There is a very remote possibility that Cat Stevens and I have more in common than I thought.
I've always loved the melody and lyrics to "Morning Has Broken" -- the old Scottish Gaelic hymn he brought back to life in 1972. It comes to mind sometimes when I crack open an eye at 7 a.m. to watch the sun creep across the bedroom curtains. When I hear that song, I like to imagine the artist is a "morning" person.
"Morning has broken, like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for the springing, fresh from the world."
Daybreak is my favourite time of day. The world is quiet. The air is fresh and dewy. On fine days, the birds almost always burst out in song -- except for one.
There's a red-headed woodpecker who sits on our TV antenna at dawn each day, mistaking it, I am sure, for a juicy, bug-filled oak tree. His "rat-a-tat-tat" is distinctive by the pinging sound he makes against the metal pole.
His tenaciousness is admirable. Little Woody can keep up the soft drilling on and off for almost half an hour before admitting he's hammering on the wrong "tree". I lie there in bed, listening and wondering why he comes every morning to perform the same fruitless task.
And then I get it. Like me, and quite possibly Cat, he loves the morning. He loves the new melody he is creating on the metal pole. Forget the bugs. This is his way of celebrating the break of day.
Carpe diem, my little friend.
The game of golf looks so easy. Swing the club, hit the ball and watch it roll into that little cup. Just try it. Not so easy.
I used to struggle with golf. I took lessons and I had lots of advice from family and friends. Keep your head down, my mentors said. Hit then spit. Keep your left arm straight. Put the ball between your feet. Hit off your left heel. Grip, stance, club selection, ball placement, lie, hip rotation, follow through. So many things to remember.
Phyllis Diller knew what she was talking about when she said, "The reason why the pro tells you to keep your head down is so you can't see him laughing." I'm sure Phyllis and I would have made a good twosome.
Finally I developed a new attitude to golf. I decided to just hit the ball, deal with it and find other elements about the game to enjoy. Now I just love whizzing around on the little electric cart. The breeze is heavenly and the scenery is spectacular -- trees, grass, sunshine, wildlife, fresh air. Golf attire looks spiffy on everyone. We strut around the green looking like the PGA players we watch on TV. Other than the mechanics of the game, what's not to like?
Recently, I was fortunate enough to link up with some ladies who, like me, aren't the best golfers. We duffed it off the tee. We watched each other slice and hook. We pounded our putts well past the hole and chipped into many of the sand bunkers on the course. We hooted and laughed and high-fived when we had a lucky shot. The four of us agreed that the hole should be the size of a manhole cover, instead of a coffee cup. We made the most of our afternoon on the course and we had fun.
The Three Stooges poster has a ring of truth to it -- "Golf with your friends." It reminds me to relax and look around, laugh at myself, love my friends and enjoy the experience.
It's some of the best advice I ever got.
Into every grandparent's life, a little poop must fall.
Take my youngest grandson, Everett, for instance. His bowel habits are typical of any baby under twelve months. They vary with time of day and type of food ingested.
But one thing is consistent -- the aroma.
Sometimes I can tell when Everett will need a diaper change. He scrunches his face up, turns red and grunts. But sometimes, he sneaks one by me and it is only the gentle breeze of someone passing by that gives my nose a hint of what is to come.
It's when you get his diaper off that you really blanch. I've seen grown men be reduced almost to tears by the smell -- case in point, his dad. There are times when even a haz-mat unit would be challenged to see the job through.
Here's the payback. As soon as Everett feels the coolness of the outside air hit his bare backside, he grins that great big, toothless, shiny, pink-gummed smile that lights up the room. That's because he has you right where he wants you.
By the heartstrings.