Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Other "C" Word

I got my test results yesterday from the urologist. The tests show that my cancer's confined to the prostate. Those are the tidings of great joy that shall be to all to all people.

I am, to put it mildly, relieved.

Now for the other "C" word.

I was in a wreck when I was fifteen and severely injured. Late that night, in the hospital, the nurse told me I needed to "void" into a bottle. Or else.

I had back surgery when I was twenty-two. Surgery in the afternoon, then around midnight, the nurse (a different one) told me I needed to "void" into a bottle. Or else.

Or else what? you might ask.

Or else they would insert a catheter to drain my bladder.

Catheter, for the medically challenged, comes from a Greek word which means "to force a large pipe into a small hole causing as much pain and misery as possible."

The doctor told me, as part of my surgical procedure, that I would be "wearing" a catheter for 6-10 days. I don't understand. It's not like wearing a coat or wearing a necklace or wearing a smile. Definitely not like wearing a smile.

My sweetheart had to have a catheter when she had surgery once. She thinks I'm a baby. I think she's (kind of) enjoying this (I'll debate anyone--anytime--about the indisputable fact that women are amused when men are in pain).

There's a reason they call private parts "private". Other than your mother when you're a child, your teammates when you play football, and your wife, no one--NO ONE--should be allowed in the dome of privacy.

Mine will be violated sometime in January.

I can't wait.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

But If Not...

According to the American Cancer Society, 1,437,180 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

Make that 1,437,181. I got the news today.

After my biopsy experience (see previous blogs) I had my follow-up today. The right side of my prostate is covered in cancer and the left side has one spot on it. Why the inequality I have no idea, although I am right-handed and tend to lean right politically.

That news was enough for me. But wait, there's more!

On an "aggressiveness scale" (whatever that is), with 2 being the least aggressive and 10 the most, I scored an 8. That means there's a 50/50 chance that the cancer has spread elsewhere. I now have a bone scan and CT scan scheduled for next week, after which I'll find out what's next.

What's next.

A few days ago, I read this verse from Daniel where the three Hebrew teenage boys responded to a cruel king who was threatening to throw them into a furnace and burn them alive if they didn't bow to his image:

"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be know to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up."

My understanding of cancer is that it is cruel and unforgiving, irrespective of whom it affects. It is a Killer King to those it encounters.

I believe the Lord will heal me. The doctor and I agreed it's out of our hands.

But if not, I will not bow down.

By the way, the teenagers got thrown into the furnace by the king. When he looked in to make sure they had burned up, he saw a fourth Person in there with them.

He's here with me, too.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sarcasm Is A Gift

Don't ever doubt it. Here's what I mean:

Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk
ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me
either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken
fan belt and leaky tire.

It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal
your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you
can't be promoted.

Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

The idea 'Love means never having to say you're sorry'
proves two things. 1) UFOs have landed here, and 2) the idea obviously came from another planet.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing
a couple of car payments.

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in
their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a
mile away and you have their shoes.

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

A closed mouth gathers no foot.

There are two theories to arguing with women.
Neither one works.

Experience is something you don't get until just after
you need it.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Being Thankful

This comes in late by some standards. I know, others wrote, spoke, and preached about what they were thankful for before Thanksgiving. I can appreciate that, I did some of it myself. But in the midst of turkey, dressing, and football I was a little preoccupied.

Two weeks before Thanksgiving I went to the doctor for some pain I'd been experiencing in my shoulder and arm, hoping that he would either give me a shot or shoot me, just so I could sleep at night. While I was there he recommended a blood screening test for the following Monday.

I went in, had my blood drawn, and they told me they'd e-mail me the results. I figured that, at the worst, I might have diabetes (runs in the family). Two days later they called me and said my PSA (prostate) readings were almost ten times the normal range and that I needed to see a urologist.

There was a very good chance that I had cancer.

I told my sweetheart that night, at home, after I couldn't tell her when we went to eat or on the way home. I didn't know what to say since I didn't know anything other than better than 70% of men with my PSA score had cancer.

I told my children the week of Thanksgiving.

I told my mom and sister yesterday.

