Saturday, April 27, 2013


Our view
Where do you stand on the coincidence issue? You did know there was an issue, didn't you? Most Christians I know are not believers......they think those things that appear to be random associations are actually providential and have meaning in the scheme of things. They are coincidental atheists.

Yesterday Sharon and I set out to find a place for brunch. We had nothing in mind except to maybe find a new place. After driving a couple of blocks down Central Avenue, Sharon, who has a life and doesn't like to waste time,  reminded me that my iphone knows everything. So I pulled over and googled "brunch places on Central in St. Pete". What came right up was a quaint little cafe one block away from where we were.

We ate at a table on the sidewalk. There were only two tables outside. That was probably because there were ants in the sugar jar and derelict types wandering around being loud and creepy. We didn't mind. The weather was beautiful and we were feeling our urbaninity.

Right across the street I commented on the stately four-story Alexander Hotel. I had never really noticed its classical revival architecture before, though I've driven past it many times. I was wondering when it was built and by whom when Sharon reminded me that my iphone knows everything. I googled it and discovered it was built in 1919 by Neel Reid (and that it was classical revival architecture).

I went on to read that Mr. Reid had once lived in my hometown of Roswell, GA. Roswell is a big city now, but was a small town when I was growing up. My ancestors founded it in the early 1800's. Mr. Reid had lived in Mimosa Hall which is one of the founding father's residences, built in 1830. I would guess that my great-great (and maybe another great, I'm not sure) grandfather, Valentine Coleman, had been a guest there at some point.

AND.............Neel Reid died in 1926, the year my mother was born. was on February 14, the day she married my daddy (but of course not the same year because you can't get married the year you're born, unless you're from Alabama where I always heard there were no marriage rules). Anyway, these little connections fascinated Sharon and me, as we flipped ants off our coffee cups and avoided eye contact with the passersby.

Then there's this:  You know that our family has been grieving the passing of Greg's parents, both gone within the last four months. Just as our hearts were feeling the twinges of relief,  we find that Morris, my mother's long time, loving, might-as-well-call-him-husband.... has colon cancer. His surgery is scheduled for Wednesday.  He's 92. I am really worried as I set off for Roswell on another leg of this peculiar, yet familiar journey.

There's a circle of sorrow swirling over my head from the generation of my parents. They seem to have formed a line at the bus stop, as C. S. Lewis mused, awaiting their turn to board the Greyhound that will take them from world to world. Vivian's dear father found his seat just this past week. And another friend's mother has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. 

It hurts because it isn't natural. God never intended death when He created the universe........didn't plan for us to suffer......and yet we do. Man has been googling that one since he left the i-garden........and still no easy answers. Of course, we have to take responsibility for sin (and thus pain) in the world......and believe that God has taken responsibility for redemption. So many cycles in motion, each dependent on the others, interlocking, interwoven......a master coincidences allowed (well maybe a few, like Neel Reid from Roswell).

But btw, Morris's last name is also Reid. You'd have to be seriously mystical to read anything into that, but nevertheless, it's there. Just like the grief.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ideal Date

Sometimes I take myself on a date. Not that I'm that desperate. I do have some cool guy friends who I go out with occasionally. The last one commented that my cute new floral jeans looked like a nurse's uniform from All Children's (I know you're reading this, Date, but don't worry.  I'm protecting your identity so my girlfriends won't come beat you with clubs).

Anyway, sometimes it's just nice to be with me. Like today. I asked myself if I'd like to go to a movie and I said "yes".  I asked what I'd like to see and I said "How 'bout that Oz movie?" So off, I went.

I know how to do movies traditional Vermeer style. I have a movie purse that has stood the test of time. It holds microwave popcorn,  Reese's Pieces, water and a thermos of vanilla-flavored coffee.  I no longer have to share these with my children, so my date and I can smuggle it in and consume it all...even if that elicits some curious stares from the coupled-up theater patrons (are they still "theater patrons" if its a movie theater?)

I can walk to Muvico from my house. I don't have to ask my date to pay for parking. My date always agrees to sit exactly where I want to, near the middle.  Our opinions of the movie never conflict and neither of us likes to stay for the credits.

When it was over I asked myself if I'd like to walk over to Beach Drive for a latte and people watching. I enthusiastically agreed. Sitting there outside Paciugos, just for a split second I wished I had a guy friend across the table to talk to. I pictured it and almost started a conversation then thought better of it. I could easily get carried away with that (both figuratively and literally). Many of those people you think are on drugs in the street have probably just been single too long. 

I decided it would be healthier and more comforting to picture Jesus sitting there with me. He is, after all, my constant companion and best friend.  But he isn't really my type for a date. That long wavy hair and beard are so .....'60's. I'm really glad we have no sketches or even descriptions of God, the man. That would screw a lot of us up. Bad enough Mary is always showing up in loaf bread and such.

After sipping and people watching I chivalrously walked myself home and heated myself some leftover collards and beans. I told myself I was too full from the latte for supper, but I reminded me I would be hungry later so I might as well eat. Then I could relax, sit with me on the sofa and watch TV and blog.

I like myself. I have a lot of style...for a cheap date.