Archive for April, 2018

Still tracking

After running the 200, 100, and 400 in the first meet (Branson) and long jumping in the second meet (also at Branson), Andrew wasn’t entered in the third meet (Rogers) because it was an all-relay meet, and he hasn’t trained for relays. Not for lack of desire, mind you; he says the track thing he’d like to do more than anything else is to run in the 4 by 400.  = )  But although he’s a senior, this is Andrew’s first time ever to be involved in track, so I think his lack of experience and expertise has limited his opportunities. At each of the next three meets (Harrison, Ozark, and Joplin), he was entered in the long jump.

The thing to understand is that doing a long jump takes maybe 15 seconds total, so being a track mom is a little different from being, say, a choir mom (who watches her kid’s ensemble sing for 20 glorious minutes out of a 100-minute concert), or a drama mom (who watches an amazing two-hour musical in which her kid is acting and/or singing in several scenes). And then there are baseball or basketball or football moms (who watch their kid’s team play an entire game). A mom of a long jumper, on the other hand, arrives when the meet starts, sits and waits until the time comes for her kid to run very fast and jump incredibly far for a total of less than a minute, and then waits patiently for another unknown amount of time to see the results.

But oh, the joy of watching those 45 seconds!

I went to Harrison to watch Andrew long jump, arriving – after only a few wrong turns – at 3:25. The field events were scheduled to begin at 3:30, and I innocently thought that the long jumping would be done by 4:30 and I’d be back home by 5:30. That’s not exactly how things worked out. When I got to the stadium and realized that the field events had actually started around 3:15, I initially panicked, fearing that I had missed my son’s moment(s) of glory, but I need not have worried. One four letter word that can never be mentioned in conjunction with a track meet is S-O-O-N.

Andrew’s first jump was at 5:12, and since Scott couldn’t be there, I wanted to get some pictures. I’ve learned that my phone actually does better than my camera at catching the action, so I practiced on some previous jumpers and endeavored to get at least one shot during each of Andrew’s jumps.

I will say that for the spectators, there’s a lot – really, quite an excessive amount – of sitting around and waiting. The athletes also do a lot of sitting around and waiting, followed by a bit of warming up and then another hefty dose of standing around and waiting.

See, there he is in his red and black, standing around and waiting. And if we wait around long enough and keep watching closely, and if our cell phone battery doesn’t die first, Andrew’s eventually going to run toward us and jump into a sandy pit that’s out of view just beyond the bottom left corner of the picture.


I told you so! He’s finally gotten the go-ahead to run, and here he comes.


If he steps over that second-from-the-pit line, his jump will be  a “scratch” and it’ll be disqualified. (I believe it’s permissible to step on the line, but not over it.)


No scratch! And look at him fly!


Wow. The eagle has landed.


This particular day was horrifically windy. When the meet started, it was about 75 degrees and sunny, and throughout the whole thing, the wind was 15-20 mph and gusting to nearly 30. After his jumps, Andrew came and sat with me. He was pretty excited, telling me he had jumped a PR (personal record) of 18 feet, zero inches. He told me all about the mechanics of it; what you do and how and when and why, and we both got some education watching the people who were marking and measuring the jumps. We also watched a number of races, which we enjoyed.

The reason we kept sitting there for so long was that the stadium has a big electronic scoreboard, and from time to time, they would post the results of the various events. The board could only fit eight listings at a time, so in races or field events where there were multiple heats, or when there were lots of competing athletes or teams, the results would appear in sets of eight, along with the four-letter abbreviation of each of the schools.

Waiting for Andrew to jump, I’d had plenty of time (a gross understatement!) to study that sign, so here, in no special order, I will provide the names of the schools that were at that track meet.









Green forest

Valley Springs








Eureka Springs


Oark (not a typo)


There’s a song that says, “I don’t need my name in lights; I’m famous in my Father’s eyes…” but I am not the least bit ashamed to say that I wanted to see Andrew’s name up on that board. And take a picture of it.  = )  So we sat and waited and sat and waited and sat and waited and watched the board. I was wearing jeans and a polo shirt and had brought a hoodie, but Andrew was just in his jersey and shorts, and with the wind still whipping, he was getting pretty cold. But gentleman that he is, he didn’t want to go back to his friends and leave me alone to watch the sign, and, well, I’m stubborn. I wasn’t about to move out of my seat till I got a picture of that sign!

