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It’s all about timing!

Timing is everything! I seldom find someone to play Scrabble with. Only one family member will play the game with me. So when our youngest daughter comes from Albuquerque, we pull out the Scrabble Board for a heated game in matching wits. Our wits are pretty close. Our scores are always a point or two from each other. She wins one and I win another.

It is Sunday afternoon we’ve been to church, out to lunch and we are feeling pretty spiritual and we have love in our hearts for all mankind. It’s a great day for Scrabble. The score is 270 to 271, I’m lagging by one. I am holding a Q looking for a U and we each have a couple of tiles left. There is no U in sight.

I’m sweating bullets and Al comes in shooting bullets. “Where are my Hawaiian shirts? Did you give them away? You always give away my good shirts. Where are they?”

I am still holding my 10-point Q without a U and Al won’t go away. I am feeling interference and I say without looking up, “They’re either hanging in the upstairs closet or boxed up for summer.”

I’m thinking, Go away Al. My mind is on the game and I have been railroaded into a conversation which has no validity on this game.

I finally answer, “Why do you need your short sleeve Hawaiian shirts? It’s twenty degrees outside and there’s three feet of snow on the ground.”

Maybe I did give a few of them away, but I surely wasn’t going to enter into that discussion right now. He has 50 of them if he has one. “If they are not hanging, then they are in a box in the upstairs closet.”

“I want my shirt with the Woody on it.” For you who are young, a woody is a station wagon made in the late forties and fifties with wood paneling on the side. They are popular in Hawaii. Were we going to Hawaii any time soon? No plans and I have no intention of making plans at the moment; at least not until I finish this game.

My mind is racing. If I don’t get rid of Al, I’m about to lose my mind and if I don’t get rid of this Q I am going to lose the game.

Finally our daughter intercedes, speaking firmly, “Daddy! Just go look.”

Al shuffles away like a pouting lost puppy. I look at our daughter and we laugh.

I say, “What is that all about? I then cleverly answer myself, “It’s all about timing!”

So, what’s this thing called timing? It is like dancing to the same tune. It’s moving as one; it’s give and take; it’s the ebb and flow; and it’s stopping and yielding to an oncoming vehicle!

I continue to play. I am not giving in. I am on a mission; I am playing that Q which has not left my hand since the Hawaiian shirt discussion began. Between my daughter and I there are no hard-fast rules about using the Scrabble dictionary, I grab for it. Great news! There are seven words listed that doesn’t require a U. I am up and running again. I have a chance of winning.

Meanwhile Al is digging through the boxes in the closet. Now he has moved to the garage, still looking for his shirts. I have a feeling this conversation is not over yet.

I won the game by nine points but I am still hearing about the good Hawaiian shirts that I gave away. Those shirts are somewhere, I just have to think about it.

When you come to an intersection, you either yield or crash. There was no yielding for us. What happened to all the love in our hearts for all mankind? It came down to Scrabble and Hawaiian shirts.

When I read the article to Al, he says, “Why do you make me look so bad, you’re the one who lost my shirts.”

Amazing, some people are not the slightest aware of the busy intersection they just passed. Looking back in the rearview mirror, I shake my head and say, “Whew! That could have been a head-on collision. That was close.”

There are many lessons to learn. First, don’t give away other people’s things. Secondly, show more respect for the one you love than for the Q in the Scrabble box, unless of course it is a close game. Thirdly, you can have all the love in your heart, but if you don’t show it, it’s nothing and fourthly, timing is everything.

The final brushstroke: When you come to an intersection, yield, and proceed with caution, it’s all about timing.

Comments from readers


Dear Betty:

In your article, Broken Role Models, this young man appears to be a real hero. The kind we want our kids to look up to. I pray he stays that way and keeps from falling like a recent golf hero.


Tehachapi, Calif.


On the Broken Role Models, I thought this was a good article considering our culture’s mindset to worship our heroes. If a hero is a Christian, he knows he is just as prone to screw up, Tiger fashion, as anyone else, but he is more willing to acknowledge his failures before God and man than the hero who is self-reliant.


Bayfield, Colo.

Artist’s quote

 “Don’t waste your life in doubts and fears: spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet and essayist.