Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gentian Violet

Gentian Violet is an intensely purple powder. It's used for a variety of non-prescription medical purposes, and at one time was used to make the purple dye they stamped prices on canned goods with at the grocery store. (Anyone old enough to remember that?)

My old boss kept Gentian Violet around because he was an amateur plumber and would flush a teaspoon down the toilet from time to time when he thought he might have a leak, and then go look to see if purple water came up anywhere.

He once put a little bit in his pool, and turned the whole thing purple (much to his wife's dismay.) Gentian Violet is powerfully purple -- get a speck or two on your fingers, and you've got purple fingers for at least a week. My old boss was always coming to work with purple blotches in various places.

One year at Christmastime, he'd go out in the morning to get the paper, and bulbs from the Christmas lights he'd lined the sidewalk with would be missing. He'd replace them, and the next morning there'd be more gone. Gentian Violet, he thought.

That evening, he went out with a popsicle stick and put just a tiny bit of Gentian Violet on each bulb. The next morning he went out to get his paper, and then walked down to the school bus stop. Three little boys stood there with purple fingers, and blotches of purple on their cheeks, noses and foreheads (and Lord knows where else).

The bulbs stopped disappearing. He never ratted them out. Just seeing that sight at the bus stop was entertaining enough.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Diversity - A Different Topic

This column is about diversity. Now there’s a different topic.

What does a white guy know about diversity? Well, I’ve learned a lot in facilitating multiple workshops on diversity awareness. I haven’t learned in the facilitating, but in the listening to people pouring their hearts out. I’ve thus become a student of diversity.

I’ve watched tears well up (mine, mostly) while participants described instances where salespeople stood close by – not to offer assistance, but to watch and make sure nothing gets stolen. Or, about having a flat tire on a country road and fearing for their life, for darkness to fall. What’s that like?

Garland is a diverse community. We’ve got it all. So what? What’s important is not having diversity, but recognizing diversity, valuing diversity, celebrating diversity, leveraging diversity.

My wife and I worked the Care Van last night at the McDonald’s on Walnut and Garland Road. The Care Van (there are multiple) rolls out to various locations around the state offering free immunizations to kids. They work with the local schools to set up clinics for those students needing their shots to stay in school. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas picks up all the administrative costs – Texans’ donations go directly to pay for the immunizations. Fill out a few forms (English on one side, Spanish the other), bring your child’s shot records, and get in line for free shots – and a sticker for a free McDonald’s ice cream cone afterwards.

What a diverse group there was. Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, East Indians, Whites. Children arrived with Mom, with Dad, with Mom and Dad, with Grandma, with big brother and big sister, with Auntie. A snapshot of Garland. All waited for a long time in multiple lines. Care Van volunteers spoke to them in a variety of languages. Totally diverse group, but with the same basic mission – offer these children a brighter, healthier future.

So, why is recognizing, valuing, celebrating, leveraging diversity so important to Garland’s future, and to our country’s future? Because diversity means different ways of thinking. Our city and country are in a financial mess right now, and if we just keep thinking the same way, we’re going to continue to see the same results. What we need is a new way of thinking – and that’s going to come from our diversity. Haven’t you ever had the experience where you said to yourself, “Wow, I’ve never thought about it like that!”?

Our country is in a serious energy crisis. We’re going to need some different thinkers to get us out of this mess. It seems the current thinkers are trying to figure out a way to get our hands on more oil. We need a new way of thinking. Perhaps how to reduce our country's dependence on oil by becoming the world leader in building creative, renewable energy sources. Now, there’s a different thought.

The more diverse our city is, the more diverse our country is, the more diverse the thoughts are going to be. The person who gets us headed down the right path to solving the energy crisis is most-likely not going to look like me, talk like me, dress like me, behave like me, think like me. And, thank goodness for that!

The person whose work ends our insatiable appetite for oil by showing us a new form of energy that’s clean, safe, renewable, and available to all may be one of those people whose body is covered with tattoos and piercings. Or, perhaps a first-generation American. Let’s make that person American of the Decade, and teach our children to think like her, and smile when we see others on the street who look like her. After all, she’ll be the one who helped turn our country back into the land of hope and promise.

