Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Red Solo Cup Kinda Person

     If you're a country music fan, by now you have heard Toby Keith's most requested song ever, "Red Solo Cup." I like the song. I love its uptempo beat. It's one of those melodies that sticks in your head--you know, the one you're caught whistling all day long and you just can't erase it from your mind.
     I am an avid Toby Keith fan. I've been to a couple of his concerts and love his shows. But if you listen to this song or, even more, if you see the video, you know exactly what he's singing about. Hey, I attended a state university. I know what goes on outside of those hallowed halls. But let's take a closer look at this song between the lines.
     Toby sings, "Red Solo cup, I lift you up. Let's have a party." Later in the song he states, "Red Solo cup, you're not just a cup. You're my...you're my friend--lifelong. Thank you--for being my friend." Now with apologies to my friend, Jack Krebs, who doubles as an inspirational philosopher while also accepting a paycheck as a 4-H youth agent with the University of Wisconsin, let's break down this song. Jack actually inspired me to write this blog, though he doesn't know it, because of his insight into the lyrics.
     Jack says, "Share with your closest friend to tell them how much they mean to you. Lifelong goal--be the best red Solo cup that any one man can be." Pretty profound, huh? I'd like to stretch that thought a bit more. "Red Solo cup, I lift you up." If we're to be the 'best red Solo cup' that anyone, not just man, can be, we've got to be there lifting each other up. We've got to lift up strangers and friends alike. We've got to be "imitators of God" (Ephesians 5:1). We've got to be there through good times and bad, through prosperity and drought.
     The chorus continues, "Let's have a party." That means that joy is to be involved. Happiness must abound. There should be reason to celebrate. It doesn't have to be a monumental event to celebrate, it can be small baby steps, a seemingly minimal accomplishment. If we're a red Solo cup friend, we've got to bring joy into others' lives. We've got to help them see the bright side, we've got to have a party!
     "Do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). The lyrics say, "I fill you up." What a vivid picture! The Spirit fills us up and we, in turn, are to fill up our friends, our enemies--everyone. Everyone is invited to the party!
     So I ask you--is today the day that you decide to become a red Solo cup kinda person?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Closet Memories

     So yesterday after I finished feeding the cows their obligatory hay bale and was nearly startled off the flatbed when a petrified snake appeared underneath the hay, I was weighing my options of what to do. The wind was as bit chippy, so I didn't really want to work outside. My heart rate was a staggering 200 beats per minute after discovering the snake, then I decided to get inside the dogs' heads with the dead snake. They weren't impressed. So I decided to pull off the coveralls and work in the house.
     Our utility closet has begged to be cleaned for years. Every winter I resolve I'm going to clean out that closet and every winter I've found some excuse not to approach it. I suppose this could be a reflection on my overall house cleaning abilities, but I don't really think so. Many of you may have these closets--those ones you just keep throwing things into, hoping some closet-cleaning fairy will come along and magically whisk away everything that doesn't need to be in there. The fairy never appeared and the junk just kept piling up. Well, I don't know if I should exactly describe it as junk, but...
     Yesterday was the day I finally dug in my heels and convinced myself that closet just had to be cleaned. I figured it'd take an hour and then I'd be done. Long story short--four hours and seven trash bags later, I completed my task. I also have three boxes set for Goodwill or the Salvation Army, one box went to the rag container in the shop (maybe it should have gone to Acacia Park in Colorado Springs for some resale value), and everything else found its place on the shelves and hangers in the closet.
     As I dug deeper through all the "priceless" Southern Living magazines I thought I just had to save years ago (why, I don't know), through the furnace repair manuals that outdated themselves about 15 years ago, and through the countless work gloves that had long since divorced themselves from their partners, I stumbled on a few memories. It actually turned out to be fun cleaning out that closet.
     There was a partial gallon jug of Wonder Bubbles that included the mega wand with which to blow said bubbles. So that has to clue you into how long the bubbles had been in that closet. Our oldest son, Jake, turns 22 on Monday. Our youngest, Jade, will be 21 in August. I don't think this was a recent birthday present to either one of them, but I may be wrong. I found some little, teensy, tiny snow gloves that didn't have partners. Again, I'm quite sure these weren't just purchased a couple of years ago.
     Then I discovered what I believe to be the remnant of a 4-H woodworking demonstration. Either that, or Jake was planning to build me "a little deck" as is written on the "blueprint." I've included the photo of the "blueprint." It says "Make a little deck" and includes drawings of "16's nails", "boults" (bolts), saw, "rinch" (wrench), hammer, two "2x4's", pencil or "a all" (awl). Then he includes a drawing of "a little deck."
     I didn't pitch this historic blueprint because, to me, it's priceless. It may not be worth a darn to Jake, except to draw a good laugh from his college buddies. But to me, it's a reminder of days gone by that are fondly stored in my heart. Yes, sometimes the best memories are closet memories.