Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Lord Byron

Byron Nelson, the 94 year-old golf legend went home today. His record of 11 straight tournament wins in 1945 is unlikely to ever be paralleled. Nelson was an incredible golfer, and a man of great faith. Nelson attended the Richland Hills Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas. (To read their obituary, click here.)

I love the story that Dave Stone, pastor of Southeast Christian Church tells about meeting Byron Nelson. He was preaching at Richland Hills and he and that church's pastor, Rick Atchley, played a round of golf at a Nelson designed course in the morning. Dave's play was so-so. Later that night Dave met Mr. Nelson, who was one of his heroes. Dave made the observation that, "it is one thing to play the course,
it is another entirely to meet the designer."

ESPN had this to say:

Byron Nelson, golf's elegant "Lord Byron" whose 11 straight tournament victories in 1945 stand as one of sport's most enduring records, died Tuesday. He was 94.

His wife, Peggy Nelson, told family friend Angela Enright that her husband appeared fine as she left for Bible study Tuesday morning. As she left their Roanoke home, he told her, "I'm so proud of you," something he often said about her church involvement. When she returned, she found him on the back porch facing his woodworking shop.
The Christian Chronicle reported: "Several years ago, a golf fan looking for Nelson’s ranch near Fort Worth stopped at the Roanoke Church of Christ and asked if the 'janitor' knew how to get there. Much to the fan’s surprise, the man sweeping the church floor smiled and replied, 'Yes, that’s where I live.' ”

I like best, though, what Lord Byron said about himself several years ago: "I don't know very much. I know a little bit about golf. I know how to make a stew. And I know how to be a decent man."

That you were, Byron. And God bless you for it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

George & Edith

George, age 94 and Edith, age 92, had been seeing each other for two years when they decided that life was too short and they might as well be together for the rest of their lives. Excited about their decision to become newlyweds, they went for a stroll to discuss the wedding and what plans needed to be made. Along their way, they found themselves in front of a drugstore.

George said to his bride-to-be, "Let's go in. I have an idea."

They walked to the rear of the store and addressed the man behind the counter.

"Are you the owner"? asked George.

The pharmacist answered, "Yes, sir. How can I help you"?

George: "Do you sell heart medications"?

Pharmacist: "Of course we do."

George: "How about a support hose for circulation"?

Pharmacist: "Definitely."

George: "What about medications for rheumatoid, osteoporosis and arthritis"?

Pharmacist: "All kinds."

George: "How about waterproof furniture pads and Depends"?

Pharmacist: "Yes sir."

George: "Hearing aids, denture supplies and reading glasses"?

Pharmacist: "Yes."

George: "What about eye drops, sleeping pills, Geritol, Preparation-H and ExLax"?

Pharmacist: "Absolutely."

George: "You sell wheelchairs, walkers and canes"?

Pharmacist: "All kinds and sizes. Why all these questions"?

George smiled, glanced shyly at Edith and replied to the pharmacist, "We've decided to get married and we'd like to use your store as our bridal registry!"

Friday, September 22, 2006

Eat at the Fair

Next week I'll be putting in my annual work-a-real-job week at the DeKalb County Free Fall Fair. I'll be working the morning shift cooking breakfast at the Bar None Saddle Club.

The great church ladies of our congregation (along with their men) will serve something like six to eight thousand meals in the next seven days. It will be incredible! If you've never been to our county fair, you've got to come and check us out. If you have been, I know you'll be back. And if you stop in to the Saddle Club for breakfast next week, look back in the kitchen for Big Frank. I'll be the sleepy one.

Friday, September 15, 2006

On the Rocks

Those who know me accept that I have a streak of LOCD - "Lawncare Obsessive Compulsive Disorder." I won't let people park on it. I holler at kids who walk across it. Yard sale? Forget it! For years I have stewed over folks cutting the corner with their cars. The city, in its frugality, didn't put in curbs when they repaved some years ago. On my corner, a steadily growing pit began to overtake the turf.

