Saturday, December 29, 2012
For me, when that moment happens, tears quickly well up in my eyes, my lower lip trembles and I get a sudden case of the sniffles.
Such are moments found in movies like, "Field of Dreams", when Ray Kinsella asks his father, "Hey Dad, you wanna have a catch?", or in "Powder", when the Father (Sheriff) and son, who have been estranged for a long while, embrace after the wife/mother passes away from cancer.
Despite Hollywood's many failings to our society, they do occasionally get it right and create a moment that is unforgettable. Well, if you can grasp what I'm saying here, if you can close your eyes and remember those scenes and let those feelings wash over you again, then you have some idea of what Christmas 2012 was like for me.
You see, it began with a great deal of anxiety, excitement and preparation. D-day, so to speak, was Thursday, December 20th. The hour, 12:35pm. The event, my wife's arrival on a U.S. Airways flight from Salt Lake City after not having seen her in over four months. Her visit was to last one week, but fortunately for me, a busy holiday flight schedule and a stubborn Buddy Pass granted me two extra days. Not that I prayed for the extra days, but a secret part of me might have wished for the extra time (Shhh, don't tell my wife that).
Standing at the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport (go ahead and laugh at that, I still do), also officially recognized by the FAA with the acronym FAT, I was watching a giant screen television monitor just outside the area where passengers exit the security portion of the terminal. The screen showed the very long hallway that passengers had to walk from the gates to the lobby. So I'm standing there, waiting and watching with baited breath, as passenger after passenger appears on the screen, hoping to get a glimpse of my wife wending her way towards me. The flight was delayed by 40 minutes, so my watching was impatient and intense.
Finally, FINALLY, there she was towing her luggage the length of the hallway, and YES, I found myself suddenly having a moment. What a feeling that was! I needed to pinch myself to make sure it was real, and even then, I ONLY saw her on a monitor, so does that mean she's real? Surely, maybe, hopefully, and YES, as she came walking through the exit doors towards me, my moment was exceeding moment-status and I found myself experiencing an event. The event was a string of moments tacked onto one another. An event translates into excessive heart swelling, wave after wave of warmth and goose bumps battling for control of my body, control I obviously lack as tears the size of boulders well up in my eyes. Now, my lower lip did not tremble, just my hands out of shear nervousness. And of course, sniffles and no Kleenex.
Wrapping my arms around Helena was the beginning of my Christmas holiday. It was the first in a string of gifts I would get to enjoy while she was here. Each gift building on the last in terms of happiness, contentment and comfort. You can't put a price on this kind of gift as they are priceless. Just ask President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor to the Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
In a 2012 Christmas message, President Uchtdorf taught that there is a temporal value and a spiritual value to the Christmas gifts we give one another. The world focuses too much on the temporal, when it is the spiritual that matters most. The talk was entitled, "The Good and Grateful Receiver". I found myself reflecting on the counsel Jesus Christ gives us in
19¶Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
And so there I was, holding...embracing, a wonderful, remarkable, and very lovely woman in my arms. My wife. Let me type that again. MY WIFE! And in that moment, and throughout that event, the planets were aligned, sunbeams broke through the tule fog that is Fresno, and balance was achieved in the universe.
Though there was temporal and spiritual value to my Helena joining me this Christmas, it is the spiritual value that matters most. You see the spiritual value of her gift to me translates into treasures I can lay up in Heaven. Faith, obedience, charity, love, selflessness, service, kindness, a warm smile, eyes that sparkle, and a desire to do the will of my Heavenly Father; those are treasures I can lay up in Heaven. Treasures that will please my Heavenly Father and my oldest brother, my Savior and Redeemer, even Jesus Christ.
So with that gift, comes a great deal of gratitude to her and for her, and to the Lord for making this happen.
And there are greater treasures yet in store to be laid up. However, those treasures can only be offered in partnership with my wife. Specifically, a marriage that is sealed for time and all eternity. An objective! A goal! And one day, an accomplishment.
To my wife I say, "Thank you my dearest for being you. For being my best and most cherished friend, and the love of my life. No matter where I am, you are always at the center of my heart where it is warmest and most tender".
I look forward to the remainder of our days together where we, as husband and wife, will share, learn and grow together to become what the Lord has in mind for us. I believe we will both help one another reach our potential in this life and the life to come. We are following a path, setting out to make ourselves a happy life, and I am confident that we will indeed get there and enjoy many blessings from our Heavenly Father. This will all happen soon.
We are sweethearts! One day soon, we will be sweethearts forever.
I love you wife!
Greg "The Good and Grateful Receiver" of all that is you!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Oh how I love anything to do with Astronomy! Not that I'm an expert of any kind, but all my life I have been drawn to any and all things that have to do with the heavens. Yes, I am a Trekkie, and no, I am not embarrassed by it in the least.
So it was with a great deal of interest that I was looking forward to the Perseid Meteor Shower this year. It was a toss up whether I would go or not, and if I did go, could I get my wife to go with me?
