Every Thanksgiving, our family (10 adults and 15 grand-kids) buckles up for one of the more fun rides of our year.

We celebrated my brother’s 50th birthday all together at one table!

… kids at one end, adults at the other, of course.

During the week, we had moments of excitement:

One including a call from the Scottsdale Police Department. “Sir. Is there an emergency at your house?”

“I don’t think so.” my dad replied.

“Well, someone called 911.”

“Hmm…. I don’t think there’s a problem. But I do have 15 grandchildren, so – “

“Well, the police are on their way.”

He quickly responded, “Before you send them, let me check. Here, talk to my wife.”

She gets on the phone, he gets on a robe and races to check. On his way, a kid eating breakfast slurs through his bite of cereal, “Sam called the police.”

With quickened step, my dad arrives at the game room where three boys are “playing”. One instantly hides under the ping-pong table. “Did one of you call the police?” His eye is drawn to the kid holding the phone.

“I told him not to,” a cousin quickly offers. “I did it once and got in a LOT of trouble!”

The one hiding peeks his eyes just above the table to see his grandfather’s reaction. The phone-holding wayward child begins to justify his actions. “I called them. But I had to. Before we started this game, I said the rules.  #1: No Cheating. #2: No Farting. And as soon I said it, HE (the kid points an accusatory finger at the hider) farted. I told them that if anyone broke a rule, I was calling the police. … So I did… I HAD to. It’s HIS fault!!”

Amazingly, my father stifled the laughter that was busting to get out. He forced himself to straight face explain that we don’t call 911 – even for such an inappropriate offense. He of course had support from the sideline cousin who peppered the lecture with “Uh-huh”s and “I told him not to”s. Then my dad made his way back to his bedroom to assure the 911 operator that all indeed was safe.

We had moments of honesty.

While sitting at Peter Piper Pizza, one of the older cousins looked across the table from me and offered commentary on the cry/whining coming from younger kids being tormented by another cousin.

“Yeah, he really hasn’t got it down.”


“Well, I do my job clean… I annoy them and get out. I get them whining, but don’t ever wait around to endure it. That over there…. he’s an Egger. Gets them fired up mad, but he sits around and listens. The key is get in… and get out. No need to suffer through the whining.”

Hmm…. So that’s what they do. Nice to know the premeditated nature of sibling annoyance.

We had moments of depth:

Walking on a beautiful hike with with a few of our adventurous gang, Sister looks up to me from a steep descent section of our walk.

“I don’t like going down. It’s hard and I feel like I’m going to fall. It might seem like it’s easier because it doesn’t take as much energy. But I sure do feel safer when I’m climbing. My feet feel more secure going up.”

I thought about my walk with the Lord. It’s on the uphill climbs that I tend to lean on Him. I find myself gritting my teeth and pushing through the pain to reach the summit, focused on the goal, not distracted. I think about how I need His help to get me there. Sometimes I stop to take a breath and appreciate the small things that often go by un-noticed.

Like reaching the summit on our hike, when I complete life’s ascents, satisfaction and gratification fill my mind as I look back at what has been accomplished and forward to the less strenuous road down. Truth is though, when start the descent, I often run. Relishing in my own ability rather than looking to God for strength. I get easily distracted and miss opportunities to slow down and smell the roses… or maybe help someone else along the way.

Anyway, she made me think.

Uphill isn’t always bad.

One key, whether up or down…

stay on the path!

That critter, sitting in the middle of the road when we left, got a few boys’ hearts pumping. That’s for sure.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


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