We must understand (before we dig in our heals) that we are all different – backgrounds, education, friendships, religion, community, life experiences. So, we’re not all going to think alike. And, not only is that OK that we’re not going to think alike, the future of our country depends on it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

#1 Son-in-Law

Looks like I'm the #1 SIL (son-in-law) again since my brother-in-law blew off (he had to "work") my father-in-law's (Pops') birthday dinner last night.

Perhaps being the #1 SIL isn't such a good thing. The #2 SIL got a Troy Aikman-signed football a couple of Father's Days ago. The #1 SIL got a large plastic statue of St. Francis for his garden.

Just looking out for my eternal salvation, and for a bountiful harvest, I guess.

God bless us, every one!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not Appropriate for the Newspaper: A Love Letter

I wrote the following for my regular newspaper column, but it was deemed not appropriate for the Community Voices section. I think it's a message everyone needs to hear, however. So, here it is...

This is a love letter to you. Haven’t gotten one of those in awhile?

Dr. Dee is one of my biggest fans at work. She never fails to offer me support and encouragement. I once overheard her tell another medical director that if Nelson was working on it she was confident that it would be done well.

I once sent Dr. Dee a note thanking her for being such a positive influence on me. She sent me an e-mail thanking me for my note, and saying she had tucked it into her “treasure chest.” She told me she has a little “treasure chest” where she keeps really nice things – notes, pictures, clippings, trinkets – things that she knows will make her smile when she sees them.

When she is having a rough day or struggling, Dr. Dee opens her “treasure chest,” goes through it, and is inspired and renewed again. My note made Dr. Dee’s “treasure chest” – how special is that?

Do you have a “treasure chest” of really nice things? Things you know will make you smile at first glance? Things that will inspire and renew you when you’re having a rough day?

Maybe you create your “treasure chest” today and clip this column and tuck it in. Uh oh. Now I have to write something worthy of that.

You may not have been reminded of it lately, but you are absolutely special. There is no other person in the world just like you. Never has been. Never will be. You’re totally unique. One of a kind for all of eternity. Imagine that.

And, because you are so unique, you have a unique purpose for being on this earth. You weren’t a mistake. You are here for a reason. All of your skills, and knowledge, and talents, and creativity are a gift to you to be used for a specific purpose. (Let me give you a hint – your purpose involves doing something for someone else.)

Here’s something else you should know. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing right now – God loves you. God’s love is unconditional. It’s not based on anything you’ve done or haven’t done. It’s not a bonus for work well done. It just is. God made you and said, “Wow, this is really good.” So, there you have it.

One more thing. Having a bad hair day? Less than perfect today? God thinks you are stunningly beautiful. Sheer perfection. Whatever you are, whoever you are, is exactly perfect for what God has in store for you, for your unique purpose. When you look in the mirror, you may not like what you see. God looks at you and beams.

So, there’s three things to put in your “treasure chest” – you are totally unique and thus incredibly special, and on this earth for a specific purpose; God loves you unconditionally; and in God’s eyes you are absolutely beautiful.

Here’s what I think God wants you to do with that knowledge: take one day a week and rest in it. Consider it enough for one day. A sabbath day. God has even set the example for you, remember?

One day a week just stop. And rest. Without guilt or apology. If for no other reason than because God has given you the OK – actually the command – to do it. Not because you have completed all of your tasks, but right in the middle of all of your tasks. Stop for one day a week and rest in the security that those three things (that you just put in your new “treasure chest”) are enough.

A day to rest. To celebrate. To feast. To recover. To renew. To refresh. To do only those things you want to do. Take a day of rest one day a week, and you’ll be amazed at how much better the other six become.

Start a “treasure chest.” Tuck those three truths in it, and also deep into your heart. And take one day a week to rest in those truths, to refresh and renew. You’ll be a better person for it.

Someone who is so unique and special, and loved, and beautiful deserves a love letter every now and then, right?

Monday, August 18, 2008

On the Road to 26.2: Chicago, IL

It's strange that I was out of town 2 weeks out of the last 3. I don't have a traveling job. I despise traveling. I am a creature of habit, and when I get out of my routine, I can barely function. But, last week I was in Chicago again.

I love running in Chicago! I was downtown very close to the harbor -- about 1/2 mile from the nice, soft composite biking/running trail that runs right along the water. Yachts and sailboats, seagulls, Canadian geese, cottontails, and lots of other runners and bikers were my companions. The temperature was near 60 degrees each morning with a light wind. Running heaven.

