Confused . . .

By my calculations the United States, on its upcoming July 4th birthday, will be 240 years of age. By historical standards, we are still a young nation . . . the Roman Empire lasted something like 1,700 years, Japan is said to be something like 2,700 years old, and China is believed to be 5,000 years old. Many of the nations in the Middle East were present in the Old Testament. Based on this comparison of nations, the United States is a relatively new nation . . . but what has got me confused is how we understood it completely for 235 years . . . I mean not even one single question needed to be asked nor answered . . . but all of a sudden there is confusion over . . . which bathroom folks are supposed to use. Now, I ask you, “Just how crazy is that?” Jeff Foxworthy is correct . . . we truly have become a nation created by geniuses . . . but being run by idiots!”

What is so difficult to understand in this? Boys use the boy’s bathroom and girls use the girl’s bath room . . . and that is that! It has always been that simple . . . it is still that simple! What is this stupidity about “transgendered”? It is simply a new name for an old perversion (sin) . . . it was once known as “peeping toms” . . . and there was never a question, folks just knew those rascals were peculiar and confused people. A community worked together to keep such confused characters a safe distance from children. Then, as we became more sophisticated, the culture changed that peeping-tom title to words like: “Voyeur” . . . “Pedophile” . . . or “masochist” . . . and seemingly with a new title decided that they were not, perhaps, as dangerous as once believed . . . and the federal government is driving this crazy-thinking! It is using the Justice Department and some well-intentioned laws to push this craziness upon the American people. Laws such as the Civil Rights Laws of 1964 and 1968, which afforded Federal protection for “protected classes” . . . those classes being: people of color . . . females . . . immigrants . . . and later expanded to include folks with handicaps or disabilities (ADA) . . . and pregnant girls and families with children (known as familial status).

Those having confused notions over sex and gender have never been a protected class . . . but that has been the objective and push for the past 20 or so years, and what has been the source driving this confusion? Folks trying to gain “protected class status” for sexually-confused people. As examples . . . over recent years there have been battles between the states and the federal government over same-sex marriage (federal courts and the Justice Department) . . . and now this really stupid issue of permitting perverts into the girl’s bathroom. One State (South Carolina) said, “Not here” and there has been a serious and expensive backlash!

I watched an interview with the Commissioner of the NBA a few nights back. He was asked about Charlotte, S. C. being the previously selected site for the 2017 NBA Finals. He said that in light of South Carolina’s new law (designed to keep weird men out of the girl’s bathrooms) that might have to change. I wanted to just punch the bum in the nose . . . how ignorant!

Where has reason gone . . . where did common sense escape to . . . what have we done to common decency? Is our once-great nation really fussing over the issue of perverts having the legal right to hang out in the girl’s restroom?

I am reminded what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:22, “Professing themselves to be wise, they actually became fools.” How much more of this stupidity before we collapse as a nation? I ask you, “Just how sick is a nation that cannot understand the need to protect young girls from some crazy old coot who is willing to put on a woman’s dress and lipstick on his mouth and go out into public?”

And we call that dude “crazy”? . . . Who are we kidding here about who is really crazy?

The New Face of the $20 Bill

Are you kidding me? . . . We are really going to take Andy Jackson off of the $20 bill and replace it with that of virtually unknown, Harriet Tubman?

Jackson was the Nation’s 7th President and the hero of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.

Tubman was a former slave who was active in the Underground Railroad, a network of trails and safe-houses used to smuggle southern slaves into the free northern states. It would seem that Ms. Tubman was a good and decent person and perhaps even heroic . . . but good grief . . . remove Andy Jackson from the $20 bill after all this time?

It Seems to me . . . perhaps we ought to find another, more sensible means of honoring Ms. Tubman’s memory, but leave Andy Jackson and the $20 bill alone!

Waiting . . .

I really dislike waiting . . . on anything . . . or anyone. I think my time is valuable and ought to be wisely invested. I am goal-oriented and conclude each workday by preparing a “To-Do List” for tomorrow. I have always been a busy, focused person. I don’t suffer fools . . . I cannot abide wasted time! It is just the way I am. I was taught to be responsible and to work hard, and I strive to do both.

