Dec 17, 2017

Bat Gripes

The Prompt: Pretend you're a cartoon character.  What type of character would you be?  What would a day in your life be like?

I decided to go with one of my favorite cartoon series from my childhood, Super Friends.  I watched the show religiously for awhile when I was in maybe third or fourth grade until Mom made me stop because she thought I was getting "too obsessed " with the show.  I'm now wondering if she made me stop watching it because of how terrible it was! The ridiculous plot lines, stilted dialogue, and implausible and downright impossible things that happened in each episode were reason enough not to watch!  It took some sleuthing since there are no full episodes that I could find on YouTube, but I finally found a batch of old episodes on the Daily Motion website.  I chose the character of Batman and based my story on the episode "Terror from the Phantom Zone." You can watch it here if you've got 20 minutes to blow.  In my story Batman is harried and overworked, and in that sense his super hero life feels familiar.  

Wonder Woman took this snap of us as she and Aquaman were getting ready to leave for the Panama Canal. We should have all gone.  But you know the Super Friends. . .we always have to do things the hard way.

One thing most people don't know about me is how much I rely on coffee.  Alfred knows, of course.  He makes sure I have a hot cup to go every morning.   I admit to being more than a little jealous of my colleagues at the Hall of Justice.  All of their super powers also seem to come with unlimited energy.  Honestly, I don't think I've seen any of them sleep ever.   Granted I'm not the only one on the the team who is an ordinary human but Robin is just a teenager and has no responsibilities at all.  In my case, I'm an ordinary human with superhuman responsibilities.   Running Wayne Enterprises alone should be a full time job, but then add on my never-ending responsibilities as a crime fighter and enemy of evil, and you're looking at four hours of sleep being a luxury.  And I'm sorry but, writing up a few stories for deadline at the Daily Planet and whatever it is that Aquaman and Wonder Woman do doesn't even come close to what I have to deal with on a daily basis.

The day starts in darkness with me checking my e-mail and replying to Lucius on a number of questions that have come up at the meetings in London.  By sunrise, I'm ready to get into the city. On most days I prefer to fly to work, just to avoid the traffic, but today I need to work on the drive, so I have Alfred drive me in the unmarked limo.  The heavily tinted windows and unremarkable appearance ensure that no one will identify me entering the Hall grounds.  I climb into the back seat in sweatpants and a t-shirt and spend the entire time on the phone talking to Lucius about the acquisition deal he is laboring over in London.  Even with the early departure we hit heavy traffic coming in to the city, and I start getting text messages.

Robin wants to know if I'm going to pick him up.  I tell him no. I don't tell him that the reason is because I can't work with his constant chatter and "Holy This" and "Holy That, Batman."

He wants to know how he's supposed to get to the Hall.  I tell him to figure it out.

Next it's Superman, wanting to know when I'm getting in.

I tell him I'm stuck in traffic. Not all of us can fly.

He wants to know why I didn't take the Batwing.  I tell him I have to work, that we're working on a major acquisition and I really should be in London.

Can't Lucius handle it? he asks.  I ignore the text.  I hate it when he nags.

I arrive at the Hall a little before eight.  We pass through the security gate and down into an underground tunnel that takes us underneath the spacious grounds of the Hall and underneath the building to a large parking lot that only I really use. 

I take the elevator up to my chambers in the Hall.  Each of us have our own chambers and mine is the largest. It includes an office, bedroom, bathroom, and gym.  I'm hoping to get in a good workout before dealing with whatever the villains have to throw at us today, but no such luck.

Where are you?!?  Superman again.

I'm here. Going to work out.  What's up?

Just get up here.  

The guy gets on my last nerve sometimes.  And it's especially annoying that he has this super nice, patient public persona.  I'm not the only one who gets annoyed by his assumption that he's the defacto leader of our group. Wonder Woman will roll her eyes behind his back and Aquaman will gripe privately.  I'm the only one who will give him some push back.

No workout today, I guess. It must be nice to have supernatural strength and never have to put in any work to stay in fighting trim.  I try to tell Robin that he needs to stay on top of his fitness regimen but he tends to be lazy.  Typical of kids these days.

I doff the sweats and pull on my unforgiving batsuit.  My colleagues don't understand that if I let myself go, I won't be able to fit into this thing. The end of Batman will come with a whimper of too much fast food and not enough exercise.  Next is the snug briefs, my gold batbelt, boots, cowl and cape.  I'm ready for business.  My stomach is growling and I a grab a yogurt out of the fridge and wolf it down in the elevator on my way up to the main level.

