He Blogs

Kim Williams' Blog, Kim's Korner, provides a personal look into the life and thinking of a Southern man. Husband, Former Pastor, Writer, Author and Serial Dog Owner, Kim Williams writes reflective and humorous posts.

Stumbling Block or Stepping Stone

A Coke and A Memory #MondayBlogs

Saturday I drank a glass bottle coke. As I tipped the bottle back, the glass against my lips, the sun on my face, the taste of the sugar laden soda slammed me into the past – what seems like a simpler time, a bygone era…

Riding in the back of my uncle’s pick-up, sitting astride crated glass bottles, I felt like the king of the world. – and in a small way, I was just that.

During the summers of my preteen adolescence, in a time before plastic bottles or aluminum cans, soft drinks – or soda as ‘dem Yankees called it – was sold in 12 oz., glass, returnable bottles. Packaged in wooden crates and trucked to various vending machine locations up and down the Grand Strand – these bottles of effervescent liquid could be bought for 20 cents and kept tourists refreshed and coins in the pockets of motel owners. We were the latter. 

My family owned and operated two motels and a half-dozen vending machines. Empty bottles were in abundance throughout the strand and the empty crates racked next to the machines would fill rapidly with not only the bottles from coke brands that we sold, but other brands, as well. It was one of my jobs, as a lad of 11 or so, to sort through the crates of empties and separate the non-coke brand bottles from the rest. That meant things like RC Cola, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Fresca, Mt Dew and 7-Up (to mention a few) needed to be gathered together and crated. The goal, which made me an eager and willing worker, was to transport these to the local market, Chapin Company, and claim the reward of about 2 cents per bottle.

Sorting these bottles into crates and loading them into the back of my Uncle’s 1969 Chevy El-Camino was the work. The fun began when I climbed into the back, found my seat on top of the crates and rode happily, summer’s hot breeze blowing my face, through Ocean Boulevard traffic into town. My uncle always split the money from the returns with me and bought me a Coke and pack of Lance’s salted peanuts for the ride home, peanuts that were always poured into the neck of the bottle and consumed with the coke.

So much of that moment in my childhood is gone, lost to progress, safety precautions and the churning wheels of capitalism. Returnable glass bottles gave way to aluminum cans and then to plastic bottles. 12 oz. drinks that were once a treat for us, have been replaced by our daily consumption of bottomless Big-Gulps and 2 Liter bottles. Traffic laws now prevent the transport of people (much less children) in open pick-up beds and 15 cents won’t buy you water.

Still, the memory I cherish is more about the life I had – sun and fun, a supportive family, the experience of moving and being in the world, and working hard for a reward - than it is about prices or regulations. My nostalgia for the past doesn't cause me to long for a return to it, but begs the question…Where do my kids and grand-kids find these grounding, memory making moments in their lives? Ahhh…that’s refreshing.

NOTE: If you want to read more about the bottle industry history and learn why we occasionally found cigarette butts in the bottom of those recycled bottles (yes. gross), read a comprehensive history of the bottling industry here.


Best #WordPlay I've Seen in LONG While

24 Brilliant New Words That Must Be Added To A Dictionary.... courtesy of the folks at demilked. 

The Anonymous People - A Movie That Is Changing Our World

For too long now stigmas, misunderstandings and overall social environment have kept one fact secret. Over 23 million Americans are living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.. Why do we hide?

...over 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
— The Anonymous People

I ask you to take about 2 hours of your life and watch the movie, The Anonymous People. It's available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and iTunes. If you're in the Triad of North Carolina, you can join a group of us as we watch and chat together. Attendees will be supporters of recovery as well as people in recovery. 

Details in this photo.

Consider You Awesome

Stop with me, just a moment. We are awesome and amazing creatures living in an infinitely wonder filled world and we need to remember it. Observe that our lives are unbelievably amazing. Consider for now that the finite details of each muscle, skin cell, bone. Nerve and sinew working together to open and close our hand contains an amazing microcosm of miracles packed one upon another. The waves of environmental chemistry and pulsating, sporadic and rhythmical fluctuations of thermal connections of this typical, coming and going of sun, moon, tides and seasons world mark our time. Yet, if we stop and consider it all – even just the part that we call natural – how wondrous and amazing is our life?

Consider it for a moment…with me…deal?

Writing Epitaphs

At the end of the fight
Is a tomb stone white
With the name of the late deceased
And an epitaph drear
A fool lies here
Who tried to hustle the east.
— Rudyard Kipling


Do you ever give thought to the epitaph you want on your tomb stone? Or, do you ever wonder what your surviving relatives (always thought that was a strange connotation. Like they survived your dying?) would inscribe about you?

Apparently the possibilities are wide open. 

Here lies the body
of Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.
Memory of an accident in a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery 

Here lays Butch,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.
In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery 

I was somebody.
Who, is no business
Of yours.
Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont

And my favorite,

"I told you I was sick!"
In a Georgia cemetery

On a more serious note, I think I know what mine may turn out to be, if I live that long. 

