Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good booksTweet
Posted 3/27/15 at 12:33 AM | OakTara
The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis tells of two children helping a prince escape a dark witch’s underground kingdom. It includes my favorite Lewis character, Puddleglum, a gloomy marsh creature.
Despite Puddleglum’s ongoing pessimism, he’s the one who stays the course, an encourager. He rallies the children when they are caught, forever it seems, in the underground kingdom, wondering if an outside world really does exist.
The witch taunts the children. She says this outside world is only make believe.
Puddleglum answers: “Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things—trees and grass and sun . . . Suppose the black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. … four babies playing a game can make a play-world that licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world.” FULL POST
Posted 3/23/15 at 1:25 AM | OakTara
Well actually Billy Bob didn’t go to school at Ole Miss but he was close. Nearby might be a better way to describe it. Not long ago I was invited to do a program of humor and music as my character Billy Bob Bohannon at First Baptist Church in Oxford, Mississippi. The large downtown church is located only about a half dozen blocks from the edge of the University of Mississippi. Truthfully, that is about as close as I or Billy Bob has ever come to going to Ole Miss.
I arrived early to set up. Among the instruments Billy Bob plays is a rare electric guitar. Did I mention that it was custom crafted from a wooden commode seat? Because it has a Fender guitar pickup and Fender pick guard I call it a Fender Flush. Others have called it a Commode-caster and a Seat-tar.
I had everything set up and perfectly placed on the stage. Left of center I had placed my banjo and mandolin in their stands. On the right stood my six string acoustic guitar and on that far outside end, for all to see and enjoy, stood the Seat-tar. FULL POST
Posted 3/16/15 at 1:05 AM | OakTara
Judging from the Bible, God can call almost anybody to a task. We understand why he might call an Isaiah. This prophet was educated and perhaps connected to Judah’s royal house.
Of course, God also called Amos to be a prophet. Amos was a laborer, working with fig trees.
Then there was Abraham, too old, one would think. Or Jeremiah, who supposed himself too young.
He called rough fishermen and the scholarly Saul/Paul. He called Deborah and Anna, women in an age which tended to relegate the important work to men.
God called people who didn’t want to be called, like Jonah. He called Hosea, who had married a woman of ill repute.
What is important is not their status in life. What is important is that they obeyed God’s call (after first running away, in Jonah’s case).
Jesus once told a story about two sons. One said he wasn’t going to obey his father and work in the vineyard; He later changed his mind and went to work. The other said he would do as his father asked, but he never went to the vineyard. Which one them, Jesus asked, did the will of his father? “The one who obeyed,” Jesus’ hearers answered. FULL POST
Posted 3/13/15 at 1:25 AM | OakTara
Billy Bob Bohannon went and bought himself a new truck. He had been driving an old ragged out Ford Exploder that had over 300,000 miles on it. After all those years and miles his Exploder exploded. The only reason it didn’t have more miles was because the odometer broke a couple of years ago. He splurged on his new truck and even got a few extra features that he had not had before. He got the normal features like power windows, seats, and door locks. He got what he considered to be the really important features like a CD player. When the salesmen told him it came with a CD changer, ole Billy Bob being the kidder he is, said, “You mean they don’t put 8 track players in them anymore?” When the salesman demonstrated some of the special features to Billy Bob he showed him the headlamp switch. He turned the knob all the way to the right and explained, “This is how you turn your lights on and off manually. One click to your left and your lights will come on and turn off automatically.” Billy Bob looked at him and said, “Seriously? Why does anyone need lights that come on and go off by themselves? That’s not the same as having to get up and walk across the living room to change the television. The light switch is right there within arm’s reach. Maybe somebody caught that Carpet Tunnel Syndrome from twisting the light knob too many times. The salesman snickered and said, “I think you mean Carpel Tunnel.” Billy Bob asked, “Well will that lazy boy light switch dim the lights automatically too?” The salesman answered, “No sir, Mr. Bohannon, but you don’t have to stomp that little metal button in the floor anymore.” FULL POST
Posted 3/9/15 at 1:02 AM | OakTara
Every state in the union has had snow this winter except one. No, it is not Hawaii. Snow on top of The Big Island’s Mauna Kea (at 13,796 feet) is not uncommon. Florida has not had snow. Alabama has but we haven’t seen any of the white stuff down in Opelika/Auburn. The kid in me stills enjoys seeing a little snow – I did say a “little.” There is not enough kid in me to want to live in Boston. I grew up in the north but not quite that far. Okay, I grew up in northern Alabama; northeast Alabama to be exact. While we rarely had large snowfalls, we usually enjoyed a few school free days each winter. Of course that can happen simply because of a forecast of snow. Northern Alabama had snow several times this winter while we had none. Depending on your opinion, that may or may not have been a good thing.
