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Welcome to BBMI, Ink., where you'll always get a fresh dose of opinion mixed with a little humor and love.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Best Weekend Ever

We just lived through a whirlwind weekend that may rank up there with the top five best ever. I’m not kidding! And I’ve had some humdingers, let me tell you.
We left Wichita at noon on Friday after picking up our kids at school. Yes, we allowed them to skip the last three hours of the school day. This made their weekend complete. The rest, for them anyway, was merely icing.
Friday night, we went to the 35th Heart of America Christmas Pageant at First Baptist Church of Raytown. When we lived in the KC area, I was in about 20 of them. The Hubster was probably in 15 and our boys were in two.
When we moved away 10+ years ago, it was one of the most difficult things to leave behind. When September rolled around that first year (yes, rehearsals start in September), I felt lost. I kept thinking I was forgetting something. Then I remembered: I didn’t have to go to Pageant rehearsal. I shed a lot of tears and wasn’t very kind to my fellow man. I’d like to say I’ve gotten better with time, but my fellow men would probably disagree.
We went to the Friday evening performance and I guess I stopped crying before the lights came on, but that’s not exactly true. So many emotions! Seeing all our old friends and their kids as they act out the story of Jesus’ birthday, life on earth, death and resurrection is an emotional roller coaster. We loved every minute of it. We visited with as many as we could and then headed back to our friends to rest up for the next day’s adventure.
Saturday, we left Blue Springs around noon to drive to a wedding in the little town of Halfway, Missouri. The GPS said we had plenty of time, so we stopped and grabbed a quick lunch. After we got on our way again, the GPS reset our arrival time for 5 minutes before the wedding was to start! The Type A in me started sweating and didn’t really recover until about Monday.
We made great time and were flying (at the speed limit) through Bolivar when we approached the town square. In unison, the Hubster and I yelled, “Oh no!” The annual Christmas parade was passing through the square and barricades were everywhere! Thankfully, I went to college in Bolivar and my own GPS of buried navigational memories kicked in. “Turn left! Go through this block! Turn right!” I barked and Hubster flew through town, skirting the square and making up time. We arrived at the beautiful wedding venue with three minutes to spare.
I’ve known Kim since we were seniors in high school. We met at Missouri All-State Choir and then got reacquainted in college and were roommates there and for a year after college. We’ve always kept in contact, sometimes closer than others, but have always been a part of each other’s lives.
After a devastating divorce and a lot of growing pains, Kim started dating a wonderful man named Joe. We met him about a year ago and knew he loved her. You know how you meet a couple and you just know they belong together? We couldn’t wait until they caught up with what the rest of us already knew and made it official.
The wedding was outside. Yes, it was December 13th, but what a perfect day! It was a little cloudy all day, but the temperature was in the 50s – a rare and beautiful treat in Missouri in December. Just as Kim and her dad entered the outdoor arbor, the sun broke through the clouds and angels sang (okay, we only heard angels in our heads, but they were there!). It was a beautiful ceremony and a fun reception. I wish I’d taken more pictures, but these will help you get the basic idea.
This is the "Twinkle Room" where the wedding took place. We all sat on benches and then moved our bench to a heated tent for the reception. Glorious!

This was the groom's hand on his newly pronounced wife's, um, side. Actually, when I first saw it, it was a little further south but he moved it before I could take a picture. I don't know why, but it made me giggle!
About 5pm, we jumped back in the van and drove home. I started doing a little math (that’s about all I’m capable of) and with the help of the odometer, figured we drove just a little over 650 miles in 34 hours.
It was worth every mile and every minute. The only thing that would have made it better? I wish we would have had time to watch the parade!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Her Name was Mud

