Same Old Blog with an Added Feature.

Fear not my friends. I shall continue to bring you all of the silly stories you have come to expect from this silly blog. But, I will be adding a new aspect to some of my posting . . . Let me explain.

My wife told me many years ago, when we first began dating, that she was going to be a doctor, and that she was going to go to Africa to help children.

After we were married, and then children arrived, this dream of hers seemed to slowly move into the background. Raising two daughters (and a childish husband) required all of her time for several years.

As our daughters grew more independent, Cynthia was able to battle her way through nursing school . . . Not quite a doctor, but certainly a step towards part of her plan. Still, Africa seemed to be nowhere on the horizon.

Fast forward a few more years, and an opportunity arose for her to go on a mission trip to Swaziland, Africa. I was delighted that her dream, although seemingly on a minor scale, would be realized. Little did I know, that mission trip was just the tip of the iceberg.

A while after returning from the mission trip, the directors of the Compassionate Life Foundation, through which she went on the trip, informed her that they intended to step down, and asked if she would take over as executive director.

*Jaw hits floor*

Cynthia accepted and, to make a long story short, is why I am now killing time in the Johannesburg Airport, waiting to board my flight back to the U.S.

It has been an incredible, frustrating, rewarding, awesome journey.

Compassionate Life is a small foundation that provides the primary funding for the El Shaddai Orphanage in Swaziland, and the CLF care center in the city of Manzini, Swaziland.

There is so much to say, too much for one post, but I will share a a bit of my first experience in Swaziland with you as I sit in the airport waiting to depart Africa.

Africa is amazing. It’s like a different planet when you have spent your whole life in U.S.

The trees are foreign. The animals are foreign. The social customs are foreign.

There is fear:

Will that bug bite me causing a prolonged and excruciating death?

Do Wildebeests eat humans? And do they have the ability to get through the locked car door from which I am viewing them?

Will I do something to offend the people I meet?

If I smile and nod at someone who said something I didn’t understand, will I end up married to one of their daughters? (There are no limits to the ridiculous levels fear can take you)

After spending ten days in Swaziland, I now have some of the answers to these questions.

Our first days were spent at the orphanage located up in the mountains. I don’t know how anyone could spend time there without falling in love with the children. Most have lost parents to AIDS, some were abandoned, and others have stories unknown to us. When you hear some of these horrific stories, and then see the smiling faces that are a result of living at the orphanage, it changes you.

They love to have their picture taken, and indicate so by yelling, “Shoot, shoot” (a picture). When you ask them their name, they like to give you the name of one of the other children . . . . A sport that they find hysterical, and makes it impossible to learn their already hard to pronounce names.

The second part of our time was spent in Manzini at a center (which makes you think of some large community center building, but is a small concrete structure smaller than most houses here in the states. This center provides tuition, food and tutoring for students in the local neighborhood, and for some of the top students, will also provide money for college or trade school.

Again, there is far too much to say in just one post. I could write an entire post alone on learning to drive on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road, in the busy city of Manzini, where cars, people, cows and goats are going in every direction. I’m quite sure that the expletive took several years off of my life.

Or I could write an entire post on the Swazi people, who are quite peaceful, and mild mannered.

But I will just stop here with saying that it was the experience of a lifetime. And with Cynthia now acting as director of the foundation, this will likely be just the first visit of many.

Oh, I almost forgot,

The large, scary insect was a Dung Beetle, and quite harmless . . . Unless you are a hoarder of poop . . . In which case, you may suffer losses.

Wildebeests on the game preserve we were at seem rather uninterested in eating humans.

You can certainly offend people unintentionally, but I found most times, someone will politely let you know before you have gotten too far.

I am not aware of gaining any new wives during my visit.

The Danger of Pancakes

I love pancakes. My kids love pancakes. Sometimes I make them shaped like animals because my girls think it’s the greatest thing in the world. Sometimes I make pancakes for dinner.

The only problem with pancakes is that pancakes involve maple syrup. And maple syrup involves stickiness. Even as an adult, I cannot manage to get through a pancake meal without being plagued by stickiness. I try hard to contain the syrup and its stickiness properties to the end of my fork, but without fail, it will work its way up to my fingers. From my fingers, it will then travel to forearms, face, shirt, the table top, and even the dogs head.

My young girls fare even worse. By the time they have finished their animal shaped pancakes, their sticky hands and faces have collected pancake crumbs, lint, dog and cat hair, small pieces of napkin, and whatever else happens to be a floating around. They end up looking like a mop just before you rinse all the crud out of it. And heaven forbid the syrup gets stuck in their hair.

If one is not careful, the stickiness can spread from my daughters to the table, chairs, pets, door knobs, toys, and nearly every other surface in the entire house. On pancake day, it is not uncommon for one of our cats to be seen running around the house with a sticky pancake fork stuck to its back, and leaving sticky pancake crumb paw prints.

I’ve often thought that a man could get rich if he invented syrup that wasn’t sticky. But until someone does, a next best remedy might be to make young children eat pancakes naked in the bathtub. That way as soon as they are finished, you can just turn on the shower and wash all the stickiness away.

……

If you enjoyed this story, there are a whole book of them on Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BNRBM5A

Or download it for free here;

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/764903

And the war rages on.

So my war on restaurant condiment crimes rages on. . . . Arby’s lady, not only could you not keep the Buffalo sauce contained within the confines of the bun of the Buffalo Chicken sandwich, but you somehow managed to get it all over the outside of the bag you put it in.

WORSE YET . . . I know that after you handed me the bag containing my grossly over-sauced sandwich, you most likely reached immediately for a napkin to wipe the sauce off of your hands that came from handling the saucy bag. . . . I would think this might be a prompt for you to think about the poor slob who has to eat this aberration of a sandwich in his truck. . . HE MIGHT WANT A NAPKIN TOO! MAYBE A DOZEN!

Gluten saved my Marriage.

For some mysterious reason, I have successfully fooled the kind folks over at Sweatpants and Coffee into thinking I’m a real writer. I’ve somehow become a bit of a regular. Here is my latest creation that they have posted . . . . (If you go check it out, don’t let on that I’m only a pretend writer).

Gluten Save My Marriage

 

Sweatpants & Humor | Gluten Saved My Marriage

I Remember 9/11.

I remember exactly where I was. I remember who it was that first told me. I remember the images on the television. I remember the disbelief, the confusion, the horror and the anger.

I remember those who lost their lives in the attacks. I remember those who lost their lives trying to save lives. I think of those who lost a husband, lost a wife, a mom, a dad, a child, a family member, a friend.

I didn’t realize it on that day, but looking back, I remember a day when we weren’t from different cities or states. We weren’t black or white. We weren’t Right or Left. We weren’t rich or poor. . . . .  

We were victims.

We were heroes.

We were people who cared.

We were people who grieved.

We were fierce in spirit.

We were United in thought.

We were simply American.

I remember 9/11.

Rules for keeping my phone out of the toilet.

There are three rules for keeping my phone out of the toilet. I only need to use one of them.

1. Stop using the toilet.

2. Stop wearing hoodies.

3. Stop putting my phone in my hoodie pocket when going to the bathroom.

I tried rule number one and only made it for half a day. Number two is out of the question because hoodies are my thing. And I keep forgetting to observe rule three. . . . Luckily, this time my phone fell outside the bowl instead of in after bouncing around the rim.

I am not a Sports fan, and I’m not going to be silent about it any longer.

Sweatpants and Coffee has posted another of my stories. It’s about the alleged un-manliness of not being a big fan of sports. Give it a look and a like!

Personal Essays | Sports Shaming