The Son is always shining, regardless of the weather

Another birthday…


They say you shouldn’t run from your problems, but face them. Lately, I have been running for my problem (the problem being…I’m out of shape), and I am really feeling better…maybe even younger. I was thrilled to get new running shoes for my b-day.

BC and I went to my 20th high school reunion a few nights ago, and it was a delightful jog down memory lane. It’s funny, a lot of families we currently hang out with have a large number of kids, so I was surprised (not shocked) when I won the “Most Kids” Award. It was wonderful hugging everyone again, and hearing their laughter. I love to hear people laugh. Before the reunion, I got the old yearbook out, and a high school scrapbook and that was kind of fun, too.

But then I came across “it”—a newspaper clipping from high school. Right before I moved to Dallas, I ran in the district track meet in S. A., and I placed in the top twenty. I ran two miles in 13:28. Let’s move forward twenty years…I have recently been running on a treadmill, and thinking that I was “really moving”, but in actuality…it takes me twice as long to run two miles as it did back then. Just another reminder of how you really do slow down when you get older, physically and mentally (I couldn’t even remember how long it took me to run 2 miles). Well…baby steps…

I had a wonderful birthday yesterday, starting with breakfast with my precious twin sister. Then we all went roller skating (thanks BC…I know that’s just not the way you like to roll). It’s been twenty years since I’ve been on roller skates, and it really was a blast from the past. I’m glad we’ve been running lately, because roller skating is quite the aerobic exercise. Then, we went home for some “down time” (although we had a
different kind of “down time” at the skating rink)
.

I was so touched by the many birthday blessings that were sent my way via Facebook. I really have enjoyed reconnecting with family and friends that way. We went to Chili’s for dinner, and had a fabulous time! My kids gave me a sweet stepping stone that they secretly made. We stayed up pretty late, and I was starting to feel pain in my back (left side). It was just after midnight. I was thinking it was possibly sore muscles from skating, but then I remembered this pain…kidney stone! Yikes! Well, I started drinking lots of water, and praying the prayer that I always pray when I have kidney stones…”I pray that this too, shall pass!”. This is my fourth experience with kidney stones in the last 12 years, and each experience always brings me to my knees (the pain is that bad, and I am really praying hard for God’s mercy).

P.S. Praise the LORD! I was able to pass the stone, and before our trip to New Mexico!

Boys Crying “Wolf”!


The other day, my six-year-old son purposely tried to scare me. He let a red Skittle melt on his finger, and came running to me like he hurt himself. I fell for it. He quickly told me he was kidding. However, the boys have started “playing wolf”, just to see my face! Now, I am pretty certain why the author chose a little boy (instead of a girl), to cry, “Wolf!” Girls are capable of doing this too, but in my experience…the majority of the time it is the boys!

I vaguely remember a story about how BC’s dad put ketchup on BC’s little five-year-old arm to scare his wife (and BC’s mother) into thinking BC was hurt. Well, it appears the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and the tomato doesn’t fall far from the vine (as in ketchup).

Two weeks ago, both of my boys ran over to me and said, “Look…our tongues are green, Mom. We put this marker on it!”

What were y’all thinking?” I said. Then, they burst into smiling and laughing…and said that they were just teasing. They had painted their tongues with a green lick-a-stick! Those boys! And they wonder why I don’t let them eat a lot of candy!

My Mind is Running With Thoughts on Running!

As I approach my 20th high school reunion (and 38th B-day), I have felt the need to run (fight or flight, huh?) . So for twenty dollars a month (our first time to join a gym—ever), BC and I rundrive over to the gym and get on the treadmill. We only go there together, and we love being “work-out buddies” for each other. It’s kind of like a date night. When we first joined, we started out on the elliptical machines. We talked, memorized scripture, laughed together, and honestly even griped together (misery loves company…it was hard work). The dreadmilltreadmill seemed so difficult, so naturally, we avoided it.