As the old theory goes about “opposites attract,” Sandy and I are quite different in this area. She, too, is goal-oriented and a hard-worker . . . well organized and efficient . . . but waiting does not bother her. She has diagnosed me as having a “Type-A personality.” When she first began suggesting (I am being kind, it was much stronger than a mere suggestion) this to me, I didn’t even know what it meant . . . I just understood that she was pretty certain that I needed to have someone do some specific work on me to fix the problem. After being called “Type-A” a few times, I checked it out and learned that Doctors Friedman and Roseman, both Cardiologists, conducted a study of their patients and described dudes like me as being “Type-A.” These “A guys” were said to be “up and down, moving around the waiting area, and frequently looking at their watches.” I confess I do that . . . I think if I make a doctor’s appointment 60 days in advance and show up on time, the doctor ought to also show up on time. I mean, think about it, I did not put that time and date in his appointment book . . . his representative did that . . . and he/she told me when to come in. Those scheduling decisions were made totally based on his schedule . . . not mine. I was offered a time and date . . . my only say in the matter was to accept or reject the appointment time.

Sandy’s comments to me are, “Settle down . . . Type-A’s are candidates for a heart attack.” So, nudged by the encouragement of a loving wife, I try to work in it. In a minute I will tell you what it is that I have been trying to do to work on it, but first I really want/need to tell you another pet peeve (besides waiting on a doctor for my appointment). That would being waiting in a restaurant . . . It Seems to Me . . . the more expensive the place, the longer the wait. Sandy does not mind waiting at all; in fact, I suspect the woman is happy to wait . . . like it is a social opportunity (she does get acquainted with folks during this time). I know this is a rabbit trail, but one afternoon we were in Water Street Oyster Bar and she met a lady and two hours later was face-booking with her and had the lady’s husband send me a request for WWF . . . duh). Back to waiting in restaurants . . . I have done a bit of observation and have identified five times one must wait:

. . . Wait for a table

. . . Wait for a menu

. . . Wait to order

. . . Wait for the meal

. . . Wait for the bill

. . . and the dude has the gall to call himself “The Waiter”! I am like . . . “duh, Dude, I am the waiter here . . . you would be the Server!”

So, my challenge is pretty much: how does an impatient person learn to slow down and wait . . . and do it graciously? I have come to accept the truth that waiting is simply part of the life experience and there are many places where I am and will be forced to wait . . . IH 35 anywhere between San Antonio and Waco . . . U. S. 281 N from San Antonio toward Burnet . . . anywhere around Rockport High School on any weekday afternoon (I get caught in it sometimes going and coming from the pool) . . . 30-minute wait times at the pool if thunder is heard by a life-guard . . . at the doctor’s office . . . at restaurants . . . frequently on the Harbor bridge . . . waiting for the fish to bite . . . waiting on a traffic light to change . . . waiting on the pilot car to pass me through a construction zone.

When faced with new things which I must learn or accept, I try to turn first to the Bible to see what the Author of life might have to say about the matter. As I researched the subject, I was both surprised and pleased that there are numerous areas which speak of and about waiting, as well as offering some very practical advice about that . . . as a discipline. I am encouraged to know that I am not the only one with this failing!

Perhaps my favorite instruction is found in James 5, where the Apostle is writing to a Church experiencing persecution and pressure from the culture of the day and the Believers were confused about how to respond . . . the Lord promises His peace, yet their reality was they were under attack for serving Him and His Church. James writes and encourages them to “wait . . . keeping in mind that things would not always be as they were at that moment . . . the Lord is coming again . . . and everything will change.” He uses two great illustrations: he encourages them to wait like a farmer waits . . . and then like a prophet waits.

How does a farmer wait? Well, he prepares his field, then plants his seeds at the proper time, and then he waits. The farmer never expects to plant on Monday and harvest on Tuesday; he has reasonable expectations. That is a good thing for an impatient fellow to work on . . . developing a proper expectation. Moreover, after the Farmer has planted, he waits and he prepares for the coming harvest . . . he is not idle, but rather is busy in an organized fashion. He weeds the field, he waters and fertilizes, and he works on his equipment that will be needed in harvest . . . and he prepares the barn. As he does all of this, he surely is praying for rain and sunshine . . . in the right amounts at the right times.

