Tracks In The Dust

A Father's Advice About Learning the Mission of Life

Archive for the category “Before and After Things Change”

When Going Out Was Special

There was this special time when “going out to eat” was something you did in frequently. It was a time when a family would treat themselves to something out of the routine and give “mom” a night off.

McDonalds Buy The Bag


Family outings to restaurants were indeed unique. White table cloths, the waitress with water for all, the crackers in the basket on the table and a list of standard American fare that would come from the swinging doors in the back. You could predict the menu regardless of where you went.

Ah but then there was that special time when you and your parents would venture to a “fast food” emporium. Places that would offer a drive-up area where waiters would arrive at the driver’s window to get your order. A&W Root Beer. Dairy Queens.

But the most special…..when I was a kid was to go to McDonald’s and get a 15 cent hamburger, small fry and a shake. ¬†There wasn’t much more on the menu those days, and if you wanted to eat there you would bring the bag back to the car. The window was out doors and they would hand it though the window — with a cardboard tray if there were several drinks. Not pressed board or Styrofoam, but standard cardboard. They had millions sold back then I think- not billions. ūüôā


What is your special restaurant when you were young?


Relax and Take It In

Just take the time to look around, and see what you have found.

Whiskey On The Rocks


I have to say it is hard to do. To stop and just appreciate the art of relaxation.

But then our lives are going so fast. For many of us meditation of the day is not on the schedule.

In these days of self-diagnosed ADD and ADHD we have  come to leave it as an excuse then I suppose.

But there are times when it is just good to relax and take it in. I am going to plan on it.

Turn off your mind relax and float downstream.



The High Speed of Information

The speed in which we get our information today has¬†changed our lives forever. I was watching a movie from the late 70’s or early 80’s with my twenty year old daughter the other night, it was a thriller. There was a murderer on the loose and one of his victims got away. Unfortunately they were in a cabin out in the woods and the murderer had ‘cut the phone line”. ¬†My daughter laughed and wondered why they wouldn’t just use their smartphone. Was there no reception?

slow-down Not A Race

I had to remind her that there were no cell phones back then ( way back in the day).  She really had  to wonder how people dealt with that back then. What happened in the old days?  I told her that the cell phone ( and the Internet) has changed the way history  is made and our lifestyles in more ways than she would every realize, since she grew up with both for most of her life.

We are so accustomed to instant feedback, instant information, instant responses and access to communicating with just about anyone anywhere.  Libraries, long distance calls and having to wait for answers are a thing of the past for the most part.

Maybe that’s why everyone is so much less patient it seems these days. Every thing is “now”… and quick. In lines at the store scanning our groceries, paying by plastic card with swipe, packing 2 things to each plastic bag and driving the cart to the car asap.

Even texts can’t wait? ¬†A friend of mine texted me the other day, and when I didn’t respond quick enough the follow-up text was ” are you okay?” Nice enough to ask but really.. I was just busy. Maybe that is the ultimate issue with driving and texting. Everyone is looking for an immediate answer? ¬† I always thought it was the advantage of text vs. voice calls. No hurry, just texting…. but that doesn’t seem to always apply.

So the idea that the answer could be ¬†“wait I will have to think about it” may seem a bit put-offish. ¬†But that may have been the good thing about what was “the good old days”- the pause for thought before answering . ¬†Seems like those immediate answers could provide immediate satisfaction, but can also mean immediate damage.

Pause here for some thought on the matter. ūüôā

So the bad guys in the movies these days? … gotta watch out. The world will know you are coming in one tweet, text and post on the Internet.



Empty Nest

Empty nesting time. It is a reality for almost all parents at one time or another. Notice I don’t say “all” parents because I can suppose that some 30-year-old adults are still living with their parents somewhere ( for good or bad).

Empty Nesters

My wife and I can recall some of those days when they were very young. We’d wish for them to be a bit older and provide us some quiet nights sleep and a bit less chasing them around to keep things out of their mouths.

As they grew older we started to realize there were just “different” levels of challenges. Dating, distractions, puberty, peer pressure that leads to all of the moments when you ask yourself ” is this really my child?” ¬†During their teens it was sometimes hard to distinguish how they would totally forget the lessons that we would have hoped the had learned in their “formative” years. But yes, they did forget. Often in some cases.

But mistakes will happen ( hopefully not catastrophic or life threatening… each which I have learned can be different) ūüôā

We had one child who left abruptly when he turned 18, and didn’t look back. We didn’t really interact with him at all but after ¬†12 years we have finally come to ¬†know him again thank fully.

It is hard to let go, but they all have to find their own course in life, and what you have taught them (and they retained) has to be good enough.

My advice to my kids ( if they read these now, or later) is to be centered in who you are spiritually, remember the fundamentals between right and wrong, it’s okay to make mistakes, its okay to be frustrated and angry with life- but you need to make something out of those pitfalls. Apply the lesson to what’s going on ahead in your life.

So here we are – with our empty nest. But honestly we have 4 great kids who ¬†we love more than anything, and they are ¬†out on their own making a “go” of it. We’ll embrace them the best way we know how. ¬†Yup, and here I am ¬†at tracks in the dust still trying to share advice. Guess we can all learn no matter how old we get. I am learning how to be an older parent.


A Dog’s Life For Me

I grew up with cats. My mom had them since I was in elementary school and had one ¬†long after I left home. When my wife and I first met she had dogs in her family. Family dogs with a long history. ¬†After we got married apartment life and planned moving from town to town left “cats” as the only option. Decades and all the kids out of the house, we have finally become an “all dog” house.

Jake and Eva 2

The last family cat finally made it to its “next” of nine lives ( one of my sons thinks the best that maybe he came back as a porpoise or something).

So I am learning, dogs are great, they can be loyal and loving. They can be like taking care of little kids who will endlessly be toddlers at best. I get that now.  My dog Jake has been part of our lives for almost a year of his two-year old mutt-life,  he is probably not all that smart but very lovable.

My wife’s dog Eva¬†has been¬†her lifeline and is still mainly just “her” dog. She is only 4 but knows who she loves best, and gets the special treatment she feels she deserves from my wife everyday.

I am sure lifetime dog owners can provide all sorts of reasons for the goodness of dogs. Guess it took me decades to get to the point to learn.

I am not certain of all of the reasons, but hey- I got a goofy¬†dog that seems to follow me around. and loves the attention. Brings us a bird or a bunny on occasion as his proud trophy. Never passes up a treat or some scratching on his tummy. That’s worth some joy everyday. ¬†Woof

That’s Jake on the left and Eva on the right.



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