Tuesday, September 27, 2011

For Want of a Few More Minutes

If you’ve ever been to a Catholic church, you will notice something that is the bane of pastors and associate pastors everywhere.

Toward the end of a service, after a practicing Catholic has received Communion (bread and wine), most of them will return to their seats. However, to the consternation of many pastors, a number of attendees will head for the exits.

For those of you haven’t been to a Catholic service before, leaving imediately after Communion means leaving before the service is over. It’s like leaving a movie after the villains have been vanquished but before the heroes say goodbye to each other.

Sometimes, there are reasons for leaving early. Last Sunday, I had one. My older son had gone camping with his Scout troop. They were scheduled to return at 12:00, but there’s never been an event where they didn’t arrive home early. I’d planned to stay for the full service. However, staring at a packed house with a service that was going longer than usual, I decided I needed to leave.

While in line for Communion, my younger son leaned his head back and looked at me. “Dad, we can’t leave. Father’s at the door.”

I glanced to my left at the church exit that led to the rear parking lot and the location of my car. My son was right. Our assistant pastor was celebrating the Mass that day. Sometime during the Mass, our head pastor had entered to watch. He stood in the center spot in front of the four doors that led out of the worship area.

I glanced at my watch. There was a minimum of ten minutes to go, fifteen if there was a speaker talking about a retreat or something similar. I uttered a silent prayer that my son’s troop might be on time instead of early.

A minute later, my cell phone buzzed. I checked the number and knew time had run out. I leaned over my son’s head. “We’re going.”

We received Communion and headed toward the exit. I did what any good Catholic would do.

I confessed.

I looked him in the eye, shook his hand, and said, “Forgive me, Father, but I got buzzed in line. My son’s troop is home early from their camping trip."

Father laughed, slapped me on the shoulder with his Bible, and told me to go.

My son stared at me as we walked out the door. He couldn’t believe we left early.

When he’s a dad, he’ll understand.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Look Back

The streak is over.

After seventeen straight wins, my beloved Auburn Tigers walked off the field in defeat.

Some of you may not realize this, but I graduated from Auburn University. I used to write a weekly blog on Auburn football in addition to doing a parenting blog. I eventually gave up on the football blog to concentrate on the parenting one.

I’ve always thought of Auburn football as an adrenaline rush. When I was in school, I never missed a game. In my sophomore year, I played in the marching band. I have many fond memories of those days, with the notable exception of the band needing a police escort to get out of Neyland Stadium (University of Tennessee) after Tennessee upset then #1 Auburn 34-20. (The students tore down the goal post and tried to run over the band with it.) Auburn football has always been a cardiac affair.

I have to admit, the streak was fun while it lasted. Out of the 17 games, over half of the victories were by a touchdown of less. Nearly three quarters of them were come-from-behind wins and at least five of them were by double digit totals. The last three games alone were in doubt until the last minute.

That’s Auburn football.

It’s so nerve-wracking that Auburn fans get nervous watching videos of the team play.

And for seventeen games, including both a National Championship, and an SEC title, it was wonderful.

This year’s team has struggles. The defense has more holes in it than the relationships at the end of The Bachelor and Bachelorette shows.

But it’s still Auburn football, win or lose.

So, to all my Auburn friends, I say only one thing.

War Eagle!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Enter the Colonel

I signed on to head the popcorn drive for my son’s Boy Scout troop.

Part of me says I don’t know why I did it. However, the other part of me knows exactly why.

It offered an opportunity.

As parents, we often say we want to get more involved in our kid’s activities. I’ve broached the topic here before. My job keeps me busy. I can make activities that require me to show up occasionally, However, activities that require repeated time commitments are out.

So when the position of popcorn chair for son’s scout troop was needed, I thought here was an activity I could do. The commitment was a sizable one, but it would only take me through November. This one I could handle, I said to myself.

It doesn’t mean it won’t be easy. My limited experience with the popcorn tells me that the girl scouts must be much better organized with the cookie sales. However, I will soldier on.

I ran into my son’s Cub Scout den leaders recently. During the conversation, I told them I was handling the popcorn drive.

They both smiled at me. “You’re the colonel,” they said.

“Colonel (kernel)” is the term given to the popcorn chair. I smiled back and said, “Yes, I am.”

And while we’re on the subject, would anyone like to buy some popcorn. Drop me a line or post your e-mail here. We do sell on-line. I’ll send you a link. :-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I tried to play Madden NFL 11 with my kids this weekend.

It wasn’t easy.

My younger son plays the game often. He’s pretty good at it, and plays the game at the top (Madden) level. He wants to get the latest version as he wants to play with Cam Newton at QB. My older son doesn’t play it as much, preferring baseball and other Wii games. Still, he’s better than his Dad.

When we tried to log in, I had to get my son to take it down a few notches. At first, it didn’t work. Even starting at rookie level, he wanted to put in all the extras.

“Dad, let’s put in the fumbles. Let’s put in the penalties. Let’s put in the injuries. Let's put in turbo speed.”

The fumbles is a particularly interesting option. It’s like playing contact flag football. You have to get your players out of bounds. If they get hit, they’ll fumble the ball. For a guy who’s just learning to maneuver the characters, it wasn’t the fun way to go.

We finally had to re-set the game and I know my kids took it easy on me. I had to learn how to pass, throw, and run. Still, with thirty seconds left before my time expired, my younger son rubbed a bit of his expertise in. He set up with four wide receivers and blew by my defenders for an easy TD.

“Dad, you had the wrong defense there. You had linebackers covering wide receivers. That’s a mismatch.”

I know that, but knowing is one thing. Reacting to it fast enough is another.

Until the next time.