The Prophet proclaims the message, then waits. It is not his message and he is not the one to bring the consequences to pass. He is simply the spokesman . . . the announcer. After he has completed his assignment, all he can do is wait on further instruction. That is really a very good thing for an impatient person to learn (however painful the learning may be) . . . to learn that “it isn’t about you!” It is a good thing to remember that I am living on borrowed time . . . and that whatever I am trying to do is actually pretty small in the full scheme of things.

When I get caught in traffic . . . rather than fret and keep myself stirred up, perhaps I ought to calm down and use the time to pray for folks who are struggling . . . perhaps I ought to use my hands-free calling devise and call those struggling folks and encourage them. Perhaps I ought to get some self- help CD’s and stick one in the player when I encounter traffic delays. That could make the “down time” a learning time.

Of all the many verses on waiting, my favorite is found in Isaiah 40:31, which says: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as an eagle; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

I think the implication of what it says is that if I will just slow down a bit, keeping in mind that the Lord has a Master Plan and He is working it out in His own way and in His own timing and if I can learn and develop the grace to live in that truth . . . perhaps I can be a little more graceful like the great Eagle . . . and not be such a turkey!

Ouch . . .well, that hurt my feelings, but as we say in the sweat shop . . . “No Pain . . . No Gain!”

Madness . . . National Madness

Yesterday I wrote about the Spurs being in the Western Conference Finals. In that blog, I attempted to explain my appreciation for the game of basketball. I wrote about my years at one of the premier basketball high schools in the nation. Of course, that has made a long-lasting impression on me.

Another experience that also had a great influence on me was that my family and I were living in El Paso when the small West Texas school known as Texas Western (TW) shocked the world and won the NCAA National Championship. The year was 1966 and the new basketball coach at TW, Don Haskins, went across the USA and scouted for black kids to come and play ball on a scholarship. The Civil Rights Act had become law in 1964 and Coach Haskins was out there recruiting in 1965. He built the first NCAA Division 1 basketball team of black kids, and that created quite a storm . . . but he taught his team, “You fight back against this garbage by winning on the court,” and win they did.

I remember the buzz in El Paso, a town with a large percentage of Hispanics, folks being troubled about this black basketball team . . . well until they started winning like crazy . . . then the local folks overcame all of that other stuff and loved this great basketball team.

This team of black kids from all across the country, playing for this remote, small school in the desert, being treated disrespectfully simply because of the color of their skin . . . these kids who came from impoverished backgrounds faced the formidable Kentucky Wildcats in the final game at Cole Field a House in College Park, Maryland . . . and thrashed them!

In spite of their great victory, the challenge was still not put to rest . . . no one from the host facility followed the long established tradition of delivering a ladder out to the winning team in order that the net could be cut down as a trophy. Moreover, the team was not invited to be guests on the Ed Sullivan show (an established tradition).

Each year as the NCAA tournament known as March Madness begins, I am reminded of a time in our history when our culture behaved terribly . . . and by remaining silent permitted some ignorant people to treat a small group of kids terribly . . . simply because they were different . . . and extremely gifted . . . at a game the ignorant folks wanted limited to white kids.

Time and history have worked together to show how foolish that thinking and behavior was. The game of basketball, today, has embraced black players . . . and they have taken the game to a completely new level and pace.

I am glad I was there . . . I am glad I got to see that great team . . . I am thankful that I was able to see how ugly all of that hatred was . . . I am glad our generation got a bunch of that garbage corrected. I am glad that Steph Curry is the #1 offensive player . . . and Kawahi Leonard is the #1 defensive player of the year in the NBA this year. Those dudes make this game so much more fun . . . and it simply does not matter what color their skin might be . . . they are both great young guys! Just as a side note: Kawhi Leonard (also the defensive player in the NBA last year) has an extension to his contract with the San Antonio Spurs in the amount of $58 Million . . . and this 23-year-old kid still drives around in a 20-year old Tahoe.

