Deacon Family Suppers

Deacon Family Suppers are a tradition at my church.  It’s a massive pot luck dinner that the Deacon’s organize and almost everyone attends.  And my first one as a Deacon is coming up this weekend.

I only have one thing to say about that.

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Okay, that’s not really what I have to say.  That’s really the code that Technorati insists I publish to “claim” my blog.  What I really have to say is that I’m looking forward to it, even if it is he Sunday after Thanksgiving.  I have visions of left over turkey and pumpkin pies being served, which isn’t a bad thing since no one in my family is cooking and we won’t have any leftovers.

But as one of the duties of a Deacon prior to such a dinner is contacting their deacon families and finding out how many people are coming.  So I’ve left messages all over town (literally!) and am waiting to hear back.

It’s funny how much you can take for granted.  I’ve been going to these dinners for 40 years (almost) and I’ve never once thought of how they occur.  The level of planning, distribution of duties, and so on have eluded me all these years.

Now I’m a cog in the big wheel, that makes things work and flow.  It’s an interesting change.

The Tornado

When you talk about “The Tornado” in Huntsville, everyone knows which one you mean.  It’s the one in 1989, on November 15th.  The one that leveled building from the Parkway, along Airport Drive, and on through Jones Valley.  Only a lucky few in Huntsville at that time were unaffected by the tornado.

I was not in Huntsville then, but my family was.  I was sitting down for dinner at the Fraternity House in Auburn.  My mother was at home in Southeast Huntsville, about 4 miles south of the path of the Tornado.  My brother, however, was just topping the road at the top of Airport Road, where it becomes Carl T. Jones.  My father was at a doctor’s office in front of Crestwood.

My brother made it home to Mom with little trouble.  The Tornado rocked his car, but he wasn’t aware that it was a tornado at the time.  He had a brief scare and little else.  Seeing as he was only 16 at the time, and a new driver, that is a stroke of luck.

Father was less fortunate.  The nurses at the doctor’s office gathered everyone up in the two story building and moved them into a closet.  Dad was the last to enter, and the one to close the door.  Almost.  According to him, he never got the door fully closed before the tornado hit.  The wind pulled at the door and Dad held it mostly shut as it passed.  At some point, the roof of the building left, but the people in the closet didn’t realize it till after it was over and they could look up into the sky.  The top of the door jam broke and slammed into my Father’s shoulder.  He was the only one in the closet to receive an injury.

Dad’s group of 10 or so left the closet to find it the only part of the second story still standing.  The roof was gone.  All other interior walls were gone.  According to Dad, there wasn’t even much debris on the floor.  It was just wiped clean.  Dad was the only male present at the time, and being a good southern man, insisted on helping those women down from the building.

The only staircase left was full of debris, and initially they decided to wait until help arrived to get them down.  When it started to snow, Dad knew they had to get down without help.  He carefully climbed down the stairs and cleaned off the debris as best he could.  He then used a flashlight one of the women had in their purse to guide people down one at a time and get them outside.  He repeated the process for each woman until they were all out of the building.  They then walked to Crestwood Hospital where a command center of sorts had been set up.

I got the word from another Fraternity Brother that Huntsville had been hit.  I managed to get through to Mom first, and gave her a list of names and numbers to start calling.  Lines within Huntsville and into Huntsville were full, and getting through difficult.  Mom called down to the house with updates.  Fairly quickly the only member of the fraternity with family still missing was me.  Dad couldn’t get through to Mom to let her know she was okay.

Ultimately Dad never did get Mom on the phone.  Instead, on a whim, he tried me at the House.  He almost didn’t get me there.  The Brother answering the phone was trying to keep the line clear for Mom to call with news, and Dad had to quickly explain who he was.  After getting the bare details, I managed to get ahold of Mom and tell her Dad was okay.

Waiting at Crestwood, Dad ran into a friend.  The two of them were fine, Dad probably should have gotten a stitch or two in his shoulder but he didn’t want to tie doctors up from the more seriously wounded.  He bandaged himself up with the help of one of the nurses from the doctor’s office and started trying to figure out how to get home.  His truck was totaled.  The camper on the back was just gone, the truck was beat all to pieces and three tires were flat.

Dad’s friend suggested they see if it would start, so they tried and it did.  They then put the spare on the back, giving them two good tires.  They then stole two tires off another truck that had been wrapped around a tree in the parking lot.  With four good tires, they tried to drive home, only to find all the roads blocked.  The radio told them that the roads were all closed anyway.

