Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mr. Blunt Edges I think I Hate You

Sometime back, Mr. Blunt Edges tagged me and gave my blog an award. Thanks, I guess. Normally I don’t respond to these tags and this one has taken me a bit of time. Mainly I think these tags are boring but the biggest reason I haven’t done one, they seem like way to much work. I really can’t explain why Mr. Edges was able to manipulate me into doing this but I have decided to spend zero energy in trying to analyze his ploy further. I will do the sevenpart of the tag – but I gotta tell you, I am bit cranky about it.
Here goes… Seven things you don’t know about me.
1) Unlike Blunt Edges I am not an Atheist – Opps I guess maybe you knew that already about me. Even so, I am not changing my number one, it will remain.
2) Like Mr. Edges – I hate kids. I can remember worrying before I had kids if I would like them. Since then I have discovered for the most part kids are great once I bond with them or have some kind of connection. But, if you and your kid are in front of me in line at the grocery store I will pretty much hate you and your kid unless said kids are well behaved.
3) I am Blunt Edges 49th and maybe his 50th follower. Thank you – no applause is necessary.
4) I am a morning person – and have been known to jump up and down on the bed singing, “get up, get up, get out of your bed and open up your eyes and see the shinny skies.” All in an effort to wake up Mrs. Grayquill so we can play – FYI: this tactic has never been successful and I have not tried the tactic for years. Hmmm….maybe I give it another spin, who knows...maybe it will work out better for me after all these years. I wonder if I still have the talent of jumping and singing at the same time?
5) I am with Blunt Edges words – “can’t figure out why, the world’s crazy over Angelina Jolie. Ok, she acts well, but sexiest lady in the world? NO WAY!” BTW: Mr. Edges - The sexist woman would be Mrs. Grayquill of course.
6) I have a weird habit of NOT noticing minute details in movies like. For example, according to Blunt Edges, did you know that in Rang De Basanti (that must be a movie), Karan’s (played by Siddharth) character’s first and last line in the movie (oh, it is a movie) is ‘Nautanki Saala’ – - - Who would be so weird to notice such things? Could his initials be B.E.? I think us folks in the USA are missing some good movies.
7) I take complete credit for ‘converting’ Blunt Edges to writing with complete words on his blog; at least upon occasion. Yesiknowotherspliedtheirencouragementtohimbutwearenotcountingthoseeffortsforthisscenario.
Well now I have completed a tag and it will be a cold day in a very hot place before I ever do this again … Blunt Edges I think I hate you.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Child's Christmas List

Four year old little B could hardly sit still while her mommy braided her hair. She was so excited, any moment her daddy would be home from work and they were going Christmas shopping for her mommy, four aunts and two grandmas. In her pocket was a clear zip-lock baggie that contained her life savings, $1.65. All day as the ideas popped into B’s head, out they came, “maybe I will get you a new pair of shoes mommy or maybe a new coat, would you like a new dress mommy? I know… a new purse – maybe I will get you a blue one.
Grayquill did not know this shopping expedition included the Aunts and Grandmas. If he had known such a monstrous task was before him it is unlikely his excitement would have matched his daughters’ enthusiasm. Mrs. Grayquill stood watching at the window, worry lines pressed her lips as the two drove off.
“B, have you thought what store you want to go to first?”
“A store that has slippers and purses; I think I will get mommy a blue purse and maybe I will get slippers for grandma and maybe a shirt for Aunt T and Aunt B”
Grayquill was not caught off guard seeing that a four year old does not exactly have a perfect concept of money. “B, a new purse will be pretty expensive, I don’t think you will have enough money for a purse.” B didn’t even hear her daddy’s words. Her excitement continued rattling off who and what different people would get.
Grayquill pulled the car into a parking spot and soon they were inside a large department store. Grayquill decided he would have to show B she did not have the funds for her large list. Arriving after sometime in front of the purses they began perusing the choices. “B, let me see your money.” B pulled out her little bag of money. “See this purse B? If you had 10 bags of money just like this one, you would not have enough money to buy this purse.” B, was quiet for a minute the wheels spinning.
“Okay…Maybe I will get slippers for mommy, let’s go look at slippers.” Off the two went to look for slippers. Here the exercise was repeated. “B, you will need 6 bags of money to buy these slippers. I think we should go to the Dollar Store, maybe we can find something nice for your mom there.”
B, was up for that idea because the Dollar Store was one of her favorite stores. Arriving, they worked their way up and down the aisles. Soon B found a little glass horse that she thought her Aunt T would like. “B, if you buy that for your Aunt T, you will not be able to buy your mother a present here, you see you need 4 bags of money to buy something at this store for everyone on your list. Maybe you should just buy your mom something and for your grandmas and aunts, maybe you could paint them a picture.” B, shook her head in a firm no but she slowly put the glass horse back on the shelf. B’s eyes starred down at the floor and without another word B turned and Grayquill followed his little daughter out of the store.
Back in the car Grayquill was at a loss where to go next. Finally in desperation, Grayquill pulled into a large drug store. This store had some small trinkets and it was a good place to buy filler for the stockings. Maybe here they could find something. Up and down the aisles they walked. After leaving the last store B’s mood had become much more serious and she had stopped talking unless spoken to. She was realizing her $1.65 was not going to buy even one of the nice gifts she had envisioned let alone gifts for her aunts and grandmas. Grayquill looked at her and at one point thought she was going to cry.
After several more conversations about not enough money the two once again started up isle number three. A shelf held some small tea candles on sale, 10 for a dollar in several different colors. “B, what about candles, you know how your mother likes candles. You have enough money for candles and you even have enough money so that you could buy candles for your grandmas and aunts.” For a minute B just stood there staring. Grayquill held his breath because if this didn’t work he didn’t know what he would do.
A long silence went by, then B said, “Blue ones for mommy, Aunt T likes yellow, Grandma B, white,” and carefully B started stacking and laying out the small candles in neat rows. When she was done she had seven rows, colors separated, all tallied and organized for the chosen recipient. Some got only one candle but her mommy got 5. The excitement and energy had returned. B told the cashier all about who the candles were for and how she was buying these with her own money. B laid all of her coins out on the counter and when it was all said and done, B had 6 cents left.
On the way home, Grayquill gave final instructions, “B, now don’t tell your mom what you bought her, it needs to be a secret, that way you mommy will be so surprised when she opens her gifts. Can you keep it a secret?”
Immediately upon arriving home, B with the package under her arm rushed into the house. She yelled running past her mom toward her bedroom, “I got you a present mommy, I can’t tell you what color the candles are.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lazy Bad Men

Men being bad and lazy come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. This morning at breakfast with the guys, conversation rolled along and at some point stories began being tossed back and forth of times when money was tight, creativity was fresh and boundaries of impropriety did not hold back less than impeccable conduct – all in the effort to make a lady think fondly of us men.
Here are a few highlights - - -
#1 Flowers for his lady from the dumpster behind the neighborhood flower shop – Friday the old flowers went in the dumpster and the new flowers arrived. This is my second favorite, it is almost brilliant!
#2 Flowers from the cemetery. After all – the poor soul has little or no use for them. If one looks carefully the flowers can be fairly fresh and FREE! Hmmm… I have a cemetery close by.
#3 This idea seemed good on the surface but ended badly for the husband. A man bought a contract from a flower company to have flowers delivered every Monday for a year to his wife. By week three she was board and the flowers were meaningless. He planned ahead but lost the benefit of, “Oh! You thought of me, you think I am special,” factor. There is also the, “I am no more important than something to be checked off your list.” This particular case won the bone head award – First he spent all that money and got nothing from it – reason enough to push it to the top of things never to do list.
#4 Valentine’s day – The gift was bought the day before Valentine’s Day but only because he happened to stop at an intersection where a guy was selling stuff alongside the road and it was convenient – her comment with almost tears in her eyes, “you planned ahead” – correct male response – smile and nod.
#5 The best way to buy your lady a gift – call the sales lady at your wife’s favorite store. Give the sales lady a price range, ask her to pick something out, wrap it, and request it be left with the door man. This way you can get said gift without actually going into a store or mall and maybe without even getting out of your car. Excellent time management and was deemed likely to have a high success ratio with the ladies. Think about it - Its wrapped and will probably even have ribbon or a bow on it somewhere. This will even work for the procrastinator.
Ahhh…Christmas is just around the corner. What should I do?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bright Side of Blogging