But . . . all in all . . . my time in El Paso . . . and exposure to that small school and that great team . . . helped fuel my appreciation for the game . . . and I like to believe helped form me into a wiser man.

 

Spurs . . . the Western Conference Finals . . .

The Spurs have been my favorite sports franchise for a number of years (certainly since the decline of the Dallas Cowboy, who once held equal status with me).

It is actually pretty funny that I like basketball so much today. I never played basketball in school, and after about age 13, I was rarely ever picked to play in pick-up games. My athletic ability was never running, jumping, and shooting a round ball in a fast-paced game. I was, however, pretty good to have around if a fight broke out with the other team. I have mostly been a spectator of the game; yet, when and where I grew up pretty much demanded an admiration for the game—if and when it is played well!

I love the fast pace, the fluid movement, and great passing of the ball as the good teams move toward their basket. I learned to appreciate this art form as a high school kid in Hobbs, New Mexico, home of the powerful Hobbs Eagles! The Eagles, year-after-year, was one of the best high school basketball teams in the nation, and often drew crowds that would rival Division-1 college crowds. The Eagles frequently won games with scores like 126 to 74. Their long-time coach was a man named Ralph Tasker . . . who was a legend amongst high school coaches across this great land; in fact, my senior year—1969—his team had an average score of 114.6 points per game and had 14 consecutive games of 100 points. It was no surprise that he was selected the high school coach of the year (nationally). The Hobbs School District built an expensive basketball arena in the mid 1960’s and named it the Ralph Tasker Arena (all of this at a time when other high school teams played in a “gym”)! Coach Tasker coached at Hobbs High for 49 years and was the winningest high school coach in history 1122 & 291 . . . (.794). I recall in 1999 being in Philadelphia doing a seminar. The hotel had left a courtesy copy of the USA Today at my door, so I picked it up and carried it to the coffee shop to scan over as I had my breakfast. As I opened it to the sports section, I was sad to read the bold headline, “High School basketball legend Ralph Tasker Dies.” In spite of my sadness, I realized that Coach Tasker’s passing was truly national news in the sports world . . . in spite of the fact that he coached high school basketball in an oil-field town of 40,000 transients. He was a man who achieved greatness in spite of trying circumstances . . . the very thing that sports seeks to accomplish (from 1968 to 1971 his team’s lost only four games in four years)! He had dozens of kids go on to play Division-1 basketball on scholarships, and 14 drafted to play in the NBA.

The Spurs are a team that stands above most other NBA teams year-after-year, and it manages to do that by focusing on the fundamentals . . . that being a combination of the fundamentals of the game of basketball . . . and the fundamentals of an honorable life! The Spurs organization seeks talented players who can fit into their system and become good citizens of San Antonio at the same time. One never reads in the paper about a Spur’s player getting in trouble with the law. The folks involved in the Spurs . . . top to bottom . . . are clean-living people.

This season was a milestone for the Spurs . . . they went 67 & 15 – which equates to winning at the rate of 81.7 %! In addition, over something like a 12-month period (a continuation from the 2014-15 season) up to April 2, 2016, they had a winning streak of 49 straight wins on their home court at the AT&T Center. Talk about a home-court advantage! They only lost one game at home during the 2015-16 season . . . and that loss was to the defending NBA Champs, the Golden State Warriors. It seems pretty clear that the Western Conference Finals will put the Spurs (#2 seed) and the Warriors (#1 seed) against each other at some point in the elimination process. The Warriors faced the Rockets in Round 1, and soundly thrashed them by 30 points in Game 1 of that series. The Spurs faced the Memphis Grizzles in its first round and routed them by over 30 points in Game 1 of that series. The Spurs are the #1 defensive team in the NBA, while the Warriors are the #1 offense. So that series will be a real contest for certain. The winner will move on to the NBA Finals . . . where either team is almost certain to prevail and capture the title!

The Spurs have won five championships . . . and nearing what might be called a dynasty. The Boston Celtics have the best record in history with 14 championships . . . from 1957 to 1969 they won it 11 times in 13 years (8 consecutive wins). The Spurs still have a ways to go . . . but who knows?

