THIS MORNING I’M DOING SOME SLOW THINKING. I needed the perfect soundtrack for this. Mile Davis’ “Kind Of Blue” is just right.


I’ve read Gladewell’s “Blink”. I’ve tried to read Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. Without getting mired down in the deep stuff of his ideas, he says we need to do more slow thinking. An example in his book demonstrates whether a person solves a problem "quickly with little conscious deliberation" or through reflective, slow thinking:

A bat and a ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

So, did you solve it fast; or slow?

It’s no secret, I enjoy YouTube. I just love that people are creating this amazing content and sharing it so socially. Some of my favorites are:

  • MonaLisa Twins

  • Marques Brownlee

  • Pomplamoose Music

  • Casey Neistat

  • Memphis Drum Shop

    Numerous road-tripping vlogs like:

  • Drivin and Vibin

  • Travelling K

Lately, my obsession is with vlog called “Cruising The Cut”. Did you know that there are canals all across Great Britain? They were cut through the land in the 1700s. Today, there are people who cruise these canals on “narrow boats”. These boats are just under seven feet wide and 40 to 60 feet long. These are live-aboard boats. One of the guys that lives on board a narrow boat, cruises the cut at speeds up to two miles an hour and vlogs about it is a guy named David Johns.

Yes, two miles an hour. And I sit and watch video after video of him doing this slow cruise. I’ve mentioned this to a few people and they say, “What?” If I can convince them to watch one with me, they’re hooked.

It reminds me of the value to going slow, of taking in the sights, of paying attention.

Our great friend, mentor and travel advisor, Doug Manning is always encouraging us to take the “blue highways” as we travel. Those are the blue roads on the map, the ones less traveled these days. Any time we’re ready to hit the road Doug tells us the route to take and it rarely involves Interstate highways. He also is a human atlas and knows the sights to see along America’s byways. His mode of travel demands slowness.

Recently on the Airstream website, they had a survey you could take and it would tell you what kind of traveler you are, and, of course, what model of Airstream you need to do that kind of traveling. I took a look at the survey and thought: this is stupid, but I was waiting on my truck to be serviced so I took it. Here’s a screenshot of the results:

Screen Shot 2019-08-04 at 8.51.13 AM.png

Hmmm, maybe not so stupid afterall.

About that bat and ball; if you’re a “fast” thinker like apparently 86% of the test takers are, you answered: 10 cents. And you would be wrong.

Want a chance to slow down and solve it properly? Go.

I feel like I am slowing down, that probably comes with becoming a man-of-a-certain-age. But I like going slower. I drink my morning cup from a insulated tumbler kind of vessel. It holds a little more and lasts me all morning. I read slower these days, not because I can no longer read phrases rather than just words, but because I want to see what words the writer has chosen. I think all good writers agonize over the choice of a word and I should honor that.

Even when I practice at my drum set, which I do most every day, I’ve slowed down. I used to press hard to develop more and more stick speed. Now I play for nuance. I remember my jazz band instructer yelling at me that the bass drum should be felt and not heard. I vehemently disagreed (in my mind) with him at the time, now; I play that way. I agree that the space between the notes is just as important as the notes themselves.

No doubt by now you’ve figured out that the correct answer is five cents. Way to slow down. Makes you wonder what else you’re missing by being all in a big rush doesn’t it?


USING TRAILER PARLANCE AS METAPHOR, we’ve been hitched for a few years now. Both of us, my Amazing-Missus and I, are from the Tulsa area—she, just from the south of Jenks; me, just north of Jenks. We met in Bixby.


The insightful C.S. Lewis, as far as I know, never visited Jenks or Bixby, but he did have some keen wisdom on relationships:

“Those who cannot conceive Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a Friend. The rest of us know that though we can have erotic love and friendship for the same person yet in some ways nothing is less like a Friendship than a love-affair. Lovers are always talking to one another about their love; Friends hardly ever about their Friendship. Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in each other; Friends, side by side, absorbed in some common interest.” —C.S. Lewis. The Four Loves.

Let’s talk about some of the side-by-side stuff. Early in our marriage we discovered one of our favorite places to eat together was Coney-Islander, a little hot dog joint native to Tulsa. (By “little hot dog” I’m talking about the size of the establishment and also the size of their coneys. They are adorable.) It is still our favorite. It started in 1926, and in all these years, hasn’t changed much. I hope Coney-Islander doesn’t hire one of those new fangled UX specialists to “take the company to the next level”. Their level is just fine. At Coney-Islander, you sit on the same side of the booth, side-by-side. This is so you can work out the Weekly Scramble on the old blackboard on the wall. It’s a C-I tradition.