Lately, like in the past few weeks, BC and I have been running…on the treadmill…like 3 miles at a time. No kidding! There is nothing pretty about us running, but we know this is good for us (at least that’s what they are telling us)! Twenty years ago, I ran 20 miles a week…no problem. Three weeks ago we tried that…uh…but we ran into a slight problem…we ran out of breath (not to mention I almost ran off the machine). So we are doing better, and we are trying to pace ourselves.

We have found it helpful to play mind games and make “deals” with the timer (run fast for a minute, slow down for a minute, increase our speed every minute for ten minutes, try to see how fast we can run a mile, etc.) One helpful tip I have learned is not to close my eyes while I run anymore…I tend to lose my footing when I do that.

Let me jog my memory a bit…I haven’t had a desire to run in over 20 years! When I was in high school, I was on the track team. I remember a time when I needed to run in my new neighborhood (Double Oak) because I was running cross-country. So, I took off running by myself one afternoon. I wasn’t aware that there wasn’t a leash law at this time, but I quickly found out that I was being followed by about two, then four, then six dogs (some not very friendly-looking). I was scared and did the most logical thing I could think of— I jumped on top of a brick mailbox, and kept on jumping (because those dogs were nipping at my heels). The only thing that was running then, were the chills up my back! Thankfully some kind, older man came running out of his house and rescued me! My hero! He reminded me of Teddy Roosevelt—He was walking softlyyelling loudly and carrying a big stick! So, thankfully the treadmill at the gym provides a dog-free atmosphere (not that I don’t like dogs).

Another memory I have of running cross-country involved directions. I was at a meet…listening to them explain where we were to run at this park, but I just assumed I would follow the crowd (mostly because I am directionally-challenged). Well, I ended up being in first place (surprise), but leading the entire group in the wrong direction (surprise again). Oops! So, the second benefit of the treadmill…I hopefully won’t get lost.

Years ago, we tried to run around our neighborhood, but we ran into two major problems:

  • We live in South Texas, and it’s insanely hot.
  • We developed shin splints from running on the hard pavement.

So, again…the treadmill is a great choice because we are running with better cushion for our bodies, and we are conditioning in air conditioning!

Ah…my mind is running away with running memories. One of my favorite memories of running in middle school was the Turkey Trot (I’m not sure if it was an 800 or a mile) in seventh grade. I was the fastest girl in the school, so I won a great big turkey! I remember just beaming as I rode home on the school bus with our Thanksgiving meal!

Food has always been a bigger motivator for me to run fast compared to a medal or ribbon. I still find myself wanting to run, so I can eat that gooey brownie. When I really want to run fast, I imagine I am chasing that gooey brownie…and those unfriendly dogs are chasing me!

Okay, so now you know I like food. I ran into my high school track-coach a few months ago. He asked me if I was still running. A big smile ran across my face, as I replied, “Do I look like I have been running? No way…the only running I’ve been doing is…running a household and running errands. I do play tag with the kids. Does that count?”

We have dear friends of the family who are avid runners. They are always giving us these nice marathon t-shirts. The only problem that I run into is when strangers ask me if I run marathons. Again, my response is: “Do I look like I run marathons?”. I seriously don’t look like a pro big runner…more like a pro big mama. Oh well, one step at a time, will shed some pounds…maybe. I am definitely sweating like I haven’t in years. Who knows? Maybe running will help me not to feel run down. I think I am feeling like I am in better shape, whether I look it or not.

I know exercise is important to keep our bodies running efficiently; however, balance is key! What about my Christian walk? I should be exercising myself in seeking His face everyday in prayer, and finding the beauty of Jesus in every chapter of the Bible. Jesus should be the first person I run to when I run into problems. These are great Bible verses that talk about running:

“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”                                      1 Timothy 4:8

1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.                                                               Hebrews 12:1-2

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.       1 Cor. 9:24

I Am a Fan of Chic-fil-A!