Tim Duncan is about to turn 40, and will surely retire at season’s end. Like most Spur’s fans, I have dreaded that day, but with the great player negotiations of the Spurs, I am not so sure that Duncan’s exit will be as devastating as I once feared. This team will be a force for many years to come, and that is a good thing . . . it is fun to watch a bunch of good guys do well!

Go Spurs Go!

Cancer . . . Such a sad thing . . .

I received an e-mail yesterday from my dear friend and Architect, Ron, that made me weep for joy. He announced that after a long, difficult battle with cancer, recent tests revealed “no cancer activity” at this present time. He had endured numerous sessions of radiation and some very foul and powerful medications. He said that he had lost 30 pounds, his hair, and his strength, but his message reflects that his faith remains strong. In addition, he had woes of praise for his darling wife, Evelyn, for her faithfulness and love as she walked each step on the path with him. 

His email made me both happy and thankful. I replied to my friend’s good news: “I cried with you when we first learned the sad news, I prayed for you during your struggle, and today, I rejoice with you!”

Sandy told me about a lady she works with who is currently battling cancer. She said the lady is at the stage of treatment were she is now wearing a hat of some sort each day. Sandy said her friend had a doctor’s appointment last week and had a sub. She said her friend sent out an email announcing that a certain event for which she was the leader was being cancelled – no explanation, simply an apology for any inconvenience. Sandy is an insightful and perceptive lady and read between the lines. She sent her friend an email in which she asked, “What can I do for you, Sweet Friend? Tell me your favorite meal and I will fix dinner for you.” Sandy said she got a reply saying, “In a couple of weeks I may need you to come hold my hand . . . maybe help me with a bath. Thanks for the offer of dinner, but I am not able to eat much. Thank you for loving me.”

These are two very different people, different stories, and different situations. I know dozens more . . . both past and present. I have lost some folks who are very dear to me from this horrible disease and watched how it took its toll on their health and the hearts of those of us who loved them.

A friend who I love and greatly admire was told some time back that he had stage-four cancer. He made the decision to not receive treatment. A large group of folks who love this man vowed to pray faithfully for him. I learned last week that something wonderful has occurred and his doctor told him that he need not come back for six months! What does that mean? I don’t know, but I really do like it! I am confident that it was in response to prayers that were offered.

The question begs to be asked and answered, “Why does it work so differently for different people?” The simple answer is, “I just don’t know!” Yet, while I don’t know the answer, I do know the One who does know the answer to this question . . . and all other questions in life! When I am confused, when life hurts, and when my friends cry out in anguish, I go to Him and unload my burdens. It is the only thing I know to do . . . it is the only thing that makes sense . . . to take matters involving the struggles of life to the Author of life . . . and trusting Him as He does what He does . . . even when it does not make sense to me.

That is what I try to faithfully do, but it is not all that I can do. In addition, I can encourage and support folks in the struggle, and I can help combat the dreaded disease. Sandy and I have supported the American Cancer Society for 40 years. Each of us have served as Block Captains during fund-raising campaigns. One year I served as the Country Chairman. Almost weekly we are sending in a check as a memorial contribution.

One day . . . this terrible disease will be defeated and will never plague humans again. But until that blessed day arrives, help is needed . . . and everyone, anyone, can do something. Who knows, you just might be helping yourself down the road.

 

Potty Training . . .

Abi is three and is supposed to be in the potty-training stage . . . the problem is that the entire family is working on this development stage, but Abi simply isn’t much interested. The little rascal is pretty head-strong about her position, too.

She is gifted at letting adults know when her diaper or pull-up needs to be changed, but she does not seem to feel the need to let anyone know before the accident. I have a game I play with her . . . I give her $1 for each potty trip on #1 . . . and $3 for #2. She is good at keeping track of how much I owe her . . . but mainly because there isn’t much activity or account receivables to track! Sometimes when I get to talk to her on the phone she will say, “You owe me money, Pappy.”

