Far From Home

There was a  recent post on WordPress asking readers what is the  furthest from home you have ever been. I guess my answer would be around 7,648 miles. That would be at the equator in Nanyuki, Kenya.

Nanyuki, Kenya
Nanyuki, Kenya

On one side of the equator the water drains clockwise and on the other  side it drains counter-clockwise. Across  the street was a little trading posts. I never realized that my wife could  be a very good negotiator. She traded the inexpensive wrist watch she was wearing for some local crafts. I think she got a the  best of  the deal.

What is the  furthest you have been away from your home?

George Leon James

George Leon James (2)

He was my father.

He was your father-in-law, but loved you more as a daughter than as a daughter-in-law. He taught you how to make a pineapple upside down cake and a pot roast; you taught him how to appreciate the wonders of North Carolina, California, Arizona, kittens, and the love of a daughter in law.

He was your brother. To have a brother for 84 years, what wonderful memories you must have. I have memories of 59 years and you have 84 years of memories of my Dad. How wonderful!

He was your brother-in-law. But loved and respected as a family member.

He was your uncle Leon. I find it pleasing that we still respect our relatives by calling them by Uncle, Aunt, or Cousin. I still call my relatives by their respective titles (Uncle Paul, Aunt Tymn, Aunt Janice, Aunt Wanda, Aunt Betty, Aunt Marion, Cousin Ronnie, Cousin Mickey, Cousin Margina, Cousin Bonnie, Cousin Linda, Cousin Jim, just to name a few) although my wife kids me that I say “cousnit” Ronnie rather than Cousin Ronnie. My wife, after she was introduced to most of the family members on our first trip back to Michigan after being married commented: Well, this will be pretty simple, everyone’s first name is either Aunt, Uncle, or Cousin. But what I can’t understand is why half of them are know by their middle names (George Leon, William Cecil, Joyce Wanda, Betty Janice, Mary Juanita).

He was your co-worker. Since I also worked for the Chessie System for over 10 years and know most of his co workers I know you have many stories of my Dad that you cherish.

He was your neighbor. Thank God for good neighbors! You truly are a God Send!

He was your friend and companion.

He was your golfing partner or racetrack friend.

We grieve for our loss and for our inability to spare each other a pain so deep and so wide that words fail to express its true size.

As many of you know, he was an active celebrant of life (my Dad would like that choice of words from his son), but what I mean is he truly enjoyed his life. A man prone to regaling his audiences with stories too numerous to recount (ak a BS er), a man who is curious about all that is around him, and a man who is a true believer in the value of friendships.  Your presence here honors him deeply, and I thank you on his behalf.

My job today is to relate a little bit about my father’s life to you.  Perhaps to reveal a little bit of him that you may not have known or share an anecdote or two which will refresh our memories of him.  This will be difficult mainly because not only am I losing a father but my best friend, my role model, and my hero.

Dear Dad,

You are a special person to a great many people. You probably did not even realize the kind of affect you have had on so many people’s lives. You have been a dear husband, father, father-in-law, uncle, brother-in-law, friend, employer, business associate, neighbor, to name a few. We know of countless friends and admirers from each of these connections that formed the web of your life whom have shared the profound impact you have had on them. You have been a bright beacon that stands for virtuous living, standing strong for what is really important in life… family, integrity and the recognition that it is God’s will to do good with the talents He has given us.

Dad, many of us gathered here in your memory could provide testimony regarding how special you were in their lives. They each could describe how your unique blend of honesty, responsibility, and your genuine interest, compassion, fairness, and down-to-earth sense of humor made a difference in their lives. All of us will feel your loss in countless ways.

All of us gathered here today are coping with a very complicated set of feelings that marry the joy and pride of having known you with the pain that comes with the reality that you are gone for a short while. For those of us here this morning that are strong in faith, we have no doubt that this loss is only temporary. We know where you are right now. You are in God’s Heavenly Kingdom celebrating your wonderful life along with our ancestors who have watched you over the years with great pride and happiness. You are in a place where peace, love and joy far surpass the best our world has to offer, and you deserve every last bit of it!

Dad, even though there are so many of your fans here this morning, this tribute is about how special you are to us, your children, family and friends. By sharing a few details about how you helped to shape us, we will likely strike chords with all present today on how you helped influence them as well.