But luckily the front windshield was still intact, and Dad had a sticker for the Army post.  He drove north, away from the damage and home, to cut through the post and come out far south of the damage.  He then drove his friend home, and then himself.  He got home around midnight.

I didn’t get back to Huntsville till that weekend.  I drove up with the other Huntsville Brothers to see if we could help, but by then everything was well under control and the damage had quickly turned into a macabre tourist attraction.

That’s my story of “The Tornado.”  What’s yours?

So Proud Of My Family

I don’t talk about my family all that much hear because my wife doesn’t care for me putting too much personal information about us on the Internet.  I can understand that.

My FamilyBut I’ve got to report that my wife just finished a 6 week doctor supervised intensive diet plan on which she lost 27 pounds, or just shy of 5 pounds a week.  It wasn’t easy, but she did it.  Now we’re both going to hopefully start working a little harder on our health and continue to lose weight and get in shape.

We’ve had a rough year health-wise, but it seem that comes with getting older.  So we’re just gonna have to manage that.  As I posted in a long, rambling post yesterday. Not that we celebrated in the best way ever, going to the Mellow Mushroom here in Huntsville.  But hey, we got the Kosmic Karma, which has to be better than most pizza, health-wise.

While I’m talking about things I’m proud of, I have to add my kids.  They both participated, quite successfully, in the Autumn Chase Fun Run. I’m not sure what Molly, my four year old, ran the mile long track, in…  but Sean did it in 9:38.  I’m pleased as punch with that, and the fact that both of them ran an ENTIRE MILE without stopping once!

So there, a tidbit about the family.  Despite the yelling I’ll get about posting personal information on the net…

Sean (in the orange) Takes Of On the Autumn Chase Fun Run

Sean (in the orange) Takes Of On the Autumn Chase Fun Run

Molly Rounds the Corner at the Autumn Chase Fun Run

Molly Rounds the Corner at the Autumn Chase Fun Run

My son, the genuis?

Every parent wants to be proud of their child. It is a natural thing, as much pride in the child as in the parental skill used to raise them. So report cards came out yesterday, and I’m feeling rather proud. And if you look at the numbers, my kid is a genius.

Two things came out with this report. Now my son is in kindergarten, so we aren’t talking GPA here. These reports are much more fundamental.

On the report card itself, the kid got straight “S” with one exception. He got an “N” in finishes work in a timely manner. Which makes him mine, the worlds best procrastinator.

With that said, top marks across the board is nice, but fairly common I imagine. It was the other report that has me wondering.

This report, called Dribbles, measures his skill at reading readiness. I’m not going to pretend to understand or remember the catagories this set of tests measures. What I know is the report gives my son’s level of accomplishment measured against a benchmark of where he needs to be at this point in the school year.

I also recognize that those benchmarks are the minimum level of compentance expected, not the maximum expected or even the norm. It is the low mark for the year. Barely passing, if you will.

Of the four graded areas, one is the “final” grade for the year. If the child passes the benchmark at mid-year, then they are no longer tested in that catagory. The benchmark was 25. My son got a 30. So not bad at all.

On the other catagories, his reading skill compared to the benchmark was much wider. On one, the benchmark was 11, and he got a 41. The end of year benchmark is only 35, so he’s already scoring higher than the final benchmark at mid-year.

He did the same on two other catagories, far surpassing the mid-year benchmark and exceeding the year end benchmark. On the most challlenging of. The tasks, he blew through the mid-year mark and just missed the year end mark by a couple of points.

So looking at these marks, I’m tempted to jump to the conclusion that my son is a genuis. But I have to remember a few things.

First, this test measures reading readiness, and he is reading. Not theological papers, but maybe he’ll start next week.

Second, his mother and I read like books are food. He grew up watching us devour books like a fat man eating pringles. He picked up our love of reading very early and has had access to books from the first day he was with us.

Third, his mom is a kindergarten teacher. And while she hasn’t been blaten about it, she has been “teaching the test” since day one. I’m not suggesting that she’s been cheating and training him just to pass these tests, but since she knows how the test works, she has taught him reading in the same manner as the tests, instead if fumbling through it like other parents.

With those three things in mind, I must temper my jump to genuis for him. His mom keeps saying she wants a middle of the road kid, but at least for now she’s gotten a top of the class one.

But all is not rosey. My kid is weird. I mean out there weird. Like loud noises send him into convulsions, sharp words bring on tears, and he is an overly sensitive soul. He is always working on a plan, which usually involves a way to get out of whatever he is supposed to be doing.

Wait a minute. My son is wicked smart, always scheming, and a little weird. He’s not a genuis, he’s an evil scientist trying to take over the world.

God help us.