Weekend trip to Memphis

This past weekend I went to Memphis, Tennessee because one of my nieces had a soccer thing there. Her team is based in Tallahassee, FL so I don’t get to see them play terribly often. This was a great opportunity since the trip is only about 3.5 hours from Nashville.

Well, the downside is that it rained the entire trip. And I don’t mean spotty showers. I left Nashville in the rain, drove the entire trip there in the rain, all the soccer events were under rain, and then drove the entire way back in the rain. There wasn’t even a 5 second span where it wasn’t raining. Crazy. I *think* I even saw a guy building a wooden boat and I can’t be totally sure but there may have been animals walking towards him two by two.

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My sis and I on the team bus

Now with that said, it was still such a fun weekend. My niece played in two soccer games Saturday afternoon, and I love watching her play. I also chatted and laughed a lot with my second oldest sister. I count soccer and laughing as two of the best things I get to do as an uncle! Plus, I’ll be totally honest, I’m competitive. I really enjoy watching all kinds of competitions. So those were the top highlights of the weekend.

Another memorable highlight was being able to reconnect with a dog we met in Memphis last summer. You can see him in this video I made from July 2017:


The short story is that he was homeless, alone, hungry, and in need of some love. My nieces were champions for him, so we weren’t leaving there without making sure his circumstances improved, even if it was to give him a little more hope than he had right then. He ended up at a dog rescue organization and that might be the best thing that had ever happened to him up to that point in his life. Since then, he’s been brought back to great health, and was adopted by a married couple that works at that rescue.

So this weekend we had a small window of time to break away from the soccer stuff going on. We arranged to go see Cole man and here’s a short video showing him now, just 7 months later.


I’ll obviously count this weekend trip to Memphis as a highlight of 2018, with my fingers crossed for more great highlights to come!

-Out of the Wilderness

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Beam me up, Scotty

This post isn’t actually about Star Trek at all. But what better title to use for an estate sale I went to recently? Any Scottish Terrier enthusiasts out there would have loved this sale. I bought a few things, and I consistently say (and heartily believe) you can find the oddest and most amazing things at an estate sale.

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-Out of the Wilderness

Bark, the herald puppy sings

This morning, to beat the rain that’s expected here in Nashville this afternoon, I drove up to Sam’s Club for some dog food and, because one of my favorite things is to combine tasks, I decided to run while I was out. I dressed in my warmest running gear- Brooks shoes, black tights, t-shirt under a long sleeve shirt, snow cap, and my Garmin Vivoactiv HR watch*. I was ready!

I decided to stop in Sam’s first. I thought I’d be doing everyone a favor by not walking through after a run because, although it’s cold, I’d be a little sweaty and possibly not quite fresh and febreze-y, if you catch my drift (hopefully not literally though!). On the way there, I formulated a plan to leave my car in the Sam’s parking lot and just run to a nearby greenway, instead of driving to the greenway parking lot which was maybe half a mile away. Michael DelGiorno was on the radio, as he always is from 9 to noon. So I sat in there a few minutes longer than planned to listen to an entire segment of his. Quick side note, anyone in Nashville ought to give him a listen, he’s a fantastic storyteller and gives such incredible insight into life, politics, spirituality and I can easily say he’s one of my favorite people.

So then I walked in to Sam’s a few minutes behind my entirely self-imposed schedule of buying dog food, jogging, then going back home for lunch by noon O’Clock. After loading the food into the trunk, I took off towards the greenway (you can see this mapped out in the pic below).

While I was jogging in front of the police detention center, in the distance I heard a excited bark from a dog being walked by some random person. That bark reminded me that Metro Animal Control is next door to the police facility. I decided part of my run would include stopping in to see about walking the dogs, or if that was even something a volunteer could do.

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I walked in looking like I took a break from a 5K and I’m sure they wondered, “Is this nerd wad lost or something?” But they were very kind and told me all about the ways someone can volunteer. They let me walk through and pet all the dogs penned up there, and it was so fun.

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Bailey, adopt here

Each of the dogs had such unique personalities, and then there was Bailey. A frisky 5-year-old with the energy of a puppy and yet the loyalty of a grateful rescue. I couldn’t help but keep petting the adorable brown dog I just met, and started daydreaming of what the future could be for her. They even let me play with her in a fenced in area. She’s a great dog so if you’re looking for one of those (a great dog), go adopt her, she will be your new best friend.

It was really great to meet the dogs and I hope to go back there very soon to be that random person walking a dog who may not have a home yet, but at least in those moments they can get out and sniff the grass and have a bit of freedom (unlike their neighbors to the south – yes, I’m referring to the detention facility again *snicker*).

-Out of the Wilderness

*I am an Amazon Affiliate. I receive a small percentage of any transaction completed through the link in this post.

