Heartbreak and history

It was just another Tuesday, and I was just another 15-year-old sophomore in high school.

My mind had little regard for anything except girls, sports, what I’d eat for lunch and how I’d get through math class.

I didn’t have a cell phone or a driver’s license.

I was nowhere near New York City or the World Trade Center.

Terrorism was just a word.

I’m 32 now. Things are different.

I know you might skim this story on your cell phone. I know you might be too young to remember what happened.

Maybe you weren’t even born.

Maybe all you know about Sept. 11, 2001, came from what you’ve seen on social media or heard in history class.

My friend wrote a column about Sept. 11 last week, in which she made a wonderful point about what I remember most from the the day’s aftermath. I’ve thought about you since I read it. I thought about you again this morning, when I saw an Instagram post from a history teacher who had students interview someone who has a clear memory of what happened 17 years ago today to help them see a different picture of one of America’s most disasterous days.

I’ll never forget what unfolded in those hours.

If you can’t remember, and you have a minute to spare, I’d like to try to take you to a time when the history you’ve heard was just heartbreak. Continue reading →

I saw sea turtles on the seashore

I pushed my lawn chair into the sand and sat.

I was part of a small crowd, which had gathered on the beach to witness the aftermath of a seldom-seen spectacle of nature.

The crowd included several small girls, who giggled as they flipped through pamphlets and stared with wide-eyed wonder at a little indention on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico.

The spot was the only visible sign of sea turtle nest No. 20, which had hatched a few days earlier.

While the crowd watched, trained volunteers dug into the sand below the spot until they reached the chamber of the nest.

They lifted unhatched eggs, broken eggshells and one dead hatchling from the chamber to be recorded before they buried them again.

All of this amazed the group of small girls, and I heard one of them say they’d seen history.

I smiled and thought about how amazed they’d be if they were ever around when one of those nests hatched.

I saw a sea turtle nest hatch once.

It was something I never knew I needed to see, and something I’ll never forget. Continue reading →

Me and the bee

Long ago, I made one of my many bad choices.

I went outside to play, and saw a five-gallon bucket.

There was water in it and a bee on it.

I’d been told bees don’t usually bother you if you don’t bother them, which has since proven to be mostly true, but I was a young boy and it proved impossible not to test such a theory.

Continue reading →

Booth 91

If you want to talk about how kindness is an afterthought in the world today, you’ll just have to find someone else who will listen.

I don’t dispute there’s a lot less kindness than there once was, and I know the world could use a lot more, but there’s still some here.

I know. I’ve been given the gift of two random acts of kindness in the last two months.

Continue reading →

What if my words were gone?

A Randy Travis interview came on the radio while I drove home from work the other day.

It was recorded before his 2013 stroke, which almost cost him his life and has made communication more difficult than it once was for the singer of more than a dozen No. 1 songs.

This is less about Travis, though, than it is about the questions which creeped into my mind when I thought about how quickly things changed for him.

Continue reading →