I'm telling whoever reads this today, because tomorrow I go for the biopsy. It promises to be an interesting experience. If it's anything like the first visit to the urologist I can't wait.

First of all I hoped and prayed I'd have a beautiful, small-handed lady doctor.

Not happening.

Dr. Brock (Daniel) was neither, obviously. After lowering my pants and my dignity he performed what is referred to as a "digital" exam. Without going into the details, let's just say I've never been that intimate with anybody. Ever.

After three trips around my prostate, he told me it was "enlarged and firm on one side." I almost replied, "That's what she said" but I was still trying to regain my eyesight, so I just kept quiet. What do you ask in that situation?

Anyway, he basically told me nothing other than I'd have to have a biopsy tomorrow, using "local anesthesia." I didn't want to know where they'd give me the shot. I still don't.

My preparations for this procedure include several things, all of which pale in comparison to one: The Fleet Enema.

I've had a lower GI test done before. I prepared for that using a box labeled "Evac-U-Quik." I am not making this up. And the box is appropriately named. I drank the contents of the four bottles in the box, at designated intervals, after which I felt like a test site for atomic bombs, particularly the crater left in the aftermath of the explosion.

My wife thought the whole thing was funny. As a side note, what is it about men being in pain that women find so humorous?

With all that was in the box, there was no enema. And there was peace on earth.

But not this time. The Fleet Enema is only two ounces of something--"Not To Be Taken Orally", according to the instructions--that is going to "prepare" me for the biopsy. I think that after the enema, the procedure will be a breeze. I shouldn't need any anesthesia at all. I probably won't have any feeling left back there anyway.

Doc said he had some mind-altering drugs, but I probably wouldn't need them. I told him I wanted all of them. He laughed. So now, in addition to my wife, the doctor thinks my pain is funny too. This is going to be great.

I think I'll start a discount prostate diagnostic business and call it "Rooters 'R Us." Our slogan can be "From Your World to Uranus, We'll Dig It Out".

Monday, December 1, 2008

Georgia Tech 45, Georgia 42

To quote that great theologian Lewis Grizzard:

I don't want to talk about it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Learning to Cuss

One Sunday afternoon I was getting ready to go to church and I told my oldest son, John, who was five years old at the time, to go get dressed.

His mom and little brother had already gone, so it was just the two of us, and John was at that "I can do it myself" age where he wanted to pick out his own clothes and dress himself. As a loving father in the middle of football season, I was all over it. Dress yourself, feed yourself, drive yourself to church, I'm fully supportive of your attempt at self-sufficiency.

John was in his room at the other end of our house, and as he was "dressing" I heard him say, "Dammit!"

Not wanting to lose any teachable moment, I went to his room to find him sitting on the bed with his shoes on, untied.

"Son, what did I hear you say just now?


"Have you ever heard Mama or Daddy say that word?"

"No, sir."

"Have you ever heard Grannie or Grandaddy or Nana or Susie or (I listed most of the family members at this point) say that word?"

"No, sir."

"Then why did you say it?"

And with all the innocence and honesty a five-year-old has by nature, he replied:

"Because I couldn't get my damn shoes tied."

Which leads me to this story, forwarded to me today by my mom:


A 6 year old and a 4 year old are upstairs in their bedroom.

"You know what?" says the 6 year old. "I think it's about time we started cussing."

The 4 year old nods his head in approval. The 6 year old continues "when we go downstairs for breakfast, I'm gonna say something with hell and you say something with ass."

The 4 year old agrees with enthusiasm.

When the mother walks into the kitchen and asks the 6 year old what he wants for breakfast, he replies, "Aw, hell, Mom , I guess I'll have some Cheerios."

WHACK! He flies out of his chair, tumbles across the kitchen floor, gets up, and runs upstairs crying his eyes out, with his mother in hot pursuit, slapping his rear with every step. His mom locks him in his room and shouts, "You can stay there until I let you out!"

She then comes back downstairs, looks at the 4 year old and asks with a stern voice, "And what do YOU want for breakfast, young man?"

"I don't know", he blubbers, "but you can bet your fat ass it won't be Cheerios!"

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not A Good Weekend

I detest the Gators.

I hate their arrogance, their cockiness, their swagger.

