Spirit Matters

Snake Pit

People don’t always get my sense of humor. Unfortunately, my years as a hospital chaplain infected me with a touch of gallows humor, an ironic wit handy for hopeless situations.

Nevertheless, 10 years ago, I took that humor on a 90-day deployment to Panama with the Red Horse Squadron from Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas.

Red Horse is the Air Force version of the Navy Seabees (Construction Battalion). Both are trained to bulldoze the ground in warzones while defending the same ground with M16 rifles.

Victory Vax

Victory Vax Her anti-shot beliefs cut it too close By Norris Burkes March 2021 Working for a small county hospice in rural Northern California, I’ve been privileged to get my first COVID-19 vaccine. The “Victory Vax,” as I call it, emboldened my wife to...

COVID Conspiracy

For me, 2020 ended with the worst news. My brother Milton, the one I call “Brotherman,” died from COVID.

The year brought us a pandemic, election confusion and economy shutdown, but most especially death. Johns Hopkins reported 300,000 U.S. deaths the week my brother died.

Is It Time?

I’m lucky that my wife, Becky, still laughs at the preposterous proposal I made to another woman 42 years ago.

I begin by explaining how, early in our marriage, we routinely substituted Brand X for the real name of any previous relationship. The nickname came from commercials that promised a certain laundry soap was new and improved and would produce sparkly clean results—far superior to Brand X.

Shifting In Flight

In a time before COVID, I found myself in a boarding line clinching the coveted A-lister pass issued by Southwest Airlines. The pass granted me privileged first-choice seating while B- and C-listers scrambled for significance.

Inside the plane, a flight attendant cheerfully suggested a front seat. “Wonderful. Looks like I’ll be flying first class.”

I took the aisle seat and soon a woman scooted past into the window seat. After several minutes, the plane took off with no one between us.

Skip The Wait

Like most of you, I hate to wait in line. Truthfully, much of my 28 years in the Air Force can be summarized with the military oxymoron, “Hurry up and wait.”

My distaste for waiting is placated only when I hear someone pronounce the word “next.”

“Next” becomes my favorite word when it signals that the line in the auto parts store or at airport security is moving forward. It means I will soon command the undivided attention of the clerk or agent.

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