Well, an act of spontaneity grabbed me last night and I suggested to my wife that we go up South Fork Canyon - an offshoot of Provo Canyon - around midnight to watch the meteor shower. We would take a couple of sleeping bags, two really big blankets, four pillows, a very large tarp, and our scruffy looking, nerf-herder of a Border Collie - Evee.
Now, last time we did this (about five years ago), we were chased off by an intrusive skunk. Nevertheless, we did not allow that cherished memory to deter us from our design. The only problem was that both of us went to bed around 11 p.m. and appeared to be turned in for the night. Suddenly at 11:36 p.m. we found ourselves getting dressed and throwing all our bedding into the car, including the scruffy looking, nerf-herder of a Border Collie, and by midnight were winding out way up the canyon.
Once we passed Vivian Park, we quickly discovered our spur-of-the-moment idea was not unique in the least. A virtual train of cars were heading up and down South Fork Canyon, and as I feared, when we arrived at the park almost all parking spaces were filled. I stressed even more when I realized the park was filled with hymn singing Zoobies (BYU students on group dates) and non-Zoobie-aged young adults with foul mouths and cigarettes draping from their lips. Great, right? Now I can watch a meteor shower while renditions of "Nephi's Courage" and Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" competed for stage time.
So, without too much hesitation, my wife and I lugged our "bedding" across the park looking for a comfy place to settle down. I soon realized the most brilliant idea we had for the evening was bringing the tarp with us as the grass was soaking wet.
We got everything situated and settled in under the blanket for a nice night of meteor watching. The sky above us was a black expanse with bright stars and the Milky Way band a stark contrast. It was gorgeous. We were warming up nicely with the blankets, cool air hovering above our faces, and a dog that felt the sudden need to shower my wife with wet, sloppy kisses. After a few minutes, Evee settled down too.
The meteors were indeed there, and each time one lit up the sky, the crowd throughout the park would 'ooh' and 'aah', or scream, in unison. It really was looking like a great night for star-meteor gazing.
But see, that's exactly the kind of moment when 'Lemon Luck' strikes. For those of you that don't know, Lemon Luck is the bad luck that strikes in a moment and at the worst times. My wife does not like it when I refer to Lemon Luck, but even she cannot deny it's existence.
So it was then when Lemon Luck decided to make an appearance and this is how it went down.
We could hear sprinklers running on the backside of the park behind us on the other side of a hill. I did experience a twinge of dread at the sound, but had hoped the city or county might have had enough foresight to turn the sprinklers off knowing that hundreds people would be at the park that night watching a meteor shower. Instead of seeing things for what there were, I rationalized in my mind that the city probably set the automatic sprinklers to run earlier in the evening and hoped that this cycle of sprinklers that was watering the park right at the moment would be the last. Am I a fool or what?
So there we were, watching the meteor shower, pillow talking and really enjoying the night, when we heard drops of water begin to hit the top edge of our tarp. We immediately knew what was happening and both of us reacted in our own way.
My reaction was to stay seated and pull the blanket over my body to protect myself from getting wet. My wife, on the other hand, chose a completely different reaction. Her's was to jump up and quickly run away from the sprinklers. Of course that meant she grabbed a handful of blanket and took them with her, which means the protection I thought I had disappeared in a flash. Mind you, these were not ordinary sprinklers. They were mega-sprinklers covering the grass with 100 foot swaths of water. So when my blanket of protection disappeared, the onslaught of water on my back and head amounted to a deluge. Of course I jumped up to get out of the way, the only result being that my butt and legs were now wet too.
First thought that went through my mind was, 'this is why I love her so much', ...NOT! It was more like, 'Oh My HELL?'!
So there we stood, looking at each other like, "What were you thinking?", both believing we did the right thing, but both standing there wet from head to toe. Our blankets, pillows, sleeping bags were wet as well. My frustration level at the inconsideration of the city/county rose a few degrees, but thankfully my wife calmed me down after a couple of minutes.
We did not want to leave so soon, so I figured the best idea was to turn the sleeping bags, blankets and pillows over on their dry sides and we would try again. We also dragged everything about 50 ft. forward from where we were so the sprinklers would not hit us.
Several other groups of people did the same thing, but they were not as affected as we were because our location was about the worst place to be for getting wet.
So, O.K. fine, we salvaged the night, settled in once again, and despite being wet, actually began to warm up and get comfortable. The meteors were awesome to watch and the crowd was still into it.
Not ten minutes went by and we again heard drops of water hitting the top edge of the tarp. This time before my wife could eject herself off the tarp and make a dash for it, I grabbed her and told her to stay under, that is UNDER, the blankets and just ride out the storm. She complied and this time we didn't suffer the indignity so much. However, our bedding was drenched and not in any condition to shelter us from the cold. It was obvious there were multiple sprinkler stations cycling and each cycle was heading from the back of the park towards the road.
WE WERE DONE!
I pulled the four corners of the tarp together to bundle up all our bedding. It made for a gigantic looking sack, which my wife commented made me look like Santa Clause traipsing through the park. Not really sure if it was the sack or the 30 lbs. I've gained over the past six months that qualified me for that comment, but nonetheless the image made sense.
