Second Chances

Prompt #12 from 642 things – You have just swallowed your pride and done something you didn’t want to do. Your friend wants to know why. The two of you are driving around an almost-full parking garage looking for a space for the friend’s over sized pickup. Write the scene.

There was a moment of stunned silence. Then I knew my brother was mad, and honestly I couldn’t blame him. I was almost mad myself about the decision I’d made. He wanted to know why I’d invited her tonight. People always seem to ask the questions I don’t have the answer to.

After she’d stood me up the week before, because of some lame excuse, I’d somehow managed to swallow my pride and invite her out again tonight. It seemed like we’d been driving around this parking garage for 30 minutes, but it had only been 10 minutes in reality.

“You oughta get rid of this oversized truck if you’re gonna live in the city,” I said.

“You oughta ask me before you make a stupid decision.”

No second chances is what I’d always told myself. Why give yourself another chance of getting hurt? I reckon because we are all given a second chance at the start of each new day. Then we found a parking spot.


Longsword Fighting

From my first exposure to the Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings, and all things of that nature, I’ve loved medieval style sword fighting. Show me a movie with sword fighting and battles in it, and I’m there.

You know those movies where parents always tell their kids, “Why don’t you go outside and play?” Yeah well, when I was a kid, I was actually outside. And usually, I had a stick in my hand that was in my mind of course, a broadsword.

Anyway, the point of all of this, is to draw your attention to this special story by the New York Times about the sport of longsword fighting. Yes, it’s actually a thing. This isn’t fencing. This is fighting with longswords! And before you go calling all of these people nerds and what not, I’ll have you know, it is a physically demanding sport. It’s intense, it’s fast-paced and it’s AWESOME.

Here’s the video: Longsword Fighting

So I’d really like to try my hand at this longsword fighting. As many sword fighting movies as I’ve seen, I’d have to be good at it right? And here’s a link to a group that hosts a lot of these tournaments.

Why Do Kids Love Rocks?

Item #13 in my treasure chest – rocks

Kids find so many simple things intriguing. I’m sure all of us can think of a time when we’ve seen a kid pick up a rock and examine it closely before throwing it or stuffing it in his pocket. Why do kids like rocks so much? And I don’t know, maybe city kids don’t really have any interest in rocks, but I know for a fact that growing up in west Central Texas, I liked rocks.

First of all, there are tons of cool rocks out in that area. It is common to stumble across a piece of flint out around Abilene, and I bet something about the smooth surface of a piece of flint makes it appealing to a child’s mind. On some occasions we even found some old Indian arrowheads.

Of course some rocks you just throw at a bigger rock, or into a pond or something. But sometimes, I’d find one that was unique in some way, and I’d keep it. I’m not saying they were the arkenstone but there was always just something that made me want to hold onto them. And all these years later I’m glad I did.

Why do I keep these rocks in my treasure chest?

These rocks are like so many other things in the treasure chest. There’s nothing in them that makes them intrinsically valuable, but they are memories and pictures of a part of my life that is past. Every part of a life, makes the current life what it is, or isn’t. So you can never keep too many reminders of where you’ve been, and what you did there. That’s what the rocks do.

Airplane Chatter

Prompt #11 from 642 things – Tell a complete stranger about a beloved family tradition

I never mind flying. I had a window seat, and the gentle hum of the jet engines was usually enough to put me to sleep. Or sometimes I’d read a book. But this time I was worried about being late, so I kept looking at my watch, knowing full well that watching would make the time pass slower.

“You in a hurry?” the person next to me asked.

“Nah,” I said, “Just don’t wanna be late.”

He laughed and knowingly asked, “Special occasion eh? Where you headed?”

“Nah, not really,” I said. “And home.”

“So how can you be late?” he asked.

“I might miss out on a hamburger,” I said.

“Well you can stop and get one on your way,” he said.

“Nah you don’t understand. Every Friday night we cook hamburgers at home. They’re the best hamburgers I’ve ever tasted.”

He laughed.

“Oh I gotcha,” he said. “Well in my family we…”

And he went on to talk about steaks and beer, or something. But I wasn’t listening. I was in rural Texas, sitting on the back porch picking on my guitar, and waiting for the burgers to be done. The air was crisp and clean. The grill was out under a shade tree, but I could still smell the good smell of hamburger and Worcestershire from the porch. Everything moved slower out here, so I reckon I made it on time.