I had a new insight this morning about the bright side of blogging. I find I like what I write a whole lot more than most, and why wouldn’t I? After all think about it – who can write to my level better than myself? Probably no one. If I write a joke, I totally get it. In fact it is very possible I will have a full 100% belly laugh over it.
My wife laughs at me sometimes, she says, “you think you are so funny.” She says she doesn’t know anyone who can entertain himself better. I could get a bit cranky from a comment like that or on the other hand I might view it as a compliment; see how good I am at avoiding conflict?
After all why should she get my jokes – first off she’s a woman and that creates the first barrier; second she is a brainiac – barrier number 2; third she doesn’t get to spin around in my head and have all my thoughts – thus we now have barrier number 3. Gee I am beginning to wonder how we get along at all. I guess this will have to remain one of life’s mysteries, and one of those things that are just better to accept. I am finding more and more of these things as I get older. D’OH!
Speaking of getting older, there is another benefit to writing stuff down. At some point I will probably forget everything I have written. That might be okay since then I will be able to begin reading my old writings, they will all seem like brand new material – now that’s a bonus. See??? You didn’t think of that did you? Pretty cool even if I do say myself.
Well that’s all I got but it is something to think about. Just so you know I had two great belly laughs from these 322 words. I bet you didn’t – HA! My point is proven.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tactical Error

When dating my wife to be, she had a Volkswagen bug. In the short time she had it, I seemed to always be working on it. I think the little car went through 2 accidents maybe three. I know I replace the trunk/hood and left rear fender, and she drove it with dark gray primer on the hood and fender until it ceased to exist.
Now if there are any young men out their reading this, it is time to pay attention. This little car I really despised, it was the most unreliable car I had ever encountered. One day she called me very upset. “Hi Grayquill, I got in a car accident.”
Young men are you paying attention? Here it is….Never, I mean never forget this advice – the words you are to say when encountering such a moment are, “I am so sorry, are you okay?” It is best to say these words with deep conviction and concern in your voice. Those words will communicate comfort, concern, and care. What not to say first is, “Is the car totaled?” This is an off the chart tactical error. I think this started our first big fight.
My male logic tried to explain, “Why are you so upset? I heard your voice and you sounded strong and healthy. So, why would I think you were hurt?”
It all made perfect sense to me but this was one of those times when logic was totally useless. I mean if her sister had called me and told me my finance had been in a car accident. Then of course I would have reasoned immediately she might have been hurt. But gosh darn it, she called me! And she sounded quite healthy. I think it is just wrong that I was able to get into so much trouble with so little effort. I wasn’t even trying to be bad. In fact I was trying to be good.
To make matters worse a few years later after we were married I repeated this folly. Why, why? Why was I not able to learn from the first episode?
Life is such a mystery.

Monday, November 30, 2009


A new blog I tripped over the other day. Well actually it was force up on me a bit – it is new and has no one reading it because it is still a secret.. You all could encourage the newbie by all reading and giving him a Hi - howdy do. The first thing I liked was its name KevQuill – nice! Doesn’t it have a pleasant ring to it? The second thing I liked was his topic, ‘Father in Law’ – he must be smart.
Now everyone go and encourage the young whelp.
I offer you this convenient link: KevQuill
Pulling a little inspiration from KevQuill – I offer a Father in laws perspective of Son in law’s both good and bad.
A few years back my daughter came home from college and began talking about a young lad she was dating – just so you know most dads are pretty suspicious of any young man who wants to date his daughter. Implementing my highest degree of listening skills my antenna was up paying attention to any inkling of what this lad’s character might be. As I listened I discounted the good things I heard. I have this belief that by the time a young man has reached his courting years he will have become a master of hiding socially unacceptable character flaws unless of course he’s a complete dim wit. So, even though many glowing examples were given of this man’s high character I took it all with a grain of salt and with held my judgment. I knew time would tell…you see people with serious character flaws really are unable to hide the telltale signs forever – it takes just too much lying. So, I waited and over the months kept watching and kept listening. My biggest concern was, did this young man have true respect for women, mainly my daughter, or was he a faker.
As the months rolled by the young man did not disappoint me. I have found him to be kind, considerate, a hard worker, competitive, direct in his communication, filled with mercy, and he was willing to challenge me all the while maintaining respect. In the end he asked for my daughters hand in marriage like a man would do.
This is a young man I believe in and trust. He continues to face adversity in a down turned economy with a positive can do attitude. I think these two are going to do fine. I expect great things from them both. I still pray for them daily but I am confident I will not be disappointed.
BTW – he plays a mean game of racquetball.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Handsome and Handy

If the women don’t find you handsome they should at least find you handy.
Ever since I heard Red say that on the Red Green Show I have tried to be handy.
I have been thinking about changing my profile picture to my brother’s picture – the women find him handsome and handy. Now that’s a combination.
I am bringing this all up only because today was a special day – a first. And as we all know when firsts come they never come again. I got on the scale this morning and guess what – I now weigh exactly one hundred pounds (45.3 Kilograms) more than I did when I first got married – I sure hope my wife is finding me handy.
I know many of you are thinking wowzer Grayquill, you really must have been busting out the Twinkies – actually I haven’t had a Twinkie in years – HA!
In-spite of this banner day my pride is peeking his head around the corner and yelling defend yourself Grayquill this sounds horrible.
Okay, pride – stop whining I’m coming. Even though I stood 6 feet tall when I got married I only weighed 125 Lbs. My waste was 27 inches. I am not sure what my wife saw in me physically; maybe it was my hair. That was the early 70’s and if I do say so myself I had great hair. Once a service station attendant came up behind me and seeing my flowing locks said, “May I help you mam?” I decided to grow a beard – I am not sure that helped the back of my head look, but it did make me feel more manly.
So, is there a lesson here? Of course there is why wouldn’t there be – I don’t want to say it – It means pain, hard work, denying myself, stepping away from the refrigerator – D’OH!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Men Cry

Sitting in the car he rested his head on the steering wheel for several minutes. Tired so tired; he had driven aimlessly through the last hour and here his wondering ended. Inside the house was stability where childhood scrapes and bruises had once been tended.
He was in his prime but felt ancient as he worked his way out of the car and onto his feet, he moved toward the house each step an effort, slumped shoulders, head drooped, and the downward gaze cast a gloomy curse on the ground with each forward motion. It had been a particularly hard week full of grief, and his fractured heart dragged behind him adding to the weight. Nothing in his thirty-five years had prepared him for the course now set before him.
Across the room an aging mother observed her son as he entered the house and a mother’s intuition emerged, “how are you doing son?” As they embraced a greeting, “You are not doing to good are you?” The words broke him and the tears soon turned to sobs and she held him.
The father stood to the side not moving. After several minutes the son looked up with tears cascading down his face and the two men’s eyes connected. The younger quickly diverted his eyes but not before a small amount of shame leaked out knowing his father saw him broken.
The father stayed motionless and gave no rebuke. He was dealing with his own brokenness. Here his son was hurting and he felt small and helpless. He wiped away a tear but it went unnoticed by the son.
After all men don’t cry.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy Marriage - Top 10 Male Traits Needed

Top 10 things a man should know and accept before getting married.

Inspired by Anita from her Top Ten Husband Myths

I dedicate this to the young men who pass by this way now and then.

Okay, let’s get to it – Oh just so you know none of these 10 points below apply to Mrs. Grayquill (see point 3).

1. You must never say – “I never said that” if she said you said it, you said it.
2. You must never say – “that is just not logical” Male logic is useless. Female logic is that time once a month when she will tell you she has complete and total clarity. Try hiding.
3. Understand and accept that a happy wife makes for a nice life in contrast a cranky wife makes for a sad life.
4. Develop the skill of mind reading this equates to survival – if she actually has to tell you something she needs – it will be meaningless when you do it and it could actually be held against you.
5. Realize the three most important words you need to know in the English language are “I am sorry.” These three words must be practiced so that you can say it with conviction even when you have no idea what it is you are sorry about.
6. Learn to tell yourself you are in-charge in-spite of massive evidence to the contrary. Denial is a must for keeping ones manhood intact.
7. Do not think for a minute, that the infraction you did 6 months ago or 6 years ago is forgotten.
8. Realize that what you did is not a small thing regardless of how insignificant you thought it was. Remember a woman can say to another woman I see you wore your blue dress today. That single sentence can make the two enemies for life. Go ahead furrow that brow and scratch your noggin it won’t help you won’t be able to understand, it is much better just to accept it.
9. It is self deception to think that those flowers will get you out of trouble. The only thing that has a chance of working is whatever you buy must cost a minimum of one month’s salary; then you might have a chance but only a small chance – Good Luck!
10. Never, I mean never, think it is okay to belch or fart within hearing distance of your lady and if by some weird phenomena she happens to fart or belch pretend you didn’t notice. Why you ask? Just trust me on this one.

