This is our last week of 2008's summer season. We have one overnighter and a Day Camp. Throw in several private missions and you have it. It will be an easy week and then we are done.
I want to thank all of you for a fantastic summer. Thank you for the extra time you put in . Thank you for going above and beyond the call of duty. Thank you for creating a friendly atmosphere at the Center. Thank you for your willingness to do anything asked. I know I
say this over and over but I can't believe the quality and caliber of volunteers and staff we have. I have always said that the right people show up at the right time when we are in need. You all know I can't possibly thank all of you individually so please accept this as a personal thank you and pat on the back.
I've been asked by many what my plans are for the next two weeks. I think many of you think I need a break and are hoping I have plans for a vacation. I thought of traveling but instead have decided to stay home and enjoy the final days of summer without rushing about and driving endless hours only to discover once I get there that I'd rather be home. I'll clean out some closets and cupboards. There is the garage and yes....... the car that needs to be washed. I washed it last in February. I guess you can see I don't place my self worth in the car I drive. To me, the Battlestar (my Lincoln) is a tool that I use to get from here to there. I think of my car like I do my electric can opener. I don't take pride in my electric can opener but would seriously miss it if it stopped working.
I'm not cutting those of you that worship your cars. I understand you look at them as extensions of yourself. I know your 'type' all too well. My Dad is one of you. Saturday's were sacred to my Dad. It was his time to put the messy universe to right by washing our family cars. Each car was taken, one by one, to the car wash. After the wash, the cars were drive home to be toweled dried, waxed, and polished. The interiors were scrubbed. The finishing touch was the placement of the Evergreen Tree Car Freshener placed over the rear view mirror.
You felt you needed to use your shirt tail to open the door on Sunday morning when we got into the car to go to church. Of course we had to sit still and NEVER TOUCHED THE WINDOWS - OH THE HUMANITY OF IT - TOUCHING THE DIAMOND GLASS WINDOWS SPARKLING IN THE SUN.
So, down the street we drove - cardboard figures sitting erect in the car with hands in laps. Dad, sitting in the driver's seat smiling and nodding to neighbors as we roared down 38th Street at 5 miles per hour.
One Sunday we were late for Church. It was a Sunday never to be forgotten. The car was in the garage. We gently and tenderly entered the glistening vehicle and sat with arms in place and heads forward. The last to enter was Father. He of course had to slowly open the garage door to avoid unsettling the dust that had formed between the panels. He got in and started the engine. It didn't start. We looked at each other. He tried again - success. He spun his head around and carefully steered the car out of the garage. He glanced at each of us with the smile of a man about to display his high school MVP football trophy to his daughter's prom date.
Mother was the first to see 'it' from the front seat as the car rolled into the sun. There was a gasp and a quick hand to her mouth. We sat up even straighter and looked forward, past the Evergreen Tree Air Freshener, and onto the hood of the car. Dad turned around and looked at Mother wondering what the sound was and then followed her eyes to the hood of the car.
Non- sabbath words were spoken. Even the baby stopped sucking her pacifier and watched the green and brown words come smoking out of his mouth. He jumped out of the car and ran into the garage giving me the chance to lean forward and up between the seats to see what could
cause such a disaster. Mother pointed with one hand while the other was still up to her mouth. "The Cat" she whispered.
There, across the hood were the distinct paw prints of our black cat. I sat back and smiled. That cat had the guts to do something none of us dared - Show the old man what we thought of that 1965 Brown Rambler. He quickly returned with a soft cloth and wax and began
reworking the hood while darting his head back and forth looking for Whiskers. I sat back in my seat and leaned toward the back window. The cat had its time and now it was mine. I stretched out my finger and reached for the window. Closer and closer my finger moved toward
the glass. My brothers and sisters watched, wide eyed with mouths open.
That day I touched the glass with my finger - way down in the very corner, out of his sight. For weeks and weeks it stayed there, surviving every wash and wax - always a reminder of a son's first act of independence.
How did I get started on that!? Oh yea. My Lincoln and a can opener. Anyway........ it isn't often but there you go. A glimpse into the life of your Director. An opportunity to understand me. So, if you ever see my Lincoln all nice and clean, you have my permission to leave your fingerprint on any window you choose.
I'll See you all in the Trenches,