Riding the breeze, the slip of paper whisked within inches of Granger’s nose, causing him to flinch.
I know what you’re thinking. “Bet he slopped a little of his coffee, too, huh?” You think you’re so-o-o smart…
He frowned as he stooped to pick it up, then smiled at himself, huffing through his nose as he looked around for something to set his coffee cup on. He needed to rub where the hot Kona blend said GOOD MORNING to his thumb. Possibilities didn’t exactly abound. Browning Drive was on his left, a vacant, weed-choked field to his right, with an abandoned factory over behind it.
A cement-filled metal post with a steel ring welded at the top stood next to a driveway entrance to nowhere. It marked where an access road must have led to parking for the old factory, and Granger’s somewhat-OCD mind made his eyes flick to the right to find the scarred, yellow-and-rust post’s mate.
At first he saw nothing. Setting his cream-colored coffee mug atop the flat top of the remaining post, Granger stepped over to the other side of the cracked and crumbling cement driveway entrance. There it was. Well, at least the base of the other post was still firmly stuck in the concrete with five or six inches of the metal casing protruding above ground.
Musing, he retrieved his coffee then retraced his steps. He’d been sitting through two Pandora ads, his practical side fencing with his creative side in choosing how to address the second in a “Coffeeology” series for his blog. Frustrated, he’d grabbed his cup, refilled it, and just got out of the house. Taking a walk often jiggles my creative juices. I won’t be gone long, and don’ need no steeenkeeng travel mug.
Standing there, staring down at the bottom of that old broken post, the ideas began to flow. A city bus slowed, the driver wondering what the silver-haired gent in the red-and-black checked down vest was doing, staring at seemingly nothing but weeds. Rousing from his reverie, Granger glanced up, grinned and waved, and abruptly turned to head back to his computer.
Unlocking and re-entering his home office, he brushed past Biff, who long since had grown used to his human’s weird comings and goings. Drawing in a noisy, long, dismissive breath, the tawny square-nozzled shar pei expelled it in a sudden, jowl-flapping rush. Granger stopped just long enough to dump the last of his cold coffee and replace it. He then headed into his office, settled down before his trusty laptop and began once again to type . . .
“COFFEEOLOGY #2: STAY GROUNDED
“Change, the passing of Time, is a part of life. Experiences flush like quail, seeming to be ‘forever’ things before they, too, diminish and eventually disappear in the reality and necessity of Now. If one ties to the experiences themselves, disappointment and even grief often follows.
“Let me explain.
“I was walking this morning. Along the sidewalk I followed, there was a city street on my left and a vacant, weed-overgrown field once a factory parking lot on my right. I noticed a concrete driveway entrance to the old lot, marked on the left side by an old metal post that looked like it once held a chain. I did what you’d do: I glanced over to see where the other one was.
“It wasn’t. Well, the noticeable, above-ground part wasn’t. When I walked over to look closer, I could see the bottom of that old post. It was still firmly set in the concrete base where it’d originally been placed. There was even five or six inches of the metal post sticking up to show me where it had been. At some point, a truck had misjudged the entrance’s clearance and run into the right-hand post, breaking it off. The foundation was right where it should have been; but the surface part was gone.
“Think about the last time you revisited somewhere you once lived as a kid. Remember how many times you either thought or said out loud, “I remember what used to be there”?
“Life’s like that. I know you remember the story we learned in Sunday School about the guy who built his house on sand. Hey. All those folks in Charleston and along the east coast prepping for Florence can tell you: even building on the strongest possible foundations, sand just doesn’t cut it when storms hit.
“I’m 66 in 20 more days. Looking back, I can see a lot of things and people that have been forever changed. I can remember, sometimes even see where they were, because the foundations remain – unless someone came along and tore them up to build someone or something else.
“Today’s bit of Coffeeology is some of God’s finest advice: STAY GROUNDED. By all means, soar in response to the dreams He’s placed within you. Imagine! Defy the Mamas and The Papas: don’t merely dream a little dream. Dream a big one! Make it worthy of the Time you invest in it, and let it’s scope and reach scare you a little! Let it stretch you and draw you out of who and what you’ve been, into who and what God’s thrilled to make of you!
“Just stay grounded as you do. A solid piece of Scripture comes to mind: “. . . for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” 2 Timothy 1:7. Things and people can look pretty strong and impressive on the surface. They can even be intimidating. I’ve found if I’m ‘surfing’ through my day, observing it all from my surface vantage point, it’s easy to mistake fluff and froth for substance. It’s easy to be troubled, saddened, even fearful because of the way everything looks.
“Staying grounded means to take the second or third look. To check under the hood. To read a little fine print. To follow your gut and take nothing for granted. To be willing to listen to wise counsel and apt advice.
“Stay grounded, my friends. STAY GROUNDED.”
Granger sat back, idly ruffling his hand through the thick ruff of Biff’s neck where he’d conveniently positioned it beside the desk chair. That’s when he remembered the crumpled bit of paper that had started it all by barely grazing his nose.
Reaching into the pocket of his down vest, he pulled it out. It read, “I don’t know what the hell my heart beats for, but it isn’t you. Not any more.” Granger scanned it. It was written in a teen’s feminine scrawl, on a torn piece of notebook paper.
He sat back in his chair, sipped some coffee, and thought about some of his own teenage crushes. Gently smiling at the memories and how desperately foolish he’d been. He mulled over how, in the age of Facebook and Twitter, this girl resorted to a medium used by her grandparents to broadcast her disgust at the sub-par young male in question. Granger sat quietly for a few moments, remembering his own solemn teenage attempts to be a gentleman while yet wanting to make his intentions and attentions known. He remembered every girl he’d been sweet on, the passing interests and the ones that went ‘PING’ right down to his heart’s basement . . .
He glanced back at the offending note. Huh. Unsigned. I guess the two of them knew whose writing it was. Well, whoever you are, my young unknowns, the sooner you learn to stay grounded, the better things will go for you. I wish you both long life, a real love, and that you find God while you’re young.
Sighing, Granger recrumpled the note, tossing it into his garbage can. He then did something he’d been doing for decades: he stopped everything else he’d been doing, and prayed for the young man and young woman into whose lives he’d been invited by a Fall gust.
© D. Dean Boone, September 2018