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Oh, look! A baby!

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Release Date: 10/13/2023

Lent show art Lent

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Mardi Gras ended Tuesday for Cam. Immediately following Mardi Gras is the beginning of Lent and Cam struggles with what sacrifices he should make. ----- Lent. I struggle with Lent every year. How much suffering is enough to prepare my soul for the Easter arrival of the Lord? Is there enough? Who knows. There’s always someone suffering more; someone taking it to the next level. As a child it was ice cream. I gave up ice cream every year and dutifully reported it to my religion teacher as the assignment instructed. I love ice cream, vanilla especially. In fact, I’ve created an association...

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Dry January show art Dry January

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' it Real, Cam Marston has thoughts about this upcoming weekend. Mardi Gras is on us down here in Mobile, and that leads to some tough decisions. ----- Dry January ended last week. Dry January followed soaking wet, sodden to the bone December. I’ve never done Dry January before and after sodden December, I needed to give it a try. Aside from one small drink to celebrate my daughter’s twenty-first birthday, I drank no alcohol for thirty-one days. I’m not sure I’ve done that since I was a teen. The net result? I lost nine pounds. I slept very well every night for a...

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God Stop show art God Stop

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

What do you call it when your certain plans are suddenly upended? They're changed with no warning? You call it a God-stop. On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam shares his experiences with them.  ----- A friend told me a story about how he had applied for a job a long way from home. His potential new employer had said they were going to make a very attractive offer. My friend and his wife began discussing selling their home and moving their kids to a new school. It was certain to happen and then…it didn’t. The job offer never came. His calls to the new employer to get an answer or a...

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Twenty-One show art Twenty-One

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Cam spent Monday evening at a big party for a small group of twenty-one year olds. To say the least, times have changed. Here's what he saw. ----- A moment after midnight on March 4th, 1990, I stood on a barstool and declared loudly to the packed bar that I had just turned twenty one years old. I was in Boulder, Colorado. A moment later the bouncer had me by the shirt and said, “That means you used a fake ID to get in”, which was true. I was nearly carried, my feet barely touching the ground, to the door and tossed into the street. Oddly enough, the same story happened to my wife, long...

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Resident Cynic show art Resident Cynic

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

My real name is Charles. But Chuck and Chas live inside me. Chuck was trying to get out this week. Chas had to try to keep in under control. ----- An icicle hangs from the roof of my house. I’m looking at it but still can’t quite believe it. Icicles are very rare here. Usually reserved for the freezer door that was left open overnight. A winter storm blew through and Mobile, Alabama is doing what it usually does when it gets below average cold – we’re freaking out. School is cancelled, quote, “out of an abundance of caution” for the kids. There’s no rebuttal to that phrase. It...

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Kids These Days show art Kids These Days

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Storms blew through Monday night. It was tough weather. I survived. My daughter? It was the aftermath of the storm that nearly broke her... ----- My favorite oldest daughter is upset. “I just can’t deal with this. It’s just too much,” she keeps saying. She’s leaving for a bit. She needs to get out of the house. “I’m going to Starbucks,” she says. “I’ll be back later.” My wife and I say nothing. You see, the power is out. The big storms that cruised through Monday night left us in the dark. It’s now Tuesday afternoon and the power company estimates another thirty hours...

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God On Our Side show art God On Our Side

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On New Years Eve, I watched a conversation in my kitchen that was exactly as I hoped it would be.  ----- A friend called this past fall. He said, “The Holy Spirit told me to call you and tell you the Holy Spirit wants you and me to make a podcast together. Will you help me?” My goodness. What do you say to that but “Sure. I’ll help you.” The podcast is about his spiritual journey. He brings his friends on from time to time to tell their stories. My job is to keep us focused on the topic, keep us at around twenty minutes per episode, and toss out a contrary opinion that will help...

