Christmas at the bar with Santa and the “holy” trinity


It is a regular event, one you might expect.

There are those that line up and wait for the doors to open.  They are “those” people.   The ones that hang out till close, wander the night, and then need to fill their need and wait for the doors to open.  They know each other.  They are regulars.  And they are habitual.  As if they have no where else to go.  Many appear daily, they are recognized and welcomed,  Ahhh the fellowship of this bar.

And this day is special… it is Christmas, and most places are closed… but this place is waiting and ready.   This is not your regular bar… This is Iron Gate.  It is a food bar, a soup kitchen open on Christmas day, and every day.  Their mission statement… Our mission is simple: we feed hungry people. 

And on Christmas I said yes to being their Santa Bob.  irongate5

Santa needs to go the extra mile to touch lives when folks live in tents or under bridges or any place that will allow a person to get a moment of warmth or protection.  Comfort is an optional word in the vocabulary of these folks.  But Iron Gate is a place of comfort, warmth, nourishment, every morning from 8am-10:30.  Food, shelter, a smile, a moment of service to those who are rejected, dejected, infected, unconnected.  Iron Gate serves “crackers.”  I don’t mean saltines.  I mean folks  who have fallen through the cracks.  The mentally challenged, the disenfranchised, the shopping cart pushers, folks without an address.

This is NOT Cheers.  But they all have names..  Not everybody knows all their names… but nearly everyone is know by someone.   These are a fragrant people. . . in quality of spirit as well as other ways.  And I am sure that Iron Gate is a home for their hope.  But the holidays are especially trying for most in need.   Rich or poor.   But the crackers now hold a special place in my heart.

This is a good place 365 days a year.


Grab a plate.  Sit and enjoy.  Stay a while.  Go back for more.  An someone will even smile when they clean up the mess….. no tipping please.


But this day was special.  Santa got to sit and watch.  He was assisted by his elves, Morey and Giacomo.  As always…. the elves did all the work.  But Santa gets the headlines.  And this is what Santa saw.

Hungry folk, homeless folk, down on their luck folk, down home folk like you and me… but they are folks with few options.  If these folks are “milking” the system like I read so often on Facebook, they really SUCK at it.  I am absolutely certain that these folks don’t have what I think people who have stuff think they have.

As and aside, I have heard the phrase “there but by the grace of God, go I.”  Well let me say, for all you believers out there, those that recite that phrase… someone needs to put some skin on your Jesus.   I WAS There.  That place.  There but by the grace of God go I, and the grace of my beloved friends who opened their home to me and my dog for 18 months.  Nearly broke for 18 months while I tried to get back to life after multiple tragedies and bad decisions.  Bad decisions made at an age where I should have known better.  The result was broke and homeless at age 59, with a van, a dog, and a few hundred bucks.  J&G put flesh on their Jesus.. AND A ROOF OVER OUR HEADS.  Tank and I will never forget that.

So maybe those panhandlers on the corner are out there milking the system.  Maybe they have such an incredible life they just need to stand on a corner with a cardboard sign and hope for $3 more then head to their secret home in the hills and take your quarter to pay the cable bill.  Or maybe they will waste it on a smoke or a drink and a moment of comfort, instead of opening a savings account and build for the future.  I don’t know what they will do.  I do know where there next meal will come from if they want it.

Well this is what Santa saw.  He saw survivors.  They come in all shades and all sizes… but they all appear to live to survive until tomorrow.  And Iron Gate puts just enough flesh on their bodies, and flesh on their Jesus so the crowd that gathers today can return tomorrow.  There is no preaching, there is only flesh.  Tangible and loving.  And because of this, Santa saw the sparkle of hope in the eyes of a grateful crowd.

But Christmas was a special day…   There WERE presents.  The appearance of the “holy trinity.”  And recipients seemed as excited and grateful as a kitten with a new empty cardboard box.


The “holy trinity” of gifts.

Candy, gloves, socks.  Sugar, warm, dry.  Joyful recipients.  No Bah-humbug here.  Hark the Herald Angels sing.  Gifts received to an hallelujah chorus of thank-yous.

Gifts received by folks who are grateful in the face of such trauma.

The holy trinity.  Skin on your Jesus.