Near one of the stadiums there is a memorial area for fallen paramedics and firefighters. Huge rectangular stones, I assume memorializing each hero. The stones are spread out, and some in clumps, and it appears are meant to be sat on to stop and reflect and remember.

The landscaping along this trail is amazing. Flowers that have long given up in North Texas are thriving there. Alot of the trail is shady from tall trees. There are several huge yachts -- much bigger than my house, docked along the edge. I left to run at 5:15 a.m., and on a couple of these big boats, someone was up on the deck with a cup of coffee. As I made my turnaround and headed back, the sun was coming up over Lake Michigan.

Have I gushed enough about running in Chicago?

I know it's not truly running heaven because of one thing -- gnats. There were funnel clouds of gnats swirling around most of the lights on the trail. Sometimes you don't see them, and you run into a cloud of them. They're all over your face and neck and arms. They're in your eyes and mouth and nose. (I always bring a washcloth with me to wipe sweat, and gnats.) You wipe and wave and cough and gag and spit -- and the people driving by are thinking, "Man, if that's what running looks like, leave me out of it."

Other than the gnats, Chicago running in August is pure bliss.

One other observation -- everyone is so driven up there. The bikers that race by are totally focused. They don't smile or say good morning -- they just race by like they are trying to catch up with Lance. (Except for the really large black guy who is riding along with his bike helmet, and he is smiling from ear to ear, and he actually greets me like an old friend now that we've seen each other the last 3 mornings.) The runners are the same -- racing along, checking their watches. One man's watch was beeping -- how much fun is that in such a beautiful setting?

There was one delightful red-haired girl on the trail. She alternated running with biking. She was stunningly beautiful. An angel with red hair and rosy cheeks. She also smiled at me one morning, and life was good for the rest of my day.

Have you ever gone out for a run just to experience the joy in moving? That's really what I do every morning. I'm not going to win any races. I don't often establish any PRs. (On Monday, my time was 1:04:07. On Tuesday, my time for the same route was 1:04:06 -- getting faster. On Wednesday, when the red-haired girl smiled at me, my time was 1:02:42. Thursday, I rested. Friday I couldn't wait to do my 12-miler to finish my week.) I finish, and I pretty much enjoy every minute of my runs. If you haven't run that kind of run lately, you might give it a try.

I'm just a plodder. You guys go on ahead.

Run on, friends.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Northwest Garland at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday

It would probably have been safer for me to stay at home this morning and not gone for my early morning run. There was a negative energy in the air that just made things not feel right.

This was northwest Garland at 4:30 a.m. today.

I wasn't bothered at all by the biggest possum I'd ever seen giving me a big smile as I headed down the street towards Shiloh Rd. After all, I am one with nature early in the morning.

Up ahead near Goodwill at Shiloh and Beltline there was a group of 5 teens talking loud and cursing. I thought, "This can't be good." So, I crossed to the other side of the road, and they didn't bother me other than to throw a few choice words in my direction.

It seemed like there were 10 times as many cars as usual on Shiloh this morning. Lots of loud thumping bass music. Maybe the big party had just let out.

Just north of Arapaho on Shiloh I heard a man on his back porch yelling out, "Shut the f up!, and shut your f-ing mouth!" at someone over and over. That was unnerving. I was going to flag down the GPD if I saw one this morning -- I usually do see them in the mornings.

Up ahead near the Shiloh bridge, I noticed another runner out. Another early morning soul. But, he swung down into the Spring Creek Reserve to a car that was waiting down at the bottom. I wondered what kind of a deal was being made down there this morning.

I was barked at for the first time in months by several different dogs this morning. They had finally gotten used to me and had decided to just sleep and not bother with me anymore. But this morning, I guess they sensed the negative energy and were up and barking.

On my way back from 190/George Bush Freeway, it was finally energizing to see and wave at "Cap'n Jack" (who always wears a fishing cap) -- my other regular early-morning sidewalk mover.

Back near Arapaho and Shiloh again, I heard someone pumping up a pellet gun (I know the sound -- I went through several pellet guns as a kid.) I imagined being hit by a pellet at any minute, but was able to duck by the fence and get up on the alley where I felt more protected.

