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Name: Miles, I prefer Lee
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Interests: Reading, TV, writing, history, politics, music.
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Occupation: Public realtions
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It was an experience neither my wife nor I had growing up, and we hoped our Teenager would be able to experience it.
Growing up in a strict independent Baptist environment, neither of us ever got to go to our high school prom. Dancing was strictly forbidden, and we grew up on tales of all the bad things that happened at proms. There were lives ruined by prom-night impregnations and lives lost by alcohol-related crashes each illustrating the evils of this rite of spring.
We've raised our children in a strict, but less confined and less legalistic home and church. This exposure to grace helped us see that a good time is not a bad thing.
As our oldest daughter has grown, we've done our best to see that she had a more normal childhood than we had. Prom has always been one of those milestones.
Problem is, she's shown little interest. She tends to be somewhat reclusive as a high schooler and didn't really have a boyfriend.
She had even shown some hostility towards attending prom. We had a chance last year to get a free prom dress for her a group was giving them away to Soldiers and their families, but she steadfastly refused to even go look. (Believe me, I had to deal with a very unhappy wife after she found out that we missed out on this opportunity.)
In recent weeks, she had softened to the idea of going to prom. I had suggested she ask a young man whom she sits with at church to go, and had prayed he would say yes to her invitation.
Finally, about a month out she decided she would go. She asked her friend and he happily suggested.
We had little time so we scrambled to make all the arrangements. First and foremost was her dress. Her mother complained that this should have been done months ago, and, of course, she was quick to remind me about our missed opportunity the previous year.
Then came the awkward moment. My wife was busy with another function so she said it was up to me to take my Teenager dress shopping.
I initially resisted, but then realized this was what I wanted so I took her to the mall. I must say I was very little help as she looked at and tried on dresses.
Several times, I did have to tell her, "Your Mom will never allow that." Or, "your dress is too tight, too revealing, shows too much ..."
We finally settled on a dress, bought it and took it home. Mom agreed. I was relieved.
When the day of prom finally arrived, it was an all-day thing. My daughter got off work early and immediately went into the preparation mode.
I thought she looked beautiful and so grown up. Her date arrived and we sat in the living room and had that awkward conversation that dads and dates often have. We mostly discussed the merits of attending college.
The young man thanked me for letting him take her. He promised to take good care of her.
I was able to go the first part of the prom and have that father-daughter dance and then I quickly left. I didn't want to stand in the way of her special night.
Her date's parents wouldn't let him go to the after-prom event, but I took my Teenager. I stayed as a parent-chaperone.
There was a lot to do and a mountain of food. My Teenager had a lot of fun and ate heartily.
As I drove home at 4 in the morning, mindful that I would be teaching Sunday school in just 4 hours, I smiled. It had been a great night, and I had vicariously experienced prom.
I was happy for my Teenager and happy for me too.
In my glee, I had forgotten to bring Mom a plate. They had served sandwiches from her favorite shop, and was none too happy about missing some.
By Chris (Jed Eckert) Hemsworth, Josh (Matt Eckert) Peck, Josh (Robert Kitner) Hutcherson, Adrianne (Toni Walsh) Palicki, Isabel (Erica Martin) Lucas
Beingon TV is not a big deal to me.
It’spart of my job. By no means is it the favorite part of my job, but it’ssomething I’m expected to do.
Afew weeks back, I was getting ready to go out of town. I had an event to workearly the next morning so I was going up early to make sure I was there inplenty of time.
Priorto leaving, I was checking my Twitter account. It was then I noticed a local TVreporter was looking for stories about Starwood Amphitheater, an outdoorconcert facility that had closed a few years back.
ITweeted a few of my memories and then went on with my day. The young reporterquickly replied and asked if I would do an interview.
Thisreporter is new to our market. I knew she was still finding her way so I agreedto help as a favor to her.
Itook a long lunch hour and drove out to the site. I had gone to dozens ofconcerts back in the day and it was so sad to see it in such a state ofdisrepair.
Ieven commented to the reporter that the site “looked like a bomb hit it.” It waseerily similar to my time in Bosnia in the late 90s.
Wefinished up the interview, and I went back to work. I wanted to hit the road soI could make it to the motel in time to watch “Person of Interest.”
Ileft the office and didn’t give the TV interview another thought. It was theday before a long weekend so I just wanted to finish it up.
Unfortunately,there was a lot to do back in the office. I didn’t get away as early as I wanted,and was back home later than usual.