11. will help if you can stand on your head.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Max Aswell Announcement

Max Aswell here…

It's been a while, woof, woof,... I have been begging Grayquill to let me tell you my really exciting great and wonderful news. I have a new son, Buster. Actually Buster is my cousin but he feels like a son. If I had a lap like you humans do, Buster would be right up in it wanting to be cuddled and loved on, that is if he could sit still. I am beginning to think my son could be A.D.D.
Having a little tike around the house is more tiring than I ever expected. He wears me out chewing on my ears, tail, and paws. Now and then I have to be a bit firm with the little guy. He has to learn manners and I guess it’s my job to do the teaching.
For the longest time it was just me and old Pepsi. Pepsi has gone to doogie heaven and I am still a little sad. Poor Pepsi was older than dirt and he smelled bad if you know what I mean. I have heard old people develop an old person smell also. Grayquill’s son says, Grayquill smells that way already. Now my nose is pretty sensitive and I noticed Grayquill smelled bad but I didn’t know it was old person smell – YUK!
I know you are not going to understand this, you being human and all, but we canines for the most part find the smells you humans abhor heavenly. In fact the stronger it is the more we want to roll around in it. But that Grayquill smell you can forget it, I am staying as far away from him as possible.
Buster apparently hasn’t noticed the odor because he likes Grayquill almost as much as Grayquill likes himself…. Sickening, that’s what it is - just plain sickening. I am hopeful Buster will develop a little wisdom before my parenting is completed. I have heard all parents feel like failures at one time or another. Hmmm…I wonder if I will ever feel that way? I sure hope not.
Well here are all the statistics: Buster is 18 pounds, has a size 13 paw, hair is yellow; he is just like me, 100% yellow lab. You know in dog world it is just like the commercials, ‘blonds have more fun’. Abe, that’s my master just in case some of you forgot, a few years back he had my plums cut off and I don’t have no fun no more. Oh sorry – Grayquill just reprimanded me. I guess that is over sharing…hey, I am a dog I don’t know all your stupid social norms.
Shhh…Grayquill’s not here right now let me break the rules again. Abe says Buster will get his plums cut off too and it cannot come soon enough. Buster keeps wrapping his front legs around me and doing the strangest thing. Abe says Buster will stop that nonsense as soon as he visits the vet and the vet goes snip snip. Honest! I can’t wait! It is so annoying! I was beginning to think he is homosexual and that was worrying me a bit. Abe assured me, Buster is as normal as I am. I guess that last comment wasn’t too politically correct seeing how I live in Seattle where if it isn’t normal it would be normal or if it was normal it wouldn’t be normal. I am so confused.
Here comes Grayquill everyone be quiet and don’t tell him what I told you he might be angry. In case you didn’t know, Grayquill is wound a bit too tight for living in Seattle.
I could tell you all about Busters really cute clumsiness but that would just be boring. I could tell you how all he wants to do is play and how adorable he is but that would also be just plain boring. I am trying to keep in mind that people are not as excited to hear, as I am to tell, cute stories about my new son.
So until next time; signing off - over and out.
Oh, one last thing; not to toot my own horn but at my house I am in charge unlike Grayquill’s house where a cat is in charge – now that actually makes me feel sorry for Grayquill. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody, not even Grayquill.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where are GQ's Glasses?

Have you ever been the brunt of your own joke?
The client and Grayquill were standing at the counter working out some business. The client was a rough looking character, the owner of a small construction company. He had just come off the job site. His wild hair flew out in all directions, mud flakes scattered the bottom half of his blue jeans, his boot laces hung carelessly, his wide unshaved jaw jutted out with purpose.
Lying on the counter as usual were Grayquill’s glasses. Grayquill didn’t really need glasses but at the time he had them supposedly to alleviate headaches that came and went as often as his glasses were misplaced. Grayquill would go days without his glasses and sure enough if he was patient they would show up again. Of course somewhere along the line they were misplaced a bit too well and Grayquill has been without glasses for going on twenty-five plus years – hmmm…I wonder if that has anything to do with his accidents?
On this particular day, Ted, Grayquill’s brother in law, decided to fluff his feathers and play a great joke on Grayquill. He made some pathetic excuse to go up to the counter next to Grayquill and in a sly manner slipped the glasses away. To the back room he went where a red felt pen became the instrument of evil in Ted’s hand. He inked a swirl on one lens and then a backwards ‘Hi’ on the other.
Ted then maneuvered the glasses back to the counter where he had originally found them. Unable to contain his glee he glanced at Grayquill. Grayquill turned and met Ted’s eyes. Ted was real cool he did not even flinch when he notice Grayquill peering at him though a pair of glasses.
Ted being above average intelligence instantly realized his error. The glasses he defaced had to be the clients, oops! (Hey Ted… brilliant deduction you’re brighter than I thought you were…sorry for that outburst I just couldn’t help myself; I will go back to being the author now.) I gotta give Ted credit he didn’t panic. He simple repeated his ruse and retrieved the glasses one more time and this time into the back room he scurried intent and focused on a quick glasses cleaning. He accomplished this with limited success. You see the lenses were plastic and the marker was permenant. A print shop has a plethora of chemicals and so he removed the ink in quick order. The problem a slight imprint like a watermark was left on the lense. The image could be seen oh so slightly when you held the glasses up to the light.
Ted figured he could do no better and not wanting to have the dumplings kicked out of him by a two person gang of Grayquill and customer. He returned the glasses efficiently with no one being the wiser.
Ted still had a belly laugh telling Grayquill the story. Grayquill didn’t laugh at first and then latter he did allow a small chuckle to slip out but he did not allow Ted the pleasure of seeing said chuckle.
Is there a lesson here? Not really but if any of you find GQ’s glasses he would like them back.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Personal failure comes in many colors and shapes. It can be the result of a man’s sin but those times are remedied when a man humbles himself. Then there are the failures that accompany regret and haunting times that result from a lack of courage, lack of knowledge or simple selflessness.
One more hour and the night would begin its retreat giving way to another wet Seattle day. A man shuffled along, his head drooped down with discouragement. His missing underwear and wet clothes chaffed the inside of his thighs with each step as he wondered the night away unable to find a place out of the weather. For the umpteenth time his sleeve served to wipe away the dripping snot from his nose. His stomach grumbled and he couldn’t remember the last time he wasn’t hungry. The beginning stages of hypothermia dulled his thinking more than usual.
Five months ago he had a home, a wife, and a job. Since then he had endured several beatings and abuses living on the street. His limited ability to process cause and effect followed a crooked trail in his thinking. In-spite of this handicap his intuitive instinct to survive brought him out of downtown where a plethora of services existed for the homeless but few for the mentally ill. Here on the edges of the suburbs, there were very few services but it was a safer place, away from the downtown predators that stalked and took advantage of him.
Without really looking he slowly angled across the street. A blue pickup slowed but turned wide and went on by. For the last hour interior house lights had begun flipping on symbolizing warmth, safety, and full bellies. His deranged thinking managed an incoherent prayer as he continued on down the hill.
Grayquill had seen instantly the man was not doing very well and he groaned as his conscious told him to go back. “Ugh!”
“How are you doing? You don’t look so good. Where you headed?”
Alex looked up and there was the blue pickup that had passed by earlier. A face leaned low and peered at him across the cab. In his trance like state his brain tried to line up if this was a threat or something else. Cautiously he stepped off the curb and leaned low to peer into the passenger side window. The warm air from the little truck brushed past his face inviting him closer. “Up, down uh…, that way.”
“You hungry? Get in we will go down the hill for some breakfast.”
“Pancakes? Can I have pancakes?”
“Yeah, there will be pancakes,” Grayquill pushed the door open.
In the restaurant Alex ordered pancakes and Grayquill quizzed him on how he had come to such a state. Alex’s words did not track in a straight line. Patrons at another table were eyeing them both and Grayquill being way out of his comfort zone keep telling himself that it didn’t matter what others were thinking. It bothered Grayquill that it bothered him. He followed the guest’s eyes to Alex’s feet. No socks, loosely laced ankle high boots, the laces had been tied together where they had broken and a small puddle of water had formed around his boot.
Several hours later in Grayquill’s office Alex spoke to his wife on the telephone. “I have a job I’m getting better maybe I can come home.” Grayquill had given Alex a broom with instructions to sweep the shop, which he was unable to accomplish. Desperation changed sweeping a floor into a job that would return him home to his wife.
The conversation did little to loosening the chain of responsibility that grew heavier by the hour around Grayquill’s neck. “Alex, can I talk to your wife?”
“Jenny, my new boss wants to talk to you”
“Hi Jenny, my name is Grayquill and I picked up Alex this morning. He wasn’t doing to good. What is going on with Alex? Can you tell me how Alex ended up on the street?”
They were divorced. She explained paranoia and emotional issues that lead to their divorce and now Alex’s homelessness. He had a mother and father who had washed their hands of him. Her story reinforced Grayquill’s first attempt to rid himself of the gentleman. Handing Alex some bills Alex had stared at them and suddenly threw them back at Grayquill almost shouting, “666.” Large scared eyes glared at Grayquill. The serial number of the bill had three sixes scattered within the number. That was when the chain first slipped around Grayquill’s neck.
Grayquill decided the best place to take Alex was the Union Gospel Mission. Half way there Alex comprehended Grayquill’s plan and almost broke down crying as he began pleading with Grayquill to not take him there. “Those people will take me apart.” The chain around Grayquill’s neck got a bit heavier. Turning around, not knowing where else to go they headed back to Grayquill’s print shop. That afternoon Alex got a shower and some clean clothes. Grayquill in his ignorance did not think to buy the man new underwear. The pants Grayquill had scrounged up had a small hole in the right check of the buttocks and allowed an extremely white piece of skin to shine through.
It wasn’t long before an employee wanted to know what was going on and when Alex would be leaving. Alex slept that night on the floor of the print shop. The next two nights were a repeat. Grayquill was getting nothing done – his days centered around Alex, and what to do with him. The weight of responsibility was beyond what Grayquill understood or was willing to accept. Phone calls for advice and help produced ideas but none helpful. In the end Grayquill to his own personal shame dropped off Alex in front of a Welfare Office even though he knew there was no help for him there.
Grayquill here - This experience has haunted me over the years and I carry it as a personal failure. The enormity of the responsibility of just one homeless person kicked my butt. I wish I had shown more courage and this story had a good ending. I have no idea if Alex survived. I am pretty sure I will find out one day when I stand in front of my maker.
Many might say, you did good by helping Alex even if it was only for a few days. You and I both know that is not the truth. Years later I was able to serve in an organization that helped homeless people. That was a much better experience and maybe there I did do some good.
Is there a lesson? Of course there is: Homelessness is one of the very complex problems in our world. Progress can be made by sharing the burden. Many hands make light work…or something like that.
Sorry, for the long post…