What is black and white and red all over? Our embarrassed family walking into Chick-fil-A dressed like cows! Yesterday, we made total cows of ourselves (in more ways than one)! It was National Cow Appreciation Day at Chic-fil-A, and so we dressed the part and had a moo-valous time!

We were supposed to dress “head to toe” to get a free #1 meal. So, we spent $11.00 on supplies (black felt, safety pins, and cow material). We saved $59.00, and the memory of seeing my herd dressed up is so “udderly” worth it (you too, BC)! We even found white and black fingernail polish (I had no idea we even had these), and we painted our hooves (girls only)! We used angel costumes that we had made for our Christmas play. Then, we just cut out the black spots from thin felt, and used safety pins to attach them. We made tails out of black and white yarn. Then, with the cow material, we made scarfs for our heads, bow ties for some necks, and “moo shoes” (a few strips of cow fabric tied to our flip flops…really tied it all together!). We were last-minute “calf-sitting” for a friend. So, we quickly made an outfit for her (our little five-year-old friend). She was thrilled to get to eat at Chic-fil-A twice in one day. Who does that?

We “moo-zeed” on over there for lunch and dinner (at two different locations). We met some sweet friends for lunch, and they were adorably dressed up…painted faces too! Then, we met my sister’s cute herd for a late dinner. So, we were eating free with herds of friends and family…what fun! Unfortunately, we didn’t have the additional stomachs—like cows do—to digest all that great, free food! We definitely need to get mooo-ving! Well, earlier today we did help a friend pack and mooo-ve. That’s got to count for something! And no…we didn’t wear our moo-ving costumes.

At Chic-fil-A we sure felt like mooo-vie stars—people asking to take our picture (on their phones to show their friends how crazy some people are); signing autographs (waivers for restaurant photo contest); people staring and pointing at us (never mind the fact that they were exclaiming, “Look at the cows!”); people clapping as we walked in—some of us were wearing our mooo-vie star shades…to hide!

Then, reality…as I was clearing our trash from the table, a lady tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “When you get a chance, will you clean off that table in the back with a wet rag? To her shock, I calmly explained that even though I was wearing a cow costume, I really wasn’t employed by Chic-fil-A. But I told her I’d let somebody know. I laughed and remembered the times I have asked red-shirted people at Target for help, to quickly find out that they don’t work there.

Well, it looks like we took second place for “largest herd” at dinner (14 total). They will let us know what that means later. When I went to ask if I could get a refill, the manager said, “Dressed like that , you can have anything you want.” I was thinking, “Wow. I think I got some brownie points (and their brownies are the best), but I better just stick with the refill.” However, when I asked the managers if they had heard of the Chick-fil-A song by Tim Hawkins, they had not. So, some of us (those who wanted to, and didn’t “chicken out”) proceeded to sing that cute song to them. They loved it, and said, “Ice cream for all the singers”. You know, he reminded me of my grandpa and grandma. They jokingly loved to have us “sing for our supper”!

Grace’s Fall Revisited—5 Years Later-Happy 12th!

Where did I miss (in my extensive reading of parenting books) that 7-year-old children are prone to gash their legs on glass aquariums? Please, if you are a parent, be sure to warn your kids not to tip over your aquarium (used for terrarium, or “home for outdoor Roly-Polies and lizards”), and especially…NOT to stomp on it to remove any dirt from the bottom!

Five years ago, Grace managed to do this while we were all outside setting up some Christmas lights. I’ll never forget how each one of my kids was freaking out and screaming! I had to be calm. I knew from my first-aid classes the importance of that, but everything inside of me wanted to scream right along with them. There was an enormous amount of blood loss, and it had cut her shin to the bone. I told BC to call an ambulance, as I applied pressure with a towel, and lifted her leg up. When I didn’t feel a pulse in her leg, I was very concerned, and started praying aloud to God.

