Monday, October 31, 2005

Amy Briggs

Amy Briggs was there the first time I saw the Body.

I remember Alliance smelled like cigarettes because of the 24-hour bail bonds place next door. I remember Dean and Amy asking me over for lunch. They said they hoped Alliance might become my church community while in Bolivar but if that wasn't the case, they wanted to help me find one elsewhere.

I didn't know what to say to that.

I remember talking to them about love and marriage. Amy said she realized one day that if she had to be stuck on an island somewhere with someone she would want it to be Dean. So she married him. I thought that sounded so unspiritual. So unchurchy. I loved it.

Dean and Amy prayed with me. When I was hurt by religion they prayed with me. When I was disillusioned by college they prayed for me. When my dad was diagnosed they prayed with me. When my dad died they cried and prayed with me. They were one of two couples who opened themselves up for me those years, who modeled the Body to me because they realized their marriages were "the mystery...I speak concerning Christ and His church."

So unchurchy...and yet, the Church.

Amy Briggs met the Lord this weekend. Amy Briggs fought a battle with breast cancer for about a year and this weekend she won.

Everything closes in around us and presses on us mercilessly and tells us she lost. But she won.

She no longer has faith but rather reality. She no longer has tears but rather dancing. We cry and we cry and we wonder how and we wonder why and we get pissed as hell.....

And she dances and dances, the LORD uttering the name He's had waiting for her for all eternity. The name no one knows but Him and no one can call her but Him because no one can really know us like Him, right down to our very name.

When I got the news this morning I cried and cried and prayed and prayed and got pissed as hell. And then I remembered that funny thing she said about marrying Dean because she thought she could be stranded on an island with him.

It doesn't sound so silly anymore. It sounds prophetic. It sounds wise. And it sounds true.

Thank you Amy.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

October 22nd

At 12:20 in the pm five days a week I teach Advanced Placement Comparative Government. There are six of us total wading our way through foreign policy. I enjoy teaching this class.

Every day at 1:12 in the pm AP Comparative Government ends. I make my way towards the teacher's lounge with a bit of a hankering for some lunch. Its already been a long day teaching bible and gym and foreign policy.

Everyday at 1:20 in the pm I open the fridge that only we teachers are allowed to keep things cool in. A moment of privilege washes over me. At the bottom of the fridge is a plate. Resting on that plate is a sandwich wrapped very carefully with a white napkin. On the napkin I find the inscription:

Five days a week this happens. I never ask for it, but there it is. Everyday. Lunch accompanied by a sweet note and a fruit.
Now, I feel like it might be a tad shallow to say "my wife is swell because she makes me lunch."
My wife is not swell because of what I get out of her. But I will tell you this. Everyday when I open that fridge and see that sandwich and that napkin and that note my stomach does this little two-step. I'm talking first kiss kind of two-step; take a chance, grab her hand, oh my god she didn't pull her hand away kind of feelings.
Everyday at lunch I get to feel this.
So in honor of my wife's birthday I ask that you would do two things:
One: drop a line and say hello. Tell her you love her. Recall a funny story. Tell her why she's great.
Two: make somebody lunch. Put a note on it and don't forget the fruit. Sneak up to their workplace if need be and drop it in the fridge of applicable privilege.
Trust me the recipient will know they are loved. Just as I do.
I love you too Chelsea. You are the absolute greatest. And there's an apple as well.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

First Enron, Now This pt. II

Due to the events that transpired during the evening of October 19, the previous post "First Enron, Now This" has been removed.

In its place I will leave room for any and all comments. I taunted. I will take what comes. I certainly deserve it. The Cardinals laid four stinkers. Five if you count the one Pujols put on his back and saved.

Houston you deserve it. Outpitched to the man. Outhit to the man...except for #5.

still, for myles

Thursday, October 13, 2005

School days/school days/learn the Golden Rule days.

I've never liked school pictures. It has always been a demoralizing experience. My parents had the 8x10 of my 3rd grade picture framed in our living room for years. It might still even be there... toothless grin and all. I never gave out a school picture until the 6th grade... and that was a one time fluke. At least Jesse seems to be enjoying himself, floating in the misty gray haze.

I have two more confessions to make. The night before last Jesse and I entertained ourselves for a good 3o minutes by making shadow puppets in the sin electricity candlelight. He's got quite an eye for it. Also, while drifting off to sleep last night I somehow mentioned that I really liked the show Perfect Strangers when I was young. I believe I said I thought Balky Bartokamus (?) was funny and that I loved him. It went something like this "That show was great. I loved Balky, he was so funny." sigh.

The loss of evening light is getting to me. One can only handle so much time in the dark.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

10 Things I Think I Think

I wrote a heavy last time and have yet to be back. But I live in a foreign country and am in short supply of company willing to listen to me ramble about seemingly trivial nonsensical types things. If my wife has to listen to one more hypothesis as to why I think a bar fight would be fun she might lose it. So, for her sake, here are ten things I think I think.

