In 1998, at a Grandpa Pigeon’s store in Fairmont City, Ill., I ran across a clock with a gold plastic crucifix mounted inside a plastic shadowbox at the bottom, surrounded by red velveteen and mirrors and illuminated with red, yellow and green Christmas lights. At the time, I was convinced that it was the Holy Grail of tasteless home decor, and for reasons I still do not fully understand, I passed up the opportunity to buy it.

Early in our relationship, I told Ron about the clock. He assured me that it was not the Grail, because the last known sighting of the Grail had occurred in an antique store in Maine, sometime during the first Bush administration.

The Grail, Ron explained, is actually a plate. Specifically, it is a souvenir collector’s plate featuring a portrait of Jesus, holding a lobster in one hand and draping his free arm around Elvis Presley’s shoulders. Ron’s friend Mike is the only person we know who has actually seen this plate. Sadly, he apparently was possessed by the same evil spirit that led me to pass up the clock, so he didn’t buy the plate. Instead, he went back to his hotel room and thought about the plate. He thought and thought and thought about it. He thought about it all night, and the next morning, he went back to the antique store to buy it.

It was gone.

I didn’t find the Holy Grail today, but while we were at Family Dollar this afternoon, searching for something I needed for school, I found the next best thing:


Interestingly, that 1998 excursion to Grandpa Pigeon’s was actually part of a search I’d undertaken for a big wooden fork and spoon. I had become obsessed with finding a big wooden fork and spoon to hang on my kitchen wall. Big wooden forks and spoons are pretty common … unless you’re actually trying to find them. My family and friends, alerted to my quest, joined the search, which rapidly began to spin wildly out of control, as these things have a way of doing. I now own a collection of big wooden forks and spoons. I think the holy fork and spoon fit right in with the rest of the collection:




Ron thinks that the new fork and spoon are going to fall off the wall and kill Jason while he is eating. (His food bowl is near that wall.) I assured Ron that Jesus is not going to kill our dog. But if I am wrong, I think “Jesus’ Fork Killed My Dog” would make an awesome name for a rockabilly-punk-fusion band.


Totally swamped

Apologies for the spottiness of my blogging habits lately. I have four miles to run, a basketball game to attend, a story to edit, and a mess of images to Photoshop and FTP to my editor tomorrow after school; a math test to take Friday evening; eight miles to run Saturday morning; church Sunday morning; a math final Sunday afternoon; three miles to run Monday; and a National Honor Society induction ceremony to coordinate Tuesday evening.

If I’m quiet for a few days, bear with me; at the moment, I’m busy even by my own hell-for-leather standards.


Faith in an elevator

I got a nice lesson about the nature of faith tonight when I found myself trapped in an elevator with four other people.

Three of my companions were quite calm. The fourth immediately started to panic and push buttons (the elevator’s and everybody else’s), and I was a little concerned that her overreaction would spook the little girl who was standing next to me.

I needn’t have worried.

As the panicky lady’s agitation started to spin out of control, the little girl looked at her and said, “You could call my daddy.”

Her daddy — who was on the premises — makes his living as a sheriff’s deputy. If he couldn’t fix the elevator, he would certainly know where to find someone who could.

The lady continued to fuss, but she dialed the number, and the little girl calmly explained the situation and asked her daddy to get someone to let us out. Less than 15 minutes later, the door opened, and we were free.

It occurs to me that my life would be much easier if I would follow that little girl’s example and simply call my Father, calmly trusting Him to free me from my latest flavor-of-the-week crisis.

I think I’ll work on that this week.


Folk Thursday: Melanie

Melanie Safka performed at Woodstock.

This fact alone should have earned her a Folk Thursday appearance long ago.

She also has a loose Oklahoma connection, albeit in a rather vague, Six-Degrees-of-Separation sort of way: She was once a follower of Meher Baba, who was injured in a 1952 car accident near Prague.

Vocally, she reminds me of Mary Travers.

Somehow I did not realize until this evening that Melanie was responsible for “Brand New Key.” Enjoy!


Left unsaid

Here are three things I suppressed the urge to say in my classroom this week:

1. “You keep complaining that I’m not fair. Let me tell you something my dad told me when I was your age: ‘Life’s not fair. That’s why there are different bra sizes.'”
2. “You are a 17-year-old freshman. I am willing to entertain the possibility that you could be smarter than I am, but the preponderance of evidence does not support this theory.”
3. “Sweetie, if every man who dresses better than you do were gay, humanity would be at serious risk of extinction.”

I love my students. I really do. But honestly: I could park a Peterbilt in some of the openings they leave me.



I have no idea why, but I am absolutely wired today. I’ve got a long list of things to accomplish, and for once, I feel as if I can get through the entire list and quite a bit more besides. Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that I have purple crocus blooming in the front yard. Hooray for spring!

Stay tuned. God only knows what I’ll wind up doing on a pretty day when I’m feeling like this….