And the fact that they whipped Georgia like a red-headed stepchild doesn't help either.

And, the reality that I'll hear about it for the next year from Florida fans makes me sick.

They looked like the NFL. We looked like my high-school football team (maybe worse).

And to top it all off, my FSU-graduate son called me as the game with Georgia Tech started Saturday so he could put a curse on the Seminoles. He said, "They're looking really, really good today." I knew then it was over.

It's a good thing we (all) don't live and die with college football.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I read several blogs. One I read daily is written by my roommate from Mercer, an elitist school he, I, and our wives attended a lifetime ago (We married roommates, too. What does that mean?).

When I finally reconnected with him, we talked about trying to meet up somewhere between my home and his. When you get older, you think this way; it's just not worth making more than a halfway drive to see anyone or do anything.*

Now I find he's moving downstate to another church, which is the Baptist Way, an unwritten code by which Baptist pastors live. Simply stated, you can't stay too long in one place unless you plan to build a Baptist Megachurch,go on TV, and basically construct a monument to yourself.*

This is not my friend's way, however.

He's an honest believer, doubts and all. He's not afraid of questions, or questioning. He knows God is big enough to answer. I respect and trust him. If he's leaving one church to go to another, I fully believe God is in it, and after he prayed about it, he knows it what's he's supposed to do.

However, it does put a kink in our plans to reconnect after a long time.

Oh well, I guess we could go all the way to Fitzgerald. As long as he has boiled peanuts and homemade ice cream waiting when we get there.

We love you, Mike and Debra. Godspeed.

*This may be wrong. Probably is.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Head Will Explode

I'm in the car business, although the words "car" and "business" seem mutually exclusive these days. I thought if things got any worse, my head would explode.

I think today may have lit the fuse.

GM's stock fell to its lowest share price since Truman was president. Ford's stock took another hit, falling 22% today alone.

Is that smoke I smell?

And, here on the sales end, it's like the Cadillac Ranch in the Arizona desert, only our vehicles are upright on all four tires and will run. But other than that, it's dry as dust.

Very few people drive in, fewer buy, and the ones who don't buy make ridiculous offers that no dealer can take seriously.

Are those buzzards I see circling?

If I didn't know God was in charge, I'd go insane.

If I didn't have the love of a good--great--woman, I'd be dead by now.

If I didn't have a few good friends, I'd be a goner.

If I didn't believe it will, it must, get better, my head would explode.

But it won't...some days it'll just feel like it has.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I Kan To Spel

I red this morning that a skool in Grate Britin iz gowing to owtlaw speling homwurk becawz it iz to stresfull fore childrun.

Think God my moma didun mak me spel rite end du homwurk whin I wuz groing up or I wud be stresed owt by now.

End, see, I kan to spel gud. So ther.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Atlanta's Gas Crisis

For the last couple of weeks we've been living in gas hell.

After the last round of hurricanes the metro area experienced an acute shortage of gasoline. Turns out that, while the rest of the country regained supplies almost immediately, we didn't, because we require a "gourmet" type of regular gas that has a lower sulfur content and therefore is more difficult to refine.

"Require" is kind of a stretch, since we volunteered to use this "special regular" several years ago to reduce emissions. Since that time, the Federal Government apparently took our Southern graciousness for legislation and when the time came to replenish fuel supplies refused to do so since we were "required" to use this "unique" gasoline.

It all came to a head in Dahlonega last week when a guy pulled up to a gas pump, went inside to pay for his gas, and came back out to find his car moved from the pump island, out of line--he left his keys in it--and a woman pumping gas in her vehicle where his was parked just moments before.

The end result? He and the woman got into it and it came to blows, the extent of which ended up in the middle of the road before the law arrived to break up the fight.

I don't know who won. I assume the woman did, since she got the gas first.

Only in Dahlonega.

The only difference in this story and every other story up here is that this one didn't end in death...yet.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Alabama 41, Georgia 30

To quote that great philosopher, Lewis Grizzard:

I don't want to talk about it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What Makes the Election Scary

Sad to say, but I don't remember now where I found this yesterday, but obviously, it's worth repeating here

It's time again for the annual 'Stella Awards'!

For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico where she purchased the coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right?

