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Scarred and Thankful

It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars ~ Garrison Keillor July 29, 1979. For so many years, I wished I could turn back the clock and relive that sunny summer Sunday——the day a simple bike ride turned into a horrific accident that left me scarred and forever changed. I was twelve-years-old and I was on the same bike trail I’d ridden a hundred times before. Only this time, the culvert over a six-foot ditch had been removed. I found myself airborne, speeding head-first toward the sun-hardened clay below. Instinctively, I broke my fall by raising my left arm over my face. I heard a grotesque snap. My arm was broken in half at the elbow. …

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One Minute In The Road

Every choice you make makes you. ~ John Maxwell On June 16, 1984, I was at my high school graduation party. Tables decorated in Eisenhower High School green and white were set up in the garage, spilling out onto the driveway. I think my parents invited every person who’s ever been in their lives. It was a pretty good crowd and I was clowning around, manning the bar, serving drinks. Suddenly I heard someone say, “Curt, there’s an old dude out here who wants to talk to you.” I looked out front and saw a car idling in the middle of our busy road, an old man behind the wheel. I made my way down the long, gravel driveway toward …

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In Times of Darkness

It’s funny how one insect can damage so much grain. ~ Empty Garden, Elton John “It’s not fair, Dad.” Emily must have repeated that at least four times. “It’s not fair.” She’s right. Eight short months ago, we were in Great Lakes, Illinois watching as Shianne Soles and my daughter stood at attention with hundreds of other men and women, presented their flags and became sailors in the United States Navy — teenagers promising to protect and defend the Constitution as part of the most powerful fleet on earth. Today, Shianne is gone — the victim of a horrific double-murder suicide and Emily is lost for words. It’s a devastating victory for darkness. Before she was laid to rest, Shianne’s …

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The Girl Who Runs Toward Danger

When you’re soaring through the air, I will be your solid ground. Take every chance you dare, I’ll still be there, when you come back down. ~ Nickel Creek It’s funny, but I knew my daughter would serve in the military before she did. After four years of watching her compete in high school JROTC competitions, I honestly couldn’t picture her in a dorm room studying economics. But she insisted throughout her senior year that she was done with camouflage, early morning workouts, inspections and obstacle courses. I listened to her reasoning and I offered a few of my own thoughts but ultimately, I knew she would have to decide the course of her life. Her mother and I would …

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Old Friends

You can’t make old friends. ~ Ben Rector I never had any friends later on, like the ones I had when I was twelve…Jesus, does anyone? Fade to black. Roll the credits. That was the final scene in the classic, coming-of-age film, “Stand By Me.” Childhood friendships; there’s just something about them. they’re the kind of friends you can go years without seeing and pick up exactly where you left off. It’s rare, and I have three. Last year, on a perfect spring day, my buddy from high school and I went to Boston and saw the Sox and Tigers play in historic Fenway Park. He traveled there from Texas. I flew in from Tennessee. Together, we walked those hallowed …