1. I think the view from my third floor apartment is spectacular. Out the living room window, (which happens to be big enough for a truck to drive through, which has never happened although a bat flew through once), are some rooftops, too many royal palm trees to number, and beyond those are mountains. The mountains actually take up about 180 degrees of the horizon encircling our place. Tropical mountains too: green, terrible, prehistoric. The even better view is from our roof. The wife and I head up there to dry clothes and drink beer. From the roof you can see the ball field with the goats in the outfield. Thing wouldn't pass for a dump in the states but here kids and grown men alike play there daily. I've played there a couple times. When I bat I can see my wife hanging laundry on our roof with mountains behind her. The view from that ball field is spectacular.

2. I think I have a strong distaste for David Gray. When he sings he moves his head real funny and his accent seems to get thicker, which I believe he does intentionally, playing up the whole Irish oppressed song-writer card. Pooser. Point, click: iTunes. Point, click: skip. There. Keane. Much better and you can't say I have an unfair bias towards European artists.

3. I think I'm going to send our copy of "Waiting for Snow in Havana" to Kevin and hope the book will make the rounds in KC and then move on to perhaps Arkansas and Texas. Kevo, Carlos Eire writes a lot like you do. You feel like you're out back drinking with him as you read. A Cuban refugee who lived through the revolution and loves Nirvana and Jesus...this book is for you.

4. I think I missed Kevo's birthday and am sheepishly sending him a book in an attempt to make up for it.

5. I think Houston and Atlanta just literally played about twenty innings. I wonder if they started reselling beer. At regular season games they stop selling after the seventh to give us a chance to sober up before we head home. I usually buy two during the stretch. The seventh inning stretch began to be seen regularly at ball games after Howard Taft attended a ball game during his presidency. He was too fat to sit in the seats comfortably and stood up between the top and bottom of the seventh inning prompting the rest of those in attendance to stand. Thus, the seventh inning stretch. Thus, Jesse buys two more. Thanks Howie. Too bad you let yourself go so much you died naked, stuck in your tub.

6. I think St. Louis will sweep their way through the post season. That's right. Not a single loss.

7. I don't think Ace will give a damn. My mother, however, will. She will also be in the Dominican for the fall classic and get to experience the hysteria and love of baseball on this island first hand. If it ends up being a Cardinals/Yankees series it should be real fun. The fan breakdown here goes about 70% New York, 30% Boston and .000001% St. Louis. Me. That equals more than 100% but I'm not Dominican so drop it.

8. I think I miss Texas. It's a little more than a year since I relocated. It grows on you really. The first time I ever visited Texas I saw a guy in tight jeans and a cowboy hat actually open the hood of his F-150 by hitting it with his fist just so in just the right spot. Texas is the only state I know of that likes to and can get away with naming products after itself. The Texas Ranch Ford. The Texas BBQ Burger. A Texas-Sized beer. Go ahead. Try that with your home state..the Missouri Backwoods Ford...a big hardy Missouri burger..? I hear Texas has two of the top five fattest cities in the country though: Houston (1) and Dallas (4). Might wanna try a Rhode Island burger guys.

9.I think Esue should quit her job and leave those poosers in the lurch like they did her. She won't though. Too much integrity that, E. And unconditional love for her students. Somebody buy that girl a beer for me.

1o. Things I think they got right in the Dukes of Hazard film:

1. Freeze frames. They were all over the movie with the "Uh-Oh..what'll those Duke boys do now?" narrative right on top of them.
2. Willie Nelson. Enough Said.
3. The Dukes showed an interest in females. This never, ever happened in the series and if I had not been eight would have caused all kind of unhealthy suspicion.
4. Flaming arrows shot into bales of hay that blow up for no apparent reason.
5. A bar fight. Still on my list of things to do before I die.

Things I thought they got horribly wrong in the new Dukes of Hazard film:

1. No Waylon Jennings. Neither on the theme song or the narration. Someone tell me if he's dead. Its the only excuse.
2. Burt Reynolds as Boss Hog. Hog has to be short and round. Has to be. Though there was a scene with him wearing a bib and cooking crawdads which seemed to make its way into every episode.
3. They tried to make Roscoe P. Coletrain's character intimidating. Huge mistake. He was THE comic relief of the show.
4. One flimsy appearance of Flash and no "Get in the back seat Flash!" anywhere to be found.
5. Jessica Simpson. Enough said.

OK. Laters. Thanks to Mark for the use of the word "pooser"...though really I didn't even ask.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


The strangest thing about living in the Dominican Republic is that I use a floppy disc everyday.

Declarative sentence by Chelsea Robertson