Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Kenney’

So what does that mean?

I was born in 1975, so I started to become aware of life and my surroundings by the time I was five and by the time the 80’s were done, I was starting high school.  To me, the quintessential 80’s kid.

So what does it mean to be an 80’s kid?

It could mean any of the following.

I remember when MTV first came on the air…and when it became big…and when my family got the new cable box just to try basic cable out…and when mistakenly we got a whole bunch of other channels free for a year.  (and yes, I remember trying to watch that one station through the fuzzy vertical bars) I remember my brother and I getting up early on Saturday morning to watch videos, you know really awful Ronnie Milsap and Rod Stewart videos and Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder doing Ebony and Ivory along with the occasionally awesome Michael Jackson or Iron Maiden video.

I remember MASH and Dallas and Bosom Buddies and Three’s Company in Prime Time.  I remember Howard Cosell and Don Meredith on Monday Night Football and even at an early age quite aware that some of these guys must be a little drunk.  I remember After School Specials and Nancy Reagan and Don’t Do Drugs and really scary guys from Prison coming to our school to Scare Us Straight!

I remember the day Reagan got shot.  I was walking home from Adam Stabell’s house when my dad brought my brother’s home from school in the old wood paneled station wagon and they yelled out of the windows that “Reagan got Shot” and we watched the few seconds of that footage on our thousand pound wood paneled television over and over again the rest of the day.

I remember trying to sneak in watchings of the Benny Hill show on Sunday nights.  Why?  I knew that my mom and dad thought it was innappropriate and that was enough to make it rather curious to me.  An entire show about a British pervert.  With a kooky song.  The 80’s.

I remember when the president would speak and we kids would run around the house screaming our heads off because there would be nothing to watch on TV that night.

And this is exclusively for people from Omaha.  I remember Peony Park the sandy beach swimming pool and the coolest arcade.  I remember thinking that kids who were awesome at pin ball were just about the coolest kids in the world.  I thought Pinball Wizard by the Who was so cool.  I remember my brother’s talking to me about Sprite Night and how someday I would get to go there (but I never did since it shutdown).  And I remember getting the all day ride pass on the day of a Smithereens concert, then me and a buddy finding an opening in the fence, trying to crawl through, only to find that a girl was urinating on the other side.  Frown.

I remember leaving by house on my bike for what appeared to by days on end.  We didn’t have to check in but we did have to be back by dinner time.  I’m not sure what my mom did while I was gone and I didn’t care.  I was a boy with a dirt bike.  I had dimes to spare.  I kept them rolled up in sock and if I was lucky I could get a sweet twist soft serve cone.  And after that, check out the dirt bikes that were too expensive for me to by at the bike shop.  And then go to the hobby store and look at all the miniature war figures and hobby trains. Ahh!  It was a good life.

I remember when every decent tv show was at least 50% car chases.  I remember when Chips was considered a decent tv show.  I remember the one episode when they were up against such a badass gang of motorcycle guys that they had to unveil and use the “SUPER BIKE”!

I remember all those shows about cars that could talk (Knight Rider), motorcycles that could go 300 miles per hour (street hawk), and awesome helicoptors (I’m talking about you Blue Thunder and Street Hawk).

I remember when I used to look at the 3 miserable kids in my suburban middle class 3rd grade class and feel so sorry for them that their parents were divorced.  But they did get to go to some mysterious group called Rainbows where rumor had it they got to eat donuts.  Seemed a small consolation to me.  I was so glad that would never happen to me.  Until four years later it did, and I joined the ever growing group of kids whose parents were getting divorced.

I remember how I knew that my generation had it easy.  We didn’t have a war.  We didn’t grow up in a time of sacrifice.  All we had was some little weekend thing called Grenada and then there was that other thing with Noriega…oh and Iran Contra…but who knew what that was other than a chance for Ollie North to say I have no recollection One million times after consulting with his lawyer.  I guess all us 80’s kids had was the weird looming fear that at some point The Soviet Union and the USA would destroy each other with a gabillion nuclear weapons.  I remember constant comparisons about how much bigger our MX missile was than their whatever thing a ma jig.  I remember being terrified after watching the Day After.  And you know how my parents made me feel better?  They said, don’t worry honey, we live in Omaha.  We won’t have to deal with nuclear winter or our faces melting off.  Because of STrategic Air Command here, we will be one of the very first targets.  And if it makes you feel better honey, we will get into the station wagon and drive down to StratCom just to make certain we are instantly vaporized and we don’t feel a thing.  (Seriously, they really told me this…and you know what, it actually made me feel better).

