Monday, July 31, 2006

For Mom

Memorial Service
Jennifer S. Ewing
July 31, 2006
James G. Ewing, Jr.

I think my family fought the tendency this week to blame itself for this trouble. Surely a family as strong as mine could have prevented this atrocity with more care for Mom’s safety, more attention to her whereabouts, or more warning on the dangers of riding alone.
What I have realized is this: only things can be made safe. You can hide away your treasures from the world, ensuring that they endure well beyond their use, but you cannot protect a person from the attacks of a ruthless enemy.
Mom was a staunch believer in spiritual warfare. Anytime we felt our family coming under spiritual attack, Mom was quick to remind us that a clever enemy only lashes out against a threat. She always said that, as a Christian, if you’re not under attack, you’re probably on the wrong track.
What we all must realize is that her death took place on the front lines of a battle much older than anyone in range of my voice. The enemy is smart, and Mom was always on the front line.
She was on the front lines of everything - especially anything funny. What can you say about a 54 year-old woman who watched Napoleon Dynamite on a weekly basis and regularly quoted Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at the dinner table?
Mom played her group of seventh-grade Home-school British Literature Students a clip from The Blues Brothers and created a miniature rift in the Home-school parent community.

She was hilarious.

I thumbed through Mom’s library this week and I came across a quote from Elisabeth Elliot’s book “A Lamp for My Feet.” She said:

When we imagine that our problems are so deep, so insoluble, or so unusual that no one really understands us, we delude ourselves…Our story, whatever it is, is an old one, and He who has walked the human road has entered fully into our experiences of sorrow and pain and has overcome them. He has comforted others in our situation, gone with them into the same furnaces and lions’ dens, and has brought them out without smell of fire or mark of tooth.

Hebrews 4:15 and 16 says:

Ours is not a high priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who, because of his likeness to us, has been tested in every way, only without sin. Let us therefore boldly approach the throne of our gracious God, where we may receive mercy and in his grace find timely help.

Today I ask for help, but I also bear witness to a life well-lived and a family built strong on Christ; the only foundation that can’t be shaken.

An annual tradition in our family was for Mom to read Truman Capote’s book “A Christmas Memory” as we sat by the tree. The last paragraph details the death of Capote’s dear friend and it’s a reflection of how I feel. Mom never made it through the end without crying, but I’ll try:

And when [she’s gone] that happens, I know it. A message saying so merely confirms a piece of news some secret vein had already received, severing from me an irreplaceable part of myself, letting it loose like a kite on a broken string. That is why, walking across a school campus on this particular December morning, I keep searching the sky. As if I expected to see, rather like hearts, a lost pair of kites hurrying toward heaven.

Today we feel like a thousand kites cut loose from their moorings…..but we’re not. We’re bound tightly to the hand of Jesus; connected to one another in a web of love crafted by my mother.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hey, Haircut!

Friday night Melissa surprised me with tickets to the Guster / Ray Lamontagne concert at Chastain. As you all know - my polls come out consistently in favor of girfriends who get off their wallets. So, in a very predictable trend - preliminary results have shown a marked rise in Melissa's girlfriend poll from a near-record 97% to an all-time high 99% (with a standard deviation of approximately .9901).

As part of the "Classic Chastain" series, tickets to the event far exceeded my $75 credit limit, not to mention my frugal nature. So I feel like, on the whole, it was possibly the only profitable date I have ever engaged in. Plus, it was my first Classic Chastain Guster concert. Hopefully it was not my last (free) one.

As an added bonus Melissa not only arranged for the event, but she also prepared an entire Chastain-table meal complete with carry-in coolers, tray tables, candles, tablecloth and napkins (matching), wine glasses, champagne flutes, wine, champagne, two kinds of chicken, strawberries, two kinds of salad, cake, and various other eatables that are entirely not on my diet. She even thought to bring the thermacell mosquito repellent. Genius.

To put it mildly: I enjoyed it. A lot.

All I planned to do was show up (late), get in the car, pay for parking, park, complain about the heat, and complain about the walk, eat, drink, enjoy the concert, and then leave. That’s it. The requirements placed on me were entirely within my capabilities.

It was planned to a "T."

Melissa even brought a handheld personal fan with foam blades; powered by two AA batteries to help us beat the formidable heat. What a great idea! A mini fan, just for you! Check out this link to get your own:,create_your_own_personal_breeze_anywhere!.htm

It's a great little device. You flick the switch, point it at your face, and cool away. Its very refreshing. And no, of COURSE there isn't anything dangerous about a mini fan!!....until you get it too close to your girlfriend's long, blonde hair.


Melissa's piercing screams shattered the peaceful pre-concert night as my portable electronic min-fan quickly and inextricably wrapped a 1/4" thick locke of blonde hair into its tiny mini-axle. Rows C - F looked on in stunned silence as I neatly sliced away 4 inches of her hair along with the offending mini fan.

It only goes to show you: sometimes things in life go as planned and sometimes they don’t; but regardless - it is always a good idea to carry a pocket knife.