We often spend weekends in Tulsa. We’ve found a great place in mid-town where we can park our Airstream. It’s close to some of our favorite side-by-side type places: the Circle Cinema, a throwback art-movie theatre; Tulsa University, a Coney-Islander, and a short drive to downtown where you’ll find the arts district, Glacier Chocolates, Guthrie Green, Antionette Baking Company, Spinster Records and Driller Stadium, all good places for side-by-side moments.

There is a mix of blessings to traveling in an Airstream: people want to talk about it and “take a quick peek inside.” Recently we were hitched up and leaving Tulsa for Shawnee, where we were to attend a very special event—a birthday party for a five year old. Often, as we leave Tulsa, our route is via Peoria Avenue, through the narrow streets of Brookside to a Coney-Islander, before getting on the highway out of town. As I pulled into the parking lot on this particular Saturday, I noticed a fancy Mercedes following closely. Before I could hardly get out of the truck, there was a woman who looked like she had just come from the Lululemon store up the street, or the hair extension store somewhere nearby. “Can I please droll over your Airstream!?” (Her actual words.)

Sure, I say. I’ll be inside drooling over “a couple of coneys with everything.” (That’s how you order them.) She’s holding her phone in the air and explains to us that she has her boyfriend on FaceTime so he can take the tour as well. My Amazing-Missus graciously hosted the tour while I went into the air-conditioned Coney-Islander to wait. As I watched her walk toward the diner from the Airstream after the tour, I saw it all as a tableau of sorts or an Edward Hopper painting (but far less forlorn)—that silver trailer, this little hotdog joint, and her; walking from one to the other. Not to over-romanticize it, but it was glimpse of a magical side-by-side life together. Our travels: together, our favorite things to do: together, our memories: together, and our future: together.

And then I thought, I hope that if Miss Yogapants and her FaceTime friend find themselves in an Airstream someday they will have great side-by-side adventures too. Like the old song says:

Oh, we ain't got a barrel of money
Maybe we're ragged and funny
But we'll travel along, singin' a song
Side by side
Don't know what's comin' tomorrow
Maybe it's trouble and sorrow
But we'll travel the road, sharin' our load
Side by side
Through all kinds of weather
What if the sky should fall
Just as long as we're together
It doesn't matter at all
When they've all had their quarrels and parted
We'll be the same as we started
Just travelin' along, singin' our song
Side by side

Here’s a Coney-Islander Weekly Scramble for you. Sorry I don’t have a coney for you to enjoy while you try to figure it out. If you just can’t quite work it out, email me and I’ll send you the answer. hey.pops.hey@gmail.com.

P.S.: No Googling for the answer. You’ll hate yourself in the morning if you do.



MY DAD IS 94. He is still our paterfamilias—the male head of a family.


A few weeks ago we thought he was slipping away. A hospice nurse used the word "imminent". We took turns being with my mom at his bedside. He had reached that unofficial, indeterminate point where quality of life seems to be evaporating. Then he "rallied", another hospice word.

Now, for a few weeks, we've had the opportunity to have more talks, share more memories, tell more stories, hear more stories. We're thankful, grateful and tired. I know mom and dad are tired too.

I'm not going to lie. There was a time, a Sunday morning, when he seemed almost vacant and even anguished. I prayed this: "God you have asked him to fight the good fight. If anyone has ever done, he has. What more do you want from him?"

I confessed to my oldest son that I had prayed for the grace of passing for dad. He said, "You might have a problem there. Your Grand-Girls are praying he'll get better."

They clearly have more sway than I do. Heck, I would put their prayers up there with those of Joel Osteen praying for a bigger house or Creflo Dollar praying for a faster jet.

For many years my dad has worn a ring that says, "DAD". A few days ago, it was just him and me in his room, I thought he was in a deep sleep, a pain drug induced state of little responsiveness, only an occasional grimace. He pulled that ring from his finger and handed it to me. His eyes were open for only a few seconds, no words were spoken. I squeezed that old ring in my fist and felt a weight I didn't want to feel. Being paterfamilias.

I haven't always done well with responsibility; not that I'm a deadbeat dad or anything. I put in an honest day's work and get an honest day's pay. I have the oil changed regularly and the tires rotated on schedule. I knew what it looks like to step up, to do and to be, sometimes I would prefer for the buck to stop elsewhere. In these last days, the decisions have sometimes come too fast; they are too heavy.