I first addressed this by backfilling the corner, reseeding, and putting in reflector stakes. They were stolen. I next put in small posts and linked them together with a yellow rope. They were ran over. Repeatedly. Finally, I asked a farmer from my small group to drop off some large rocks. I reasoned that, if someone tried to run over these he wouldn't get very far.

I was right.Here is what really amazes me: this young man was at the stop sign turning right. In a front-wheel-drive car. Noting that he is on top of all four really big rocks, either he a) never slowed down at the intersection, or b) got a John Force type hole-shot coming off the line. He was a nice kid, though. He said (and I'm not kidding about this), "Let me know if any of your rocks were damaged, and I'll make it right."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Buckle Up, Or Burn in Hell?

According to his blog, fellow preacher and pal, Mike Kjergaard (don't feel badly, it took me years to learn to pronounce it, and Hooked On Phonics really won't work for you on this one) was recently cited for not wearing his seat-belt. This made me wonder . . . suppose you were killed in a car accident while not wearing your seatbelt. Now, you've broken the law which is a sin, and you've died, presumably without the opportunity to repent and ask God's forgiveness for the aforementioned transgression.

Therefore, you will burn in hell for not wearing your seatbelt.

Nice job, Mike.

Now, before you regular readers of Frankly Speaking go blowing a theological circuit breaker, I don't believe any of that. (That doesn't mean I can't tell my kids that, though.)

Joke O' the Day

My attorney friend sent this to me today. As many lawyer jokes as I tell, he's earned a few megabites on Frankly Speaking.

A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn't find a space with a meter. Then he put a note under the windshield wiper that read: "I have circled the block 10 times .. If I don't park here, I'll miss my appointment. Forgive us our trespasses."

When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note, "I've circled this block for 10 years. If I don't give you a ticket, I'll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation."

Friday, September 08, 2006

Wrigley Field Trip

The Frankly boys skipped work and school yesterday to head to Chicago to study the ivy-laden habitat of the native bear cubs of Wrigley Field.

Oh . . . the Cubs lost. . . to the in-last-place-until-playing-the-Cubs Pirates. The Cubs really suck this year.

Batting practice was a highlight, though. Juan Pierre threw a ball to my son, Jonah. And a BP dinger had me stretching out over the screen. I got leather on the ball, but dropped it! Pitcher Will Ohman made fun of me and nearby fans booed before Ohman tossed me the ball, which I caught with both hands. He tossed one to Caleb, too, after Caleb said "please." The guy was kind of a jerk, stopping during warm-ups for an outfield chat with a Pittsburgh player where they agreed they were counting down the "24 days left" until the end of the season.

In spite of the Cubs' loss, we enjoyed a three-generation day. I got to take my sons and my father to their first Major League Baseball game. The weather was great, the food was good, the company was exceptional. We even made it on TV when Pittsburgh center fielder Chris Duffy led off the game with a homer that landed close enough for my buddy, Sam Sprunger, and my son, Caleb, to wrestle with other Cub fans for the right to toss it back onto the field. The day was perfect - it was only the baseball that was mediocre.

With the Cubs in the NL Central basement and heading to Atlanta to face a Braves team that is battling to get back into contention for a wild card berth, we'll have to start singing the same old "Maybe next year" song. Maybe. If we get a new coach, a new GM (we should be so lucky), and a new owner (would that the baseball gods should so smile on us).

Memo to grandparents: you can buy a photo of the Frankly Speaking crew at yesterday's game by clicking here.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Death of Customer Service

It is with a heavy heart that I report to you the death of customer service. While I had heard several rumors of his demise, it was not until I went shopping for shoes for Frankly, Jr. that I viewed the cadaver first hand. The corpse was spotted in several locations at the mall. Observe:

The fun began at shoe store number one, a well-known sporting goods store that bear's the first name of its founder. I mention this because, after shopping there, I began to wonder if the name above the door was an adjective describing the employees who work in shoes.