I remember the Big Gulp.  And how I didn’t think it was possible that any one human being could drink that much soda pop in one sitting.  And then they came up with the Double Gulp.  Crap!!!  You remember, it had the paper sides that folded up and then you punched the straw through the hole.  It was literally a box that held pop.  It was so freaking big that it was a damn box!  (and a side note, most pop at the Gas Station today are Double Gulp size or bigger I think)

I remember the farm crisis, the Savings and Loan disaster, watching the Challenger disaster during school, thinking BMX dirt bike racers were super human, watching Mary Lou score her perfect 10, watching Jim McKay do Wild World of Sports, watching the ridiculous Super Bowl shuffel of the Chicago Bears, having the big U2 verses Bon Jovi debate in junior high.  Shockingly, the girls favored Bon Jovi and the guys U2.

I remember crimping.  Man I wish crimping would come back in style.

There’s alot more, and I guess there are some things I would like to come back…but for the most part, I’ve moved on.  You see, I’m an 80’s kid.  The other thing that makes me an 80’s kid is that I’m perpetually annoyed with the Baby Boomers and the 60’s people.  The ones who always talk about “Dylan” and make a certain voice when they say “Dylan” like if you don’t get “Dylan” you just aren’t smart enough; you don’t get it.

You’re right, I’m not smart enough and I don’t get it.

I prefer the memories of wearing out my brother’s Reo Speedwagon Eight Tracks, that awesome Boston debut album, and all that other stuff like 38 Special, Blue Oyster Cult, Eddie Money, Chicago, and Moody Blues.

I remember skating parties, the highlight of the gradeschool calendar year.  And how hearing the song “Gloria” even to this day transports me back to the skating rinks of the 80’s, those holdovers of 70’s disco culture.

I remember spring loaded, hard plastic, dart guns that could actually hurt people.  And I remember taking toy guns everywhere with us and nobody ever thinking there was anything wrong with that.

I remember Blue Light Specials when they really meant something.

I remember when 1 murder was a very, very big deal and not a regular weekly occurrence.

I remember the 80’s.  Not a perfect decade.  But it was my decade.

I am an 80’s Kid.


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At least not instantly.

But here is some of what Jesus does offer us by way of the Good News.

If you make a firm and fundamental decision to follow Jesus.

If you repent for your sins.

If you are truly sorry for your sins and make a firm commitment to try and not to do those sins again.

Then…Jesus will forgive your sins. All your sins. Right then and there.

Just like that. Just like love.



Just because Jesus saves us. Just because he covers up our own iniquities with his perfect righteousness. Just because he opens up the Gates of Heaven for us. Just because in a sense he makes us, the unloveable, suddenly lovable.

Doesn’t mean that Jesus also makes us Loving. At least not right away.

You see, that takes longer. And we all know it.

We get out of confession and we feel great. The slate has been wiped clean, our sins have been forgiven and sanctifying Grace has been restored in us and we are ready for bigger and brighter things. Then we go out to our car and try to get out of the parking lot when somebody cuts off of. Our initial instinct is to cuss them out and wonder why they are such a moron. But, because we just got out of confession, we have to tame and control our instinct, our habit. We have to overcome it.

You see, we spend a lifetime developing unloving habits, building up our unloving muscles so to speak. Just because Jesus forgives our sins instantly doesn’t mean he makes us super loving creatures instantaneously.

Lets puts it this way.

Lets imagine that getting fat was a sin. And lets say Jesus were to come down one day and forgive you for getting fat.

That would be awesome, except…that you would still be very much…fat. Jesus doesn’t change that part of it. At least not right away.

You see, after we accept Jesus’s forgiveness, his Salvation, his Grace, into our lives, then we have to follow Jesus. And because Jesus loves us first, because he reaches out to us, because he moves with Grace towards us, we are then Moved to love him back. And slowly, steadily, over time we start to develop new muscles, new habits.

Our unlove muscles go away and our love muscles build up.

This is why Catholics believe in purgatory.

Christ’s Salvation ‘gets’ us into Heaven, but it doesn’t make us good lovers, at least not right away. That takes time.

And as we become better lovers, our experience of the Communion that Heaven offers us will grow.

So, we don’t love Jesus in order to merit Salvation. (We can’t merit Salvation). Jesus offers us Salvation because of his own love, his own merits. After we accept Salvation, we are then so moved by our thankfulness and love for Jesus that we dedicate our lives to following him.

And one day, we will become so good at loving, that we will become very much like Christ himself.

We will be Saints and we will be enjoying the fullness of the Communion of Heaven.

So, if you haven’t accepted Christ’s gift of salvation, start with that. If you need to repent of your sins, do that. And if you’ve never really started the quite difficult work of following Jesus, the hard work of becoming a better Lover, get started today…get started Now.

It will be worth it.

Jesus is worth it.

Heaven is worth it.

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The following link takes you to a talk I recently have on the First Creation Story from Genesis Chapter 1.

The First Creation Story – Genesis Chapter 1

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korean-war-memorial_large       This is a story about the Great Gift that my Grandfather gave to my Dad.

The radiogram was short “Dad had a stroke, not expected to Live – Richard”

My dad read it outside his medic tent, a little before sunrise one October day in Korea in the year 1954. The message was from his older brother and within a few minutes my dad  was in front of the Sargeant Major.