She’s back in the news; that infamous White House intern whose affair with a President 20 years ago was all anyone could talk about.
(First, let’s reflect on the fact that it’s been 20 years. This doesn’t seem possible.  I was listening to a story on NPR today about “Millennials:” babies born in the 80’s and 90’s. They interviewed a girl, born in 1992, who is graduating from college. College? Wasn’t 1992 just yesterday?)
Anyway, back to the intern. Twenty years ago, I volunteered at our church. My volunteer day often coincided with another group of volunteers. They were ladies of a “certain age” who came in to help out Frank, our master of all things printed. One of his jobs was to produce the Sunday bulletin and this wonderful group of gals, most in the 70’s and 80’s came in to help stuff all the inserts into the bulletins for him.
Frank and I loved to eavesdrop on their conversations. As they sat at their table, Frank and I would find any excuse to hover near and listen in. They always had a lot to talk about. It usually involved body parts and their functions and how so-and-so’s stuff wasn’t up to snuff. They always discussed last week’s sermon and other important church business. Some days, they took up current events.
As Intern-gate was the only thing you heard about when you turned on the TV, these ladies waded into the murky waters of politics and morals. They were, as most Americans, sick of hearing about it. They were mad as wet hens at the President and wanted to show him the door. Then one of them said, “I’d be happy to never hear the name ‘Veronica Stravinsky’ again.”
While the other ladies, not missing a beat, heartily agreed, Frank and I made eye contact across the room. That was all she wrote. We both ducked out the nearest door – he made for one hallway while I dashed down another. I snorted and gulped and thought I was going to make it without completely losing it when I heard, off in the distance, Frank’s cackle. I went around the corner to find him doubled over, convulsing with laughter. Of course I joined him.
When we finally got it together, he gasped, “Did she say, ‘Veronica Stravinsky’?” I only managed a nod before we lost it again.
Most, if not all, of those ladies have been promoted to stuffing Heaven’s bulletins. I bet they’re having a great time, talking about all the “goings-on” up there.
But I wish I had one more chance to listen in on their conversations here on earth. Frank and I would be hanging out, listening in, and trying to avoid eye contact.
I won’t be buying your book, Veronica, but I thank you for one of the best laughs ever.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Le Pew et La Cathedrale

Every morning at 6:44, I go out of our house with our 6th graders to await the arrival of their limo ride to school (hey, the State of Kansas and USD 265 pays for it; might as well be a limo). And, yes, we walk out at 6:44; but that’s another blog post about the Herndon neurosis called, “Five Minutes Early is Fifteen Minutes Late.”

At some point during this school year, the boys convinced me that we should let our Lab mix, Maggie, come outside with us for the 5-10 minute wait. Oh, why not? It was still dark at 6:44 so I figured she could get into very little mischief. And yes, I let her come out of the house into our garage without a leash. This breaks a rule and causes me to sweat a little, but that’s another blog post about the Herndon neurosis entitled, “Rules are Made to be Followed to the Nth Degree.”

Almost every morning, Maggie bounds down the garage steps and heads for the driveway to sniff the concrete and the grass along the edge. She usually gives everything a good once over and then comes back to the garage to hang out with us till the bus comes. After it drives away, she sprints to the newspaper. She either sits down by it or runs in circles around it. No, she won’t pick it up and bring it to me. I have to walk down the drive in my pajamas and pick it up. The fact that I’m wearing my pj’s and I’m outside breaks another rule. Oh, the blog posts that will follow!

Just this week, I’d commented to the Hubster that the sun was coming up earlier these days. It was not nearly as dark as it had been even last week at 6:44 am. I was a bit concerned about letting Maggie go out with us in the sunlight for fear that she might see a cat up the street and take out after it as dogs are wont to do.

But I didn’t need to worry about cats. No, this morning, as we waited for the yellow limo, we saw something creeping through our neighbor’s yard. I thought, “Oh, no, it’s a cat!” As I was trying to get the words out of my mouth, something like, “Boys! Grab the dog before she sees that cat!,” all four of us (three humans, one canine) realized it wasn’t a cat. It was (dramatic pause). A SKUNK.
A skunk, people. In West Suburbia, Kansas. Walking through someone’s front yard at Oh Dark 30. 

As we all dove for the dog, she saw it and did what dogs do: lost her mind. She bee-lined for it and caught up with it in the middle of the street. All three humans were screaming their heads off. “Maggie! Maggie stop! No, don’t get any closer! Don’t move! Come back!” Of course, we all know that to dogs, this sounds like, “Maggie! Blah, blah, blah! We’re excited about something! Maggie! Ignore us please and chase that cat-thing!”
About this time, as the skunk was raising his/her tail in greetings and salutations, Max decided he should step in and rescue his beloved canine. I have to say I don’t know when I’ve moved faster, especially for 6:44 am. I lunged for him and caught his hoodie and screamed “Stop! Don’t get close!” Thankfully, to a boy, this sounds like “Stop! I will kill you if you move!” when said by a pajama-clad mother.