After that, I heard the ambulance. I’ll never forget when BC whispered to me that he was looking for the other part of her knee! By looking at it, you would have thought there was a huge piece missing, but glass cuts like a knife in butter, or a knife in an orange—it just opened up (sorry if that was more than you wanted to know). The E.M.T. reassured us that it was all there, and Grace was so sweet and happy…smiling as they placed her inside the ambulance. I rode with her, and BC stayed with the other kiddos. Grace was not acting like she was in pain. Uh-oh…she was in shock. We kept talking. She waved good-bye to the family, including our neighbor Kane, and we headed down the road. The guys in the ambulance gave her a little oxygen, and a doll. Wasn’t that sweet of them?

Well, we arrived at the hospital of their choice. It was one that specialized in trauma, but unfortunately, it was a rough-looking hospital. I was a little bit scared. However, I remembered that my jeans were covered in Grace’s blood, so I was feeling like I probably looked scary and tough too! I had been preparing myself for Paige’s cataract surgery that was two weeks away. I hadn’t prepared to sign consent forms for my other daughter at the hospital. They said they needed to put Grace out with anesthesia, so they could clean it out, and stitch it back up. She was so uncooperative, and scared. So, I hesitantly agreed to this plan of action (any parent, who has signed hospital consent forms, knows the awful feelings this can stir up).

Well, as I was sitting and praying for Grace in the waiting room (as they refused to let me go into the surgery room. Ugh!), a 12-year-old girl (the age of common sense kicking in, and the age Grace just turned today) came up and sat right next to me. She said: “Miss…are you okay…are you bleeding?” (she was looking at my blood-stained jeans), and I mumbled, “I wish…this is…my daughter’s blood. She fell through an aquarium, and cut her leg.”

Then, the most amazing thing happened: this smiling girl said, “Really? I did the same thing when I was seven (I hadn’t even told her that my daughter was seven.)! Do you want to see my scars?” Wow. I was in shock. She lifted up her jeans and showed me her 23 stitches that she had on her lower leg! Here she sat smiling, and telling me it was going to be okay. I really feel like the LORD sent her to me that night to encourage my fainting heart. Unbelievable.

Grace and I ended up staying the night. She ended up with seven stitches. She said, “They gave me seven, because I am seven years old!”. She also received a tetanus shot, and strong antibiotics. Grace recovered quite nicely, without any complications.

I praise the Lord that she is doing well. She has also turned into quite a graceful young lady. I must admit, I was worried there for awhile. She is quite the daring third child (a.k.a. “Danger Girl”). Who knows, maybe one day (by sharing her scars), she will encourage another mom.

Boys Are Different…

Boys are different…

I remember talking with a friend who had boys, when I had my first son, and telling her, “So far so good. I don’t seem to see too many differences between them.” Then at about nine or ten months, I called her and said, “I am starting to see their differences. He really is daring. After he falls, he laughs…and proceeds to do the very same thing…all over again.” I wondered if this was normal. She assured me it was “normal” for a boy. I was relieved, yet I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. Thankfully, I had my heart fixed!

I am really thankful that my boys asked for my permission before they would carry out some of their schemes. Particularly, the time Benjamin asked me if it was okay to take his three-year-old brother for a ride down the stairs! There Bradley sat…tied (with a jump rope) to a rocking chair at the top of the stairs! The funny weird thing was that Bradley was begging me to go down! I praise the Lord every time I think about what might have happened.

Then, there was the time Benjamin asked for permission to put a jump rope over the ceiling fan so he could try to fly. In all fairness, when I was a kid I thought I could fly too (I believe it was after I saw Peter Pan). So, I attempted to fly off of a desk. In reality, all I got was a scar (and a strong desire to hold off from showing this film to my kids…until they were able to separate fact from fiction).

I share these stories because I didn’t have a clue about the mischief they could do. But, they are incredibly sweet boys, and I am so glad they are mine!

Here is a recent picture of my oldest son (age 8). I heard a crash by the stairs and found him near the bottom. I said, “Son, tell me you were NOT sliding down the stairs in that thing (a pack-and-play baby bed mat)?”