Kindness of strangers in unexpected moments

Part of what I do for income includes driving my car all over town and interacting with strangers. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, he drives for Uber!” Thankfully, no. Drunk strangers will not be vomiting in my car. I really enjoy delivering smiles for Amazon Prime Now. But it’s not always happy times, I’ll tell ya! Traffic can be a bear and a few weeks ago, the weather was quite the menace. Here’s a snippet from my dash cam the night I was delivering in Nashville’s heaviest snow of the year so far.


Even worse than the snow, though, was the ice. Some main roads, and most secondary roads, were layered in it. On top of that, I had 10 deliveries! I felt like David going up against Goliath, with a Nissan Versa as my slingshot.

I left the Amazon warehouse with just an ounce of courage. I slowly crept my way to the first customer and missed the mark with my first stone. Here I am in a bit of a predicament.


I was halfway up the hill and started sliding down. I was able to back into a random driveway and with some help, drive in reverse, through front yards, narrowly missing two cars but getting back onto a flat road without incident.

Nine more deliveries to go.

Already my neck was sore. My shoulders were tight. A few of the next stops were in flat areas of east Nashville, so that was a relief, but Goliath still seemed larger than life.

Towards the end of the route, Goliath snorted as I approached the steepest hill yet. The house I was delivering to was at the top, about 5 houses in from where I decided to park the car. My slingshot wouldn’t win this battle. In fact, I felt pretty defeated at this point; half the deliveries were late and even after this one, I had a few more to go. To walk the delivery to the customer would take at least 3 trips from my car up the hill to the house, but as undesirable as that sounded, it’s all that could be done. So I started up the hill, a few packages under my arms.

As I handed off the first round of items, the most unexpected thing happened. The father of the crew that lived there began bundling up with heavy clothes and boots. My eyes widened. My heart beat faster. My shoulders loosened. He was coming back with me so we could slay this giant together!

We split the items between us and started back up the hill. We both were carrying almost more than we could manage by ourselves. And then another heroic moment happened: his son met us on the way and after giving him some packages, the three of us marched up the hill, up the driveway, up the slippery steps, and to the front door.

As it turns out, it was people that overtook Goliath this cold, snowy night. What does the Bible say? A cord of 3 strands is not easily broken. I’m so thankful for those guys that night. Their act of kindness won’t be in newspapers, it won’t pop up on anyone’s Facebook feed (except maybe for mine!), they won’t be ABC’s persons of the week. But for a stressed out delivery driver, this father certainly made an impression and lived out the Golden Rule. Plus he modeled for his son (and his daughter and wife who were watching from the window) one way to be a good man.

He reminded me a lot of my dad.

And that, my friends, is how Goliath fell that night.

-Out of the Wilderness

She’s a question mark

As you’ll find when you look up the 5 W’s on Wikipedia, they’re defined as “questions whose answers are considered basic in information gathering or problem solving.” Well, some people would definitely consider my love life basic. Clearly I just roasted my own self and I’m OK with that, though, because I like laughing. I laughed a lot yesterday while I was driving behind a car that had a dog sticking it’s head out barking wildly at cars passing in the other direction. I also think yesterday was a good day for information gathering. It started when I opened up Spotify.

What…
I heard one of my favorite songs when it cycled up in my Spotify library. Every time I hear this cover of a Temptations hit, it sends my mind a’drifting, thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to put together a video with this song for the woman I marry.” Sure, it’s 90s reggae but it makes me think of a fun relationship I’ll have with my best friend.


Why…

I’m a hopeless romantic. My favorite movies are The Notebook, Elizabethtown, Hitch, and I’ll throw Serendipity in there too, as a great romantic comedy. So when I have the chance to make something personal for someone I love, of course I’m going to do it. That’s why!

Where…
An educated guess would say this story will unfold in Nashville, where I live. There are other possible backdrops to this love story; I have family in Florida so there could be a scenario where I cross paths with a beautifully-quirky woman there.

When…
Timing is everything and right now, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe she and I are already friends. Maybe she’ll be at the Post Office today when I go to drop off some mail. Either way, I’m looking forward to the day I can’t remember what my life was like before she entered entered it.

Who…
Now this is the question of the hour. I’ve had a handful of great relationships in my love life, but none that progressed to marriage and, it might be strange to hear this, I’m very thankful they didn’t. Had I married in my 20s or early 30s, the relationship would have gone one of two ways: a rough and rocky start that crippled us for a long time, or simply ending in divorce. Neither of which is something I wake up hoping for each morning.

So this mystery will go on unsolved for the time being. Heck, we only have information for 2 of the 5 W’s and that, my friends, is what I’d call… not even close! But when Spotify queues up Billboard’s #6 song from a reggae band of white guys in 1989, I can still anticipate the day when the question mark becomes an exclamation point!

-Out of the Wilderness