Recently we were able to spend a few days with the girls in Burnet. I was encouraging her to “potty” before we went on a picnic. She sat on her little chair with the plastic bowl and hummed, wiggled, and did knock-knock jokes . . . everything except tinkle. After a bit, in the frustration of a failed effort, I asked her, “Abi, when are you going to start going to the potty?” She looked up at me and matter-of-factly replied, “When I get potty-trained, Pappy!!!” I burst out laughing and asked her, “When will you be potty-trained?” With absolutely no hesitation, she raised her sweet, pudgy little right hand into the air with four fingers extended and declared, “When I get four, Pappy, then I will be potty-trained!”

Well, now we have a goal at which to aim.

I know we went through this with Courtney and Chris, but I don’t remember either of them being so aloof and hard-headed about it all. This little imp is really something . . . she knows her own mind!

Sincerely . . .

I enjoys words and their meanings . . . furthermore, I love the English language. I love its uniqueness. Did you know that English is different from pretty much all other languages in that when we want to change the meaning of something we say or write, we merely change the structure of the sentence? Not so in other languages such as Greek and Latin. In those languages, one changes the meaning of a sentence by changing a word. In said languages, there are multiple words which mean the same thing, with some small difference or variation. An example in Latin is with the word lightening:

Centella – lightening that flashes and the arc is straight up-and-down – vertical

Relamago – lightening that arcs across the sky – horizontally

Rallo – describes lightening that actually struck and killed a person

Here is an act of God having three different and quite distinct words to explain it and its activity. In English we could accomplish each of those meanings by restructuring the sentence.

The word sincerely is a great word, rich in meaning. It is typically used as a means of signing off on a letter one has just finished writing (salutation). It is also used as an adverb to emphasize how much one really means something (I sincerely hope you agree with my position and that you will meet me at tomorrow night’s school-board meeting).

Do you know where the word originally came from, and what it was designed to mean? It is a word derived from two Greek words which literally means . . . “without wax.” In the ancient East many unsuspecting travelers purchased items such as handcrafted figurines as a gift for their wives waiting back home. After the purchase the buyer would carefully wrap the gift to protect it on his journey home and place it inside his travel bag. Perhaps the night before he arrived home, as he sat by his fire and contemplated his homecoming and the reunion with his wife. As he grew excited about seeing his love, he removed his lovely gift from his travel bag and unwrapped it, and was startled and heartbroken to discover that his exquisite gift had been made from wax and had melted in the desert heat. He would then become angry . . . he had paid good money for a gift, yet in reality the gift had been a fraud, a cheap imitation. As those stories were told and retold, consumers learned to become more cautious in their purchases. That caution soon began to affect sales. Those who created such items as their means of earning a living soon banned together to combat the suspicion and put it to rest and help potential buyers to have the assurance they were buying the genuine article . . . perhaps this was the first form of the Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau. The honest craftsmen began stamping their work with the two Greek words from which we get our word “sincerely,” which certified the piece was “without wax”!

Moreover, many household items of that early period were created from stone and over time might become brittle and damaged; thus, unattractive. Repair shops would take the items, and clean and repair the object, thus making it a piece of art. It sat in its owner’s home and sparkled . . . beautiful. At some point in time, the item would be set outside and would melt. The repair shop had actually resurfaced the item and filled cracks and dings by covering the objects with wax! This has been used as a sermon illustration by many ministers over the years who declared that some Believers had done the same sort of thing with their lives, and when exposed to the heat of life, the ugly stuff reappeared.

The smart guys say Paul was encouraging the folks in the early Roman Church to love one another without deception in Romans 12:9, and with his use of the word “sincerely” (NIV) he was mindful of the “without wax” stamp of that era.

Ladies for the Least . . .

On Saturday, April 16th, South Texas Children’s Home Ministries will host a large group of ladies from across South Texas . . . it will be a special day of activities. The attendees will be given a tour of the children’s home and all of the wonderful facilities there which serve the needs of the kids who live there. The guests will enjoy a special luncheon and will hear a gifted speaker, Christi Haag, daughter of long time STCH leader, Homer Hanna (I suspect Christi will become the next Beth Moore)! Many friendships will be formed and there will be laughter, compassion, and love on exhibit.

