Protests


Today I went to my favorite park in Denver (one of 250 to be exact) and that would be Washington (aka Wash Park). I hooked up with a friend for an iced tea and a catch-up visit. On my way back to my home I decided to drive my nostalgic way, which is up Lincoln St. to Speer Blvd. then to I-25. When I pulled on Lincoln St. I realized I was in the middle of a mass of cars with orange and yellow flags with a single star. At first I thought it was a country celebrating a soccer victory as we had just hosted an international tournament. Upon close examination I saw signs that STOP the Tigray Genocide, Free Tigray. I was surrounded by a couple hundred cars working their way up Lincoln St.
I thought for a moment about getting off of Lincoln but as I was in no hurry, I thought I would flow ever so slowly up Lincoln with them. What usually takes about 5 minutes took 35 minutes. I had time sitting at a stand-still to Google up Tigray and I got a pretty good explanation from a number of sources as to what is happening there. Denver is home to a large number of Ethiopian refugees and now second and even third generation citizens.
I watched a very orderly and focused attempt to bring awareness to their cause. I won’t try to explain what I know but it is another situation where the group that is in power is threatened, and is, in this case using starvation as a weapon. The protestors were headed to the State Capitol for a rally. In the last year we have witnessed protests in a variety of places and around multiple issues.
The first protest that I participated in was when George Wallace was running for President in 1968. He came to Enid, Oklahoma where about 400 Phillips University students got a front row placement at the Garfield County Courthouse. We had been coached to wear coats and ties and be very respectful. I remember how we surrounded the few black students who were with us, so there ycould be protected from the those who saw even their presence as a threat.
Wallace was keenly aware that we were right there. He had his canned comments about “long haired lazy hippies” and other choice words. The great part was that there was national news media there who wrote, “We saw no one fitting Governor Wallace’s call downs. The students were

orderly and respectful. The black students, often on the shoulders of their fellow students, spoke volumes”.
This time last year our country was embroiled in the reaction to the murder of George Floyd. Mary Kay and I were part of a peaceful protest at the State Capitol. However, we also saw senseless riots, looting and anarchists who used his death as an excuse for senseless destruction.
On January 6th we witnessed an insurrection fomented by the BIG LIE that the election had been stolen from Donald Trump. It was a riotous insurrection and an attack on our democracy. We continue to hear excuses, denials, lies, and rationalizations. The facts of history over time will bear this out.
Today I saw hundreds of people of African descent flying not just the flag of Tigray, also the American flag of their new homeland.
I was proud to be among them on their journey downtown.
Onward and Upward, Mark

Coming Home—May 24, 1981

For whatever reason, I am able to distinctly remember certain dates over the past almost 72 years. This last Monday I marked a 40 year milestone in my life. It was a Sunday that I jumped in my Toyota Tercel and pulled out of Enid, Oklahoma on that day in 1981. I had resigned my position as the Chaplain of Enid State School, resigned from my adjunct professor role in the seminary, and waited my last table at the Pepper Mill Steak House. I was broken and defeated. My marriage had ended, my brother had been killed, and I decided to move back to Pueblo—to start over.
My clearest memory of that day took place in eastern New Mexico. I looked down on my car seat at a half smoked pack of Merit cigarettes and thought, “Today would be a good day to quit smoking”. I threw the pack out the window by Capulin Mountain. I was done with one self destructive habit (there more to come). I remember moving back into my old bedroom in my parent’s home. The room was just as my brother Don had left it when he died two years prior. That day I entered into the depths of postponed grief as I sat there on my bed, asking myself how it had come to this.
I went back to work for my dad and my uncle at Cleaver Carpet Center. It was very hard work. However, I was the helper for a pretty special guy named Lee. He was an amazing carpet layer but more than that, he was brilliant. He was a falconer. That summer I learned a lot about these birds that had intrigued me since I was a boy.
Later that summer Charles Whitmer who was the pastor for the last 24 years, of the church I had grown up in, asked me to come to see him. He asked me to go to back into active ministry at Central Christian. The church was in disarray as their associate had run off with a church member, and the very large congregation was in crisis. I said, “Charles I don’t even believe in God right now”. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “That doesn’t matter, I have known you Mark, since you were 9. I know your heart and I know you belong in ministry. I need you.” That day I began to do something I said I would never do—work in a local church.
Slowly but surely I began to heal. I could have never done it without the support of my parents and Central Christian Church. My faith moved from my head to my heart that year. By January of 1982, I had given up on the