His scary, and comical reply was: “Oh, no, I was just trying to see if I could climb up without my knees. This is great exercise, Mom!” He literally gave a new meaning to that pack and play, and discovered how important knees are!

Homemade Salsa

Years ago, a sweet friend from church (K.S.) gave me her delicious salsa recipe, and I have made it for years. However, over the past few years, I have talked myself out of making it (starting when my blender broke), and I have opted to buy it at H. E. B.

Lately, I have rediscovered how great homemade salsa really is (not to mention how cost-efficient). Blenders aren’t just for cold smoothies; they are great for making hot salsa, too! I have changed the original recipe a little, because I really love cilantro.

I have thought about canning this, but it’s really not too difficult to make, and the longest we have had it in the fridge was 3 days (It’s usually gone in two!). So, I kind of canned the canning idea.

Homemade Salsa:

Ingredients:

Part 1:

  • 1-28 oz. can of whole or diced tomatoes (you can use fresh, but sometimes this is too acidic and burns my mouth)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (I cut off and use about half, because I love the flavor that this adds!)
  • 2 jalepeños (again…wear gloves when removing seeds and membrane), or 3 serrano peppers
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic ( I use elephant garlic)
  • 1-2 white onions
  • 1 stalk of celery

Part 2:

  • Lemon pepper-1 tsp. or to taste
  • Cumin-1 tsp. or to taste
  • Salt-1 tsp. or to taste
  • Pepper-1 tsp.or to taste
  • 1/2 Lime (or Lemon)-juice squeezed into salsa
  • Optional: 1 tsp. garlic salt or season salt- to taste

Place coarsely chopped peppers, onions, celery, and garlic (Part 1) in blender. Add tomatoes and cilantro. Blend for three-five SECONDS until desired consistency!

Option 1:

Then, pour it into a bowl, and add the remaining ingredients (Part 2). Now, open the chips, and enjoy your fresh homemade salsa! This is my current preference, but it may only last you three days (refrigerated).

Option 2:

The original recipe: Pour into a saucepan; add other ingredients (Part 2); bring to a boil, then simmer (covered) 15-20 minutes. Refrigerate. Keeps two weeks (if not eaten).

My original recipe also called for 1 tsp. vinegar, 1/2 tsp. beef boullion, 1 tsp. parsley, and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder. Feel free to experiment.

Blown Away at Relay 2009

Highlights from this year’s Relay For Life…

I was blown away by the money we raised…$70,000. Is that awesome or what? Even in a tough economic year, we surpassed our goal of $50,000. Also, this year we became a “Five-Star Relay”! Our chair and co-chair did an excellent job. Everyone on the committee did everything they could to make this event a success. It was great working with these special people. This was the first year that I was on the committee, and my family agrees that it was worth the effort! Paige was team captain for the second year in a row, and she did an awesome job!

I was blown away by the number of people who came out, and didn’t blow this off. I was blown away by the number of people who were out there on the track in the wee hours of the night. I think the theme laps helped. Last year, there were only two teams (Partylite and us) out there (like…actually on the track) at 3:00 a.m. This year there were lots more!

I was blown away by the fact that all my kids stayed awake all night! I think Bradley crashed around 5:00 a.m., but still…that’s pretty good for a six-year-old! Also…my sweet BC and “True Love” made it through the entire night! He loved throwing the Frisbee with the guys! Also…Grandma, Nonnie, Uh-Oh, Aunt D., Aunt C., two of our high school guys, and two cousins…16 team members stayed awake all night! Four slept there for just a few hours. Also, our other team members stayed at Relay later than we expected. Way to go, team!

I was blown away by the heat in the afternoon, and blown away by the breeze that seemed to blow things away! However, eventually it was very pleasant out there. The blow-up slides were so fun! I was totally blown away when they started to blow away! Thankfully no one was hurt! I had told the man, who set them up, to stake them down, but he kinda blew me off and said that it wasn’t necessary, as they have never blown over before. Well, the “big, bad wind” taught us a lesson!

