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4 posts from July 2017

Older "baby-boomer" guys: How well do you remember the draft during the Vietnam War?


My memories of the draft during the Vietnam war in the sixties and early seventies is getting hazy.  I still remember registering for the draft at the U.S. Post Office on Washington Street in Bay City.  It wasn't long after I got my draft card that guys are to publicly burn them to challenge authorities over being conscripted for what the felt was an unjust war.

It was this article in the New York Times that made me think about it.  The write of this piece was drafted in 1967 when I was at Michigan State University being trained to be a newspaper reporter.  I had a student deferment.  But, I knew that my local draft board in Bay County, Michigan would have me in Basic Training as soon as I graduated.

If you were over 18 in this country, the draft was something always lurking over your shoulder.  You couldn't escape it, unless you had connections with the local draft board, became a teacher or minister or got married.  Then the draft lottery was instituted.  Every date on the calendar was assigned a number and the lower your number the more likely you would be drafted.

My number was 10, putting me high on the list to be conscripted.  I was facing impossible decisions.  I finally found a U.S. Army Reserve School that accepted me as a member.  I had to sign up for six years.  I still had to go to basic and advanced training. and to training once a year with my unit.

I'm sharing this for my grandsons who may face the draft in their lifetimes.  I will try to share more for them.

What about other baby-boomer guys?  Did you get drafted?  Were you able to avoid it?  How?


What's the most important piece of advice you can give to a young grandson?


Check the strawberry in my grandson's hand.
We are a family that takes plenty of selfies.

 I love playing with my five grandkids.  When my seven-year-old grandson asked me to play Monopoly at our house, I thought about it for about five seconds and enthusiastically said, let's do it and we did it.  When my four-year-old granddaughter wanted to play puzzles, my mind switched into puzzle mode.

This week we are visiting with our son and his wife and their two kids in St. Louis.  My newly-minted three-year-old grandson was at my side pretty much the whole time when he was awake.  We played basketball right-sized for his age and did everything else, including watching Daniel Tiger.

During these times, I ask myself what about the times when he's a teenager and he asked me for the most important thing he could do.  It would be easy to say always get a good internet connection or eat red beets .  

But if any of them, three grandsons and two granddaughters, asked me that question, I'd have to share what I've learned in my almost 71 years.

I'd say, "Get to know Jesus Christ" as a person.  Everyday learn more about him, who he is, what he did and why it's important to you.  Learn the "who, what, when, where, how, why and so what" of Jesus and what he means to your everyday life.

There's lots of other stuff to learn, but it all starts with Jesus.  They're learning this from their parents everyday.  

I wish I would have had a grandfather who could have nudged me earlier in my life to do this.  I had a mom who was great, but I needed an older guy to tell me too.

Having a beer or two with my son at Urban Chestnut in St. Louis and talking about our lives


A selfie with my son.
Me and my son Justin at Urban Chestnut in St. Louis



We get bits and snatches of phone and FaceTime conversations to catch up with what's happening in our lives.  These visits are great and are usually punctuated by wonderful moments when grandkids pop in to say hello or show a toy.

However, I really look forward to the times when I can get together with my son Justin for a beer to talk about what's going on in our lives.  Last night, we did it at Urban Chestnut's Biergarten in St. Louis.  Over a generous glass of Schnickelfritz we caught up.  

We talked about our lives.  We threw in a little about politics.  Talked about family, including his sister-my daughter-and son-in-law who recently moved  to Dearborn to connect with and help those in the immigrant and refugee community there.  We talked about the future.  

It was good.  It was good beer and it was a good time of reconnection.

What about beer with my son-in-law?  Same thing.  These have been great times where we have gotten to know each other well and I left praising God for the great spouses He picked for my kids.

Are idols more than the golden calf found by Moses at the bottom of Mount Sinai?

Remember the golden calf that Moses found when he came down from the top of the mountain?  Children of Israel thought they'd make themselves a god while their leader was on top of the mountain.

I've often thought that I was good on not doing that.  You'd never catch me worshipping a gold statute or any other kind of false god.

I recently found this quote from author Tim Keller defining an idol.  Do I still think I'm immune from the temptation to worship something that's not the real God?  

Drive me by an Apple store and my head turns and I think about all the new stuff that I could use.  How about my family?  Have I ever made them into an idol?  How about this country?  Is it possible to make it into an idol.

Read Keller's definition and then ask yourself if you might fall prey to an idol.