Energy, comfortable hands and feet.  Blessings.  Tears.  Laughter.  Though there was a small crush of folks trying to get to the head of the receiving line, there was NO unruly outbreak like folks on black Friday fighting over a $5 toaster.

Santa took notes.  It is a very short list of things to keep in his sleigh.  And I need to get a bumper sticker for the sled.


And a bag to hold some socks, some gloves, and a roll of lifesavers.


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A season of UN.

Could it be the place where it all began.  Could this have been the start of all things “un”.  I remember this time.  I was fresh out of College… ready to plant myself in the world.  Ready to do something.  I am still ready to do something.  This could be my un-moment.  My personal battle ground.

As reported in Advertising Age Magazine, “In the early 1970s, as part of its new “uncola” advertising strategy, the 7UP company had J. Walter Thompson produce a TV commercial starring actor, director and choreographer Geoffrey Holder as a Caribbean planter explaining the difference between cola nuts and 7UP’s “uncola nuts,” lemon and lime. The extraordinary performance of the Trinidad-born Mr. Holder made the spot one of the most remembered commercials of all time. But behind the scenes, the project also represented a dramatic change in the marketing culture of the soft-drink company — the first time it allowed a person of color to be cast in its TV ad.”


I so remember this campaign. I did not know that it was the first to feature a person of color… but that is not my current focus. It is the UN that fascinates me.

I am intrigued as we have passed Thanksgiving and rapidly approach the “other” holiday. In the spirit of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who’s office of diversity had the foresight to publish these seasonal guidelines in a helpful list for us all to better UN-joy Un-Christmas.

“The list, found on the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s website, also encouraged employees to send non-denominational holiday cards, use general decor when decorating and make sure that food and beverage selections are not specific to any one culture or religion.

The list also discourages us from playing “Secret Santa” games.”

“Holiday parties and celebrations should not play games with religious and cultural themes — for example, ‘Dreidel’ or ‘Secret Santa.’ If you want to exchange gifts, then refer to it in a general way, such as a practical joke gift exchange or secret gift exchange,” the guidelines state.

Ahhhhh…. UN-Christmas. Why didn’t I think of that. I mean seriously, how can folks like me be so selfish and heartless to think I/we should be allowed to celebrate the birth of Jesus, who I believe to be my Savior, as a focal point a worldwide remembrance. Enough is enough. It is time to recognize this time of year for what it really should be…From this day forward we shall all celebrate “Yearsend”.  Yearsend, what a festive time. I can’t wait to chop down and decorate my Yearsend tree.

Here are a few of my new favorites:

The Grinch that stole Yearsend

A Yearsend Carol, with Mr. Scrooge.

The Yearsend Story, you’ll shoot your eye out.

The Griswolds and Yearsend Vacation.

The list is endless. UN-Christmas, I mean Yearsend, is here.

OK.  Enough is enough.  WTF.  Who cares and why?  Seriously, how can my celebrating Christmas offend anyone.  I haven’t got a clue.

I love that my Jewish friends enjoy Hanukkah.

I would never ask a celebrant to refrain from enjoying Kwanzaa.

There is Festivus for the Rest of us.  (Thanks Jerry)

And Seriously University of Tennessee… what is the religious beverage you are referring to.  A cup of blood at a Satanic gathering?   OR… Is it Eggnog?

I am so frickin’confused.

Really, Secret Santa is offensive?  Perhaps that is what set off the Muslim terrorists at the Christmas, oops, Holiday party in San Bernadino recently. Is that why the terrorists left and returned in tactical gear to murder party goers?  Santa Claus and offensive drinks.

No it is now Insanity Claus.  People are just fricken’ nuts.  So much hate, so much anger.

If Christmas pisses you off, move along.  There is nothing to see here.  It is just a bunch of folks waiting in line Thanksgiving night to kill someone for a bargain price on a Toaster or TV.

In fact that Black Friday thing could be a terrorist plot.  OMG, danger zone at the Walmart.

And to think is all started with an Uncola.

Prior to that, we would all take a Coke in hand and teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.

Happy Yearsend to all, and to all a good night.




The holidays.  A time filled with music, joy, shopping, drinking, eating, giving, receiving, and reminders… Ah, yes reminders.  Little memory triggers that may occur on a daily basis during the rest of the year, but for some unknown reason hold a special power in November and December.