family carpet business to learn about how to be a pastor from the best model ever.
Over the next 40 years I was fortunate to serve in five great churches— Alamosa—Monte Vista—South Broadway—Cheyenne and Greeley. I did not run away from home, rather I crawled back home. In those 40 years I have gone from being a brash 30 something, to a slightly more grounded 70 something. I have collected a new family, a small pile of grandkids, and more amazing experiences and relationships than I ever imagined.
Today I am grateful that I had a home to come back to. Onward and Upward,
Mark

Sitting by the Water

For as long ago as I can remember, one of my favorite experiences is to sit by a body of water and let my mind and heart listen. This past week I was given the chance to do it twice. First on my road trip to California, to celebrate granddaughter Sofia’s second birthday, I sat by the Pacific Ocean. Today, just 16 miles from my home, I went to Eldorado Canon and spent 30 minutes next to a rushing-with-spring-runoff creek.
Our companion on the road trip to California was our grandson Makaio, who said he had a great time with two people 50 years older than him. On our drive back home Miko came with me while MK stayed in California to grandma it up for a month. As I have said before-I love road trips for many reasons, but at the top of the list are the hours long conversations. I asked him somewhere near Arizona’s Painted Desert “What was your favorite part of the trip”? He thought for a bit and then said, “Sitting by the ocean”. Mind you, he had four days in Vegas, his own hotel room and my BMW in California. I told him “I totally get it”.
I then told him about the first time I went to the ocean. I was nine years old, it was on the Oregon coast. The power of the water to calm, stir the imagination, and reveal treasures is something that still grabs me. Where our California family lives, overlooks the ocean. Out their kitchen window you can see Catalina Island. This time of year every evening you can watch the sun settle into the west horizon from their. Miko said, “I could sit there for hours. Last night I went by myself and just sat there until dark”. We talked of places where the water provides solace. He lives right next to the Rio Grand river in New Mexico. “I have my own water sanctuary”.
Today as I sat by a rushing mountain stream where the sound is always the same, my too busy mind calmed down and just listened. Yesterday a friend asked me if I like to fish. I told the story of how on Memorial Day 1953, when I was four, my dad sat me down by Crockett Creek with my own fishing pole. He taught me how to put a worm on the hook. In no time at all I had an 8 inch Brook Trout. He left me on my own, and when he returned I had four more. Somewhere in our family archives I have the 8mm movie to prove it. I can still go to that very spot in my mind. A deep pool of stream water with clear water pouring over the boulders.

We have had a very wet spring—green is everywhere. The water of life has blessed us again. I take great comfort in knowing that the water I saw in the ocean this past week was once stream water pouring down a creek, into a river, then to the ocean and then back again.
Nature reassured me today. Onward and Upward,
Mark

Trying Out for the Darwin Award


“The Darwin Awards are a tongue-in-cheek honor originating in Usenet
newsgroup discussions around 1985. They recognize individuals who have
supposedly contributed to human evolution by selecting themselves out of
the gene pool by dying or becoming sterilized via their own actions”.
If you have not followed these yearly awards you might Google them up
and have a look into the depths of human actions at the intersection where
tragedy and humor meet. I am known in my family as a potential candidate
for such actions as: slipping on my own banana peel while stepping off a
curb, and landing in front of an oncoming bus.
Here’s the story—We had a small dining room set that we bought 10 years
ago. When we moved in 2017 to the far out burbs of Arvada, Mary Kay
decided to put a “glass mosaic” top on the table and move it to our patio.
Each year I would help her cover her prize with a canvas tarp to survive the
winter. This year when she pulled off the tarp, and I am not kidding you, it
was infested with mushrooms and was falling apart. Her solution was to
remove the table top from the iron legs and replace the top. I was game,
as I know once she sets her sights on a project I might as well join in.
So far the plan was working. Her brother Dan in Pueblo, got the
measurements and pictures and assured us he could build an all weather
metal top. Now, all we had to do was to figure out what we were going to
do with the mushroom Petri dish that weighed easily, 100 pounds. She
called the We Love Junk people and they wanted a fortune to take it. I
said, “No Way”. She called Waste Management and they said if it was in
pieces the would take it in our standard dumpster.
Mary Kay had cooked up a plan to bash it with a sledge hammer. Mind
you, its top was glass in heavy grout. Well, her plan was set in motion.
She had big plastic tarps that were there to catch flying glass as we beat
the hell out of the table. Something about this plan made me very uneasy.
My parents gave my brothers erector sets at Christmas, I got a basketball
as building or fixing things was not my forte. I was standing on the patio
when my 11th grade physics class kicked in. We have these lovely large

