Thanksgiving 2021

  Thanksgiving 2021 It is a few hours before Thanksgiving Day. This Thanksgiving will be very different from any I have ever experienced. It will be my first Thanksgiving without my mother. My mother, Sandra Creel, passed away a couple of weeks ago on November 7. I must admit that it doesn’t quite seem real to me yet. I almost expect mom to be here in the morning when I wake up. But I know she won’t be. But with all of my heart, I wish she could be. My wife and I spent the day today driving around my hometown. I lived here until I went away to college. My wife and I have l lived here on two separate occasions as I served on staff at my home church. We drove by the house where I grew up and the creek where I played. We saw my kindergarten, elementary school, and high school. We looked at the football field where our team won two state championships. We drove by the house we lived in when we were a young married couple and also the pastorium where we lived when the family was growi
  Farewell to My Friend This week, I did something that I never thought I would do. I attended the funeral of my friend. His name was Darrell, but only his mother called him that. He was always Phred to me. Phred was 54 years old. He passed away from COVID. He will become another one of those COVID statistics that you hear about on the news. But his death is not a statistic to me. It is very personal. Phred was my friend. In fact, I think it is safe to say that outside of my family, he was the best friend that I ever had. I met Phred right after I was saved during my sophomore year of high school. He was a part of our church’s youth group. He also worked in the children’s ministry of our church. He did puppets for children’s church. With his encouragement, I began to work with the puppets as well. He and I became the main 2 puppeteers. We had such a blast! We created characters and voices. He was Dum Dum. This was a Cookie Monster looking puppet that the children loved. Phred and

Working Out

My son has been encouraging me for several years to add some strength training to my workouts. I finally gave in and asked him to write me a plan. The one he gave me is really a simple plan. I only have a few barbells and not much weight with which to work. I think that most middle school boys could do it without a problem. The plan calls for me to do the workouts 2 times a week with only 2 sets in each workout. Easy. No problem. I used to play football. I used to lift weights. I am a man. I am strong. So about 8 weeks ago, I went to the garage to roll on through this little workout. The first thing on the list was a set of pushups. I got down on the floor to begin. I immediately noticed that something was different. It was a struggle to do what I used to do easily. That ended up being true for the whole workout. It was painful. It was depressing to realize that I am not as strong as I used to be. And then came the day after the workout. I felt like I had been hit by a truck. Every par

Hiking in Torreya State Park

Recently, my wife and I went hiking in Torreya State Park. The park is named for a rare species of the Torreya tree. This tree is only found in 4 locations on earth. Torreya State Park is one of those locations. The park is about an hour away from our house. We have enjoyed hiking there several times over the years. The Torreya Trail is a 6 mile loop. Besides the famous tree, it has something else that you don’t often see in Florida. It has hills. Some of the hills are very steep and will give you quite a workout. There are gorgeous views of the Apalachicola River from the top of some of the bluffs. It is one of our favorite hikes in the area. It is hard to beat six miles of hiking in the woods. We had a great time! As we followed the Torreya Trail, there was something that was impossible to miss. Everywhere we looked, Hurricane Michael’s destructive power was on full display. Hurricane Michael roared through the area in October of 2018.   The park was closed for a long time. I am no

Just a Little Catfish Fin

It was the summer between first grade and second grade. I spent most of my time back in those summer days with my buddies at the creek near my house. We spent our time catching crawfish on most hot summer days. On that day, one of my buddies found a dead catfish. We thought it would be useful to lure crawdads from their holes. There was a neighborhood girl with us that day which was highly unusual. We waded down the creek in a single file line. The girl was in the back of the line, and she kept splashing as she walked. My buddy in the front of the line kept telling her to stop. She didn’t stop. He finally got so mad that he turned and threw that dead catfish at her. I happened to be standing between them. As the catfish sailed by me, its fin hit me right in the kneecap. It stuck me hard and broke off in my knee. I ended up going to the doctor for 2 weeks as they tried to get that fin out of my knee. They gave me shots in the knee every time I went there. I kept getting sicker and sick