It will be a day of introductions, or in many cases just getting better acquainted . . . but mostly it will be about building relationships. I know that it is simply impossible for one to see the Home up-close-and-personal without being smitten. It is a pure example and sweet reflection of the Lord’s work in action . . . and it sincerely is, “to the least of these!” Seeing it in action just inspires folks to want to be part of it all.

I am very happy that Sandy, Leslie Knight, Jo Hise, and a number of other ladies from my Sunday school class will attend. I love the Home . . . I want the people whom I love to also love the Home. I am certain they cannot spend the day there without coming to love it . . . and the sweet kids who call it “home.”

I am pleased the group is going, but I am also a bit jealous that I can’t go . . . it is one of these “No Boys Allowed” things, which I suppose are good sometimes.

https://vimeo.com/134647679 Video for Ladies for the Least at STCH

 

 

Giving Credit where it properly Belongs . . .

On January 13th, I had total knee replacement (right knee). The surgery itself wasn’t bad, but the physical therapy that followed was horrible . . . brutal . . . wicked . . . nasty . . . and extremely painful! The therapist made me “holler for my momma” a number of times . . . but the dude was totally committed to accomplishing the goal of my leg being perfectly straight and the knee bending 140 degrees, and he simply did not care much what I thought about any of it! The pain at times was unbearable . . . and none of the old pain-management tricks I have used over the years to “zone out and overcome pain” even got close. After my first visit to the therapist’s clinic, I literally had to whip myself to return for each and every one of my appointments. It was actually the most difficult thing I have ever done . . . and that coves a whole bunch of ground really fast, as I have had much experience with “difficult” during my years.

Yesterday, I had my final visit with the surgeon in San Antonio. Sandy has been struggling with a knee injury for several months, so I encouraged her to arrange for a Sub and go with me and get another injection . . . which can help with the pain for a few months. She did, so we notified the Nurse that we were both coming to see the Doc.

When we were taken back to the examining room, Sandy was placed on the table and the Nurse laid out the things the Doc would need for her shot. I was directed to a chair in the corner of the room, given a clip board and an assortment of questionnaires to complete for the Doc, insurance company, hospital, and the manufacturer of the artificial knee that was installed in my leg. Of course, we both wore shorts to permit examination of the knee easier. As the Doc entered the room, we chatted and quickly caught up with each other (he told us about the condo he recently bought at Port A and I showed him photos of fish I have recently caught). He turned to Sandy on the examining table. As I sat in my chair and did the paperwork, without even thinking about it, I did what I have developed into a new habit while I am sitting . . . I did knee extensions and flexed my new knee it from a totally straight position to a deep bend. I honestly have come to the place I am not even mindful I am even doing it . . . it is just an automatic thing I do now.

As I did the flexes, the Doc turned around and declared, “That is amazing” and rolled his stool over and watched me do the exercise (I had no clue he was even paying attention to me as he examined Sandy). Suddenly, his examination centered on me and Sandy waited on the table (which was okay — she is never in a hurry to get an injection). He was delighted that I can make my leg perfectly straight and manage such a wide degree of bend. He was quite proud of his work . . . he was pleased with my efforts in rehab and the results. He was amazed when I told him that I can now stand up for an hour (teaching Sunday school).

He was happy, proud, and very complimentary. I appreciated his kind words . . . but I knew that the credit for the success only partially went to him as the surgeon; very little, if any, was earned by me . . . and the vast majority ought to go to the dude who pounded . . . pushed . . . pulled . . . and badgered me every step of the way . . . while preaching at me a single, yet bold message, “I will not let you fail, Johnny!”

He did not. He did his job and he did it well . . . in spite of my being a wimp and scolding him pretty much every step of the way. Thank you, Wade Klare!

If you ever need physical therapy, I herewith make a qualified . . . and limited recommendation . . . if you want maximum results, Wade is definitely the man. However, if you are weak of spirit and are looking for a therapist who will coddle and pamper you and speak in loving terms . . . run past Wade as fast as you can . . . this dude has none of that. He has a sweat shop . . . where results are pounded and ground out . . . inch by inch. Wade’s methods, attitude, and approach to physical therapy would make any NFL team proud.

I am glad I went to Wade . . . I don’t ever want to go back!