I was blown away by the amount of survivors in the luminaria ceremony slide show. This was the first slide show I have ever done, and I have to thank my children (Paige and Michelle) for helping so much! Thanks BC, for teaching them how to do MovieMaker and PowerPoint! So many people…some remembered in memory, some in honor, some in support…whose lives have been touched by cancer! Boy, I almost blew up when I couldn’t get it to play on that DVD. Thankfully, we got it to play on a laptop…thanks to Beverly. My emotions took over as the bagpipers played “Amazing Grace”, and also when they led everyone around the track. That was too cool.

I was blown away at the sight of bubbles being blown during the bubble lap (blow bubbles, not smoke). Beautiful. My daughter Paige loved this lap the best.

I was blown away by the fact that my daughter, Grace, lost her purse with her camera in it, and some one found it and gave it to her! I (yes, we are related) also lost my camera (some time b/w pinata at 1:30, and Kung Fu Fighting shortly after). I was really bummed out. I searched everywhere. BC almost blew up at me, but then settled down. I remember sitting down (it seemed like for the first time that day) and praying that I could find it. My sweet mom said, “I bet you will find it in the morning.” Well, when the sun came up…someone found it during the Fight Back ceremony…on the ground by the stage. What a praise! I was blown away by the kind and honest people we had at Relay.

I was blown away by the last hour of singing praise songs to Jesus, especially the song: “Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord”! What a song of hope, and an excellent

reminder of our source of hope. I was blown away by the Fight Back Ceremony. The best I have ever been to. I was motivated to sign the banner. I am going to get a colonoscopy this year!

I was blown away when we won an “Oscar” (as chosen by the cancer survivors) for Best Campsite for our 80’s movie: The Princess Bride. The slides were kind of like the hill they rolled down in the movie…when Wesley says, “As you wish”. We let peopIe go down as many times “as they wished”…for three dollars! Our hope was that one day cancer would be “inconceivable!”. I was also blown away when we won “Most Creative On-Site Fund-Raising Team”. Go Team! I was blown away by one team that raised $9,000. I continued to be blown away by the team that stood up and cheered for the survivors (and the walkers) as they walked by their campsite..all night! I can’t wait till next year! I applaud all of the teams! Go Relay! Before I go, I have to say that I hope cancer will one day be blown away…far, far away.

Relay For Life Fund-Raisers—2009: The Year of the Donkey!

This year for Relay, we had a Partylite candle party (20% going to Relay), a garage sale, and some sweet friends donated their lovely donkey collection (over 100). The kids attached a note on each donkey that read, “Thanks to your donation, cancer is on BURRO’D time!” (Heehaw…BC came up with that one!). We gave these out for a donation to A.C.S. during Cornyvall (We certainly were in the right place to give out such a corny thing).


At relay, we had two huge slides for $3 all night, or 25 cents per slide. We also had a bread basket, and sold tea at Relay. It feels great to raise money for A.C.S.

For fun, we had a donkey pinata, too. It added to our South Texas birthday party celebration at 1:30 A.M. The thought here was: “Thanks to A.C.S., more people are celebrating more birthdays.” The cancer survivors were the first ones up to bat. We do hope and pray that cancer is on burro’d time!

My Dad Makes Me Laugh!

Tomorrow is my dad’s birthday! In honor of this wonderful man and awesome dad, I have to blog about a funny story that happened awhile back. The story I’m about to tell you has made me laugh so much over the years (and anyone who knows me, knows that I love to laugh). Okay, let’s rewind about 20 years…

I was a new driver, and my family and I were headed to Furr’s Cafeteria. I reminded everyone, as I got into my car, that I desperately needed to get some gas. So, my parents said they would follow me over, and put some gas in their car as well. My fiance (BC) and my brother J also decided to follow and wait for us there. I stopped at a small gas station in Lewisville, Texas called: “Big Tex”. I got out of my car and started to pump some gas. Then, my dad came over and said, “Why don’t you go in and pay, while I’ll finish pumping for you.” So, I went inside to pay for my gas with my Visa card.