I arrive in the main hall and everyone else is already there studying the massive screen where three skeezy looking characters are laughing maniacally while a volcano erupts behind them.  Everyone turns to look at me, as I join the group.

"Sorry, everyone.  Traffic."

It turns out to be another long day.  First Superman goes to Naples to take on three criminals from his home planet.  They blast him with rays from a chunk of red kryptonite confusing his abilities and turning him into a rapidly aging old man.  Aquaman and Wonderwoman face off against the villains at the Panama Canal but are thwarted and sent to the Phantom Zone, this fifth-dimension no-mans land somewhere in outer space.  Theoretically I could have gotten some work done while first Superman and then Wonder Woman and Aquaman were off fighting the bad guys, but we were too focused on monitoring our colleagues progress to do anything else.  I do manage to nuke a microwave meal for lunch.  Robin and I are next up.  We jet off to Switzerland to tackle the evil trio who are attempting to wreak havoc on an alpine village there.  I'm hoping for an easy victory, which would allow me time to stop off in London on the way home, but given the quick dispatch of the first three, I should have known better. Instead we're both zapped into the Phantom Zone too.

I spend a good portion of the day languishing in the Zone, which I have to say is about as boring as it gets.  Everyone is just a vague shadow of themselves outlined in dimly glowing light and our voices all sound robotic.  There's some discussion--especially once the Wonder Twins and their monkey arrive in the Zone as well--over whether we shouldn't have just all gone after the villains together rather than going in pairs.  We essentially chose to challenge these guys outnumbered.  We all agree that the approach was inefficient and didn't make much sense.  But then again, we often do things that don't make a lot of sense.  No one seems to be able to explain why.  Still the Zone isn't all that bad.  Wonder Woman and I talk for a long time.  It doesn't take long to get used to the robotic version of her voice and we spend a long time just catching up.  You don't get that kind of time very often in the Justice League.  It's also possible to sleep in the Phantom Zone and I take a long nap, which honestly is the best part of my day. You might ask if we weren't more stressed with the strong possibility of being trapped in the Zone forever, as the villains promised would happen.  After all, only a decrepit Superman was left to take them on.  But I've been in this line of work long enough to have learned that things always work out for us.  In the end, we always win.  Things do get a little hectic when some sort of phantom zone energy monster comes after us, but fortunately Superman somehow gets us out in the nick of time and beams us back to the Hall.  After that it's a quick trip to Space Sector Seven where I have the personal privilege of banishing the Kryptonian villains back to the Phantom Zone for at least the next seven thousand years.

It is close to dawn the next day by the time we all gather around our conference table in the Hall.  Superman has remarkably repaired all the crisis spots the villains had destroyed (and undoubtedly will receive all the credit in the press for defeating these goons. Not that I'm complaining of course.) and we wrap up our day with some foolish antics from that monkey that somehow got into the banana cream pie in my fridge.

I decide to catch a few z's in my bedroom at the Hall.  No point in going home, as the next assault on the forces of good will likely come with the morning light.

Oh, and one last piece of good news.  The deal went through.

Good work, Lucius.  Now if Robin doesn't forget to pick up my coffee at Starbucks, I should be ready to face another day in just a few hours.

Dec 14, 2017

The Wrong Key

Life turns upside down on the smallest of things.

"Hey!  Hey, man are you okay?"

I shuddered awake, my body wracked by furious shivering.  There is blinding light and the face of a white man with a reddish blonde beard hovers over me. He's wearing a blue knit hat and a puffy black coat.

"Are you okay?" he asks again, concern in his hazy blue eyes.

"Huh?" I ask.

"What are you doing out here?"

"Went for a run," I mumble, disoriented, shuddering, colder than I've ever been in my life. "Wrong key" and I hold up for proof the offending key still gripped tightly as if frozen in my numb hand.

"I'm gonna call 911 okay."

"No, no. She'll be here soon," I vaguely protests between paroxysms of violent shivering.  He disregards me and is on his cell phone.

"Yeah, I found my neighbor outside his apartment asleep. . . yes, I woke him up  and he's conscious.  He's shivering really bad. I can't tell for sure but I think he got locked out of his apartment.  He's got a key in his hand, but he said it was the wrong key."

I look down at my hand, and it's still there.  The wrong key.

