This blog covers what happened between October 16 and October 20, 2013
THE FIRST DAY–WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2013—I AM TAKEN
I had a lot on my mind today. It would have been my Father’s birthday. And if I had been born a few hours earlier rather than on October 17th, we would have had the same birth day. And though he is among that Great Cloud of Witnesses found in Hebrews 11, I still think of him in a special way on this day. But being lost in reverie was no excuse for not being aware of my surroundings.
But I wasn’t staying away today. And so, without any warning, like a character in a movie, I would soon be taken! The conspirators had laid their plans well. No one suspected them. They were not under surveillance. No warnings had been issued. No heightened security alerts. No extra policemen with sniffer dogs. After weeks of middle of the night phone calls, and text messaging, the time had come. And I, the target, was completely oblivious.
There was nothing extraordinary in the way it started. After a long day, I called from Newark Penn Station to ask to be picked up at the Grove Street stop of Newark Light Rail . Our home phone rang several times. Then it went to voice mail. This was not a good thing. I was tired from a long day and just looking forward to getting home and relaxing a bit before getting the last vegetables from my garden . So I called again and just before it went to voicemail, Geri answered. When I asked to be picked up, she said I had to call Mike because he had the car. Becoming flustered I uttered a word that does not bear repeating. With a focused determination of will that would have made Bruce Banner envious, I resisted the urge to turn from a mild manner professional into one of my alter egos the Hulk Nick Fury, Spawn, or or to call on one of my Agents of Shield team or my Avengersteam. I remembered that the night before Mike told me he would be picking his friend Ed Claremont up at the airport and would be finished dropping Ed off in time to pick me up. So I call Mike, and he says sure, he will pick me up.
When I get to Grove Street, I see the car, and I slowly walk over. As I approach the car, which is in an unusually dark area, I dimly see through the back window something slumped down in the front passenger side seat. I think, wow, Ed must have gotten in late so Mike did not have a chance to take him home, and now Ed is asleep in the front seat of our car. Mike slowly gets out of the driver’s seat, and I am wondering why he wants me to drive, and then I think, oh Ed is tall and there would not be a lot of room for my legs in the back seat, so Mike is going to sit in the back. And that’s when it happens!
I am taken! Completely! By Surprise! It seems to happen in slow motion as I get into the driver’s seat. With the impact of Emeril Lagasse and the speed of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt , this voice says two words that make my heart skip beats:
It isn’t Ed, it’s my Princess KIMBERYLY!!! (Since she is Mrs. Goode, I should probably change that to Queen). Dumbstruck dizzy with surprise and happiness, and appearing to observers to be a man who has imbibed too much I slowly get out of the driver’s seat—- I do not want to leave my aneurism too far behind—- and in a staggering walk, keeping one hand on the car for balance, I go around to the passenger side and gave her a bear hug . To passersby, it probably seems to be something like this or something from The Little Mermaid or more likely from .In fact the hug is so very long (I had to wait until my eyes stopped leaking), I do not break the hold until the guy behind us starts seriously honking his horn as though he thinks I am assaulting her ! When I say, “It’s alright, she’s my daughter”, he replies “Right, and I’m Barack Obama!”
When I finally make it back around to the driver’s seat of our car, Kim and Mike are laughing like little kids . I had spoken to Kim by telephone two days before, having called her because I needed a daddy-daughter hug. She had said, “Well it will have to be virtual”. And when I had asked her about doing Skype on my birthday, she had simply said “you can count on it”. For weeks, Kim and Sean (her husband and our second son) and Mike had plotted her coming home for my birthday. It was the most special present for which I could ever have asked. As we drove home to Union Street, I kept hearing the beautiful words of the song, The Lord Is Blessing Me Right Now.
THE SECOND DAY– THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2013
As I wanted, we all got up and went to the Y to work out , starting in the circuit room on the treadmill . As I watched Kim, I was reminded of those guys on rollerblades who did Soul Train like moves that made your jaw drop. She did Zumba moves, side straddle moves, and even did it backward. Wow.
Next we went to the weight room. She showed us how to use some equipment we had ever used, but which she uses in the Seattle Y where she goes 6-7 times per week and works out for an hour. Mike was lifting weights like Arnold Schwarzenegger training for Mr. Olympia. An older gentleman saw me taking pictures of my crew and later asked me “Is that your family?” When I replied, “Yes, my daughter came home for my birthday and I wanted us all to come to work out”, he replied, “That’s being blessed.”
After the work out, we went to see the movie “Gravity”. The special effects were extraordinary. Later in the evening, Chief Beezey (Mike’s culinary nome de plume) made a delicious Kale dish with his special chicken breast ala Iron Chief or one of the Gordon Ramsey competitions. For desert we had rum raisin ice cream, red velvet birthday cake , and tons of love.