Don't worry. I'm not going to run away, or screech at God, or buy me a red golf hat and be pissed at the world. I have help. Don't we all, if we really admit it?

On June 16, 1972, I had another ring handed to me. My Amazing-Missus placed it on the third finger of my left hand, held it there and said a vow. I did the same. This ring seems so much lighter because all these years later she stands with me, still, as she always has. I don't make decisions all alone, in isolation. She is wise and she's been down this path before, too often.

We have a friend. He is our mentor and minister. He literally wrote the book on this end-of-life stuff. His wisdom and encouragement are like scaffolding for me, and not just now; he has been our marriage counselor, therapist, travel consultant and spiritual paterfamilias for many, many years.

And, at the risk of sounding like I'm giving an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, we have so many other friends, and family in this deal. It's like they read that verse that says, "Bear one another's burdens," and they believed it.

A few days ago we visited a nature park with our three Shawnee Grand-Girls. At the head of the trail is a big wooden sign with a map of all the trails. There is a star on the sign and the words, "YOU ARE HERE". The middle of the three, who is seven, asked, "How did they know we were here?"

Right now, we know: WE ARE HERE, at a place many others have been before and will be again. And we are grateful for all those who know this trail because they've been down it and have basically said, "We know where you are. Here's an encouraging word and a prayer."

That's enough.

Sticks Stones Scones

“Years from now when you talk about this—and you will—be kind,” Laura was saying, softly.
— from the movie, “Tea and Sympathy”, 1956.

Or: When you talk; be kind.

[NOTE: A shout out to Jay Heinrichs for prompting this dialog I’ve been having in my head and heart the past few weeks. I’ve been re-reading Jay’s book, “Thank You For Arguing”.]


DECORUM: There’s something you don’t hear much anymore. Maybe it’s because there isn’t much of it anymore—the thing, not the word. Let’s break it down a bit, and to do that, it’s probably better to start one step back and consider the word: decorus.

Decorous Got Its Start With Etiquette

The current meaning of decorous dates from the mid-17th century. One of the word's earliest recorded uses appears in a book titled The Rules of Civility (1673): "It is not decorous to look in the Glass, to comb, brush, or do any thing of that nature to ourselves, whilst the said person be in the Room." Decorous for a time had another meaning as well—"fitting or appropriate"—but that now-obsolete sense seems to have existed for only a few decades in the 17th century. Decorous derives from the Latin word decorus, an adjective created from the noun decor, meaning "beauty" or "grace." Decor is akin to the Latin verb decēre ("to be fitting"), which is the source of our adjective decent. It is only fitting, then, that decent can be a synonym of decorous. —Merriam-Webster Dictionary

So let’s go with that: to have decorum requires decency, a willingness to adjust, to fit in, understanding and being appropriate. Here’s an example of this kind of decorum: Audi alteram partem; which means, let the other side be heard.

This idea has been a part of ethical conduct since The Beginning: man, woman and Creator. Adam and Eve engage in original sin, and what does God do? Audi alteram partem. He gives them an opportunity to tell their side of the story.

GOD said, “Who told you you were naked? Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?”

The Man said, “The Woman you gave me as a companion, she gave me fruit from the tree, and, yes, I ate it.”

GOD said to the Woman, “What is this that you’ve done?”

“The serpent seduced me,” she said, “and I ate.” —Genesis 3:11-13

The US Supreme Court gave the idea this endorsement:

"Audi alteram partem - hear the other side! - a demand made insistently through the centuries, is now a command, spoken with the voice of the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, against state governments, and every branch of them - executive, legislative, and judicial - whenever any individual, however lowly and unfortunate, asserts a legal claim.”

Why is it so hard to audi alteram partem? Why must we have the final word? Why are we so defensive? Why are we so offensive? Why are we so sure we are right and therefore ‘they’ are wrong?

Is it politics that has damaged civility; or are politics the result of damaged civility? Maybe it’s TV “news” and talk radio. Is there hope for decorum, for civil discourse, for conversation that doesn’t end up dividing?

The heart has its reasons, which reason does not know.
— Blaise Pascal

I’m not looking for tea and sympathy—i.e., pity, but rather an exchange of empathy along with a scone and a nice cup of tea, or better yet; a strong coffee and hearty discussion sounds good, or a pint and pizza and good honest conversation.

HOW ABOUT MEETING UP? Not for something all fancy like Afternoon Tea, although that is civilized, but something earthier; but decorus. ARE YOU IN? Let me know at hey.pops.hey@gmail.com and I’ll let you know the when and the where of the next get together.