Thursday, October 29, 2009

17 Accidents Part 3 (#12-#17)

#12 I had just parallel parked along Stone Avenue in front of a long time client. I unlatched my door and turned to pick up two boxes off of the passenger seat. A large semi-truck came by; the vacuum created by its passing pulled the door, the rear tires of the trailer caught the edge of my door pulling it forward so that it was now stuck open pointed in the wrong direction. I got out and made my delivery.
Returning to my car I was unable to bring the door around the correct direction let alone close it. I walked to a nearby hardware store, bought a wrench, removed the door, slid the door into the hatchback and drove home without a door. I got a few crazy looks – hey I was wearing a white shirt and a tie, what were they looking at? It wasn’t as if I was driving around with my shirt off, showing the world my great physique. People are so weird.
#13 Driving in snow to grandmas, three children all in their seat belts. While in our cul-de-sac, the idea came, ‘how far exactly is it to grandma’s house?’ The odometer was a mere 3/10 of a mile from being at an even 100. WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY? Easy solution with snow and ice, spin the tires really fast and 3/10 of a mile would be gone lickity split and we could start our trip on even zeros. If one would consider a plan longer than a millisecond before implementing said plans, things might go better for him. The decision had been made - the gas pedal floored, engine screaming, tires ripping ice into dust and the speedometer was reading a good sixty miles an hour while my car was doing a mere 10 miles an hour. Everything was going exactly as planned. While busy watching and waiting for the zeros to appear I failed to calculate my rate of increasing speed. A corner was coming up and a small hill with a stop sign at the bottom. I realized to late my spinning tires had increase the velocity of my vehicle beyond its ability to stop at the stop sign. Another decision was made. Take the turn wide and go into the neighbor’s yard. I missed the yard but nailed his mail box square and oh yeah, there was a ditch after the mail box that stopped my car after it had turned up on its side. My son was whining about his seat belt cutting into his side as he hung from mid air – at least he wasn’t crying. My oldest daughter was just rolling her eyes as if – dad is being dad again and how are we going to get out of this car. She pipes in, “How you going to explain this one to mom?”
All and all it wasn’t so bad, except the tow truck driver called the police and I was given a ticket for driving too fast under conditions – Jerk! But, even with the ticket the experienced could have been remembered as another great adventure, but the neighbors had to ruin it. Did all of them really need to come for a look see? That kind of hurt my pride. Oh, there was also explaining to my wife how I put her children in danger, she wasn’t very understanding.
#14 On the way to church, rainy conditions, a driver in the oncoming lane is stopped. Being the typical Seattleite nicey - nice, he waved a driver from a driveway allowing her to go in front of him. She pulled out from behind a van trying to cross my lane and did not see me charging down on her. I smacked her good. The police asked all my kids if they were wearing their seat belts, which they were. Thankfully he didn’t ask me. I hate lying in front of my kids.
#15 At a stop light I had stopped on the cross walk. To remedy the situation I decided to back up. My radio volume must have blotted out the horn. I didn’t see or hear the guy behind me. Well you get the picture.
#16 Un-marked intersection police said if we needed him he would be happy to write a ticket to the one at fault. We both agreed we didn’t need the policeman’s help. Just so you know I was there first. It was clear as can be; after all he hit me.
#17 I backed into a light pole at the book store – this might not have been #17 but I just cannot seem to recall the real #17.
#18 When I said 17 accidents I either forgot about this one or it came after the count. I fell off my motorcycle and broke my arm. My friend says I can’t really count this one as an accident. He says, for it to qualify as an accident the motorcycle has to be traveling in excess of 2 miles per hour. Hey, I think it should qualify I went over a cliff and fell 10 -12 feet onto river rock. I broke my arm and it was my only accident that put me in the hospital. My friend also told me a cruiser is meant for cruising not trail riding which I told him, "I know that! DUH! I don’t think trying to slip by a washed out road on a narrow foot path should qualify as trail riding. Besides since when can a trail run parallel with a road? That just doesn’t seem logical.
Bonus material – Taking my kids to their bus stop; yes, a little late. Upon arriving I saw the door of the bus beginning to close. I pulled sideways in front of the bus so the driver could not leave. My kids are sometimes really unreasonable – they refused to get out of the car, something about being embarrassed. After much yelling and threats they did leave the safety of the car and embarked onto their bus. My one daughter still insists it was an embarrassing moment

