Retirement Beckons, Part 2

Once I never thought about retirement, other than being a good lad and salting away some rainy-day dollars each month for a distant future.

How could I ponder retirement when, on a pre-dawn Sunday morning, the sermon was still making demands? In a few hours the sanctuary seats, cradling innocent-appearing adults and cute children, would be occupied. Every member was a mix of dreams and disappointments. They’d all felt loss (of faith, of loved ones, of a future). And a few, with clenched jaws or fake smiles, hoped today the preacher would say something that made sense.

Or, they were present from habit or the football game was on later or the kids should go to church or the wife had given “the look” and it was far better to get your butt to church after a quick bowl of Cheerios rather than protest.

No, early on Sunday mornings, with an unfinished sermon (and it’s never truly done until the “Amen” hours later after the good news was cast before the beloved, beleaguered, bored, bereft dwellers of the pews), retirement was never a thought.

It is now.

The proverbial fat lady sings in June 2018. Continue reading →

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Good Shepherds and Bold Basketball Players

About a month ago, I attended the annual awards banquet for the Fresno State women’s basketball team. I mention this for two reasons.

First, I want to brag on these student-athletes. Of all the 350 or so Division 1 women’s teams in the 2017-18 season, Fresno had the youngest starting line-up: three freshmen and two juniors. We had no seniors on the roster. With a good enough record—16 wins—they were invited to a low-profile “March Madness”-type tournament. As someone who watched these women play, lose, bond, struggle, mature, and win, I have ample reasons for pride and looked forward to attending.

Of course, the festivities reminded me (again) that I’m a gray-bearded old coot. The women are young, vibrant, so-called “digital natives,” and born in the last gasps of the 20th century. At nineteen and twenty, they have only known the United States being at war in Afghanistan and elsewhere. They had barely entered elementary school when the first iPhone was released. In 2006, the year before Apple sold the original iPhone, the final telegram was sent in the United States. (Hey, what’s a telegram?) Yeah, these women are young! Continue reading →

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Once Upon a Stormy Lent

Happy Birthday, Mr. President…

Like Donald Trump, I have wantonly, wickedly wasted time with Stormy Daniels.

My first “encounter” with her came a year before the blurred, amateurish—and now, thanks to the internet, ubiquitous—snapshot was taken of Ms. Daniels and Mr. Trump. They allegedly enjoyed each other’s company at a 2006 celebrity golf event in Lake Tahoe.

Director Judd Apatow’s raunchy and poignant The 40 Year-Old Virgin was released in 2005. Ms. Daniels appeared briefly (in more ways than one) as a fantasy for actor Steve Carroll’s befuddled, naïve Andy Stitzer.

Naked Stormy was.

I saw her first, Donald!

Well, probably not.

For Lent 2018, apparently no one was abstaining from sex. On the day before Ash Wednesday (aka, Valentine’s Day), one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers admitted to paying $130,000 for Stephanie Clifford’s (aka Stormy Daniels) silence. Though accusations about consensual intercourse, deceit, and 2016 campaign violations happened prior to that admission, the she-said/he-said sparring accelerated through Lent’s 40 days. Continue reading →

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