Some very special triggers are annual.  No other time.  Some are the best.  Some are the worst.  And some are like Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. I don’t mean to judge but what the hell is all the hoopla about this passion for chemically induced seasonal flavor.  I don’t get it… well actually I do…but I am NOT a follower of the pumpkin spice stampede.  But I understand the passion and love for some if not all things Thanksgiving and Christmas.

First is the turkey.  I eat turkey nearly every week.  but the roasting and the smells that fill the house are usually seasonal.  I don’t know why.. probably because it takes a family to consume a bird.  Probably because I can’t microwave a 15 pound bird.  Probably because I can’t fit the turkey roaster in the dishwasher.  But for me is goes one step beyond the meal.


It is the ritual of taking the carcass, the boiling and bone picking and the making of the best soup I ever tasted.  Thanks  Mom, you really hated to cook… but you really loved to pinch pennies.  There are many good things that came from your frugality.  This holiday gem is the best for me.

There is no carcass this year.  It’s ok.  I relish in the memory.

Second, the lights.  I love the lights.  During my adult life I have only done the “full-Griswold” once.  My first year of marriage.  Every nook and cranny.  The roof and house lines… and though I don’t do that anymore… I do travel the streets in search of the best.  And how can I not.  I am from Kansas City.  That is all I need to say for those of you from Kansas City understand that the “Paris of the Plains” is the home of the greatest shopping center Christmas light display in the world.   I won’t argue with you.  I will just say that the Country Club Plaza has no equal in my little holiday mind.    Just trust me when I say… pictures do not do the Plaza justice..    I am so thankful it is a part of my memory bank.

I missed the lighting again this year.  It’s ok.  I so enjoy the memory.

So many pleasant memories.

As I age I find that memories are enough.  I don’t want to live yesterday again… I just want to smile because I was a part of it.

And of course there are the moments that give me pause. Because now my life includes tragic and sad moments.  Things from yesterday that I cannot change, things I have accepted, but things which will cause me to cry out.

Though I am not a big shopper for the holidays.  I am aware that others may be.  And I do have 5 dogs and 3 cats.  And they require constant spoiling.  So I do go shopping.  I do not like to go shopping.  But my animals are not sensitive to the holidays.  They are sensitive to feeding times and play times.  So shop I must.  And I always grab a cart when I shop for the critters.  I have to.  I will just grab an armful and a hand basket when I shop for me.  But when it comes to the kids, well it requires the cartage of bags and boxes of some weight.

Let me introduce you to my little friend–

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We met in the parking lot.  Discarded like an unwanted animal.  Left to find its way home, lest some caring patron or hired gun would come searching and return it to the home for wanted grocery carts.  This cart had no business being in this place at this time.  So I grabbed it.  I had to.  Those of you who have followed my irregular blog my understand why.

You can get a refresher here …………

So I decided it was time to renew the purpose and mission of this 4-wheeler.   Off we went.  Past the holiday displays… the racks of candy, cookies, toys, impulse “as-seen-on-TV” displays…. wait is that a Chia Head… wow, how cool is that.

Stop renewed focus… don’t get sidetracked.  All of the fun, meaningless stuff that Michelle loved.  Seriously, a brilliant woman with a penchant for all things tacky.  (that could be why she married me).  Remember the dogs and cats.  On to the pet food aisle.

Tasty treasures, Meow Mix, Rawhides, Chunky beef stew.. filling the cart.  Grateful to have one.  Then to the self check-out aisle.  Staying focused.  No other things to buy.  Get to the vehicle and unload.  Hurry.  Hurry.  I could feel it…  I had to hurry.

Open the trunk… Unload.  Return Cart.

Damnit.  Damnit……… I actually cried it out loud in the store parking lot.

I was a miserable, selfish, sh!##y husband.    Damnit.

I returned the cart to its home… And I went home.

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I wish I had a turkey carcass and trip planned to Kansas City.

I don’t but I am now at peace.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.








It’s all downhill from here.


I use to love to ride my bike.  I have not enjoyed that for a long time.  But there was a time.  Century rides (100 miles) in Colorado… Denver to Colorado Springs.  The Springs to the Royal Gorge.  Long, grueling rides.  And the very best part… coasting at some ridiculously dangerous speed heading down the mountain.  Tuck down low and let it all out.  It was like flying for me.