Obviously, I made it home safely, but I hope mornings in Northwest Garland in the future are a lot less interesting than today was.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Muslim Wedding Ceremony

I went to a Pakistani Muslim wedding ceremony on Friday night for two of my favorite people in this world. You didn't need to understand the language they were saying blessings in, and singing prayers in, to be overwhelmed and brought to tears by the love that filled that room.

I've never seen a young man and young woman so honored and adored as I saw on Friday night. This world needs more of that.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


The spider webs are back.

I run a little later on Sunday mornings -- sleep in a little, and don't want to be out too early when some are just coming home from their Saturday nights (they tend to be unruly towards early morning runners.) I like to time my Sunday morning runs so that at my turnaround the sun is just rising.

It's a beautiful time of morning. The birds are really singing their morning songs.

As I crossed the Shiloh bridge this morning, headed south and back home, the sun was lighting up the new spider webs. On virtually every corner of every square in the railing, there was a glistening web -- probably a total of 50 different webs. Fishing for their breakfast. Casting their seines, perhaps.

Some appeared to be novice webs -- irregularly shaped, corners flapping in the wind. Others were the webs of experienced spiders -- perfectly symmetric, beautiful and built to last.

As I shuffled by, enthralled by the sunlight on the webs, I was sure at any minute I was going to see the words, "SOME PIG".

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Harrisburg, PA

My wife, daughter and I went to visit my son in Harrisburg, PA over the holiday weekend.

We visited Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, PA twice and came home with bellyaches, tight waistbands, and a carry-on bag full of types of Hershey's chocolate one cannot find in Texas (i.e., hot cocoa flavored Kisses, Reeses brownies, chocolate truffle Kisses, etc.)

We made a trip to the Amish country (Intercourse, PA - formerly Cross Keys, PA) and saw the traditional images (horse-drawn buggies, mule-pulled plows), and the non-traditional images (a blushing Amish girl clearing the pebble driveway with a gas-powered blower).

We flew into Baltimore and drove to Harrisburg (much cheaper airfare). In Texas, one can just reverse the map to return. In Pennsylvania, that doesn't work so well. On our way back to the airport, we got on (OK, I got us on) a turnpike going the wrong way and had to drive 19 miles in the wrong direction to get to an exit to turn around.

We are all thrilled to be back in Texas, except that our son is still in Pennsylvania.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Silent Auction

I went to a silent auction on Friday night. I was outbid at the last minute on a Pampered Chef stoneware bar pan. Rats! Duped again.

I have a whole cabinet full of pans for bars, but I sure wanted that one.

When my daughter Katie was in elementary school, my wife and I were working the food line at the annual school carnival, serving up pizza and hot dogs and corny dogs and nachos. We weren't able to get away to the silent auction, so Katie took my wife's secret number and went to check it out.

Katie's concept of a silent auction was that you bid what you thought each item was worth, and the closest bidder wins the item. She was curious that everyone else was not also bidding on each item.

My wife got a call the next Monday with the good news that she had won 14 of the items in the silent auction. And, the school secretary said, "You really gave me a run for my money on that big Mary Kay basket!"

After lengthy discussion and negotiations, my wife was able to talk her into only paying for the 6 items for which there were no other bidders -- and let the second place bidders claim the other 8 items.

Our 6 prizes included a very large stuffed goose, a wire basket with a big square of bird seed suet, lunches with 3 different unpopular teachers, and one item so awful we can't even remember what it was. Please make your check payable to Kimberlin PTA for $49.

Katie (now in college) and her boyfriend Joe were at the silent auction with us on Friday night. It was also an art show, and my wife was there selling her original artisan southwestern turquoise jewelry. Katie said, "Why did you bid on that Pampered Chef pan? Shaina's mother sells that stuff and will probably give you one. Hey, what's your secret number, anyway?"

I'll just stop there and let you figure out the rest of the story.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Wild Morning

Big storms last night in Garland, but they were over and out of the area by 4:15 when I left for my run this morning. Everything was washed clean. A few large tree limbs down.

Sometimes a black plastic trash bag looks like a skunk when you're out running, and sometimes a skunk looks like a black plastic trash bag, the former always being better than the latter.

This morning, I experienced the latter. Luckily, the skunk didn't spray, but I surprised him, and he surprised me. He jumped about 2 feet in the air, and I jumped about 4 feet in the air.

Hootie the owl in the top of the tree off in the distance must have seen it all and thought it was pretty funny (a hoot) because he immediately started hooting. And, he hooted until I was up and over the hill.

