Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Veterans Day Vignettes

On Veteran’s Day 2017, I wrote a series of eight vignettes of some of my experiences in Vietnam some 50 years ago.  I posted them every two hours or so on Facebook. For posterity, I have compiled them into one document and posted them here. On Memorial Day 2018, I added a ninth vignette to honor those I served with who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.


Veterans Day Vignette #1:
My point of entry into Vietnam was Cam Rahn Bay. Following the evening mess (meal) on that first day, I took a stroll and found myself on the western perimeter where a young private was walking guard. During our conversation, I noticed he didn’t have a magazine in his weapon. Upon closer scrutiny, I discovered he had no ammunition at all. My first thought was, “What kind of war had I gotten myself in?” Continue reading Veterans Day Vignettes

Beer, Slugs, and Picasso Petunias

Late in the afternoon, you can find my wife walking around the yard with a can of beer in her hand. This is unusual given that neither she nor I imbibe in the brew. In fact, the strongest thing we drink is Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale, Birmingham, Alabama’s premier soft drink.

What has driven her to this is war? An ongoing battle to defend her ubiquitous flowers from the onslaught of slugs that slime their way up the pots and plants to nibble away at the tender leaves and petals. After trying a host of deterrents, beer seems to be the most effective and it matters not the brand or cost. The cheapest beer possible works just fine.

Upon entering this battle, she thought it would be a few quick skirmishes and she would wipe out the invading horde with overwhelming firepower (or in this case hops-power). Not so.  This has developed into a protracted war.

Every day, just before dusk, you can see her walking around the yard with a can of beer in hand.  She fills the 14 or 15 little bowls she has strategically placed among her cherished plants and then awaits the next day. She should have kept track of the body count, for every morning there are 3 to 7 dead slugs in each bowl. They crave the beer so much they crawl into the bowls and drown.

The moral of the story: Don’t be a slug! Drink responsibly or don’t drink at all. We choose to do the latter.

March Madness. . . then POOF!

Just like that…POOF!…March Madness is over. After four weeks of buildup, filling in brackets, 63 games, it’s all over. I went to ESPN online and the lead story was about Tony Romo leaving the NFL for a CBS broadcast booth. The next story had a photo of John Calipari. You read that right- John Calipari, not Roy Williams. CBS always ends the championship broadcast with the song, “One Shining Moment.” How appropriate… because this morning there is Continue reading March Madness. . . then POOF!

Marriage, Music, and Mental Models

Today, March 26, marks the 47th anniversary of my marriage to Deborah Anne Hurtt. It has been a good marriage and it keeps getting better. Rough patches in a marriage that couples, pastors, and marriage counselors speak of are not something we can identify with. Fights are not something we have. What few disagreements we have had were minor (color of paint to use in the bathroom, what restaurant to eat at, etc.) and have been calmly and sanely discussed and an agreement reached. We go to bed each night content. However, we realize not all marriages are thus. Continue reading Marriage, Music, and Mental Models

Life Stories: A Tribute to Lauren and Jo Ann Helveston

lauren-jo-annLauren and Jo Ann Helveston are two of the finest people I know. Hailing from Citronelle, Alabama, this couple responded to a call of God upon their lives first to pastoral ministry and then to be missionaries in Ghana. Later, they connected with TMS Global serving in various positions. Their last two roles found them providing pastoral care to missionaries around Continue reading Life Stories: A Tribute to Lauren and Jo Ann Helveston

Keeping Christ in Christmas

Thanksgiving has come and gone, we have survived the national scrum we call Black Friday, and now December is here. Soon, if not already, we will hear the annual refrain, “keep Christ in Christmas.” It happens every year and we will see it on sweatshirts, pins, billboards, Twitter, Facebook, and even websites devoted to the expression.

The point of concern seems to center on three activities that many see as a Continue reading Keeping Christ in Christmas