Archive for February, 2016

A long time ago, a family moved west from a land far, far away.   Several families, truth be told, moving both west, and south.

They brought a few things along the way.   A piano built in Chicago in 1915, a few unlabeled aged portraits, and an old wooden trunk are just a couple of the more notable pieces sitting around the house today.

I know what you are thinking, and no, I don’t believe it’s made of “shiplap”.   Somewhere, Chip Gaines is smiling.

It is, however, choc full of experiences, most of which we will never hear told.   As Little Frau said earlier, “if these pieces could talk”.

Well, they can’t, but we can.  And we can gather around these pieces as family, telling stories all our own.   I think Great Grandfather Bell would be proud.

I also think he would laugh at how many times I’ve move his old box, among other things…



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Why did the chicken not cross the turnpike?   Well, I can tell you for sure it was not so he could stay in the retirement center on the current side.

A funny thing happened on the way out to Green Acres.  Funny, “ha ha”, or funny/strange, you may ask?


Green Acres may be the place to be, or it may not.  I suppose I will never know, for certain.   The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and its “Driving Forward” plan helped make that decision for us.   Something to do with not counting your chickens before they close escrow, you might say.

You see, Little Frau and I decided some time ago to launch out when the nest became empty.   She found a little spread out in the sticks, and one or both of us began to imagine the next 20 years of life on said spread.  Rumor has it our youngest even got married in said front yard, I know not in what year or to whom.  

I hope he’s nice, but I digress.

Back to my story.   Because of a “hot market” and “location, location, location”, everyone (and I do mean Everyone) told us we would sell our house in a week.

So, a sign went up in the yard, and a listing went live.   And we sat.   Along the way, an oil company, or two, or three, started laying people off.   Then, we had it sold.  Then, because of a “buyer’s buyer”, we didn’t.   Then we had it sold, again.

Then, you guessed it, because of a “buyer’s buyer”, we were afraid we didn’t.    Eventually, our egg did hatch, and the chicken inside was relatively wart free, but I digress.

Along the way, said Turnpike Authority hatched a plan all its own, and learning of said plan in the nick of time, courtesy of the aforementioned delays in selling, kept little Frau and I from buying a golden spread that would soon have a highway skirting its fair outskirts.   Savvy?

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.””  ‭‭James‬ ‭4:13-15‬

Which brings us to today.
I pen these words today, on the eve of closing on the purchase of our next abode, and on the eve of my 50th birthday, from the guest suite of a senior living center.  

Ironic?  Indeed.   I could share other insights, but then I might have to, well, let’s just stop there.

While here, however, Little Frau and I have read a few good books.   One of the better ones for me was about the Wright Brothers, and their realization at some point that they needed to stop “trying to solve the problem of human flight and be about the business of flying”.   Touché.

Suffice to say, everything, and everyone, has turned out fine, thus far.   I’m not ready to join AARP, despite their invitation and personally embossed card.

In the meantime, I plan to worry less about “solving the problems of” and being more about “the business of” living. 

Lord willing, it will stay that way for some time to come. The icicle of my youth may be melting, as someone might say, but I’m not ready to drop off “the Ridgeline” just yet…


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A funny thing?

Why did the chicken not cross the turnpike?   Because he was afraid of what was on the other side.


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I never knew Steve McQueen.   I never met him, or anyone who knew him personally.   “The King of Cool” and I have very little in common.

I am, however, a fan of his work.

The Great Escape.

The Magnificent Seven.


Little Frau and I tripped across one of his movies on TV the other day, and we spent the succeeding ninety minutes glued to the story as if we’d never seen it before.

The work has staying power.   It has a certain appeal.   People recognize its value.

We’d all like the same to be said of us, I dare say.

Don’t get me wrong: McQueen had his problems, but don’t we all?   Truth be told, when I hear “McQueen”, I don’t think first of his struggles, but of his efforts and end product.

All this got me thinking:

“If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”  ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:12-15‬ 

We’d all like the same to be said of us, I dare say.

McQueen died when he was 50, while I was but a teen.   As I plan, Lord willing, to join the half century club next week, I hope my work endures through 50, and beyond, regardless of my allotted days.

“It’s good stuff, Hilts”.


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A long time ago, in a galaxy only a few hundred yards away, I heard a man say just that.   Then, I heard him say it again.

And, again.

And again.

The odd thing was, he was saying it in Portuguese.   The fact that it was being translated for all to understand, even in repetition?   Not odd, at all.

Today, I sit high up in a galaxy not so far away, a physical galaxy that existed a long time ago in only the mind’s eye of one or two, and I am looking down upon the place those words were repetitively spoken.

Life is like a fountain, indeed.   Experiences, insights, and aspirations bubble up, fly high into the air, and then fall heavy to the surface, where they may go down deep, only to be drawn back up later by an energy source not their own.

Such is this moment.  A physical transition moment in life has me pondering Luke 12, bigger barns, eyes of needles, and not going away from Jesus sad.   The transition moment, itself, has actually been more like weeks, and it has helped clear the waters feeding my fountain.

The place I temporarily reside was last occupied by goods folks: folks who routinely speak Portuguese, by the way.   Little Frau and I decided, upon moving in to this temporary abode, that we would adopt a Brazilian alter ego for any and all who might ask what we are currently up to.  OK, I decided amidst her objections, but I digress.

I was recently recalling the humor I found in this “Life is like a fountain” memory to the son of that translator from long ago.   As my story unfolded, he began to fidget a bit.   As I continued, he began to turn red.   When I uttered the historical names of our assumed alter egos, he began to cry.

Feeling about as low as the silt below a fountain, I stopped and asked what I had said to elicit such emotion.   He went on to share his memories of the same “Life is like a fountain” man, and his penchant for repetition.   He also shared how some of life’s more unfortunate characteristics had later turned that speaker of old sour and bitter, and how he had pulled back from God.

As I’ve grown older over the years, I’ve come to understand more the things that confused me as a child:

How Adam was compelled to take a bite,

How Cain let his disappointment and jealousy get the better of him,

How Sarai laughed,

How Moses reacted in anger,

How Gideon hid out in fear,

How the Children of Israel continued to cycle into bad choices as a collective people,

How Elijah got discouraged and ran away to hide,

How Jesus got physically tired…

And hungry,

And sad, on occasion.

I also have come to understand how Paul found joy, and why John concludes with “Amen”, and “LORD, come quickly”.

From the depths of our experiences comes an energy that allows us to rain down around others, if we will but allow it to be released.

Life is like a fountain, indeed.

And, you don’t have to speak Portuguese to understand it.

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