Dad, you are the best father we ever could have asked for. We thank God for giving you to us. Yet now, we all suffer an inexpressible feeling of loss and sadness. Our hope is that now that you are in a place where you can see and hear us clearly… where you possess all the wisdom of the ages, and you now

Boss Man and Cat Daddy

Robert Carr
Robert Carr

I had the pleasure of taking Robert to his cancer treatments over a year before he passed away. At one time we went 10 consecutive days. You try and not become friends of your patients but it’s almost an impossible when you spend 3 to 4 hours a day with them. Robert told me stories of his children and his work experience. He was so proud of their achievements. Robert was an entrepreneur even though he probably never used the word. He had a catering business where his sons helped him and he also coordinated bus tours to places like Atlantic City an Atlanta. He said he went by the name of “Boss Man”.

After a few weeks Robert  turned to me a said “I’ve told you a lot about myself and I know very little about you.” He said, “Do you have any children?” I said “No, I don’t Robert but I have five cats. He said, then I have a nickname for you. From now on you will be know as “Cat Daddy”. He had a friend who made us two baseball caps (above). One said “Boss Man” and the other said “Cat Daddy”. From then on when we went to the Cancer Center he would announce to everyone in the waiting room: “Boss Man and Cat Daddy have arrived”.

Miss you big guy!

When I look in the mirror, I….

  1. Run and Hide
  2. Try and avoid looking in the mirror
  3. Be like my cats and don’t look directly at my reflection

Really, I don’t see the person I “feel” like. Where is the care free guy who was 20? The dude that finally got married at the age of 45? The  responsible  aggressive  corporate  citizen who tried, and succeeded to an extent, to climb the corporate ladder? The  retired senior world traveler? The responsible volunteer taking cancer  patients to their treatment center or  delivering meals to the needy?

Every day I see a different person in the mirror. Does he have a mustache today? Long  hair or  short?

Wrinkles? Of course. Grey hair? What else. Body is doing its thing in the aging process but I will put  up a little resistance.

When I look  in the mirror I think “how much longer”. I have a small say in things but there are too many variables that I can’t control. Never did see that motorist that ran me over and broke my pelvis on a bike ride. Too many close calls that have gone my way. Next call could be the one I never here.

The Great Migration

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The Great Migration is a cycle of life and death, played out on the plains of the Serengeti (in Tanzania) and Masai Mara (in Kenya). Some 1.4 million wildebeest, 250,000 Burchell’s zebra and a smattering of trailing Thomson’s gazelle make this year long round trip. In fact, around 250,000 wildebeest and 30,000 zebra perish in this tough trek, mainly younger ones. Along the way, many migrating animals become prey to predators including lion, cheetah, crocodile and hyena.
This picture was taken on our recent vacation in Kenya. In fact on our last day. Our guide himself had not seen anything like this. You think you are alone on the large plains of the Serengeti and Masi Mara but the tour jeeps are in constant contact with each other. Once we found these Wildebeest getting ready to cross our guide contacted other tours and within minutes there were around 10 jeeps loaded with tourist like us. Guides are below:
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Married Carole James

Married Carole James on June 22, 1991.
Married Carole James on June 22, 1991.

Just celebrated 22 years of marriage last week. I met Carole when we both worked for IBM in California. We were transferred from CA, to AZ, CO, and finally here in NC. Both retired!!!!! Carole grew up in Vermont and I grew up in Michigan. Since we retired we have been to England, Egypt, Greece, Kenya, Tanzania, Italy, Vatican City, Spain, Portugal, and Morocco.

The Road Less Traveled

ostriches

So many paths to tread It’s hard to know
which ways I should have chosen & which roads
would have been best for me & mine to roam.

So many schools & teachers I have seen.
So many chances given me & yet,
I chose & chose again to walk alone.
Defiant of the rules they would impose,
I walked, I tripped, I fell, but carried on

Perhaps if I’d succumbed to one of them,
I would now find myself in better stead.
More discipline & some authority
& maybe I would be a brighter star,
to shine for those who follow like I did.

I cannot tell if how I’ve lived was worse
or not, or more or less, than could have been,
but in my heart I know that I have tried

Tears

Tears

The Soul would have NO RAINBOW if the eyes had NO TEARS

Still applies in many areas of  our  life today. The lost of a father, mother, and younger sister as I have my not bring immediate tears to your eyes but they will eventually when you least expect it. Little unique movements  that my dad possessed; my mother’s laugh and my sister’s battle with kidney disease. When the tears arrive a rainbow appears and my SOUL  is  that much more fulfilled.