An Awkward Wal-Mart Encounter

I’m going to preface all of this by saying I’m a big fan of Wal-Mart. They’re the most successful international business, and they have an excellent company structure and system. There I said it.

Photo is from wikimedia.

Photo is from wikimedia.

If you’ve ever gone into a store and bought something, and as you’re making your way to the exit, that alarm thing starts going crazy, and everyone is stopping and looking at you like you’re some sort of criminal, then you know how awkward my trip to Wal-Mart was yesterday.

But before I go and explain all of that, let’s talk about something else first. Okay, so I try really hard not to be stereotypical, but I know when I say “Wal-Mart greeters” you’re all envisioning the same type of person. They’re my favorite Wal-Mart workers, but almost half the time I wonder how they even made it to sit in that place just inside the exit.

Sometimes you’ll get a really friendly greeting, if it’s early in the morning. But I’m telling you, once you hit afternoon it’s hard to tell if those greeters are even conscious. I always smile and nod at the greeters, but when I walked into Wal-Mart yesterday around 3 p.m., the man sitting on his scooter didn’t acknowledge me, so I’m not sure if he was awake.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to test out that pirate show called Black Sails, so when I saw season one was on sale, I had to grab it. Black Sails was on SALE! Hah! So I went to the self-checkout… because I’m modern and independent, and I quickly had all my items bagged and paid for.  But that’s when the worst thing happened.

As I walked past the greeter, and toward the door, that alarm thing sounded once, and I heard an old and shaky voice yell “Hey!” somewhat feebly. Surely I’m not the one who set off the alarm. It’s never me. It’s always someone else. I kept right on walking until the alarm sounded again followed by another “Hey!”

I froze in my steps. Oh nooooooo! Everyone was staring at me. They all knew what I had done. I had set off the alarm. I turned back toward the greeter, and there he was glaring at me, with his hand raised in the air, yelling “Hey! Hey! YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”

Even today, I’m not sure if being confronted by Gandalf-In-A-Scooter was funny, awesome or terrifying. Thankfully I really hadn’t done anything wrong. Some code on Black Sails had to be turned off, which the girl managing the check-out section of the store was happy to do. And so I escaped unscathed.

So the next time you think you could never be the one who set off the alarm in Wal-Mart… think again.

Just Call The Plumber

Prompt #10 from 642 things – Write a scene where the only spoken dialogue is “Uh-huh,” “Umm,” “Urrrr,” “Mm-mmm.”

“Uh-huh,” he replied to her question.

He laid flat on his back with his head under the sink, and she stood at his feet, watching suspiciously. His hand reached out, searching for the pliers. She placed them in his hand and he replied, “Mm-mmm.”

What happened next, is why you should always just call the plumber.

There was a loud creaking noise, like pieces of old metal rubbing together. The man crawled from under the sink and said, “Uhm.” Then there was a crash and a smash and the sink fell with a clang in a spray of grey water.

“Urrrr,” the woman said, as she stormed out to call the plumber.

Collecting Cards

Item #12 in my treasure chest – playing cards

Have you ever been on one of those kicks where you start collecting different types of things? When I was younger, I just sort of felt like I was supposed to be collecting something. It seemed to me everyone should have at least one collection. Over the years I haven’t created one specific collection set, but I have started several different ones, which has honestly turned out to be more interesting.

I used to collect decks of playing cards. On any vacation, I would buy a pack of cards, and other time I saw a deck that I liked. I don’t remember why I thought cards would be a good collectible, but somewhere along the way I decided they were. At one time, I probably had somewhere between 15 and 20 decks.

The decks in the picture are Civil War battles, Iraq most wanted, Roy Rogers and Spider Man 3 collectible cards. As you can see, I had quite an odd variety. Of these four sets I think the Iraq most wanted is my favorite. I obviously found these around the time when the war had started over there and it has the names of Iraqi and terrorist leaders on the cards.

Why do I keep these cards in my treasure chest?

Like I said, they started as collectibles but then I probably moved on to collecting something else. And I do love to play cards, so it’s always nice to know exactly where to go when I want to play a hand. What’s your favorite card game?