Transition Retransitioned

I began last night’s ponder time just after midnight. I had life’s transitions in mind, aware that almost every transition I planned got re-transitioned, often by oddball circumstances. My best imagining could never have come up with the path I walked, nor picked a more delightful last chapter.

By and by I took to the computer to write the fuzz out of my brain. I checked for emails and found Dr. Mardy’s Quotes for the Week. This Week in History rang the bell. It discussed Steve Jobs transitions. Dr. Mardt drew on Jobs’ 2005 Commencement speech at Stanford University. It’s well worth a listen: Only 14 minutes.

A year before the speech, Jobs had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told he had only a few months to live. A few weeks later,  further testing suggested that surgery might help, and after the operation, Jobs thought he was in the clear.

The experience profoundly shaped Job’s very first Commencement address. His closing paragraph grabbed me: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

My final transition can’t be that far off, but not to worry. I follow my heart and let the Lord do the transitioning. I’ll not sit around and wait for the wagon. New adventures wait at every turn.

Old Grandpa Lloyd




A Valentine Poem

Norma found this bit of doggerel pinned to a dozen red roses she received today:

My pace has slowed, my step unsure,/ my thoughts and sight less keen;/ But my heart beats fonder/each time I ponder/ the girl in 313.

Old Grandpa Lloyd


She Wasn’t Laughing

Nine years ago today, Elsie left for heaven. Gladness tempered my grief, for after six years of hurting, she had finally found peace. I learned that sorrow mellows over time, that love may come again, without diminishing first love in the least.

I was approaching 86 when Elsie died. The years since have been  most remarkable. To read about them, go to and click on Epilogue under Recent Posts.The story concludes with the Mailbox Caper and three closing words: She wasn’t laughing.

After Elsie’s death, I irreverently zapped many who sought to console me with this zinger: Yes, losing Elsie was hard. After 66 years together, she ran off with another man!  Pregnant pause.  His name was Jesus.

Old Grandpa Lloyd


Occasionally, in those eager growing- up years, I did something right.

I was working the Mission hotel desk one fall day when a middle-age, sad-looking stranger walked in. He was sober and shabby, but clean. With a Scotland-tinged voice he said , “Sirrr, my name is Scotty. I need to get saved.”

Too smooth, I thought. “You’ve come to the right place, Scotty, but honestly, do you want to get saved, or do you want bed and breakfast?”

He brightened. “I can get bed and breakfast without getting saved? Man, I’ve been saved in missions from Main to California!”

Scotty hung around, stopping by now and then to swap stories. One afternoon he came with a new-looking, wool scarf. “Me old mither back home made it for me,” he said. “I want you to have it.” I could see where the label had been ripped off. I took the scarf and thanked Scotty. “Thank your mither for me,” I said.

Then he was off to some warm city to get saved for the winter; a way of life. I hope Scotty remembered a young guy in St. Paul who for a few fall days saved him from loneliness.  Does that sort of thing count in the chronicles of heaven?

Old Grandpa Lloyd

The Most Descibal Man

Often in the dark of the night, unbidden memories sneak in, some bringing tears.

In 1944 I was going to seminary and working at the St. Paul Union Gospel Mission. For a time I tended the hotel desk, collecting modest fees. Some residents slept in low-cost, musky-smelling dormitories. A few could afford small private rooms with a corner sink, two-drawer dresser, chair, and bed. Washrooms and showers down the hall. Many slept for free on cots set up in the chapel after the evening service, attendance required for three hots and a cot.

Most hotel residents were peaceful when sober.  A few held jobs. Some sought pick-up work or wandered the streets. In bad weather and evenings, they socialized in day rooms lined with brown wooden rockers.

One man I came to dislike. He was ugly mean. He stunk. I never saw him with a friend. He would pay his fee, grab his key, and stagger up to his room. He never acknowledged my greeting; I never saw him smile.

One day the cleaning woman found him dead in his bed. I was assigned to clean his room. The room was stark bare. No photos, no possessions, only an ancient, tattered valise containing a few filthy clothes.

Under the clothes I found a violet-colored, small envelope. No return address. Inside was a note in trim handwriting. It began, Dear Daddy.

Someone cared, and I failed that person. Did I try hard enough?

Old Grandpa Lloyd




Play it Again, Sam

Forgive me if I revisit an  old theme:

Beware the parson or politician who knows stuff for certain. Certainty comes in many colors.

I say my God is real; others say their God is real.  Who is right?  Majority opinion does not necessarily speak truth. Remember Galileo.

Capitalism is superior to socialism. I lean that way, but don’t touch my HUD subsidy, Medicare, or county-provided cleaning lady. How do we balance free enterprise with care for the poor?  Does government have some responsibility?

As best I can, I speak the truth. But how do I know what I believe is truth? So many voices! Which should I heed?

As a certified geezer, I declare trout fishing a far superior recreation than golf. But personal preference does not determine truth.  For sure, apples taste better than bananas.

Where does what I hold to be truth come from? My famous Boy Scout/poison ivy story teaches we lean on the opinion of people we trust. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote, “We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of superstitious fears which were implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject them.”