The climb was a GRIND.  But, I love going downhill.  I won’t lie to you.  I feel the wind in what little hair I have when I head downhill.  And unexpected small stings on my forehead and cheeks.  It reminds me of an old joke my Mom told me once… or several times.  “How do you tell you are talking with a happy motorcyclist?”   How?  “By the bugs in his teeth?”  I love going downhill.

I am now an urban dweller.. I don’t really ride anymore.  My life on 2 wheels has been traded in for romps around the park with 4-legged companions.  But every once in a while I return to the hills.

I arrived in front of the school this morning.  Fridays are the days I teach/advise at a high school work study program.  I am always the first to arrive on Friday.  I open the school, prepare for the student arrival… enjoy a cup of coffee.   It is coasting at a slow pace.  I nice time of the day.  Today was different.

I park my car as always,  at the curb by the front door.  Coffee in hand, I retreat to the rear of my car and pop the trunk.  I have a few items to carry in this morning.  While bending oer and head inside the trunk… there is a voice.  I look at me phone… did I butt dial someone.  Nope.  Screen is blank.  I return to retrieving my trunk treasure.  The voice from nowhere… again I check my phone.  NADA, nothing.  And again the voice.  And I do a 180 to discover a woman in a wheel chair.

“Good Morning” say I.

“Good Morning, do you know where the library is?”  I am asked.

I do, and we chat for just a moment.  I know where I am.  I know without looking, as I face her, what is now to my back for the next three blocks.  She is facing it.  I am remembering it. It is a gentle walk for someone on foot.  But it is all uphill.


“How can I help you?”  She responded, “Can you help me up this hill?”  And so it began.  Our 3 block relationship.  We did not converse, other than for me to share with here the location of the Tulsa Downtown Library.  One block, two blocks, Three blocks, FREE.

It’s all downhill from here, farewell.


Enjoy the wind in your face.  And the bugs in your teeth.



Are you Pro-Choice….

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could. . . .”     Robert Frost

I hear the arguments.  I feel the passion, and know the venom.  It is visceral and it is getting more intense every day.  Or so it seems to me.  It is often so ugly.  Seemingly sane people quickly become just the opposite.

I don’t think I know a person that is without a side on the question… “Are YOU pro-choice?” And I expect in this approaching election year in the United States that I will hear this question asked multiple times.  Probably Every day.  EVERY FRICKEN DAY!!

Are you pro-choice?

Someone will  preach or teach or beseech or overreach.

Someone will hate or relate or debate or instate.

Some will hide, some will chide.

Certainly someone will get hurt.

Because all too often I only want to hear or do what I want to hear or do.

So in the shadow of this questioning.  I boldly make this statement.  I am pro-choice because God is pro-choice.

I don’t mind if you don’t believe in God… that is your choice.  I do believe in Him, that is my choice.  I don’t mind if you stop reading now… that is your choice.  I will continue to write… that is my choice.

I am pro-choice because God is PRO-CHOICE.    God has always been for choices.  It is in choices that freedom flourishes.  Believers can choose to believe.  Atheists are free to say no.  I hear all the time, people exclaim “this is a free country, I can choose what I want to choose.”  Well let me say, if ever there was an argument for this country being created in the image of the glory of God, for me it is resident in that very freedom to choose.  Freedom of choice,  pro-choice, is among the most Godly and holy of my life experiences.

What I find to be the forgotten factor.  There are consequences to both good and bad choices.  People who are not necessarily believers use politically correct labels…. like Karma. But call it whatever you would like to call it… Call it nothing at all… Call it the Truth… Call it a lie… What you call it is your choice.

I can’t pretend that what I choose is not without consequences.  I have spent decades chasing and honing and narrowing down what I believe.  I have spent decades making good and bad choices.  I have made both types of choices in the past day I am certain.

Consequences are the fruit of our decisions.  Plant an apple seed, I expect an apple tree.  Plant an apple seed, will I wonder where the oranges are.    Spend your day angry…. guess what fruit you will bear.

You can call it coincidence.  You can say it is a random occurrence.  If you wonder why things are as they have become…. well just continue to wonder.  I don’t necessarily have an answer that can address a one pointed question.  I can’t explain why some things are what they have become.  “It is what it is.”  This is the harvest of my generation..  But is it really?  Could it be that it is what it is as a RESULT of a Choice?   Could my obesity be the result of my bad food and exercise choices?  Or is it what it is because of a bad gene pool?  “Damn, where did all this fat come from?”