river rocks that grace our landscaping, which came with the house. I
thought “If you put one big flat rock on the patio, and the table on the rock,
I, with the help of a chair, stood on one end and Mary Kay got on the
elevated side, we could use gravity and leverage to break the table in half.
I sold MK my plan. When she stepped on the elevated end I fully expected to be launched somewhere. “Crack—perfection— it broke perfectly in half.
Then, those halves were quartered. Success!!!
I might have gotten a circle D-Minus in wood shop but today I
disassembled the ugliest, heaviest, nastiest useless table with my brain.
Sorry Darwin Awards, not this time. Onward and Upward,
Mark

Road Trip!!!


“On the road again,
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is making music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again And I cant wait to get on the road again…
Thirteen months after house arrest in Covid world, I ventured out on a two week road trip to Texas. MK and I had our grandson Matias in the back seat, and we took a 789 mile drive to return him home after a Spring Break in Colorado. If given the choice, I would always rather drive than fly. I stopped counting my trips between Colorado and Oklahoma after I hit 120. In my 11 years in the San Luis Valley I did over 400 trips over La Veta Pass on highway #160. Yes, I love to drive. When you go some place in a car you get to be in a world that slows down. Some of the best conversations I have ever had were on road trips.
In 1991 we took our family and my sister Rita and her son, on a 8800 mile round trip to Alaska. My son Mateo who at the time was 14, and coined the daily quoted phrase “Why Alaska”, said a while back it was one of the greatest experiences of his growing up.
Okay, now I am going to give some props to Texas. As a native Coloradan you soon learn that Texans are a huge irritant. They invade your state in the summer and brag about Texas, and then during the winter holidays they show up in mass at your favorite ski resorts. My daughter Amy said during her young adult years, that she would never marry a blonde, blue eyed, single child from Texas. Christian Piatt fits all four categories. He is aces. Texas in April is what New England must be like in Autumn. The wild flowers are beyond description. Every color known to creation grace the roadways, fields and meadows.
Granbury, Texas where the Piatts live, is bucolic, beautiful, interesting, historic and fun. Every day on the road was a true vacation. We heard

great music, and Granbury has the best vegan Mexican restaurant I could imagine. I went to a Dallas Mavericks game with Christian and friends and had a blast. Last Saturday we went to Waxahachie to the “Scarborough Fair”, a giant festival where many come in Medieval gear. I had no idea there are that many nerds in Texas. I completely humiliated myself at the axe throw where on my first heave I hit the ceiling beam. “Sir, please slow down”.
Next month it’s Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona and New Mexico!!! In California we will celebrate granddaughter Sofia’s second birthday.
My travels in the future mostly will be road trips in the USA. Every state has wonderful things to see and do. “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land”
Onward and Upward, Mark

“Tailgating, Turn Signals and Driving Slow in the Passing Lane”

“TAILGATING, Turn Signals and Driving Slow in the Passing Lane”
I learned to drive 55 years ago. I have never had an accident that was my fault, and I finally got a speeding ticket after 23 years of “never getting caught”. I had a Five Star rating with nearly 6,000 Lyft rides. I used to say that Colorado drivers were great drivers and not like the aggressive maniacs I had encountered driving in LA or Texas. That is no longer the case. I am not sure whether it is the influx of “foreigners to Colorado” or “too many rats in the maze”, but we no longer have any claim to being superior courteous drivers.
I began to notice during my Lyft career that driving began to feel more like one of those arcade video games where you careen through the streets of a city trying to survive. I now drive three days a week— a 122 mile round trip to Greeley where I get to play “Frogger” on I-25. If I want to take my spiritual temperature all I have to do is listen to my self talk as I am commuting on toll roads, interstates, and county roads. I will start with my biggest issue:

1–TAILGATING— The #1 offender of folk who roar up behind you when you are already going over the speed limit are over sized pick-up trucks. They come within four feet of my rear at 80 miles an hour. They put on their brights and basically say “Get out of my way I am an important white guy”. I am just a geezer with Pioneer Plates. I know this is a stereotype, but one I will stand by. The other tailgaters are often driving those road racing cars with overly loud exhausts. I admit I love to ‘pin them in’ and pace myself with the car on my right where they have to wait until I decide to let them by. Yes, it is ‘passive aggressive’ and I enjoy it.

