My name is MacKenzie Addison K.
I was born June 12, 2014
My name is MacKenzie Addison K.
I was born June 12, 2014
My son got up early and joined me this morning. We chatted about Saturday’s game at Southern Miss. We sipped a little coffee and laughed together about the game. It reminded me of when I played football. At sixty-four, that seems so long ago.
When I was a junior in high school I played defensive nose guard and was also the long punt center. As a nose guard I was the antagonist. My job was to harass, intimidate and literally destroy the opposing center’s confidence while hiking the ball. I told him there was nothing he could do to keep me from charging right through him to take out the quarterback. I would knock him on his butt and it would be his fault they lost yardage. I swung my forearm in his face to terrorize and convince him that he was a failure.
Then I laughed when I remembered the first time I hiked that long ball for a punt. In my face was the biggest, ugliest defensive nose guard I’d ever seen. He was force-feeding me a bucket of fear and discouragement. His battle worn arm displayed scrapes and bruises proving his proficiency. I was now the recipient of the same fear tactics I had used on others.
I told him he wasn’t getting through me. My heart was determined on taking care of this ape. I took that nose guard straight to the ground. There, I thought, he won’t try that again. When he jumped up laughing and pointing behind me I turned around to see a pile of players covering the ball. Because I was fixated on my opponent instead of my job, I had created a hole in the line for others to run through and the ball had only gone about four yards.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!…And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV
I had lost focus and taken my eyes off of what was important. I realized then that it was not about my fear, but about the team. I had let the team down because I was afraid of my opponent. Oh yes, I had proved I could take him to the ground but I really hadn’t beaten him. The opposing team was in possession of the ball on the twelve-yard line. Do you know how I felt? It was my fault.
I dragged my tail to the sidelines. No one said a word, but I could feel the terror of the let down. Two plays later our opponents put seven points on the scoreboard. Coach Russo came over and stood by me without saying a word. Another punt situation had arrived. Without looking at me, he asked two simple questions.
“Do you have that out of your system now?
“Do you know what to do next?”
“Then go out there and prove yourself.”
I knew he believed in me and that if we were to win I must give my best. Not doing so would put a heavier load on my team members. I hiked the ball, the punter kicked it and I had done my job.
Football for me is only a memory. We each make serious mistakes in our lives, and what we do with them not only determines how we will move forward, but how we affect the rest of the team. Whether it is church or family, we have to remove fear and misplaced aggression from our thoughts, and determine to get back in the game and give our best effort. Our church and family can’t afford to pull our load.
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:1ff. ESV
Don’t let a mistakes take control of your life and keep you down. Get back up, face the fear and do what needs to be done. And when others have blown it, love tells us not to ridicule them and talk behind their back, but to forgive, and remember that we all make mistakes. Like Coach Russo, we need to stand by those people, believe in them, and say, “Forget what has happened and get back out there. You know what to do next.”
God Believes In You!
So Labor Day 2014 is here and I am trying to remember a time long ago that was significant about this day. Oh, I know the first Monday in September “constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being” of our great county. I’m looking for something a little bit more charming than that boring sentence. You know, like a parade or a band performance in the town square. Maybe there is a huge family reunion where unforgettable tales, are told and the new generation is fortunate to hear them for the first time. I don’t know. There are so many different ways to celebrate this day you’d feel like you were caught between a dog and a fire hydrant if I were to tell you all of them. So, let me just shorten this list by telling you one that is dear to my heart.
I have searched the web. I have asked everyone I know and cannot get the answers I am looking for. No one else can remember this day. I try with diligence to summon up these recollections so that I can convey them to you as unforgettable…for me anyway.
My family was one of musical inclinations. Somewhere along the line I got left out except for thoroughly enjoying the melodious sounds made by others. I guess that is why this memoir is so important to me. So here I am conjuring up this tale, not a big tale now mind you, but since I cannot remember all of the details of my story I reckon it does account for what I remember.
Overlooking a small lake and surrounded by majestic live oaks stands one of Baton Rouge’s most prized possessions. A stately mansion stands to prove the glory of the great state of Louisiana. She is beaut, for sure. She struts her Doric white columns with a great southern pride and like many of the plantations of the South she is built with magnificence and attitude. It is from here I appeal to my memory and petition this one recollection of the past to come forward.
“A standing joke in many of Louisiana’s small, country churches goes,
“Well, there are two things we know how to do around here, worship and eat!”