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

17 Accidents Part 2 (#5 - #11)

Link to 17 Accidents Part 1

#5 & 6 Is it possible to get into two accidents in one night? Of course it is - All you need is an old Pinto with microscopic tail lights, Seattle rain, and one Grayquill with low blood sugar.
The evening started as I headed down Main Street looking for a place to eat. The car in front of me slows and stops. I stop behind him, he is trying to take a left hand turn across traffic into his drive way. Yip, the car behind me runs right into my back side. I am hungry, tired and driving a car that is hardly worth the cost of a new tail light. The right rear lens is now broken, but the bulb still works. NO real damage so, I got rid of the guy and proceeded on down the road. I take a left, and then another left. Still unable to make a decision of where and what to eat I am now heading south.
What’s that? A fire engine coming my way on a side street. Being the good law abiding citizen that I am, I stop in the right hand lane at a green light. Yip you guessed it the guy behind me couldn’t understand why I would be stopped at a green light. Being the intolerant driver that he was I guess he felt the need to smack me. Now my other tail light is broken. I send him on his way not wanting to fill out accident reports. Giving up and beginning to fear for my life, I decide to skip dinner and just go straight home.
#7 Driving down an arterial in Seattle drinking my morning coffee and minding my own business. A man attempting a left hand turn pulls out from a side street and hits the rear quarter panel of my little pickup. My truck does a complete 360 spin and stops in my correct lane. My little truck is pointed in the original direction. Hey – I get a bonus…I didn’t even spill a drop of my coffee - no lid; bet I can’t do that twice. The other driver tried and tried to say it was my fault. It took a top quality Seattle police office to write him a ticket explaining the rules of how stop signs are intended to work. Duh!
#8 It’s early, around 6:00 am, overcast but dry, going west on 80th Avenue a man fails to yield, turns left in front of me. I t-bone him good, both my knees are crunched a bit but I can walk with a small limp. The tow truck driver takes my pickup to the body shop. Another Seattle bonus – The Seattle police officer drives me to work – who said all cops are evil? NOw you know there is at least one decent one out there.
#9 Sitting at a stop light; a young man in a hurry, his first day on the job as a delivery courier; probably trying to impress his boss on how fast he is. Does he even see me or the red light? I guess no - D'OH!; The fella rear ends me, knocking me and my Maxima through the intersection up onto the sidewalk. The tow truck driver takes the Nissan directly to the junk yard. The young man? …I’m guessing he came up short impressing his boss at least in a positive light.
#10 Now comes a bit of problem – I was driving down the road minding my own business, a kid takes a left hand turn in front of me. I slam on my brakes but hit his rear passenger side door knocking him into a third car. A young woman in the third car was real sick; she was in the midst of chemotherapy treatment. She had to hang around for the police and I felt real bad for her. You could tell all she wanted to do was go home and climb into her bed. I sure hope she got better and survived her treatments; I have thought about her many times since that day.
#11 Driving my kids to school. Being the excellent father I am and one who never procrastinates; I figured it was a good time to help my daughter with your home work. While I was reading her story problem; the guy in front of me decides to turn into a parking lot. What was he thinking stopping? All he had to do was turn into the parking lot, how hard is that? My son yelled, I threw on the binders and helped the dough head out. I knocked him into the parking lot where he should have been in the first place; serves him right

DO we have a lesson here? Of course we do - Rear end Grayquill when he is hungry and he will send you on your way with no police, no insurance claim, and no ticket.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Myra Brooks Walsh

The story goes - at a religious convention a poem that had gained some notoriety was read. The poem was signed - author unknown.
From the crowd a young man stood and said, I know who wrote that poem and it is about time the world knows the author also; it was written by my mother – Myra Brooks Welsh.

It is said that Myra wrote the poem in 30 minutes in 1921 after hearing an inspiring speaker. She submitted the poem as ‘Author Unknown’. Her conviction was that it was given to her from God and she either did not want or did not need her name on it.
Soon her name and poems became known around the world.
I offer you this poem by Myra Brooks Welsh – I am sure it is not new to you but is worth the reminder of the message it contains. Many have been encouraged by the words – I hope they will encourage you.

"Touch of the Master’s Hand," by Myra Welsh

T’was battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who’ll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar," then, two! Only two?
"Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?

"Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three . . . "But no,
From the room, far back, a grey haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice;
And going and gone," said he.

The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand
What changed its worth?" Swift came the reply:
"The touch of a master’s hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.

A "mess of potage," a glass of wine;
A game, and he travels on.
He is "going" once, and "going" twice,
He’s "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.

The scriptures are full of examples of people who were battered and scared; then came Jesus, and he touched them - my own life he also touched, and I am incredibly grateful.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Poodle Dos

Have I told you the poodle do yarn? It was really my wife’s dog and I cared nothing about it. In fact I pretty much came close to hating the mutt.
Between the crapping, peeing and attacking me every time I wanted any physical affection… NO! - Not from the dog, Duh! From my wife! I pretty much wanted to kill the pesky animal.
I could go on and on about how this dog continually notched up high marks on my grief scale but for now we will focus on grooming. Back in the early 70’s it was $45.00 to get the rat-ish animal groomed. The long and the short of the story is money got tight and the dog got matted and began looking more pathetic than normal.
I decided to clip the beast myself. I only had a scissors. . .
Arkansas Patti is probably gonna track me down and kill me after she reads this . . . . . Out of self preservation we will minimize things a bit and say I nicked the poor creature a few times. Yes, a bit of blood was shed but it wasn’t bad no stitches were required. I finally did give up and stopped the massacre, worrying the sad little living thing would soon be a sad little dead thing.
The next day at the office, the phone rings. “Hello”
“Mr. Grayquill?”
“Yes, this is Grayquill.”
“My name is Mrs. Anderson from the Animal Protection Division of the Seattle Police department. Do you have a dog named Barkley?”
“Uhh… No, my wife does though.”
“Yes, cough... has Barkley been injured lately?”
“Uhh…” It is amazing the number of thoughts that can pass through ones mind in a millisecond. 'The scabbed up poodle flashed across the big TV screen in my brain.' 'What does this lady know?' 'Who ratted me out?' 'Yikes, I could be in some real trouble here.'
“…Uhh, no not injured - not really. Why do you ask?” Lying almost never works-why do us humans fall into it so quickly. Who taught me to do that anyway?
The lady began confirming all the information about where I lived, what the dogs name was, and wanted to setup an appointment to inspect the animal.
About the time I was becoming contrite the lady on the phone broke into laughter – it was my sister in law – Pathetic! Real funny – Ha Ha Ha… Now thirty years later she still laughs at how she got me. Can you believe it? She really thinks she had me all worried and scared. I of course keep telling her the truth, how I knew it was her the whole time and I was just playing along with her. Wouldn’t you think by now she would believe me? After all it’s me, Grayquill.
Just so you know the dog healed and my dog grooming career ended (mostly).
“Grayquill - step away from the scissors.”
“Who is that? – Is that you
Arkansas Patti?”

Sunday, October 18, 2009

17 Accidents

These memories are not necessarily in proper order as some are more indelibly stuck into my brain cells then others.
#1 – When 16 years old turning into a parking space I creased the fender of a VW bug.
#2 – At 17 I lied to my dad and told him I needed to drive to a school event – it was a rain filled stormy night and a tree had fallen across the country road. No street lights, my inexperience and driving too fast under conditions along with over steering and braking put me in a deep ditch with the car sitting on its side. Gas dripped out of the gas tank. No fire – bonus!
#3) – at 19 creeping down a hill in the snow with bald tires on the front and new tires on the back; I learned that an automatic transmission allows ones front brakes to be locked up while the rear tires are still turning under power driving the car forward. This accident took the longest of all my accidents. It was a helpless feeling as I slid down the hill crashing into the car at bottom. What made this bad was, yeah my car ended up with a dent in the fender, but my wife to be saw my ineptness in snow driving. D’OH!
#4) – At a stop light with the beginnings of a zit on my nose I was checking it out in the rear view mirror. I looked up to check the light and it turned green, the car in front of me started forward. I let my foot off the brake as I took one last look at the blemish. Yip you guessed it the guy in front of me stopped – the impact used my forehead to break off the mirror from the windshield and now I had a pimple on my nose and a nice crease across my forehead. D’OH!
#5 - #17 will have to wait as this is beginning to bore me. And, if it’s boring me you probably have already left the building – sorry.
Lesson? Of course we have a lesson why wouldn’t we? Here it is - some wisdom for the ages. ‘Only have pimples in your teen years.’

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Neighbor Jerry

What was that? Wiping the sleep from my eyes; the clock reflected 3:10 am.
Honk – Honk
Peering out my bedroom window, there not ten feet away on my front lawn was Jerry honking his horn. I flew out of bed, threw on my jeans and hurried out to see what could be the trouble.
Jerry was my next door neighbor and also paralyzed. He was a big man over 300lbs and normally very self-sufficient but when he was in trouble he depended on me.
Hurrying up to his car “What’s wrong Jerry?”
“I need your help – I stopped to help a lady who broke down on the freeway and she has a flat tire; you can come change it!”
I am still to this day a pretty selfish individual, you can scoff, but I have improved. Therefore, maybe you can imagine the feelings accompanying my grumble, “Jerry, its 3:00 in the morning… why are you stopping to help someone in the first place? You shouldn’t be doing that?” Giving Jerry a lecture on not helping was motivated not so much by my concern for Jerry’s well being – I just wanted to go back to bed.
“God told me too help her. Can we go? The lady is waiting. You were only sleeping.”
Hmmm…is that what I was doing? “Let me get my shoes,” – what could I do? - his car was sitting on my front lawn with his head lights on, it wasn’t like he was going to go away.
Jerry was always doing this, stopping and helping people. He used to tell me that God talked to him and God would often tell him to slow down because around the next corner someone would need his help. And, sure enough inevitably there was someone who had run out of gas or had some other need. Jerry always kept a couple of gallons of gas in his trunk just so he was prepared when God sent him on an errand. Sometimes it took a bit of convincing the person in need it was safe to approach his car, take his car keys and get the gasoline out of his trunk. Even today I am baffled by the whole scenario.
Well, I loaded my jack, a few tools and followed him down in my truck. Some might wonder why I drove – I could have ridden with Jerry I guess but under the guise of needing my own tools I avoided being stuck with him in his car. Jerry at times didn’t smell too good. More than once I came to help him because his catheter had leaked urine all over his pant leg and carpet. I know, I know – I ‘m not all that proud about those feelings and motives either, but it’s just the truth.
There it was just as he described an older Oldsmobile – a massive boat of a car and the rear tire on the passenger side flat as you please. I was beginning to wake up now and my mood had improved considerably. While I changed the tire – I am pretty sure Jerry was telling the lady about Jesus.
Over the years I listened to many stories of Jerry helping people stranded alongside the freeway.
About fifteen years ago I went by to visit Jerry. I had move 5 years earlier and I wondered how he was doing. A lady answered the door. She told me Jerry had died. As we talked it came clear she was one of those Jerry had helped. She had come to stay with him when she needed a place to stay. In his passing Jerry had willed his house to her.
The lesson - Maybe it is this: We can help someone even though others are more capable. All the cars that streaked past those stranded could of stopped and helped but it was a man in a wheel chair who stopped. Lesson #2 - Maybe to help, our schedules need to be a bit less important.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Always Tie Two