And so I return to look at the choices I have made.  Choices made freely, most often without care, frequently without advice of friends.  Some made habitually, some learned and repeated, some learned and ignored, all are choices.  God guaranteed my my ability and right to choose.  And so it is written…..

“The Choice of Life or Death  Deuteronomy 30:18-20”
…I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

Yup… you got the Power in the Choice.  Choose Blessing or curse, receive life or death.  God is so Pro-choice.  Some things with God are indeed a mystery.  What I believe he sets before me is to make choices that will bring glory and a life abundant.

God is Pro-choice!

Choose Life! So choose life in order that you may live…

The God I know is Pro-Life.

It is what it is.

Do you understand the difference?  Do you understand the challenge?

Somewhere under the rainbow…..

Somewhere under the rainbow…..Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet….

I see them everywhere.   Rainbow colors.   They are not thought of as the marker to a pot of gold.   They are rarely connected to unicorns anymore,  They are, it seems, the new representative of the unspoken acceptance of a now “legal” lifestyle.

So many folks have washed  their Facebook profile pictures with this rainbow flag symbol.


We are it seems, awash in the rainbow spirit.  Are you “fer it or agin it?”  Whichever side is chosen, there will be arguments.  There will be stands taken.  There will be anger.  There will be joy.  There is the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”.   There will be divisions.  It is the the world we live in.

But wait there’s more……….

Somewhere under the rainbow another battle begins on an emotional, historical, and very real issue to so many.  It’s an exorcism in the making.  I sit in awe and wonder.   I am saddened.  I am not surprised.  A reason to rise and fight is often robed in many symbols.  I do not have the energy to judge it… I just observe the battle raging.  It will get uglier.


We are it seems, awash in the rebel spirit.  Are you “fer it or agin it?”  Whichever side is chosen, there will be arguments.  There will be stands taken.  There will be anger.  There will be joy.  There is the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”.   There will be divisions.  It is the the world we live in.

And why do we fight…

Well here is my deal.. I am created in the image of God.  Therefore His character and His characteristics reside in me.  When I recognize that, and live that, and honor that… my life is more often filled with joy, with peace, with a desire to live in unity.

Here then are my 2 takeaways from all of this flag waving.

1.   John 13:35  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  the counterpoint… live in the spirit of division and people won’t know anything about God and His purpose for those who love Him……or those He desires to be with.

2.  Symbols have power.    Symbols do represent what people believe… because God set up symbols before me… it is what God does… it is part of His character… I am in that image, so are you.. I believe..  Why else would folks fight over a flag or a color scheme? Genesis 9:13.  I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.



May you find peace under the rainbow.  May you know the covenant Maker.

Oh, yeah…. what the heck in indigo anyway?


My days are numbered.

Your days are numbered.

A man’s days are numbered. You, God,  know the number of his months. He cannot live longer than the time You have set. So now look away from him that he may rest, until he has lived the time set for him like a man paid to work.  Job 14:5-6

When my wife died, it was a surprise.  I left our house one morning in November, 2009. Michelle was a vibrant 44 year old woman.  By the time I got home after work, she was gone. Drowned in the bathtub of our house. . . passed out in the tub, drifted below the water, and slept.  There was no countdown, no expectation of  departure.  I had not ever considered a number.

Two years ago, Mom was a completely different story.  After 90 plus years the clock just ran down.  No rewinding.  No surprise.  The departure was quiet and graceful, much like she lived her life.  She did not know the exact number, nor did I, but it came and went without incident.

But you Joanna (only you know who your are by this name), you are an anomaly.  I don’t know your number.  I do know it is smaller than I wish it were.   I know is it a very real and tangible number.  I know if I don’t see you soon, my next glimpse of you will be on the other side of the curtain.  And so I must honor the number and I will tell you what I would share with the world if ever asked to write your Eulogy.  Since you have not passed… I hope you find this an encouragement.  In the weird and wonderful way you understand the things I say.  God knows I appreciate that quality in you.

If there were a service, this is what I would rise to say… and since you would be ashes, you would not be able to stop me.  I confess my biggest challenge is deciding which tense to pen this someday Eulogy in…. but to the one I love… you will know what I mean.