So truth rests on the reliability of the source.Don’t break sweat over soapbox pundits, pulpit or party platform. They may believe what they say, but that doesn’t make it truth.

It took me a long time to discover my childhood tribe didn’t have everything right. Today I’m comfortable in my theological and political skin, but there’s an outside chance I could be wrong.

Old Grandpa Lloyd



Humble is as Humble Does

Thanks, Susan, for providing cover while I recover from acute computer failure and a pulled front tooth. Your Fresh Start post this morning took me back to an old family joke:  When I bragged for fun how proud I was of my humility, Elsie would always respond: You have a lot to be humble about.

Susan Kline’s devotional from Fresh Start, slightly mangled to fit space, hit humbleness head on. Citing James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up,” she wrote: Have you ever wrestled with the concept of humility? Merriam Webster defines “humble” as a spirit of deference or submission, being unpretentious or insignificant.  The Cambridge English Dictionary declares being humble as tending to consider yourself as having no special importance that makes you better than others.  Are these accurate definitions?

 C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters is an exchange of notes between two demons, one of whom is assigned to oversee a human. Screwtape warns Wormwood that his “patient” is becoming humble. He encourages Wormwood to make the man aware of this virtue, thus when he proclaims himself to be humble, he will, in actuality, be prideful of his own humility. Has this  happened to you? Maybe you’ve done a good deed in secret, then felt pretty good about yourself; or been in a conversation and downplayed a success so you’ll come across as humble? Some would consider trying to exercise humility an exercise in futility!

We can misinterpret dictionary definitions, assuming we must belittle ourselves or not accept others’ praise. God has gifted each of us in unique ways with character qualities  He desires us to recognize and enjoy. We need not minimize personal strengths. Jesus, the epitome of humility, never demeaned Himself. So how does one remain humble without becoming prideful of his/her own humility?

C.S. Lewis has a wonderful perspective in Mere Christianity.  He states, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” A truly humble person will not be thinking about his humility; he will not be thinking about himself at all. He will focus on God and others, thus making himself less important.

Perhaps we could say humility is more attitude than action. The closer we draw to God, the more we desire His will, the more humble our attitude toward others will become. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Thanks, Susan

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Be Patient: Soon I’ll Be Rich

I get a lot of mail–online and off. Sadly, much of it goes unread. One glance tells me the sender needs money and I can only quote old Saint Pete: Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.

I lean on HUD rent assistance and county services for the elderly poor. I live modestly and support my beloved church. I send token gifts to ministries of special interest. I do what I can for Woodland Garden.   Occasional books show up in our library when the librarian from 313 pouts.

However, things will soon be looking up. I’m working on several health/wealth preacher boys to send me couple million in seed money. I’ll get rich; they’ll get richer; and everyone will live happy ever after. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

My heart aches for the needs served by friends who write to me. I can only refer them to an old proverb I made up a while back: Where God guides, God provides.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Surfing the Dumpster

Where have all the emails gone? To Facebook, Twitter, Skype and their like. Since I don’t tweet or skype and Facebook at klutz level, please share important stuff for me at 218.216-3237 or

Facebook has become a dismal swamp, a mix of family chit-chat, back-fence recipe sharing, pernicious ads (can’t rid of ‘em), political niggling, and show-off dirty talk. Sometimes, surfing Facebook is like hunting for good stuff in a back alley dumpster.

Webmaster Jackie McBride helps maintain and Hole News subscribers receive each blog by email, and I post them on Facebook. The Story Tree shelters adventure tales old and new. The most recent, Epilog, tells about my days since Elsie died in 2009. Spooky stuff got me to Woodland Garden and the girl from 313.

The Hole News and Facebook find readers around the world. What a day!

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Picnic By the Crystal Stream

Let’s call her Molly.  She was a long-time member of the Midwest church I served as interim pastor. As Molly aged, she grew ill and left her home for a care center. I visited her each week.

After a time, Molly began to fade and was placed in hospice mode. Church friends took turns sitting with her. When I arrived that week, I was told Molly had only a short time. She greeted me with a smile, “I’ll soon go home.”  We prayed, shared scriptures about heaven, and she drifted off. I chose to stay with her.

Toward evening, Molly awoke, fully lucid. She named songs for her funeral; she spoke with appreciation of our friendship.  I said, “Tell you what: when I join you up there, how about we plan a picnic by the Crystal Stream? “Oh good,” she said, “I’ll bring egg salad.” She died that night.

Plans were announced for the memorial service at the church. Then a glitch. For years, a neighbor woman had helped Molly in various ways. When she heard the funeral plans, she said “No way!  Molly lived in the care center a long time. Her friends are unable to travel. The funeral will be at the care center.” That made sense to me. I worked out details with the care center; the church women planned simple refreshments.

On Sunday afternoon church folks and Care Center friends in their wheelchairs filled the Care Center room. We had a sweet time remembering a godly woman, then cleared space for socializing. Though I had told no one about the proposed streamside picnic, I was pleased to note on the refreshment table a lovely garnished display of egg salad sandwiches.

Old Grandpa Lloyd