Oncethere, I met a very angry wife sitting on the couch. I couldn’t figure out whatI could have done to make her angry while I was out of town.
“Whydid I have to have one of the girls at the office call me to tell me you wereon TV tonight?” she demanded.
Igrimaced. I had totally forgotten to let her know. I also failed to notify my folks who wereequally disappointed.
LikeI said, to me it’s no big deal. However, I know my family gets a charge out of seeingme.
AsI watched the story, I could see my receding hairline and could tell the weightI had gained over the winter was showing. I know a lot of people enjoyedStarwood concerts, and I hoped I had told their story well.
I’vefelt better about the story in the weeks that have followed. A lot of peoplehave shared their own Starwood stories with me and said they appreciated mygenuine angst at that facility’s demise.
Mostof them also missed those summer night concerts lying in the grass jamming totheir favorite bands. It was the end of an era, one that came all too soon.
Anotherthing I’ve learned in recent days. A lot of people watch Channel 5!
These past few weeks,it’s been a bit of an adjustment for me.
Certainly bedtime hasnot been the same. No longer can I justhit the sack and plow under the covers.
I must fit my maskover my face and carefully adjust the tubes that go over my nose. Then, I ensure the machine is on the rightsetting, turn it on and settle in for the night.
For the past twomonths, I’ve worn a Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to sleep. It was prescribed to me after a visit to asleep specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
People havecomplained about my snoring for years. Mostnotably, my wife has had to bear the brunt of my overnight “heavy breathing.”
She’s been on me inrecent months, though. Not only had mysnoring gotten louder, but she said there’s been time when I was seeminglygasping for breath and would even momentarily stop breathing.
I mentioned this tomy cardiologist during my last appointment and he gave me the referral. Out of this appointment came a sleep studytest.
The test itself wasn’tso bad. It was in a nice motel justsouth of Nashville, and I had a comfortable room. It was actually a nice break from the hustleand bustle of my normal weekday night.
They wired me to asystem which was monitored in an adjoining room. It had been a long day at work so I droppedoff pretty quickly.
A few hours later, I wasabruptly awakened. The two staff memberstold me I definitely had sleep apnea, and fitted me with a mask.
Again, I went quicklyback to sleep. I slept through the nightonly to be awakened once again just after 5 a.m.
“You were amazing,”one of the technicians told me. “We fittedyou with the mask and within 10 minutes you had achieved REM sleep.”
My time in the Armyhad taught me to sleep under just about any condition. During the Gulf War, I slept several nightswearing a gas mask on my face.
Within a few days ofthe test, I had been fitted with my own mask and got a CPAP machine installedin my bedroom. I’ve made the adjustmentfairly well so far.
My wife lovesit. She says that not only am I sleepingbetter, but she’s having much more restful nights without my loud snoring.
I can’t say that it’sgone perfectly. At times in the night, I’vepulled the mask off so I could sleep without it.
I’m resigned towearing the mask to bed for the rest of my life. That’s OK as long as I can wear it for manyyears to come.
So there I was on Election Night, waiting,waiting, waiting.
It was like a scene from the Peanuts’ classic “It's the GreatPumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Remember,when Linus sat in the pumpkin patch of Halloween night waiting for the GreatPumpkin to appear?
Finally,the one person who believed in him, Lucy, stomped off. She had missed an opportunity to go trick ortreating with her friends to wait with Linus for the magical spirit to appear.
Finally, indesperation, Linus calls out, “Oh, Great Pumpkin, where are you?”
That momentso typified my mood when FOX News called Ohio for Barack Obama pretty muchclinching his reelection. I just knewGod was going to intervene and save us from four more years of this inept,incompetent, narcissistic, piss-poor excuse for a president we’ve had to livesince 2009.
We’veprayed for Obama’s defeat this year even before he took office. So many believerswere praying and fasting and working to elect Mitt Romney.
Did Godjust ignore us? Does He just not care?
To addinsult to injury, our efforts to defeat Obama were undermined by the so-called “FrankenStorm,”which devastated much of the northeast. Itseems this crisis drew undecided voters to Obama and took the spotlight off theelections during the critical days just before the final vote.
I slammedmy hands on the table. I reminded Godabout all those who were now going to be disappointed.
Just likeLinus, I was all built up. I just knewGod would show Himself.
I haddetermined beforehand that I was going to talk trash after Romney won. I just wanted to remind people about ourgreat nation and our great God.
At thatmoment, I felt like neither was true.