Put the two together and you’ve got the country church tradition of all-day singing and dinner on the ground.”
Dinner on the grounds is a long-standing tradition in the South and is usually done after church on Sundays. This was a special occasion for a special holiday. Our arrival at the governor’s mansion was early. We knew it was going to be a long day. The heat was relentless but we knew it would be worth all the sweat, the bees and the flies to get one little morsel of that so delicious southern cooking. There were people from all over the state and I think a few strangers from the North snuck in too. But that’s ok, it was time for them discover they have never really eaten right anyway.
Every family brought a dish of some kind. Tables were set with various meats including wild game and fried chicken just bustin’ with goodness. A variety of vegetables grown in large and small family gardens soaking in potluck laid out end to end. Another table severed up corn bread butter-shined so bright you could almost see yourself smile when you bent over to take a long whiff. My favorite was of course the dessert table. Cakes were OK but pie, now that is a boy’s aspiration, especially when it came to the chocolate one. Oh, and there was always more than one. Yes indeedy.
One of the things about a gathering of this sort was that it was not just the food. No sir. It was about so much more. Boys and girls spent the day playing games on the six-acre mansions land. Some went fishin’ in the lake. Most folks enjoyed the fellowship of friends and family and even new acquaintances.
“All-day singing and dinner on the ground, sometimes simply called fellowship, is a chance for a church to come together as a family, to fellowship, to visit, to swap recipes, to sing, to pray, and to eat.” louisianafolklife.org
However, second only to the food was something really special. Groups from all over Louisiana came to sing. There were even some from other states who joined in this special day. I loved to watch my family most of all. You know, the ones, unlike me, that could actually sing and play instruments. My Uncle Edgar was always one to watch. His bald-headed little self was quite the show. He played his box guitar and sang with his brothers and sisters, one of which was the states Commissioner of Agriculture. He wore a harmonica holder around his neck and played that along with his guitar on some songs. He could surely lay out a whiny conglomeration of notes that folks just loved to hear.
Other groups displayed fancy guitars, mandolins and fiddles. There were so many different instruments that as a child I was mesmerized. I loved the banjo pickin’; I promised myself I would learn to play that someday. Well, someday never has shown up. Combined with great piano playing, accordions and even a diddly-bow, there was music so wonderful I believe old Gabriel was blowing his horn along side the Father and Son while they were dancin’ with the saints. Now, put all of these instruments together with some great country gospel nasal, some good food and fellowship and all I can say is good gracious alive, heaven was on the grounds.
Like all memorable days this one had to come to and end. I have to admit it was an enjoyable day. I lay in the back window of the old Chevy, allowing the hot wind to blow through open windows, staring toward the mansion. When I enjoyed something I would watch it until it was out of site. I wish I could remember more about this day, but this will have to do.
As I look back on it now. Singing in those days was more like what God put in His Word ~ Make a joyful noise unto the Lord. I guess I was the only one struck by the profound significance it would have on my life. I am thankful for this memoir however, and will pass it on to those who follow.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Believe it or not there was a time when the kids were young and so was I. A time when we sat on the porch laughing and cuttin’ up and enjoying our life. One of those times we decided the old red oak in the back yard needed a tree house. With two young boys and the prettiest little tomboy God ever created, we climbed in the truck and headed for one of those local home improvement stores.
I was pushing a lumber cart and the kids were enjoying the ride. My middle son was singing and voicing the non-stop chat he was known for when from, I don’t know where, he said, “To be or not to be, that is the question.”
Now we have all heard that quote from time to time. I have a question for you. Have you ever stopped and taken the time to think what that may mean? I mean, really think about it, what does that statement say to you? I never took that time until an elderly gentleman heard my son say the quote. He stopped us, looked at my son, and with a smile on his face he said, “No son, that’s not the question. The real question is which way do the pearly gates swing?”
My son looked at me. We smiled at the gentleman and he turned and walked away.
We discussed this question while we were picking out supplies for the tree house. At first we decided that the pearly gates swung in and out. As we pushed along we decided, again, that the gates must swing back and forth. Now in the South, ya gotta get it right or you’re just plain wrong. The kids began to playfully argue over which was right when we bumped into the old gentleman, a second time, at the register.
“Did you come up with an answer?” He asked.
“Well not exactly,” replied my son, and explained the answers we had discussed.