We watched in horror as Pepe Le Pew did what skunks do. Maggie took the attack in the face and immediately turned tail and ran for us. The three of us hadn’t stopped screaming since we first saw “the cat.” My screams changed from, “Maggie! No!” to “Boys! Get away from her!” I had this vision of her running up to them and rubbing her sprayed self all over their clothes.
Maggie came back to our yard and was doing the weird dog thing of running with your rear up in the air and your face sliding along in the grass. She was furiously trying to wipe the vile skunkness out of her eyes.

I grabbed for her collar, still screaming at the kids, “Stay away! Don’t let her touch you!” when I became aware of Isaac saying, “Mom! The bus!” I looked up to see the bus slowing to a stop and the four or five kids on board craning their necks to see the crazy woman in a purple coat, red reindeer pajama pants, and a pink knit hat desperately trying to hold on to a crazy black dog without touching it.
I’m imagining the following interrogation on that bus: “Dude, who was that crazy woman at your house?” “Dude, what was she doing to that dog?” “Dude, what did she have on?” “Dude, was she screaming at someone?”

To which my 13 year olds would have answered, “Dude, there was a skunk!” and “Dude, I’ve never seen that woman in my life.”*

I managed to get Maggie inside and took her directly to the shower. Unfortunately for him, the shower was currently occupied by The Hubster. I’m sure it kind of ruined the enjoyment of a nice hot shower to have your wife fling the door open and shove a very reluctant 40 pound dog in. He could hear me screaming, but was having a little trouble understanding me over the hysteria. Finally, he heard, “Skunk!” and “Maggie!” and put the rest of the story together. He’s smart like that.

Thanks be to God, the spraying wasn’t too thorough. Monsieur Le Pew wasn’t packing a full load or perhaps all the screaming led to a failure to perform. Whatever the reason, the shower seemed to take care of Maggie’s new perfume.

Our house, on the other hand, has a distinct parfume de Pew. To anyone out there who has ever given me a scented candle as a gift, we owe you our eternal thanks. It looks like a cathedral in here. A sandalwood-vanilla-citronella-wet-dog cathedral.

At 6:44 am tomorrow, the dog will stay inside.

*Update: Max called to ask if I could pick him up after school. I asked him if he was having any skunk smell issues. He said, "Yeah, my shoes and Spencer's jacket." Spencer is his seatmate on the bus. Max said, "The whole bus smells now." Somehow, I think a bus full of 11-to-13 year olds may have already had an odor issue, but I'm sure we didn't help it this morning.




Monday, January 20, 2014

Taking the Bus to Breakfast

I saw this last week.

It’s a document produced by the Montgomery Improvement Association. It gives very specific instructions as to how persons of color were to ride city buses. Segregation had been declared unconstitutional and it was time for all riders to choose their seats – front, middle, or back.
I can’t read it without tearing up. If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the fine people of Montgomery hadn’t answered their calling and taken their seats on the city buses, my family wouldn’t exist. It’s that simple. Interracial adoption was illegal in most states; until the 1990s, there were no federal laws ensuring nondiscrimination in adoption.

My friend Carey told me a story that always comes to mind on this important day when we celebrate the birthday of Dr. King. Carey grew up in the segregated schools of North Carolina. He and his wife were among the first Black children who attended public schools after states were forced to comply with desegregation laws.
Carey told me about going to football camp when he was in junior high. His dad took him to meet the bus and Carey realized there were very few Black kids riding the bus. Carey was scared. How would the other kids treat him? Where should he sit on the bus? His dad said to him, “Get on the bus for me. Get on the bus for you.”

Thank you, Carey, for getting on the bus. You got on the bus for me, Brian, Max, and Isaac.
Thank you Dr. King, for leading your followers with such dignity and grace.  Because of you, this is how we celebrate MLK Day in our house.

We have breakfast with a few of our friends.  Who cares what color you are! You’re all welcome at our table and no one thinks a thing about it.
“Be loving enough to absorb evil and understanding enough to turn an enemy into a friend.”
They're all precious in His sight.