"Okay, I'll bring him up to my apartment.  Yes, same street. Stone Valley.  I'm in 7340.  Ok. . .yes, I'll  definitely do that."  He hung up the phone.  "The paramedics are on their way," he said to me.  "Can you walk?"

I didn't know and I myself couldn't tell whether I shook or nodded my head, I was shivering so bad.

"Here let me help you," he said and bent to help me struggle to my feet. My muscles were stiff, and cramped and I felt I'd collapse if he hadn't been supporting me.  Together we hobbled up to his third floor apartment and I soon found myself sitting in a leather armchair wrapped in a heavy comforter that smelled of clean laundry. The neighbor place a mug of hot herbal tea on a coaster on one of his end tables for me to drink when my hands could hold the cup.

As warmth began to return to my body, the memory of what had led to this moment began to return as well.  I went out for an afternoon run.  Barbara and the kids were leaving for Dayton. I had a school event in the morning and would be driving down tomorrow night to join them.  I was looking forward to the solitude and the freedom to do as I pleased for a few hours.  Since they were about to head out the door, I took my key with me, knowing that by the time I returned they'd be gone.  It was cold that day--19 degrees and dropping, but I was bundled in multiple layers and even with temperatures below freezing I worked up quite a sweat.

When I returned to the apartment, Babs and the kids were gone as I'd expected.  I inserted the key in the lock and it wouldn't budge.  I tried it several times--our house key sticks sometimes--but to no avail. I began to wonder if I'd brought the right key.  I remembered feeling a sense of disquiet as I'd left the apartment--a vague sense that something wasn't quite right, that I was forgetting something.  I ignored the feeling.  A few minutes later when I was out on my run, Barbara called me on my phone to say that I'd left my keys.  I told her no, I"d taken the house key off the ring. Again I ignored that discomfiting twinge. 

And now, now I knew what I'd been trying to tell myself.  I had taken the wrong key.  A key to some obscure closet in my  school building looks just like our house key. More than once I'd tried to open our front door with that key and had been momentarily annoyed as it refused to open the door.  Momentary annoyance was all that extra key ever cost me--until today.  I'd called Babs who was already half an hour on the road and she agreed to turn around, and come back to let me in.  And so, I'd sat down by the door to wait for her.  At first, I was fine, since I'd bundled up for the run.  But slowly the chill been to creep in through my sweat soaked running clothes underneath my outer layers.  At the same time, the exhaustion from staying up half the night began to overtake me.  And so I'd fallen asleep, the wrong key still in hand, only to be awakened some time later by the neighbor gently shaking my shoulder and the far more violent shivering that marked the onset of hypothermia.

In short order, the paramedics arrived and as they checked me out, my thoughts became clearer.  With perfect clarity I realized that it was time to get rid of the extra keys in my life--keys that opened doors I no longer passed through. To hold on to them could cost me more than I cared to pay.

Dec 9, 2017

The Job

Prompt: Find a job ad in the paper. Write about your life if you had that job.

I started preparing for this piece the day before Thanksgiving.  I stopped off at a Kroger and picked up a copy of the Dayton Daily News.  This was literally the only job ad in the classifieds. Because I know nothing about the life of a truck driver I hit up Quora to get picture of life on the road.  Big thanks to J.W. Bruce Shaw, Rick Klugman, & Owen Lewis, real-life veteran truck drivers who generously took the time to share with me what their jobs are like.

My day starts early. On a typical day, I'm up at 4:30. I put on my work clothes, jeans, a t-shirt, a hoodie, and sturdy work boots. I sit in the living room with a single lamp on for some quiet devotional time, nursing my first coffee of the day. I try be out the door by five or shortly after to get to my first pick up ahead of rush hour traffic.  I park the rig in one of the large parking spaces on the boulevard that passes in front of our apartment.  We're hoping to buy a house this year and a big driveway is a deal breaker. 

I climb up into the drivers seat, start up the engine, check in with dispatch, and queue up my morning music . I'm not one to drive in silence. I always have something--a playlist of over a thousand songs curated for driving, various podcasts I'm faithful to, as well as NPR for the news.  I was never a books on tape guy but I've got the Audible app now, and I'm coming around. I'll even listen to a good sermon series that my best friend J recommends.