2–TURN-SIGNALS—They are an amazing invention. They are to be used when changing lanes, making a turn or entering or exiting the road. I am amazed that some folk never learned to use them. They draw a bit of my WRATH and ire when they think I can read their mind. It’s impossible to read the mind of someone who has no brains.

3–DRIVING SLOW IN THE PASSING LANE— By this I don’t mean going the speed limit or a bit over. I mean driving in the left lane at 60 when the speed limit is 75. They act oblivious if you pass them on the right, which if MK is with me, will draw her ire at me.

So I am trying my best to “stay in my own lane” and not let these other drivers mess with me. I have taken a pledge—when the tail-gaiters race up behind me— move gently over and pray for them. The other folks are just “mindless Kadooblers” .
Onward and Upward, Mark

Spring

It is probably no surprise to any of you who have blessed me by reading these snippets that I am a “Fall (Autumn) guy”. Perhaps that is because Spring in Colorado is a mix of glorious warmth mixed in with blizzards, wind, and hard freezes that kill peaches, flowers, and create a certain angst. Today, Spring came in the middle of the night, a day early in my world. Well, for a first day of Spring it did not disappoint. Yes, tomorrow we are expecting 4-6 inches of snow. There is still a rather huge drift in my front yard that I expect will be gone by Easter.
I lived two different times in Oklahoma for a total of 11 years. I can honestly say when it comes to Spring, Oklahoma has it all over Colorado. By now the Winter Wheat whose green stubble had graced miles of landscapes, is kicking into high gear. By April Fools Day you have Iris in bloom. The weather which can get exciting, consists of marvelous thunder storms and yes, an occasional category five tornado. In my years at Phillips University where baseball was king, it meant we got to watch amazing games. Often, a few hundred folk would fill the bleachers and wait for the crack of the bat. It was a time to start working on your tan and the outdoor swimming pool was a daily joy. Flowers and green were abundant and life really did get kick started by the Spring Equinox.
Last Spring I remember going into Covid Cave—I think I suffer a bit from PCSD—(Post Covid Stress Disorder). The entire Spring was spent trying to sort through the lies and disinformation propagated by politicians and folks who created internet buzz like “The Plandemic”— the worst pack of lies since the Houston Astros stole the World Series. All this is to say last Spring was a bust—this Spring I am full on going to enjoy every moment, snow storms and all.
I don’t know that I ever made the connection with the word Spring: like bound, bounce, jump, boing-boing, wheeeee and lets go!!!
I will soon head out to Texas to see Amy and family the day after Easter. Texas, like Oklahoma, knows how to do Spring—Blue Bells, Cardinals and allergies. After that I am home for three weeks where we will get all sorts of flower pots, plant our tomatoes in the planter and enjoy the outdoors. Then, we head out on road trip #2 to granddaughter Sofia’s second birthday. Since LA seems to live in Constant Spring I am not sure what to

expect, as I have only been there mostly in Summer and Christmas. The recent rains I know bring out the Poppies—I am ready!!!
Onward and Upward, Mark