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Solstice show art Solstice

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Yesterday was the winter solstice. Brings back memories... ----- Yesterday was the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Said another way, there is more darkness on December 21st than any other day. It’s also the day I got engaged many years ago. The story I like to tell is that my wife, who was then a collegiate volleyball coach, was watching VHS videos of players she was hoping to recruit. I asked her to stop the video and pay attention to me for a moment or two. She reluctantly did with a “this better be good” expression. I asked her to marry me. She considered the...

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Leena's China show art Leena's China

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

A family tree of photographs is at the top of the stairs at my father's house.  ----- A picture hangs at the top of the stairs at my parent’s house. It’s of my mother’s grandmother, my great grandmother. I think it’s Grandma Leena. My father and I were trying to figure out who it was. My mother had told me about the picture and about Grandma Leena for years. I never listened. There are a bunch of other pictures. At the top, near the ceiling, are pictures of my mother and father’s family and they form a family tree, coming together, picture by picture, generation by generation,...

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The Master is Dead show art The Master is Dead

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

This may be a bit over the top but it's what it looks like to me: ----- The apprentice to master model in the workplace may be dead. It was declining prior to the pandemic but now, after the struggles from the pandemic are largely behind us, the apprentice to master model is gone. And it’s a shame. Our society today, our workplace, our government, all of it comes from this model. It served us well. We’ve left it behind. Out to pasture. It’s not a good thing. Begun in the trades ages ago, its basic tenants are that a person enters a trade or a workplace with little to no knowledge. They...

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More Episodes

My fall travel season has started...

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The travel season has begun. Fall is always the busy season but this year it’s all compressed into a short six weeks. Eleven cities. Thirty-two flights.

There was a time when I bragged about this much travel. I felt it made me some sort of super-hero. Now I keep it quiet. I throw away the luggage tags that display my airline status. They don’t scream “road warrior” to me anymore. They whisper “bad dad.”

Getting back into the swing of travel hasn’t been that difficult this fall. I know what to expect and what I’m likely to confront in the airport, hotels and on the 32 flights. I begin each travel day by saying to myself “be nice.” “Be polite.” Most people don’t travel as much as me, so be patient. This is stressful and unfamiliar to many of them. Be kind to the people who take long minutes to settle into their seat, rearranging their carry-on gear over and over again. I wonder, do they make such a fuss sitting down to watch TV? Ignore the ones wearing pajamas. Ignore the ones who are clearly told by airport security to remove all items from their clothing yet walk through security with a cell phone in their pocket and say, “Oh. I didn’t know.” Ignore them. Pray for them. Breathe deeply. Let it go.

I’ve learned to say “Oh, look! A baby!” in such a way that people truly think I’m happy to see a baby sitting nearby on the plane. Passengers look at me in disbelief. Which reminds me, pay whatever necessary for top quality noise-cancelling headphones. They’re worth every penny.

Last week in Salt Lake City I had a hotel room neighbor fall asleep with their TV on. I heard his TV and his snores through the wall. I called his room throughout the night to jolt him awake so he’d turn over. It was that same room where a wall panel fell on me while working at the desk.

I had an Uber driver in Fort Myers immediately say “no hablo ingles.” About twenty minutes into the ride, he took a phone call in perfect English. I paid $23 for one Stella Artois beer in a busy Marco Island resort. That caught my attention. I’m now in Monterey, California. It’s a spectacular day and I’m writing this on the hotel patio with a coffee. Everyone is enjoying the perfect weather, especially the homeless man talking to himself while urinating in a potted plant not far away and the guy dressed as a ninja with only his eyes showing, holding a real machete.

I don’t much like traveling. I like being there. However, there is no way to get someplace different without traveling. It’s the price I pay for the work I do and the vacations I enjoy. I used to suffer loudly during each trip, bemoaning the travel. Now, I look for the stories happening all around me. Like now, watching the machete ninja who’s just spotted the urinating homeless man wondering if I’m going to have to put down my coffee.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just Keepin It Real.