I don't know if wild animals have some kind of special communication or not, but when I got home, a raccoon was crossing the street in front of the house. He stopped and looked at me, and I was close enough to see a kind of smirk on his face, like he was thinking, "you goofball."

It was a wild morning for a run.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm Jamie Lee

Do you remember this scene in the movie Halloween? Jamie Lee Curtis had been to the house across the street and seen the horrific carnage, and was stumbling back across the street to the house in which she was babysitting. Michael Myers was following her, zombie like. She got to the house and couldn't get the front door open, and here he came.

I was Jamie Lee this morning.

I had finished my run and was finishing up my "newspaper ministry", putting several neighbors' newspapers up on their front porch. I was at the house directly across the street from mine and was headed back home when 3 mean-looking dogs ran through the yard between our and my neighbor's house.

They turned and headed down the street away from me, so I thought, "OK. Just walk slowly to the front door, and everything will be fine." I eased my keyring out of my pocket, and it jangled. Drat it all!

They turned and looked my way, and then started running towards me. Bah!

I rushed to the front door, pepper spray in one hand, key in the other. For the life of me, I couldn't get that key in the door, couldn't concentrate enough on the lock to stick in the key! They were barking now as they got closer. Gaaa!!!

I finally got the key in the lock, opened the door, and pulled the glass door shut right as they got to the door. Noseprints all over the glass door.

I really prefer that my morning runs be a lot less exciting.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I was in Chicago this week. I don't have a traveling job, so it was unusual for me to be there. I don't mind traveling if I can drive, even if it's a long drive. But, I really don't like the whole airport thing. Though I've often considered it, Chicago is really too far to drive from north Texas.

I don't know what it is about business trips that entice me to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's every night in front of the TV.

Thursday evening wasn't a particularly good one. I fell asleep watching a show about Alaskan king crab fishermen. What a terribly dangerous, and awful, and exciting job that is. I could envision myself doing that job. Working with some real men. Trying to be one of them.

I forgot to call home.

At 4:15 (I looked at my clock) on Friday morning, the girls next door came flip-flopping down the hall (it was warm this week in Chicago) to end their evening. I couldn't go back to sleep, and I was crab fishing again.

At 4:30 my bed started to shimmy a little. Hmm... Must be a big truck. Then, my bed started to shimmy quite a bit, like I was sleeping in a bowl of Jello. Hmm... This wasn't good. At one point, I thought I should probably get my clothes on and get off the 21st floor. But, I just got up instead and had a cup of that awful hotel room by-the-cup coffee.

Never heard a peep out of the girls next door again.

They said it was the first earthquake in the area in 24 years, not just the normal swaying of tall buildings. I'm just lucky that way, I guess.

1-stories in Garland, Texas are great. No earthquakes, and no sway.

It's interesting to learn, after I've gotten back from a trip, what little things I do that irritate my wife, but that she lets me slide on.

My smelly running shoes were in the garage. Big Yank, my 20-year-old heavy hooded sweatshirt jacket and friend wasn't hanging over the utility room door but was back in my closet. All my CDs, books and other junk I pile up on the kitchen cabinet were put up.

I'm happy to report that this morning everything is back in its rightful place, including me.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


We're out front weeding the flower beds, fixin' to plant some begonias. It's a glorious day in Garland.

Case, the sweet little 3-year-old next door neighbor boy, and one of our babies, is helping. Case said, "Kelly, you know what?"


"We don't say bad words."

"That's right. We shouldn't say bad words."

"Kelly, you know what?"


"I don't like soap."

"You don't? Why not?"

"It tastes bad."

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Perhaps it's sleep deprivation, or maybe the aging process. But, I'm not that old (47). My memory is slipping. Does anyone remember Tom Hanks as "Mr. Short-Term Memory" on Saturday Night Live? That's me.

Grocery lists are only any good if you take them with you to the store. I make some great lists -- I just seldom take them with me.

Some days I get to work and can't remember if I brushed my teeth or put on deodorant. Sometimes I get to the back of the house and wonder why I'm back there.

At dinner I'll say, "Uh, excuse me. We need to say the blessing?" "We already said the blessing," they reply.

We went to Ash Wednesday Mass and received our ashes. My wife and I were in the bathroom getting ready for bed, and I was brushing my teeth. I looked up in the mirror and said, "Good grief. I've got something all over my forehead!"

