It’s Valentine’s Day. Most people will spend the day talking or thinking about who they love. I thought I’d spend some time on what. Here are a few:

Baseball. Any baseball. I will happily take a seat in the bleachers and watch kids I don’t even know play t-ball.

A hammock outside. Watching the sun dance on the leaves above you when the breeze blows is better than any kaleidoscope.

Any movie I will watch to the end no matter where I join it.

Twinkling Christmas lights casting shadows and colors through the branches onto the ceiling. I’m instantly 8.

Woodsmoke. I can tell what the daily special is at the restaurant up the street by the wood they choose. I stand in the backyard and sniff the breeze like Wolverine.

Hearing the band practicing off in the distance at the high school.

Restaurants with closely held long-time family recipes.

Someone cooking breakfast while we’re out walking the dogs.


When friends do well.

Horror movies. No, I mean like the old Frankenstein and stuff. But not haunted houses. I’ve built them, produced them, and know how they work – but I will punch you if you jump at me.

That feeling when you meet someone famous and they turn out to be even nicer in person than you’d imagined they would be.

When the smell of State Fair corny dogs first hits me.

The people my children are. And don’t tell me I’m a “good dad”. This is nothing but grace.


The bright, shining moment – especially when it’s someone no one expected to be there standing in the winner’s circle.

Outcasts. Insiders make me uncomfortable. Those who think they are flat out irritate me.

The guys I grew up with.

Just about everywhere I’ve been. Never found anyplace I couldn’t live or find something to like.

My teachers.

Hitting someone so hard on the football field that it made them want to quit the sport. Of course, if we knew then what we know now…but that feeling is still there. Crazy, right?

Deep sea fishing. The rush is that something might catch you.

The individuals my career has allowed be to meet, and especially those who aren’t celebrities or well-known.

The things that Fiona does that would drive me absolutely crazy if anyone else did them. With her I just stand there, goofy and helpless as a kitten.

My truck. It’s beat up. It has 100,000 miles on it. It has a tear in the seat. There’s probably something nasty in the bed, right now. But we’ve been through a lot together, and it’s paid for.

Seventh, eighth, and ninth chances.

Any song about the Texas Hill Country.

People who give back.

Scotland. When God needs to take a nap, that’s where he rests his head.

Those who know we can do better and refuse to settle – no matter how expedient, convenient or personally profitable it might be.

Rodeo announcing. If you asked me which job I had was the most pure fun, that was it.

Creating the house that the neighborhood kids can’t wait to see from Halloween through the Holidays.

Pugs. All dogs, really…but you know what I mean.

Those who understand that the greatest value of athletics is in teaching life. If sport doesn’t do that, then it serves no other useful purpose.

The wilderness.

The sound of water sprinklers in the summer.

Snow and ice. I know it’s different if you grew up annually buried by it, but I’m a Texan. I didn’t. Let’s go over to the college parking lot and do donuts!

Skunk. You may think stink, but to me skunk meant we were in the country – probably headed to see my grandparents. I also think of being on Willie’s bus, but that’s separate.

The perfect edit.

My Harper’s Study Bible from college. I told my daughter that if she ever wants to know what Dad really thought, read the notes in the margins.

Yardwork. Pushing a mower is a great time to think, and it’s good therapy for a perfectionist. Even the sharpest blade won’t get ’em all.

The Taco Bell on the beach right off the PCH in Pacifica.


Old couples who still court each other.

A Fatburger on Sunset, a Rueben in New York, and scones in London.

Good advice.

History. Knowing where we’ve been can tell us where we’re going, even when we’d rather not know. In fact, especially.

People who tell me they liked something I did without knowing I did it (or needing to).

The look only rescues will give you.