Archive for the ‘Family History’ Category


I may have written about this before.  At my age, I sometimes forget.   What I don’t forget is which way is up.

North is north, east is to the left of north, etc, etc.   Years ago, while on a family trip similar to today’s version, I called the local Amarillo Sam’s club to get directions to the cheap gas.

“Are you north or south of I-40?”, I asked.   “No, we are east of I-40” was the answer in return.   Come again?

As you can see from our trusty map, that seems quite impossible, and yet the respondent was quite insistent, despite my protest and inquiry.   EAST.   With a bit of trial and error, I ultimately found it on my own.

Fast forward 12 years.   Yesterday, gas was not the objective, but gluten free dining that would not cause the same, and more, for my travelling companions.   As Little Frau scanned Urban Spoon and the map, she settled in on our destination.  “Which way do I turn off I-40?”, I asked her.   “EAST”, was her reply.   A sly grin followed, the kind you can’t convey over a phone line.

So, what is the correct directional base when travelling thru the home of the 72 ounce steak, this Bermuda Triangle of the Texas Panhandle, you may ask?   Truth be told, I never found out, but if you get to the Cadillac Ranch, you have gone too far.

I never got a straight answer 12 years ago.   And this time?   I did what any good husband would do when faced with the same spousal conundrum: I went someplace entirely different; someplace I could find without having to ask directions.

We got dinner, and successfully escaped to New Mexico.   Now that we are here, I can’t help but feel that we are being watched.   The lady from Sams must have called to warn them about me…



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The Basin Improvement Committee of 1890: it sounds like an exciting group to be a part of, don’t you think? Nestled on the heart of Main Street in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, this marker commemorates the intentional efforts of a small group to make things better and to improve life within the community.

If asked, I would likely say that a basin is a small container of water. According to Dictionary.com, it is that, and more…

1. a circular container with a greater width than depth, becoming smaller toward the bottom, used chiefly to hold water or other liquid, especially for washing.
2. any container of similar shape, as the pan of a balance.
3. the quantity held by such a container: We need another basin of water to dilute the mixture.
4. a natural or artificial hollow place containing water.
5. a partially enclosed, sheltered area along a shore, often partly man-made or dredged to a greater depth, where boats may be moored: a yacht basin.

I must admit, definition number 5 is my favorite. You see, I have a basin of my own, and the improvement committee has been meeting the past two days to make it even stronger. “A partially enclosed, sheltered area along a shore, often partly man-made or dredged to a greater depth…“: it’s called marriage, and yes, it is only partly man made.


To coin a phrase, I might say “those who go away together stay close”. Little Frau and I first visited Eureka Springs in the Summer of 1991. Yes, for those of you young ‘ens keeping score at home, it was indeed last century. The Frau and I had been married all of about two years, maybe a little less. We were young. We were in love. We were broke. Truth be told, we weren’t really broke, we just didn’t have much money to spend, so everything was carefully allocated to make sure we could do the trip and make it home.

The pinnacle of the trip was supposed to be a day at Silver Dollar City in Branson. Like I said, we were young, and traipsing around an amusement park in the heat seemed like the be all and end all of a good time. As we almost ran toward the ticket booth together, hand in hand, a man called out to me. It seems that he and his bride of 20+ years had gone to Silver Dollar City on their honeymoon, and returned each year as season pass holders. With the purchase of their season passes came one pair of single day tickets each year, and each year on their anniversary day visit, they would seek out a young couple to take in with them for free.

Almost in shock (remember, I was the ripe old age of 24), I asked the man if we could repay them, buy them lunch, or something else. His answer? “Do something nice for your wife with the money, and that will be just what I wanted“. We thought about that couple and their request all day. We looked at kitschy souvenirs. We thought about going to a show. Ultimately, we decided to use the money to spend a night in a Bed and Breakfast here in Eureka.

It’s not that spending a week sleeping on the ground in a $19.99 pup tent from Wal Mart isn’t romantic, but we were beginning to feel the trip growing on us. An indoor shower, air conditioner, and a bed turned out to be a pretty nice break in the trip.

A few years have come and gone since that trip. Life and kids have placed a few demands on the days and the dollars. Little Frau and I don’t get away as much anymore, at least for just the two of us. But, courtesy of kids at camp and a mid week July 4th calendar, the stars aligned for a brief 2 day excursion back to Eureka. We were not so adventurous as to desire a day in the amusement park this go round. It seems this Basin Improvement Committee of two finds catching up with old friends, casual dining, a small bit of kitschy souvenir shopping, reading, and napping more the order of the day. And it has all happened at a little Bed and Breakfast just a few doors down and 21 years removed from the last Eureka meeting of our little group.

I think we may not wait so long to reconvene the next time…


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Your dad’s car smells like my grandmother’s…”

Such were the words uttered by my daughter’s friend as we prepared to leave the driveway on a recent morning.

Almost as quickly as I could begin to ponder what about my wheels exactly reminded this young lady’s sniffer of her grandmother, she concluded the thought: “…but it’s a good smell…”.

What is that supposed to mean? I suspect I will never know, especially since I won’t likely ever ask.