When tying your own flies, rule number one is always tie two, preferably three.
Saturday morning - sitting drinking my coffee the sun was up and mid morning had crested. ‘What am I doing here I could be fishing.’ A half hour later I was packed and headed for the ferry. Across Puget Sound to Whidbey Island, drive 8 miles to Bayview Drive, take a right onto Anderson Avenue and you are almost there. This is a selective fisheries lake, so don’t be bringing any bait. It is single barbless hooks, catch and release only – at least preferred.
Having started out late my expectations were not all that high – but this lake has never skunked me. Well, there was that one time, I only caught a small bass but that’s the closest to leaving the lake without ripping a lip or two.
Fly fisherman that tie their own flies seem to be unable to keep themselves from adapting a pattern just so they can call it their own. If they are asked what they are using they can just revert back to the original and call out, “Woolly Bugger, black, number 8.”
My hand wraps around the cork grip as I begin stripping out line. A backward flick of the wrist starts the line into action 12:00 and then 10:00, slow and easy, each rotation sending the fly further, the fly sings its song as it sails over head and then out over the glassy sheen it sails. A small ripple can be seen where it makes its entrance for act one. My fins move the pontoon boat back just a bit as more line is released. Focusing on the line and motionless for a full slow ten count I let the weighted line do its work. Then strip- wait, strip - wait, repeating the action, the fly begins to make its way back up from the bottom. Twenty more feet, strip, wait, strip, and abruptly the rod tip dips down hard into the wet, a flip of the wrist for the set and the fish is now stripping out line. Keeping even pressure on the line and rod tip, the stripped line flies through the eyelets from whence it came. In less than a few seconds the line is still stripping out but now from the reel. I can see the backing coming up fast.
This is repeated over and over until when removing the fly from this last 18 inch rainbow I notice the gold tinsel had broken loose and unraveled. I clipped it off and cast it out again, nothing. Now the saddle hackle had unraveled; I clipped it off and sent it back out for act three. Apparent it was time to change flies. It was my only brown so I switched to black. That gave me nothing. Not discouraged I switched to green, hmmm still nothing. The next two hours was spent trying different flies but my work yielded nothing. See, that is why you always tie two! D’OH!
Just so you know I now have four tied up and ready for my next trip – A bit late Grayquill!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Have you ever had those times when you are some place alone – you know those times when that function we humans do called thinking spouts its nasty head? Thinking can get us into real trouble and the lengths Grayquill will go, to not think is a bit troubling.
Grayquill has lived 56 years and in that amount of time just imagine all the embarrassing and stupid things that have piled up like cord wood in his memory banks. On top of these memories are all of the mistakes, the selfishness, the weaknesses that have gone sideways on him, and then of course there is the sin. So, when he has downtime it can be a real wicked experience. I think his most horrible times are when he is driving. He is a pretty good driver so he pretty much drives on automatic most of the time. Oh…you want to bring up his 17 accidents, NOW? Sorry, we just don’t have time.
Grayquill driving on automatic often gives over to thinking and then the pain begins. All it takes for him is a smell, a song on the radio, a person who looks like that certain person and the memory he wants to forget comes flooding back. He never swears in public but he losses all control when alone and the language that has been known to spew from his lips is really quite shocking.
I am writing this because Grayquill is just to chicken – it is probably a pride thing. You know separate a little from the deed and that way avoid full responsibility. You might be expecting at this juncture some horrific embarrassing moment in Grayquill’s history. That is not to happen today. I have always felt it a good practice to not gossip.

I just wanted to warn you to be on the lookout for mature drivers who are thinking and cursing as they cruise around town on automatic. You might be part of accident number 18. Besides, Grayquill is not alone out there.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Very Bad Scary News

The Very Bad Scary News…you are going to die...
You don’t really want to think about that do you?
Our life starts out pretty good for the first nine months or so. We are nestled in a warm safe place, no worries, no responsibilities, we haven’t embarrassed ourselves yet, no peer pressure, no bullies in our world, the rent is free, things are pretty gosh darn good. Then one day, the pressure starts, we are squeezed, pushed, and finally pooped out into a room of bright lights. We had never seen light before and it hurts our eyes – actually I don’t really remember that part. Oh, and, what is that terrible feeling? It blasts our tender skin, it is AIR touching us for the first time and we are all wet – Brrrrrr. Think about it, had we ever experienced cold before? I guess it’s possible if mom ate way too much ice cream, then we might have experienced cold. Considering all we went through in those first few minutes it is really no wonder we cried… well, me and Chuck Norris didn’t cry – but the rest of you did.
There are 7 billion people on the earth – who is the weirdo that did all that counting? In the next 70 years and at the outside realm up to 100 years (for all you exception sticklers) all seven billion of us will be dead. Did I kind of sneak that in without warning? Sorry. Now that you are awake, take a guess how many of us have to die each and every day just to make that happen? 191,780 per day, but probably more like 273,972 people per day. That is a bunch, 11,415 per hour, 190 per minute, 3.1 per second. The 3.1 per second doesn’t sound so bad does it? Unless of course it is your second then it’s a very bad second.
People dying will be as common as changing light bulbs. If I could live longer than the rest of you – I might start up a funeral home. I think I might do okay too except I will be kicking the bucket sooner than most, that is if the law of averages really does work. What a nice reflection – Grayquill.
I just thought I would share these happy thoughts with you, seeing how Halloween is coming. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock…creeee-py…creeee-py…creeeepy.
Let the words bless your soul.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


“Hey, B you want an M&M?” That got me nothing as I eyed her in the rear view mirror. “How about a piece of gum?” again nothing except her pudgy little hand that stretched forward toward the front seat. By the time my oldest daughter turned four she had me figured out. I had bet her she could not make it all the way home without speaking. B was talkative to say the least; her endless questions could rattle on for hours.
“Daddy, can we work on my play house tomorrow?”
“No, not tomorrow I have to work.”
“Because it’s a work day and I have to make money?”
“Because if I don’t go to work we won’t have any money to buy supplies for your play house.”
“Because that’s how I earn money.”
“Because I choose to work rather than steal from banks.”
“Because stealing is wrong.”
Because it hurts others when you steal”
“I don’t know maybe that’s the way God wanted it to be.”
“Because, He’s God and He gets to decide how it will be”
“Because he is God”
“You will have to ask God”
“Because your dad doesn’t know all the why’s.”
So, as you can see with little B in the car a husband and wife having a conversation was laughable. Her little voice dominated the airwaves.
My wife had come up with a coping method called quiet time. This method had limited value but usually gave at least some relief. She would tell B when the verbal onslaught peeked demanding peace, ‘Okay, B it’s quite time until we get home.’ I knew B would never be able to make it without tapping into her competitive spirit. Thus the challenge from Dad, she couldn’t go the distance without talking. (Isn’t Grayquill’s motives honorable?)
The plight of being mother of B and husband of Grayquill left her as the lone adult in the car. To think peace was attainable was foolish at best. Thus Grayquill began badgering B trying to break her silence. “B, when we get home instead of taking a nap would you like me to push you on the swing?” After the M&M and gum failure I was sure the swinging was random enough to break her concentration. The instant response I got was a whack from my sweet wife who had turned into mother bear protecting her cub.
Still hoping B would break, I checked the rear view mirror. Staring back at me were those sterling blue eyes along with a determination that said I will win and you will lose. D’OH!
The whack from mother bear kind of ruined the game for Grayquill but it was fun while it lasted.
B won that day.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I only have so many stories - rerun

