Monday, May 09, 2016

The Little Black Book

I'm making a list of things to do before I leave for Vietnam. One of the apartment! This is about something that happened on a previous attempt at cleanliness! It is from June 4, 2006.

Twice a year, my apartment complex will, free of charge, come in and clean the carpets of any resident requesting the service. Every June and October, I set up the appointments. My reservation is always when I am in school or basketball camps. The carpet cleaning gentleman is terrific- whatever they pay him, it can't be enough. To get to where I feel comfortable with having people in my living quarters, I have to clean up. I've made the point before that I am messy but not filthy. I keep the dishes washed and the toilet scrubbed but the other stuff has the tendency to slide. Yesterday, I was sorting out my desk in preparation for the rug man's visit when I found something I hadn't seen in a long time. It was an address book from my Day-Timer, which I haven't used in years. That Day-Timer was supposed to help organize my life but I lost it on a regular basis. After the final disappearance, I gave up. I'm good at keeping my to-do list in my head so I've survived. As I thumbed through the addresses and phone numbers in the little book, I was impressed by several things. Most of the numbers and addresses listed were basketball related. Of the seventy-five entries, exactly fifty were girls that played for me, coaches I worked with or competed against, and athletic gear salesmen. Most of the remainder were relatives and two are complete mysteries- I don't recognize the names. Two in my book are no longer living. My Uncle Clell passed away a decade ago and Bob Parish, a middle school coach in Tennessee who I roomed with at camp, who died too young. Many of the numbers are no longer attached to the name as the players grew up and moved out of the house. Many of the names themselves have changed as those basketball players are now married women; I was even blessed to help preach Karie Stewart's and Laura Beth Thomas' weddings. I wish I could say that I have stayed in touch with everyone who was once important enough to me that I wrote down their information but it's not the case. Christmas cards and out of the blue e-mails are as in depth as it gets these days. I think address books are becoming obsolete with the onslaught of Palm Pilots and cell phones. The other night, I asked my dad for my cousin Wayne's address and phone number. Dad has them in a little box with information cards....but he can't find the box. Hard to guess where I get it from, isn't it?

The computer has made it easier to stay in touch but harder to stay connected. I used to write hundreds of letters annually but that number has dwindled to less than fifty. I love the convenience of e-mail but there is something about handwriting that binds us to another. In my closet are boxes of old letters but not one old e-mail. I prefer handwritten tests and quizzes because they give my students a chance to communicate with me. While the kids I teach and coach live on their cells, I spend fewer minutes than in the past talking on my phone. Except for my parents, there are few people I regularly dial. If I need a phone number, chances are that even an incompetent computer user like me can chase it down quickly. We find out how many duplicate names there are but, conversely, how few duplicate loved ones there are. Paul always included personal greetings in his epistles. He longed to hear from so many but the means weren't readily available in the first century. While coaching high school girls' basketball, I always told my players they could call me anytime, day or night. They had to know I was there for emergencies or if they just needed to talk. If the technology would have been present, Paul would have received a ton of midnight calls in the first century. I bet he would have rejoiced every time the phone rang because someone needed him. So should I.

Applicable quote of the day:
"There's nothing that makes you so aware of the improvisation of human existence as a song unfinished. Or an old
address book."
Carson McCullers

God bless,
Steve (713-772-2142)
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at

1 comment:

Jon said...

Sorry about not blogging.. im catching up!