That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the
country. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy. Here are the Stella's for the past year:

Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.

Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT, days on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish.

Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stellas when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. Whatever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000....oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.

This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down, $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.


It's Okay

So, after a scary win over South Carolina, my Dogs are number 3.

It's okay.

Anytime you can make the Ol' Ball Coach throw 1) His clipboard 2) His visor 3) His headset, it's a good day.

It was a good day Saturday.

And, to cap it off, Alabama and Florida State are moving up in the Top 25.

Too bad there are some other scary games left.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Some Thoughts in an Election Year

Random thoughts from The Darwin Awards website:

Stupidity has a knack of getting its way.
--Albert Camus

Just think how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are even stupider.
--George Carlin

A word to the wise ain't necessary. It's the stupid ones who need the advice.
--Bill Cosby

The dumbest people I know are those who know it all.
--Malcom Forbes

If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?
--Will Rogers

Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid.
--John Wayne

The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
--Steven Wright

If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?
--Scott Adams

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.
--Benjamin Franklin

I'm just saying....

Monday, September 8, 2008

What Really Matters

All the talk about the elections has made some people forget what really matters.

College football, specifically SEC football.

My 'Dawgs won again over Central Misery, I mean Michigan, 56-21. In spectacular fashion.

I have the vertical leap of Knowshon Moreno as my wallpaper now. When he hurdled over the defensive player Saturday it was a thing of beauty, much more inspiring than anything the political scene brings to the table.

How can you be undefeated, the number one team not play anybody, and still be number two in the polls?

Oh yeah, the West Coast is a few hours behind us. Right.

I'm just saying....

Sound Familiar?

Thanks to http://liveapartmentfire.com/ for the following:

We are caught in war, wanting peace. We are torn by division, wanting unity…

To a crisis of the spirit, we need an answer of the spirit.

To find that answer, we need only look within ourselves.

When we listen to “the better angels of our nature,” we find that they celebrate the simple things, the basic things–such as goodness, decency, love, kindness.

Greatness comes in simple trappings.

The simple things are the ones most needed today if we are to surmount what divides us, and cement what unites us.

To lower our voices would be a simple thing.

In these difficult years, America has suffered from a fever of words; from inflated rhetoric that promises more than it can deliver; from angry rhetoric that fans discontents into hatreds; from bombastic rhetoric that postures instead of persuading.

We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another— until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.

- Richard Nixon, January 20, 1969

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Today (well, really Thursday) is when fall begins. SEC Football cranks up with my beloved Bulldogs, complete with a brand new UGA (VII) on the field.

I've loved the 'Dogs since I was a child and one of my best friends was a Tech fan. I could never figure that one out, since no one in his family went to GT. But there he was, my best bud, a contrast to the glorious red, white, and black of Georgia with that pitiful Jacket yellow.

So today we play Georgia Southern. Teams like this always scare me, not because they're so good, but because we tend to let our guard down when we think we have the game won before it starts.

Life's that way too. We look out for the obvious boulders and miss the small stumbling blocks. Somebody once said it's not enough to look up all the time...you better look down, too.

Many a small stone has taken down a big man. Think about Goliath.

I hope we don't have a David coming to Athens today.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why I'll Be Voting Democrat

It's almost time to vote in the national election. Well, not quite, but you'd think so with all the news coverage, ads, internet blogs, etc.

So, in the interest of fair play, equal time, and since the Democrat National Convention is being held this week in Denver, the Mile High City where the air is thin and so, apparently, is integrity, here is why I'll be voting Democrat in this election.

Why I Am Voting Democrat

I'm voting Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

I'm voting Democrat because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

I'm voting Democrat because when we pull out of Iraq I trust that the bad guys will stop what they're doing because they now think we're good people.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday CAN tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

I'm voting Democrat because I'm not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as THEY see fit.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe three or four pointy headed elitist liberals need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would NEVER get their agendas past the voters.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that when the terrorists don't have to hide from us over there, when they come over here I don't want to have any guns in the house to fight them off with.

I'm voting Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I've decided to marry my horse.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn't.

Makes you wonder why anyone would EVER vote Republican, now doesn't it?

