Easter Observations

A few items of note, brought about by an Easter weekend spent with The Fam:
I believe that there is a Federally-mandated scent that all church restrooms’ hand soaps must contain. It appears to be unique to church bathrooms, as I have yet to smell an analog in any other public dispenser.
Handel apparently wrote “Messiah”‘s bass line in the key of “Doug”, as I was able to perform my annual belting-out this morning with aplomb.
My wife’s birthday fell on Easter Sunday this year – it became apparent to me that this stinks almost as much as having your birthday fall on Christmas Day and certainly more so than having a birthday around Christmas.
It’s a bit of a cliche at this point, but we as Christians expend far too much energy on Christmas and too little on the truly important holiday, Easter.

The Unbearable Whiteness Of Being

Growing up as the son of a Presbyterian minister had its more interesting moments, I can assure you, but one thing that much of my upbringing lacked was an experience in racially diverse congregations. Presbyterians, not known to be a terribly diverse lot, tend to put the “W” in WASP, in my experience (and lest you griefers complain, I’m going to make like an Ivy League admissions officer and ignore the hundreds of thousands of Korean Presbyterians just so’s I can make a point). We’re mainly Persons of Pallor, so to speak, so it was with quite a bit of mirth that I listened to my father relay the following story to me.
Well, before the story, some backstory/serious caveating [if it’s not a word, I just made it one. -ed.]: I enjoy my father’s sermons greatly. I believe that he’s an excellent speaker and, as a child, constantly wondered why those other slackers all had Sunday morning radio shows while my father’s genius reached “only” the people in his congregation. A bit of filial piety, perhaps, but I still believe him to be an excellent preacher. He’s also a very structured one; his sermon “cheat sheets” are nigh-legendary, as they lay out the sermon in its thematic high points and 3 to 5 central tenets, all augmented with conveniently-placed fill-in-the-blanks so that those wishing to do so may follow along in aural and written form. He usually develops a word or phrase that captures the essence of his message and then repeats it at strategic points throughout the sermon, just to make sure that everyone gets the point, I suppose.
Back to the story.
My father recently developed a sermon that he was fairly excited about and one in which he sought to invoke the energy and excitement that is present in so many African American churches by laying claim to one of the stereotypical sayings that abound within the halls of black churches (if movies and TV are to be believed). And so he preached an entire sermon entitled “Can I Have A Witness!” He held forth at length on this point, repeating it each time it was called for in order to draw people in further. He finished the service on an emotional high, then walked down the church aisle after giving the benediction and stood at the rear of the church to shake hands and greet the departing parishioners in his typical fashion.
He was soon approached by an elderly white woman who praised his sermon thusly (and I’m paraphrasing): “Lovely sermon, Pastor, but, and I could be mistaken, isn’t it ‘Can I Get A Witness’?” My father said he just about died of embarassment on the spot, although he was quickly able to recover and have a good laugh about it.
I hear he may follow it up with a very special sermon entitled “Might I Perchance Trouble You For An Amen?”

Happy Palindromic Birthday, Texas!

DonMy wife and in-laws have (slowly) been converting me over to a slight Texas partisan, so all my Yankee brethren will have to excuse my obvious bias when I wish Texas a happy 171st birthday. I’m due down to Dallas long about November or so, so I’ll officially get to pay my respects then.
(Honey, if you’re reading this: I know your years of Texas history in school probably informed you as to the significance of March 2nd – you’ll have to excuse my ignorance, as the NJEA thought I needed to know about the culinary propensities of the Lene Lenape and how to read “banned” books far more than actual U.S. History.)