I'll usually get to my first pick-up around 6.  I just leave the empty trailer I was hauling and hook up to a new one ready to go.  After that it's pretty much driving from one point to another all day long mostly around Ohio but occasionally into West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan or Indiana. and end late.  Being on the road isn't terrible.  It can get pretty boring, especially since large portions of Ohio are flat, unremarkable farmland.  Still there's not much downtime. I'm paid by the mile and many of my deliveries are time sensitive. My eye is always on the clock. I tend to eat on the run.  I used to get a lot of fast food, but I rapidly grew sick of that kind of diet.  Babs is such a saint--she prepares the most wonderful healthy lunches, which she packs in a blue and white portable cooler.

Despite the pressure of on time deliveries, I am a conservative driver.  I stay in the right lane.  I don't feel a need to pass.  Unless there's a major traffic situation I prefer not to speed. It doesn't help me get there much faster.  The speed limit is faster than getting pulled over, or worse wrecking the rig. That's always been a great fear, especially early on,  losing an entire flatbed of pipe and causing a huge accident. Bad driving by non-truck drivers is regular annoyances. Cars cutting in front of me and then hitting the brakes, cars hovering in my blind spot, or cars riding on my tail, trying to "draft" off of me.  Before I became a trucker I did a lot of those things, not out spite but just because I didn't know better.

The hardest part about my job is the long days.  It's true that unlike my wife's job, when I'm done, I'm done. I never take work home with me.  The problem is when I get home. I wouldn't mind the early mornings if I was getting home in the early afternoon, or even the late afternoon.  The ad said I'd be home every night.  What they failed to mention is that every night doesn't mean coming home early enough to tuck your kids in. It's not unusual for me to come in from a day on the road well after midnight. It can be days where I don't see the boys at all.  Barbara pretty much raises them alone during the week, all while having to deal with her responsibilities as a teacher. I think my lack of involvement and my inability to provide her much help is a source of strain on our relationship.  I  also really miss having the chance to run (or really exercise at all).  Because I can't work on the Sabbath and thus always have Friday and Saturday off, I am always scheduled the remaining five days of the week.  Running once, maybe twice a week just isn't enough.

On the weekends, I try to catch up on sleep, try to make it to church spend time with the boys, spend time with Babs.  I should probably do more to help around the house, but I'm just always so exhausted.

Between my driving and Barbara's teacher's salary we're doing pretty good, but I wonder if it's really worth it.

Don't like having to secure loads myself. Prefer pre-loaded, where I just hook up and drive.

Dec 6, 2017


Prompt: If you could only take one more vacation in your lifetime, where would you go and why?

A beautiful coastal town in Spain

This is a tough one.  Immediately, I start thinking about why I could only take one more vacation in my lifetime.  Is it just an arbitrary hypothetical where there is some sort of law of the universe that I can only take one more vacation?  Or is it because my lifetime is soon to be cut short, as in a terminal illness? And what do they mean by "vacation?"  Is the implication that after this last vacation I will have no time off from work?  Or that I can't travel anywhere?  Or is it referring to a specific kind of vacation--one where you travel just for the sake of seeing the place?  In that case I'd still be able to visit family for the holidays and enjoy staycations at home.

I  decided that I would consider this as a vacation where my lifetime is limited.  To me it seems the best way to address what I feel is the spirit of the question. What if there's only room in the bucket for one more trip?

 There are so many places I still want to visit and to narrow it down to one is just too hard to do.  So if I could only take one more vacation in my life time I would choose the region that Barbara would visit if it were her last vacation.  I'm gonna cheat it here and say the Mediterranean, rather than one specific country.  We'd begin in Spain, maybe make a quick trip to Morocco, and then make our way over to Italy before ending up in Greece.  Perhaps we could tag on the Holy Land and Egypt since it also borders the Mediterranean. That would be a grand tour!

Why? Because if I had to take one final vacation, I'd want to go with the woman I love. If I have only one trip left, what's more important than the destination is who I travel with.

Dec 5, 2017


He looks like Billy Crystal with a bit of John Leguizamo swagger. He likes to nurse a toothpick in his mouth.  He drives a boat-like Buick and plays Guns N' Roses loud on the stereo.  He's the kind of guy the girls turn to when they want try being bad. He's the kind of guy who can get the fellas alcohol, who will teach you to smoke, who is known to have drugs.

Why the church youth leaders thought he would be a good choice to help drive teens to the water park is a mystery.  Maybe because his car looks safe and his name is Robert, a perfectly ordinary name.  Maybe because he has the appearance of middle-aged stand-up comedian, wears ordinary clothes and has no tattoos. Maybe it's because he's older.  Or maybe they just bought his whole "You look so nice today, Mrs. Cleaver", Eddie-Haskell kiss-up to the grown-ups routine.

