the case these past 2 1/2 weeks. My Karen has been reading and formulating her plan of attack while I have tried to keep things on as even a keel as I can. Creative writing, such as it is, has suffered as a result as has the quiet time to think and create from which that writing comes.  It has been hard to stay focused on anything beyond the immediate need to be supportive of my bride. That, I think, is the way it should and must be. The fields of Amarillo can wait.

Life has to continue though and I want to make a note here of stories that are in the proverbial cauldron. There were a total of five fields that were within easy walking distance of our house on Hall Street. You have heard a couple of stories from a few of them. Here to whet your appetite (I hope) is a short list of stories coming:

  • The haunted house that was between two fields behind Lyndon’s and Rusty’s house. Much scarier than the house on Avondale mentioned elsewhere in this blog.
  • The field where we built our own baseball field, complete with a backstop made of junk. The parents wrecked it for us.
  • The strange circle of trees on the far end of the biggest field.
  • The chase!

I would also like to tell you that yours truly is working on a keynote speech on these very stories. From that and several other stories that will dredge themselves out of my head, I hope to have something resembling a book. We shall see.

So, there it is. To update: Karen will schedule her surgery tomorrow and is hoping to have it done yet this month. Those of you who are given to prayer, I would be forever grateful if you would commend my Karen to God as you do so.

A Brief Update

Cancer has a way of rearranging one’s life. It has had that effect on this household. There has been zero time to write for starters which is why this site has been quiet for the past week or so. For those of you who pass by here routinely, here is a brief update on Karen’s new fight with cancer:

Karen has been studying and meeting with the Docs in the drive to formulate  a plan of attack. She is much more thorough than me and I am glad she is. She will make a wise decision. She faces surgery and some recovery time. All involved in this process are highly optimistic for her long term health. I hope so. I don’t cook very well and would certainly starve to death without her. I’m also a bit messy. Anyway, she will have her surgery sometime this month. That’s about all I can tell you until the final pathology report comes in. 

I am confident that God will bring her through this. We remain reliant on Him for our strength and hope.  I’ll keep you posted and, I promise, there are several more stories from the fields in Amarillo.

Cancer has a name

On January 13th, my bride  was diagnosed with cancer.  She just turned 53 this month and we had just had our 31st anniversary on the 12th.

Up until now, cancer was something that other people got. I lost an Aunt to it in 1965 and my Dad died from cancer in 2004. I am not completely unfamiliar with it but I was and am completely unprepared to deal with this one. Outside of my biological family, I have known Karen longer than anybody else. She is my pride and joy and the only woman that I have ever loved. Or will love.

I do not know what is coming next. There is some encouragement in the knowledge that this type of cancer is treatable and it was caught early. Regardless of that fact, cancer will be a part of our lives for the duration. Our lives will be re-arranged by it to what extent I do not yet know.

This type of life change does require that priorities have to be examined. It also begs the question in what or who do I put my trust. As for me and my house, we will trust my Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus. So….as we work through this, you will forgive me when I occasionally drift from my normal stories and write about this. Let’s call it my own therapy. Thanks