Vaccinated


In three days I will have been on the Covid 19 patrol for one year. Today I am 14 days beyond my second shot, and according to great science I am less than 1% vulnerable to any severe consequences.
For 10 years I have been giving the introductory lecture to two sections of the Comparative Religions class at Denver East High. My topic is “What is Religion and how do I understand my faith”. Invariably, I am asked about the conflict between science and religion. My answer is— “I have no conflict with great science and honest theology/faith”. I would often say, “Good science is great evidence that we are created in the image of God. There is no greater evidence of God’s participation in creation than evolution”.
I first want to be clear about my thoughts about this pandemic—as of today there have been 524,164 deaths (probably grossly undercounted) as a result of Covid 19. A large majority of these deaths were avoidable because we were lead by the worst President in American history. He was helped by the sycophant Republicans that turned this plague into a political circus. They all are 100% responsible for lies about the virus, fake cures, denial, anti science/medicine and the outright politicization of the pandemic. History will reveal that the lies, blame, denial, and conspiracies cost countless lives.
Now, I want to give thanks for those in science and medicine who have dedicated their lives so that I, and many like me, can most likely dodge the horrific possibilities of contracting Covid. I have tried very hard to follow the science on this issue. For months it seems I lived at home, always wearing a mask in public and events while sanitizing my hands after filling up with gas. I have lost two friends to Covid and know many others who have battled hard or coasted with this most unpredictable
microbe 🦠 .
I was eight when we went through the Polio epidemic. I remember standing in line at my grade school twice to be vaccinated, the second time with a pink sugar cube. Polio went away. I have NO respect for those anti-vaccine folk who push conspiracies for whatever purpose, I

don’t know. There are truly people who believe that Bill Gates has inserted micro chips into the vaccine—the earth is flat—the moon is made of green cheese.
Yes, I am venting a bit, here is why: the truth matters, good science is our friend, and nerds rule!!! I have tried to stay very informed around this virus for multiple reasons. The one thing that stayed on my bucket list this year was “Don’t kick the bucket”—otherwise all my hopes and dreams leave when the ventilator is turned off. Number two is I have this amazing congregation in Greeley who has thrived through all of this and we hope to come back stronger than ever. Lastly, I love my family and friends and I hope to continue to share life with you.
I am NOT a Democrat but the Republican Party has sold out to fear, lies, denial, money, conspiracy, power, fantasy, and you can add what you like. I will wear a mask until the scientist and doctors agree it is safe. I can’t say thank you enough to all those in the health care field who have laid their lives and careers on the line, that I might go to King Soopers and get vaccinated and then go on my way into a world I still love and have hope for.
Onward and Upward, Mark

The Mask Monitor

I confess I have taken it upon myself to remind, ask, challenge, confront, and even harass folks who ignore the responsibility of wearing masks for all of our benefit during this Covid pandemic. Early, on this nearly year— long journey, there were honest debates and opinions about the efficacy of mask wearing for Covid mitigation. The facts are in—masks work at slowing and even stopping the spread of the virus. I go with science every time and the science is clear—wear a mask—always in any social or public situation.
About a month ago I went to MK’s credit union to make a deposit for her. The signs and directions were very clear—line up outside 6 ft. apart, wear a mask and wait for the security guard to check you inside. About 8 ft. in front of me was a 30–something man not wearing a mask. I asked, “I would appreciate it if you would put a mask on”. He shot back “Health reasons”. I came back, “Oh, mental health reasons— you think you are special”. He started elevating the repartee and the guy right behind me said to him “This man is right, show some respect”. About that time I could tell this guy, maybe 10 years younger than me, was ready for a boxing match. I said, “Just ignore him, it’s not worth it”. The security guard was about ready to call in reinforcements. When non—mask guy went inside I said to the security guard, “You really aren’t doing your job”. He actually said, “You are right sir, I should have asked him to leave”. When the non mask guy came out we were still standing in line. He went and got into a huge pickup with loser bumper stickers on the tailgate which revealed why he thought he was special. I love feeling vindicated.
Now to this week. I go swimming five days a week at a huge recreation center. They have been very careful to establish Covid protocols that seem to really work. “Wear masks at all times when you are out of the water” signs are everywhere. You have to line up six feet apart in the locker room while waiting for the next session to open. I love being first in line as it lets me get my favorite lap swim lane. It means I have to wait about 10 minutes as people line up behind me.
This father of two showed up and yes, he was not wearing his mask. I said, “Sir please put on your mask”. He asked “Are you staff”? I said, “No I am a human being who can read”—then I pointed to the sign right in front of us. He fumbled around looking for his mask and put it on.