If you enjoy snowmen, snowballs, snow-cream, the beauty of fresh fallen snow, or sliding down a hill, then you probably like snow. If you don’t like any of those, don’t have a hill or a sled, then perhaps rain is fine. As a kid, I didn’t have a sled but I had a great hill. Patton’s Pond had a big earthen dam across one end. The back side of the dam was a long sloping hill that ended at the edge of my family’s property. When it snowed we slid down that hill on anything that would slide. That included cardboard boxes, a Radio Flyer wagon without its wheels, and an old car hood. We even tried a few things that didn’t slide so well. We discovered that a number two wash tub doesn’t make a good sled or boat (that’s another story). One winter we made ourselves a great sled. Coca-Cola had given my Dad a sign to put in front of his business. The top of the sign was a large, round, red piece of metal with the Coca-Cola logo painted on it in white. Eventually someone ran off the road and knocked down dad’s sign. My buddies and I removed a few screws and took that big round top off and apart. That left us with two bowls that were about four feet in diameter. We cut pieces of thick rubber from an old truck tire inner-tube and bolted them to our makeshift sleds for handles. We enjoyed our homemade sleds for years until one summer someone had the bright idea to use them for boats. We quickly realized that they slid much better than they floated! FULL POST
Posted 3/6/15 at 12:47 AM | OakTara
I grew up in the small town of Rainsville, in northeast Alabama. There wasn’t anything to do so we drove around. This later became known as “Cruising.” We simply called it riding around and we literally did just that – we rode around, and around, and around. Rainsville wasn’t large enough to have a Dairy Queen but we did have a Dairy King. That was a small dairy bar owned and operated by the King family (no relation to me). As teenagers we circled the Dairy King round after round. I still get dizzy thinking about it. Others parked their car and watched as we circled. I think the reason they didn’t ride around in circles was because they didn’t have 35 cents. Maybe they did have 35 cents but choose to spend it on a burger from the Dairy King instead of gas for circling the Dairy King. Sometimes we piled in as many teenagers as possible in one car and anteed up our change to buy enough gas to make a few more laps. I guess we were car-pooling! FULL POST
Posted 3/1/15 at 11:43 PM | OakTara
I drove to the zoo to drop off my oldest daughter, Rachel, on her first day of volunteering. She was assigned to the petting zoo where goats and sheep awaited the eager eyes and hands of preschoolers. Rachel would feed the animals, clean up their waste, and supervise the children as they observed the animals. As a twelve-year-old, Rachel was ready and willing to assume the responsibility of a volunteer position, one of three she would hold before graduating from high school. I was thrilled, but apprehensive about her newfound challenge. Time would reveal that my concern was unfounded, for the benefit of volunteering far outweighed any liability. I believe every parent should strongly consider offering his child the opportunity to participate in community volunteer work. Here’s why.