Whatever the case, a quartet of us young people are assigned to his car.  A couple of his buddies are transporting kids too, and this is not a good thing. We pile into his car and before we can even consider whether we should buckle up he has floored it, just to let us know how he rolls and to set the bar for his boys.  There's a long trail of tire tracks behind us on the parking lot and the acrid smell of burnt rubber hangs in the air. He takes a hard left at the end of the lot, flinging us against each other and the passenger side door.  We scrabble to buckle up as he careens directly out on to the main drag.  The tires actually squeal. He pumps up "Mr. Brownstone" and flattens the pedal.

The traffic on 436 doesn't allow him to really let loose.  His approach to this is to bear down hard on cars that are going a mere 15 miles over the limit, pump the brakes while he rides their bumper until they either get out of the way or he is able to whip pass them. His car jerks and sways as he applies this version of "stop and go" traffic.  Several times,  I feel the car is going to jerk out of his control and send us crashing into the vehicles he's passing or across the median into oncoming traffic.

 Once we hit the interstate, it seems like there should be less of this but instead it's worse because the speeds at which he is applying his technique are now well north of 80.

Glancing out the window we can see his buddies keeping pace with us; we can just make out the terrified faces of our friends.  Eventually, traffic, as it is wont to do on I-4, slows to a six lane standstill.  At last, we breathe a sigh of relief, he'll have to slow down.

We couldn't have been more wrong. If anything Robert is set free. Without hesitation he swerves over on to the shoulder and guns the engine. With no one in his way, the speedometer rapidly approaches and then passes the 100 mile per hour mark.  The  cars stalled in traffic fly by on our left in a blur.  Robert looks supremely confident, his hand lies carelessly on the wheel. I look back and his friends are right behind us, also barreling down the shoulder.  "Welcome to the Jungle," indeed.

We shoot from the median into the off-ramp, forcing other cars to pull to the side to  make room for us.  We are going far too fast to hear their horns or see their upraised middle-fingers.  We buck and rock our way down International Drive until we roar into the parking lot of the water park.

By the time the bus with the main group of youth pulls up sedately at the front gate, we've been waiting there for twenty minutes.  Robert discreetly puts out the cigarette he's been smoking and puts on his best smarmy grin.

"Wow, Robert, you got here fast," the pastor declares.

"Oh, I know a back way," he says with a wink in our direction. "By the way, Pastor I really did enjoy your sermon this past Sabbath."

"Why thank you, Robert.  And thanks for bringing the kids."

"Oh, my pleasure, Pastor.  Any time."

I start making plans to be on the bus when it's time to go home.

Dec 4, 2017

Well Done

The "Captain" in my story is fictional--though I gave him the name of a kid I've known since the day he was born--but the guy in this picture is a true-life hero who saved a woman's life earlier this year.  Read about it here; his story is better than mine and it's true!  It's the exactly the sort of thing Captain would have done.

He pulls into the parking lot on his street bike just as the sun is disappearing over the horizon.  He strides across the pavement, ready to do battle.  He picks up his head-set, fits it carefully, checks in.  Moments later, he's off and flying and right in the thick of it.

Almost immediately he discovers Thompson is in trouble--again.  Poor guy, new on the force, typically gets flustered any time things go sideways.  And things always go sideways.

"I got this," he says and dives in.

"How can I help you?" he asks the irate woman in the purple velour track suit.

"I asked for no ketchup, no tomato and this thing is gotta bunch of ketchup on it!"

"I'm so sorry about that, ma'am."

"Yeah, that's what he said. I don't need no sorry, what I need is my burger done right!"

"I understand, ma'am.  We're gonna get that taken care of for you right now. And let me throw in a $10 gift card for your trouble."

"Ten bucks ain't gonna make up for my lost time at work, waitin' on you all to do your job right," she gripes, but he can tell by the softening in her face that she's pleased with the offer.  "Make sure he don't spit in my burger cause he mad," she adds.