I lugged it all back to the car, got my dripping family all situated inside and found myself heading back home at 1:30 a.m. having spent barely forty minutes watching the meteor shower. I grumbled all the way back home about the city/county's ignorance and planned to call them in the morning to unleash a piece of my mind upon their poor, unfortunate souls.
Well, I am calm this morning and have not made that call. I am however, a little annoyed that my wife made me type this post against my will.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
O.K., so I'm a total nut for wild weather. Love to watch it, love to be in it, love to chase it in the car.
The variety of weather we get in Utah is one of the things that makes living here so fantastic. A day of wind, hail, rain, lightning, thunder, awesome looking cloud formations, rainbows and sunsets will put me in the best of moods.
The past 24 hours has been a lot of fun. Nighttime sleeping with lightning flashes and rolling thunder in the distance is like a bedtime lullaby for me. Light rain, then heavy rain, then wind whipping around the house is what I call "therapy".
Mind you, I am foolish at times. Last night I took Evee out for a nighttime stroll at Fort Utah Park. This is my mangy mutt right here...
She was loving it. I was loving it. Then, a white light lit up the sky, a momentary sound of fizzling, then KABOOM! I ducked like that would have made a difference between life and death, and Evee ran for the car.
I was on the phone with my wife at the time and I cursed, LOL. Didn't even get into trouble for that one.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
California Penal Code Section 834b
(a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.
(b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following:
(1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and DEMANDING DOCUMENTATION to indicate his or her legal status.
(2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or leave the United States.
(3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity.
(c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Happenings in Fresno, CA
Submitted by: Don Averett
Below is a text that reminds us to pray and be on the alert. We ARE at war!!
Lt. Colonel Cotter some of you met recently. He spoke at Millbrook Church!!!
The wolves are among us!!!
I have deleted some of the names that brought this to me. The “text” I have not touched.
Excuse the language but don’t excuse the facts. Don’t give up your guns, and buy necessary ammunition if you can find it. Be cautious and alert.
Be ready if, God forbid, we need to protect our families and loved ones.
…You weren’t at Rotary Friday. You missed the only decent speaker we’ve had in more than a year.
LTC John Cotter is the 144th Fighter Wing’s antiterrorism officer. (Tony, you might remember him as Maj. Cotter who was the PIO the last
time we dealt with him).
Anyway, John had a two-part presentation. First part was describing his job as the unit’s antiterrorism officer. Pretty standard stuff.
The second part was “information that will curl your hair.”
Part-time air guardsman works as a checker at local Von’s. Two women in full burkas (or whatever inhell they’re called)
buy every pre-paid cellphone in the store. Clerk/airman gets to thinking about it. Goes to Cotter and reports incident.
Cotter asks store for surveillance video. It’s scary enough that he contacts Fresno FBI. FBI investigates, determines these women
have been doing this all over the Valley. Cell phones shipped through Canada to Iraq/Afghanistan where they become triggers for roadside bombs.
Shell station at Peach and Shaw. Every time a local GI goes there in fatigues they are asked specific questions.
“What is your unit?” “When are you deploying?” “How many aircraft are you taking?”
The F-16s out of Fresno fly CAP for west coast. As such they are the first line of defense so have the US’s most sophisticated
air-to-air missiles. Foreign governments would like to get their hands on those missiles or at least learn how to build them.
Also how many we have, etc. Two spy groups are working on it, one based at Fashion Fair Mall (the F-16s take-off pattern) and one
based at Sierra Vista Mall (the F-16s landing pattern).
Cotter said the ragheads (“But we don’t profile.”) are always probing the base. Two dorks in a pickup show up at the front gate wanting
to deliver a package marked “Air National Guard, Fresno.” No postage, no UPS, no FedEx, no DHL, no nothing. Just a probe.
I asked Cotter why we haven’t seen anything about this in The Bee, on KMJ, on local TV news. He said they’re not interested.
(That really pissed me off).
Since Friday I’ve learned of two other things. Tony, you remember my brother-in-law Frank, a mucky-muck from Avaya.
He had a Muslim tech who took a leave-of-absence for 6 weeks in Afghanistan. After the 6 weeks were up he called from New York
requesting an extension. Frank (who does profile) said, “ **** you, you’re fired!” and called the Fresno FBI who were very interested.
Don’t know the outcome.
A Muslim who owns a liquor store in my former hometown of Kingsburg was constantly bugging customers to buy guns for him.
Finally one of the guys I grew up with called the FBI.
We are a country at war and these **** ers are in among us. I don’t care what Janet Napolitano says, it’s a fight to the death and
we damned sure better be prepared. Brother-in-law Frank has a theory and I think it may be closer to the truth than Homeland Security wants
to admit. There are a certain number (probably a big number) of Muslims among us who are awaiting the “trigger date” and will begin randomly
killing as many of us as they can, sort of a Fort Hood on steroids. I know I’m getting prepared to shoot back.
Klare, if you can, get a hold of today’s Bee (Tony, you can look on line). Two items of interest. Sheriff Margaret Mims wants to grant
concealed carry permits to all who are qualified. Columnist Jim Boren, among the most bleeding of the bleeding heart liberals, says it’s
time for Fresno residents to arm themselves.