Son number one and I walked into the department and began looking at tennies which, by the way, cost more than the monthly rent on my parent's first apartment. An adolescent salesman, I'll call him Andy Acne, walked over and stared at us as if he was seeing an alien species for the first time. Just as Master Acne looked like he was about to start throwing peanuts to the monkeys, I ruined his fun by asking him to check my son's shoe size.

He stared at me blankly.

I asked him again. He walked over and pulled a shoe off the rack and said, "what size did you need?" I asked him a third time, "I need you to size his foot so we know." "Oh, okay." I waited for him to call me "dude," but he merely bent over and thrust Bubba's foot into the metal shoe sizer thingamabob. "Looks like it's eight and a half." "Let's go Bubba." I walked out of the shoe department with Caleb hopping on one foot trying to yank his shoe on in strange chicken dance fashion. Bubba walked in wearing a six and a half. No way was he an eight and a half.

At shoe store #2 we asked a polite young lady to size the boy up. She did - seven and a half. So far so good. When she went off to attend to another customer we asked another "associate" to see a particular size in seven and a half. After waiting several minutes for the salesperson to rummage around in the back room, take a bathroom break, call his bookie, and grab lunch he returned . . . empty handed. "We don't have it in that size, but we do have it in a mis-matched pair. One's an eight, the other is an eight and a half," he said. Just who, I thought, has the other mis-matched pair, and what makes this fellow think my son is equally deformed? We selected another style and, after finding it in the right size, asked them to hold onto it while we did some more shopping in the mall. A much too made-up, barely-out-of-high-school, should-have-gone-to-college-but-I'm-making-such-a-big-difference-selling-shoes person popped off, "We'll only keep it one hour. After that we put it back on the shelf."


Down the hall, down the escalator and into another sporting goods store. We asked to see a particular shoe in a size seven and a half. He disappeared into the bowels of the store and returned momentarily. "We don't have it in that size, but we do have it in an eight," he said. I wondered, why didn't he trot out the size eight to see if it might fit? "Okay, then what about this one?" He simply looked at me - not the shoe - and said slowly, "I . . . don't . . . think . . . so," and returned to checking items off his clipboard and ignoring the source of his store's income.

After an hour of looking for kicks, we came in under the sixty minute deadline, bought the pair and left - thank you Jesus!

I was still simmering in the juices of my ill customer service treatment when I drove to the big home improvement store near my home to purchase a light bulb for our microwave. I don't want to besmirch the name of this fine retailer, so it will remain nameless (they're really, really orange, by the way, and spend their customer service training funds to sponsor Tony Stewart's NASCAR).

I walked to the appliance department (in the back of the store), where I originally purchased the microwave, and asked the gal there for a bulb. "You need to go up to lighting for that." I walked back to lighting (in the front of the store). A smock wearing gentlemen asked me what I was looking for, so I showed him the paper with the bulb number written on it and told him. He replied, "This isn't my department, but let me see if I can help you out." Thoughtful. Good beginning. Maybe things will be different. "Let's go check in appliances," he said, and before I could tell him I just came from there he was off and running with me several paces behind.

Arriving in appliances (at the back of the store) he unscrewed the bulb cover on the nuke, took out the bulb and headed back toward lighting (in the front of the store). There, he stood, arm extended, bulb in hand, comparing the bulb in his digits with those on the display. After a while he intoned, "Looks like we don't have it. Perhaps you can special order it."

Off to the service counter I went, where I stood in line for fifteen minutes while a woman ordered flooring for her daughter's bedroom. When it was finally my turn, I explained to the fellow behind the computer that I needed a light-bulb for my microwave. "Appliance bulbs have to be special ordered back in appliances . . . "

He continued speaking, but faded from my hearing as I made my way to the front door. . .

Friday, September 01, 2006

Days of Elijah

Mrs. Frankly and I went to the great metropolis of Edon, Ohio last night to worship with Robin Mark. You might not know the name, but I'm guessing you've sung the songs. He is the author of Blessed Be the Name, and Days of Elijah, and countless others. This guy has the goods!