"I'll make the burger myself, ma'am," he calls over his shoulder, as he wheels away from the counter and moves smoothly into the kitchen.  It appears Fountain has called in sick again. He'll have to do it all himself.  He checks the monitor, and sees three orders waiting.  It's not a problem. He reaches into the freezer, knocks loose a quartet of frozen patties, puts them on the grill,  and then lowers the press.  He makes a pass of the line, swiping off scraps of lettuce, tomato, and pickle in one graceful motion.  He arrives at the pick up window and sees an order for a large sweet tea on the monitor.  He puts the 32 oz cup under the dispenser, and hits the button to dispense the sweet, brown liquid.  He hears a harsh jangling at three o clock, and turns to find Gray struggling with the deep fryer again.  He moves in to assist, gives the potato-filled basket a brisk jerk and sinks it into the vat of boiling oil with a gratifying crackle.

In seconds he's back at the pick-up window.  He picks up the full tea, pops a lid on it, both wipes and wraps the cup with a single paper napkin and hands it to the Hodge who is manning the pick-up window. 

"Thanks, Captain," she smiles.  He flashes his trademark, jaunty grin, nods and is off, back to the grill where the patties are done.  He pops them on to the line, and Lavalas swings up to help him put the sandwiches together.  His movements are quick, but precise: cheese slice melting on the hot patty,  pickle slices, a pinch of onion slivers, and a shot of mustard.  He wraps the piping hot sandwich in foil, gives the work surface a quick wipe.  Then he snaps open a sack with a sharp crack and slips the quarter pounder in. 

"Ma'am here's your quarter pounder with cheese, no ketchup," he says with his trademark smile. "Give me a second and I'll get your gift card ready."

"You're fine," the woman in the purple velour tracksuit replies.  She is charmed.  In a few seconds he's loaded $10 on a gift card, placed it in it's own little envelope, and handed it to the woman.  "Thank you!" she says completely mollified.  "Now that's what I call service," she declares to her friend as they exit. 

He allows himself a brief moment of satisfaction, and then his headset comes alive.

"Captain, the ice cream machine is down again," Lavalas reports.

"I'm on it," he says, and heads back into the fray.

Some will say that he just works at McDonald's.  Some will say that he's just eighteen years old.  But the guy they call Noah at school, but who they call the Captain under the golden arches, understands this truth, even if he might not be able to articulate it: Excellence is not found only on the athletic field.  Greatness is not found only in the battle. Brilliance is not found only in the ivy league laboratory. Creativity is not found only on the stage.  These things are found anywhere a job is well done.

Nov 28, 2017

To-Do List

Prompt: Write a list of 25 things you want to do in your life.

My first novel.  My sister had a couple of copies printed up and bound. Someday I'd like to publish this book for the whole world to read.

1. I want to write and publish a book.
2. I want to go back to Saipan whether to visit or to live again for awhile.
3. I want to take a road trip across the United States.
4.  I want to get in a car sometime and just drive down a road for awhile to see where it goes.
5.  I want to be a missionary again, and ideally I'd like for my children to spend some of their formative years outside the United States, but for a variety of reasons this looks unlikely to happen.
6. I want to learn how to massage properly so that my hands don't hurt.  Barbara loves receiving massages and ever since the very first massage I gave her when we were just barely dating, it has been an uncomfortable experience for me.
7. I want to live in Hawaii
8. I want take classes on creative writing, the theater and acting.  In short, I want to get some actual training in the areas of life that I'm passionate about but am entirely self-taught in.
9. I want to learn to dance
10.  I want to go to Europe with Barbara.
11.  I want to learn to play the guitar.
12.  I want to buy a house.
13. I want to run the San Francisco Marathon again and finish with a better time and feeling less miserable than I did the first time.
14. I want to visit my cousin in Sweden and many friends in California.
15. I think I want to skydive.
16. I want to be debt free (we should be there in about 4 and a half years).
17. I want to see more of my mom and siblings than I do now.  I want to fly down to Florida on a whim just to hang out with them.
18. I want to go back to the Grand Canyon and this time go to the bottom of the canyon and go to Havasupai Falls.
19.  I'd like to go on a multi-day hike somewhere beautiful.
20.  I want to meet Bono, the Edge, Adam, and Larry and shoot the breeze with them.
21. I want to meet President Obama and shoot the breeze with him.
22.  I want to spend lots of time with good friends, eating good food, and having good conversation.
23.  I want to keep hanging out with my beautiful wife long into old age.
24.  I want to watch my boys grow up to be men of kindness, integrity, and courage; I want to see them become men who love God and know without question that He loves them.
25.  I want to run, I want to hide, I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside, I want to reach out and touch the flame where the streets have no name. . . I want to run on greener pastures, I want to dance on higher hills, I want to drink from sweeter waters in the misty morning chill.  I want to go Home.