The sun went down, the stadium lights came on, Andrew shivered, and still we sat and waited, and finally, at 7:23…


So now we have proof that Andrew long-jumped 18 feet, finishing 12th out of about 24 men. We gave each other high fives, he ran back to join his teammates, and I was so proud and happy that I treated myself to Wendy’s on the way home.

Shame on me

Last Tuesday was especially busy. We had lunch guests for whom I ended up cooking a “supper” meal, and that, along with getting the first floor of the house basically presentable, took a good chunk of the morning and early afternoon. Then there was our regular weekly laundry, plus desk work, stretching, and walking, and the fact that at 6:00 I still hadn’t figured out what to feed us for supper.

As I was putzing around in the kitchen, Scott was in the living room looking for weather on the TV, and at 6:23, he said, “Hey! did you know there’s an election today?”

An ELECTION?!?!?! Oh, my goodness! “No! Are you sure?”

“Yep. They just said something about a sample ballot.”

This was a problem of prodigious proportions!

Not only did I not know there was an election that day, I had no idea what was on the ballot, and I didn’t know what time the polls closed. Nevertheless, my integrity (and pride) wouldn’t let me – a person to whom a number of people look for election research and voting recommendations – miss an election, so while Scott pulled up a sample ballot on his computer, I quickly texted four people who might be able to advise me on how to vote.

It turns out that all we’d be voting on was whether to re-authorize and existing tax to fund our local community college, whether to adopt an additional new tax to do the same (no and no), and which two people of six we’d like to elect to the school board. I only recognized two of the names, and although I knew one of those candidates personally, having sung in our community choir with him for a couple years, I had no idea whether either of those two would make good school board members.

But I grabbed my wallet, we hopped in the car, and we high-tailed it to our church, which is where we vote. On the way, one of the folks I had texted replied with who he had voted for, and since I respect him and didn’t know anything, we both voted as he had. We drove home, and I had mixed feelings. Voting is SUCH a big deal to me, and to do it without having done any personal research was embarrassing. I felt like I had not been a responsible citizen. On the other hand, even thought it was definitely at the last minute (or 20), at least we did vote! Mostly, I just couldn’t believe that I had not even known it was election day. I had seen a paltry few campaign signs about, so I knew an election was coming up, but I figured it would be in a couple months or so – after LOTS of signs had sprouted everywhere. I was wrong.

One things for sure: I’ll be attending more closely to my civic duty in the future!

Seeing double

I’m sure I’ve said this many times before, but I walk along the highway in the mornings, and my walk takes me over the creek and back four times, which means crossing the bridge eight times. On my final pass heading back to the house, my treat to myself is to stop on the bridge and take a couple minutes to just stand there, stretch my calves, survey the scenery, look for turtles in the creek, and pray for a certain out-of-state friend of mine.

I nearly always see something alive. If not turtles (and it’s not quite turtle-seeing season yet), then fish of several varieties, or my noisy belted kingfisher friend, or maybe a great blue heron standing like a statue, or very, very, very rarely a beaver, mink, otter, or muskrat. Last week, all the turkey vultures in western Taney County held a conference in three big trees right around the bridge. I actually counted 61! They were all eyeing the many dozens of sucker carcasses the previous week’s fishermen had abandoned in and on the banks of the creek. Now to me, just sitting around in treetops looking at those heaps seemed an awful lot like going to Golden Corral and just sitting around plate-less at a table next to the buffet, but I guess the turkey vultures knew what they were doing.

That conference was something to see, but this morning was made that pale in comparison. I stopped on the bridge as usual, and as I looked upstream, a large bird came flying toward me. What was it? As it got closer, I could see that its head was white, and… yes… yes, it was indeed a mature bald eagle! God had timed his flight perfectly, to cross the bridge at the exact moment out of 45 minutes that I would be standing there. WOW! I turned to watch, grinning, as it flew on downstream. Then when it was nearly out of sight, I turned my gaze back upstream to begin scanning for turtles, and Sweet Georgia Peaches! Here came ANOTHER bald eagle, this one very slightly smaller than the first, flying toward me on the exact same path. It was almost unbelievable. TWO bald eagles on Easter Sunday morning!!! What a wonderful gift! (Not to mention the infinitely more wonderful fact that Christ is risen indeed.)

Glorious Resurrection Day!

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