I am here to honor my friend Joanna B.    meandjb

I love this woman.  She was never easy to get to know.  In fact she was downright secretive and initially reclusive.  And frankly, a pain in my rather over sized ass.  But I knew from our first Facebook moment, this was a very special woman, one with whom I had a rare and explainable connection.

Our first 3 meetings, were never shows… a rooftop brunch, a day at the dog park, and brunch again.  Our relationship spanned nearly 2 years of “friending” and and “unfriending” on Facebook.  Yet through all of these non-times, there was humor, and insight, and laughter and tears.  Joanna you are a remarkable woman.

Eventually we would have our face to face times together.  I so enjoyed being with you.  You are a smile maker.  Thank you.

Joanna you loved stuff that I loved.  You didn’t love stuff that I loved.  You are specific, and directed, and focused, and I am really not any of those things.  Yet you enjoyed our time together, as did I.  And you are caring.  Oh my, you are so caring.  I knew it when we first met.  And I knew very early that you cared about me.

But I believe, it was with the birth of your first grandchild that you once again became the woman you were meant to be.  You are love and kindness manifested.  You became the woman that God intended for you to become.  You and Boo.  That little man was the right man for your life.  I am so grateful that I caught a glimpse of you as that beautiful woman, before your number was called.  Though I must brag and say I knew that quality and that woman by day two of our facebook lives.  Long before you were ready to own it.

JB, you are a delight.  I will miss you much.  We shared together the sudden and ugly loss of our spouses through terrible and unforeseen accidents.  You are a loving mother and grandmother and friend.  And you have left a mark on my heart.  I am thankful, and honestly I am really upset that I will have to miss you.  But I will learn to deal with it.  I will see you again.  You will have my number.

A step away from my cowardice


I saw a quote last week that I must paraphrase.  “How important must a person be to elevate their murder to being an assassination”  You get the drift.

“As Charleston gradually lays to rest nine shooting victims from last week’s church massacre” The report on the AP wire read.  And I say, Truly this is/was a planned act of randomly targeted hate and cowardice.

I was at one of those hotels this morning.  You know the ones that have rooms and also include a free breakfast in the little dining area.  This morning I was at one of those places. So I grab a biscuit, a glass of juice, and a cup of coffee..  and I sit to watch the morning news.  Most folks watch some sort of TV in the morning, The Today Show, Fox and friends, CBS whatever…….   I am not one of those watchers except in unique circumstances.  I sold my TV over 2 years ago.  This morning was a unique circumstance for me.

This morning’s television topic.  The Charleston massacre and the recent burning of 3 Black churches in the South.  And I began to cry.  This all makes me so sad.  This is a continuation and it is just the beginning of the atrocities I believe.  People hating people for no good reason.  I do not expect it to get better.  Cowards are everywhere.  If they were brave, like soldiers, they would put their names on their actions… and face the consequences.  Cowards take lighter fluid to ant hills.

When I was growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, I use to burn ant hills.  As a prepubescent, I would go to our garage, find the charcoal lighter fluid, find an ant hill, spray it with fluid, drop a lit match…. the ants never knew what hit them.  They would writhe in pain and die.  It was fun to do this.. until is was fun no longer.  I couldn’t stand the action.  What was I doing?  Why did I do it?  It made no sense to me.  It was planned act of randomly targeted hate and cowardice.  I walked away from my foolishness, my ignorance, my cowardice.

So I am enjoying my biscuit and juice and coffee.  I am not enjoying the news of the morning.  People killed by a coward.  Assassinated.  I am getting sadder.  I am in public.  My eyes are tearing up.  I am disgusted.  I am appalled.  I am filled with rage.  And suddenly I remember, I am not alone.  I look over to see the couple at the next table.  My God, it is THEM.  THEY are right fricken next to me, and they have seen my tears and sadness.

Should I run.  Should I hide.  Should I pretend I just had something in my eye.  Get up and leave?  What the f@#K should I do.  They are BLACK people, a Black couple, right next to me.

So I look them directly in the eyes… I put my name on it.  I look at them, and I know that they know that I know that they are Black people.  I say, “I am so sorry.”

And they say. “thank you.”

And in this moment, I walked away from my fear.  I am NOT a coward in the moment.  I am Bob Fulton, Man of God, lover of people, griever for those who suffer.