My children have chided me for retelling my stories. I always have the same response and frankly it is a pretty good one. “Now kids - a man has only so many stories and some are worth only telling once but there are those others that are worth telling over and over, so be quite and listen.”My kids were shaking their heads as I retold them the story of how their mother put the hustle on me before we were even dating. They rolled their eyes – ‘there goes dad again. Does he not get it that he has told us this story before?’
You see. I was a catch. I mean it has to be true or why would she put the moves on me? I mean, that is just plain logical.” My son blabbered out. “Dad! We know the story and we are not going to believe it this time either. There is no way mom put any moves on you. I mean look at mom and look at you, does that make any sense at all?”
My oldest daughter pipes in, “Yeah dad, you just said be logical, oh my goodness! And, besides mom would never do that.” Perception is reality as they say.
Do you remember the days when your kids believed you? When they ran to meet you at the door, screaming daddy, daddy, hugging your neck? You could tell them anything and they would believe it. Those were the days.
Continuing on with my story - “Excuse me? You just ask your mother, she will totally agree with me. So, do you mind if I continue?” She shook her head like I was crazy and began laughing. My son had put his head down ignoring me and began to work on his grill cheese sandwich. My oldest and son have many of the same thinking patterns. But my sweet, wonderful youngest daughter, she was also smiling but her smile was different, kind of dreamy like. “Dad, tell the story! I love it!” See how sweet she is?
If truth be told I believe all my children love hearing this story. What child does not want to hear the love story of their parents? Of course they do!
Well, I bet you are all dying to hear this story too. But a blog has to be kept short and I just don’t have the space.
You can catch the story at:
Lightning Flashed and Thunder Rolled

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hole in My Sock

I took my shoe off and there it was staring back at me, my naked heel. What happened to my sock? It was there this morning. Now it was gone it had just vanished. How does a complete heel disappear? That seemed out of kilter to me. Socks should not be allowed to disintegrate without warning. When the brakes on our cars begin to go bad there is a piece of metal that give us a warning, you know that hideous screeching sound? Surely as long as folks have been making socks one would think heels would not just up and disappear.
What if I was Muslim and went to a mosque for my mid day prayers? I am pretty sure they have to take their shoes off before prayers – that would be a bit embarrassing, don’t you think? What if I had stopped on my way home from work to buy a new pair of shoes? Well I think you get the idea. It would have been bad – all bad.
Now this is the real problem – sorry it took two paragraphs to get to it. I have a sock drawer full of socks without mates. You want to know how this happens? Please, you don’t really know? It is simple - having the same sock drawer for twenty years… you got it now? Good!
Now if a burglar was to break into my house, you know the first place he will head for? That’s right my sock drawer. Ninety-two percent of all people hid their secret stash in their sock drawer. Burglars aren’t dumb they know these things. Maybe after he became discouraged in not finding any bills he might use his observational skills honed from years of thievery and might notice all the unmarried socks. I am pretty sure he/she would think a one legged man must live here. Then he might wonder where the home owner buys socks for just one foot. That mystery could ruin his whole day and that wouldn’t be very nice would it?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Young Folks at Times Need Old Folks

I noticed as I walked by the pile was not very high. She had been working for a couple of hours, I reasoned the pile should have been 4 or 5 times higher by this point. On my way back I stopped to have a few words with the young lady? "How are you doing Angie?"
"I’m okay."
She was not okay. The slumped shoulders, dull drooping eyes, the slow movement, reminded me of a working sleeper. Pulling up a chair I began working opposite her at the table. As we talked, I watched her with interest and within a few minutes her speed had surpassed mine. She told me of the university she hoped to attend next fall, the classes she wanted to take first. As she talked her eyes began to flash and that great Angie smile began to emerge. The voice went from boredom to full of energy. We worked together for 15 – 20 minutes before I left and went back to my office.
Sitting at my desk I let my mind fade back to my youth where an old man taught me how an old guy can work alongside a struggling young person and give him back his hope. A landscape of debris stretched out around me. It was a mountain sized clean up job; a near finished apartment complex of several hundred units and it was my job to pick up every scrap of wood and paper. The sun had long past beaten the hope out of me and I like Angie was slogging along slowly at the never ending task. The boss, a man in his seventies saw my grubbing along and began to work alongside me asking me questions, telling me about his pet peeve lumber waste. Holding up a 12 inch piece of siding – see this? 15 cents and it is worthless except for the scrape pile. We worked together for an hour and the progress was significant. He then left me to work on my own. Now and then he came back and would work alongside of me for a few minutes. He never once shamed me for being lazy but only praised me when he saw improvement.
As I checked on Angie during the day her speed would now and then drop and once again we would work together. The second day I only needed to sit with her once. By the third day she no longer needed this old guy, she now knew how to work at a high level of production without losing her hope.
Young people sometimes need older folks to help them change their perspective.
I am grateful for the old man. He could of brow beat me but he had the wisdom to know I had been doing plenty of my own personal brow beating. He knew what I needed and he gave it to me. Maybe you will someday find a young person who needs a little hope. Your example will be much more powerful than your words. Stop, help him/her out, work alongside and watch them change – it’s pretty exciting.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Homemade Ice Cream

I should be so happy right this minute, I used my whole day for others. First I made them all ice cream, then I watched them eat my ice cream, then I cleaned it all up, and then I brought home what was left just so others would not over indulge – Yes, very selfless. After all that you might say along with Homer, “Why are you so dreary, Grayquill?”
Do you think it could be your fault, Homer? DO YOU THINK? Why did you have to eat 5 bowls of ice cream? This is my body you are affecting – did you forget that?”
Loud sigh. . . “It was home-MADE ice cream!! That's what it's for - eating. Besides, the bowls were so small.”
“Oh, as compared to what… large cooking bowls? Homer my stomach hurts and I am pretty sure my pancreas is working double time trying to balance everything out from your idiocy. “
“Well, I am pretty sure you are exaggerating. I don’t know what you’re so mad about – you made the ice cream, I only ate it.”
“Well, did you think just maybe someone else might have wanted a taste?”
Gee-whiz Grayquill, you better calm down before you have a coronary from all that heavy cream you consumed. Did you forget those six other people who also ate your precious ice cream? Some of them had seconds. Why, was I not allowed seconds?”
“Tap you helmet, it is the fourth and fifth were talking about here.”
“Oh… D’OH! Grayquill’s always picking on me.”
Well who’s to say who ate the ice cream? Maybe the real question is, was that self talk or just an imaginary friend?
You could be the judgmental type, and say some smart-alecky comment about how the ice cream is not the real problem; what we need here is a shrink. And, I would say to that – if you are just now figuring that out maybe you need the shrink. Personally, another bowl of ice cream sounds pretty gosh darn good about now.
You could be the type that says, “Can I have the receipt?” And, I would say in my grumpy mood. Stop being so lazy and go look it up, it’s on page 202 of Betty Crocker.
Maybe you’re the type that says, I don’t see what’s so weird about that – I have several imaginary friends myself. And of course my response to that would be – this was not real, go call a shrink. Then come on over and we will finish off the ice cream.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dead Brain Cells. . .

Dead brain cells. . . No not from drinking; maybe from breathing alcohol fumes for all those years. I know you’re wondering, what? Don’t worry about it, it’s not important – printing, offset, ink & water balance – ph 5.0 and 15-20 percent alcohol; rollers spinning, alcohol evaporating, eight to ten hours a day 5-6 days a week twenty years, breathing in and out. Maybe a few brain cells were killed off – the point is this – dead brain cells.
That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it for not having a mid week post.
Sunday evening, I did catch a 4-5 lb. pink (humpy) salmon in the Snohomish River with my friend M in his pee wee sized Livingston 8 ft boat, which we over loaded by 65 lbs plus gear. I told him we couldn’t afford to catch to many fish or we would sink. That is why we kept it to one fish each. Did I just see an eyebrow or two raise? Hey in all my posts have you ever known me to make anything up, exaggerate or just flat out lie? Well…there you go. I am glad that’s settled.
The quality of a pink is, well, not all that great. They are bit slimy kind of like a brook trout and they smell a bit bad. So, I smoked my one fish and ate some of it for dinner tonight. The wife walked by while I was mixing a spread out of it. She goes, wooeee smells bad. She elected to forgo a tasty treat. As my mom use to say, ‘All the more for me.’
Fisherman, I know are nothing but liars so here is a picture just to keep things on the up an up.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Is That Shirt Dirty?

