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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Look Ma, No Hands!

It is amazing how quickly a scent can transport your mind back in time. Standing at the kitchen sink, looking out the window and washing dishes by hand, a torrent of childhood memories came rushing back on a blizzard of bubbles scented of green Palmolive dish detergent. Green Palmolive was the all-purpose cleaner of choice for bicycles, swing sets, unwilling pets, really anything you could spray with a hose. After washing my bike, I would find one of my dad’s old oil cans, the kind with the clicky bottom and the long snout, and oil the chain and do other minor “repairs.” We lived at the bottom of a hill, just perfect for gliding home on your bike or skateboard, as long as you were careful to turn into our yard before hitting the highway on the other side of our house. The graveyard of ill-fated pets in our backyard was a testament to the dangers of the highway. My mom would stand at the kitchen window and give us the OK sign when we did a particularly neat trick. Flying down the hill we would yell, “Look Ma, no hands!” and maneuver the bike into the yard without a glitch. One of us realized that if you hit the curb just right it could be jumped like a ramp. A neighborhood boy sailed down the hill one day and hit the curb and did a complete flip. He landed on his back and the wind was knocked out of him. We were supposed to get married, I wonder if he remembers. My mom saw me get struck by a car from that window. I was running across the street and when I turned, I saw was a looming black car. I hit the side of it and rolled over the hood and landed in the street on the other side. The last thing I saw before being struck was the kitchen window, so I got up and kept running. The only problem was I had gotten turned around and was running back across the street. My mom ran right out of her flip-flops to rescue me. I sustained minor bumps and bruises, and the first of several cracks to the head. . .
I led my mother to the Lord just a few short years before she passed away. She was my cheerleader. As long as I knew that I had her blessing, I could run headlong into any army. I randomly find cards that she has sent me over the years tucked away in my house. One particularly memorable one said, “You’re going to make it, I swear!” The last hours of her life I stayed by her bedside. It was a drizzly, cold December day and the air hug heavy with the inevitable. I played guitar and sang to her, in a lucid moment she sang along with “How Great Thou Art” and told me that I was singing another song in the wrong key. Just before she passed away, I laid my head on her chest and listened to her heartbeat. This woman who I loved more than I can express was slipping away from me and into the arms of our loving Father. I sincerely miss her; but I know that she is safe in Christ. I was able to offer eternal life to the woman who gave me life, what a grand and beautiful irony. God’s offer of eternal life stands open to any who will answer.

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