I stood there staring out the door window knowing we had an eight minute wait. The little voice in me said, “Mark, lighten up”. I turned around and said, “I am sorry I was a jerk, you did not deserve that”. “It’s ok I really get it. My mom is in health care and I had Covid last March”. We began to talk. “My uncle is on a ventilator as we speak”. I again said, “You did not deserve the way I talked to you”. Again, he said, “Really I get it. I have donated 12 units of blood for my antibodies”. Now I know he is not only not a jerk, he is a hero. We continued the conversation behind our masks. “This is the first time I have been able to take my kids swimming, are you going to swim laps”? “Yep, and today I am going to give thanks that we took time to listen to each other”.
I have decided to give up my job as the Mask Monitor. Onward and Upward,
Mark

Blizzards, Ice Storms and Interruptions

Blizzards, Ice Storms and Interruptions

The following is a list of frozen water events that I have experienced since 1958.   I’ll briefly describe each one, as I have been experiencing the recent Texas winter events through the lenses of my daughter Amy and family, who live in the middle of the recent Texas winter storms.

Pueblo Blizzard of 1958 April 1 & 2—19” of record setting snow:

In 1958 I was in the 3rd grade that Spring.  I remember very distinctly going to bed in what was a complete white-out.  It was exciting.  The next morning I awoke to my parents telling me that our electricity was out, and that school had been canceled.  The snow kept coming all day.  We had two fireplaces which my folks stoked up and we set up camp in the living room.  The following day there was snow up to the top of our fence and the sun was shining. Game on—for sledding, snow men, and a free for all with a plethora of kids that inhabited Belmont.  My friend Wayne’s genius brother Tom, even built a real igloo.  That blizzard was a memory maker!!!

Labor Day Weekend Snow of 1966 —11” of snow on Sept. 5 & 6:

We only had one more snow day for my entire growing up life.  It dumped on Labor Day weekend 1966—yes, the first week of September.  The only reason we did not have school was that all the broken tree limbs caused a massive power outage.  The snow was too slushy for sledding but great for snowball fights.

The February Oklahoma Blizzard of 1971– 23” of snow in 24 hours:

The massive Oklahoma blizzard took place when I worked as an ambulance driver along with seven other college guys.  I happened to be working when that big snow hit.  24” of Oklahoma slush is the equivalent of about 40” of Colorado powder.  I spent the entire week working at the ambulance service.  Sliding into a snow bank, we buried an ambulance up to its roof out in the country.  I delivered a baby all by myself, we pulled together with everyone to care for a paralyzed community.  It was noble and fun work—which a 22 year old loved and thrived in.

The Colorado Blizzard of Christmas 1983:

In 1983 I put Matt and Amy on a plane to go back to spend Christmas with their mom in Texas.  It started snowing…and did not stop.  I had just started dating this lady named Mary Kay.  We spent the next two weeks playing Fox and Geese, baking things, and getting to know each other. Thanks snow!!!

The Greenbay Packers/ Bronco Blizzard of October 1984:

I got my Bronco season tickets in 1984.  My brother in law Joe, and I drove my little Toyota Tercel up to Mile High.  The weather forecast was for 2-3 inches maybe.  By the 4th quarter it had snowed 18”.  Somehow we got on I-25 before they closed it.  Four hours later we buried the car in a snow bank on the north end of Colorado Springs.  We walked to a hotel and called home to tell them we were alive (before cell phones).  The next morning Chanel 5 drove by as we were digging my car out.  We got home to Pueblo just in time to see ourselves on the 5 o’clock news.  The Broncos did beat the Packers. 

The Colorado Blizzard of 1997 2-3” expected, 19” actually:

In October of 1997 I did my first big wedding at the historic South Broadway Christian Church.  I normally save all the music in totality for just the wedding and only give snippets at the rehearsal.  This night we did the whole music banana.  We then headed down to Pearl Street for a nice dinner.  We noticed it started snowing but there was nothing in the forecast.  So much for those prognosticators—19” and no wedding at the church.  We did it all at the Brown Palace, where they were staying.  They thanked me for the rehearsal that gave them the whole picture.  

The Denver Winter of 2006–worst since 1913:

In December of 2006, a front page story appeared in the Denver Post— “CSU climatologist says ‘Expect a dry winter’.”  A few days later we got a blizzard every 3-5 days for two months.  Cars were packed in ice everywhere and they did not move forever.  That same Denver Post ran a story the following February “This is the worst winter since 1913”, then they showed old photos of a 43” snowfall.  We had well over that, it just took two months to get there.  

What happened this week in Texas has caused untold difficulties and sadness. It has also done what only weather events can do—it brought people together.  That is of course, unless you would rather catch a plane to Cancun.  

Onward and Upward,

Mark