THE THIRD DAY–SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2013
Kim, Geri, and I went to a program called Elevate Your Marriage. It was great and we all learned a lot. At the end of the program, couples who wanted to could renew their wedding vows, and that’s what Geri and I planned to do. Though the program ran out of time for that, we had a virtual renewal through the shared experience.
The program included some great resource material. We highly recommend the following books:
- His Needs/Her Needs by William Harley.
- The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Regardless of where you go to worship, we also recommend Leaders on Leadership: Advice and Encouragement on the Art of Leading God’s People by George Barna and High Impact African-American Churches: Leadership Concepts From Some of Today’s Most Effective Churches by George Barna and Harry R. Jackson, Jr.
Five other books arrived on Saturday as presents. One, that I got for Geri as a resource for her mediation and arbitration practice, and that I recommend you run out and get is The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement In A Chaotic World by Michael Wheeler. It was literally flying off the shelves at the HBS book store after folks came from a presentation by Professor Wheeler. If you ever negotiate anything, this book is a must. Two other books that had also been flying off the shelves were:
- What You’re Really Meant To Do: A Road Map For Reaching Your Unique Potential by Robert Kaplan.
- How Will You Measure Your Life? By Clayton Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon.
Both Professor Kaplan and Christensen had given presentations during our reunion weekend at HBS. Kaplan’s program was so popular that had to open additional classrooms so it could be seen on video cast. And Professor Christensen’s was so popular it had to be held in Burden Auditorium. One of the profound stories he related was about his working for a high powered consulting firm and being told by his team leader that there on Monday there would be a major presentation for a client and therefore the team had to work get together on Sunday. Christensen informed his team leader that he was sorry but he had promised God to always observe the Sabbath on Sunday, and he could not come to the team meeting. His team leader exploded, then after a couple of hours came back and said he had switched the team meeting to Saturday. Christensen informed him that he was sorry but he could not come on Saturday because that was the day he reserved for his family. Again his team leader exploded, came back in a few hours and asked, Do you work on Fridays?! The point of the story and of his book is the importance of being true to yourself and how to respond to the challenge of compromising who you are, what you believe and stand for.
Regardless of whether you are just starting out in your career, midway, or transitioning to another, this is a very helpful book. The final book that arrived was also written by Professor Christensen: The Power of Everyday Missionaries: The What and How of Sharing The Gospel.
Though Professor Christensen is a Mormon and I am not, some of the material in this book is transcendent. I decided to get it after seeing his reference to C.S.Lewis and the Screwtate Letters, and its discussion of why we don’t share our faith at work. I am fully conversant with the EEOC’s position with respect to proselytizing in the workplace and with the rules regarding religion. If you are interested in my discussion of Religion in the Workplace, see my blog on that topic: http://www.slideshare.net/180RonWB/legal-aspects-of-religion-in-the-workplace
THE FOURTH DAY–SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2013
Kim and I went to an 8:00 a.m. church service and my heart was full with these words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ggoek9-Y6Y. After that service we headed back home to pick up Geri to go to a 10:00 a.m. service where Geri was doing the Parable. Disappointed when it appeared Mike was not coming, we went to church and she did a superb job. We were delighted and surprised when Mike showed up (we only live a few blocks from the church) and had walked down to join us. After church we went to Verona Park for a two mile walk/stroll around the lake, and some more precious family time including seeing dogs in costume . Kim and Mike both demonstrated their ability to do chin ups and I demonstrated my famous dad hug
THE FIFTH DAY—MONDAY OCTOBER 21, 2013
The day began by my sister Cookie coming over and going with Geri, Mike, and Kim to the restaurant Toast in Montclair. Kim ordered something you can only find in New Jersey: Taylor Ham. I can not tell from this photo whether she is eating the sandwich or it is trying to devour her!
One of the things that was so great about Kim’s visit was how much fun we had. That even extended to the airport. Using my best James Brown imitation, I dropped to one knee and started singing his famous hit, Baby Please Don’t Go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4w454Lape8&feature=player_embedded
But I had no Maceo to throw my cape (raincoat) back over my shoulders, and when she saw me on one knee, Kim said,”I hope you can get up without help because that’s the last call for my boarding.”
Notwithstanding that, and since James Brown did not work, I raised the bar to a higher level, with Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, the stop you in your steps song by The Temptations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxHMHrWJ2SE. Despite the irresistible lyrics, she said, “You can beg all you want by I’m boarding now and going back to Seattle and my husband.” And despite the concerns of some passersby and some former friends comments and questions on Facebook, I was able to get back up without any assistance!
How blessed can a dad be to have a second son who treats my princess as his Queen.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIEU2aiTzEY