Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Monday, September 7, 2015


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©

I belong to a backward union. The union of men.

Today is Labor Day, a day created by labor unions. I have celebrated it by doing man[ual] labor, something I don’t do much anymore, since we have moved to a condo. The condo, though, is the occasion for the labor, building shelves in the garage to fit in several cubic yards of Christmas, Easter, autumn, spring, etc. decorations.

Women belong to the house decorating union. To those of that union, houses exist so the decorations can be changed from one season or holiday to the next.

Men belong to the backward compliment union. To those of that union, other men exist so that we can say unkind things to one another, to show that we belong to the union.

At church Sunday, the greeter let us in the door, but then closed it in the face of the next man and insisted he could not come in. I felt sort of bad. The greeter doesn’t know me and like me well enough yet to try to keep me out.

I spoke at the funeral of my friend, Bill, on Saturday. He was a distinguished scholar and gentleman. He had a wonderful smile, and was really quite playful, but because he was so smart and kind himself, not many men said unkind things to him. He relied on me for that. If he showed up at our house with mud on his pants because he had slipped and fallen on the walk over, he would say, “I know you’re going to make fun of me and tell me how klutzy I am,” which took a little bit of the fun out of it, since all I had to do was put ditto marks on his statement, but I went ahead and made the whole criticism anyway, because I liked him, a lot.

The union is not united now, with Bill gone from it. It seems wrong not to have him to kick around. Since you’re available, you’ll have to do: If you’re a man, you are ugly and smell bad and are a klutz. If you are a woman, no, there is no room on the new shelves in our garage for your excess decorations.

John Robert McFarland

I started this blog several years ago, when we followed the grandchildren to the “place of winter,” Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP]. I put that in the sub-title, Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter, where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.] The grandchildren, though, are grown up, so in May, 2015 we moved “home,” to Bloomington, IN, where we met and married. It’s not a “place of winter,” but we are still in winter years of the life cycle, so I am still trying to understand what it means to be a follower of Christ in winter…

I tweet as yooper1721.

They called them heroes. They said, “Thank you for your service.” Then forgot about them. Joe Kirk lost a leg. Lonnie Blifield lost his eyes. Victoria Roundtree lost her skin. “Zan” Zander lost his mind. Four homeless and hopeless Iraqistan VETS who accidentally end up living together on an old school bus. With nowhere to go, and nothing else to do, they lurch from one VAMC to another, getting no help because, like the thousands of other Iraqistan VETS who are homeless, unemployed, and suicidal, they do not trust the system and refuse to “come inside.” After another fruitless stop, at the VAMC in Iron Mountain, Michigan, a doctor is found dead, and the VETS are accused of his murder. Distrustful, strangers to America, to each other, and even to themselves, they must become a unit to learn who really murdered the doctor, so that they can be free. In doing so, they uncover far more, about themselves and about their country, than they dared even to imagine. Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, Black Opal Books, and almost any place else that sells books. $8.49 or $12.99 for paperback, according to which site you look at, and $3.99 for Kindle.

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