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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Friend Of Mine...

...has a habit of throwing up when in the midst of extreme exercise.  I've witnessed this several times over a period of years.  I don't think that it's psychological at all but rather physiological.  His body is simply rejecting what is an uncommon and unnatural occurrence- exertion.  It's saying, "Hey, stop this nonsense and let's get back to basics here and walk- not RUN!  Oh, so you won't stop.  Well let me show you what I can do to those nice new running shoes..."

I find that I too have a visceral response to uncommon occurrences in my life.  Change for me is hard.  While small, incremental changes in life are commonplace, the bigger, wholesale changes that rock our foundation are rather uncommon.  Thank God.  Frankly, those changes often make me feel sick.  Why?  Because the outcome is unknown.  Monte Hall smugly asks, "What's behind curtain #3"?  Well, we won't know until the backstage flunky with the cigar pulls the rope and reveals either a lavish gift or a booby-prize.  (tee hee- I said booby)

Much like my good friend's reaction to high impact exercise and despite the feeling it brings, change in life is often good for us in the long run.  Uncharted and scary, yes, but often the very best medicine for a complacent life.  A life very content to follow its own mediocre and common plan, thank-you-very-much.  It's been said that change is like a wave- ride it or find yourself below it.  Well, I don't know about that, but if you are in the midst of it- may I suggest you try wearing some old shoes for a while.  You'll get through and be stronger for it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Vining Family, Thanksgiving 2010


...has to be one of my favorite holidays.  It's a great time of year to really give some thought for what you are most thankful.  For example, consider this:  most of the people living in this world do not have clean drinking water, much less a bountiful harvest horn of plenty on the kitchen table, all picked up yesterday in the SUV from the local Piggly Wiggly.

Anyway, here's a brief summary of what's going to happen at my Mom and Dad's house today:
  1. Dad will get home late from cooking the turkey with his friends at the office (a yearly tradition).  He will have a hint of Bud Light on his breath.
  2. We will have every intention of having the food laid out for consumption by the family by 1:00PM.
  3. Close to 2:00PM the food will be on the table.
  4. All expectations are set that a meaningful blessing will be made, amen and pass the gravy.
  5. Mom will request that before the blessing, we go around the room and everyone will say what they are thankful for this year.
  6. By the time it makes it half way around the brother, sister, cousins, aunts and uncles, my grandfather will be passed out from low blood sugar.  He will have been cranky for the last 2 hours, an early sign of his condition.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!  Is it nap-time yet?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Josh Bob... a happy, carefree potbellied pig who has finally found a home.  He wandered into my Uncle's yard some months back and wouldn't leave.  He was skinny and, by the looks of him, had been homeless for quite some time before my cousin, Mike, found him in the backyard.
"When I first saw him I didn't know whether to welcome him as a new family member or just eat him for breakfast", said Mike.  "I guess I made the right decision, but some days he sure looks delicious".

Josh Bob, named by Mike's 5 year old niece, is a good pig and enjoys belly rubs, acorns and (apparently) long walks.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

That's What We Do...

... We're Americans.  I invite you to spend 5 minutes watching this video honoring our national heroes- American Soldiers.  Happy Veterans Day.

Friday, November 5, 2010


... Carolina sports announcer, Bob Fulton, passed away the other day.  He was 89 years old.  Leslie called me to share the news and it saddened my day.  He was not only a familiar voice dating back to my childhood, but an acquaintance who touched my life.

Mr. Fulton was a member of our church and regularly attended services and special events.  A couple of months ago I sat down in the pew next to him and asked for a favor.  I wanted to record his voice (The voice of the Carolina Gamecocks) giving the morning wake-up call to the troops in Afghanistan serving with my friend Chris Neeley.  Mr. Fulton eagerly agreed to do it, wanting to give back in some way to those troops fighting overseas.  He also suggested supplying some of his books, signed by himself of course, as a gift to Chris.  However, he asked that I wait a few weeks until he first settled in his new assisted living home in Lexington.  I asked if I could pay him for the books and he said, "Never.  I don't sell books anymore. This is a gift for your friend."

Well, obviously the opportunity for recording "The Voice" has been lost.  But Mr. Fulton left me with a gift that was much greater than a recording and a few signed books.  Mr. Fulton was eager to serve and enthusiastic about giving.  In that sense, he was the rarest of celebrities; willing to give honor rather than receive it.  South Carolina will miss him.