The gentleman paid for his items, and looked into our eyes. His warm friendly gaze seemed to overtake us as he said, “You have it all wrong. It doesn’t matter if they swing in and out, or even if they swing back and forth. Heck, it doesn’t even matter if they are pearls and solid gold, or made of old barn wood. What matters is upon your arrival if they open or shut.”
He turned to walk away and the kids looked at me a little overwhelmed. That third possibility had completely escaped us.
As the day went on the kids helped build the tree house and played other games. I put the encounter aside until recently when a death in the family brought it to surface. As I began to think about the lesson the old gentleman taught me I realized he taught my children as well. I discovered that he must be right in that what really matters is when we get to those gates someday—will they be open or shut? It’s a sobering thought once you contemplate your life.
My Papaw used to say we shouldn’t worry about what others do or don’t do—only what we do. Either way if we don’t get it straight with the good Lord before we get there we will trip over it trying to get in. While we walk our individual road in this life we still must question our arrival at the pearly gates. Open or shut is determined by our relationship with others, and with our God. As the gentleman taught us that day, if we make others aware of the future and teach our children to live a righteous life before God, we will discover, together, the gates will be open, not shut, upon our arrival.
And that, my friends, is a promise from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This poem touched me. I am writing my memoirs and so often remember my younger years. Yet now I am older and still dream of happiness and times of joy and peace and respect for me as an old man. I hope you enjoy this reblog. Blessings!
Originally posted on keithgarrettpoetry:
“Old Man” by Keith Garrett
Who he was did not matter to me as each day i passed his way,
On a porch swing or rocking chair he would read or listen to the world.
I gave him a smile in which he replied with a smirk from his face,
Who are you whom sits in the morning sun thinking thoughts never done.?
I am a man but once a child running from sunrise till dusk, i am a man,
I’ve seen the years and have done many things in my time, once full of energy.
‘Old man’ on your porch is sitting there all that you do, tell me your story,
Are you waiting to die as each day you grow weary from nothing at all.
You are much younger than i as there was a day when i too looked like you,
What makes you think that i…
View original 200 more words
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25 ESV
This old porch swing brings back so many memories of Dad. He loved to sit out here and just talk. He talked about anything, and loved to tell his life stories. I will never forget one story he told of what I call Missionary Eggs. The story took place during the Great Depression when the members of the Ladies Missionary Society were concerned that they could no longer give to missions because each family was in such a bind financially. Gathering one night to discuss ways they could give, they hashed over many ideas. After a lively and energetic discussion, the decision was made to donate all the eggs laid on Sunday’s. These would be sold and the proceeds would be given to missions.
The ladies were excited and hens became more productive each day of the week. Pooling their monies into one account caused the missionary societies fund to grow quickly. Eggs sold for 10¢ per dozen during those years but these ladies decided to step out in faith and charge 12¢. After all, it was for missions. God began to bless their sacrifice. After several months, with good results, the ladies met to discuss how they would donate their reward. One of the ladies stated that it seemed like the hens were laying more eggs on Sunday than any other day of the week. They chuckled in agreement. She went on to say her family needed a lot of help and she couldn’t see her way to keep giving on her most productive day. (What? God is blessing this day isn’t He?) The excitement died. A few eyebrows were raised and grudging attitudes ensued.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20 ESV
Over the next few weeks anger and bitterness arrived providing silent authorization to cease giving eggs to missions except by the sanctified few. Resentfulness began to raise its repulsive countenance while the Prince of Darkness smiled when the ladies missionary society found it had a few less members at the next meeting. Those who stopped giving felt like their sacrifice was not sufficient compared to others while those who were faithful continued their commitment, but began to look down on those who no longer gave.
It can be very disheartening when we don’t understand how someone can make a commitment and then break it just because tough times arrive. We begin to view others who don’t or can’t make the sacrifice as not really committed to God.