“Oh, we don’t take no Visa!”, the man replied. Realizing (like it took about 1 second) that I had no cash with me, I ran outside to the soon-to-be-chaotic situation.

“Dad, they don’t take Visa!”, I yelled. My dad stopped pumping, and the total read: $1.93. “Oh my…”, I thought to myself, “…surely between three cars (five people) we can scrounge up enough money.” My parents were going to charge their gas, too. So, we were all looking under car seats, in ashtrays, and on the floor for some form of currency totaling $1.93. Some people don’t like change (like accepting credit cards for gasoline purchases), but it looks like change (as in loose change) is about all they were going to get from us on this day.

As I was continuing to count pennies, I heard my dad yell: “I’ve got it! I’ll go in and pay.” Well…in all of the confusion, I did not even think to put the gas pump back (probably because my dad had been pumping it…please no “blonde” comments). As I went forward in my car, I heard a funny noise. Now, I was very familiar with funny noises coming out of my car, so I did not check it out. But, I did happen to check out the rear-view mirror, and I saw my dad. Not only did I see my dad, but I saw him frantically waving his hands in the air, like he was doing jumping jacks. Did I also mention that he was standing amidst spewing gasoline? It looked like one of those crazy, out-of-control water-sprinklers.

My mind was racing…I could not believe my car troubles. I had rear-ended a woman the month before. Four months before that, I had skidded my car in the rain, and hit a speed limit sign (which broke two windows and messed up the side of my car—not to mention…it gave my younger sister a life-long fear of driving in the car with me!). As I shut the car down, I was feeling down…as I was thinking about my insurance premiums going up, along with my dad’s blood pressure. “Is he mad at me?”, I wondered.

Well, my sweet dad was smiling, as he reassuringly whispered, “Don’t worry”. I was so glad one of us had a tankful of good spirits, as we headed inside “Big Tex”. When we opened the door, the awful aroma of smoke could be smelled. My dad whispered to me, “I hope no one decides to light up, or rather—light me up!” We tried to explain the situation to the two Arabic men behind the counter; however, there seemed to be a language barrier. Both men were speechless. One of them gave me a piece of paper and said, “Name…number.” So, I scribbled down my name and number, including my insurance information.

As we walked out, there was a spirit of laughter. My dad has always worn a smile, even when he just so happened to be wearing gasoline! I was laughing, even though I felt like crying. As I got into my car to go to Furr’s Cafeteria, my sweet mom said that she wanted to ride with me. She knew me well (and still does), and she realized I was ready to cry my eyes out…underneath all of my chuckles. She reassured me that everything was going to be okay. I’m sure it was something encouraging…along the lines of: “Don’t cry over spilled gas.” When we arrived, I was feeling much better.

Okay…listen up…because this is the funny part (or punchline) of the story. We were all waiting in the crowded cafeteria line. My dad had taken off his sports jacket, and left it in the car, but he still reeked of gasoline! He knew it, and we knew it, and I think he just assumed (self-consciously) that everyone else could smell the gas on him. I guess that is what prompted my dad to announce (with his naturally loud voice), “If you smell gas, it’s me!” to the flabbergasted, church-going crowd. You should have seen the looks on the people’s faces—utter disgust! In fact, the people in line behind us either moved, or left. I gently whispered to my dad that he should really specify gasoline instead of gas. Oops! He said that he didn’t even realize what it had sounded like!

For the remainder of the meal (and day), we all laughed and laughed about his comical comment…until we cried! I can still hear my dad telling me how he literally had to pull over to the side of the road because of the tears created by his laughter! He could hardly see! Days, weeks, and even years went by and my dad went around smiling and saying, “If you smell gas, it’s me!” What a gas!