“Kenney, go on leave, if you don’t you’ll always regret it.”

My Dad, Corporal John Kenney, was, at the time, a 21 year old Navy Corpman attached to the Marines near the Dimilitarized Zone in South Korea.  He was also the youngest boy of Dr. Bernard Kenney, a man who delivered thousands of babies, got paid in chickens and pies, and raised eight children in Dodge, Nebraska before moving for the big city of Omaha where his children could get a better education.

Corporal Kenney knew that the Sargeant Major was right, but that it would also take a minor miracle to get halfway around the world in time to see his Dad again…but he had to try. The Sargeant Major pulled a Marine Corp Uniform out of the closet, told Kenney to get out of his fatigues, and within a half hour John was in a jeep on his way to Kempo Air Strip just North of Seoul.

At Kempo, Corporal Kenney caught a ride on a Navy Mail Plane to the southernmost tip of Japan.  But his trip began to stall almost before it began when weather grounded air traffic in that part of Japan.  Within a few hours, my dad’s luck changed when a pilot motivated more by his exciting plans in Tokyo than common sense, decided to give it the old college try. He told whomever was listening that his C-47 trasnsport plane was taking off shortly and he had room for anybody who wanted to risk the rough weather.  So John jumped aboard, sat with his back against the outside wall of the plane, and squeezed in between two Navy pilots who showed the young Medic just how green they actually were were by promptly getting sick on the short flight up to Tokyo.

And in spite of the terrible weather, with a jolt and a screech the plane landed, and Kenney was on the ground looking for the next flight headed back to the States.  By the time John had found a flight going to California, an entire day had passed..and he doubted  he would make it home in time.

The thirty three hour flight from Tokyo to San Francisco took two stops to refuel.  The first was in Midway where Corporal Kenney watched in amazement as thousands of huge goonie birds swallowed up the plane as it found an airstrip that appeared to jump out of the deep black water and catch the plane by surprise.  The second stop was at Hickam field in Hawaii, where, as Kenney and others stretched their legs, a large rack of phones was rolled onto the runway.  “Anywhere in the world”, the Red Cross volunteer told them.  “Whatever calls you need to make.”

So John called St. Catherine’s Hospital in Omaha, reached his Dad’s room and spoke with his Mom.  His mom encouraged him to hurry as Dad did not have much time left and just in case, John better say his goodbyes now.  So she put the phone up to his ear, and thousands of miles away, on a moonlit runway in Hawaii, he said what he was sure were his last words to his Father.  John told his Dad the things that a boy needs to tell his father.  The things that are between a father and son.  Things we will never know.

The plane left Hawaii and made the last dash across the Pacific to San Francisco.  Once Stateside, John  had hoped to find a military flight to Omaha.  Or Kansas City.  Or something close.  But he was out of luck so he did the next best thing; he hopped a train.

And so after forty eight hours and two thousand miles of vineyards and mountains and potatoe fields and more mountains and ranch land and sandhills and corn farms,  Corporal John Kenney had finished the last stage of an unexpected journey that had taken him from a medic tent on the 38th parallel in Korea to his parent’s home at 38th Ave in Omaha, Nebraska.  And as he pulled his duffel out of the cab parked by the curb,John saw his older brothers Pat and Emmet rushing out of the house.

“Dad is slipping away, we need to hurry”, they said, as the three of them hopped into Pat’s old Hudson and drove the early morning streets of Omaha down to St. Catherine’s Hospital.

The three boys made their way through the hospital and when John finally reached the hallway outside his Dad’s room, there were nun’s everywhere, kneeling and praying the rosary. The hospital room was packed, with family, priests and religious…when John’s mom saw her son, she motioned for him to come over to his father’s bed.

John moved through the crowd to his Dad’s side, put his hand on his father’s hand and said the words that apparently, Doc Kenney was waiting to hear.

“Dad I made it Home.”

And within a minute…..he died.

Bernard Kenney had, at fifty seven, died relatively young….yet he packed a great deal of living into those years.  As a Doctor and Father he had given so much.

But for his youngest son John, he had saved his greatest gift for the end.  You see a dying man waited.    While Jesus and the Angels and Saints waited  for Doc Kenney, he had waited for his boy.  He held on to the very end….and when his youngest son John finally arrived, when he had said his last goodbye, Bernard drifted off to his own Father in Heaven.

Now Bernard, my Grandfather, waits again.  His youngest boy John isn’t so young anymore.  Nope, John is my dad and has twenty grandchildren of his own to chase around these days and at 76, who knows when it will be his time to go. I don’t know if my dad is scared of dying.  But I am not scared for him.  Because I know that the Grandfather I never met has been waiting for his son for a long time.

And when they meet again, I think I know what my Grandpa will say to his youngest boy.

“John, well done, I’m proud of you….now sit with me while we wait….for your youngest son….Daniel.”

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