My grandmother had a car, a 73 Monte Carlo, that she took me everywhere in, and it had a unique smell all it’s own. One day, 10 years after she bought it new, she gave it to me as my first set of college wheels. For most of the four years that I called it mine, it bore that same smell. Unique. Different. Memorable.

Many years later, probably twenty or more, a boss asked me to drive his car home from the airport due to his extended time away. As I climbed into the leather clad sedan, the same smell from my past overcame me. I closed my eyes, and I was transported back to Grandmother’s Monte Carlo.

The way we live creates a smell. Not a physical scent, mind you, but an aroma, nonetheless.

Unique? Different? Memorable? A good aroma, or a bad one?

2 Corinthians 2:14-16: But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?

The way we live is noticed by others. I only hope my scent is as kind to others as that of my Grandmother.


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Many of us are familiar with that old Peter Paul and Mary song from the 60’s “If I Had a Hammer“.

If I had a hammer,
I’d hammer in the morning,
I’d hammer in the evening,
All over this land,
I’d hammer out danger,
I’d hammer out a warning,
I’d hammer out love between,
My brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

Now, personally speaking, if I, Bing, had a hammer, I would probably break something and have to call a handyman to come out and repair it. You see, I believe that I am mechanically dyslexic. Every project, and I do many every, seems to be harder than it should be or gets started backwards. But, that has never (OK, seldom) stopped me from trying.


But what is it about these home improvement warehouses that lure us tool novices back into the shark infested waters of do it yourself efforts? Is it the slogans?

More Saving, More Doing: That’s the Power“. That would make a good church slogan. Jesus was a carpenter, after all. Right? However, I doubt if he was motivated by “6 months no interest”.

What he was motivated by was reaching out and helping someone. The author of “home improvement”? How about the author and finisher of our faith?

Hebrews 12: 1-4: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

Stripping off the weights. Setting down the hammer. Not picking up the pipe wrench. Relying on the original Handyman.

That sounds good, on paper. All highs, no Lowes. 🙂


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Elder daughter walked into the kitchen tonight holding a large box.

“Hey, Hank, what’s in the box?”, I wondered. Perhaps, a dead cat? Sorry, wrong story, and I digress.

No, her box contains money and momentos from days now past spent on the other side of the world. It was great to see her unpack the memories and unfold some more tales from the Pacific Rim.

Just a few nights ago over some good coffee, she listened with wide eyed wonder as I spoke of traversing the roofline of a youth hostel overlooking the Rhine River some 23 years ago in the nation formerly known as West Germany.

We both have our stories. One day in the not too distant future, say another 23 years, she may sit with a future generation Little B and regale him or her with tales of earthquakes and dining on fresh Octopus in the Far East.

In the meantime, we both have our momentos, and money we can no longer spend. Both are worth every penny.



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Remember the 70’s? Television was still in it’s adolescence. We did not have VCR’s, DVR’s, or Direct TV. We had 3 to 5 channels, and the TV Guide. When you had a show you really wanted to watch, the anticipation was almost palpable. Then, those fateful words would be heard: “We are temporarily experiencing technical difficulties-please stand by”. Minutes turned to hours, and, you get the picture. Actually, you didn’t get any picture, and therein was the problem.


I wrote the other day about the value of a good clipboard, especially in the hands of a digital refugee. What about in the presence of a digital Chernobyl?

Little Frau had another doctor appointment last week, this time
with a new specialist. The anticipation
was almost palpable. Then, those fateful words: “I can’t get the computer to connect to the server. The doctor can’t see you till it does.”. Minutes turned to hours, and, you get the picture. Actually, you didn’t get any picture, at least, the doctor didn’t, and therein was the problem.

Anybody got a clipboard we can borrow?


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It is Fall Break time in Oklahoma. The quiet house this morning has me thinking about a lot of things: faith, family, football, etc, but not much about words such as “Thunder Up”, and that’s oddly absent with it being October.

The silence was broken briefly earlier by RB stopping by the reading room to say hi, as well as an unexpected litany of very nice things. Then, she was back to bed to get some much needed rest in the absence of an early morning band workout. I love that girl, and her entourage. As I chose later to peruse a set of her pics, I found this one, and it got me to thinking…

Where did the time go? I’m not thinking of her growing up, as that is obviously an issue. I’m thinking more short term. I’m wondering about Thunder storms past. As we face a year of possibly no NBA, I’m challenged to think of what I did with those precious few hours each year in the time before the NBA called OKC home. What did I do? What do I miss now that it is here? Less TV time, and that is good. But, how will I spend the time this year without them to cheer and follow, and the related conversations throughout the day? “How about that Thunder?” will likely be supplanted by “How’s the weather?”, but I hope for so much more.

You see, There is, beyond the Azure Blue, a God concealed from human sight. He tinted skies with heavenly hue, and framed the worlds with His great might. There is a God. He is alive. In Him we live, and we survive. From dust our God created man. He is our God; the great I Am.

Don’t get me wrong: when the boys dressed in Azure Blue return to the court, I will likely be cheering them on, but I hope to be cognizant of my choices, and where the time will go…

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