And we talk.  And we never ask each other’s names… we are hotel lobby friends.  Passers by and passers through.  But we talk from the heart.

He is a barber at a “black barber shop”  — his words

Since the church shooting he mentioned that a white guy had come to the shop last week and needed to use the restroom.  Very odd for a white guy to be in this neighborhood.  They said yes.  However they could not help but wonder if this stranger might be assembling a gun while in the restroom and come out shooting.  Copycat, copycat.  Nothing happened.  But he could not help but wonder.

He could not help but wonder if he would be in the room when the next coward came to visit a group of Black folks.  I was saddened that though he and his wife were absolutely at peace in the skin they lived…. there are people who hated them for skin pigmentation.

We spoke for about 15 minutes.

And I shook both their hands.  It was NOT a particularly brave moment for me.  But in that moment I was a coward no more.

Three people brave enough to be who we were suppose to be.

Today I lived…. A step away from my cowardice.

Crappie… crappy….crappie


That my friend is how we met.  On Facebook.  We were both fans of George Takei.  Oh My! And one day around 3 years ago he posted some toilet humor cartoon with a fish.  I don’t recall the joke.

But I remember what I typed in the reply line.  And I replied “Crappie”  (for the non-initiated, a Midwest freshwater pan fish similar to a perch, and actually pronounced Croppy) But it looks like it should be pronounced Crappy.  And it really was a perfectly funny response to the “fish turd” joke.  And apparently  you were in a laughing kind of mood…. and you “liked” my comment.  You and several other absolute strangers.  And I felt good and that was that.


But that was not that.  You mustered up the energy to message me and asked to be my friend.  Now I must say… I was attracted immediately to your picture.  And I hoped you were not some Nigerian scam artist, targeting my massive American wealth.  Fortunately it was my humor that you were after.  And we became friends.  You moved outside of your comfort circle… and friend-ed a stranger.  Someone you would never have to meet.  And we would joke and we laughed and just enjoyed each other…. and then came the second day.  And someone you thought would be a random, never meet, make me smile kind of guy from some distant land…. well…. if I may put words in your mouth… “Holy Sh*!, the guy lives in Tulsa, less than 30 miles from my Owasso home.”  Spoiler!!

The first months were delightful.  We were funny together.  We never met.  We planned on it, we never followed through.  There were discoveries and journeys via phone, text and facebook.   We we members of similar “clubs”  The multiple dog owner club.  The I lost my spouse to a horrible accident club.  The quick wit/funny club.  The on a spiritual journey club.  The enjoy a good wine club.  And the being in a relationship is exhausting and leave me alone clubs.


So during “our” first two years, I think there were 3 befriending and 3 unfriending events on Facebook.  We were together.   We were silent and apart.   We lived alone.  After a period, there would be a tap on the door, an open moment, with smiles, laughter, and even one meet for brunch event.  Two hours at the cafe in Utica Square.  Delightful, refreshing, for both of us I believe.  And I will add…. glorious for me.  You were just a joy to be with and talk with.  You are so attractive… what a wonderful breath of fresh air.   And then you would “disappear.”  For those moments, closeness was not to be a part of your life.  I was asked to lose your number.  I had not “done” anything, it just was NOT time.

But there were big changes coming.  You became a Grandma.  And frankly, you changed I think.  “Boo” changed you.  That little boy was a big life changer.  I will not attempt to put words in your mouth, nor outline the changes.  Nor even suppose to understand, having never been neither a parent nor obviously then a grandparent.  But I will say, your world exploded and expanded.  And around a year ago, I became a part of your new expansion process.  I will be forever grateful.  Though our together times are infrequent, they are a part of us…. and for me they are wonderful.

We have indeed become friends over the last year.

We have done business together.  You have entrusted me to sell things for you an Ebay.  I have been blessed financially because of “us.”

But more importantly, you have given me some firsts and lasts.  The kind of things that will linger in my brain for the remainder of my life as I think of you.

Our date at the Tulsa state fair.  You where there… for my first ever scorpion and meal worm pizza.  I will think of you every time I am stung by a scorpion.  It will be our dance.

And you are the last woman to let me in her bed.  You were not in it, you were on the couch. Because after and evening in your home, with conversation, dogs, a beautifully cooked meal, jinga and yahtzee, and too much wine… you took my car keys and safely tucked me in.  Among the many reasons, I love you for that concern and level of sharing.