Volunteering Matures a Child
As I watched Rachel tend to her four-hour a week summer zoo position, I noticed she was developing more maturity. No longer was she merely looking out for herself or her little sisters, but she was also looking out for a host of preschool children who were left in her charge. Furthermore, the discipline of caring for the goats and sheep caused her to care for her room at home more efficiently. Once she proved herself in the petting area, the zookeepers awarded her more responsibility by placing her in the gift shop for two hours a week. FULL POST
Posted 2/26/15 at 12:43 AM | OakTara
I’ll bet I can tell you exactly what you are doing right now. (Mama, if you are somehow reading this, I only used that as a figure of speech. I am not actually betting; there is no money or marbles involved). I digress for this quick moment because as a kid if in mama’s presence I said, “I’ll bet” she always corrected me by saying, “Now son, we don’t bet.” I could always bet she would say that! She meant business too. If I left home for school in the morning with six marbles in my pocket, I had better come back home that afternoon with six marbles – the same six marbles. Well yes, she counted them – before and after.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I’ll bet, and I’m about 99.9% certain that I’m right, that at this very moment you are reading my column. Right? Don’t stop, there’s more. I feel fairly confident that you are not playing marbles. If you are a young person you are probably asking, “How do you play marbles? Is there an app for that game?” I’m not quite as confident about this one, but if you are reading my column in the morning newspaper, you may be having a cup of coffee. What I don’t know is what you have put in your coffee. In fact, it has happened on several occasions that I didn’t even know what I had put in my own coffee. Some of us need that morning cup of Joe to wake us up. Sometimes I have mistakenly added stuff to my coffee that jarred me awake. For instance, do you add creamer to your coffee? Have you ever thought you were pouring milk in your coffee only to discover you had added buttermilk? I don’t even like buttermilk so I certainly don’t like it in my coffee. What may be worse is when you think you’ve accidently added buttermilk to your coffee only to discover that it was in fact milk that had gone bad. Much like your driver’s license that you handed the officer after you sped through a light that you fully believed was still yellow, it had expired without you knowing it. I’ll bet I know what you’re doing now. You are checking the date on your driver’s license and sniffing your coffee. My grandson loves chocolate milk. I have also accidently discovered that chocolate milk in coffee is not bad. FULL POST
Posted 2/22/15 at 11:59 PM | OakTara
Yes, believe it or not, it is 2015. Y2K is a dim memory. If you are a teenager it is not a memory at all. Even though I am still dating checks 2014, and most likely will until the latter part of January, that does not make it 2014. If you are under the age of thirty you are probably wondering “What is a check?” That is how we old people paid our bills before we had online banking and debits cards. My how things have changed but then nothing stays the same except that nothing stays the same.
I’m finding that old saying to be true that “the older we get the faster times flies.” I think it has reached warp speed for me! A new year comes every other month now. Already we are approaching the middle of January and the end of college football season. College football season, for most of my life, ended on New Year’s Day or at least the day after. Now, for the first time ever, we have a playoff system, and the championship game is almost in the middle of January. I suspect more than four teams will be added to the system eventually. If we keep lengthening the season, before long The Independence Bowl will be played on Independence Day! Excuse me - make that The Duck Commander Independence Bowl on Independence Day. Another change, that we Alabamians don’t like, is that no team from Alabama is playing for the national championship this year. In fact, no team from the SEC is playing, which hasn’t happened since 2005. FULL POST
Posted 2/20/15 at 12:41 AM | OakTara
One day, I got my daughter out of school earlier than her usual time.
"I was worried you weren't coming," she said as she got in the car.
"Why? I've never missed picking you up from anything, and I'm here at the time I told you I would be."
"Because, I had told you that I wanted to get out earlier than this." She answered.
I smiled and told her this was definitely a blog moment.
How many times do I pray and wonder why God doesn't show up when and how I want Him to?
I've had my moments where I've been pretty good at acting like the "God director" when I pray. I've also had my moments of frustration, while I wait for Him to answer them, when and how I wanted the prayers answered.
I know I'm not the only one to do this.
Over the last few years we've been praying for a prisoner in the mid-east to be freed and returned to America to be with his family. There are updates on him on the radio and face book. He is even in the news at times. FULL POST