Greater Love Hath No Child Than To Give Up His Fears For His Toys

I do apologize for the horrendous paraphrasing of John 15:13 in the title, but I do believe it’s fairly apt.
Here’s the skinny:
Part the First: William is absolutely terrified of vacuum cleaners in any incarnation – he despises our Dyson and can’t stand the Dust Buster and always has issues with my parents’ model. Whenever we start one of them up, his face is overcome with a look of sheer and utter debilitating fear and he will either flee in horror, begin bawling uncontrollably or simply shake and quiver, frozen in place by the terror. This, of course, makes cleaning the house interesting, as we must either vacuum 1) after he’s in bed 2) while he’s napping or 3) when one of us is out and about on errands with Will in tow.
Part the Second: While visiting my parents this past weekend, my mother brought out my younger sister’s old Cabbage Patch doll and presented it to Will “so he can practice” (I’ll let that one scoot right past without comment or further thought – for now) and Will took an immediate liking to it. He first examined it for the presence of a belly button, as is his wont, and then proceeded to sling it over his shoulder and tromp about with a purposeful look on his face. That doll has been about as close a constant companion as toys go with Will (he’s got a bit of a short attention span when it comes to such things) and he has managed to elicit sly smiles and muffled “Awwww!”s from my wife and myself at several points in the intervening days.
Part the Third: My wife, needing to clean up for the mommy/baby playgroup she hosts every few weeks, pulled the vacuum out and, out of necessity, began to run it while Will was not only still awake but in the same room. According to her, Will initially froze in place but quickly noticed that the Cabbage Patch doll was sitting on a chair mere feet from that hideous vacuum beast! and thus he felt compelled to execute a Daring And Life-Threatening Rescue Raid. He toddler-sprinted across the room, scooped the doll up in his arms, sprinted back across the room and threw himself down on top of the doll in an attempt to shield “her” from the dreaded beast. Upon my wife retelling this story, my heart just about burst with pride, laughter and love for the little guy.
Fatherhood is a blast, I tell you whut.

I Smell A Bedtime Story Prospect

Dr. Helen (otherwise known as the InstaWife, spouse of Glenn Instapundit Reynolds) pointed out a book enticingly titled The Dangerous Book for Boys. A description of the book from the Telegraph (UK) review of the book reads:

It’s amazing that The Dangerous Book For Boys ever got published, really, given the deeply unfashionable connotations surrounding two out of the five words in the title (the ones that aren’t “The”, “Book” and “For”).
The very thought of an educational volume that sets out both to exclude a specific gender and to promote activities with questionable health and safety implications is enough to bring the ultimate condemnation that the world of mealy-mouthdom has to offer – that of being “inappropriate”.
Just a glance down the contents page gives a pretty good clue of the direction in which the authors’ minds are heading. Even before page 100, chaps will have learnt how to decipher enemy code, make a bow and arrow and plant a tripwire that will alert them to the imminent arrival of baddies in the camp.

The book is headed Stateside later this year. I think it might very well be worth picking up for young master Will. Heck, I think I’d like to read it through a time or two, particularly along with Will.
I fondly recall the insaneenjoyably dangerous games my brother and I participated in as kids: bicycle tag, dirt clod wars, Kill The Man With The Ball (“Smear The Queer”, as it used to be called, has dropped out of favor for obvious reasons), playground boxing matches and the all-purpose “Hey, Check This Out!”, a “game” whose closest adult analog is the Jeff Foxworthy-esque “Hey, Watch This. Hold My Beer.”, among others. I hope that I can inspire, or at least allow for these sorts of behaviors in my children – play styles that encourage inventiveness and imagination without fully entering into Johnny Knoxville/Bam Margera territory. I just hope everyone in America hasn’t decided to keep council on retainer by the time he’s old enough to enjoy himself thusly…

My Little Guy Is Growing Up So Fast

Will in the snow.
We took Will to the pediatrician’s office today for his 15 month checkup – the child is growing like a weed. He’s ~30lbs even and 35″ tall and is starting to fit into 3T stuff. It’s almost scary how big he’s getting. He’s going to be driving before I know it and I’ll look back at these posts wistfully and think to myself “I remember when I could pick him up. I remember when my arrival at home meant smiles and hugs and joy.”

My Poor Little Guy

The head cold crud that laid me low has taken its toll on my poor son who was running a 104° temp on Tuesday and who ended up with two ear infections, again. That’s twice within a month, meaning that he had to go on higher-test antibiotics since the Amoxicillin apparently requires at least a month between prescriptions.
Poor little guy.

I’m Too Young To Feel This Old

I turned the ripe old age of 29 today, meaning that in a little less than 366 days, I will officially be 30, a fact that makes me Officially Old, the import of which my blushing bride has reminded me of several times throughout the course of the day.
That’s not what makes me feel the oldest, though. I found out today that one of the kids placed in my charge while I was a counselor at Camp Brookwoods just got back from a tour of duty in Iraq. He joined the service and ended up in the Rangers and was finishing up his first tour a couple of weeks ago. According to second-hand information, on the second-to-last day of his tour, his convoy was hit by an IED. He was first on the scene to the Hummer struck by the blast and thus was first to see that he had lost three of his buddies to the explosion.
I can’t even comprehend what that does to a person; nearest I can figure it, to see comrades and friends die must age one significantly in a mere instant. My heart goes out to the families of those three brave soldiers. And Stu, if you ever read this, know that I’m about as proud a counselor as any could ever possibly be. You’re a certified hero and there’s no way for those of us that remain Stateside to truly signify our thanks.