It was 1986. I was a senior in High School, and somehow I ended up with a group of guys at school sanding down an old short school bus. Two of them (brothers) had gotten the bus as a Spring Break present from their Dad. We gutted the thing, painted it black, and I painted, “Party Barge” on the sides. I also painted “Party Barge” on the little flip-out stop sign. It was no longer the iconic red and white flashing stop sign; it was now the solid black with gold Def Leppard-esque lettering “Party Barge” on it.
Surprisingly, my parents said I could go. However, like all the times before when I really wanted to do something, the night before they said I couldn’t go. They got mad because the boy’s father wanted them to sign a liability waiver for me to be in the Party Barge during spring break.
I don’t remember having a fit, but I do remember being incredibly angry. My parents relented at the last-minute (there is a lot to be written about that at a later date) and the next day the “Party Barge” crew headed to Pensacola.
Pensacola was boring. We thought MTV was there. They weren’t. However, we quickly traveled a million more miles to Daytona Beach where the MTV Spring Fest was actually happening.
It was wild.
I will never forget pulling up on the beach where there were practically naked young adults and crazy old people … EVERYWHERE! I was mesmerized.
My parents weren’t. I called them … eventually … to tell them we left Pensacola and were now in Daytona. To describe them as “not happy” is an understatement.
This was published in June on Dr. Kathy’s
blog. I wanted to bring it here too. Kathy wrote this as an introduction:
Summer can be a time for rich memory making. Randy’s memories can inspire you to think about what memories you are and aren’t creating for your children. Sometimes, we’re so concerned with doing things for our children, that we don’t do enough with them. And, have you told them about your grandparents and those even older? Pull up a chair, grab a piece of pie, and talk. Speaking of pie, if there was a “food smart” it appears Randy’s Aunt Ruby and Great Granny Sallie Mae had it. Warning – you may be hungry after reading this. I’m craving a juicy peach – in or out of a pie. – Kathy
When my Great Aunt Ruby passed away in 2006 it was heart-breaking news. She was a sweet soul here on Earth, an blessing to our family, and I miss her.
Aunt Ruby married my Great Uncle Boochie (Boochie is a name of endearment) who was the son of my Great Grandmother Sallie Mae. They lived with Sallie Mae. Uncle Boochie was a police officer and died relatively young from a heart attack. My Aunt Ruby definitely was a modern example of the Biblical figure of Ruth. In the Bible Ruth stayed with Naomi, her mother-in-law, out of loyalty and in the humility of service even after her husband passed. Unlike Ruth, Aunt Ruby was never to re-marry. She stayed and lived with my Great Grandmother until Great Granny passed away. It was only then that Aunt Ruby moved out on her own.
This post was published on Dr. Kathy’s blog back in June. She wrote this as an introduction:
Today I’ve invited Randy Thomas to blog for me. He begins with a beautiful illustration from friends and contrasts their father-son relationship with his own. You may be able to relate to Randy’s sadness and grief. But, keep reading, because Randy writes about God becoming his new Father and that changes everything. Everything. He writes about the chase and I love how it ends. I wonder if you’re familiar with it. Read to find out. – Kathy
Four-year-old Isaac, with a flash of his bright eyes and curly blond hair, could pretty much convince you to do just about anything. That boy is a handful and all you can do is smile as you pull him off the next piece of furniture.
The staff were all gathered together for lunch one day when Isaac came by the office, along with his mother and sister, to visit his dad. After the meal was over, Isaac ran around the conference table taunting his father, “Catch me Daddy!” Every time he passed one of the guys that had gathered around for lunch, we would growl and try to hook him with our arms. He giggled that 4-year-old sunshine of a giggle, eluding our scary traps as he playfully derided us, “I passed you!”
“Lately, he likes to be chased and get caught,” his dad later explained to me.
Today I am seeing a lot of pictures from my gay friends on social media of various gay pride events they are attending. Gay pride events happen throughout the year but June is kind of the launch of the yearly gay pride season (please correct me if I am wrong.) Anyway, seeing all those pictures reminded me of an article I wrote on my old blog that I want to share with you again today. I hope you find it worth the read. It’s been slightly edited from its original version.
It’s A Gay Pride Time of Year
It’s that time of year again, drag queens strolling down main street, the activists groups chanting their slogans, and gogo dancers causing parade float designers nightmares (they just won’t stand still!) Then there is the other 90% of parade people like your neighbor Sarah, or cousin Bill and his partner walking along hand in hand. They commit to completing a long parade route to show solidarity with the LGBT community and/or cause represented within that sphere of influence. Common + Unity = Community. Everyone belongs to one (a community), or several (communities), because we are wired to want to be known by others and to know others.
Today is Memorial Day! I thank God for all of our military heroes here and around the world. I thank God also for the men and women, and their families, who have sacrificed their lives to fight for and preserve freedom. I will also spend time thinking about and thanking God for the military vets in my own family.
Plus, I will thank God for the One, Jesus, who gave the ultimate sacrifice to liberate us eternally, for an everlasting peace.
Check out this video from my friend Kathy. I think it is excellent and has a suggestion for families that would be so healthy, and honoring, to do.
Martha and Mary
38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Late February, maybe early March, I went to the art store. I had created a few paintings over the holidays and absolutely loved the refuge/communion that activity provided. While creating them I kept thinking, “This is a life-giving and affirming activity. This is a major part of who God created me to be.” However, as I stood looking at the blank canvasses in the art store, I was focusing on the smaller canvasses. It occurred to me to not “settle” for limiting my artistic vision.
So, I just went all hog-wild and chose a 3×4 foot canvas!
Buying this giant of a canvas literally made my stomach nervously rumble as I took it up to the counter to purchase.
The other day I saw a former friend ranting online. I judged him :) to be being super-duper mean-spirited and judgmental! At one point in our past friendship, he was all smiles and flattery. Now, I have been told he is telling people I am a false witness leading people to hell. I’ve never responded to him publicly and don’t plan to.
My initial response to him, in my heart and with a trusted friend, was FAR from a mature response. Eventually, I calmed down and asked God to give me wisdom for the situation. He reminded me of various things He has taught me over the years as well as a few new insights. I have discovered that I can apply the following to any situation regarding people I perceive to be harshly judgmental.
This is the house I lived in for about 18 months. I rented a couch, not a room, for $40 a week most of that time. I was there from the Spring of 1988 till the fall of 1989 and most of it was a blur.
I waited tables to earn enough money to party, partied till I was out of money, slept in someone else’s bed or on my $40 a week couch … mostly the couch, Then I would wake up in time to go back to waiting tables and repeat the cycle for a year and a half.
During that time I drank 5 out of 7 days a week, did more drugs than I ever thought I would. Especially after I pledged to never do any drugs my freshman year in high school. I was also involved in a very abusive relationship.
It was during that time I did my share of terrible things to make ends meet, to get drugs … to be a part, to appease my partner … it wasn’t just a blur … it was a dark blur.
First I am going to share the dream by itself. Then after that I will share what it means to me. The reason I am separating them is that sometimes dreams are like artwork, people can extract a wide variety, and all kinds of personal meaning from them. I think that is totally cool. So, please read the dream, ponder it if you want and gather your own thoughts on it. Then read my thoughts after the second section divider.
In my dream I am sitting on my Great Granny’s porch. The porch was built by her father, my Great Great Grandfather, by hand. However, in the dream it had been carefully preserved, modified, expanded and updated. However, I knew that it had always been lovingly maintained/remodeled by The Owner. The house was simply beautiful, warm, welcoming. It actually looked like it had been decorated by one of my best friends. It was again, beautiful.