And the truth is, I don’t remember any dates in our together time.  Couples often remember dates and times.  I will for the moment say that I now will remember one.  June 2, 2015.  I was suppose to visit you at your home, I had to postpone.  However, during the evening we did speak on the phone.

It was so nice to hear your voice.  You just cause me to smile every time we speak.  You are just a light.  I am not always good at listening, though I try.  And I am not always good at remembering unless I write it down.

This is my June 2, 2015 memory.  This is what I heard.  “liver disease” and “auto-immune” and “terminal” and “six months.”

I promised you I would not feel sorry for you.  I don’t.  But I do adore you.  I do love you.  I will be here or there for you.

Maybe while there is still time… we can escape Tulsa together.

Maybe a trip to Grand Lake.






The final goodbye…. tears, smiles….. next

This was never planned.  I certainly believe it was set in stone long before I knew it could happen. Long before I met my avatar Nancy in 1977, or my wife Michelle who started this process before she died.  This “thing,” which now tends to consume me… this mission to get rid of street cats and stray dogs.  I was born for this.

Eighteen in the last 2 1/2 years.   Dogs that the world need not be troubled with any longer. (I will not for the moment, speak of the cats)  I look to the streets regularly to rid our city of this growing problem.  Capture, corral, eliminate.  My city, my neighborhood, hell the world does not need these kind of dogs or cats.. but dogs.  Dogs are my mission.  I will get them off the street and rid my world of them one critter at a time.

Bosco, Oscar, Perry, Steve, Mocha, Alpha, Delta, Ike, Jack, Red, Hark, Herald, Angel, Nell, Annie, Morey, Jay, and Heygirl.   Yes I name them before I get them “gone”.  They come into my world and I will do all I can to get them out of my world.  If I don’t get you gone… you are destined for a life at Casa Canine!


Oh, don’t get the wrong idea.  I DON’T eliminate dogs the seek out and destroy way.  I rescue dogs, “fix them”, train when I can, foster and find them forever homes.  I really did not plan on this as an avocation… it is NOT a hobby, I am not a hoarder.  I am just amazed that there are dozens, hundreds, thousands of dogs that are euthanized because people are cruel, selfish, lazy.. or “other”.

There are many stories.  And some day I may tell each individually.  But most of the time the story is the same… A stray or abandoned dog comes into my life because it walks my way, or walks into the lives of close friends who call me.


There have been litter mates– the offspring of Mocha.  Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omega.  Who were found by the road by my dear friend Emily, and brought to me.  That was the “biggest” project.

nell and me

Or driveway, free puppy garage sale Nell.


And of course Bosco, an owner surrender.


And one of my favorites, Perry.  He was very sick and dumped on my street with a bag of food and a collar and leash.  And was scratching on my neighbor’s door.

And they all come to Casa Canine.  But I can’t do this by myself.  I have loving friends and inedible encouragement from my Facebook family.  And the unbelievable assistance from a great group at R&R…  And assistance and special encouragement from Amy, Nancy, Beth, Jay, Ann, my brother and his wife, and so many more.

And now I have two, Morey and Annie.  Two pups who recently lived in the home of a dog hoarder along with 48 other dogs.

morey and annie

And they come and then they go… one in as few as 6 days, Mocha after 5 months.   Along with my regular cadre of three, Tank, Fred, and Shelly.  And my Feral, now “family of cats” Survivor, Thor and Jimbo.  This is Casa Canine


But when they go, there are always tears, the smiles come shortly after, and then another foundling appears at the gate.

And occasionally, after my fosters graduate from Casa Canine, and move to their forever homes, they send a letter to their foster home.  It does not happen often and I understand that I was just a visitor in their life’s journey.  But occasionally they do let me know how they are.  There are always tears of joy… whether they contact me or not.  But when they do, I am grateful beyond measure.


So this is my happy time

Annie is going to meet a new family in a few hours… don’t know if I will ever hear from her again… But I am so blessed…   If you are reading this… you should consider being blessed also.  You should hook into a rescue group and increase your joy and foster a pooch.  At the very least, follow the advice of Bob Barker… spay or neuter.

Until then…..

Morey is waiting…. and he says Thanks….