Sometimes Things Just Happen



After I posted Sunday about the horror of being the one to find my mother after her death, my good friend Tammy Van Gils wisely commented, “Life isn’t always a bed of roses. Sometimes we get thorns too.” How true that is! And even the nice gardening gloves I bought recently aren’t thick enough to protect me from the cactus needles I can’t see.

Something strange happened on the way to church this morning. (I’m writing this Sunday afternoon).

We were moving along nicely at 45 mph, enjoying the sunshine and the breeze coming through the open sun roof of my Honda Civic. We were listening to a Newsboys CD on the car stereo and preparing mentally for a morning of Bible study and worship.

All of a sudden, something struck the car. Not another car, though–none were in sight. It sounded like something had hit the sun roof and maybe fallen into the car, but we didn’t see anything, and the car was behaving normally, so we saw no need to stop and check things out.

Once we arrived at church, however, we spotted the two sticks pictured above lying on the floor of the backseat. Apparently a tiny piece of tree branch had fallen just as we were passing underneath and broken into two pieces when it hit the roof of the car before falling through the open sun roof. There was no visible damage to the car. Just a few little specks of dirty stick, one of which landed on me.

Some people would go to great lengths to philosophize about the significance of this strange but ultimately harmless incident. I’m satisfied to laugh and say, “I’m glad the roof was open. I don’t think the car warranty would’ve covered a broken sun roof. And I wouldn’t have wanted to try explaining the accident to the insurance company.”

Sometimes things just happen. And how much happier we are when we can just laugh those smaller thorns off and keep on going.

How about you? Has something inconsequential “just happened” to you recently? How about leaving a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.


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Best regards,

The Next-to-the-Most-Recent Dumbest Thing I’ve Ever Done


I love my red Honda Civic. It’s not really a sports car, but it’s far sportier than anything I ever had before, and at least it’s not so low to the ground that I have any trouble climbing in and out of it.

But I’m mature enough to recognize that it’s just a thing. When I die, I won’t be riding that Honda to Heaven. I suspect the ride there will be more like being transported, a la Star Trek.

So in spite of the fact that I take the car to be washed periodically and have it waxed probably two or three times a year, I know it will eventually lose some of its luster. Dings are bound to happen. I’m not the kind of person to use two parking places to protect my car.

But I never expected that I would be responsible–in an innocent kind of way–for the slight damage my poor car has undergone.

I was driving to a body shop to pick up my wife and accidentally turned left one driveway too soon. The parking lot looked like the kind that would connect with the roadway I should’ve taken. No such cut-over in the lot, but the driveway led further back. I thought surely I could find a cut-over there.

Hmm. Great idea except for one little thing. Even as slowly as I was driving, I didn’t see a wire hanging low between two posts. Apparently to keep people from driving back there. No sign of a ribbon or marker to make it obvious.

But I heard it. When it ground against the front of my car–what ever happened to bumpers?–and snapped.

I’d not only broken the wire, but put some very conspicuous yellow dings low on the front end of my car. As upset as I was, I could only shake my head at what I’d failed to see and consequently done to my car.

It didn’t matter whether it was my fault or not. As far as my car would be concerned–if it had the ability to assess the situation–I’d done something really dumb.

As it was, the body shop where I was picking up my wife was able to do some minor surgery and a paint touch up for fifty-some dollars. (Fortunately, they’d been working on another car that used the exact same color paint. I didn’t ask whether it had also broken the wire next door.)

I can’t look at the front of my car without thinking about the dumb thing I’d done without even realizing it. Isn’t that typical of many of the mistakes we make in life? We fail to see the barriers, which may be small or inadequately marked, and plow right into them.

How about you? Have you ever experienced anything similar? Please leave a comment.


I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Best regards,

Sports Car for the Aging Man

CivicRoger    licese    CivicRoger2

When I was a kid, I used to assemble plastic customized car kits. Strangely enough, though, I never bothered to paint them. But I sure enjoyed putting outrageous fins on them during an era in which many cars had outrageous fins.

When I took wood shop in junior high (what they call middle school now), I used to design little wooden sports cars and put wheels on from whichever car kit could most easily spare them. Then I fastened a CO2 cartridge to the top and used a special little tool  to puncture the cartridge and send the car racing down the sidewalk.

I can almost see some of my old designs in my mind’s eye now. Some of them turned out to be remarkably similar to cars that came out years after I dreamed them up, although I seriously doubt that professional car designers would bother to steal a design from a boy in his early- to mid-teens who never showed them to anyone else, anyhow.

Flash forward. I didn’t take driver’s ed in high school because my parents couldn’t afford the insurance and only had one car, anyhow. I didn’t even learn to drive until I was a senior in college, when I gave one of my English instructors (Alan Stone, are you out there somewhere?) guitar lessons in exchange for driving lessons.

He was brave. We used his brand-new Ford Falcon. No accidents.

When I started teaching school in September of 1968, I didn’t have a car. I was staying in a rooming house I could walk to school from.

But a month or two later, I inherited an old Chevy from my mother’s favorite aunt. Well, her most well-to-do aunt, anyhow. No matter how thankful I was to have my own car, though, I wanted something new. Something sportier. Maybe even something like the cars I’d always dreamed about.

I ended up at the Ford dealership. I’ll never forget that gorgeous white Mustang with the black vinyl roof. But, alas, it cost $3500, and I was making $5700 a year teaching. So I pretended that the blue Falcon with the white roof was sporty enough. And—at $2700—I could afford it. If you weren’t alive back then, you probably can’t imagine what a difference that $800 made.

Flash forward to more recent years.

Since my divorce from my first wife, I’d been driving what had been her car. A nice enough Honda, but not my choice. I traded for a nicer, used Honda Accord, but it wasn’t sporty enough. And white was no longer a color I thought of as sporty.

No matter how much I wanted a Porsche or a BMW or a Corvette, those things were never going to fit into the family budget. Even if I’d had the money to buy one, I couldn’t have afforded the gas or the insurance.

My wife and I often talked about the desirability of a Mazda Miata. It was sporty enough and only slightly out of our price range. But, doggone…could I handle climbing in and out of something that low–especially as I got older? And equally practical, how would I get my bass guitar to church in one, even if my wife and I drove separate cars—which we didn’t want to have to start doing?

We looked at a Hyundai that was actually fairly sporty looking. And, interestingly, even though it was a coupe, it had a “hidden” back door on one side. But it just didn’t feel like my ideal car when I test drove it.

At the Honda dealership we found “it.” A new Honda Civic coupe. Bright red. (Did I mention that my ideal car would have to be red?) Great sound system. It felt familiar to drive because of the similarity to the Accord.

And we could afford it.

I frequently have other people admire and compliment me on my Civic. And do I ever take it for a Carpool cleaning as often as we can afford it.

I’ll never stop admiring those Porsches, BMWs, and Corvettes. I may not be too old to admire them, but I’m old enough to be practical.

Please leave a comment if something in this post speaks to you in a way you’d like to respond to. I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to the top right of this page where it says, “Follow Blog via Email.”

By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing” to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them here. Because I’ve used up all of my songs, I repost an old post each Wednesday. If you’re interested, please check that blog out here.

Best regards,