When recalling the story of Cain and Abel we can see two brothers who gave their sacrifice to God. Cain killed Abel because he believed God saw Abel’s sacrifice as better. When we look closely we can see that the truth was in Abel’s heart, not his sacrifice. We can see that both gave and acceptable sacrifice but when we look at the heart of each we see that humility and faith in God made Abel’s sacrifice right in the eyes of God. Cain’s heart carried resentfulness and bitterness and he allowed it to become full of hate, resulting in the murder of his brother. When our hearts are not right with God then our sacrifice, no matter what it is, is not accepted by God.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:32 ESV
We should never judge someones heart, or their sacrifice. God will determine if it’s acceptable. Do not allow the resentment and bitterness that set in among the Ladies Missionary Society into your mind and heart. You see, even those ladies who continued to give their sacrifice noticed their heart began to change. It took an open forgiveness, and a lot of tears. The pride tangled in some throats enough a bush-hog was needed to clear it. A sweet, loving and sincere repentant of heart in each lady everyone’s character right again. Only then did Satan flee and God continued to bless their giving. Once they remembered God is looking at their sacrifice individually the society was made whole again.
So as a Christian, do you harbor any resentment toward anyone? Look deep within your heart and ask God to reveal what may be a hindrance to your relationship with Him.
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.Matthew 5:23-24 ESV
Hey Dad! Hey Granddad! What a great example of love you will set for your grandchildren when they see the patriarch of the family on his knees in forgiveness and obedience to the Father. What a reward you will receive when you realize you are bringing your sacrifice to the Father with no hindrance of resentment or bitterness in your heart toward another. Again, what a great lesson you learn, and can even teach to your grandchildren in this way.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.“
Philippians 4:7 ESV
May God give you the strength and the courage to go to that brother, or sister, and ask their forgiveness today.
In March I was privileged to see my old friend Mo and his wife Nancy. We had a great time telling old stories and laughing our heads off at the crazy and ridiculous things we had done in our men made of steel years. While driving back to Mississippi I thought of another. I wrote a letter to Mo imploring one more laugh. I want to take a moment to share that with you now.
Hey My Friend!
I am sorry I have tarried in sending you this story Mo, please forgive? It’s a short story; nonetheless it is one of those we have forgotten until something in the present triggers this old pea brain into action. Let me see if I can jar your memory a little.
The war in Viet Nam had ended and I had just returned home from the Air Force base in Minot, ND. You invited me to go hunting on the land of a farmer you knew there around Anderson. We trucked through the woods and really enjoyed seeing ABSOLUTELY nothing to hunt. It was the friendship and fellowship that was most important. With the exception of a few black birds, or sparrows or something of the like, there was really no wildlife around anywhere. I do remember we found a playground of sorts that someone had built for kids and teenagers to play on. That was pretty cool too. As I recall you said the farmer built it for his grandchildren.
As we continued to walk through the woods, running our mouths and having a good time, we came upon a tree with the prettiest nuts growing on it. They were all over the tree and the ground. Neither of us had ever seen a nut like this so we began to pick them up and study them. You decided that because it was so dad-gummed pretty it had to be edible. First you tried to break one open by crushing two nuts against each other in your hands. That didn’t work so you put one in your mouth and began trying to crack it open with your teeth. About the same time you successfully heard a crack our good lord sent you and me an angel of protection from our own ignorant stupidity.
Out of nowhere came a voice.
“What are you boys doing on my land?”
“Hunting,” I said.
“Who gave you permission to hunt on my land?
Then, rolling the nut to one side of your mouth, you gave a reply explaining that you received permission from your farmer friend.
This farmer now assured us that we had crossed on to his land. Because the fence was down we hadn’t see the property line and he asked us politely to leave. We agreed.
Before we did however you asked, with a mouth full of nut particles, “Do you know what kind of nuts these are?”
The farmers horizontal grin widened almost vertically. I will never forget the look on your face when he said, “That’s a Buckeye, and it’s poisonous enough to kill a bull.”
With a look of terror you began to spit Buckeye all over me and the farmer, the ground, and anything else that got in the way of you casting out Buckeye like an unwanted demon. The farmer and I laughed our heads off.
It is a fond memory and one I was reminded of a Dick’s house (my lil’ brother) when I saw a buckeye tree with prettiest little nuts on it and lying all over the ground!
You can preach this Mo! The moral is simple. We must be careful to take care of our bodies, by knowing that what we put in our mouth is not poisonous. Too, we must be careful of what we place in our hearts and our minds. Just because it is pretty does not mean it is good for us. We must be watchful that it provides life and not a slow poisonous eternal death.
Love ya Bro, Thanks for a great day of eating and wonderful fellowship with you and Nancy. I hope we don’t wait another 34 years before we meet again. If we do, be sure to bring your hearing aids and jet propelled wheel chair–we’ll race through those woods of yours!
You friend and brother,