There’s an ancient radio sitting on the window ledge of my Dad’s shop. If my memory serves me correctly, he got it when he was a teenager. I can only imagine how many hit songs and radio show hosts came through the speakers over the years.
My favorite memories surrounding that radio are from the late 90’s.
Dad had a habit of listening to public radio on the weekends while cranking bolts on his Volkswagen Beetle, popping rivets into his (still unfinished) Nieuport 11 biplane, or just working on projects during those hot Georgia summers. His listening tastes ranged from the smooth voices on NPR to the energetic Irish fiddle music that so few stations play anymore. There was something homey about hearing those sounds as I rode my bike in the back yard or launched military operations with tiny plastic soldiers in the sandbox.
On occasion, I would find my way into the garage and pick up a ratchet of my own, helping Dad as best as I could. We would work side by side without talking, trying to avoid busting a knuckle on the wheel-well of the bug, while listening to the radio. Car Talk and A Prairie Home Companion were my favorites.
Now that I own a house and spend Saturdays working on projects of my own in the back yard, I figured it was time to get my own ancient radio; to create new memories backed by a soundtrack of public radio drifting through the screened door while I cut wood in the side yard, or wrap new tape on the handlebars of my fixie bicycle.
Briggs (my flat-mate) and I drove up to Chicago last Saturday to see some sights and hang out.
A week ago today I was sipping a latte in 30-30 Coffee, sitting in the second stool at the counter in front of the window, when I got a text message that made my heart stop. Karie Blair had passed into the arms of Jesus earlier that morning.
I struggled my way through the rest of the morning. It was a relief when I finally got to Mom and Dad’s house and got some time by myself. I laid down in the grass in front of their house to think – think about life and death, the danger and fulfillment of friendships, and the purpose of life in general.
As I lay there I started writing down my thoughts. What came out was a poem; not of my own words (because I am by no means a poet) but words inspired by God. Here’s what I wrote:
Life is a vapor, here and then past.
I think it’s forever, but it flies by so fast.
Moments slip by, used once and then gone.
A new set of chances are given at dawn
To reach out to someone, to show love that lasts.
But often I miss them as my life speeds past.
A number of days – just a few years.
I live for myself, no concerns and no fears.
Compassion is missing; my hand for the poor
Is stuck in my pocket afraid to do more.
I meet friends for fun times and share a few cheers,
When what I should do is shed a few tears.
Moments are priceless, so learn from the past.
Reach out to someone to show love that lasts.
Realize the help I could give to someone;
Rather than seeking to just have some fun.
Life is a vapor, here and then past.
I choose now to live life for what truly lasts.
Last week I went in to the American Red Cross building in Peoria to give blood for the first time. Even though I read all about what to expect when I went in, I had no clue what I was getting into or what it would be like. The pamphlet I had to read before going in for the interview and donation assured me that complications were extremely unlikely, and that there was absolutely nothing to be concerned about.
First off they took a blood sample, checked my blood pressure, and asked a whole bunch of awkward, but necessary, questions. It was weird, but I think it hurt more when they pricked my finger for the blood sample than when they stuck the tube into my arm…
After the interview, the nurse led me over to a soft table and told me to lie down. She started prepping my arm for insertion when the guy donating next to me completely lost it. He started to sit up, then his legs went limp, his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he passed out. Instantly every nurse in the room was at his side trying to revive him. After about 3 minutes he came back around.
My nurse came back to my table and informed me that that rarely happens, and that I shouldn’t be worried. (I didn’t think that I had a worried look on my face, but I guess maybe I did.)
The rest of the donation went according to plan. It took about 5 to 10 minutes to pump the pint of blood out of my arm. I was expecting to feel a little light headed after I was done, but I didn’t – my guess is that the gallon of water I drank in the hour before I went in did the trick.
All-in-all I had a really good experience and can’t wait ’til I can do it again!