Not to worry...next week I'll tell you why I'm voting Republican.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Elvis Has Left The Building

A friend of mine was asking a co-worker the other day if he knew what Saturday (today) was. The guy thought a minute and said "the 16th". He got another hint when my friend said, "August 16th, 1977". The guy looked puzzled and I said, "Memphis". Finally I said, "How many hints do you need?" He said, "Oh yeah, the day Elvis died."

Nope. The day he went home.

I saw the King in concert about two months before he died, wearing the suit he would eventually be buried in. I told my date, "He won't live a year." He didn't.

Several years later I had the opportunity to go to Memphis with a friend. When we landed at the airport and got our rental car he asked, "Are we going to the hotel?"

Nope. Straight to Graceland.

When we entered the house, I instinctively knew where everything was, including the infamous bathroom (believe it or not, located directly above the front door). I felt right at home.

I've been an Elvis fan all my life, and unashamed of it, even when it wasn't popular to be one. The earliest movie I recall watching was "Love Me Tender" on TV. I pretended a tennis racket was a guitar and I'd swivel my hips and twitch my leg just like him. My family all knows my affection for Elvis and I think I've won most of them over to my side.

So today we celebrate the King with my list of favorites:

Favorite Elvis Movie: "King Creole". My favorite song in this movie was "Trouble". I'm singing it in my mind as I write. Of course I also liked the line in "Loving You" when Elvis was at the home of some dignified music critics who asked him about his singing methodology using terms only intellectuals would know (in an effort to embarrass him), to which he replied "Lady, I don't know what the hell you're talking about."

Favorite Elvis Move: The leg twitch. Whether he really got it from Forrest Gump or not, it sure worked for him.

Favorite Elvis Song: "Suspicious Minds". He was at the height of his career and you can feel everything he was ever about in this song. Or any of the ballads. I really liked the "sleeper" songs that weren't the most popular, like "Love Letters" and "Are You Sincere?".

Favorite Elvis Concert: The early 1970s show from the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis. Nothing like a hometown crowd to bring out the best in you.

Favorite Elvis Album: The "white album", "From Elvis In Memphis". Not a bad song in the bunch. "Long Black Limousine" was ominous, wasn't it?

Favorite Elvis Moment: With Nixon in the White House. Only one of them really meant business that day. The one with the gun in his boot.

Folks talk about early Elvis, 70s Elvis, thin Elvis, fat Elvis, blah blah blah. They call him self-indulgent and childish. They speculate about his drug use. But you don't hear this from anyone very often:

Favorite Elvis Saying: One time someone in the audience yelled out "You're the King!" to which Elvis replied, "There's only one King, and that's Jesus Christ."

Thank you...thank you very much.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

She's Gone

Today is my first effort at "blogging" (which wasn't even a word when I was young...when I was young...that'll make a good post another day).

Today is significant for a couple of reasons. My daughter and my sweetheart (who is also my wife) are traveling to Florida for Emily to return to school for her senior year. Emily (my daughter) is the one who set this blog up because she thought I could write, and Jennie (sweetheart/wife) has thought for a while that I/we should write because we have such a story to tell.

That's reason number one.

Reason number two is a little more bittersweet.

Em is returning for her senior year. As we finished praying and they prepared to leave around 6am MHT (Mountain Heaven Time) tears welled up in Emily's eyes. I knew they were there before this morning but I, the strong one, wouldn't allow myself the luxury of crying or we'd all still be there standing and snotting.

What I felt this morning was a continuation of the past several days, as I thought about her senior year, the classes, her at the beach with her friends, her on-campus job which she loves, and all the things that mean so much when you are so young.

But mostly I just thought about her leaving me.

For what in the scheme of things will probably be the last time.

Oh, I know she'll come back "home" periodically, but I don't think she'll ever be back to stay again. Not because she wouldn't want to...but because I think--I know--I hear her future calling.

I'm sure it involves a destiny that was decided for her long before I first laid eyes on her.

I'm certain it includes friends and a career that she'll really enjoy.

And I'm afraid that there's some sweet-talking, good-looking undeserving boy that I already can't tolerate because she's way too good for him.

All those things are waiting to take her away from me.

But for right now, all I can think is...

She's gone.