My firstreaction was to scream and curse. However,I knew my kids were upstairs and I had to restrain myself.
What wouldI tell the kids? They had been prayingtoo, and I had told them God was in control.
I lookedtoward the ceiling and shook my head again. At this point, I was the only onewho was awake.
It lookedbleak, but, like Linus, I waited until the last possible moment. When they gaveword that Romney was preparing his concession speech, I turned the TV andslowly climbed the stairs to my room.
My wifeand two youngest kids were sleeping peacefully. I was exhausted and knew I had to work the next day. There was acritical deadline and I couldn’t call in sick.
I’mslowly recovering. This is not easy.
America isscrewed, and we did it largely to ourselves. In defeat, I know we can rebound, but it’s going to be a long fouryears.
What hurtspersonally is that my faith in God is shattered. It’s going to be a long time until I trustHim for anything because it seems that when I do I wind walking away with myheart broken.
I’m notgiving up. I’m going to hunker down andsurvive, but I’m not going to trust that God has my back.
Inever was particularly close to my Uncle Herbie.
When Iwas kid, I was kind of scared of him. He was a big gruff man whose speechseemed to always be slurred and it always seemed like he was angry aboutsomething.
Yet,there I was with my younger brother watching Pop spread his ashes over theirparents’ grave site. I took a day off work to make the drive to Princeton, Ky.,to be there for my family.
Ihadn’t seen Herbie in 20 years. Last week, he succumbed to a lengthy illnessand died in a Texas nursing home.
It wassad really. Herbie’s two surviving sons didn’t seem to care nor did hislongtime, live-in significant other. He had outlived both of his former wives.
Popwound up paying for the cremation of my uncle’s remains. This was doneaccording to his wishes.
It wassobering to see Pop produce a plastic black box. He opened it up and there weremy uncle’s remains in a quart-sized baggie.
Hard tobelieve a man’s body can be reduced to a bagful of ashes. It was all that wasleft of him.
Betweenthe three of us, we couldn’t come up with a knife. I used one of my keys toproduce a small hole in the corner of a bag.
Pop donnedgloves and a surgical mask and began to spread the ashes. He did so carefully, one cup full at a time.
I thoughtabout Herbie. He was the classic black sheep of the family. While Pop and hislate older sister spent their lives in the ministry and their younger sisterwas a devout Christian, Herbie was a rebel.
Pop gotto see Herbie last year. Even then, knowing he was declining, Herbie had nointerest in becoming a Christian or changing his lifestyle.
Now,he was gone. Pop held out hope that hemade peace with his Maker before he went into his final coma.
My attentionwas diverted by a faraway train whistle. My Grandpa, Pop’s dad, worked for therailroad throughout his life. A train is even etched on his tombstone.
As Popfinished spreading the ashes, I looked at an adjoining tombstone to my Grandparents’.It belonged to Herbie’s middle son, “Billy Boy.” He had died of a heart attackin 1995 at the age of 35.
We weresurprised he had been buried in the same plot alongside his grandparents. We didn’tmind, but it was nothing we had expected.
It hadbeen a hard year for Pop. Last year, he had lost his beloved younger sister andnow this.
Pop isnow the last surviving member of his brothers and sisters. I’m grateful he’sstill with us, but I know it’s been hard on him.
We gotin the car and drove off. I had not had my Diet Pepsi fix for the day so I wantedto hit a convenience store before we got back on the Interstate.
As wepulled out, Pop asked if we could stop by and visit his Aunt Mae Evelyn. I rememberedshe lived near the graveyard, but thought she had surely been dead for a while.
Yet,there she was. She was watching TV and getting around slowly with a walker.
She’s99. In March, she turns 100, and she wants us to come up for her birthdayparty.
We spoketo her for a few minutes and got caught up. She said she was grateful for along life and her ability to still alive alone and take care of herself. However,she described how difficult it was so to lose so many friends and loved onesover the years.
She gaveus each a hug and told us that she loved us. She asked us to keep her in ourprayers.
It wasan upbeat ending to what had been a somber trip. I found my Diet Pepsi and wedrove home.
We haddiscussed stopping at a restaurant on the way home. Pop’s never been one foreating out, and I could tell he was not in the mood.
I toldhim we could go to my house and fix some sandwiches. It was the first time I’dseen Pop smile all day.
They leftthat afternoon and I started thinking about all I had to get done once I gotback into the office. I may wind up staying at the shop late on Monday night,but it was worth it to share these moments with my family.