Rain tapping its methodic beat, swirling gusts ripping leaves from trees, fall is almost here. Grayquill has sat writing on many a nice summer day and finally he gets to write guilt free. Yahoo!! Of course there is that thing…. “Grayquill…GRAYQUILL! Are you listening? I would sure appreciate you doing your chores this week.”
Grayquill nodded and smiled, “Sure honey, no problem, have a nice day,” inward brief thought, ‘Yah, Yah, Yah…ugh leave me alone.’
Those points where differences and expectations clash are what? Conflict – Ouch! Mystery seeps and weeps with confusion how two people with such a wide gulf in expectations actually end up married.
Grayquill seems to be fine vacuuming once every six months to a year; whereas Mrs. Grayquill can only tolerate a vacuuming schedule that at a minimum hits every week. It should be set out right here Grayquill has never been able to test his six month theory, although he would like to.
How did these two ever marry? For the first twenty years or so, Grayquill reasoned, if she likes dirt less, we should use simple logic, let her follow her desire and vacuum to her heart’s content. Grayquill did his best to keep the vacuum cleaner maintenanced and operating smoothly. Under this set up Grayquill felt the world was in balance. Now and then, Grayquill would vacuum if guests were coming or if there wasn’t a kid he could recruit. Mrs. Grayquill noticed Grayquill was taller, stronger, and it took much less effort for him to vacuum. It did not take her twenty years to figure out this bit of wisdom but it did take twenty plus years before she finagled Grayquill into doing it regularly.
Laundry is another issue. Grayquill seems to think, letting it fall where he takes it off is a good plan. It really it isn’t so bad since he takes things off pretty much in the same place every day and a pile forms no more than five feet by five feet. His reasoning is logical. When it is time to do the laundry all the clothes are right there and easily rounded up. If something is going to be worn again in a day or two it is a total waste of time to hang it up, it’s right there waiting for him. Leaning over picking it up off the floor is so simple and such a big time saver. Some would say that clothes on the floor are dirty, hmmm….let’s talk about that. Now, Grayquill has heard from other men and he has noticed women do the smell test to see if something is dirty where a man examines the shirt and if there isn’t any hot sauce or some other blight on the shirt it’s clean. A man would never do the smell test because he knows his shirt will have some marking on it way before it smells bad. Besides, who is up that close to smell him anyway? It should only be his wife, right? Every man knows if he begins to smell, his wife will say something like, “Don’t even think about getting into this bed until you shower.”
Now that I have thought it through, I still have no idea how two people so different could marry but for the man at least, I conclude it’s a good thing. What do you think?
Gotta go - time to do chores. D’OH!

Oh, one last thought, if you are man who picks things up and puts thing where they belong...Grayquill thnks you're a girly man.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Faithful and Consistent

You will find me sitting faithful and consistent off to one side of the family room, there I do nothing but rock and observe. It is quite a perspective of Grayquill’s household. Nothing really gets by me and it is amazing what humans do when they think no one is watching. The places they scratch, the noises they make, the disgusting drool I have seen slipping out of the side of Grayquill’s mouth onto those couch pillows would make your toes curl. I can tell you one thing I am glad those nasty pillows stay on the couch. If you ever come to visit I suggest you sit on me and stay away from those pillows.
Grayquill and the cat have been quite civil to each other today, a refreshing change. Grayquill’s wife just walked through her feet vibrating an unmistakably harsher pace than normal. I notice Grayquill’s back muscles tightening and his rocking increased. I wonder what he did now; he and I will probably be getting plenty of quality time together tonight. Ugh…, don’t worry I am strong enough to hold him up; it just gets a little tiring as he keeps gaining weight. If he would just humble himself and apologize he could sleep in a nice soft bed but I know him he will hang onto his pride and suffer. I hate to call him this but he’s kind of a dough head sometimes.
The privileged position I hold in the Grayquill household allows me to get to know each person quite intimately. Let me tell you a secret – girls pass gas just as often as boys do. That visiting thing, now that I think about it, you might want to sit somewhere else.
Do not underestimate my value to the Grayquill house, I hold an important place. I cannot tell you the number of hours I have spent holding and rocking a sad person; they seek out my softness for comfort. I am getting old now but I have mastered the ability to calm and comfort one who is sick with the flu or just in a funk. It is really easy now that I have grown squashy and worn to wrap my soft arms close and be a firm steady help. All the household members have at one time or another allowed a searing tear to drop from check to arm while I provide comfort. Not only do I comfort; I usually am the focal point of important family discussions, you see Grayquill sits on me during those times. Family meetings happen when Grayquill gets cranky. Mostly he does the majority of the talking and his kids, well when his kids lived here, they would watch a bug crawl across the ceiling or count the bricks on the fireplace until Grayquill had vented it all out. I could tell Grayquill felt better after those meetings. I am no doctor but it seemed to me his blood pressure would drop at least 20 points. I think most of the time Grayquill’s kids were silent during those meetings because they knew Grayquill just needed to let it all out. Those kids are a bit smarter than Grayquill and they worked him pretty good. Grayquill was never the wiser about those kid’s workings.
The number of movies I have seen has been a bunch. Grayquill is so funny; in fact his kids call him quirky, a perfect description. Did you know he watched “The Kid” at least 8 times and frankly I lost count to, “Remember the Titans.” He watches those Southern Gospel videos over and over. I’ll tell you a secret but don’t tell Grayquill, I sometimes watch his music videos along with Hobbes (that’s his cat, only he just calls him Cat) when Grayquill is not home. I kinda like that Southern Gospel sound especially those real low base singers.
You should stop by sometime, Grayquill’s wife is real great cook. Now Grayquill on the other hand is horrible. The stuff he eats….well all I can say is I sure wish he wouldn’t sit on me when he eats those nasty creations, the fallout is finishing me off.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

From Gray to Color

Sitting with a blank screen in front of me I looked up to this scene, sunlight glistening reflecting a spectrum of color, a faint wisp of a breeze came by greeting my face, birds here and there are belting out their cords. It is a peaceful morning.
“I found your new home, you need to come right now! “ Those were the words of my brother and realtor almost 20 years ago. Jumping into my car I was off in a flash but with dubious expectations. Houses were selling faster than hotcakes at a fireman’s fundraiser. When a good one came up you had to be ready to act or it was gone.
A few months earlier tragedy had struck my family. My wife and I decided a change in scenery was part of what was needed. We had been looking for a new home for a good two months. I knew instantly this was a great deal and would serve the purpose.
When tragedy came I railed at God with blame, irrational thoughts and words I am glad He forgives. At the time I was plodding through the days in anger, just doing what I could, hoping it was the right thing. Who knows how to wade through deep loss and grief? Who knows how to bandage up deep emotional wounds? What husband and father understands what is the right way to take his family? I for sure did not. Hurt this deep and this horrific was beyond any man’s understanding to fix, but my wife and I knew doing nothing would not serve us well. I can still remember thinking, ‘getting a new house might help’. She seemed to know more instinctual the right way to go. During those beginning months I followed her lead more than I really want to admit. A man likes to think he is the strong one and the leader but it was her.
Now looking back I can see the many ways God was caring and orchestrating circumstances that went beyond mere coincidences. Each one alone was easily explained away as a lucky moment but the composite made God’s love and work shine through like the morning sun. This home was one of his brush strokes in His masterpiece of healing. What makes it unique is the beautiful spot it sits. Friends and family marvel at the peacefulness; the beauty strikes their eyes shocking their senses. I did not see the beauty of the place when we bought it. My slogging from day to day had eliminated color, the best way I can describe it, the world was a drab gray.

I believe now, what a man may not be conscious of, his subconscious takes in. God used the beauty of his creation over and over to shout at me, “I am good.” My conscious mind would hear none of it but my subconscious was soaking it in.
I can still remember the day I saw color again. It struck me in a quiet way while I was driving down the road. It was a moment much like this morning when the shades of green reflected off leaves, branches, and bark from the morning sun. It had been so long since I had seen color I was struck by that moment. All through the day and into the next I kept recalling the beauty - I was healing.
Do you have deep hurt or deep loss you are carrying? May I suggest? Find the beauty of God’s creation and let him shout out to you, “I am still good.” His ways are higher than man’s ways he cares for you beyond what we can think or imagine and underneath are his everlasting arms.
Jesus says in the scripture, “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” ~Matthew 11:28-29 NIV