I think I'm going to start sleeping in more often.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Our kids had scored virtually perfect scores on several standardized tests, so we were at the elementary school for the gifted program in Garland getting them registered.

One of the counselors asked my wife and I if we were members of Mensa. I said, "No, we have Blue Cross," and wondered what in the world that had to do with anything.

They knew one thing right away -- these two exceptional children had not been home schooled.


We're expecting thunderstorms tonight.

I enjoy a thunderstorm now that I’m an adult and thunderstorms mean much-needed rain and nitrogen for the grass.

As a child, I was terrified of thunderstorms, and often slept on the floor at the foot of my parents’ bed. Until one night my father got up and almost stepped in the middle of me and from then on I was banished from their room during thunderstorms.

I started spending thunderstormy nights in my older brother’s room. My brother wasn’t afraid of anything, and also kept an old blanket pinned up over his window during thunderstorms.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Advent Calendars

I sliced my Collin Street Bakery fruitcake into 24 tiny little equal slices last December. I was going to use it as my own Advent calendar -- a short prayer of thanks and one slice of fruitcake to kick off my day from December 1st through Christmas Eve.

Fruitcake has a lot of calories, which I don't need at Christmastime, so dividing a fruitcake by 24 (I was hoping) would allow me to enjoy it without too much guilt.

Also, I have developed an allergy to pecans over the past several years. On Thanksgiving, I ate a big ol' piece of pecan pie, and my mouth was instantly on fire and my throat started to swell and close up. Collin Street Bakery fruitcakes are 20% pecans by weight, so I was hoping 1/24th of a fruitcake wouldn't send me to the emergency room. And, that's how much I love fruitcake.

We Catholics love our Advent calendars -- especially the ones with chocolate in them. Every morning, the first thing my kids did was run from their bed to their Advent calendars and eat their little piece of chocolate.

Now, my kids are grown, so we bought Advent calendars for the two little boys next door. My son has moved to Pennsylvania, and my daughter is off at college, so these boys are our "babies" now. We love these boys like they're our own -- just beam with joy when we're with them. We visited them the day they were born, and now they're starting to grow up, too. We miss them when we don't see them everyday.

When we gave the boys their Advent calendars, they loved them. They made great Frisbees in the front yard.

Lost Dog

"Lost Dog" "Male German Shepherd" "Goes by Butch". Runners don't like signs like these.

I was out running early one morning when up ahead I saw a Rottweiler trying to attack drive-by cars. I stopped, he saw me, and he turned and started running towards me.

I said, "Lord, I guess today You're calling me home."

But, the Rottweiler slowed and walked up to me. I patted him on the back and said, "Good boy!" He ran off, kicking up his heels.

I picked up my pace again and continued on. He followed me for a bit, then stopped to attack another drive-by car.

"Lost Dog" -- a forboding sign.

Friday, March 21, 2008


The forecast may call for a winter weather "event" today, but I know spring is on its way. God told me this morning.

I reallllly didn't want to go for my run this morning. I was tired, and sleepy, and it was cold out, and the north wind was bending the trees.

I knew the 3 miles north would be brutal, but the 3 miles back would be OK. And, I knew that I probably wouldn't be able to run tomorrow morning because of the weather.

So, I put on an extra layer, knowing I'd be too warm on the trip back, but at least somewhat more comfortable at the start. 4:06 a.m.

I don't run with headphones because I love the sounds of the morning, and sometimes I need to hear the sounds of the morning for my safety. The sounds of a speeding GPD car headed north on Shiloh Rd., of the nails of a coyote scratching the pavement as he crosses the street behind me, of a mockingbird welcoming the sun.

I grew up in Corpus Christi and have been a sportsman my entire life. I know sounds. And, about 3 houses down from mine I heard my first faint whisper.

Then, by the end of my street, there they were. Flying low under the clouds. Directly over my head. Like ghosts in the night, their white underbellies reflecting the city lights below. A couple changing their positions in the pattern. Headed north, back to their summer home.

God's perfect timing sent them on their way days ago, and timed my morning and theirs perfectly so that we'd meet at the end of my street at 4:10 a.m. As I turned north and headed up Shiloh Rd. and towards 190, that north wind didn't seem quite as cold.

Spring is on its way. The geese know. God told me.