Saturday, June 27, 2009

Round and Round!

It’s interesting how life keeps coming back round again. Think about it. We’re back in Hawaii now after a three hour delayed flight, not fun, screaming babies, hacking, coughing seatmates, late hour, 2:30 a.m. California time. Wake up this morning, 4:30 a.m. Hawaii time (7:30 West Coast), do the math, 5 hours sleep.

Off to Homelani Camp on the North Shore for the final Music Camp Concert, where nineteen years ago we were welcomed as Divisional Leaders, but held under a tent then: Same camp, new pavilion (house that Joe built), different campers, most not born then, and a rugged beach, probably the same sand and recirculated sea water pounding its shore.

What possesses us to be there? Two of our granddaughters are in the program, playing in the band, singing in the chorus, et al, just like their grandparents did at that age (different camps, mind you). Awards are given: Riley wins the Soloist competition, McKenna receives the Drama Award, Theory Medal and during the finale is crowned the camps “Honor Musician,” making the buttons pop, or in this case, T-shirt expand.

This is where the round stops, however, neither grandparent ever winning even a single award during those hither music camp years. For decades now, I’ve been outspoken against these kinds of awards, believing that every camper is a winner, and should be adjudged so… AND NOT BECAUSE I DIDN’T WIN, EITHER!

Thus it is I sit and write with mixed emotions this afternoon. Proud, yes, but also sad for those who tried so hard and came up lacking. What will that do to their little psyches? I know what it did to mine. In that sense, I guess the round hasn’t stopped… “round and round we go, and where it stops nobody knows.”

Still can’t get my head ‘round’ this award thing, or our rank thing for that matter. Why?


Thursday, June 4, 2009


Married 43 years today. WOW! What an adventure! I’ve got to be one of the luckiest guys in the world. To understand that statement you have to know us, personality and disposition-wise. Everyone loves Doris; they tolerate me. No delusions on this front. Without her strength and balance, I’d probably ended up a client rather than a Commissioner.

It all began in San Francisco, at The Salvation Army School for Officer’s Training, of all places. We didn’t like each other at first for dispositional reasons: sweet and sour being the two opposing extremes. To this day she leans right and I lean left, canceling out each other’s vote in every election. Had I been nominated for General at the High Council, she would have voted against me, that’s how different we are: night and day.

But the staff and some cadets thought we would make the perfect couple, for some inexplicable reason. Thus they conspired to bring us together, led by the Education Officer, then Captain Bob Stillwell. When I walked into a classroom, the only vacant seat was always next to her. We found ourselves assigned to the same Field Training Brigade always. Everywhere I turned, there she was! Stillwell later confided to me that this was a clandestine, carefully executed, purpose-driven plan with the code name, “Propinquity” assigned to it.

Propinquity: Closeness, proximity, nearness in space, time, or relationship (Mirriam-Webster).

So it has been ever since, working (in propinquity) together as a team, mostly her assets balancing my liabilities. Whatever works!

Someone forgot to clue in the Personnel Secretary (then called the Field Secretary), however. I was commissioned to open a corps in Flagstaff, Arizona, she to assist in Farmington, New Mexico, with nothing but a wide expanse of Indian Reservation in between. Expedience took precedence over propinquity in this instance and thus it has ever been.

Adding insult to injury, we petitioned the Field Secretary for a June 4 wedding date because our good friends and session-mates had already claimed the weekend following, which would have been one year to the day following our Official Engagement (The rule being one year of engagement before you could marry). The response came back, “Permission Denied!” because it was one week premature. Regulation took precedence over propinquity and thus it has ever been.

Thankfully, Doris had friends in high places, the Chief Secretary, then Colonel Billy Parkins; he liked her. She wrote the appeal instead of me and voila! The decision was reversed. In this kind of instance, propinquity took precedence over regulation and thus it has ever been (nearness in relationship being one of the definitions). Her likableness has been my salvation many times over, no denying it here.

We still cancel out each other’s vote. She didn’t even nominate me for General. She loves band and songsters whilst I tolerate them. When I’m listening to Country/Western up full blast, base thumping on the stereo, she puts her “classically filled” ipod headset on. She still leans to the right, and I a little further to the left. In spite of our differences, we’ve grown closer together over these 43 years. Fortunately, in that time, God’s will took precedence over all of the intervening Field and Personnel Secretary’s tendencies toward expediency (which included a number of other silly appointments separating us needlessly).

It’s called Spirit-filled propinquity!