My wife and granddaughter (then 5 years old) talk about me a good bit. In a loving effort to help our granddaughter understand the people in her world, her grandmother will often explain other people’s behavior. I’m no exception. One evening, in anticipation of the coming morning – my granddaughter asked, “Will granddaddy Kim be here in the morning?” My wife explained, “No. He’ll leave early for work, before you are awake. He goes to work every day to make money so we can have food, a house and other nice things.”

That next morning early, I walked into the bedroom after my shower, to find them both snuggled into our bed, resting in the darkness. I dressed for work quietly, in the dark, and heard them talking.

Granddaughter: There’s granddaddy Kim… in the dark.
Grandmother: Yes. He knew we would be resting and didn't want to bother us. He’s thoughtful like that. He’ll go down and feed the dogs and let them out, too. So they can run up and join us for a snuggle. Isn’t it nice of him to do that for us?

So, as I’m thinking about how my life is impacting others, I’m hearing my wife tell my grandchild that I am a thoughtful, considerate provider. I've worked hard to be a lot of things: an excellent salesperson, a reliable employee, successful in business, an able public speaker.... But here I am, looking from the point of view of my family and I find that I am seen in a different light.

Provider. Considerate. Thoughtful. 

Honestly, that is an epitaph, be it written on the stone above my grave or on the folds of the hearts of those who remember me, that suits me just fine.


Speaking of Snow...US Postal Service Motto...or not?!

What is the United States Postal Service motto? You might be surprised...

Are you thinking something to do with rain, snow, sleet...?

Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. Postal Service has no "official motto."

The familiar sentence you are thinking of is this:

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

This is commonly misidentified as the creed of our mail carriers, but actually it is just the inscription found on the General Post Office in New York City at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street.

Here's how the official Web site of the U.S. Postal Service describes the origin of the inscription.

This inscription was supplied by William Mitchell Kendall of the firm of McKim, Mead & White, the architects who designed the New York General Post Office. Kendall said the sentence appears in the works of Herodotus and describes the expedition of the Greeks against the Persians under Cyrus, about 500 B.C. The Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers, and the sentence describes the fidelity with which their work was done. Professor George H. Palmer of Harvard University supplied the translation, which he considered the most poetical of about seven translations from the Greek.

New Website format...blog

I'm playing around with SquareSpace design options... please pardon the temporary mess.


Oh...and considering a change in the name...


You know that morning sky, when the rising sun twists and swirls buoyant colors of orange and yellow with grey and blue? When the sight of it stops you and snatches your breath away, And in that moment you are reminded of beauty, real wonder that is this life and you stand there in that moment, that transient gift, knowing, aching and longing for more...as the colors turn to light and the day settles into normal? It is then that we are refreshed, reminded that this life, this breath, this loving is worth enduring years of normal for the gift of such a moment. Because such beauty cannot be erased from the lens of our minds or the canvas of our hearts. Beauty cannot be forgotten or abandoned. That's today.

Good morning.

Thankful Attitude

The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.
— Williams James

We all know that our attitude toward just about anything can create joy and peace in our living. We also know that we often don't do the work of crafting a better attitude. This is particularly common our holiday activities. Here are three reasons we might fail to develop a grateful attitude and what we can do about it.

1. I'm  just too tired. The thought of reciting a a clever mantra or making a list of "things I'm thankful for" seems like too much work. Solution - get some rest. Sometimes I need to make time for sleep, quiet moments and space for...doing nothing. I need to try excusing myself from all the hustle and bustle long enough to walk down the sidewalk or breathe in the crisp fall air. Watching  a leaf fall and pondering for 60 seconds what analogy it might provide for my life is a wonderful thing.

2. I suffer from a moment of "it won't work for me." I get it. It is easy for me to offer pastoral advice or elderly counsel to others. I can believe in their progress through attitude adjustment, BUT when I'm dealing with my emotions,  my disappointments...well...that's different. I'm different. When we are in the midst of the emotional storm of guilt, shame or regret it is hard to see beyond the mess. Time to "phone a friend!" I have a hand of trusted, caring, honest friends and they are just the fix for my self-centered, myopic, 'poor me' attitude. A quick call to one of them will often walk me right out of the mess and into enough belief that I'll do those attitude changing things that I need to do.

3. I get out of the habit. Attitude management is really more about my daily self-care and personal development habits. I know that daily prayer, consistently reading positive and spiritual  words, times of playfulness, laughter and being in nature all help my attitude and perspective.  Yet, as much as I am a creature of habit, I will also break my routine here and there and soon I'm out of sorts.  At those times, I do well to remember what makes for a better attitude and make sure I'm mixing, routinely, a good measure of that activity into my day...week...month...now.

This is a season of thanksgiving, gratitude and joy. I can get off track. Here's my reminder to get my attitude back into shape.

Happy Thanksgiving!